Showing posts from October 20, 2019

Can a Psychedelic Experience Improve Your Life?

Evidence is mounting that psychedelic-assisted therapies can improve well-being, in ways that are similar to mindfulness practices.

By Eve Ekman, Gabrielle Agin-Liebes

My earliest exposure to psychedelics came from growing up near the Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, well past the glory days of the Summer of Love. The Haight Street of my youth was a tourist destination for hippiesque consumerism, not a countercultural hub, though I was aware that a drug called lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) created much tie-dye and “the best music of our time,” according to those who were allegedly there. My parents’ own Summer of Love included stories of pot and protest but no near brushes with acid, as LSD is sometimes called. At one point, my dad (an emotion researcher) was poised to study the impact of LSD on emotion—but then its ban came down in 1968, and that was that.

Fast forward some decades to 2016, to an intimate, informal, and friendly potluck made up of pioneering researchers and undergrou…

Is There a Better Way to Have an Argument?

Here are five principles for more constructive and respectful disagreements.

By Caroline Hopper, Laura Tavares

We’re living in an era of deep divisions. Cable television, social media feeds, and fraying personal relationships all reflect the same troubling pattern: Differences of opinion quickly escalate into attacks, mistrust, and civic stalemates.

In this contentious climate, many Americans have retreated from civic life, or have responded to social conflict with calls for civility. But abstaining from civic life only cedes our public dialogue to the most contentious and polarizing voices. And too often “civility” means the mere absence of argument, or politely ignoring our differences.

We believe that American civic life doesn’t need fewer arguments. Instead, it needs better arguments. We believe that argument has the potential to help bridge ideological divides—not by papering over those divides but by teaching Americans how to engage more productively across difference, whether in t…

Meet The Company Making Travel Accessible for Everyone!

Trekking up Machu Pichu, exploring Easter Island, navigating through the wilds of Mexico; these were all trips once impossible for travelers who use wheelchairs. But this organization is changing all of that!

Can a person in a wheelchair climb a mountain? With this organization, that’s no longer a question! Wheel the World is empowering people with disabilities to experience the world without limits. And their story is one that can show us the real possibilities in all of our biggest dreams.

By Sam Burns

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The Atomic Tree

This moving video takes us on a journey into the memories of one of the world's most revered trees, a 400 year old Japanese white pine bonsai. The tree's rings hold stories from its inception as a tiny seed, through its early years surrounded by monks who prayed in the surrounding forest. It holds memories of sunlight and purifying rain. Tended by the loving touch and care of five generations of the Yamaki family, the tree and the family survived the devastation of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In 1976 it was gifted to the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. where it remains as a symbol of the merger of lives, forests, and the human family.

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How to Help Young People Transition Into Adulthood

Modern "rites of passage" can help teens prepare for an uncertain future.

By Betty Ray

With so much rapid-fire change in the world, the job of preparing our young people for the future has become increasingly daunting. The Institute of the Future issued a report in 2017 that declared that 85 percent of the jobs in 2030—when today’s second-graders will graduate high school—have not been invented yet. On top of that, we’re facing an unfolding crisis in the environment; rampant racial, ethnic, and gender inequities; the impending confluence of bioengineering and artificial intelligence; and escalating craziness on the geopolitical stage.

Over the past decade, I talked to thousands of educators grappling with the question of how to best prepare young people for the uncertain future. The vast majority agree that skills like critical thinking, resilience, creativity, systems thinking, and empathy are crucial and must be prioritized over compliance and standardized test scores. But, m…

What Awe Looks Like in the Brain

A new study sheds light on how our brains respond to awe-inspiring nature.

By Summer Allen

When was the last time you experienced awe? Perhaps you were stopped in your tracks by a beautiful vista on a recent hike, or captivated by a painting at your local art museum, or moved to tears at a concert or church. Or maybe you were just sitting on your couch breathlessly watching an episode of Planet Earth. Whatever it was, you probably weren’t thinking much about yourself or your to-do list.

What makes awe so transporting, overwhelming, even mystical at times? Researchers explored this question in a recent study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping by examining what the brain is doing when people have an awe experience.

The University of Amsterdam’s Michiel van Elk and his colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of 32 participants ages 18 to 41 while they watched three different types of 30-second videos. The videos featured awe-inspiring natura…

“I SPY”: The Books that Still Catch Our Eye!

Have you ever been captivated by the magic of an “I SPY” book? Let us introduce you to Walter Wick, the photographer behind these imaginative works of art!

Sometimes when we gaze at a beautiful photo, we become enthralled in the subject that lies front and center. But oftentimes, there is much more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye! This tour into the background of some meticulously-planned photographs you may recognize from your childhood will have you looking at household knick-knacks in a whole new light.

by Renee Laroche-Rheaume

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The Amazing Way a Fish Changed Human History

Could a single fish really be the reason our world is the way that it is? Could the scope of human history have been entirely different without it? Let’s explore! This is amazing!

If it weren’t for this one fish, the stories in our history books would be a lot different!

By Sam Burns

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One Quantum Transformation for Mankind

Preeta Bansal offers a new "quantum" vision of scale, impact, and social change. In this engaging talk in the American heartland, she shares what might be called a homecoming speech of the truest kind - a return to the heart. Weaving her family's personal moonshot of arriving into middle America concurrently with America's (and humanity's) own literal moonshot through the Apollo 11 mission, she sets the stage for the gravity of heavy realizations from her own rocket-like career trajectory into the highest echelons of conventional power, and back to "a place that operates at a human and community scale bound to land and nature."

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How to Stand Up for What’s Right, Even if You’re Afraid

We can prepare ourselves to intervene in difficult situations rather than being a bystander.

By Elizabeth Svoboda

Picture this: You’re crammed into a humid, overcrowded New York City subway car, lurching along the tracks with no air conditioning.

Suddenly, the guy three seats away from you grabs a standing rider’s behind, and squeezes.

She yelps and takes a few steps away, and is visibly shaken—but no one else in the car seems to have noticed what just happened. If they have, they’re doing a studious job of ignoring it.

Do you stay quiet or speak up?

Or, try this scenario: You’ve just found out that one of your work colleagues—known to be a protégé of your boss—has been siphoning company funds for her own use. But you’re not sure how to bring it up with the boss, fearing you might get labeled a narc.

Do you say something, or decide to keep mum?

A lot of us have a clear mental image of the kind of person who takes action in situations like these. Forceful, probably. Someone used to taking char…