from the world's big
Don’t panic — here’s how mindfulness can improve isolation
When you stop predicting the future and comparing the present to the past, you can reach a beneficial flow state.
Jason Silva is the Emmy-nominated host of National Geographic Channel’s #1 rated and Emmy-nominated series, Brain Games, seen in over 100 countries. “A Timothy Leary of the Viral Video Age” was how The Atlantic described television personality, filmmaker and philosopher Silva, who has also been described as “part Timothy Leary, part Ray Kurzweil, and part Neo from ‘The Matrix.’”
A self-professed wonderjunkie, Silva is the creator of the web series SHOTS OF AWE, micro-documentaries exploring creativity, innovation, the co-evolution of human and technology, futurism, metaphysics, existentialism and the human condition.
Silva’s work has been featured in The Economist, Vanity Fair, Forbes and Wired, among many others.
JASON SILVA: When fear or panic takes hold of the mind, what is happening is that we're overdetermining the present. So we're like overreading and overdetermining what's happening right now. And then immediately conjuring up a future that becomes identified with doom, death, or annihilation, and we can feel it like a fist in the stomach. This is the essence of what a panic attack is. A panic attack misreads what's happening now, and sees it as impending and immediate and imminent danger like right now, fight or flight so that I don't die. And then reacts accordingly. But typically in a moment of panic you're not actually in imminent danger just like most people who are sitting at home during this time are not in imminent danger. So 99.9 percent of the population is not infected and even those that are infected, 99 percent are not in mortal danger, right?
Those are the facts. But the sense of anxiety from the overexposure to the news, from the drastic mitigation measures that are forcing people to be essentially in house arrest and additionally the fact that it's very difficult to lose ourselves in the usual trivialities and distractions that we so often lose ourselves in whether it's work or entertainment or just moving around and distracting ourselves. What we are forced instead to contend with is, even those of us that are not existentialists are forced into this existential meditation of like can we sit alone in our room with our thoughts, with our fears, with that sense of temporal dislocation, with this imposition of uncertainty and how do we deal with this? And that's an immense challenge first and foremost because being in a state of permanent anxiety and all the cortisol and all the biochemistry that follows from being in that permanently anxious state, that actually depletes our immune system. So it actually makes us less resilient against the virus.
The reason that we normally are such fans of travel or art and beauty, and music, and certain kinds of drugs is that these things block all signals forwards and backwards in the brain. Now when you block all signals forwards and backwards in the brain, the comparing with the past and trying to predict the future, you're hurled into and I quote "the flow" – another word I love. The flow of the present.
And when you're in the flow of the present well, anything that shows up in your field is going to be more engaging because you're not going to dismiss it and immediately leapfrog to the conclusion. You're actually going to engage with it. If you're able to tap into a mindful state open up a book that you haven't read in a while, watch a film you haven't seen in years or a film you've never seen perhaps, and for sort of steer awareness or focus awareness to it with a kind of presence that is not constantly trying to future forecast. So you drop the thread of time, you move from what the Greeks call Cronus which is like mechanized cognition to Kyrus which is like mythopoetic time or poetic time. Time that is free from the clock and that is a mindful state. That is a mythopoetic state.
And that is the only state that provides relief and a kind of grace from which we can drop out anxiety finally and completely. And how people do it? Well there's many ways of practicing mindfulness. Yoga, exercise, silent meditations, active meditations, listening to a podcast, breathing exercises. If you're in a state with legal cannabis by all means it's one of the best ways of doing so. Yeah, it definitely has a role to play during this time for sure.
- It's normal to feel panic and anxiety in this moment. However, it's not totally necessary or helpful.
- Futurist and Shots of Awe creator, Jason Silva, explains we feel this way because we're overdetermining the present. Despite scientific facts, when we're overexposed to the news, we immediately assume the worst.
