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  • Is There Such a Thing as “Human Nature”? - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    In small scale societies with a strong culture of gift giving yet another conception of fairness prevailed There generous financial offers were turned down because people s minds had been shaped by a cultural norm that taught them that the acceptance of generous gifts brought burdensome obligations Our economies hadn t been shaped by our idea of fairness it was the other way around The growing body of cross cultural research that the three researchers were compiling suggested that the mind s capacity to mold itself to cultural and environmental settings was far greater than had been assumed The most interesting thing about cultures may not be in the observable things they do the rituals eating preferences codes of behavior and the like but in the way they mold our most fundamental conscious and unconscious thinking and perception The different ways people perceive the Müller Lyer illusion reflects lifetimes spent in different physical environments American children for the most part grow up in box shaped rooms of varying dimensions Surrounded by carpentered corners visual perception adapts to this strange new environment strange and new in terms of human history that is by learning to perceive converging lines in three dimensions When unconsciously translated in three dimensions the line with the outward feathered ends C appears farther away and the brain therefore judges it to be longer The more time one spends in natural environments where there are no carpentered corners the less one sees the illusion But the three researchers began to notice something else remarkable again and again there was one group of people that appeared to be remarkably unusual when compared to other populations with perceptions behaviors and motivations that almost always slid down the far end of the human bell curve In the end they titled their paper The Weirdest People in the World By weird they meant both unusual and Western Educated Industrialized Rich and Democratic It is not just our Western habits and cultural preferences that wholly differ from the rest of the world The very way we think about ourselves and others even the way we perceive reality makes us radically distinct from other humans on the planet today not to mention from the vast majority of our ancestors Among Westerners the data showed that Americans were typically the most unusual leading the researchers to conclude that American participants are exceptional even within the unusual population of Westerners outliers among outliers Given this discovery they concluded that social scientists could not possibly have picked a worse population from which to draw broad generalizations about universal human traits Generations of researchers had been doing the equivalent of studying penguins while believing that they were learning insights applicable to all birds Not long ago I met Henrich Heine and Norenzayan for dinner at a small French restaurant in Vancouver British Columbia to hear about the reception of their weird paper which was published in the prestigious journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences in 2010 The trio of researchers are young as professors go good humored family men They recalled their nervousness as the publication time approached They faced the possibility of becoming outcasts in their own fields as their paper boldly suggested that much of what social scientists thought they knew about fundamental aspects of human cognition was likely only true of one small slice of humanity We were scared admitted Henrich We were warned that a lot of people were going to be upset We were told we were going to get spit on interjected Norenzayan Yes Henrich said That we d go to conferences and no one was going to sit next to us at lunchtime They seemed much less concerned that they had used the pejorative acronym WEIRD to describe a significant slice of humanity although they did admit that they could only have done so to describe their own group Really said Henrich the only people we could have called weird are represented right here at this table Still I felt that describing the Western mind and the American mind in particular as weird suggested that our cognition is not just different but somehow malformed or twisted In their paper the trio pointed out cross cultural studies that suggest that the weird Western Educated Industrial Rich Democratic mind is the most self aggrandizing and egotistical on the planet we are more likely to promote ourselves as individuals versus advancing as a group WEIRD minds are also more analytic possessing the tendency to telescope in on an object of interest rather than understanding that object in the context of what is around it The WEIRD mind also appears to be unique in terms of how it comes to understand and interact with the natural world Studies show that Western urban children grow up so closed off in man made environments that their brains never form a deep or complex connection to the natural world While studying children from the U S researchers have suggested a developmental timeline for what is called folkbiological reasoning These studies posit that it is not until children are around 7 years old that they stop projecting human qualities onto animals and begin to understand that humans are one animal among many Compared to Yucatec Maya communities in Mexico Western urban children appear to be developmentally delayed in this regard Children who grow up constantly interacting with the natural world are much less likely to anthropomorphize other living things into late childhood Given that people living in WEIRD societies don t routinely encounter or interact with animals other than humans or pets it s not surprising that they end up with a rather cartoonish understanding of the natural world Indeed the report concluded studying the cognitive development of folkbiology in urban children would seem the equivalent of studying normal physical growth in malnourished children During our dinner I admitted to Heine Henrich and Norenzayan that the idea that I can only perceive reality through a distorted cultural lens was unnerving

