Monday, 31 October 2011

Article: Psychedelics Open the Mind

Katharine MacLean and her colleagues at John Hopkins Medical School administered a high-dose of psilocybin (the active ingredient of 'magic mushrooms') to 52 people, aged 46 on average, who were not well acquainted with hallucinogens but were curious about their effects. The participants completed two to five 8-hour sessions separated by at least three weeks. During the sessions, they either took psilocybin or a non-hallucinogenic drug, lied down on a couch, put on an eye mask, and listened to music on headphones. They were instructed to focus on their inner experience. To minimize psychological damage, all participants received extensive initial screening (to make sure they didn't have any prior mental disorders) and received extensive support and guidance before, during, and after the sessions. All participants were followed up more than a year after the last session involving psilocybin.

Participants showed a significant increase in Openness to Experience after taking the psilocybin, but showed no differences in Neuroticism, Extraversion, Agreeableness, or Conscentiousness. The dimensions of Openness that increased were openness to fantasy, aesthetics, feelings, and ideas. Openness to Values didn't budge as much as the others.

30 participants had a "complete mystical experience", which consisted of scoring above 60% on the dimensions of unity, transcendence of time and space, ineffability and paradoxicality, sacredness, noetic quality, and positive mood (I'm not sure I even know what all that means, but I'm sure I would if I took such a high dosage of psilocybin!). For these participants, Openness to Experience remained significantly higher than their baseline score more than 1 year after the sessions were over. The 22 patients who did not have a

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Speech: Iain McGilchrist - Things Are Not What They Seem

Dr Iain McGilchrist*, author of "The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and The Making of the Western World", puts our society on the couch. He suggests that the bipartite structure of the brain helps us to understand why the world so often seems paradoxical, and why we so often end up achieving the opposite of what we intend.

Recorded at Schumacher College.
Schumacher College is part of The Dartington Hall Trust, a registered charity, which focuses on the arts, social justice and sustainability.
For more information about Schumacher College and Dartington visit: and

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Speech: Iain McGilchrist - The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

Renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist explains how the 'divided brain' has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society.

Also, check out the RSA Animate, taken from the lecture:

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Documentary: The great global warming swindle

"The Great Global Warming Swindle is a documentary film by British television producer Martin Durkin, which argues against the scientific opinion that human activity is the main cause of global warming. The film showcases scientists, economists, politicians, writers, and others who are sceptical of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming. Publicity for the programme states that global warming is 'a lie' and 'the biggest scam of modern times.'"

Also check out this article which criticizes Al Gore's documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”, a very well known film about global warming, which claims that it is mainly due to human causes.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Article: Most people don't want to hear the Truth

Original Article written by Doreen Hannes for News with Views - 13, February 2008

Now, more than in the past 100 years or so of our nation's history (USA), we have a great number of people who sense that something 'just ain't right'. So what is one to do? First of all, you begin a quest for the truth about any particular topic. Pick one. Currently, you can choose from the NAU, Real ID, NAIS, the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" that aren't in Iraq, the Law of the Sea Treaty, the water boarding issue in Gitmo, the legality of the "income tax," the effects of the 'free trade' agreements on our nation, the "Clean Water Restoration Act," the "Military Commissions Act", Agenda 21, the "CFR" or heck, for some real light study, how about the institution of central banking and fractional reserve banking systems? There are a lot more, but this should at least give the idea that we have a problem. A very, very, big problem. It's like that infamous elephant in the living room that no one wants to talk about and most don't want to see.

Yet those giant piles of elephant excrement keep getting on everyone's shoes, so many have no choice but to begin to contemplate that where there is crap, there is a crapper. And before one can get the elephant out of the room, you have to admit that there is one. Some people will sit with brown stuff running down their faces and look at you with a blank stare saying, "What elephant?" They don't even notice the manure. Those folks are the furniture….You can't help them, so don't waste your time trying. Some people will marvel at the manure that keeps spontaneously generating out of thin air and blame it on the opposing political party; you may or may not be able to help these people. They are certainly worth a try. What you really want is the person that is wondering what kind of

Article: Slavoj Žižek at Occupy Wall Street: “We are not dreamers, we are the awakening from a dream which is turning into a nightmare”

Original Article written by Sarah Shin for Verso - Monday 10, October 2011

Slavoj Zizek speaking at Occupy Wall Street protests (YouTube: visitordesign)

On October 9, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek visited Liberty Plaza to speak to Occupy Wall Street protesters. 
Here is the original text of his speech — not a transcript, as originally described in error. 

