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Why Men Cheat, with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
It's not for sex; it's for affirmation, says the marriage expert Schmuley Boteach. Men cheat, by and large, because they feel like failures. They stray because they seek an outside arbiter. They need someone not their wife or partner to proclaim them worthy.
It's not for sex; it's for affirmation.
Men cheat, by and large, because they feel like failures. They stray because they seek an outside arbiter. They need someone not their wife or partner to proclaim them worthy.
Boteach, who has written numerous books on passion and intimacy, offers a compelling metaphor to explain a man's support structure, comparing the construction of the male psyche with the architecture of European cathedrals. As he explains, there are two ways to keep those buildings standing:
"One is with giant support structures in the middle and you see that often. The other is with something called a flying buttress. It’s where you want to keep the space hollow and fit in as many people as possible so you support the structure with these buttresses that hold the structure up from the outside. Well, a man can either have his wife who’s his support network, who is one of the great pillars of his sense of self, his self-esteem. And she helps him to hold up the entire structure of who he is. And that’s healthy, a soul mate. Or you can have the flying buttress. It’s where you’re hollow and empty on the inside. You feel like you don’t have any real self-worth. You feel insignificant. You feel anonymous. You feel that some of your life’s achievements does not amount to much. So you get someone from the outside to help raise the structure. That’s the principle reason why men have affairs."
So why can't "flying buttress" men just turn to their wives for support? Boteach explains that when a man feels like a loser, he assumes that anyone who would marry a loser must be an even bigger loser than he is. The infelicitous male sees an unattached stranger as a more worthy judge of his value. His psychological and spiritual weaknesses also has an adverse effect on his wife:
"A lot of husbands do that to their wives. They take beautiful women, smart, accomplished professional women, loving women and as soon as they marry them with their broken sense of self, they transfer the sense of nothingness onto their wives."
Fascinatingly, Boteach explains that this idea applies also to many of the world's most powerful and successful people. Tiger Woods was better than anyone else in the world at what he did yet still felt like he needed some sort of outside confirmation of his value. The same goes for Kobe Bryant. Heck, Bill Clinton's status as the most powerful man on Earth couldn't assuage his insecurities and temper his infelicitous pursuits.
Boteach acknowledges that the rates of female infidelity are skyrocketing as well. Still, he perceives a key difference in the reasons why, by and large, the different sexes stray.
"A man cheats for the ego boost and for affirmation. Women almost always cheat out of neglect. You know, the studies really show that wives whose sexual, emotional and romantic needs are addressed in marriage don’t really cheat."
As Boteach's specialty is the subject of lust vs. love, he focuses more on the reasons why men cheat on their wives. He tells how painful it can be to watch a dejected woman receive the information that her husband has been unfaithful, that she's been discarded:
"It’s amazing that the husbands, to comfort their wives, will say to me on that couch -- will say to their wives on that couch -- 'but I didn’t love her. I love you.' So what are they really saying? I didn’t love her, I lusted after her. I loved you but I lusted after her. Now if you ever put love and lust in a boxing ring together, lust is gonna crush love. And that’s what they’re really saying."
This is why Boteach preaches that men and women should never downplay sexual desire in their relationships. The key to building and maintaining healthy marriages, he explains, is not to focus on love, but rather embrace mutual lust:
"Lust is where you want that person and that’s why you’re there. And that has to be the primary reason that we go into marriage and that we stay in marriage. And I maintain passionately that the passion need not be lost, that this idea that there’s a transition in marriage from lust to love, that when you’re single you can’t keep your hands off of each other. But it slowly migrates into this partnership, such a cold commercial expression. That it slowly migrates into this partnership. I – that’s balderdash. It’s a defeatist approach to marriage."
Rabbi Schmuley Boteach's new book Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer is now available on Amazon.
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Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.
Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.
But science loves a good challenge<p>The mystery remained unsolved until 2005, when French scientists <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~audoly/" target="_blank">Basile Audoly</a> and <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~neukirch/" target="_blank">Sebastien Neukirch </a>won an <a href="https://www.improbable.com/ig/" target="_blank">Ig Nobel Prize</a>, an award given to scientists for real work which is of a less serious nature than the discoveries that win Nobel prizes, for finally determining why this happens. <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/spaghetti/audoly_neukirch_fragmentation.pdf" target="_blank">Their paper describing the effect is wonderfully funny to read</a>, as it takes such a banal issue so seriously. </p><p>They demonstrated that when a rod is bent past a certain point, such as when spaghetti is snapped in half by bending it at the ends, a "snapback effect" is created. This causes energy to reverberate from the initial break to other parts of the rod, often leading to a second break elsewhere.</p><p>While this settled the issue of <em>why </em>spaghetti noodles break into three or more pieces, it didn't establish if they always had to break this way. The question of if the snapback could be regulated remained unsettled.</p>
Physicists, being themselves, immediately wanted to try and break pasta into two pieces using this info<p><a href="https://roheiss.wordpress.com/fun/" target="_blank">Ronald Heisser</a> and <a href="https://math.mit.edu/directory/profile.php?pid=1787" target="_blank">Vishal Patil</a>, two graduate students currently at Cornell and MIT respectively, read about Feynman's night of noodle snapping in class and were inspired to try and find what could be done to make sure the pasta always broke in two.</p><p><a href="http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-mathematicians-solve-age-old-spaghetti-mystery-0813" target="_blank">By placing the noodles in a special machine</a> built for the task and recording the bending with a high-powered camera, the young scientists were able to observe in extreme detail exactly what each change in their snapping method did to the pasta. After breaking more than 500 noodles, they found the solution.</p>
The apparatus the MIT researchers built specifically for the task of snapping hundreds of spaghetti sticks.