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/is-there-such-a-thing-as-human-nature/ (2016-02-09)
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  • Jonathan Cook, Author at Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    Jonathan Cook Tags 96 Iraq usa media CIA WMD Eight years on we now have the proof that the US preemptive war on Iraq was based on lies Diplomatic Tsunami May 30 2011 by Jonathan Cook Tags Egypt Israel Palestine Is time for peace running out for Israel Bush s Parting Gift to Israel December 16 2008 by Jonathan Cook Tags usa Bush Israel Palestine Middle East neocons A new

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/author/jonathan-cook/ (2016-02-09)
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  • A Message Entangled With Its Form - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    to see how to act We have learned to be wary of Change We lack faith in our politicians entrenched as they are in the impotent theatrics of the two party system Yet in Liberty Plaza people find themselves confronted with a radically inclusive new platform In the horizontality of this platform many who are disaffected now see a means of engagement that is immediate and real If Occupy Wall Street has failed to use this platform to limit itself to a discrete set of demands it is because it refuses to undermine the depth and breadth of what s wrong OWS s message is entangled with its form its self sustaining structure in which the group provides for its own physical social and intellectual needs Given the group s collective intelligence it is becoming evident that its members can teach each other as much as if not more than any institution can Much has been made of the people s microphone When it works its power is immense People within hearing range chant each other s words to convey them to those standing on the periphery of the larger group Each person pits herself between the mouth of the speaker and the ear of the listener in a manner that is both self affirming and egoless Loudly echoing the voice of another feels a bit like cursing a vigorous and strangely gratifying speech act Occupiers are learning to use their bodies in ways that break with the modes of moving circumscribed by our culture of efficiency and the near total encroachment of privatized space Its members are learning how to stay in one place how to civilly disobey how to dumpster dive how to interrupt auction proceedings They are also confronting their bodies and the bodies of others the cold the rain the smells and needs that bodies have that we can deal with so quickly in the comfort of the office and the home Occupy Wall Street is streamed tweeted posted and reposted It is a curiosity a screen for projection a spectator sport everyone s favorite and most hated child Yet people continue to come daily who earnestly want to join or to aid the effort OWS has become a receptacle for the lost progressive hopes of a previous generation Despite the attempts of some media sources to caricature the occupiers they constitute a diverse group that is attracting even more diversity OWS has gained the support of many labor unions and community groups Most importantly its existence is enabling a necessary discourse to enter the mainstream Liberty Plaza can also be an immensely frustrating anxiety provoking and chaotic space Sometimes the chaos threatens to prevail and dissolve the whole This is a particular risk now as its numbers grow OWS must become capable of incorporating interested parties in meaningful ways and must begin a real conversation about its own future Yet in this heightened unknown many sense something uncanny something real that feels unreal because it

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/a-message-entangled-with-its-form/ (2016-02-09)
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  • Iran - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    imagine what Rouhani Co are really fretting about in their private brainstorming sessions then you realize they also have some serious ecological concerns on the table In 2013 the remaining drops in the famous Zayandeh Rood river in Isfahan province were diverted to feed the fields and factories of Yazd sparking an outbreak of political anger protest and riots across the country What if the recent conciliatory gestures from Tehran to the world comparisons of Rouhani to Gorbachev have less to do with a newly installed progressive leadership and more to do with the waterways drying up across the country and the sudden realization that if the water disappears from the ground Iran will be at the mercy of the West like never before FROM Adbusters 114 Birth of the Corporate Charter Revocation Movement Order this issue Subscribe to Adbusters Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Israel Palestine China Also In This Magazine IS Are we seeing a reflection of ourselves in the violence in the Middle East an interview with Simon Critchely July 28 2015 Your Daily Bread One of the things that makes people feel completely helpless in our world is the idea that they can t escape the established

