from the world's big
The Dangers of Placing Too Much Faith in Yourself
Kids do the darnedest things. For instance, one time late at night, when I was 9 or 10, I opened the drawer in the kitchen, took out the biggest knife, and lightly pressed its point into my chest. I hadn't done some homework assignment and I was thinking that maybe I would just kill myself. I suppose anyone who'd come in just then (no one did) would have been alarmed. But I was not—it's not a particularly intense memory, and I hadn't thought about it in years. Because as I looked down at the knife, I knew I wasn't going to break the skin. The prospect of real violence, though close, seemed to be behind some unbreakable transparent shell; I could see all the details of catastrophe, but I couldn't touch them. I felt as if I was watching a rehearsal for some other life, which I would not live (or leave). Lately, though, James Luria's amazing piece in Slate (which reminded me of this long-forgotten moment) got me wondering: What if I'd had a gun?
Luria did. He was 8 or 9, and steaming mad about the immediate crappiness of his life, so he figured he'd shoot his father. Which he was about to do, with a shotgun he'd loaded, when he stopped himself.
He wasn't a particularly weird kid. Neither was I. I'm guessing from his piece and current occupation that we were both bookish, harmless-seeming boys who grew up to be law-abiding harmless-seeming adults. We were just acting strange for a few moments. And the case for strict gun control amounts to this: When people act out-of-character, strangely and unpredictably, it is better that they not have access to a lethal weapon. Luria came close to blowing away his father, who didn't deserve it. If I'd been playing with a pistol instead of a kitchen implement, I could have shot my head off.
How do you argue with that? Well, for one thing you claim that strange, wild, terrible moments are mostly confined to strange, wild, terrible people ("the truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters"). Once you have declared that strangeness and chaos belong only to clearly designated weirdos, you can then go on to claim that self-control and training are so well-developed in the rest of us "normal" people that guns pose no problem ("70,000,000 million gun owners obeyed the law today"). In other words, the argument for easy access to guns is an argument that most people are reliably rational—that they see their interests clearly ("I will not improve my lot if I shoot my father") and have the self-mastery to to follow through on their insights ("so I will put this shotgun away").
Now, obviously, most people can be pretty reasonable about guns most of the time (if that weren't so, every town in the United States would look like the O.K. Corral). Gun deaths result from terrible departures from reason and self-control—the bullet forgotten in the chamber, the impulse to suicide made easy by a rifle, the overwhelming rage that reaches for a gun, the too-quick mis-assessment of a harmless person. It's comforting to think that such things only happen to deeply disturbed or impaired people. But as Luria reminded me about my own life, that's just not so. Wild, strange, terrible behavior isn't confined to people we have marked as deranged. It's a part of everyone's life. We are all a great deal less reliable than we'd like to think. We are all a good deal weirder, moment by moment, than we seem. In the placid suburbs of Philadelphia, a friend of mine, when she was a 14-year-old, asked her boyfriend to copulate with his dog. And he did.
Vast amounts of psychological research have been devoted to the way people infer whole histories from a few facts about each other—both for the better ("a fine upstanding officer would never do that") and the worse ("gay people can't be parents!"). I've come to think of this kind of "social cognition" as a vast effort to reassure ourselves. I want to believe that your past performance is an indicator of your future behavior. I want to believe that your good works in one realm mean you will do good in another. I want to believe that in a crisis I will behave as I expect and hope I will. But against this desire is all the evidence that we can't assume that the past is a guide to future behavior (see David Petraeus or, much more tragically, the case against Yoselyn Ortega). Nor can we assume that people's well-earned social status in one context will make them immune to evil in another (see Jerry Sandusky or this video from Steubenville.
I think we're better off when we don't overconfidently rely on what we think we know about others, or about ourselves. When, instead, we build systems that assume that anyone can have wild, strange, even evil moments. For example, as Ezra Klein reports here, the Israeli military in 2006 stopped having soldiers take their guns home with them when they were off duty on weekends. The result was a 60 percent drop in suicides on weekends by soldiers.
I don't deny that some people are especially deeply troubled. Far from it. But while the mass killers get the media coverage and stoke our fears, the fact is that most gun deaths result not from that kind of madness but from the far more common and ordinary kind: The kind that comes and goes in ordinary lives. And so gun control—reliance on rules and systems—seems to me a better bet than relying on the wobbly and uncertain bonds of self-control.
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Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.