Sunday, February 25, 2018

"How It Really Is"

"Of Course..."

"To show mercy is not naïve. To hold out against the end of hope is not stupidity or madness. It is fundamentally human. Of course... we are all doomed; we are all poisoned from our birth by the rot of stars. That does not mean we should succumb to the seductive fallacy of despair, the dark tide that would drown us. You may think I'm stupid, you may call me a madman and a fool, but at least I stand upright in a fallen world."
- Rick Yancey
Related:

"The Coming War To End All Wars”

"The Coming War To End All Wars”
by Ed Curtin

“The compulsive hatred of Putin by many who have almost zero idea about Putin or Russian history is disproportionate to any rational analysis, but not surprising. Trump and Putin are like weird doppelgangers in the liberal imagination.”
- John Steppling,

"The Trump and Netanyahu governments have a problem: How to start a greatly expanded Middle-Eastern war without having a justifiable reason for one. No doubt they are working hard to solve this urgent problem. If they can’t find a “justification” (which they can’t), they will have to create one (which they will). Or perhaps they will find what they have already created. Whatever the solution, we should feel confident that they are not sitting on their hands. History teaches those who care to learn that when aggressors place a gun on the wall in the first act of their play, it must go off in the final act.

These sinister players have signaled us quite clearly what they have in store. All signs point toward an upcoming large-scale Israeli/U.S. attack on Lebanon and Syria, and all the sycophantic mainstream media are in the kitchen prepping for the feast. Russia and Iran are the main course, with Lebanon and Syria, who will be devoured first, as the hors d’oeuvres. As always, the media play along as if they don’t yet know what’s coming. Everyone in the know knows what is, just not exactly when. And the media wait with baited breath as they count down to the dramatic moment when they can report the incident that will compel the “innocent” to attack the “guilty.”

Anyone with half a brain can see the greatly increased anti-Russian propaganda of the past few weeks. This has happened as the Russia-gate claims have fallen to pieces, as former CIA analyst Raymond McGovern, the late Robert Parry, Paul Craig Roberts, and others have documented so assiduously. All across the media spectrum, from the big name corporate stenographers like The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, The Washington Post to The Atlantic and Nation magazines and other “leftist” publications such as Mother Jones and Who What Why, the Russia and Putin bashing has become hysterical in tone, joined as it is with an anti-Trump obsession, as if Trump were a dear friend of Putin and Russia and wasn’t closely allied with the Netanyahu government in its plans for the Middle-East. As if Trump were in charge. “Russia Sees Midterm Elections as a Chance to Sow Fresh Discord (NY Times, 2/13), “Russia Strongman” (Putin) has “pulled off one of the greatest acts of political sabotage in modern history (The Atlantic, Jan. /Feb. 2018), “Mueller’s Latest Indictment Shows Trump Has Helped Putin Cover Up a Crime” (Mother Jones, 2/16/18), “A Russian Sightseeing Tour For Realists” (whowhatwhy.com, 2/7/18), etc.   
I am reminded of the turn to the right that so many “muckrakers” made during and after WW I. Afraid of a revolt from below, bewitched by their own vision to articulate the world’s future, heady over their own war propaganda, and wanting to be on the safe side of the government crackdown on dissent (The Espionage Act, the Palmer Raids, etc.), many progressives of the era embraced a jingoism similar to the anti-Russia mania of today.

Only someone totally lacking a sense of humor and blind to propaganda would not laugh uproariously at today’s media nonsense about Russia, but such laughter would be infused with a foreboding awareness that as the Middle East explodes and U.S./NATO backed Kiev forces prepare to attack the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, the world is entering a very dangerous period. And of course Trump has said, “The U.S. has great strength and patience but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” Totally destroy 26 million human beings. While his bully buddy in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, recently said at the Munich Security Conference that Iran is “the greatest threat to the world,” compared it to Nazi Germany, and claimed it was developing ballistic missiles to strike deep into the United States. “Iran seeks to dominate our region, the Middle East, and seeks to dominate the world through aggression and terror,” he said. And he vowed to act against Iran and anyone who supported it – i.e. Lebanon and Syria (Russia). 

