AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1614317 times)

Offline K-Dog

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #12855 on: May 27, 2019, 04:26:38 PM »
Quote
Outside the United States, climate scientists had long given up on the White House being anything but on outlier in policy. But they worry about the loss of the government as a source for reliable climate research.

A person can believe the science and still lie and say they don't believe it.  Their justification is last man standing and might makes right. 

A sort of:

I know a woman who lives on the hill, if she won't do it her sister will sort of thing. 

Somebody is going to burn that oil, might as well be me they think.  The idea that Trumptopia does not know about the science goes more to show how gullible the public is or how dishonest with themselves about their true nature the public can be.
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Offline knarf

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Gaming can indeed be addictive, but is it a mental health condition? Well, the World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared that gaming disorder is indeed a thing.

The move came after the organization adopted the 11th revision of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), its globally recognized listing of diseases and diagnoses. The World Health Organization says the 11th revision (and the accompanying recognition of gaming disorder) comes into effect on January 1 2022.

According to the organization’s page on gaming disorder, it’s characterized by “impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

Polygon notes that this description for gaming disorder is nearly identical to WHO’s wording for gambling disorder. In fact, it seems like the organization copy/pasted the text for gaming disorder from gambling disorder.

Reaction to gaming disorder recognition

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents the U.S. gaming industry, has criticized the move in a press release on its website. The ESA called for the WHO to reverse its decision.

“The WHO is an esteemed organization and its guidance needs to be based on regular, inclusive, and transparent reviews backed by independent experts,” the ESA noted. “‘Gaming disorder’ is not based on sufficiently robust evidence to justify its inclusion in one of the WHO’s most important norm-setting tools.”

For what it’s worth, the World Health Organization says the move was based on “reviews of available evidence and reflects a consensus of experts from different disciplines and geographical regions.” The body also said studies suggest that gaming disorder only affects a small proportion of people who play video games.

You’d expect gaming-related groups to express opposition to the move, wouldn’t you? But a journal paper published last year by 36 academics, mental health professionals, and social scientists has also opposed the WHO decision to recognize gaming disorder.

https://www.androidauthority.com/gaming-disorder-who-990956/
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Burnout Is Now a Legit Medical Diagnosis
« Reply #12857 on: May 27, 2019, 05:21:33 PM »


Your long holiday weekend is basically over. How does that make you feel? Are you a little bummed, but know that once you’ve mainlined that first cup of coffee tomorrow, you’ll be fine? Or does the idea of going back to work make you want to shave your head, take off all your clothes and roll gently into a sewer?

If your answer is the latter, you may be experiencing burnout, which the World Health Organization has officially deemed it a legitimate medical diagnosis. According to CNN, “burnout” now appears in the International Classification of Diseases, in the subcategory that deals with “problems related to employment or unemployment.” Specifically, it says:

    Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: 1) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 2) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and 3) reduced professional efficacy. Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.

As a freelancer who regularly works 12-hour days in a notoriously unstable industry only to tread barely above the poverty line, I certainly wouldn’t know anything about this, but that sounds terrible! It’s also not an especially helpful diagnosis for those toiling in the gig economy, where limited (or nonexistent) protections for part-time workers render the idea of “sick days” a quaint anachronism.

So even if you could get a doctor’s note (because you can afford to go to a doctor?), your burnout probably won’t translate to a day off. But it is nice to know that it’s probably shortening your lifespan. Really, what is death if not your first chance to finally log off and take a real vacation?

https://jezebel.com/burnout-is-now-a-legit-medical-diagnosis-1835052541
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Election Puts Europe on the Front Line of the Battle With Populism
« Reply #12858 on: May 28, 2019, 05:02:22 AM »
ROME — Matteo Salvini basked in triumph on Monday after a thumping victory for his far-right League Party in this weekend’s European Parliament elections rendered him the dominant politician in Italy and the strongest claimant to the leadership of Europe’s populists.

But if Europe has been an incubator for resurgent nationalism in recent years, it now also feels like an active battleground.

With Europe’s decades-old project of unity increasingly in the balance, the voting energized both sides on a polarized Continent. It was a contest between angry, disaffected nationalists who want to beat back what they see as a remote and overreaching bureaucracy in Brussels, against the once-sleepy, complacent supporters of Europe looking to defend a unity that can no longer be taken for granted.

“There is a wind of positive energy,” said Mr. Salvini, whose anti-immigrant party won 34 percent of the vote in Italy. “It has brought in fresh air.”

Maybe. While the populists increased their share of seats in the European Parliament, they were denied the sort of Continent-wide earthquake they and their boosters had predicted — and their critics had feared — as turnout jumped in some places to the highest level in 20 years.

Some 75 percent of voters still backed parties that support Europe, blocking a major populist victory. Pro-Europe parties like the Greens picked up unexpected gains.

[5 Takeaways From the European Elections.]

For Mr. Salvini’s critics — who see him as Europe’s version of the kind of populist strongman who now seems ascendant around the globe — the air he let in has a noxious whiff to it.

Recent elections in India, Australia and the Philippines have shown public support for tough leaders, and Mr. Salvini and other European populists are trying to push some of the same buttons. They oppose immigration, promote nationalism, blame globalization and promise a return to better, bygone eras.

But as the European elections broadly revealed, that appeal has limits, at least for now, as opponents also mobilize in an age of political volatility. Polls show the public does not want to tear down the European Union, and if many people want to change the bloc, they often disagree on how to do it.

If little else was clear from the fractured returns in Europe, the elections showed that battle lines between populists and the political establishment are still forming in a crucial — and complicated — political arena.

“The old left-right divide is being replaced by a dominant rift between populists and anti-populists,” said Zaki Laïdi, a professor and political analyst at Sciences Po in Paris.

Europe has been in a state of political ferment since the 2008 financial crisis, which created divisions between north and south, rich and poor, and generated resentments that exploded in a populist backlash after the migration crisis in 2015.

New parties or those once on the fringes in many countries suddenly found new constituencies, while the political establishment crumbled in Greece, Spain, Italy, France and elsewhere.

[Here is a guide to our European Parliament election coverage.]

In the weekend voting, France’s far-right, nationalist leader, Marine Le Pen, edged out President Emmanuel Macron, who presented himself as the face of pro-European modernity.
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In Eastern Europe, right-wing leaders in Hungary and Poland now lead the national governments and routinely challenge the democratic and institutional norms of the European Union. The party of Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister who has eroded democratic norms, won more than half the electorate.

But in Germany and elsewhere, populist forces did not meet expectations, and the threat to a European establishment that lost votes came from strong showings by the Greens and liberals, both of whom are solidly pro-European.

In Italy, the birthplace of fascism and later a founding member of the European bloc, Mr. Salvini punched through the ceiling of even the highest expectations he had set for the returns. That outcome has already cemented his dominance in Italy’s politics.