Don't fall in love with yourselves, with the nice time we are having here. Carnivals come cheap—the true test of their worth is what remains the day after, how our normal daily life will be changed. Fall in love with hard and patient work—we are the beginning, not the end. Our basic message is: the taboo is broken, we do not live in the best possible world, we are allowed and obliged even to think about alternatives. There is a long road ahead, and soon we will have to address the truly difficult questions—questions not about what we do not want, but about what we DO want. What social organization can replace the existing capitalism? What type of new leaders we need? The XXth century alternatives obviously did not work.

So do not blame people and their attitudes: the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt. The solution is not “Main street, not Wall street,” but to change the system where main street cannot function without Wall street. Beware not only of enemies, but also of false friends who pretend to support us, but are already working hard to dilute our protest. In the same way we get coffee

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Article: Laziness - Fact or Fiction?

Original Article written by Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D. for Psychology Today - Sunday 22, June 2008

 Addressing this topic generally, the immortal Dagwood Bumstead once claimed: “You can’t teach people to be lazy—either they have it, or they don’t.” So what is laziness anyway? Is it about being slow to do something?... Or about doing something slowly?... Or about not doing it at all?... Or, finally, is it about not sufficiently wanting to do something? And if this last alternative is true, when we label someone lazy are we really talking about that person’s being indolent, sluggish, or slothful? Or is there something else going on that hasn’t yet been appreciated?

What I'm going to be discussing here is my own, somewhat unorthodox view on laziness. For I believe (apologies to Dagwood, who would otherwise seem to be one of the world's foremost authorities on the subject) that the whole idea of anyone's being inherently lazy--or having a "lazy personality"--is basically a myth.

My experience, both as an individual and therapist, has led me to conclude that laziness as an explanation of human behavior is practically useless. Referring to--or rather, disparaging, or even dismissing--a person as lazy seems to me a glib and overly simplistic way of accounting for a person's apparent disinterest or inertia. And resorting to this term to categorize a person's inactivity suggests to me a laziness more on the part of the describer than the person described. In short, I view this pejorative designation as employed mostly as a "default" when the person talked about is not particularly well understood.

What I'd like to consider here is a more useful--and psychologically accurate--way of understanding people who don't do what we believe they ought to do. And my thesis is

Monday, 17 October 2011

Article: Interview with Chronis Missios

Original Article written for a Greek Magazine and found on this blog - Translation by Niko Paterakis.

Chronis Missios was born in Cavala (Greece) to a pair of tobacco workers. He spent his early years in Potamoudia, a neighbourhood of refugees, workers and illegal communists hunted from Metaksa’s dictatoship [Greek general, serving as Prime Minister/1936-1941]. His family flees to Salonica, where Chronis works as a salesman.

He returns to Salonica after the liberation. He joins the Urban Democratic Army and in 1947 – at the age of seventeen – he is arrested, brutally tortured and sentenced to death. He spends the next 9 months expecting execution every morning. In 1953, he is released, enlists for his compulsory military service and is sent to Makronisos, afterwards Ai-Stratis [significant political exile destinations], until 1962, when the camp is disbanded. Since then, he works as a member of Unified Democratic Left [Greek initials: EDA]. The dictatorship of ’67 finds him a member of the five-strong secretarial office of the Lambrakis administration. He joins other members in forming the illegal party Greek Liberation Front [Greek initials: PAM]. In November 1967 he is arrested and court-martialled to 18 years in prison. Once again, Averoff, Corfu, Koridallos, until the August 1973 general amnesty.

In an interview he gave Car & Driver he stated that: “Life is a gift for all of us. It has an expiration date. And we have the right to enjoy it, share it, create it”.