Putin also, like all the mythic bogeymen, is portrayed as the new Hitler intent on conquering the world. If the American public wasn’t so “sophisticated” and adept at seeing through lies - pause and laugh - we could expect some World War I posters with Russian soldiers (like The Huns), sharp teeth glistening, gorilla strong and beastly, holding American women in preparation for the kill or rape.

Last year, when Oliver Stone did the world the great service of releasing his four-part interview with Putin, he was bashed, of course. Just as he was with his film JFK, the only movie in history to be reviewed and panned one year before its release by a Washington Post reviewer who didn’t see the movie but had a purloined preliminary script as his source. The Washington Post: the object of the latest film drivel, The Post, portraying it falsely as the savior of the nation through the publication of the Pentagon Papers (which is another story). The Washington Post – the CIA’s dear friend.

In his Putin interviews, Oliver Stone, a man of truth and honor, lets viewers catch a glimpse of the real Vladimir Putin. Of course Putin is a politician and the leader of a great and powerful nation, and one should receive his words skeptically. But watching Stone interview Putin for four hours, one comes away - but I doubt few have watched the four hours - with a reasonably good sense of the man.  And putting aside one’s impressions of him, he makes factual points that should ring loud and clear to anyone conversant with facts:
One: that the U.S. needs an external enemy (“I know that, I feel that.”).
Two: the U.S.A. engineered the coup d’état in the Ukraine on Russia’s border. 
Three: the U.S. has surrounded Russia with US/NATO troops and bases armed with anti-ballistic missiles that can, as Putin rightly says to Stone, be converted in hours to regular offensive nuclear missiles aimed at Russia. 

This is a factual and true statement that should make any fair-minded person stand up in horror. If Russia had such missiles encircling the United States from Cuba, Mexico, and Canada, what American would find it tolerable? What would CNN and The New York Times have to say? Yet these same people readily find it impossible to see the legitimacy in Russia’s position, resorting to name calling and illogical rhetoric. Russia is surrounded with U.S/NATO troops and missiles and yet Russia is the aggressor. So too Iran that is also surrounded. These media are propagandists, that’s why. They promote war, as they always have. They are pushing for war with Russia via Syria/Lebanon/Iran and Ukraine, and they are nihilistically demonizing North Korea (as part of Obama’s pivot toward Asia and the encircling of China, as John Pilger has brilliantly documented in his film "The Coming War on China") in what can only be called a conspiracy to commit genocide, as Dr. Graeme MacQueen and Christopher Black make clear in their Open Letter to the International Criminal Court.

We are moving toward a global war that will become nuclear if an international anti-war movement doesn’t quickly arise to stop it.  Most people bemoan the thought of such a war to end all wars, but refuse to analyze the factors leading to it. It happens step-by-step, and many steps have already been taken with more coming soon. It’s so obvious that most can’t see it, or don’t want to. The corporate mainstream media are enemies of the truth; are clearly part of the continuation of the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird, and those who still rely on them for the truth are beyond reach. 

Douglas Valentine, in "The CIA as Organized Crime," says the CIA has long aimed to use and co-opt the “Compatible Left, which in America translates into liberals and pseudo-intellectual status seekers who are easily influenced.” And he adds that the propaganda is not just produced by the CIA but by the military, State Department, and red, white, and blue advertisements that are everywhere. Nothing has changed since the Church Committee hearings in the 1970s. Valentine adds: "All of that is ongoing, despite being exposed in the late 1960s. Various technological advances, including the internet, have spread the network around the world, and many people don’t even realize they are part of it, that they’re promoting the CIA line. “Assad’s a butcher,” they say, or “Putin kills journalists,” or “China is repressive. They have no idea what they’re talking about but spout all this propaganda. 

William Blake said it truly:

"In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear 
How to break the chains – that is our task."

