Can you be scientific and spiritual?

Spirituality can be an uncomfortable word for atheists. But does it deserve the antagonism that it gets?

  • While the anti-scientific bias of religious fundamentalism requires condemnation, if we take a broader view, does the human inclination towards spiritual practice still require the same antagonism? The answer, I think, is a definitive "No."
  • Rather than ontological claims about what exists in the universe, the terms spiritual and sacred can describe the character of an experience. Instead of a "thing" they can refer to an attitude or an approach.
  • One can be entirely faithful to the path of inquiry and honesty that is science while making it one aspect of a broader practice embracing the totality of your experience as a human being in this more-than-human world.
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Psychedelics: The scientific renaissance of mind-altering drugs

There is a lot we don't know about psychedelics, but what we do know makes them extremely important.

  • Having been repressed in the 1960s for their ties to the counterculture, psychedelics are currently experiencing a scientific resurgence. In this video, Michael Pollan, Sam Harris, Jason Silva and Ben Goertzel discuss the history of psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin, acknowledge key figures including Timothy Leary and Albert Hoffman, share what the experience of therapeutic tripping can entail, and explain why these substances are important to the future of mental health.
  • There is a stigma surrounding psychedelic drugs that some scientists and researchers argue is undeserved. Several experiments over the past decades have shown that, when used correctly, drugs like psilocybin and LSD can have positive effects on the lives of those take them. How they work is not completely understood, but the empirical evidence shows promise in the fields of curbing depression, anxiety, obsession, and even addiction to other substances.
  • "There's a tremendous amount of insight that can be plumbed using these various substances. There's also a lot of risks there, as with most valuable things," says artificial intelligence researcher Ben Goertzel. He and others believe that by making psychedelics illegal, modern governments are getting in the way of meaningful research and the development of "cultural institutions to guide people in really productive use of these substances."
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How “radical well-being" leads to peak performance

Don't let a crisis be wasted. Use this moment to find meaning, purpose, and to refocus on self-care that will improve your mindset and relationships.

How have you been feeling, thinking and acting during the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you implementing the right self-care so that you can be the person or leader that you want to be?

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Genius Series: The most influential scientist of all time

Big Think has launched a line of apparel and goods that celebrate the life and work of four geniuses.

  • Big Think has just launched its Genius Series of tees, sweatshirts, posters and more! Buy here.
  • Our third genius is Sir Isaac Newton. His contributions to science are nearly impossible to overstate.
  • Select Rush or Super Rush Delivery to get your order before Christmas Day!
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Yet another American divide: 'crunk' vs 'bible studies'

How deep are America's cultural fault lines? Depends on which data you crunch.

Image courtesy of Boyd L Shearer Jr / OutrageGIS
  • America is a divided nation, but perhaps its divisions are as much in the eye of the beholder.
  • This map charts the geographic fault lines between 'crazy drunk' America and 'bible study' America.
  • Strangely, Las Vegas falls in the latter category – and Salt Lake City in the former.
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