But it was also accompanied by the collapse of another populist force — his coalition partners in the Five Star Movement — as well as the surprising revival of the pro-Europe, center-left Democratic Party, after its near-death experience in Italy’s national elections last year.

The divisive language against the European Union as the root of all the Continent’s ills “has actually galvanized people,” said Nathalie Tocci, the director of Italy’s Institute of International Affairs and a senior adviser to Europe’s foreign policy chief. “All of a sudden Europe means something.”

Ms. Tocci argued that as a result of that turnout, and a rejuvenation of the European political space by new Green voters and liberals, “the nationalists did not do as well as many feared.”

Mr. Salvini’s victory, she said, all but guaranteed Italy’s isolation in Europe and she considered his intention to form a populist group in European Parliament with up to 140 members “completely irrelevant.”

Outside of Italy, it was not clear that there was even a cohesive, pan-national populist movement to lead.

“Already within this nationalist alliance or whatever he calls it, already within that group they disagree with one another,” she said.

“Yes, they are all anti-migration but Salvini is the one who says other European countries have to take the burden,’’ she added. ‘‘You try and convince Orban about this. Be my guest. This is the point of nationalists. They are nationalists. They don’t help each other.”

Though far-right populists in Europe fell short of the worst fears of the political establishment, Mr. Salvini nonetheless captured nearly a third of votes in his country.

He did so sailing with the prevailing political winds blowing in much of the world, as autocrats in Russia and China set the pace of geopolitical competition, and President Trump acts as a one-man stress test on America’s system of checks and balances. Strong-fisted leaders, often with anti-democratic impulses, have risen to power all around.

India’s incumbent prime minister, the polarizing, right-leaning Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, won a stunning re-election victory last week, with a populist agenda favoring India’s Hindu majority and stoking fresh fear in the country’s minority communities, especially Muslims.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who has waged an antidrug campaign that human rights activists estimate has killed 20,000 people, won more seats this month in the Senate, while opposition candidates did not win any seats in the upper house, for the first time since 1938.

“This is how a democracy dies in our age, perishing on the back of a demagogue who ushers in popular dictatorship with consent of the masses and even the elite,” said Richard Heydarian, a professor of political science and author of “The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt Against Elite Democracy.”

Each country had its nuances and complexities, but from a global view, it was clear which way the political axis tilted.

“There is this rightward shift of the political balance,” said Stefano Stefanini, a retired Italian ambassador to NATO.

“Leaders are able to or try to bypass institutions and the traditional systems of checks and balances by going directly to the people,’’ he said. ‘‘And that can lead to a phase where you actually do away with democracy.”

That stage had not arrived, but he worried that social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, so adored by Mr. Trump and Mr. Salvini, could speed the process.

“Contemporary democracy runs the same risk of ancient Greece democracy: turning into tyranny,” he said.

In Europe, upheavals in identity politics — migration, globalization and an economic inequality — had led to a serious questioning of the liberal market democracy, said Roberto Menotti, a senior adviser at the Aspen Institute Italia.

“Change in general create fears, and that’s probably one simple explanation of this shift” to the right, he said. “But at the same time, it seems to me, the other big trend has been volatility.”

Parties that have been at the heart of the European political life since World War II are falling apart, and the election results eroded them further. The Brexit Party, a veritable political pop-up which sprouted only weeks ago, won about 32 percent of the vote in Britain.

[What Nigel Farage’s big win means for Brexit.]

“Whether this is a sort of terminal illness or just a temporary big headache of course we don’t know,” said Mr. Menotti.

What is clear from recent European history, especially in Europe, is that things change very quickly. Only five years ago, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, of Italy’s Democratic Party, became the toast of Europe’s left by winning more than 40 percent in European elections.

The Five Star Movement, the League’s coalition partner, became the leading party in Italy in national elections last year, but have now lost half of their support and trail the Democratic Party.

Mr. Salvini, a lifelong political operative, didn’t waste any time trying to consolidate his victory into gains that could help his longevity.

On Monday afternoon, he hit the campaign trail again, arguing in Rome that the election result gave him a mandate to renegotiate European budgetary rules imposed to bring down Italy’s dangerously inflated debt, but which would hurt his plans of introducing politically popular tax cuts.

“I will use this consensus to try to change European rules that are damaging the Italian people,” he said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/27/world/europe/europe-election-results-populism.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage
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    Tornadoes first touched down in the city of Trotwood, just outside Dayton, at about 11pm on Monday night
    The National Weather Service described the initial tornado as 'extremely dangerous' and warned residents to remain in their shelters
    Weather officials reported signs on their radars of debris being lifted tens of thousands of feet when the first tornado touched down
    Photos taken by residents showed widespread damage with homes severely damaged and trees and power lines brought down
    There were reports of houses being cut in half and others were completely flattened as millions lost power


Multiple tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, ripping buildings apart, downing trees and leaving millions without power.

The rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes were packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another.

The storms strew debris so thick that at one point, highway crews had to use snowplows to clear an interstate.

At least half a dozen communities from eastern Indiana through central Ohio suffered damage, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), though authorities working through the night had reported no fatalities as of early on Tuesday.

Some 5 million people were without power early on Tuesday in Ohio alone with towns just outside Dayton taking some of the heaviest hits.

Two suspected tornadoes hit the metro area of Dayton, Ohio on Monday night in the apace of just 30 minutes apart, according to the NWS and caused 'significant damage and injuries'.

Another reported tornado touched down just east of Dayton at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, local media reported.

When another tornado struck around 75 miles away in Circleville, Ohio, just before 1am the agency warned residents to 'take cover'. 

One tornado described as 'large and dangerous' wreaked havoc in western Ohio after tearing through buildings and causing widespread damage and injuries. 


A 'large and dangerous' tornado wreaked havoc after touching down near Daytona, Ohio late Monday night and causing widespread damage and injuries


Photos taken by residents showed widespread damage with homes severely damaged and trees and power lines brought down


Power lines and trees were downed and debris was scattered across roads in Beavercreek, Ohio, after a tornado struck

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7076851/Extremely-dangerous-tornado-touches-Ohio.html
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Monkey experiments offer clues on origin of language
« Reply #12860 on: May 28, 2019, 05:19:37 AM »

This handout picture taken in 2018 and released on May 27, 2019 by the German Primate Research Center shows a West African green monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus) in Simenti, Senegal whose response to threat was compared with Vervet monkeys This handout picture taken in 2018 and released on May 27, 2019 by the German Primate Research Center shows a West African green monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus) in Simenti, Senegal whose response to threat was compared with Vervet monkeys German Primate Research Center

Green and vervet monkeys live on either side of Africa and their evolutionary paths diverged 3.5 million years ago, and yet the two species share a hard-wired vocabulary when faced with danger, clever experiments have shown.