"Map of the Day: The History of the World Every Year"

"Map of the Day: The History of the World Every Year"
by Ollie Bye

"Since 200,000 BCE, humanity has spread around globe and enacted huge change upon the planet. This video shows every year of that story, right from the beginning. Today’s map ambitiously shows the territorial history of the world’s civilizations from 200,000 BC until today. While I cannot attest to the accuracy of every single detail, it appears largely correct and paints a very interesting picture of humanity’s shared history.”
(Full screen suggested.)

"It would indeed be the ultimate tragedy if the history of the 
human race proved to be nothing more noble than the 
story of an ape playing with a box of matches on a petrol dump."
 - David Ormsby-Gore

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Musical Interlude: 2002, “A Year And A Day”

2002, “A Year And A Day”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Point your telescope toward the high flying constellation Pegasus and you can find this expanse of Milky Way stars and distant galaxies. Centered on NGC 7814, the pretty field of view would almost be covered by a full moon. NGC 7814 is sometimes called the Little Sombrero for its resemblance to the brighter more famous M104, the Sombrero Galaxy.  
 Click image for larger size.
Both Sombrero and Little Sombrero are spiral galaxies seen edge-on, and both have extensive central bulges cut by a thinner disk with dust lanes in silhouette. In fact, NGC 7814 is some 40 million light-years away and an estimated 60,000 light-years across. That actually makes the Little Sombrero about the same physical size as its better known namesake, appearing to be smaller and fainter only because it is farther away. A very faint dwarf galaxy, potentially a satellite of NGC 7814, is revealed in the deep exposure just below the Little Sombrero.”

"8 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong"

"8 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong"
by Marc Chernoff

“Today, I’m sitting in my hospital bed waiting to have both my breasts removed. But in a strange way I feel like the lucky one. Up until now I have had no health problems. I’m a 69-year-old woman in the last room at the end of the hall before the pediatric division of the hospital begins. Over the past few hours I have watched dozens of cancer patients being wheeled by in wheelchairs and rolling beds. None of these patients could be a day older than 17.”

That’s an entry from my grandmother’s journal, dated 9/16/1977. I photocopied it and pinned it to my bulletin board about a decade ago. It’s still there today, and it continues to remind me that there is always, always, always something to be thankful for. And that no matter how good or bad I have it, I must wake up each day thankful for my life, because someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.

Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them. Imagine all the wondrous things your mind might embrace if it weren’t wrapped so tightly around your struggles. Always look at what you have, instead of what you have lost. Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left.

Here are a few reminders to help motivate you when you need it most:

1. Pain is part of growing. Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward. And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to. When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose. Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you. Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. Good things take time. Stay patient and stay positive. Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.

Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.

2. Everything in life is temporary. Every time it rains, it stops raining. Every time you get hurt, you heal. After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning, but still you often forget, and instead choose to believe that the night will last forever. It won’t. Nothing lasts forever.

So if things are good right now, enjoy it. It won’t last forever. If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either. Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh. Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile. Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending. You get a second chance, every second. You just have to take it and make the best of it.  

3. Worrying and complaining changes nothing. Those who complain the most, accomplish the least. It’s always better to attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed. It’s not over if you’ve lost; it’s over when you do nothing but complain about it. If you believe in something, keep trying. Don’t let the shadows of the past darken the doorstep of your future. Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any brighter. Take action instead. Let what you’ve learned improve how you live. Make a change and never look back.

And regardless of what happens in the long run, remember that true happiness begins to arrive only when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.

4. Your scars are symbols of your strength. Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with. A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed. It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward.   scar is the tattoo of a triumph to be proud of. Don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage. Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear. You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them. You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain.

Rumi once said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Nothing could be closer to the truth. Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most powerful characters in this great world are seared with scars. See your scars as a sign of “YES! I MADE IT! I survived and I have my scars to prove it! And now I have a chance to grow even stronger.”

5. Every little struggle is a step forward. In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it. So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way. Otherwise, there’s no point in starting. This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion. It could mean not eating what, or sleeping where, you’re used to, for weeks on end. It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills. It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar. It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers. It could mean lots of time alone in solitude. Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible. It gives you the space you need. Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it.

And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds. And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine. You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path. And it’s worth it. So if you’re going to try, go all the way. There’s no better feeling in the world… there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be ALIVE. 