(Courtesy of the researchers)
What possible application could this have?<p>The snapback effect is not limited to uncooked pasta noodles and can be applied to rods of all sorts. The discovery of how to cleanly break them in two could be applied to future engineering projects.</p><p>Likewise, knowing how things fragment and fail is always handy to know when you're trying to build things. Carbon Nanotubes, <a href="https://bigthink.com/ideafeed/carbon-nanotube-space-elevator" target="_self">super strong cylinders often hailed as the building material of the future</a>, are also rods which can be better understood thanks to this odd experiment.</p><p>Sometimes big discoveries can be inspired by silly questions. If it hadn't been for Richard Feynman bending noodles seventy years ago, we wouldn't know what we know now about how energy is dispersed through rods and how to control their fracturing. While not all silly questions will lead to such a significant discovery, they can all help us learn.</p>
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In a recent study, researchers examined how Christian nationalism is affecting the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A new study used survey data to examine the interplay between Christian nationalism and incautious behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The researchers defined Christian nationalism as "an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of American civic life with a particular type of Christian identity and culture."
- The results showed that Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior.
A pastor at the chapel of the St. Josef Hospital on April 1, 2020 in Bochum, German
Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images<p>Christian nationalists, in general, believe the U.S. and God's will are tied together, and they want the government to embody conservative Christian values and symbols. As such, they also believe the nation's fate depends on how closely it adheres to Christianity.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unsurprisingly then, in the midst of the COVID‐19 pandemic, conservative pastors prophesied God's protection over the nation, citing America's righteous support for President Trump and the prolife agenda," the researchers write.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Correspondingly, the link between Christian nationalism and God's influence on how COVID‐19 impacts America can be seen in proclamations about God's divine judgment for its immorality―with the logic being that God is using the pandemic to draw wayward America <em>back </em>to himself, which assumes the two belong together."</p><p>The logical conclusion to this kind of thinking: America can save itself not through cautionary measures, like mask-wearing, but through devotion to God. What's more, it stands to reason that Christian nationalists are less likely to trust the media and scientists, given that these sources are generally not concerned with promoting a conservative, religious view of the world.</p><p>(The researchers note that they're unaware of any research directly linking Christian nationalism to distrust of media sources, but that they're almost certain the two are connected.)</p>
Predicted values of Americans' frequency of incautious behaviors during the COVID‐19 pandemic across values of Christian nationalism
Perry et al.<p>In the new study, the researchers examined three waves of results from the Public and Discourse Ethics Survey. One wave of the survey was issued in May, and it asked respondents to rate how often they engaged in both incautious and precautionary behaviors.</p><p>Incautious behaviors included things like "ate inside a restaurant" and "went shopping for nonessential items," while precautionary behaviors included "washed my hands more often than typical" and "wore a mask in public."</p><p>To measure Christian nationalism, the researchers asked respondents to rate how strongly they agree with statements like "the federal government should advocate Christian values" and "the success of the United States is part of God's plan."</p><p>The results suggest that, compared to other groups, Christian nationalists are far less likely to wear masks, socially distance and take other precautionary measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior during the pandemic, and the second leading predictor that Americans avoided taking precautionary measures."</p><p>But that's not to say that religious beliefs are causing Americans to reject mask-wearing or social distancing. In fact, when the study accounted for Christian nationalist beliefs, the results showed that Americans with high levels of religiosity were likely to take precautionary measures for COVID-19.</p>
Limitations<p>Still, the researchers note that they're theorizing about the connections between Christian nationalism and COVID-19 behaviors, not documenting them directly. What's more, they suggest that certain experiences — such as having a family member that contracts COVID-19 — might change a Christian nationalist's behaviors during the pandemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Limitations notwithstanding, the implications of this study are important for understanding Americans' curious inability to quickly implement informed and reasonable strategies to overcome the threat of COVID‐19, an inability that has likely cost thousands of lives," they write.</p>
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