12 Stupid Things People Care About Way Too Much

What would a month in blogging be without yet another obligatory “X Things that Blah Blah Blah” post for all of you and your friends to share? Because reading these days is just too boring unless it’s put into an easily-digestible list form.

Well, good news: I’ve heard your attention deficit disorder calling and so I have responded: 12 Stupid Things People Care Too Much About.

1. Whose Fault it is

Imagine this. You’re babysitting two kids. Hell, maybe it’s your own kids. And they’re running around shoving each other and doing usual obnoxious kid things. Then suddenly you hear a crash. You run into the room, and the super sacred $5 billion dollar vase that Grandma made with her bare hands during the holocaust was knocked off a table and broke into a thousand pieces.

What happens?

Whose fault is it?

The two kids immediately point to each other and blame the other. They present their cases. They start whining and cutting each other off. Now, let’s say one of them seems to have a more likely story. Let’s say one of them is a little violent shithead and you have a hunch that it’s probably his fault anyway. What do you do?

Nothing. You either punish them both, or do nothing.

None of this changes the fact that both of them were running around and being reckless around nice, precious objects. None of this changes the fact that theoretically, both were behaving negligently enough to cause destruction. It also doesn’t change the fact that the vase is broken and is never coming back. One could even argue that it’s your fault for putting such a valuable item in a vulnerable place around kids (idiot.)

We spend a lot of our time and effort looking for whose fault something is, even when it doesn’t matter. You order a cod at a nice restaurant that is undercooked and sucks. You want to blame the chef so you call the manager over and go on a tirade. But who knows, maybe the cod was poorly prepared by the sous chef, or the manager himself didn’t store the cod correctly the night before. Or maybe they tried buying from a shitty supplier. Or maybe there’s a poor system of communication in the restaurant and so misunderstandings are prevalent and this affects how the food is prepared.

But no, the chef sucks, fuck him. Fire him.

As humans we all enjoy a scapegoat; we need a scapegoat. You see this most often with government. An entire bureaucratic system may be fucked up, causing continuous waste and inefficiency. So what happens? A few people get blamed and fired and the system continues. The public is satisfied. Someone is blamed and punished, so everything must be right again? Wrong.

There are times when it’s important to know whose fault it is. Like when engaging in chemical warfare. Or finding out who pissed on the toilet seat. But in most of the cases of our lives, it’s an inconsequential distraction. And it’s based largely on ego gratification and little on actual life improvement. What’s done is done. Accept it and move on.

2. Celebrity and Sports Gossip

These people directly affect your life in absolutely no way whatsoever. Your obsession and investment in them is worse than harmless entertainment, it is a way to live vicariously through the idealizations of who you wish you could be — if only you weren’t so afraid to get off the couch and actually do something. Yeah, there, I said it.

Or as Lil’ Wayne once said, when asked if he was concerned that people may look to him on how to live: “If you need a rapper to tell you how to live your life, then maybe you ain’t got no life.”

3. Sexual Jealousy

A lot of people get jealous and possessive in relationships. They don’t like their partner talking with someone else, or hanging out with members of the opposite sex without them. Some people get even crazier. They get jealous about things that happened before they met their partner. They get jealous about things that might happen in the future. Hell, they get jealous about things that didn’t happen but could have happened.

Sexual jealousy is a waste of energy and toxic for your relationship.

It’s really simple: either you trust your partner or you don’t.

If you trust your partner, then shut your mouth. If you don’t trust your partner, do everyone a favor and dump them.

“Well, what if I trust them but they lie to me anyway?”

Then trust that one day you will find out. Dishonest people cannot hide their dishonesty forever. Eventually it will surface and be obvious. And on that day, dump them.

The worst part of sexual jealousy is that it drives your partner to commit the exact actions in which you’re trying to prevent them from doing in the first place. Imagine you’re dating somebody and this person is insanely jealous. Everything you do they accuse you of lying to them or sneaking around behind their back. Every person of the opposite sex you speak to they accuse you of flirting or freak out that you’re sleeping with 10 other people.