6. Other people’s negativity is not your problem. Be positive when negativity surrounds you. Smile when others try to bring you down. It’s an easy way to maintain your enthusiasm and focus.  hen other people treat you poorly, keep being you. Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness change the person you are. You can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of you.  hey do things because of them.

Above all, don’t ever change just to impress someone who says you’re not good enough. Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future. People are going to talk regardless of what you do or how well you do it. So worry about yourself before you worry about what others think. If you believe strongly in something, don’t be afraid to fight for it. Great strength comes from overcoming what others think is impossible.

All jokes aside, your life only comes around once. This is IT. So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile, often.

7. What’s meant to be will eventually, BE. True strength comes when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead. There are blessings hidden in every struggle you face, but you have to be willing to open your heart and mind to see them. You can’t force things to happen. You can only drive yourself crazy trying. At some point you have to let go and let what’s meant to be, BE.

In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience. It’s a long-term journey. You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way. Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds. You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but you will eventually arrive precisely where you need to be.

8. The best thing you can do is to keep going. Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t. When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher. Find the strength to laugh every day. Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful. Find it in your heart to make others smile too. Don’t stress over things you can’t change. Live simply. Love generously. Speak truthfully. Work diligently. And even if you fall short, keep going. Keep growing. Awake every morning and do your best to follow this daily TO-DO list:

Think positively.
Eat healthy.
Exercise today.
Worry less.
Work hard.
Laugh often.
Sleep well.

Repeat…"

"You Have To Play the Cards You Get..."

“Just because fate doesn't deal you the right cards, 
it doesn't mean you should give up. It just means you 
have to play the cards you get to their maximum potential.”
- Les Brown

"8 Reasons Why You Act Against Your Own Better Judgment"

"8 Reasons Why You Act Against 
Your Own Better Judgment"
by Mark Sisson

"We all make poor choices against our better judgment. It’s kind of what makes us human – the tendency to actively and willfully make decisions that will result in unfavorable outcomes. Sure, the candy bar tastes good, but you know you’ll feel awful after eating it. Yeah, that blog is fun to read, but you know you’d be much happier if you finished that essay for class first. And yet five minutes later, a candy bar wrapper sits, emptied of its contents; your molars house fragments of nougat and sport a caramel sheen; light nausea approaches; and you find yourself wading knee deep through comment sections, MS Word window minimized. What just happened? Why did you do those things that you told yourself you wouldn’t, that you warned yourself against, and whose negative ramifications are already coming to fruition – just as you predicted?

Last week, we began the dialog with my introductory post on akrasia – the act of knowingly working against one’s own interests – but we didn’t get into any details. Today, I’m going to try to provide a few answers. I’m going to delve into the reasons for akrasia, particularly as it pertains to making bad eating choices. I won’t discuss psychological issues, per se, instead focusing on physiological explanations, but keep in mind that the two are often one and the same. You can’t really separate the mind from the body (well, without killing the person, that is).

Whether we pick up the phone to order takeout, open the candy wrapper, shove the spoon into the jar of Nutella, or accept the offered slice of cake, we are making a decision. Most health experts say making the healthy decision is a matter of willpower. So that if you make an unhealthy decision you simply don’t want it badly enough. Like Bob Newhart in that old Mad TV sketch, they seem to think all you have to do is just “STOP IT!” Well, it’s not that easy. Otherwise, folks wouldn’t be making these decisions that go against their better judgment. Otherwise, they’d indeed be “stopping it.” So why do we do it?

Many – perhaps most – poor dietary choices stem from an inability to resist cravings. And who can blame you, really? Whether they’re for chips, sweets, or something specific like wheat, cravings are difficult to ignore by design. Their very purpose is to get you to give in to them, to override your rational side and promote decisive, single-minded pursuit of whatever it is you crave. Something, then, is at the heart of these cravings. Something physiological. But what?

