Aug 08, 2010
I’m fascinated by the psychology of giving and/or financial exchanges.
Just this morning I was noticing my hesitation in committing to pay 99¢ for an iPhone app without having tried it first. But when I go into a coffee shop I happily plonk down $1.50 or so for a cup of Joe, without hesitating or asking for a free trial. The coffee will last me for 20 minutes, while I might end up using the app on a daily basis for an indefinite period of time. There’s no guarantee I’m going to find the coffee pleasant. Screwy, but normal.
One peculiarity regarding money is that people who have less of it are …
Feb 23, 2010
We spend much of our time and energy trying to pretend impermanence isn’t real, but the strange thing is that when we embrace impermanence we become happier, Bodhipaksa argues.
Here’s a very “queer thing” about life: sometimes the things that we think will make us miserable actually make us happier. When Professor Eric D. Miller of Kent State University’s Department of Psychology asked people to imagine the death of their partner they reported that they felt more positive about their relationships and less troubled by their significant others’ annoying quirks.
We live in a world marked by constant change and impermanence. The things we love decay and perish. The people we love will pass …
Jul 20, 2009
Eric Weiner writes today in the New York Times about a recent report saying that the Danes are the happiest nation, and puts it down to their attitude of not having unrealistic expectations — something that he (rightly, I think) equates with Buddhism. It’s a post that’s worth reading in full, especially for his analysis of the "hedonic treadmill," but here’s an extract:
About once a year, some new study confirms Denmark’s status as a happiness superpower. Danes receive this news warily, with newspaper headlines that invariably read: "We’re the happiest lige nu." Lige nu is a Danish phrase that means literally "just now" but strongly connotes a sense of
Apr 30, 2009
A leading Buddhist teacher writes about the knotty problem of guilt, but chooses to do so through a blend of fictional narrative, autobiography, and commentary. Vajradevi reveals all.
Caroline Brazier is a Buddhist practitioner and a psychotherapist of many years standing. She is a course leader of the Amida Psychotherapy training program and lives in a Buddhist community in England. She brings these two aspects of training and experience to bear in her book, Guilt: An Exploration. The Buddhist aspect is implicit in the kindness and perceptiveness Caroline Brazier brings to her subject. You will find this book in the “Psychology” section of your bookstore and it is …
Mar 12, 2009
Susan Blackmore’s Ten Zen Questions may at first glance seem silly or pointless — “Where is this?” for example — but when approached with a focused mind they can be used to push back our assumptions and let us have a glimpse at what’s really going on.
Susan Blackmore is justifiably something of a superstar in the small but important and expanding world that exists where science and Buddhism overlap.
She’s well-known on the TED circuit for her work on “memes” — ideas and cultural phenomena understood as viral-like entities that “infect” our minds and compete for dominance.
She is a psychologist by training, has 25 years of Zen practice under her belt, …
Feb 23, 2009
The other day I read about a family of six who were wiped out when a truck-driver plowed into their vehicle. He’d allegedly been driving and attempting to look at a laptop screen at the same time.
To do two things at once is to do neither (Publilius Syrus, an Iraqi enslaved by the Romans. Flourished first century BCE.)
Not all multitasking is that catastrophic, but nevertheless attempting to juggle too many things in a short space of time is causing us stress, reducing our productivity, and making it harder to maintain focus when we need to.
What happens in the long term to an …
Nov 13, 2008
There’s a compelling article in Atlantic on the theory that the self is not unitary but a composite of multiple selves.
“First Person Plural,” is written by Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology at Yale University and the author of Descartes’ Baby: How the Science of Child Development Explains What Makes Us Human. He’s writing a book on the theme of pleasure, and I imagine it’ll be well-worth reading.
His article shows that the self is not a single entity but a multiplicity: