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Janus Zudnik
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Android & Unity3D Developer
Android & Unity3D Developer

856 followers
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Protect Your Online Information: 5 Steps You Can Take Right Now
The internet is probably this decade’s most used resource. It wouldn’t come off as a surprise if people choose it over water. People these days can’t even imagine a life without it. We all probably visit our Facebook, sites where we shop online and our YouT...
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A mouthful of fresh figs

Memories of the island

In high summer
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A mouthful of fresh figs

Memories of the island

In high summer
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There's something to dream about..
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Meditation vs Natural selection. Very interesting.
Awareness and Choice

Thanks to the guiding hand of evolution, and resulting technological ingenuity, our minds can do all sorts of amazing things.

"But our superpowers have come at a cost: anxiety, depression, and anger run rampant among the species. Unpleasant feelings like these have been bred into us by natural selection ... But there is an antidote: meditation."

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[ Evolution: Survivor Emotion ]

Thanks to natural selection, Wright says in Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment, humans have evolved to have emotional reactions to all sorts of stimuli, from snakes to public speaking. In general, these reactions have helped keep us alive, but they don’t always lead to happiness, especially in the modern world. Anxiety can be a productive emotion if it keeps a caveman from being eaten by a bear, but it’s not so useful when it makes a modern man unable to make small talk at a cocktail party.

[ Autonomy: Emotional Awareness ]

From the perspective of an evolutionary psychologist, Wright argues that meditation can help us be more aware of the sometimes subtle emotional undertones of all human experience. That awareness allows us to choose which feelings we want to indulge — to choose to be happier and freer humans.

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[ Anxiety as Abstract Fear ]

What are some of these unhelpful feelings that we tend to have? To take a not-so-subtle feeling, there’s anxiety. There are two problems with anxiety. One is that natural selection didn’t intend it to always be an accurate guide to the world in the first place. If you know you’re walking along snake-infested terrain and you look down and for a second you might think you see a snake, even though usually it’s nothing. But natural selection wants us to err on the side of caution in those cases, so it fills us with fear that is usually misleading.

[ Artificial Social Environment ]

On top of that is the fact that in the modern environment, some of these feelings become even more misleading because natural selection didn’t design us for this environment. Public speaking is a perfect example. Talking to a bunch of people you’ve never met is terrifying for people partly because it was not part of the environment we were designed for. And people start having anxieties that are totally divorced from any likely scenario. There are people who imagine themselves projectile vomiting while talking, even though they’ve never done that. I think these anxieties that are a product of the kind of artificial environment we live in can be particularly problematic.

[ Social Status and Reproduction ]

Social anxiety is natural because even in a hunter-gatherer society — the kind that we evolved in — social status matters for your reproductive prospects. People liking you matters. It influences your chances of surviving and reproducing. So it makes sense that we worry about, say, how our kid is being received socially or how we are doing socially. Social anxiety is natural and on balance it is productive by natural selection’s lights.

[ Happiness: Hedonic Treadmill ]

But remember, all natural selection cares about is getting genes into the next generation. And it’s not obvious that we should accept that as our mission in life anyway. Two things natural selection does not care about are whether we see the world clearly and whether we are happy. In fact, happiness is designed by natural selection to evaporate, precisely because that keeps us motivated. So we reach some goal — we get some food or sex, we get some more status — and it feels good for a while, and then the good feeling vanishes. That is by design, because it means we’ll get up and start working again. And that’s just evidence that natural selection doesn’t care about our happiness. If it cared about our happiness, it would just leave us in a state of eternal bliss.

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[ Nature's Paternal Deception ]

It can be helpful to think of natural selection as a force like the evil robot overlords in The Matrix, which keep people living in a dream, blind to the true reality of their lives. I think it’s a useful metaphor.

It can be motivating to think that the process that created us had a kind of annoying disregard for our happiness and the clarity of our vision. Because if you’re going to embark on a serious meditative practice, that takes motivation. It’s not always easy to get up and sit on the cushion every morning. And so it may help to think, there’s an enemy here, in natural selection.

[ Emotional Skepticism ]

I don’t want to overdramatize it, though. The main value of thinking in evolutionary terms is just to realize that skepticism toward your feelings makes sense when you realize what they were engineered to do. And skepticism toward your feelings is part of mindfulness meditation. You don’t accept them uncritically as guides. I don’t want to sound as if it’s a super-detached process of evaluation because in way it involves getting very close to your feelings and not running away from unpleasant feelings. But as it happens, getting close to a feeling like anxiety or sadness can give you a kind of critical distance from it and even liberate you from it.

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[ Cognitive Activity / Focus ]

How does that work? How does meditation help us recognize and free ourselves from the emotional impulses we’ve evolved to have?