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/iran-2/ (2016-02-09)
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  • Israel/Palestine - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    Israel consistently managed to receive passes at the UN for full governance over whatever lands they deemed necessary for a secure state No UN representative dared to question Israel s 1967 expansion to the Golan Heights in which they secured the Sea of Galilee and 30 percent of Israel s water supply today The redrawn borders gave no water to the Syrians but the concessions gave Israel a much needed moral facelift They played another concessionary note and pulled out of the Gaza Strip after water desalination technology reached a world class standard in Israel and Gazans were put under crippling sanctions to ensure Tel Aviv could have its afternoon coffee without imminent rocket propelled death Now Gazans are free to suckle on whatever dregs trickle out of the Coastal Aquifer In the West Bank on the other hand we have an administrative and geopolitical clusterfuck Below the IDF controlled Area C which occupies 60 per cent of the West Bank where all Israeli settlements are but only four percent of the West Bank Palestinians reside there lies 50 percent of Israel s water supply Areas A and B house the vast majority of Palestinians who buy inadequately rationed water from state companies In the merciless desert existential security means guaranteed and uncontested access to water And for that sole reason there may never be peace in Israel nor a two state solution because Israel s regional and global power is inextricably linked to the life juice beneath the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank On this over sullied planet secure access to clean drinking water is an absolute survivalist necessity you are either flourishing or withering The morality behind ostentatious floral arrangements outside of settler homes or the bombing of illegal Palestinian wells in AREA C is purely subjective

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/israelpalestine/ (2016-02-09)
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  • Brian Davey, Author at Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    Day Buy Nothing Xmas Spoof Ads Culture Shop Subscribe Donate Close Home Brian Davey The Beyond Growth Congress November 21 2011 by Brian Davey Tags economics 99 What could a post growth society look like and how should we prepare for it Based in Vancouver British Columbia Canada Adbusters is a not for profit magazine fighting back against the hostile takeover of our psychological physical and cultural environments by commercial

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/author/brian-davey/ (2016-02-09)
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  • Psych Pushers - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    of the iceberg Whitaker says The science has only continued to pile up he says Today numerous peer reviewed studies show that antipsychotics used to treat schizophrenics cause the same brain damage as crystal meth shrinking of the frontal cortex a virtual lobotomy that severe cognitive dysfunction similar to schizophrenics occurs in long term bipolar patients when medicated that users of benzodiazepines Ativan suffer profoundly increased incidents of depression and anxiety that medicated ADHD patients begin rapid deterioration of function after three years of use and have stunted growth and most significant that the American National Institute of Mental Health concluded in 2009 that the leading factor in developing bipolarity is whether or not you have been prescribed a psychotropic drug in your medical history This revelation aptly explains how bipolarity went from an obscure mental illness only a few decades ago affecting one in 10 000 to one of the most increasingly diagnosed mental illnesses in America If a society prescribes stimulants to 3 5 million children and adolescents as is the case in the United States today it should expect that this practice will create 400 000 bi polar youth Whitaker writes And these are only some of the undisputable findings With all of this ammunition to answer for you would think that pharmacology companies would be on the run but in fact they are sitting calmly in control Eli Lilly s top seller Zyprexa used to treat bipolarity and schizophrenia has taken in nearly 50 billion since it hit the market in 1996 accounting for a quarter of the company s profits Their reps like Harvard s Joseph Biederman the pioneer of child pharmacology and a leading proponent of medicating kids as young as five are the leading psycho physicians in America and are conveniently on the pharma payroll And in terms of responding to the critical science like that in the WHO studies there is no need psycho drugs have never depended on science in the first place In fact many are understandably shocked to find that neuroscientists are no closer today than they were 50 years ago in determining the mechanisms of today s leading mental conditions Any findings they do have are almost entirely deductive It goes like this If I give you a mania inducing drug that offers temporary relief from either anxiety or depression it means that you must be suffering from a depletion of the same drug I just gave you If this sounds like religious circular reasoning that s because it is In lieu of actual science what they can do and do very well is prescribe drugs to produce desirable behavioral outcomes by altering normative brain chemistry and creating a chemical imbalance That the drugs don t work in the long run isn t much of a concern to big companies Psych pushers win their battles in the labs of public opinion not petri dishes Joel Bakan author of Childhood Under Siege writes that in 2009 Eli Lilly had

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/psych-pushers/ (2016-02-09)
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  • usury Archives - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    Culture Shop Subscribe Donate Close Home usury The Root of Collapse by Dmitry Orlov Dmitry Orlov on the ticking time bomb inside all our financial arrangements December 9 2013 A Short History of Capitalism by adbusters Gain property usury the algorithmic flash trading of derivatives November 21 2011 Based in Vancouver British Columbia Canada Adbusters is a not for profit magazine fighting back against the hostile takeover of our psychological

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/tag/usury/ (2016-02-09)
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