How our brain sculpts experience in line with our expectations

The Book of Days (1864) by the Scottish author Robert Chambers reports a curious legal case: in 1457 in the town of Lavegny, a sow and her piglets were charged and tried for the murder of a partially eaten small child. After much deliberation, the court condemned the sow to death for her part in the act, but acquitted the…

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Consciousness is not a thing….

….but a process of inference. I have a confession. As a physicist and psychiatrist, I find it difficult to engage with conversations about consciousness. My biggest gripe is that the philosophers and cognitive scientists who tend to pose the questions often assume that the mind is a thing, whose existence can be identified by the attributes it has or the…

Breathwork

Few fitness and wellness trends have taken over my feeds as comprehensively as breathwork has in the last few months—it’s all guys calmly sitting cross-legged or plunging into ice baths while talking about the Wim Hof Method as far as the eye can see. Now, if you don’t know Wim Hof from Wim Wenders, I’ll refrain from criticizing your under-rock lifestyle. Created…

Get paid to digitally detox

While this catchphrase has been used widely to encourage and sometimes excuse incessant documentation of one’s everyday and extraordinary activities, in practice it’s led to being plugged in all the time.  The result is “Zoom fatigue” and less time being physically active, according to Satellite Internet, a company that sells — you guessed it — satellite internet, which is used…

What’s a gut decision?

My partner of two years and I broke up recently. It was an extremely painful process that has led to extremely painful days, which I can only hope gets easier with time—that’s what people say, right? Some of that pain came from how unsure we both were that it was the right thing to do. The thing was, I waffled…

Have a nice trip

A psychedelic experience can be deeply rewarding, but also carries real risks. Here’s how to avoid a bad trip. Humans have consumed substances with consciousness-altering properties for millennia. Traditional societies used them in healing rituals, initiation ceremonies and to make contact with the gods and the dead, among other practices. Today they are known as psychedelics, and include the naturally…

Is this the real life?

Is this just fantasy? Philosophers and physicists say we might be living in a computer simulation, but how can we tell? And does it matter? Our species is not going to last forever. One way or another, humanity will vanish from the Universe, but before it does, it might summon together sufficient computing power to emulate human experience, in all…

Can you bare it?

I stumbled upon Daphne on the rooftop of a dusky riad in Marrakech. This six-foot Canadienne with man-sized feet was the only other guest there, and she was naked. Or mostly naked, which is startling for me at the best of times, but particularly in Morocco – a conservative north-African Muslim country. “Oh, er, hello!” “Hi,” she said, blowing a…

Hang out in Japanese neighbourhoods

Did you know that Japan’s shrines and temples welcome regular tourists to stay for a night or more? Experience authentic Zen meditation, the traditional, vegetarian cuisine called shojin ryori, and explore a fascinating world so different from anything you know. Staying at a shrine or temple is an experience that even a lot of Japanese people don’t get to have that easily, a unique glimpse into the realm…

Modest mosque

Centrally located in the Iranian capital Tehran, the Vali-e-Asr Mosque’s most distinguishing aspect is the fact that it does not look like a mosque. Designed by Iranian architects Reza Daneshmir and Catherine Spiridonoff of Fluid Motion Architects, the building eschews the stereotypical typology of large domes and tall minarets in favour of a modest horizontality thereby making the mosque harmoniously…

Stay at a traditional Japanese house

It had been a packed afternoon of exploring the charming city of Tamba Sasayama, where the vibrant energy of young businesses ran hot through the city. But it was also a relentlessly cold and rainy day. so I was already fantasizing about hot baths and steaming hot pots when we arrived at the 100-year-old traditional Japanese house. Read more courtesy of Voyapon.com…

Let’s rock!

Rock art, that is paintings and carvings on natural rock formations, is one of the earliest forms of creative expression and a universal phenomenon among prehistoric societies, in this case, Indian. An instrument of communication rather than simply art, it is an assemblage of material culture which provides a glimpse into the lives of people who painted them. Rock art…

Déjà vu, all over again

A brain glitch? A sign of quantum entanglement? What science says about déjà vu. Roughly two-thirds of people have had déjà vu, or the weird feeling that a new situation has been experienced before. Yet its prevalence belies just how mysterious the phenomenon remains to researchers, despite some extraordinary recent leaps in neuroscience. In part, this is because it’s extremely…

I’m not here

When many of us think about hallucinations, we tend to think about schizophrenia. However, hallucinations are incredibly varied, and can happen for many different reasons, many of which are unrelated to mental illness. In fact, many people experience hallucinations at some point in their life even when there’s nothing wrong with them. Many simple hallucinations, for example, are caused by sensory deprivation.…

Brain science meets meditation

It’s Tuesday, June 11, 1963, and Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức steps out of a car into the middle of a Saigon intersection. He is followed by 350 Buddhist monks and nuns, all marching to end their persecution by Vietnam’s government. A monk places a cushion in the middle of the intersection. Read more courtesy of medium.com Booking.com

Train your heart

In the six years since I was diagnosed with both generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder—what can I say, I’m an overachiever—I’ve tried just about everything to manage my symptoms. I’ve been in and out of therapy and took medication for a year, but ultimately decided to taper off the medication because I didn’t like the side effects. I’ve tested just about…

Weed love to see you, bud

Thailand is in a good position to tap the green rush and forge a path in medical marijuana tourism. Its neighbors are keenly watching its developments, even as the region’s pace toward marijuana legalization is still slow. Some places have been there for a while. Read more courtesy of skift.com  Please rotate on mobile devices

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