1. You’re missing something from your diet and your ancient genes are misinterpreting the modern cravings. There’s often a disconnect between what our animal bodies need or desire and what our human minds know is best. When the animal body perceives a deficiency, some nutrient lacking in the diet, like salt, it often develops a craving for that nutrient. 20,000 years ago, if you were salt-deficient you would have gone looking for shellfish or rock salt, because those are the salt sources you knew. Your food memory bank was rather limited in scope. Today, that same salt deficiency might manifest as a craving for Pringles or Cheezits, because those foods are listed under “salt” in your food memory bank.

Let’s look at some research on the subject. In one study (PDF), human volunteers were put on a strict low-sodium diet and treated with diuretics for ten days, rendering “substantial sodium depletion.” The effects were pretty telling. Salt thresholds – the minimum detectable level of sodium chloride dissolved in water – lowered dramatically; the subjects could detect lower levels of salt during sodium-depletion than they could during sodium-repletion. Furthermore, salt depletion made salty foods taste better than they had before the study, and salt-depleted subjects rated the saltiest foods as the most attractive and desirable. It’s quite possible that your “Pringles cravings” are actually salt cravings, and that the former is simply what your animal body associates with “salty.”

2. You’re missing something from your diet and your modern self is misinterpreting the ancient cravings. What about sweet cravings? Paul Jaminet thinks that sugar cravings might actually be fatty meat cravings. It sounds crazy on the face of it, but he makes some salient points. First, certain amino acids are actually slightly sweet. These sweeter amino acids are also hydrophobic, which means they are found inside cells with fats, and they repel water (fat doesn’t mix with water). Hydrophilic amino acids, which are water-soluble, do not associate with fat, and trigger the umami tastebuds, are not sweet. A leading theory of sweetness even suggests that in order for a compound to be sweet (to interact with sweetness receptors), it must be hydrophobic. Paul suggests that in a Paleolithic environment with ample prey, bland (rather than sweet) tubers and less abundant/seasonal fruits, cravings for sweets drove us to eat calorie-dense, nutrient-rich fatty meat. It’s possible, yet again, that our animal bodies are confused by the modern (and totally understandable) conflation of sweet with sugar and misinterpret what is actually a need for fat. Perhaps those sweet cravings turn into sugar binges because sugar isn’t actually what your body wants.

3. You’re addicted to wheat. Wheat contains opioid peptides that may be able to activate opioid receptors in our bodies. You know what else activates opioid receptors? Opium, morphine, and heroin. (I’ve never tried any of them, but I hear they can inspire some real devotion from their users.) I know that may sound glib, and I’ll be the first to admit that research into this is still very preliminary. You won’t find any ironclad evidence on PubMed that wheat is addictive. But the thinking goes that rather than hitting you like a ton of bricks and rendering you speechless from the sublime triggering of your opioid receptors, wheat addiction manifests as a stubborn lingering thing.

Evidence does exist, however limited. One older paper (PDF) that identifies multiple opioid peptides in wheat gluten, suggests that they are capable of binding to brain opioid receptors via a “plausible biomechanical mechanism,” and deems them of “physiological significance.” Dr. Emily Deans, of Evolutionary Psychiatry, has actually used naltrexone – a drug that blocks opiate receptors – to curb wheat cravings in celiac patients who are trying to kick the “habit.” Wheat plays a huge role in the diets of industrialized nations. If you’re reading this, you probably grew up eating it. You may still be eating it from time to time – and that may be at least partly responsible for your urge to eat that slice of bread.

4. You’re addicted to sugar. Similarly to wheat, sugar has addictive properties. A review of the rat studies shows that rodents will become quite addicted to sugar rather quickly, at times even choosing it over pharmaceutical-grade cocaine. There’s evidence that the addictive properties affect humans, too. As with wheat, naltrexone has been shown to reduce the rewarding properties of sugar in people. When you block the opiate receptors in the brain, sugar simply isn’t as rewarding and you’re not driven to consume as much of it.  Sugar appears to be addictive in both rats and humans. You, being a human, could very well be drawn to make bad decisions about sweets because you are addicted to them.

