from the world's big
Did you know that shifting to a positive perspective on aging can add 7.5 years to your life? Or that there is a provable U-curve of happiness that shows people get happier after age 50?
Time travel is possible, but only in one direction.
- We typically think of events as happening in space and in time. "In reality, space and time are strongly intertwined things and the union of them is called spacetime," explains Konstantin Batygin.
- The force that we understand as gravity, according to Batygin, is the result of the spacetime continuum being curved by Earth's gravitational field. Depending on how close you are to the source of gravity, time will pass at different rates.
- Traveling backward in time is not possible. Traveling forward through time without aging, however, would require going to the center of the planet where the effects of that gravitational field can't be experienced.
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
1. Shine a light on world issues<p>One photo essay or short documentary film can deepen our understanding of the world's cultures and places. Photographer Bear Guerra <a href="https://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/webinar/discussion-photographer-roberto-bear-guerra" target="_blank">describes</a> how he documents (in his photo essay "La Carretera: Life and Change Along Peru's Interoceanic Highway") underrepresented populations in society, including places that are remote, "giving voices to the voiceless." In <a href="https://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/films/lost-world" target="_blank"><em>Lost World</em>,</a> filmmaker Kalyanee Mam documents one woman's relationship to her home in Cambodia, the impact of the sand dredging on the mangroves, the lives of the people who live in the forests, and surrounding ecosystem. Putting these places and people on the map through emotional storytelling is essential in developing understanding and care for our world.</p>
2. Challenge core beliefs<p>What might it be like to be forced to leave your home country and quickly adapt to learn a new language, a new culture, and a new place? This question is explored in the short film <a href="https://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/films/welcome-canada" target="_blank"><em>Welcome to Canada</em></a><em>, </em>which documents the story of Mohammed Alsaleh, a young refugee who fled violence and imprisonment by the Assad regime during Syria's Civil War. An individual's story, told visually through a film, can help illuminate a larger issue, like war, by making it more accessible. Educators use this film with students to challenge the misconceptions and stereotypes about Syrian refugees. </p>
3. Promote responsibility<p>Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger, a former apprentice to Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, <a href="https://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/articles/learning-and-teaching-heart-troubled-times#" target="_blank">explains in his essay</a> that "The current moment calls for moral ferocity." How can we listen, be open, and teach and learn with an open heart? Wiesel wrote, "Whatever you learn, remember: the learning must make you more, not less, human." </p>
4. Evoke memories<p>Identity, family, and cultural heritage can encourage us to reflect on powerful memories. The short film <a href="https://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/films/maries-dictionary" target="_blank"><em>Marie's Dictionary</em></a> tells the story of a Native American woman who is the last fluent speaker of Wukchumni and her work to document the language through creating a dictionary. How does the language(s) you speak reveal characteristics of your culture? </p>
5. Provoke action<p><a href="https://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/films/earthrise" target="_blank"><em>Earthrise</em></a> tells the story of the Earthrise photograph and how it provides a <a href="https://www.globalonenessproject.org/en/e/11856/get/earthrise-discussion-guide.pdf" target="_blank">context</a> for what it means to be a global citizen. The Earthrise photograph led to the creation of the environmental movement and the first Earth Day fifty years ago. Inspired by the story's message, students are challenged to enter a photography contest <a href="https://www.globalonenessproject.org/student-projects/student-photo-contest" target="_blank">Document Your Place on the Planet</a> and document their relationship to the living world at this critical moment in history.</p>
6. Provide new perspectives<p>When our perspectives shift or change, we recognize the power it had all along—to shape, define, and even to limit our experience. Native American photographer Camille Seaman challenges us with her photo essay <a href="https://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/photo-essays/melting-away" target="_blank">"We Are Still Here"</a> to see Native Americans differently. She writes, "I was troubled when the textbooks we read spoke about Natives in the past tense—always implying that we no longer existed. We are still here."</p>
When facing a hard decision, consider choosing change over inaction.
- A recently published study asked people to make tough life choices by flipping a coin.
- The participants were making these decisions on the margin, meaning they couldn't determine which choice would be better.
- The results show that people who chose change over inaction self-reported being better off and happier after six months.
Notes: This figure presents the percent of participants who make a change by the two-month survey mark according to their stated probability of changing and the result of the coin flip. The vertical axis reflects the percent of respondents who reported making a change. The horizontal axis groups respondents according to to their stated ex ante likelihoods of making a change. Responses are categorized according to whether the coin came up heads (make a change) or tails (no change).
Levitt<p>Some decisions people were stuck on: Should I quit smoking? Should I adopt? End my relationship? Get a tattoo? Rent or buy?</p><p>The study asked more than 20,000 participants to make whichever decision the coin toss directed, and then report back on how things played out after two and six months.</p><p>Of course, not everyone followed through. The two-month survey found that participants chose change less frequently than they had initially predicted they would. After six months, however, this bias toward inaction disappeared.</p><p>But most surprising were the results on well-being. At both the two and six-month marks, most people who chose change reported feeling happier, better off, and that they had made the correct decision and would make it again.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The data from my experiment suggests we would all be better off if we did more quitting," Levitt <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-05/oupu-sfp051520.php" target="_blank">said in a press release</a>. "A good rule of thumb in decision making is, whenever you cannot decide what you should do, choose the action that represents a change, rather than continuing the status quo."</p>
Levitt<p>The study had some limitations. One is that its participants weren't selected randomly. Rather, they opted in to the study after visiting FreakonomicsExperiments.com, which they likely heard about from the podcast or various social media channels associated with it.</p><p>Another limitation is that participants whose decision didn't play out well might have been less likely to report back on their status after two and six months. So, the study might be over-representing positive outcomes.</p><p>Still, the study does suggest that people who are on the margin of a tough decision — that is, people who really can't decide which option is best — are probably better off going with change.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If the results are correct, then admonitions such as 'winners never quit and quitters never win,' while well-meaning, may actually be extremely poor advice," Levitt writes.</p>
Disney / Carl Barks<p>Levitt isn't suggesting you flip a coin to make all decisions. (After all, Donald Duck already experimented with this irrational decision-making strategy in the <a href="https://about-faces.livejournal.com/72971.html" target="_blank">1952 Disney comic "Flip Decision"</a>, where he practices a pseudophilosophy called "flipism." Spoiler: It didn't go well.) But coin-flipping does seem to have some benefits. In the study, Levin notes that some people might prefer surrendering their fate to randomness in order to avoid regret.<br></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If regret is a product of decisions that one has control over," Levin writes, "giving up control to a randomizing device may, lessen possible regret, thus enhancing expected utility."</p><p>But you can also use randomness a bit more rationally. When facing a tough decision, you could flip a coin and, upon seeing the outcome, notice whether you feel relief or dread. If you feel relieved, that's probably the path you should choose.</p>
Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?
- Elon Musk famously believes we're living in a simulation, that constant technological improvement means we could be trapped inside a video game console created by a more advanced civilization.
- In this video, Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society, Joscha Bach and Donald Hoffman, both cognitive psychologists, all weigh in on whether this is base reality or a realistic fiction.
- What insight from these three thinkers gets your mind ticking? Let us know in the comments! We're stunned at the thought that, if this is a simulation, humans might not be the central purpose of it; we may be an accident of a larger experiment.