One thing that happens during mindfulness meditation is that the so-called default mode network in the brain gets quiet. That’s a network that’s distributed across various regions in the brain and is active when the mind is wandering.

Focus is natural in some circumstances: You have a deadline; you’re focused on your work. Someone’s chasing you; you’re focused on getting away. Otherwise focus is not natural and your mind just kind of roams.

If you want to focus on your feelings, that’s going to take work. There isn’t the motivation there when you’re focusing on your deadline, focusing on your work. So the first thing you need to do is quiet the default mode network and that’s typically done in mindfulness meditation by focusing on the breathing. And that’s really hard, as any beginner meditator knows. It’s very hard to focus on your breathing because there’s no natural motivation to do that.

[ Emotional Flow / Clarity ]

But once you get good at that, you enter a kind of calm zone that allows you to kind of observe feelings that you might normally not notice and yet be reacting to. And the more you observe them, the less you are reacting to them. You slowly get into a completely different kind of relationship to your feelings that is more aware of them and less reactive in response to them.

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[ Rebellion Against Nature ]

So is meditation an unnatural activity? The two natural things are to focus on something that you are highly motivated to focus on or, alternatively, let your mind wander. It’s just not natural to focus on your breath and then to focus on your feelings. So yes, it’s very unnatural.

That’s part of what I mean when I say this is a rebellion against natural selection. And I think a rebellion is warranted both because natural selection never had our happiness or the clarity of our vision high on its agenda.

[ Tribalism vs Detachment ]

But also because we’ve gotten to a point in history where we really have to get meta-cognitive. We need to become more aware of the way of the subtle ways our cognition is pushed and pulled around by feelings.

Fake news is a perfect example. If you pay close attention, when you retweet something without actually inspecting it to be sure it’s accurate and valid — if you pay close attention, you’ll see that you’re driven by feelings. Because this news reflects unfavorably on someone you don’t like, like Donald Trump. Or, if you’re a Trump supporter, because it reflects favorably on Trump.

If you look in general at the problem of political polarization or the problem of sectarian conflict or national conflict, it all boils down to the psychology of tribalism. And I think we have to learn how to transcend that and meditation is a really good way to start getting some distance from it.

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[ Loss of Involvement ]

When people hear about this emotional distance that Buddhism can create, a common perception that the end goal of meditation is a kind of perfectly dispassionate, cold, and rational outlook. That’s inaccurate though, right?

I wish I had hopes of getting so far down the meditative path that that became an actual problem in the real world. At the level of meditation that I’m at, the way it works is that you become more aware of various feelings and that lets you decide which ones you try not to engage in. It doesn’t equally neutralize all feelings. I don’t try to reduce my love of my children or of my dogs. I don’t try to transcend the more wholesome feelings. It's not a practical problem.

[ Heightened Immersion ]

When I emerge from a weeklong meditation retreat, which is the point at which I can most powerfully observe the effects of meditation, it’s true that there are various feelings that are playing a less powerful role in my life. But there is also a tremendously heightened appreciation of beauty and of other people and of sensory experience. At these retreats they serve food I normally would not be enthusiastic about but it tastes way better than the food I would normally eat because I’m just immersing myself in the flavor. Some very pleasant feelings and some very wholesome feelings seem to naturally get heightened.

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[ Awareness of Choice ]

So it’s not about avoiding feelings altogether, but about simply being more aware of everything you’re feeling, and making better choices as a result. This can help with something like procrastination.

If you pay attention to what’s keeping you from focusing on a particular piece of work, I contend it’s always feelings. There’s something else you could be doing and the prospect of doing it feels better. You’ve reached a point in your work that feels unpleasant or you don’t know what to do and you could be researching a smartphone you want to buy online, and you are being drawn by your feelings to that website or to Twitter or whatever. So many problems in life come down to feelings. Being aware of your feelings doesn’t compel you to ignore them but it gives you the option of becoming less reactive to them.
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BIG MONEY has perverted the intent and actions of Congress, but to get it out of Congress would take legislation passed by the most powerful members of Congress, who are the deepest in the lobbyists' pockets..
The only way Congress will represent the people is when Congress is no longer a lucrative career, where politicians spend a lifetime growing in power and wealth, making big money the only voice in DC!
With the second option of Article 5, we can impose term limits on Congress and there's nothing they can do to stop us!
Get involved! Sign the petition on the website! Volunteer to help!
www.termlimitsforuscongress.com
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And the almost complete Mario collection. #nintendo
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The smaller, mobile part of the Mario collection.

I'd like to have Super Mario 3D Land for 3DS, cause 3D World for WiiU is glorious. I could imagine that the stereoscopic 3d would work wonders for it, just as it did for Mariokart 7....
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After generations X, Y and Z, here comes Generation V, the one that will live with the virtual

http://www.igloospir.it/blog/post/la-generation-v
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