from the world's big
Why Promoting Human Rights May Not Be the Way To a More Peaceful World
Stephen M. Walt, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, tackles some seemingly non-controversial statements about human rights, democracy, and international law.
Yesterday was the first day of Brain Bar Budapest – “Europe’s leading conference of the future” - an event with the ambition to become as recognized as SXSW and The World Economic Forum. With expected 7000 visitors this year, a third of which from abroad, and a stellar line-up of speakers, that goal appears likely to be reached.
Opening of Brain Bar Budapest on June 1, 2017. Photo credit: Brain Bar
Differentiating itself from other idea-conferences, Brain Bar puts a big emphasis on interactivity and challenging ideas. This year it introduced several new formats to facilitate this. One of them was “Mythburning”, during which a renowned expert questions the validity of certain propositions within his field of expertise.
The first mythburner at Brain Bar was Stephen M. Walt, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, who tackled some seemingly non-controversial statements about human rights, democracy, and international law.
Humans share universal moral principles.
Human beings do not share universal moral principles. We actually fight over many basic moral ideas, like whether gay people should be allowed to get married, or what role should religion play in our political lives. When we try to impose the ones we happen to like on others, we are actually more likely to generate conflicts.
International law and public opinion are the sources of peace.
International law is very useful for states to cooperate with each other. For example, facilitating international trade depends upon a variety of formal legal agreements. What international law and global public opinion and norms can’t do, is stop powerful states from doing what it is they want in order to make themselves secure or advance their interest. International law couldn’t stop Russia from seizing Crimea. It can’t stop China from building islands in the South China Sea. It couldn’t stop the U.S. to invade Iraq in 2003 or prevent it from sending drones into various countries chasing suspected terrorists. Moreover, if you think that international law can solve such problems, you may not pay enough attention to doing the other things that might actually fix them – like constructive diplomacy and creating powerful defensive alliances.
By promoting human rights, we create a more peaceful world.
Human rights are very important and I think advancing them within countries is actually a worthy goal. But advancing human rights in different parts of the world is not necessarily the best way to produce peace. For example, when the U.S., Britain and France overthrew Muammar Gaddafi largely for human rights reasons in Lybia, we ended up creating a failed state and the situation for Lybians is, in fact, even worse than it was before we intervened. So, well-intentioned efforts to advance human rights don’t necessarily create a more peaceful world. That’s not to say we shouldn’t try to promote human rights in our own countries in order to set a good example for the rest of the world. But we have to be very careful about overzealous efforts, because that actually can be an engine for conflict. I would argue that human rights performance over time has seen steady progress in many parts of the world. However, it has been as much done through the slow progress of social movements and diplomacy, as by energetic acts of statecraft. This is something that you cannot rush. You have to let each society come to those conclusions pretty much on its own.
Spreading democracy is the best way to promote peace.
I think liberal democracy is the best form of government to live under, but it’s not a particularly good way to promote peace. First of all, democracies start as many wars as non-democracies do. Think of the United States, for example, where we have not been bashful about using military force and sometimes initiating conflicts, even when we weren’t attacked. So, spreading democracy doesn’t necessarily guarantee peace. Finally, once democracies get into a big war, like World War I and World War II, they kill just as many people, including just as many civilians as non-democracies do. If the way you are spreading democracy is through military force, you have something of a contradiction there. There are better ways to promote peace than trying to aggressively create democracies.
Stay tuned for more from Brain Bat Budapest.
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.