Jan 28 / Simcha

Nagging: Enemy of Love

Based on Elizabeth Bernstein’s Wall Street Journal article, Nagging: Meet the Marriage Killer

Once again – there is good and  bad news.  Starting with the latter….

Nagging — the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it, and both become increasingly annoyed — is a toxic communication issue that is one of the leading causes for discord and divorce. We nag when we feel we can’t get what we want from our partner, and we keep on asking in the hopes it will happen.  A vicious cycle is set in place:  The irritated recipient of the nagging, feeling scolded like a little boy, withdraws in protest, inviting the nagger to nag some more.

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Jan 17 / Simcha

No Evolutionary Upside in Depression

In a recent Science Times article in the New York Times, Richard A. Friedman, professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, explores a growing trend in academic circles to view depression as a “natural” condition that, like ordinary sadness, may provide evolutionary advantages. Separate studies by psychologists Paul W. Andrews (U. of Virginia) and Joseph P. Forgas (U. of New S. Wales) suggested that something about sadness might improve analytical reasoning and the capacity for critical, accurate detection of deceptive communication.

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Jan 07 / Simcha

The Joy of Quiet

Artwork: Vivienne Flesher, NYTimes, 1.1.12

The average American spends at least eight and a half hours a day in front of a screen of one sort or another. The average American teenager sends or receives 75 text messages a day.  Many of us are finding ourselves controlled by the many time-saving devices that have also considerably expanded our lives.

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Jan 01 / Simcha

Out the Door and Into 2012

From the New York Times Editorial, January 1, 2012

Perhaps you have a New Year’s Day of your own — a day when it suddenly feels as though you’ve truly left the old year behind. It may be the day you no longer have to think twice when putting the date on a check, if you still write checks, that is. Perhaps your new year started the moment the days began lengthening just before Christmas. Or perhaps you hold off for the vernal equinox (March 20 in 2012), when New Year used to be celebrated and when, in many places, you can feel the newness of the year about to burst out of the ground.

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Nov 29 / Simcha

Hope for Our Species

Harvard evolutionary psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker has always been deeply curious about how humans work. In a series of best-selling books, he has argued that our mental faculties — from emotions to decision-making to visual cognition — were forged by natural selection.

In his newest book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Pinker investigates one of the most primal apects of life: Violence. He argues that violence has fallen drastically over thousands of years — whether one considers homicide rates, war casualties as a percentage of national populations, or other measures.

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Oct 11 / Simcha

Just a Lovely Poem… (by Mary Oliver)

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

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Oct 11 / Simcha

ENVY: Sharpen the Mind, Deplete the Ego

Envy, detail from Table of the Seven Deadly Sins, c.1485, Hieronymus Bosch (click on image to view enlarged detail)

In today’s New York Times (Envy May Bear Fruit, but It Also Has an Aftertaste), John Tierney takes a look at Envy, seemingly “the most useless of the deadly sins: excruciating to experience, shameful to admit, bereft of immediate pleasure or long-term benefits.” After reviewing the research, he suggests that coveting may actually have an upside — alongside one new reason to uphold the commandment against it.

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