The new research, published Monday, sheds light not only on how primates -- including humans -- respond to threats, but also on the building blocks of language itself.

Vervet monkeys in the savannah of east Africa utter three distinct cries depending on whether they spot a leopard, a snake or an eagle, their three main predators.

Fellow monkeys who hear the cries but cannot see the peril react accordingly: the leopard call sends them scurring up a tree, a snake call prompts them to stand motionless on two legs, and the eagle cry makes them scan the sky while seeking shelter.

It's as if a sentinel is shouting, "Freeze, it's a snake!", or "Get off the ground, it's a leopard!"

The discovery thirty years ago of these unique warning cries sparked debate as to whether they were like primitive words, noted Julia Fisher, head of the cognitive ethology laboratory at the German Primate Center in Gottingen, Germany and senior author of a study in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

It also raised the question of where they came from. Did young vervets learn them through imitation, were the cries genetically imprinted?

To deepen their understanding, Fisher and colleagues set up an experiment with a community of green monkeys in Senegal which they have been observing for more than a decade.

Like their distant cousins across the continent, green monkeys also emit specific danger calls for big cats and snakes, and react accordingly.

But because the raptors in their neighbourhood pose no threat, anything like the vervet "eagle call" is simply not in their repertoire.

Even when the scientists tried to scare the green monkey with dummy birds, it didn't work.

"Any attempt to get them to vocalise in response to model eagles failed utterly," said Fisher.

But then she had an idea.

- Innate repertoire -

"We decided to bring in a drone and fly it over the green monkeys, to expose them to something potentially dangerous in the air that they had never seen before," she explained.

The drone flew at an altitude of about 60 metres (200 feet) over the unsuspecting animals.

Once the monkeys spotted it, the response was immediate: they gave alarm calls and scurried for cover.

Not only was the cry different from the response to leopards or snakes, it was "strikingly similar" to the eagle alarms of East African vervets.

"Despite 3.5 million years of evolutionary divergence, the call structure stayed essentially the same," Fisher noted.

In the vocabulary of evolutionary biologists, in other words, the danger cry was "highly conserved."

The fact that the green monkeys reacted to a drone and not other large birds native to the area suggests a subtle but important distinction, Kurt Hammerschmidt, also from the German Primate Center, told AFP.

"The alarm call is not linked to eagles per se," he said by phone. "It seems to correspond to a broader category: 'things that fly'."

To see what the monkeys might have learned from the drone fly-over, the scientists followed up a few days later with a second experiment.

They hid a loudspeaker near a lone monkey that was looking for food and played back the sound of the drone.

"Upon hearing the sound, the animal looked up and scanned the sky," Fischer said.

Subsequent tests showed that a single exposure to a new threat was enough for the monkeys to know what the sound means, showing a remarkable ability to adapt.

The researchers speculate that the hard-wired monkey calls -- and the meaning attached to them -- are similar to noises that infant humans make.

"When a child is born, it has the same innate repertoire of pre-verbal sounds such as moaning, laughing and crying," said Hammerschmidt.

Somehow, humans learned to move beyond this built-in vocabulary and produce new sounds associated with new meanings.

But underneath all the layers of culture and learning, certain core responses that fall within the domain of evolutionary psychology remained.

https://www.france24.com/en/20190527-monkey-experiments-offer-clues-origin-language
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China deploys Confucius in bid to boost religion controls
« Reply #12861 on: May 28, 2019, 05:22:09 AM »
BEIJING (AP) — China has begun five-day Confucian culture immersion courses for religious leaders in the sage’s hometown as part of a campaign to extend government control over faith communities through a process of sinicization.

The ruling Communist Party’s United Work Front Department said in a news release issued Monday that the activity was designed to ensure the primacy of traditional Chinese values above all.

“To hold activities here ... is a collective tribute to excellent traditional Chinese culture and a conscious identification and integration with Chinese culture,” said the release, posted on the department’s website.

Participants pledged to “cultivate the Chinese cultural character of our nation’s religions so that our nation’s religions are rooted in the fertile soil of excellent traditional Chinese culture, and to ceaselessly and deeply advance the Sinicization of our nation’s religions,” it said.

President Xi Jinping has launched the harshest crackdown in decades on religious practices, especially those viewed as foreign such as Christianity and Islam, while at the same time elevating home-grown Confucianism.

While for decades the officially atheistic Communist Party attacked Confucius as a symbol of feudalism, he has been thoroughly rehabilitated in recent years as a means of rallying patriotism and countering foreign influences.

Confucianism’s emphasis on strict social organization, advancement through study and exam taking, adherence to hierarchy and maintenance of social harmony appeals especially to the heavily bureaucratic party, which brooks no challenge to its authority.

Xi has repeatedly called for religious leaders and believers to be guided by “socialist core values.” Party bureaucrats overseeing religion have demanded that key religious tenets and texts such as the Bible and Quran be interpreted “in conformity with the demands of modern Chinese development and excellent traditional Chinese culture.”

That’s been accompanied with a campaign of removing crosses and bulldozing many churches, destroying mosques and locking an estimated 1 million Chinese Muslims in camps where they are forced to renounce Islam and their cultural traditions.

Despite international condemnation, China claims it upholds freedom of religion and is seeking only to ensure regulations are followed while discouraging religious extremism and violence.

Those participating at the launch of the five-day course included the president of the Chinese Taoist Association, vice president of the Chinese Islamic Association, chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and president of the Chinese Christian Association.

Confucius was believed to have been born in the 6th century B.C. in the eastern town of Qufu. He is credited with authoring or editing key texts of statesmanship and social order, particularly the Analects that contain his key aphorisms and teachings.

The sage’s legacy is also invoked in the name of the Confucius Institutes, quasi-academic bodies set up in colleges and other centers of education around the world.

Several U.S. universities have rejected offers to open Confucius Institutes on their campuses or declined to renew contracts over concerns about Chinese government political influence.

https://apnews.com/14e9ccf4af134e74b6220e27342afc2a
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The 2019 event would be the second Bilderberg meeting in Switzerland.


The 2019 edition of the exclusive Bilderberg Meeting will take place at the Hotel Montreux Palace in the Swiss town of Montreux from Thursday to Sunday.

It will feature Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, the head of Germany’s Christian Democrats, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Crédit-Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam among others.

According to Swiss daily Tages Anzeiger, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also be among the attendees, although he is not on the official guest list on the Bildberg website.

The Swiss paper reports that Pompeo is set to sit down with Ueli Maurer. The two are tipped to discuss the situation in Iran where Switzerland represents US interests.

However, the Swiss Finance Ministry told The Local on Tuesday that no meeting was envisaged between Pompeo and Maurer.