What’s stopping you from actually cheating then? I mean, you’re going to get yelled at whether you’re honest or not. Apparently they believe you’re a dishonest person anyway, so you may as well get the benefits from being dishonest, right? What’s stopping you from cheating? Not much.

4. Being Right

There’s an old saying, “The man who knows everything learns nothing.” Let go of the need to always be right. This one is really simple. How do you learn and improve and become a better person? That’s right, by being wrong about stuff. So try to be wrong about stuff a little more often.

Besides, nothing’s more annoying than somebody who will argue to the death over some inane detail that doesn’t matter anyway. I like to punch those people.

5. National Politics

Pop quiz: name your town’s mayor and one representative to the state legislature.

No? Then please shut up about Bush and/or Obama.

Our lives are more directly affected by the results of local politics, yet nobody cares except old people, religious nuts and conspiracy theorists. Instead, we all want to focus on the big stage. In the US, there’s particular weight and importance placed on the US President, someone who ultimately wields less power than Congress, the Federal Reserve, or in some cases, the Supreme Court. But the president is an easily consumable personality. He’s easy to argue about and to blame for everything (see #1), when really the fucked up roads by your house, the poor medical funding, the zoning laws that are screwing up your neighborhood, the education crisis and the disaster relief are all city and state issues that you’re all but ignoring.

flip flopping obama from trekbbs thanks obama meme lol wtf

National politics matter, but they are given a disproportionate amount of attention and importance. National politics drive profits for the national media markets, therefore they get the air play. Since they get the air play, everyone loses their shit over them.

6. Trying to Impress Other People

If you’ve read this site at all in the last two years, you know how far this doesn’t get you. Take a moment and think back to the three most embarrassing moments in recent memory. Let me guess, at least two of them happened while trying to impress someone. Funny how that works.

Trying to impress other people is a natural human trait. We all want to put our best foot forward. The reason trying to impress people rarely works out very well is because human beings are wired to not simply look at surface-level behaviors when judging another person’s character, but to also look at their intentions and motivations for each behavior. So you can do a cool action, but if you’re doing it because you’re insecure and want people to like you, people will see through it and find you annoying. See: Bono from U2.

This is why one-uppers — people who take what you say and then tell you how they’ve done something bigger or better than that — are so annoying. They’re trying to impress us, to dominate us, to show superiority over us. And the fact that they’re trying to be superior proves to us that they’re not.

8. Being Offended

There are some people in this world who seem to believe that they have the right to never be offended, ever. This drives me crazy. Part of freedom of expression is that some people, some times, are going to annoy you or offend you. That’s part of life. And unless you’re inciting people to commit acts of violence, then you really can’t tell them not to.

Being offended is a choice. It’s the difference between getting upset about an insult and simply laughing it off. It’s the difference between trying to silence somebody else and simply acknowledging that they have different values than you do, even if those values are really fucked up.

I get comments on this blog all the time that I find offensive. I almost never delete them. Recently, I had a guy who made a sexist comment about women (the comment was to an article about dating, what a coincidence.) Instead of getting up in arms about it, I simply informed him that I thought he was an idiot. I probably offended him back. And now we’re not friends. It’s amazing how a free society works.

9. The Fact that I skipped Number 7 on this list

Get over it.

10. Buying a Bunch of “Nice” Stuff

I’ll spare you the Fight Club spiel. I’ve already written at length about how owning more possessions can limit your identity and happiness, and how wealth is determined by the quality of your experiences and not your assets.

But let’s look at this from a more practical point of view. What’s the point of buying a bunch of nice crap? 1) To impress other people. 2) To feel better about yourself.

We’ve already covered how well impressing people goes over. (Spoiler Alert: Not well.) Not to mention, what you’re also concurrently inspiring jealousy from other people, which just turns nice people into assholes. And then you might get offended! So that’s no good.

But let’s look at feeling better about yourself. There’s mounds of psychological researchshowing that materialism leads to greater rates of depression and less happiness in people. There’s a reason the US has some of the highest rates of depression and anxiety disorders in the developed world. That dependence on external validation to feel good about one’s self causes low self esteem and makes you miserable. So let’s just leave it at that.

