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Depression, Part II: A Brain For Faith And Hope

Depression, Part II: A Brain For Faith And Hope

Human beings were the first organism to stop reacting to their circumstances, and start directing their own futures.1 But with possibility came risk. The gift of self-determination was bestowed with a brain that creates motivation by expecting good things just over the horizon. This is a brain that invented two unique things in the animal kingdom: a need for faith and hope; and a vulnerability to losing both.

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Depression, Part I: A Brain For All Occasions

Depression, Part I: A Brain For All Occasions

What IS depression?

When framing depression as a “mental illness,” we tell a certain kind of story, one that primes us to think along familiar lines of family histories and chemical imbalances. This is a story where suffering starts from the inside out to become the central story of someone’s life; it is a story of depression as a force of nature without meaning or justification, something that must be baked in at the level of the genes or the brain to make sense. Because depression is a disorder; a disease. After all, this is the only explanation we have for why perfectly normal and intelligent people could succumb to a feeling that the world is bleak and that people are hopeless. Right?

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Sustainable Meaning

This is the first video on sustainable meaning. It’s an overview of how and why human beings are connected to each other and the world in a biopsychosocial interaction we call “meaning,” and how and why this can be more or less sustainable.

I’m excited for it as a set-up to subsequent videos on applied sustainability – an alternative wellness paradigm that reconciles the science of human nature with the more spiritual idea of the human need for meaning, and how we can normalize our approach to wellness with wisdom. Read more

Trump, Hypermasculinity & Xenophobia: The Human Nature of A Republican Rebellion

Trump, Hypermasculinity & Xenophobia: The Human Nature of A Republican Rebellion

Now for the requisite piece on Donald Trump.

I should offer this piece apologetically. Trump has gotten so much media time, commentary pieces trying to explain the media blitz are themselves cliche. Looking at the media response itself, we almost need to explain why so many people feel that Trump needs explaining. From a certain perspective, Trump is both inevitable and predictable, so why the incredulity?

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Neurodiversity & Ideology: Politics In The Hive Mind

Neurodiversity & Ideology: Politics In The Hive Mind

We now know that the liberal/conservative divide runs deeper than we thought: to temperament and neurodiversity. The result is a political discourse fraught with barriers built on incompatible paradigms that start in our biology. If we want to evolve our culture politically, if we want to change things, we must know what we’re really up against: a deep political neuro-divide.

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A Functioning Cog In Some Great Machinery: Evolutionary Purpose & Mental Health

A Functioning Cog In Some Great Machinery: Evolutionary Purpose & Mental Health

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me

But I don’t, I don’t know what that will be
I’ll get back to you someday soon you will see

– Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues

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The Unknown Story of Evolutionary Neurodiversity: A Tale Of Two Temperaments

The Unknown Story of Evolutionary Neurodiversity: A Tale Of Two Temperaments

Neurodiversity is short hand for different biological predispositions for making meaning of the world. In telling this largely unknown story, we can build a meaningful basis for four new paradigms – evolutionary diversity, evolutionary purposeevolutionary politics, and especially important: evolutionary mental health.

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We Are All Individuals: The Limits Of A Worldview

We Are All Individuals: The Limits Of A Worldview

Individualism is belief system about self-determination, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Evidence shows that this doesn’t necessarily make us happy. The “culture of Me” can leave us feeling judged, small and alone, and can disconnect us from a meaningful sense of communal life and contribution. So where does it come from? Ironically, individualism is cultural, and culture is a natural phenomena that reflects humanity’s deep human need for collective meaning. Paradoxically, then, the “culture of Me” is itself evidence that individuals crave something bigger than themselves, an incongruity at the heart of American life.

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The Evolution of Evolution: A Paradigm Shift

The Evolution of Evolution: A Paradigm Shift

People create social biostructures of status, connection, friction and goals; these biostructures self-organize from the smaller chemical connections between us. Now we see that these biostructures are also connected. A complex adaptive system (CAS) or superorganism is a whole more than the sum of its parts, and those parts are us, and the systems we create.

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Something Bigger Than Ourselves

Something Bigger Than Ourselves

Building off our model of meaning to a still higher level shows us how meaning becomes wrapped in culture and society, and how these things come to affect not only how we see the world, but how it affects us physiologically for better and worse. The old tropes that we are connected are true, and that comes with implications good and bad.

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