Weekly choice: on life, British accents and good spanking

A Meaningful Life Leads to a Longer Life

“Many studies have linked meaning in life to health. People who perceive their lives as full of meaning and purpose are less vulnerable to mental illness and are better able to cope with stress and trauma. Having a strong sense of meaning in life also inspires a desire to live healthy: it makes people feel like they have something to live for. But does a meaningful life actually lead to a longer life?

Initial evidence suggests that it may. In a study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Dr. Neal Krause, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, found that older adults who indicated having a strong sense of meaning in life in an initial assessment were more likely to still be alive at a follow-up assessment than older adults who lacked a strong sense of meaning. Moreover, Dr. Krause identified a feeling of purpose as a driving force. Older adults who felt like their lives had purpose were healthier and thus less likely to die.”



A Brief Tour of British Accents: 14 Ways to Speak English in 84 Seconds

“Visiting London a few months ago, easily as I could make sense of everybody speaking my native tongue, I pre-emptively gave up hope of picking up on the nuances of all the accents people had brought to the city from their hometowns — much less the numerous and subtle dialects native of London itself. Everyone I met insisted that a Briton’s accent says more about their origin, class, station in life, and degree of self-regard than any other quality, but not knowing Newcastle from Southampton when I first set foot on English soil, I had to take them at their word (however they happened to pronounce it).

The video above, in which professional dialect coach Andrew Jack demonstrates fourteen British accents in 84 seconds, might help sort things out for my fellow confused countrymen. “Received communication is the great communicator,” Jack says, using the accent I assume he grew up with. “As soon as you deviate from that and you go into London speech, for example, you lose a little bit of the communication.” By that point, Jack has seamlessly transitioned into Cockney, from which he then shifts into the accents of East Anglia, the West Country, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Liverpool, Northern Ireland, Dublin, the Scottish highlands, Glasgow, North Wales, and South Wales. “



Teenagers’ IQ scores can rise or fall sharply during adolescence

“IQ scores can change dramatically in teenage years in parallel with changes to the brain, according to a study that suggests caution in using the 11+ exam for grammar school entrance to predict academic ability. IQ is thought to be stable across a person’s life. Childhood scores are often used to predict education outcome and job prospects as an adult. But the study suggests scores are surprisingly variable.

classRobert Sternberg from Oklahoma State University, who studies intelligence but was not in the research team, said: “A testing industry has developed around the notion that IQ is relatively fixed and pretty well set in the early years of life. This study shows in a compelling way that meaningful changes can occur throughout the teenage years.” Our mental faculties are not fixed, he said: “People who are mentally active and alert will likely benefit, and the couch potatoes who do not exercise themselves intellectually will pay a price.” (…) The teens split evenly between those whose IQ improved and those whose IQ worsened. “It was not the case that young low performers got better, and the young high performers averaged out. Some highs got even better, and some lows got even worse,” said Price. (…) The study contradicts a long-standing view of intelligence as fixed. Alfred Binet, father of modern intelligence tests, believed mental development ended at 16, while child psychologist Jean Piaget thought it ended even earlier.”



TED’s Best Of The Week! Your elusive creative genius, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk

creative-genius“And then the Renaissance came and everything changed, and we had this big idea, and the big idea was let’s put the individual human being at the center of the universe above all gods and mysteries, and there’s no more room for mystical creatures who take dictation from the divine. And it’s the beginning of rational humanism, and people started to believe that creativity came completely from the self of the individual. And for the first time in history, you start to hear people referring to this or that artist as being a genius rather than having a genius. And I got to tell you, I think that was a huge error. You know, I think that allowing somebody, one mere person to believe that he or she is like, the vessel, you know, like the font and the essence and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable, eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile, human psyche. It’s like asking somebody to swallow the sun. It just completely warps and distorts egos, and it creates all these unmanageable expectations about performance. And I think the pressure of that has been killing off our artists for the last 500 years. (…) But the process, and the heavy anxiety around it was released when he took the genie, the genius out of him where it was causing nothing but trouble, and released it kind of back where it came from, and realized that this didn’t have to be this internalized, tormented thing. It could be this peculiar, wondrous, bizarre collaboration kind of conversation between Tom and the strange, external thing that was not quite Tom.”



Person Of The Week! Leopold von Sacher Masoch!

Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch (1836 – 1895) was an Austrian writer and journalist, who gained renown for his romantic stories of Galician life. During his lifetime, Sacher-Masoch was well known as a man of letters, a utopian thinker who espoused socialist and humanist ideals in his fiction and non-fiction.


