Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I've gotta recommend this guy

Dr. Dan Siegel. That's the audio page, you can navigate around from there.

[I figured I'd put this update here: Amusingly, considering that Siegel's work is all about how to make your brain work better, ...well, just look at this mess of a post!]

This is from his "about Dan" page:
Daniel J. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. He served as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow at UCLA, studying family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative.

Dr. Siegel’s psychotherapy practice includes children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. He is currently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine where he is on the faculty of the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development and the Co-Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. An award-winning educator, he is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and recipient of several other honorary fellowships. He is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational organization that focuses on how the development of mindsight in individuals, families and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes.

Dr. Siegel has published extensively for the professional audience. He is the co-editor of a handbook of psychiatry and the author of numerous articles, chapters, and the internationally acclaimed text, The Developing Mind: Toward a Neurobiology of Interpersonal Experience (Guilford, 1999). This book introduces the idea of interpersonal neurobiology and has been of interest to and utilized by a number of organizations, including the U.S. Department of Justice, The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, Microsoft and Google, early intervention programs and a range of clinical and research departments worldwide. He has been invited to lecture for the King of Thailand, Pope John Paul II, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

George H. Smith doesn't get quoted enough on the web

So, to rectify that, here are a couple paragraphs from the end (pp. 322-323 of the soft-cover, 1989) of Atheism: The Case Against God, which I'm pretty sure is the best book on the subject:
To be moral, according to Jesus, man must shackle his reason. He must force himself to believe that which he cannot understand. He must suppress, in the name of morality, any doubts that surface in his mind. he must regard as a mark of excellence an unwillingness to subject religious beliefs to critical examination. Less criticism leads to more faith - and faith, Jesus declares, is the hall mark of virtue. Indeed, "unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18.3). Children, after all, will believe almost anything.

The psychological impact of this doctrine is devastating. To divorce morality from truth is to turn man's reason against himself. Reason, as the faculty by with man comprehends reality and exercises control over his environment, is the basic requirement of self-esteem. To the extent tat a man believes that his mind is a potential enemy, that it may lead to the "evils" of question-asking and criticism, he will feel the need for intellectual passivity--to deliberately sabotage his mind in the name of virtue. Reason becomes a vice, something to be feared, and man finds that his worst enemy is his own capacity to think and question. One can scarcely imagine a more effective way to introduce perpetual conflict into man's consciousness and thereby produce a host of neurotic symptoms.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I thought of another potential epitaph for me

The Memento Mori of the 21st century:
"You f***ers are gonna pay for your b***s***!"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

But there IS a way to make new people

Train children to have empathy.

Empathy is knowing what others are feeling. Sympathy is agreeing with that feeling. Agreeing is less important. Sometimes it's even dangerous.

The world is perishing because people ignore the feelings - the humanity - of others. We've imbibed too much of the attitudes of wife beaters [and torturers and psycho-killers - not to mention child abusers] from our culture.

One generation, taught kindness and respect by example by their parents, will completely transform the world. DeMause's research shows that those things have been improving at an accelerating pace since the beginning of history. It's not all hopeless.