Sure, buying luxury items can be cool and enjoyable. If you’ve got the money to throw around, there’s nothing wrong with it. But basing your identity and self-worth on the quality of your possessions and how those possessions stack up to others is a losing battle. Even if you win and have the biggest toys, you lose.

11. Waiting in line for 36 hours to buy some new product the day it’s released

Seriously, don’t you have something better to do? And if not, isn’t that a problem?

Go home. The iPhone 5 will be there tomorrow.

12. Hiding Your Flaws

People fall in love with each other’s rough edges. Paradoxically, it’s our flaws and vulnerabilities that make us unique and endearing towards others. The more we’re willing to reveal where we come up short, the more intimacy and connection we’ll generate in our personal lives, and the happier and healthier we’ll be in the long run.

I’ve written at length on vulnerability, and a few years ago I based an entire book on the idea. But it really is amazing how our culture encourages more and more to live up to some impossible ideal, some empty vessel of perfection.

Of all people Mike Tyson recently said, “Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you’re successful.” You could replace “famous” in that sentence with “rich,” “beautiful,” “popular,” “intelligent” or a myriad of other adjectives.

Where does real success come from? It comes from being satisfied — not because you’ve reached some pinnacle or final destination of success — but satisfied with that constant process of improvement. It’s recognizing that life is riddled with faults and mistakes and appreciating them as much as the successes. Because when you appreciate your faults, they lose their power over you. Instead of your weakness they become your strength. And ironically, they’ll draw other people into you more than ever before.

 

Advertisements

Are we ALL INASANE TO JUST BELIEVE WHAT YOU SAY?

Are we all BLIND ? DEAF ? OR GONE INSANE?

What has happened to all of us? Have we all just stopped Thinking ? Have our brains popped out? Or have we de-evolutionised?

My Point being, that more than 90% of us on this planet  just ignore facts or blindly follow what is shown to us. Today we are told that someone is a culprit , and we believe, without even asking for facts, we believe when we are told some is dead, or someone is a terrorist.

We wage wars between nations just because we have some benifit and show the world that the nation is a culprit.

Well you can call that Dirty Business, on a very large scale, but CAN”T THEY SEE THE BIG PICTURE… THEY ARE KILLING HUMANITY.. !! MOREOVER, THEY ARE KILLING PERCEPTION..

I am no big fan of conspiracy theories, but all I am saying is that every nation should just mind their own Damn business and let the rest do what they want to do..

War is never a solution , but it is a human traight to show power so there is no solution to that either.

One cannot ask for peace, just a bit of a moral ground where a line is made between Power & Values.

This is altogether a new debate, but I will discuss about this further in my upcoming posts.

Do we all keep seeking Spice in our lives ?

Just switch on your television set, and scroll down to any news channel on the planet, it will for at least 15 minutes offer you one piece of BREAKING NEWS.

Often , most of this news is repetative, and makes no point, but most of us want that Spice. We want to learn about a new WAR, about new Tragedies, Murder, Gossip, & much more.

DO WE SEEK MORE & MORE SPICE IN OUR LIVES , & KEEP SEEKING FOR GOSSIP ALL THE TIME ?

I just log on to the internet and get the highlights of the daily news, because watching the news on television is like watching a set of hypnotists trying to brainwash you about a certain product, or a community or a whole country.

Still there are numerous news channels born each day , challenging to offer the most updated news, and the fastest news, well I am sure most of it is just made up news to sell the SPICE!

What are your comments and opinions about this ?