The yearly Bilderberg talk-fest, which dates back to 1954, features a guest list of around 130 people from Europe and North America including everyone from royals to business tycoons and academics.

A highly secretive affair without a fixed agenda, the Bilderberg Meeting is regular fodder for conspiracy theorists who believe its participants act as a secret world government.

However, organisers argue the private nature of the event gives attendees the chance to hold informal discussions about major issues.

Topics up for discussion this year include climate change and sustainability, Brexit, China, Russia, the future of capitalism and the weaponization of social media.

According to the official Bilderberg website, discussions are held under the Chatham House Rule, which means participants can use any information they receive during the meeting but cannot reveal its source.

This year will be the second time the Bilderberg meeting has been held in Switzerland. In 2011, it was held in St Moritz in the country’s southeast.


The 2019 edition of the exclusive Bilderberg Meeting will take place at the Hotel Montreux Palace in the Swiss town of Montreux from Thursday to Sunday.

It will feature Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, the head of Germany’s Christian Democrats, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Crédit-Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam among others.

According to Swiss daily Tages Anzeiger, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also be among the attendees, although he is not on the official guest list on the Bildberg website.

The Swiss paper reports that Pompeo is set to sit down with Ueli Maurer. The two are tipped to discuss the situation in Iran where Switzerland represents US interests.

However, the Swiss Finance Ministry told The Local on Tuesday that no meeting was envisaged between Pompeo and Maurer.

The yearly Bilderberg talk-fest, which dates back to 1954, features a guest list of around 130 people from Europe and North America including everyone from royals to business tycoons and academics.

A highly secretive affair without a fixed agenda, the Bilderberg Meeting is regular fodder for conspiracy theorists who believe its participants act as a secret world government.

However, organisers argue the private nature of the event gives attendees the chance to hold informal discussions about major issues.

Topics up for discussion this year include climate change and sustainability, Brexit, China, Russia, the future of capitalism and the weaponization of social media.

According to the official Bilderberg website, discussions are held under the Chatham House Rule, which means participants can use any information they receive during the meeting but cannot reveal its source.

This year will be the second time the Bilderberg meeting has been held in Switzerland. In 2011, it was held in St Moritz in the country’s southeast.

https://www.thelocal.ch/20190528/secretive-bilderberg-meeting-to-be-held-in-switzerland-from-may-30th-reports
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Facebook use eroding in US as social media under pressure
« Reply #12863 on: May 28, 2019, 05:33:23 AM »
Facebook's efforts to crack down on misinformation and sensational content have reduced the time spent at the leading social network eroding, researchers said Tuesday.

The average amount of time US adults spent at Facebook dropped by three minutes per day last year and will likely decrease by another minute next year, to a total of 37 minutes daily, according to the research firm eMarketer.

The report suggests that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg's efforts to focus on safety and remove divisive and hateful content could be having an economic impact.

"Facebook's continued loss of younger adult users, along with its focus on down-ranking clickbait posts and videos in favor of those that create 'time well spent,' resulted in less daily time spent on the platform in 2018 than we had previously expected," said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

"Less time spent on Facebook translates into fewer chances for marketers to reach the network's users."

Money taken in from digital ads are the leading source of revenue at Facebook, which has 2.4 billion monthly active users around the world.

A bright spot for Facebook is that daily US engagement is creeping up at its image and video focused social network Instagram, where eMarketer expected it to rise a minute this year to 27 minutes and then another minute per year through 2021.

"Features like Stories, influencer content and video are all contributing to more engagement and a slow but steady uptick in time spent on Instagram," Williamson said.

Meanwhile, time people in the US spend at Instagram rival Snapchat has seemingly plateaued at 26 minutes daily, with an application redesign failing to boost engagement, according to eMarketer.

A broader trend seen last year was for Americans to spend less time at online social networks, and the overall engagement was expected by eMarketer to remain unchanged this year at almost one hour, 14 minutes per day.

"Gains in digital video viewing are putting pressure on social time, and gaming is also creating new competition for user attention," Williamson said.

"Though we can't say there is a direct cause-effect relationship, these activities do at least threaten users' engagement with social media."

https://phys.org/news/2019-05-facebook-eroding-social-media-pressure.html
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Life hacks from Marcus Aurelius: How Stoicism can help us
« Reply #12864 on: May 28, 2019, 05:38:38 AM »


Stepping back from emotional and physical chaos to reach a state of calm, clear-headed thinking is the bedrock of Stoicism, a philosophy famously practiced by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Although Stoicism was conceived in ancient times, its guiding principles are very relevant today, according to cognitive behavioral psychotherapist Donald Robertson. His new book, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, examines how Stoicism informed the leader’s personal and political life. It also shows how the philosophy can help with the challenges of modern life, including work. Robertson, a practicing Stoic, visited the Knowledge@Wharton radio show on SiriusXM to share his story and discuss the power of Stoicism. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.)

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: How does Stoicism work in the business community?

Donald Robertson: It’s a strange thing. I didn’t anticipate this, but one of the biggest groups of people interested in it seems to be millennials who work in the tech industry. I feel like it can take root in Silicon Valley. Where I live in Toronto, I meet a lot of young people working in software development or the tech industry in general who are particularly drawn to this philosophy.

Knowledge@Wharton: Tell us the story of Marcus Aurelius and how Stoicism became his philosophy for living and ruling in the Roman Empire.

Robertson: Marcus Aurelius is one of the good Roman emperors. He lived in the second century A.D., and his reign was subject to many problems. It came after a peaceful period in history. As soon as he became emperor, there was a war with the Parthians, then the Roman Empire was invaded again by barbarians from the north. There was a famine, the River Tiber flooded, and he had a plague called the Antonine Plague, which was thought to have killed as many as 5 million people. He had a really hard time of it and had to lean on this philosophy that he studied when he was a young man in order to cope with it. We’re blessed to have his personal record of how he coped with adversity, the psychological techniques and strategies that he used derived from Stoic philosophy.

Knowledge@Wharton: It is interesting that his book, Meditations, still holds importance to people who read it today.

Robertson: Meditations must be one of the most popular self-help spiritual guides of all time. It’s always been a popular book, and it’s gone through a resurgence of popularity today. From my perspective as a cognitive therapist, that’s because the cognitive revolution in psychotherapy in the 1950s drew heavily on Stoicism for inspiration as an alternative to [Sigmund] Freud and all that kind of stuff. The new model of psychotherapy was influenced by Stoicism, and that’s filtered down through self-help and psychological literature in general.

Knowledge@Wharton: Is Stoicism the reason why Marcus Aurelius was able to rule for the length of time that he did and have the impact that you alluded to?