The term masochism is derived from his name, coined in 1886 by the Austrian psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing (1840–1902) in his book Psychopathia Sexualis:

“I feel justified in calling this sexual anomaly “Masochism”, because the author Sacher-Masoch frequently made this perversion, which up to his time was quite unknown to the scientific world as such, the substratum of his writings. I followed thereby the scientific formation of the term “Daltonism“, from Dalton, the discoverer of colour-blindness. During recent years facts have been advanced which prove that Sacher-Masoch was not only the poet of Masochism, but that he himself was afflicted with the anomaly. Although these proofs were communicated to me without restriction, I refrain from giving them to the public. I refute the accusation that “I have coupled the name of a revered author with a perversion of the sexual instinct”, which has been made against me by some admirers of the author and by some critics of my book. As a man, Sacher-Masoch cannot lose anything in the estimation of his cultured fellow-beings simply because he was afflicted with an anomaly of his sexual feelings. As an author, he suffered severe injury so far as the influence and intrinsic merit of his work is concerned, for so long and whenever he eliminated his perversion from his literary efforts he was a gifted writer, and as such would have achieved real greatness had he been actuated by normally sexual feelings. In this respect he is a remarkable example of the powerful influence exercised by the vita sexualis be it in the good or evil sense over the formation and direction of man’s mind.”

“Throughout history it has always been a serious deep culture which has produced moral character. Man even when he is selfish or evil always follows principles, woman never follows anything but impulses. Don’t ever forget that, and never feel secure with the woman you love.”

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs

Watch interesting talk on the subject: <

The conflict of good and bad stress

There is an extended discussion today about stress and its influence. People from different areas try to relate to the negativity stress affect our lives. There are many accusations in regards to the origin and open questions as to the toll it has on our culture, on our mortality or quality of life etc. There is no doubt that it is a hindrance to a healthy life.

stress-resourcesYet stress as a whole it too big to attend and try to diminish, which is why there is a need to a more methodological set of recognizing the details. In Trispectivism I talk continuously about the importance of the awareness we should have toward separating the abstract term from the actual consolidation of the manifest in each one´s life.

“It will be alright, this will be the last time” or maybe “he said that this is wrong, it has to be wrong” and even “I´m not afraid of traveling alone/dying…”, phrases such as these are common in our daily life. Many times they will be the one thing we need to make a decision. Yet why are we saying them and what is their relation to stress?

Self manipulation is known and well used in our minds, some of the occasions we use it, we actually have a slight awareness but we negate it with different reasoning, while other times we are simply not consciously aware of it at all.

Let us take for example a preparation for a stressful big event (i.e. conference, important examination, evaluation etc.). We can react in a two natural ways, good stress and bad stress. There is no point in acknowledging those who say they are not stressed, even if they think they mean it, it is because of the feeling of pleasure and excitement they have had from the event after the last time the went through it, which is what stayed in the memory. Thus, while relating stress to a negative emotion, they take comfort in the thought they do not feel it. What do I mean by that? The good stress and excitement is the one that motivate you to try harder, to learn more, to memorize and to really prepare yourself to the event with the most effort and rigor you have. The bad stress, on the other hand, is what convinces you to remain in a passive mood, you do not prepare adequately, your effort it minimum, probably just enough to say you really tried. Leaving aside the good stress (for it is usually a positive motor for creativity and achievement), it is important to ponder a little on the negative one. Usually, the passiveness is caused and reinforced by the person telling to themselves that there is no reason to be excited and stressed using arguments such as, ‘enjoy the present’, ‘don´t worry too much, it causes heart attacks’ etc.

And here is the interior conflict, while trying to relax their mind diminishing the importance of the event they do not manifest a desire for Buddhism tranquility but a defense mechanism for the imminent failure (or so it seems to them and for the fact of not putting any effort in the preparation). You anticipate a failure by actually creating it while preparing for the supposed future with out-of-context expressions of reinforcement.

Of course, that kind of mechanism does not only happen on small scales but also on a much larger, life altering, achievements. For example, a test to a higher position in your job or many kind of decision-making that comes across your way.

Trispectivism can help by realizing and distinguishing the universal, global and abstract term of the stress inducing aspect and the aspect itself and its implication and preparation needed.

Thus, next time you are facing a test of some sort (not necessarily academic one) do not start depressing because you realize you are in stress, but rather use stress for your advantage and not to put you in a state of false apathy and despair.


An update to this post from 05.09.2013:

Yesterday I watched a TED talk talking about exactly this issue. I have to admit that it took some time to these Harvard guys to reach a the same conclusion as above. But thanks to them, I can now say there is an important and renown research to back my words as describe above. Here’s the talk: