from the world's big
Why Morality Is Entwined With Our Sense of "Us and Them"
In his interesting review of Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind last month, the philosopher John Gray makes an important point about evolution-based attempts to account for human morality. To explain ethical behavior in evolutionary terms, we have to accept that morality is "groupish"—that curbing one's self was and is a matter of doing one's part for the group of which one is a member. Whatever its merits as a model of morality's origins, Gray notes, this notion, baldly stated, fails to do justice to moral dilemmas in the present.
"Human beings rarely, if ever, belong to only one group," he writes. "One of the tasks of morality is to arbitrate the clashing loyalties that regularly arise from the many group identities that human beings possess." This is right in the abstract (though I'm not sure it's fair to Haidt, who doesn't claim that we are all only members of one group at a time). But Gray seems to conclude from this fact that "groupishness" is irrelevant to the mystery of morality. He goes on: "In some cases, morality may lead people to put aside group loyalties altogether." And there the evidence is against him.
Here is his illustration:
In his diary recording the persecution he suffered in Nazi Germany, Victor Klemperer reports on tradesmen and neighbors occasionally slipping him and his wife food and chocolate. Against the background of pervasive hatred and cruelty that Klemperer experienced, these fitful expressions of kindness must qualify as moral behavior. But they are in no sense “groupish.” Quite the contrary: they show people setting aside group identities for the sake of human sympathy.
For the sake of human sympathy? Well, maybe, but what people usually say they did in such times is different. They say they set aside their identities for other identities. So they still refer to groups—just not the groups to which they were (often without their consent) assigned. Those who slipped Klemperer food or a kind word were still being "groupish." They did so because he was a fellow academic, a fellow German (non-Nazi version), a fellow Christian, or a neighbor.
Here's the first example I came across, leafing through my copy of Klemperer this morning (it's on page 226):
Zaunick, a grammar school teacher and honorary professor of something to do with physics at the TU, a man around fifty, once indebted to me, recently came up to the car as were parked at Bismarckplatz. Party badge. Could easily walk past without acknowledging us, could at the most greet us. But comes up with evident heartfelt pleasure. How am I, whether I have stayed in Dresden, how sorry he is…What have I published recently? "Wait and work!" — "for posterity?"—"One has to wait and see." Hearty handshake and sorrowful withdrawal. A Party member!
Is Zaunick here expressing some sort of abstract human solidarity that has nothing of the group about it? I guess the case could be made, but that's not how Klemperer commonsensically perceives it. This Nazi is a fellow academic, who once owed Klemperer a favor, if not money. After some nice words, he goes on to emphasize this shared identity by making academic shop talk. Zaunick puts aside group loyalty to the Nazi notion of a good German in favor of a different group, not no group.
In other words, people don't resolve the moral dilemmas Gray cites by ignoring their group identities; they solve them by choosing among those overlapping versions of themselves. Or, at least, struggling with them: Christopher Browning, in his The Origins of the Final Solution, notes that the Nazi official Wilhelm Kube, who was responsible for occupied Minsk, was troubled by transports of German Jews into his Eastern European fiefdom. "Among these Jews are front veterans with the Iron Cross first and second class, war wounded, half-Aryans, and even a three-quarter Aryan," he wrote. A few lines later, he added: “I am certainly tough and ready to help solve the Jewish question, but human beings who come from our cultural sphere are something other than the native bestial hordes."
Now, Nazism figures in moral arguments as an extreme case, but I wouldn't want to base a claim only on Third Reich examples. So here's another, non-Nazi, illustration of the practical effects of group-switching within a single mind: During the trial of several police officers accused of abusing Abner Louima in 1997, it emerged in the testimony that during the night of the incident, a police officer found himself in the men's room next to a Haitian man whom he had arrested and beaten up. When the cop spotted a crucifix around the other man's neck, he apologized for what he'd done. He also believed in Jesus, he said. The suspect merited more moral consideration as a fellow-Christian than he had as an alien "perp."
Now, it may be that there are instances in which moral conduct takes place without reference to any identity. I can't think of any, but no one should trust their intuitions about issues like this, and it it's an empirical question (I don't know if anyone has tried to address it). An even more important empirical question is how and why people do their group switching, and why among people with the same allegiances, some will switch (from, say, "cop" to "Christian") while others don't. But after spending a fair amount of time researching this, I've concluded that most acts of moral courage and defiance don't disprove the claim that ethics is tied to "groupish" psychology. On the contrary, those actions, when explained and justified, support the notion that morals and "usness" are connected.
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.