Robertson: One of the historians actually comments on that. He said that even though Marcus was a notoriously frail man and had a number of health problems, he still managed to outlive a bunch of other people around him in an incredibly tough time. People were dropping like flies because of the wars and the plagues, and Marcus nearly reached 50, which isn’t exceptionally old, but that’s fairly good for that particular period in Roman history. He was tougher than he looked, you could say. We think that was because of the psychological strategies that he developed to cope with his emotions and to cope with the physical pain and illness that he had to endure.



Knowledge@Wharton: In the book, you talk about understanding that there are going to be times when things are beyond your control. I think that’s an incredibly important idea to bring into personal and business life today because of all that we have going on.

Robertson: Absolutely. Some people think it’s even more timely now because we’re so bombarded with information. We’re constantly being told about the bigger picture in the world and things going on in other countries that we have very little control over. The Stoics realized a long time ago that the trick was learning to make a clear distinction in our mind between what’s under our direct control and what isn’t.

Ultimately, the only thing that’s really under our control is our own will, our own actions. Things happen to us, but what we can really control is the way that we respond to those things. Stoicism wants us to take also greater responsibility, greater ownership for the things that we can actually do, both in terms of our thoughts and our actions, and respond to the situations that we face.

Knowledge@Wharton: If you’re somebody who doesn’t have a handle on that concept, life can feel incredibly stressful, right?

Robertson: In my clinical practice, I’ve worked with many people who suffered, for example, from generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. Most of the things people worry about tend to be outside their direct control — the distant future, or events in politics, stuff like that. Often when they’re doing that, they neglect to do the things that they could be doing that are under their control.

Knowledge@Wharton: You’re telling the story of Marcus Aurelius and correlating it with today’s world. For example, you talk about how to speak wisely. Do you think there is a significant issue surrounding speech and how it is used now?

Robertson: It’s one of the things that people often overlook about Stoicism and what it can teach us. People use flowery, emotive language a lot of the time, and they curse and swear when they’re faced with problems. If someone is anxious in a meeting, they’ll say, “That guy shot me down in flames.” They could just say, “Oh, he expressed disagreement with me.” This is very obvious when you’re working with clients in therapy, but when you describe the same situation in more value-free, more objective, matter-of-fact terms, it often seems much less distressing. We unconsciously, unintentionally make ourselves even more worked up about things when we use rhetoric on ourselves in this way. And the Stoics were very aware of this problem.

I’ve worked with so many people over the past 20 years or so who are into Stoicism. There’s a growing community around it now, and I hear over and over again the same thing. People will say, “Well, it’s like academic philosophy, but it’s more practical.” They’ll say it’s like Buddhism, but it’s a Western alternative to it. They’ll say it’s like Christianity but more secular and more rational and philosophical. It seems to fill a gap in our culture at the moment, providing a philosophical down-to-earth and rational way of life that can help people to find meaning, but also to become more emotionally resilient.

Knowledge@Wharton: You also talk about anger, which also feels like an emotion that’s rising in society now.

Robertson: There’s anger everywhere, and the Stoics were particularly interested in it. It’s the main emotion that bothers them. We have an entire book that survives today by Seneca called On Anger about the stoic therapy of anger. But it’s also the main emotion that Marcus Aurelius is interested in dealing with. We know that he had problems with his own feelings of anger, at least as a young man, because he mentions that in the beginning of the book. In a way, Meditations is partly a book about him learning to deal with his anger and becoming more empathetic to other people. He describes so many techniques that would be relevant today and are some of our modern therapy techniques. At one point he gives a list of 10 separate stoic techniques that stand up today to be used to help with anger.

Knowledge@Wharton: Are there times where Stoicism is misinterpreted as disinterest?

Robertson: There are many common misconceptions. In fact, it’s in the language that we have. The English language has caricatures of many concepts in Greek philosophy. What we mean by cynicism with a small “c” is very different from Cynicism in the Greek philosophy with a capital “C.” The same goes for epicureanism, skepticism and stoicism. Lower-case stoicism is a coping style or a personality trait where we conceal or repress emotions, and that’s not what the ancient Stoics were talking about. They have a whole system of philosophy that’s much more sophisticated psychologically than that.

Knowledge@Wharton: You mentioned Marcus Aurelius dealt with illness and pain. How does Stoicism correlate to pain in modern life?

Robertson: Because of our sedentary lifestyle, and also because people are living longer, we have a lot of people now struggling to cope with chronic pain and discomfort. Back pain is kind of an epidemic. The Stoics give us these strategies for learning to cope with pain. The interesting thing is they’re mainly acceptance-based strategies. There’s a large, growing body of research that shows that emotional acceptance seems to be a powerful strategy in cognitive therapy for coping with upsetting or unpleasant feelings, particularly as a way of coping with pain. If we want to suffer less, we need to learn to embrace our pain and live with it without struggling against it as much.

Knowledge@Wharton: You are one of the founding members of the organization Modern Stoicism. How has the practice of this philosophy affected your life?

Robertson: It’s helped me to cope with a lot of things, even relatively trivial things. The last time I went to the dentist, I’m sure I was using stoic pain management techniques. It becomes a habitual thing. Coping with some of the stress that therapists have when they’re dealing with clients who sometimes describe very traumatic problems, and the stress of working with other people who have their difficulties and stresses. [I moved] to Canada a few years ago, and that was a big upheaval for me. As for many people, a life-changing event like that can require a lot to deal with. Learning to think about things like a Stoic has helped me to negotiate all of these things in life.

Knowledge@Wharton: One of the other areas you talk about is desire and conquering desire. How did that play out with Marcus Aurelius, and how do you see it in business culture today?

Robertson: Marcus Aurelius, like all of the Stoics, was quite cautious about the danger implicit in certain pleasant feelings or positive feelings, or feelings of happiness. The Greeks, in general, were quite conscious of this. If we get too carried away enjoying certain things, sometimes we make bad decisions, so we need to retain our senses. We need not to lose it when we’re having too much of a good time. Sometimes we can act irrationally when we’re happy.

Marcus wanted to cherish life and enjoy an experience of joy and fulfillment from it, but in a healthy way. That’s really what he’s talking about. He would think about the consequences of his desires. The key for the Stoics is thinking about the long-term consequences of acting on certain desires and asking ourselves whether they’re reasonable and balanced, and whether they’re in our long-term interests, or if they’re perhaps harmful to indulge in too much.



In terms of modern society, I suppose the modern kind of cliched thing that people talk to me all the time about is their habitual use of the internet and social media, in particular. That’s something that comes up a lot. Learning to take a step back from our feelings, rather than act on them, is integral to Stoicism — almost an observational perspective, then thinking about the bigger picture and evaluating whether what we’re doing is healthy or not. It’s learning to put limits on things that we might feel like doing but that maybe aren’t working out well for us in the long run.

Knowledge@Wharton: Does technology make it difficult for us to follow the path of Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism?