– Mustafa Mun

God may work in mysterious ways–but cognitive science is getting a handle on them

God came from an egg. At least, that’s how He came to me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very fancy egg. More specifically, it was an ersatz Fabergé egg decorated with colorful scenes from the Orient. Now about two dozen years before the episode I’m about to describe, somewhere in continental Europe, this particular egg was shunted through the vent of an irritable hen, pierced with a needle and drained of its yolk, and held in the palm of a nimble artist who, for hours upon hours, painstakingly hand-painted it with elaborate images of a stereotypical Asian society. The artist, who specialized in such kitsch materials, then sold the egg along with similar wares to a local vendor, who placed it carefully in the front window of a side-street souvenir shop. Here it eventually caught the eye of a young German girl, who coveted it, purchased it, and after some time admiring it in her apartment against the backdrop of the Black Forest, wrapped it in layers of tissue paper, placed it in her purse, said a prayer for its safe transport, and took it on a transatlantic journey to a middle-class American neighborhood where she was to live with her new military husband. There, in the family room of her modest new home, on a bookshelf crammed with romance novels and knickknacks from her earlier life, she found a cozy little nook for the egg and propped it up on a miniature display stand. A year or so later she bore a son, Peter, who later befriended the boy across the street, who suffered me as a tagalong little brother, the boy who, one aimless summer afternoon, would enter the German woman’s family room, see the egg, become transfixed by this curiosity, and crush it accidentally in his seven-year-old hand.

The incident unobserved, I hastily put the fractured artifact back in its place, turned it at an angle so that its wound would be least noticeable, and, to this day, acted as though nothing had ever happened. Well, almost. A week later, I overheard Peter telling my brother that the crime had been discovered. His mother had a few theories about how her beloved egg had been irreparably damaged, he said—one being a very accurate and embarrassing deduction involving, of all people, me. When confronted with this scenario—through first insinuation and then full-blown accusations—and wary of the stern German matriarch’s wrath, I denied my guilt summarily. Then, to get them off my back, I did the unthinkable. I swore to God that I hadn’t done it.

Let’s put this in perspective. Somewhere on a quiet cul-de-sac, a second-grader secretly cracks a flashy egg owned by a woman who’s a little too infatuated with it to begin with, tells nobody for fear of being punished, and finally invokes God as a false witness to his egged innocence. It’s not exactly the crime of the century. But from my point of view, at that moment in time, the act was commensurate with the very worst of offenses against another human being. That I would dare to bring God into it only to protect myself was so unconscionable that the matter was never spoken of again.

Meanwhile, for weeks afterward, I had trouble sleeping and I lost my appetite; when I got a nasty splinter a few days later, I thought it was God’s wrath. I nearly offered up an unbidden confession to my parents. I was like a loathsome dog whimpering at God’s feet. Do with me as you will, I thought to myself; I’ve done wrong.

Such an overwhelming fear of a vindictive, disappointed God certainly wasn’t something that my parents had ever taught me. Of course, many parents do teachtheir children such things. If you’ve ever seen Jesus Camp (2006), a rather disturbing documentary about evangelically reared children in the American heartland, or if you’ve read Sam Harris’s The End of Faith (2004), you’ll know what I mean. But my family didn’t even own a copy of the Bible, and I doubt if I had ever even heard the word “sin” uttered before. The only serious religious talk I ever heard was when my mother—who as a girl was once held down by exuberant Catholic children sifting through her hair for the rudimentary devil horns their parents told them all Jews have—tried to vaccinate me against all things evangelical by explaining how silly Christians’ beliefs were. But even she was just a “secular Jew,” and my father, at best, a shoulder-shrugging Lutheran. Years later, when I was a teenager, my mother would be diagnosed with cancer, and then, too, I had the immediate sense that I had fallen out of favor with God. It felt as if my mother’s plight were somehow related to the shenanigans I’d been up to (nothing worse than most teenagers, I’m sure, but also certainly nothing to commit indelibly to print). The feeling that I had a bad essence welled up inside me; God was singling me out for special punishment.

The thing is, I would never have admitted to having these thoughts at the time. In fact, I didn’t even believe in God. I realized there was a logical biological explanation for the fact that my mother was dying. And if you had even alluded to the possibility that my mom’s ailing health was caused by some secret moral offense on my part or hers, you would have forced my intellectual gag reflex. I would probably have dismissed you as one of those people she had warned me about. In fact, I shook off the “God must really hate me” mentality as soon as it registered in my rationalconsciousness. But there’s also no mistaking that it was there in my mind and, for a few bizarre moments, it was clear as a whistle.

