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Rethinking Complexity

The Polarizing Effects of Avoiding Uncertainty

05/10/2012
The Polarizing Effects of Avoiding Uncertainty
The other day, National Public Radio published a story about partisan politics. According to insights offered by Dartmouth College political scientist Brendan Nyhan in the story, partisans tend to be partial to their political loyalties on a range of issues, side-stepping the facts. When remaining loyal requires them to change their views of the facts, "partisans seem willing to throw even consistency overboard," the article stated. Nyham and his colleagues are conducting research into the phenomena of partisans’ apparent willingness to ignore facts. They hypothesize that the...

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New Existentialists

Film as Means for Integrating Opposites: A Review of David Lynch’s "The Elephant Man"

05/09/2012
Film as Means for Integrating Opposites: A Review of David Lynch’s "The Elephant Man"
The gifts of cinema is a holistic experience like no other art form. It engages every sense but smell and taste (unless you count when John Water’s “Polyester” was being screened. Scratch and sniff cards were handed out at the theaters, like 3-D glasses, and not all of the scents were as pleasant as the classroom childhood relics flavored with bubble gum and chocolate mint). Regardless, cinema even moves beyond engagement of multiple senses, suspending our belief and dissolving the barriers between story and self. The critically acclaimed Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (1987)...

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New Existentialists

Better treatment for trauma victims

05/08/2012
Better treatment for trauma victims
Much of what we commonly think of as psychotherapy has come to be dominated by what we might call the toxicity of everyday life.   People are stressed and upset and depressed not because they have suffered some terrible trauma, but because they are not finding a way to make meaningful choices in a world marked by anomie yet defined by instant gratification.   Much of what we talk about when we talk about humanistic and existential psychology addresses these needs, and takes a stand against the idea that people need to drug themselves just to be happy.   But as New...

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Creativity

CREATIVE INSPIRATION

05/08/2012

“The key question isn’t ‘What fosters creativity?’ But it is why in God’s name isn’t everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be now why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything.” Abraham Maslow

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Rethinking Complexity

Planning for Change

05/07/2012
Planning for Change
In my previous post, I introduced four dimensions of change that should be assessed to determine if there is a strong case for it, including its readiness. In this post, I describe how to plan for change, in particular, how to plan for initiating change. My fascination with change is twofold. First, I believe that life is in continuous evolution and incessantly changing. And, second, I believe evolution leads to higher complexity, which requires a greater ability to handle change. One of the capabilities that can assist us with both of these notions is planning.  My approach for planning...

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Mind-Body Medicine

New MBM Instructor teaches mindfulness in psychotherapy and daily life. Meet Donna Rockwell, PsyD

05/07/2012

 

I take great joy in being a clinical psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher. There are many links between the capacity to “sit with oneself” as a prerequisite to being able to “sit with another,” something I consider one of the most important elements in psychotherapy, perhaps, even, its essence. "If the therapist can sit with him or herself, and tolerate arising emotion, then," says the client, "maybe I can, too."

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New Existentialists

The Space Around Thoughts

05/07/2012
The Space Around Thoughts
Life. Running here and there. Pre-occupied with this and that. Swept away by one thought or another. We barely have time enough to notice time passing, never mind the preposterous proposition, dare I say, to notice not just our thoughts, but the space around them: a momentary peripheral reverberation, an infinitesimal synaptic break between cognitions, the very slightest of pauses, a hiccup in the assembly line of thought production, when thought-after-thought-after-thought finally cease cascading like dominoes, responsible for the myopic blur that so often stands against our yearning for...

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Interdisciplinary Inquiry

Report published on global freedom of press

05/05/2012

The year 2011 featured precarious but potentially far-reaching gains for media freedom in the Middle East and North Africa. Major steps forward were recorded in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, where longtime dictators were removed after successful popular uprisings. While trends in these countries were not uniformly positive, with important setbacks to democratic prospects in both Egypt and Libya toward year’s end, the magnitude of the improvements—especially in Tunisia and Libya—represented major break­throughs in a region that has a long history of media control by autocratic leaders. The gains more than offset declines in several other countries in the Middle East. And even the great­est declines, in Bahrain and Syria, reflected the regimes’ alarmed and violent reac­tions to tena­cious protest move­ments,­ whose bold demands for greater freedom included calls for a more open media environment.

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Rethinking Complexity

What Isn't Being Said?

05/04/2012
What Isn't Being Said?
When people get together, a lot of things tend to go unsaid. These "things" typically include thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and assumptions about themselves, about other group members, or about the way the group engages. Organizational consultant Robert J. Marshak put that theory to the test several years ago during a workshop he helped develop at the National Training Laboratories (or NTL) Institute. The workshop was about group dynamics and focused on a simple question: When a group of people gather together, what goes on that they don't talk about? Marshak and fellow NTL...

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New Existentialists

Learning to Live

05/04/2012
Learning to Live
Dear Reader, I come to you in the form of this article simply because I have found I have no other way to get through to you. It seems that most times when we meet, our encounters are quick, superficial, and you quickly push your awareness of me from your mind. Our relationship wasn't always this way. When you were a child, you couldn't understand me, and so you thought of fun & interesting ways to grasp me. When it became too much, you simply put me out of your mind and went on your way. As a teenager, you recklessly pursued me since you thought you were invincible and that your virility...

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