Robertson: There’s definitely a sense in which social media and advertising, by their very nature, are designed to suck us in and manipulate us a bit, so it takes an effort to resist that. But it was the same, in a different way, in the ancient world. There were professional public speakers or orators who spent their life studying rhetoric in order to manipulate audiences and play on their emotions. We have something like that today, but in a different, maybe more intrusive form. It’s in our living rooms now. But I think the Stoics definitely can teach us ways of coping with that. It does require a little bit of self-discipline to live like a Stoic, but they will teach us strategies that will help us to step back.

Knowledge@Wharton: What kind of role do you see Stoicism playing in the United States? Is it becoming part of the culture?

Robertson: I think people just learning that Stoicism is out there is actually a big deal, because I feel like people culturally are looking for something to fill this void that’s left by Christianity. Buddhism filled in a way, as did other Eastern religions, but not to everybody’s satisfaction. Some people want something that’s more familiar to European culture and values, and that seems to be what they are getting from Stoicism. They want a big philosophy. They want something bigger than cognitive therapy. That’s just a bunch of techniques, right? It’s not a way of life. Stoicism is something that people get tattooed on their bodies. It’s something they identify with at a deeper kind of more spiritual level, almost like a substitute for religion. I think that’s kind of what people really need, something to identify with at a bigger and deeper level. They need a whole way of life that’s going to help protect them against the effects of advertising and social media and celebrity culture and all of these toxic influences we have around us.

Knowledge@Wharton: In your book, you also write about the importance of following your own values — and that Stoicism is a personal choice.

Robertson: That’s a great thing to talk about because it’s a resurgent idea in modern psychotherapy as well, particularly in the evidenced-based treatment of clinical depression, which is an epidemic. One of the things that we find is that people who are increasingly driven by their feelings are usually doing things like using social media, partly to avoid unpleasant feelings that they’re experiencing. People today are constantly trying to distract themselves, to numb themselves from unpleasant emotions that they’re feeling.

In the past or perhaps in an ideal world, people would be doing things that are more fulfilling, that are more consistent with their core values, that are more aligned with their true self. And therapists today are increasingly encouraging clients to identify their true inner values and do things that serve those more fully. The big problem here is that most people don’t know what those values are. It takes an effort for them to get clearer about what they want to be remembered for after they’re gone, what they want their life to represent, rather than just falling in with the herd and what everyone else is doing and what the media brainwashes them into thinking their life should be about.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/life-hacks-from-marcus-aurelius-how-stoicism-can-help-us/
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

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As campaign season activity intensifies over the next eighteen months, climate change debate will heat up along with the rise in temperature of our planet. Psychology will play an important part in this debate.


Group of demonstrators on road, young people from different culture and race fight for climate change - Global warming and enviroment concept - Focus on blond girl face

Psychologically speaking, humans have been collectively acting as if they have been addicted to fossil fuels, but refusing to recognize the extent of their dependence, let alone engaging in any serious rehabilitation.

Confronting this reality is about to occur in earnest, as part of the 2020 election campaign. Expect to see important questions being raised about global warming during candidate debates. Do not expect 2020 to be like 2016 when global warming issues received virtually no attention in debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The country is polarized about climate change policy, just as it is polarized about other political issues such as border security and abortion. The Center for Climate Change Communication, based at universities Yale and George Mason, provides reliable survey data on how climate change issues are currently viewed by the American electorate. These data characterize the differences in views between Democrats and Republicans.

For Democrats, global warming ranks as the third most important issue, and for moderate to conservative Democrats it ranks as eighth most important issue. In contrast, for Republicans, global warming ranks between 23 and 29 in terms of importance. Well over half, indeed 64%, of Democrats indicate that global warming will be an important determinant of who they vote for in 2020, while for Republicans the corresponding figure is 12%.

The candidate who to date has proposed the most concrete plan for addressing global warming is Jay Inslee, the Democratic Governor of Washington. Notably, Inslee has placed climate change at the top of his agenda, and the issue will define his campaign. Indeed a tweet from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described Inslee’s climate plan as “the most serious + comprehensive” among plans advanced by all declared candidates.

Governor Inslee should be pleased by Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet. He should be pleased that he has garnered enough donor support among Democrats to qualify for the first Democratic debate in June. He should be less pleased to be polling between zero and 1 percent nationally.

Governor Inslee might be polling higher today had he hosted a popular reality television show or identified with an issue that triggered voters’ sense of insecurity and sense of urgency. There is not much he can do at this stage about hosting a popular reality TV show. However, the open question is whether the threat of global warming will resonate psychologically with enough voters, and whether those voters will feel a sense of urgency that is commensurate with the magnitude of the threat.

I cannot underestimate how critical it is that people feel a sense of urgency. It is not enough that people feel that an issue is important. Without a sense of urgency, people delay taking actions to deal with important items all the time, often allowing themselves instead to become distracted by trivial items, such as cell phone notifications, that for whatever reason are associated with feelings of urgency.

Americans are beginning to feel a sense of urgency about climate change that they did not feel before. In the last two years, America experienced severe floods in the Midwest, disastrous wildfires in the West, unusually destructive hurricanes in the Southeast, major drought in the Southwest, and punishing cold winters in the North.

We can see and feel for ourselves that the climate is changing. Most Democrats accept the message from mainstream climate scientists who for decades have been telling us that global warming is the result of humans’ over-consumption of fossil fuels. In contrast, many fewer Republicans accept this message.

In my view, although the position held by most mainstream climate scientists is essentially correct, significant psychological barriers are largely responsible for preventing many people from accepting the scientists' message. For this reason, psychology will invariably play a critical role in political discourse about climate change.

Part of the difference between Democrats and Republicans is driven by attitudes about regulation. Democrats by nature trust regulation to address social problems, while Republicans do not. Trust is psychological in nature.

Fake news is not new to climate science debate. However, as the magnitude of the political stake increases, so too will the degree of misinformation. Combating misinformation by being well informed is going to be increasingly critical. For this reason, responsible voters from all sides of the political landscape should pay careful attention to what candidates, from all sides of the political landscape, say about climate change policy.

A good starting point is Governor Inslee’s website. My reading of Inslee's climate change plan suggests that a lot of thought has gone into putting together a set of proposals that balances environmental goals and psychological determinants that drive political feasibility. For example, Inslee has learned the hard way from his experience as governor that carbon taxes, as necessary as they are, do not resonate positively with voters. Therefore, Inslee’s plan emphasizes standards over carbon taxes. Instinctively, Inslee also seems to be aware of the psychological property known as “loss aversion,” whereby people experience losses much more acutely than comparably sized gains. Therefore, Inslee’s standards apply only to “new” automobiles and buildings, not assets currently in place, a feature which reduces perceived losses.

Being smart about psychology is going to be extremely important for influencing how voters react to different proposals for addressing climate change.