It was around that time that God struck me as being curiously similar to the Mafia, offering us “protection” and promising not to hurt us (or kill us) as long as we pay up in moral currency. But unlike a hammer to the shin or a baseball bat to the back of the head, God’s brand of punishment, at least here on earth, is distinctively symbolic, coming in the form of a limitless array of cruel vagaries thoughtfully designed for us, such as a splinter in our hands, our stocks tumbling into the financial abyss, a tumor in our brains, our ex-wives on the prowl for another man, an earthquake under our feet, and so on. For believers, the possibilities are endless.

Now, years later, one of the key motivators still driving the academic curiosity that fuels my career as an atheistic psychological scientist who studies religion is my own seemingly instinctual fear of being punished by God, and thinking about God more generally. I wanted to know where in the world these ideas were coming from. Could it really be possible that they were innate? Is there perhaps something like a “belief instinct”?

In the chapters that follow, we will be exploring this question of the innateness of God beliefs, in addition to many related beliefs, such as souls, the afterlife, destiny, and meaning. You’re probably already well versed in the man in the street’s explanations for why people gravitate toward God in times of trouble. Almost all such stories are need-based accounts concerning human emotional well-being. For example, if I were to pose the question “Why do most people believe in God?” to my best friend from high school, or my Aunt Betty Sue in Georgia, or the pet store owner in my small village here in Northern Ireland, their responses would undoubtedly go something like this: “Well, that’s easy. It’s because people need . . . [fill in the blank here: to feel like there’s something bigger out there; to have a sense of purpose in their lives; to take comfort in religion; to reduce uncertainty; something to believe in].”

I don’t think these types of answers are entirely intellectually bankrupt actually, but I do think they just beg the question. They’re perfectly circular, leaving us scratching our heads over why we need to feel like there’s something bigger out there or to have a sense of purpose and so on to begin with. Do other animals have these same existential needs? And, if not, why don’t they? When looked at objectively, our behaviors in this domain are quite strange, at least from a cross-species, evolutionary perspective. As the Spanish author Miguel de Unamuno wrote,

The gorilla, the chimpanzee, the orangutan, and their kind, must look upon man as a feeble and infirm animal, whose strange custom it is to store up his dead. Wherefore?

Back when I was in graduate school, I spent several years conducting psychological research with chimpanzees. Our small group of seven study animals was housed in a very large, very sterile, and very boring biomedical facility, where hundreds of other great apes—our closest living relatives—were being warehoused for invasive testing purposes under pharmaceutical contracts. I saw too many scenes of these animals in distress, unsettling images that I try not to revisit these days. But it occurred to me that if humans were in comparably hopeless conditions as these chimpanzees, certainly the question of God—particularly, what God could possibly be thinking by allowing such cruel travesties—would be on a lot of people’s minds.

So what exactly is it that can account for that instantaneous bolus of “why” questioning secreted by our human brains in response to pain and misfortune, a question that implies a breach of some unspoken moral contract between ourselves, as individuals, and God? We might convince ourselves that it is misleading to ask such questions, that God “isn’t like that” or even that there is no God, but this is only in answer to the knee-jerk question arising in the first place.

To help us understand why our minds gravitate toward God in the wake of misfortune (as well as fortune), we will be drawing primarily from recent findings in the cognitive sciences. Investigators in the cognitive science of religion argue that religious thinking, like any other type of thinking, is something done by a brain that is occasionally prone to making mistakes. Superstitious thinking, such as seeing causal relations where none in fact exist, is portrayed as the product of an imperfectly evolved brain. Perhaps it’s understandable, then, that all but a handful of scholars in this area regard religion as an accidental byproduct of our mental evolution. Specifically, religious thought is usually portrayed by scholars as having no particular adaptive biological function in itself, but instead it’s viewed as a leftover of other psychological adaptations (sort of like male nipples being a useless leftover of the default human body plan). God is a happenstance muddle of other evolved mental parts. This is the position taken by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, for example, in The God Delusion (2006):

I am one of an increasing number of biologists who see religion as a byproduct of something else. Perhaps the feature we are interested in (religion in this case) doesn’t have a direct survival value of its own, but is a byproduct of something else that does . . . [Religious] behavior may be a misfiring, an unfortunate byproduct of an underlying psychological propensity which in other circumstances is, or once was, useful.