Below are excerpts of that interview:

‘Some of us romantics believed that we could make something beautiful back then, something special, but as Danton said: “the steps of humanity are the tombstones of the romantics”. We were, I think, the last of the Mohicans, the romantics. We had a myth, we believed in an ideal, we sacrificed our very lives for it. For the betterment of humanity, a more beautiful society, all of that. Well! It turned that the vision of this ideal society we strived for was impossible to materialize because people’s consciousness – that is, their deep internal cultural sensitivity – was not at the same level as the civilization it was trying to create. So, the powers that be climb back on top again and used all pretensions, legally or illegally, to form a new establishment much worse than the previous one. This happened

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Video: Julian Assange speaking at the Antiwar Mass Assembly, London (Oct 8, 2011)

WikiLeaks's Julian Assange speaks (0:50) at the October 8th Antiwar Mass Assembly in London on the 10th anniversary of the Afghan war and the formation of the Stop the War Coalition.

Article: Occupy Wall Street ends capitalism's alibi

Original Article written by Richard Wolff for the Guardian - Tuesday 4, October 2011

This protest pinpoints how dysfunctional our economic system is: 
we must refashion it for human needs, not corporate aims

Occupy Wall Street
A man holds up an anti-Wall Street placard on the march to NYPD headquarters. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Occupy Wall Street has already weathered the usual early storms. The kept media ignored the protest, but that failed to end it. The partisans of inequality mocked it, but that failed to end it. The police servants of the status quo over-reacted and that failed to end it – indeed, it fueled the fire. And millions looking on said, "Wow!" And now, ever more people are organising local, parallel demonstrations – from Boston to San Francisco and many places between.

Let me urge the occupiers to ignore the usual carping that besets powerful social movements in their earliest phases. Yes, you could be better organised, your demands more focused, your priorities clearer. All true, but in this moment, mostly irrelevant. Here is the key: if we want a mass and deep-rooted social movement of the left to re-emerge and transform the United States, we must welcome the many different streams, needs, desires, goals, energies and enthusiasms that inspire and sustain social movements. Now is the time to invite, welcome and gather them, in all their profusion and confusion.

The next step – and we are not there yet – will be to fashion the program and the

Monday, 3 October 2011

Article: What’s behind the scorn for the Wall Street protests?

Original Article written by Glenn Greenwald for - Wednesday 28, September 2011

Wall Street Protest
A few hundred demonstrators protesting against corporations march from nearby Zucotti park to Wall Street, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, in the Manhattan borough of New York. The demonstrators, who have been camping overnight in the park since Saturday, have been surrounded by police officers around the clock with at least 12 protestors arrested in recent days. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo)
(updated below w/correction)
It’s unsurprising that establishment media outlets have beencondescendingdismissive and scornful of the ongoing protests on Wall Street.  Any entity that declares itself an adversary of prevailing institutional power is going to be viewed with hostility by establishment-serving institutions and their loyalists.  That’s just the nature of protests that take place outside approved channels, an inevitable by-product of disruptive dissent: those who are most vested in safeguarding and legitimizing establishment prerogatives (which, by definition, includes establishment media outlets) are going to be hostile to those challenges.  As the virtually universal disdain in these same circles for WikiLeaks(and, before that, for the Iraq War protests) demonstrated: the more effectively adversarial it is, the more establishment hostility it’s going to provoke. 
Nor is it surprising that much of the most vocal criticisms of the Wall Street protests has come from some self-identified progressives, who one might think would be instinctively sympathetic to the substantive message of the protesters.  In an excellent analysis entitled “Why Establishment Media & the Power Elite Loathe Occupy Wall Street,” Kevin Gosztola chronicles how many of the most scornful criticisms have come from Democratic partisans who — like the politicians to whom they devote their fealty — feign populist opposition to Wall Street for political gain.
Some of this anti-protest posturing is just the all-too-familiar New-Republic-ish eagerness to prove one’s own Seriousness by castigating anyone to the left of, say, Dianne Feinstein or John Kerry; for such individuals, multi-term, pro-Iraq-War Democratic Senator-plutocrats define the outermost left-wing limit of respectability.  Also at play is the jingoistic notion that street protests are valid in Those Bad Countries but not in free, democratic America. 
A siginificant aspect of this progressive disdain is grounded in the belief that the only valid form of political activism is support for Democratic Party candidates, and a corresponding desire to undermine