Get ready for the coming heated political debate about global warming.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/hershshefrin/2019/05/27/get-ready-as-climate-change-debate-will-go-mainstream-in-2020-u-s-presidential-election-campaign/#177a665364e2

Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #12866 on: May 28, 2019, 06:12:33 AM »
We could start by calling deniers what they really are, LIARS.

A man gets into a car.  His pet dog says to him.  When you press the start button and your foot is on the brake and your key fob is with you, will the car start?

The Man:  Dog, that is how a car works.

Dog: Then you believe in science.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 06:17:49 AM by K-Dog »
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Re: Life hacks from Marcus Aurelius: How Stoicism can help us
« Reply #12867 on: May 28, 2019, 06:34:07 AM »


Stepping back from emotional and physical chaos to reach a state of calm, clear-headed thinking is the bedrock of Stoicism, a philosophy famously practiced by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Although Stoicism was conceived in ancient times, its guiding principles are very relevant today, according to cognitive behavioral psychotherapist Donald Robertson. His new book, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, examines how Stoicism informed the leader’s personal and political life. It also shows how the philosophy can help with the challenges of modern life, including work. Robertson, a practicing Stoic, visited the Knowledge@Wharton radio show on SiriusXM to share his story and discuss the power of Stoicism. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.)

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: How does Stoicism work in the business community?

Donald Robertson: It’s a strange thing. I didn’t anticipate this, but one of the biggest groups of people interested in it seems to be millennials who work in the tech industry. I feel like it can take root in Silicon Valley. Where I live in Toronto, I meet a lot of young people working in software development or the tech industry in general who are particularly drawn to this philosophy.

Knowledge@Wharton: Tell us the story of Marcus Aurelius and how Stoicism became his philosophy for living and ruling in the Roman Empire.

Robertson: Marcus Aurelius is one of the good Roman emperors. He lived in the second century A.D., and his reign was subject to many problems. It came after a peaceful period in history. As soon as he became emperor, there was a war with the Parthians, then the Roman Empire was invaded again by barbarians from the north. There was a famine, the River Tiber flooded, and he had a plague called the Antonine Plague, which was thought to have killed as many as 5 million people. He had a really hard time of it and had to lean on this philosophy that he studied when he was a young man in order to cope with it. We’re blessed to have his personal record of how he coped with adversity, the psychological techniques and strategies that he used derived from Stoic philosophy.

Knowledge@Wharton: It is interesting that his book, Meditations, still holds importance to people who read it today.

Robertson: Meditations must be one of the most popular self-help spiritual guides of all time. It’s always been a popular book, and it’s gone through a resurgence of popularity today. From my perspective as a cognitive therapist, that’s because the cognitive revolution in psychotherapy in the 1950s drew heavily on Stoicism for inspiration as an alternative to [Sigmund] Freud and all that kind of stuff. The new model of psychotherapy was influenced by Stoicism, and that’s filtered down through self-help and psychological literature in general.

Knowledge@Wharton: Is Stoicism the reason why Marcus Aurelius was able to rule for the length of time that he did and have the impact that you alluded to?

Robertson: One of the historians actually comments on that. He said that even though Marcus was a notoriously frail man and had a number of health problems, he still managed to outlive a bunch of other people around him in an incredibly tough time. People were dropping like flies because of the wars and the plagues, and Marcus nearly reached 50, which isn’t exceptionally old, but that’s fairly good for that particular period in Roman history. He was tougher than he looked, you could say. We think that was because of the psychological strategies that he developed to cope with his emotions and to cope with the physical pain and illness that he had to endure.



Knowledge@Wharton: In the book, you talk about understanding that there are going to be times when things are beyond your control. I think that’s an incredibly important idea to bring into personal and business life today because of all that we have going on.

Robertson: Absolutely. Some people think it’s even more timely now because we’re so bombarded with information. We’re constantly being told about the bigger picture in the world and things going on in other countries that we have very little control over. The Stoics realized a long time ago that the trick was learning to make a clear distinction in our mind between what’s under our direct control and what isn’t.

Ultimately, the only thing that’s really under our control is our own will, our own actions. Things happen to us, but what we can really control is the way that we respond to those things. Stoicism wants us to take also greater responsibility, greater ownership for the things that we can actually do, both in terms of our thoughts and our actions, and respond to the situations that we face.

Knowledge@Wharton: If you’re somebody who doesn’t have a handle on that concept, life can feel incredibly stressful, right?

Robertson: In my clinical practice, I’ve worked with many people who suffered, for example, from generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. Most of the things people worry about tend to be outside their direct control — the distant future, or events in politics, stuff like that. Often when they’re doing that, they neglect to do the things that they could be doing that are under their control.

Knowledge@Wharton: You’re telling the story of Marcus Aurelius and correlating it with today’s world. For example, you talk about how to speak wisely. Do you think there is a significant issue surrounding speech and how it is used now?

Robertson: It’s one of the things that people often overlook about Stoicism and what it can teach us. People use flowery, emotive language a lot of the time, and they curse and swear when they’re faced with problems. If someone is anxious in a meeting, they’ll say, “That guy shot me down in flames.” They could just say, “Oh, he expressed disagreement with me.” This is very obvious when you’re working with clients in therapy, but when you describe the same situation in more value-free, more objective, matter-of-fact terms, it often seems much less distressing. We unconsciously, unintentionally make ourselves even more worked up about things when we use rhetoric on ourselves in this way. And the Stoics were very aware of this problem.

I’ve worked with so many people over the past 20 years or so who are into Stoicism. There’s a growing community around it now, and I hear over and over again the same thing. People will say, “Well, it’s like academic philosophy, but it’s more practical.” They’ll say it’s like Buddhism, but it’s a Western alternative to it. They’ll say it’s like Christianity but more secular and more rational and philosophical. It seems to fill a gap in our culture at the moment, providing a philosophical down-to-earth and rational way of life that can help people to find meaning, but also to become more emotionally resilient.

Knowledge@Wharton: You also talk about anger, which also feels like an emotion that’s rising in society now.

Robertson: There’s anger everywhere, and the Stoics were particularly interested in it. It’s the main emotion that bothers them. We have an entire book that survives today by Seneca called On Anger about the stoic therapy of anger. But it’s also the main emotion that Marcus Aurelius is interested in dealing with. We know that he had problems with his own feelings of anger, at least as a young man, because he mentions that in the beginning of the book. In a way, Meditations is partly a book about him learning to deal with his anger and becoming more empathetic to other people. He describes so many techniques that would be relevant today and are some of our modern therapy techniques. At one point he gives a list of 10 separate stoic techniques that stand up today to be used to help with anger.

Knowledge@Wharton: Are there times where Stoicism is misinterpreted as disinterest?