Evolutionary by-product theorists, however, may have been a bit hasty in dismissing the possibility that religion—and especially, the idea of a watchful, knowing, reactive God—uniquely helped our ancestors survive and reproduce. If so, then just as with any other evolved adaptation, we would expect concepts about supernatural agents such as God to have solved, or at least to have meaningfully addressed, a particular adaptive problem in the evolutionary past. And, indeed, after first examining the mechanics of belief, we’ll eventually explore in this book the possibility that God (and others like Him) evolved in human minds as an “adaptive illusion,” one that directly helped our ancestors solve the unique problem of human gossip.

With the evolution of language, the importance of behavioral inhibition became paramount for our ancestors because absent third parties could now find out about their behaviors days, even weeks, after an event. If they failed to bridle their selfish passions in the face of temptation, and if there was even a single human witness to their antisocial actions, our ancestors’ reputations—and hence their reproductive interests—were foolishly gambled away. The private perception of being intelligently designed, monitored, and known about by a God who actively punished and rewarded our intentions and behaviors would have helped stomp out the frequency and intensity of our ancestors’ immoral hiccups and would have been strongly favored by natural selection. God and other supernatural agents like Him needn’t actually exist to have caused such desired gene-salvaging effects, but—just as they do today—the mental biases we’ll be examining certainly gave our ancestors reason to think that they did.

One of the important, often unspoken, implications of the new cognitive science of religion is the possibility that we’ve been going about studying the God question completely wrong for a very long time. Perhaps the question of God’s existence is one that is more for psychologists than for philosophers, physicists, or even theologians. Put the scripture aside. Just as the scientist who studies the basic cognitive mechanisms of language acquisition isn’t especially concerned with the particular narrative plot in children’s bedtime stories, the cognitive scientist of religion isn’t much concerned about the details of the fantastic fables buried in religious texts. Instead, in picking apart the psychological bones of belief, we’re going to focus on some existential basics. Perceiving the supernatural isn’t magic, but something patently organic: a function of the brain.

I should warn you: I’ve always had trouble biting my tongue, and we’re going to address head-on some of life’s biggest questions. Is there really a God who cares about you? Is there really a special reason that you are here? Will your soul live on after you die? Or, alternatively, are God, souls, and destiny simply a set of seductive cognitive illusions, one that can be accounted for by the unusual evolution of the human brain? It seems Nature may have had a few tricks up her sleeve to ensure that we would fall hook, line, and sinker for these spectacular ruses.

Ultimately, of course, you must decide for yourself whether the subjective psychological effects created by your evolved cognitive biases reflect an objective reality, perhaps as evidence that God designed your mind to be so receptive to Him. Or, just maybe, you will come to acknowledge that, like the rest of us, you are a hopeless pawn in one of natural selection’s most successful hoaxes ever—and smile at the sheer ingenuity involved in pulling it off, at the very thought of such mindless cleverness. One can still enjoy the illusion of God, after all, without believing Him to be real.

Either way, our first order of business is to determine what kind of mind it takes to think about God’s mind in the first place, and one crucial factor—indeed, perhaps the only essential one—is the ability to think about other minds at all.

So, onward we go.

Buy the book or see the reviews at www.thebeliefinstinct.com

You are never the same the next day

We all think that we are in control of our lives well the fact is that we are not. Every day situations and instances shape our lives even without you knowing it. You keep doing things that is in your cognitive sense. You unknowingly accept facts and convert those assumptions into reality for your own benefit. Call this trait of human behaviour good or bad, but it is one of the most critical facts which is and has always been a major psychological reason behind evolution of the “mind” alone.

I have come to believe after various observations that there are far too many possibilities more than societal , cultural & religious, which shape the human behaviour and mind. One may reason an adult to behave & think immature while a child to behave maturely are some vivid examples of  the development of human mind, which is different in various situations.

Thus everyday when we see, hear or taste something new , we are developing ourselves, unknowingly,  you therefore never remain the same person the next day! ….

🙂