- One way to combat this is practicing mindfulness, which induces a state of flow. This flow state can provide relief from the onslaught of anxiety and can be reached in a number of ways, including meditation, yoga, or even watching a movie.
- Mindfulness detached from Buddhism doesn't work, claims new ... ›
- How to cope with anxiety: mindfulness tips tailored for you - Big Think ›
- Ask an astronomer: How do astronauts deal with isolation? - Big Think ›
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- The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
- Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
- The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Seriously sustainable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDIzNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjM4NTMzMX0.BCEfYnn6C3z1zUHIS38xOWjXktgamNBi5iyqklSMYK8/img.png?width=980" id="ea524" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50533380eeb18eb5833b6b6aa3abec38" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>Solar Foods makes Solein by extracting CO₂ from air using <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90356326/we-have-the-tech-to-suck-co2-from-the-air-but-can-it-suck-enough-to-make-a-difference" target="_blank">carbon-capture technology</a>, and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 percent renewable solar energy from partner <a href="https://www.fortum.com" target="_blank">Fortum</a> to promote a natural fermentation process similar to the one that produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria.</p><p>When the company claims its single-celled protein is "free from agricultural limitations," they're not kidding. Being produced indoors means Solar Foods is not dependent on arable land, water (i.e., rain), or favorable weather.</p><p>The company is already working with the European Space Agency to develop foods for off-planet production and consumption. (The idea for Solein actually began at NASA.) They also see potential in bringing protein production to areas whose climate or ground conditions make conventional agriculture impossible.</p><p>And let's not forget all those <a href="https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper" target="_blank">beef-free burgers</a> based on pea and soy proteins currently gaining popularity. The environmental challenge of scaling up the supply of those plants to meet their high demand may provide an opening for the completely renewable Solein — the company could provide companies that produce animal-free "meats," such as <a href="https://www.beyondmeat.com/products/" target="_blank">Beyond Meat</a> and <a href="https://impossiblefoods.com" target="_blank">Impossible Foods</a>, a way to further reduce their environmental impact.</p>
The larger promise<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDI0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjU4MTg2OX0.7dZZYT5WEV_EupBuLVFwHynarTiz8RYR9aJtC6Ts2C4/img.jpg?width=980" id="3415d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e6eebe06d795f844752f9e9d30040d7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>The impact of the beef — and for that matter, poultry, pork, and fish — industries on our planet is widely recognized as one of the main drivers behind climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and antibiotic-resistant illness. From the cutting down of rainforests for cattle-grazing land, to runoff from factory farming of livestock and plants, to the disruption of the marine food chain, to the overuse of antibiotics in food animals, it's been disastrous.</p><p>The advent of a promising source of protein derived from two of the most renewable things we have, CO₂ and sunlight, <a href="https://solarfoods.fi/environmental-impact/" target="_blank">gets us out of the planet-destruction business</a> at the same time as it offers the promise of a stable, long-term solution to one of the world's most fundamental nutritional needs.</p>
Solar Foods' timetable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MTEzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTU1OTMwMn0.wnXh56iO_77x2XKV2uIPf78BKw4AJLUpmiyq_JBVGvo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=172%2C146%2C62%2C135&height=700" id="0297c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="125c9a98ec818f5c241fa28ef1423e67" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Lubsan / Shutterstock / Big Think<p>While company plans are always moderated by unforeseen events — including the availability of sufficient funding — Solar Foods plans a global commercial rollout for Solein in 2021 and to be producing two million meals annually, with a revenue of $800 million to $1.2 billion by 2023. By 2050, they hope to be providing sustenance to 9 billion people as part of a $500 billion protein market.</p><p>The project began in 2018, and this year, they anticipate achieving three things: Launching Solein (check), beginning the approval process certifying its safety as a Novel Food in the EU, and publishing plans for a 1,000-metric ton-per-year factory capable of producing 500 million meals annually.</p>
The protein powder Solein. Image source: SOLAR FOODS
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