5. You’re stressed out. Everyone knows about “stress eating.” Chronic stress is repeatedly linked to obesity and overeating, and there’s strong evidence that it even elicits cravings for specific foods or nutrients. Like sugar. Remember our old friend cortisol? It’s one of the premier stress hormones, and in high cortisol responders – people that secrete lots of cortisol in response to stress – cravings for and intake of sweets increase dramatically. Stress also appears to increase the desire for “comfort foods,” those deadly high-sugar, high-fat concoctions, via an increase in ghrelin, a hunger hormone.Stress can also lead to salt cravings, probably because the adrenal glands which produce stress hormones also produce hormones which monitor electrolyte balance. And indeed, stress can also increase salt requirements, which, as we know from earlier, can often manifest as “chips cravings” or “cracker cravings.”

6. You’re training too much without adequate fueling. My general rule is that starchy vegetables like tubers and potatoes, as well as sweet fruits, are elective foods. You don’t need ‘em, and most people, especially those who are trying to lose weight, will be better off limiting them. They can be tasty, though, and if your activity levels warrant a higher intake of carbs, you could eat them. I have no problem with that and I don’t see them as problematic in that situation. In fact, if you’re doing daily Crossfit WODs or pounding the pavement to the tune of 100+ miles each week, you had better eat some tubers and some fruit. If you don’t, if you go very low carb while trying to maintain that breakneck pace, you will suffer. You will probably also crave easily-digestible, refined, processed junk carbs. Think chips, bread, pizza, pasta, or – my own personal favorite/nemesis from my Chronic Cardio days – tubs of ice cream. Your body needs to replenish the glycogen, and it needs carbohydrates to do it. Gluconeogenesis can only get you so far if you’re pushing your body to its limits. In the face of heavy, glycogen-depleting training, a lack of Primal starch sources will have you craving sweets and grains in no time.

7. You’re not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep has long been associated with overeating and obesity. For one thing, poor or disrupted sleep schedules promote disrupted cortisol secretion, which – as I’ve shown above – can affect our food choices. Bad sleep also increases insulin resistance, which changes how we process macronutrients (especially carbohydrates) and renders us more prone to fat gain. And now, a recent study has shown that a single bout of acute sleep deprivation (just one night) causes people to find food more rewarding. Patients on no sleep derived more pleasure from food, desired more food, and reported more hunger than patients who had slept. And that was just a single night. Just imagine the effects of days, weeks, or even years of chronic poor sleep. If you’re running on no sleep, you may very well be more susceptible to the wiles of junk food.

8. You fear being socially isolated due to your food choices. Peer pressure doesn’t just occur in groups of teens smoking joints behind a 7/11. It can happen at birthday parties, at office events, or during the holidays. Wherever treats are being served, and the vast majority of those in attendance partakes, those who would otherwise refuse the offered treats often feel pressured to give in. You hem and haw, try to say “No, thanks,” but you start thinking you see shared glances between judgmental partiers, sense hurt feelings from amateur bakers, and you worry about looking like a “health nut” (as if that’s a terrible thing or something), so you take the slice of cake or square of brownie and partake. You know what happened last time you gave in. You remember quite vividly the downward spiral of junk indulgence that transpired then, and probably will again. But still you eat it.

Why? One explanation may be that social rejection – even if it’s only imagined – can manifest as physical pain. To figure this out, researchers ran brain scans on study participants as they played a virtual ball-tossing game and then began excluding them from play (PDF). Ultimately, all participants were excluded from the game. During both explicit social exclusion (in which players were prevented from participating by other players) and implicit social exclusion (in which extenuating circumstances prevented participants from joining the game), the brain scans registered significant activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a region of the brain that acts as a “neural alarm system” or a “conflict monitor.” Whenever “something is wrong,” the ACC lights up. Physical pain famously triggers the ACC, but the ACC is not involved in the physical sensation of pain. It’s involved in mental distress. Distress is a negative sensation. It is unpleasant by its very definition. If you’ve resisted the treats in the past and felt socially isolated or rejected because of it, you may be conditioned to take the treat next time in order to avoid the isolation and avoid the activation of your neural distress center.