Robertson: There are many common misconceptions. In fact, it’s in the language that we have. The English language has caricatures of many concepts in Greek philosophy. What we mean by cynicism with a small “c” is very different from Cynicism in the Greek philosophy with a capital “C.” The same goes for epicureanism, skepticism and stoicism. Lower-case stoicism is a coping style or a personality trait where we conceal or repress emotions, and that’s not what the ancient Stoics were talking about. They have a whole system of philosophy that’s much more sophisticated psychologically than that.

Knowledge@Wharton: You mentioned Marcus Aurelius dealt with illness and pain. How does Stoicism correlate to pain in modern life?

Robertson: Because of our sedentary lifestyle, and also because people are living longer, we have a lot of people now struggling to cope with chronic pain and discomfort. Back pain is kind of an epidemic. The Stoics give us these strategies for learning to cope with pain. The interesting thing is they’re mainly acceptance-based strategies. There’s a large, growing body of research that shows that emotional acceptance seems to be a powerful strategy in cognitive therapy for coping with upsetting or unpleasant feelings, particularly as a way of coping with pain. If we want to suffer less, we need to learn to embrace our pain and live with it without struggling against it as much.

Knowledge@Wharton: You are one of the founding members of the organization Modern Stoicism. How has the practice of this philosophy affected your life?

Robertson: It’s helped me to cope with a lot of things, even relatively trivial things. The last time I went to the dentist, I’m sure I was using stoic pain management techniques. It becomes a habitual thing. Coping with some of the stress that therapists have when they’re dealing with clients who sometimes describe very traumatic problems, and the stress of working with other people who have their difficulties and stresses. [I moved] to Canada a few years ago, and that was a big upheaval for me. As for many people, a life-changing event like that can require a lot to deal with. Learning to think about things like a Stoic has helped me to negotiate all of these things in life.

Knowledge@Wharton: One of the other areas you talk about is desire and conquering desire. How did that play out with Marcus Aurelius, and how do you see it in business culture today?

Robertson: Marcus Aurelius, like all of the Stoics, was quite cautious about the danger implicit in certain pleasant feelings or positive feelings, or feelings of happiness. The Greeks, in general, were quite conscious of this. If we get too carried away enjoying certain things, sometimes we make bad decisions, so we need to retain our senses. We need not to lose it when we’re having too much of a good time. Sometimes we can act irrationally when we’re happy.

Marcus wanted to cherish life and enjoy an experience of joy and fulfillment from it, but in a healthy way. That’s really what he’s talking about. He would think about the consequences of his desires. The key for the Stoics is thinking about the long-term consequences of acting on certain desires and asking ourselves whether they’re reasonable and balanced, and whether they’re in our long-term interests, or if they’re perhaps harmful to indulge in too much.



In terms of modern society, I suppose the modern kind of cliched thing that people talk to me all the time about is their habitual use of the internet and social media, in particular. That’s something that comes up a lot. Learning to take a step back from our feelings, rather than act on them, is integral to Stoicism — almost an observational perspective, then thinking about the bigger picture and evaluating whether what we’re doing is healthy or not. It’s learning to put limits on things that we might feel like doing but that maybe aren’t working out well for us in the long run.

Knowledge@Wharton: Does technology make it difficult for us to follow the path of Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism?

Robertson: There’s definitely a sense in which social media and advertising, by their very nature, are designed to suck us in and manipulate us a bit, so it takes an effort to resist that. But it was the same, in a different way, in the ancient world. There were professional public speakers or orators who spent their life studying rhetoric in order to manipulate audiences and play on their emotions. We have something like that today, but in a different, maybe more intrusive form. It’s in our living rooms now. But I think the Stoics definitely can teach us ways of coping with that. It does require a little bit of self-discipline to live like a Stoic, but they will teach us strategies that will help us to step back.

Knowledge@Wharton: What kind of role do you see Stoicism playing in the United States? Is it becoming part of the culture?

Robertson: I think people just learning that Stoicism is out there is actually a big deal, because I feel like people culturally are looking for something to fill this void that’s left by Christianity. Buddhism filled in a way, as did other Eastern religions, but not to everybody’s satisfaction. Some people want something that’s more familiar to European culture and values, and that seems to be what they are getting from Stoicism. They want a big philosophy. They want something bigger than cognitive therapy. That’s just a bunch of techniques, right? It’s not a way of life. Stoicism is something that people get tattooed on their bodies. It’s something they identify with at a deeper kind of more spiritual level, almost like a substitute for religion. I think that’s kind of what people really need, something to identify with at a bigger and deeper level. They need a whole way of life that’s going to help protect them against the effects of advertising and social media and celebrity culture and all of these toxic influences we have around us.

Knowledge@Wharton: In your book, you also write about the importance of following your own values — and that Stoicism is a personal choice.

Robertson: That’s a great thing to talk about because it’s a resurgent idea in modern psychotherapy as well, particularly in the evidenced-based treatment of clinical depression, which is an epidemic. One of the things that we find is that people who are increasingly driven by their feelings are usually doing things like using social media, partly to avoid unpleasant feelings that they’re experiencing. People today are constantly trying to distract themselves, to numb themselves from unpleasant emotions that they’re feeling.

In the past or perhaps in an ideal world, people would be doing things that are more fulfilling, that are more consistent with their core values, that are more aligned with their true self. And therapists today are increasingly encouraging clients to identify their true inner values and do things that serve those more fully. The big problem here is that most people don’t know what those values are. It takes an effort for them to get clearer about what they want to be remembered for after they’re gone, what they want their life to represent, rather than just falling in with the herd and what everyone else is doing and what the media brainwashes them into thinking their life should be about.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/life-hacks-from-marcus-aurelius-how-stoicism-can-help-us/

Very relevant to Diners.  Everyone else too; techniques for dealing with reality instead of redefining it on your own terms will mean survival.
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline Surly1

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #12868 on: May 28, 2019, 06:36:25 AM »
We could start by calling deniers what they really are, LIARS.

A man gets into a car.  His pet dog says to him.  When you press the start button and your foot is on the brake and your key fob is with you, will the car start?

The Man:  Dog, that is how a car works.

Dog: Then you believe in science.

Hm. Last year I replaced my wife's old car with a new Accord that has a start button and a key fob.

Had I not, I'd have read this and said, "fake news." Ha.
“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline K-Dog

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #12869 on: May 28, 2019, 06:50:03 AM »
https://donaldrobertson.name/2018/11/23/jon-meacham-on-marcus-aurelius/

The book authors page.

@surly 

Denialism is herd belief. It is no different than rooting for one's home team at a sports event.  Denialism has no logic, yet people who can put a pair of pants on know logic.  Deniers thus deserve no mercy.  Calling many dumbfucks to their face will actually actually straighten them out but quick since the entire belief structure is founded on social approval and nothing else.  Risky I admit.

Others deniers can be identified and sent to their own island.

Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.