Do any of these sound familiar? When it comes to making poor dietary decisions, keep in mind that we are complex animals and the causes of our actions are multifactorial. Some or all of these factors may play into your particular misstep. Maybe you gorged on cake at the party both because your ACC was buzzing in trepidation at the prospect of social isolation and because you’d been putting in way too many road miles, you were overtrained, your cortisol was spiked, your blood sugar was low, and you were craving sugar. It could be any number of things from this list (and even some that aren’t on it).

So, while the decision ultimately rests on your plate, you might find it helpful to understand that a whole host of factors is actively influencing you. These aren’t excuses, and they don’t remove responsibility, but they do show you what might be going on under the hood. Hopefully by understanding exactly why we often make bad decisions about food against our better judgment, we can tip the scales in our favor before the next one is made.
 
Well, it was a long one, but I hope you found it helpful. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section. Thanks for reading!"

"Hard As It May Be..."


“You observe your children or your children’s children, making the same absurd mistakes, heart-rending mistakes often, which you made at their age. And there is nothing you can say or do to prevent it. It’s by observing the young, indeed, that you eventually understand the sort of idiot you yourself were once upon a time- and perhaps still are.”

“One can fight evil but against stupidity one is helpless… I have accepted the fact, hard as it may be, that human beings are inclined to behave in ways that would make animals blush. The ironic, the tragic thing is that we often behave in ignoble fashion from what we consider the highest motives. The animal makes no excuse for killing his prey; the human animal, on the other hand, can invoke God’s blessing when massacring his fellow men. He forgets that God is not on his side but at his side.”

“There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy.”

- Henry Miller

The Poet: James Broughton, "Quit Your Addiction"

"Quit Your Addiction"

“Quit your addiction
to sneer and complaint.
Try a little flaunt,
Call for comrades
who bolster your vim
and offer you risk.
Corral the crones,
Goose the nice nellies,
Hunt the bear that hugs
and the raven that quoths.
Stay up all night
to devise a new dawn...”

- James Broughton,
“Little Sermons of the Big Joy”

The Daily "Near You?"

Dublin, New Hampshire, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

X22 Report, “The Next Economic System Expands West, Will The US Join The New Trade System?”

X22 Report, “The Next Economic System Expands West, 
Will The US Join The New Trade System?”
Related followup report:
X22 Report, “The Deep State Has Been Duped Again”

"The Sole Purpose..."

"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence 
is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."
-  C. G. Jung

“Your Most Vital Commitment: Finding Time for You”

“Your Most Vital Commitment: Finding Time for You”
by Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOM

“We can excel easier in our lives when our own spiritual, physical, and intellectual needs are fulfilled. Within each of there is a well of energy that must be regularly replenished. When we act as if this well is bottomless, scheduling a long list of activities that fit like puzzle pieces into every minute of every day, it becomes depleted and we feel exhausted, disconnected, and weak. Refilling this well is a matter of finding time to focus on, nurture, and care for ourselves, or "you time." Most of us are, at different times throughout the day, a spouse, a friend, a relative, an employee, a parent, or a volunteer, which means that down time, however relaxing in nature, is not necessarily "you time." Though some people will inevitably look upon "you time" as being selfish, it is actually the polar opposite of selfishness. We can only excel where our outer world affairs are concerned when our own spiritual, physical, and intellectual needs are fulfilled.

Recognizing the importance of "you time" is far easier than finding a place for it in an active, multifaceted lifestyle, however. Even if you find a spot for it in your agenda, you may be dismayed to discover that your thoughts continuously stray into worldly territory. To make the most of "you time," give yourself enough time on either side of the block of time you plan to spend on yourself to ensure that you do not feel rushed. Consider how you would like to pass the time, forgetting for the moment your obligations and embracing the notion of renewal. You may discover that you are energized by creative pursuits, guided meditation, relaxing activities during which your mind can wander, or modes of expression such as writing.

Even if you have achieved a functioning work-life balance, you may still be neglecting the most important part of that equation: you. "You time" prepares you for the next round of daily life, whether you are poised to immerse yourself in a professional project or chores around the home. It also affords you a unique opportunity to learn about yourself, your needs, and your tolerances in a concrete way. As unimportant as "you time" can sometimes seem, it truly is crucial to your well-being because it ensures that you are never left without the energy to give of yourself.”
- http://www.dailyom.com

Now that sounds like an excellent idea...

"How It Really Is"

“The Mass Conspiracy Of Blame Avoidance”

“The Mass Conspiracy Of Blame Avoidance”
by Paul Rosenberg

"If you can ever get far enough from the status quo, one of the most shocking sights you’ll see is the mass conspiracy of blame avoidance. This phenomenon is so pervasive  that most people go their entire lives without taking serious notice of it. It simply is, and the possibility of another way has never occurred to them. People do see this from time to time of course, but only as it intrudes on them personally. And even then, they generally wander away from the conflict and slide back into the conspiracy, wondering what just happened.

I call this a mass conspiracy because it’s something all of us enforce upon each other. I’m sure there must be a few people who’ve been immune to it since birth, but I can’t really point to anyone. And while I was less prone to this than others by a good piece, I’ve enforced it upon others myself. (Though not in some time, I’m pleased to report.)

Okay. So, What Is It?” Let me start with the part of this most of us have run into: Have you noticed that staying in lock-step with authority absolves you of blame? And have you noticed that new things – things not acknowledged by authority – are held to the opposite standard: that even one flaw excludes them from consideration?

Let’s take “social services” as an example. Everyone knows that these operations consistently fail the children they’re supposed to save and that a shocking number of these children are ignored, abused, and even killed. The operators of the system, though, are never seriously held to account (certainly not personally), and their funding increases year after year.

Let someone propose a different way of handling the same “social” problems, however, and criticism jumps to the highest possible level. “What if” questions are not so much asked as launched at the new idea, and unless all of them are deflected, the new idea is instantly rejected.

A reasonable approach would be to count the failures under the current version, project the number of failures under the proposed version, and compare. But that doesn’t happen. Instead, the failures of the accepted version are flatly ignored, and a single imagined failure of the new way disqualifies it.

That is simply illogical and unreasonable. In fact, it’s cult-like. And yet, nearly all of us have done this at one time or another. Some of us have done it many times.

The Payoff: If millions of us are doing this, you’d guess that there has to be some kind of payoff from it. And there is. The payoff is psychological comfort, and it works like this: When we attack the new idea (social services-related or otherwise), we’re not defending children from risks, we’re defending our previous choices and the hedge that stands between us and blame.

Most people feel overmatched by the world. This begins in childhood and is nurtured in government schools, where years of an obscure but persistent curriculum teach us to obey without question and never to place our judgment above authority. Because of this and other factors, we retain the sick feeling of being overmatched all our lives. On top of that, we live in a guilt-ridden culture… and guilt feels bad.

And so we find refuge in a dimly recognized conspiracy: We’ll support authority – and will ridicule anyone who strays from it – so long as authority protects its adherents from blame. You can see this in the way people deal with the edicts they are given by authority: They hide behind them.

Rules provided by authority stand as the responsible party instead of us. No matter that we actually performed a harmful action, if we did it under authority, we can hold ourselves blameless, to which other members of the conspiracy will attest. And that’s why we trash anything new and unauthorized, because if authority can be ignored, our protection from blame can be ignored too.

Are We Really That Fragile? This conspiracy presumes that we’re far too fragile to handle blame. It roots in our childhood vulnerabilities and calls up the intimidations of enforced schooling. Regardless that we’re no longer fragile seven-year-olds, we feel that way… because the conspiracy was forged in us when we were weak seven-year-olds and rests upon those feelings. The conspiracy, then, is cruel to us. We are no longer children, and we shouldn’t still be suffering childhood fears. We no longer need parents. If anything, we need to be parents.

This conspiracy of blame avoidance further keeps us from appreciating ourselves. Because if we started taking blame for our faults, we’d also start accepting credit for our virtues and successes. And those are far more numerous. I hope I’ve given you a glimpse of this mass conspiracy, because it’s a sneaky and seductive destroyer. We really have outgrown childhood and its fears. We’ll do far better by leaving them and the conspiracy behind.”