Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Joy on the Hidden Brain

In this NPR podcast from the Hidden Brain, the concepts of pain and joy are explored. It is a nice introduction to stoic philosophy. In the process they touch on the importance of valuing what you have and spending less time on negative visualization. At the core, this discussion is about being satisfied with simplicity and “doing what you can with what you have where you are”.

I would love to hear what you think after listening to it. 


En las fronteras … con Anzaldúa (for Spanish Friday)

Today is Spanish Friday, so the rest of this post will be in Spanish. I got the idea from the following blog . If you are participating in Spanish Friday as well, please feel free to leave a link to your blog in the comments. 

Anzaldúa se centra en la experiencia de los mestizos … gente que vive en la frontera entre dos mundos, dos culturas. Ella habla del dificultad que los que viven en los márgenes han vivido tratando de conciliar mensajes, expectativas y valores contradictorios que se enfrentan todos los días. Ellos estan balanceando entre dos comunidades que se encuentran a menudo en desacuerdo con los demás.

No es fácil vivir en las fronteras. Anzaldúa lo deja claro. Sin embargo, también apunta a la posibilidad de que se presente si estos habitantes de dos mundos pueden aprender a aceptar los dos lados de sí mismos y convertir la frontera en una encrucijada. Tal vez el futuro de nuestra especie está en las manos de estos que pueden cruzar la frontera. Al ser los dos, del grupo y extraños al mismo tiempo, se colocan en una posición única para negociar las diferencias y explicar los problemas con una visión desde ambos lados. Tal vez, la clave para una solución exitosa es tan solo buscarlos y darles una voz en lugar de empujar de nuevo insistiendo en que eligen uno u otro lado.

Anzaldúa se centró en las fronteras que son más vivos en su vida, pero nos encontramos con estas fronteras en cualquier lugar  donde las personas con identidades diferentes entran en contacto. Mira como una residente fronteriza lucha con su identidad en este interesante documental:

Want that epic win? Change your perspective!

Russell challenged us to change our perspective.  He suggested that our current perspective might actually be holding us back from being the best we can be and seeing all the possibilities that are available to us.

Enter Jane McGonigal … telling us that we need to play MORE if we want to solve the big problems we face as a species.  What? Play MORE? Talk about a change of perspective! Check her explanation out here:

TED Talk by Jane McGonigal

The Instinctive Man…

As we delve into perspective, McCarty introduces us to Bertrand Russell’s “instinctive” or “practical” man.

The instinctive man, as I understand him, is a rather shallow, self-centered person.  I like the explanation of him given on the following webpage:

From his perspective, he is the center of the universe.  Things only have meaning for him in as far as they impact on his daily life.  As I begin to contemplate the instinctive man, the following song keeps playing in my mind:

I think there is a bit of the “instinctive man” in all of us. Sometimes we allow events in our lives to take on more importance than they should. We let our own suffering or our own successes increase in magnitude. We all need to “go take a look outside and see what’s shakin’ in the real world”!

No one said it would be easy!

Of course, no one ever said that peace would be easy! That is why Jaspers said it would take a “loving struggle”.

Here is another example of people trying to make that “loving struggle” work – for their children and the future of their people.

Another borderland…

Shadya (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

Anzaldua focuses on the experience of the mestizos… people who live on the borders between two worlds, two cultures. She talks of the stuggle that those who live in the margins have trying to reconcile the conflicting messages, expectations, and values that they face daily. They stradle two communities that are often at odds with one another.

It isn’t easy to live on the borders. Anzaldua makes that clear. However, she also points to the possibility that is presented if these inhabitants of two worlds can learn to accept both sides of themselves and turn the border into a crossroads.  Perhaps the future of our species is in the hands of these border crossers. By being both of the group and strangers at the same time, they are placed in a unique position to negotiate the differences and explain the problems with a view from both sides. Perhaps, they hold the key to a successful resolution, if we would only seek them out and give them a voice instead of pushing them back and insisting that they choose one side or the other.

Anzaldua focused on the borders that are most alive in her life, but we find these borders any place people with different identities come into contact. Watch as one border resident struggles with her identity in this interesting documentary:

What follows is a brief description of the film:

“Like many 17-year-old girls, Shadya Zoabi enjoys listening to music and hanging out with her friends. But unlike most other girls, Shadya is also a world champion in karate, a feminist in a male-dominated culture, and a Muslim Arab living in Israel. Shadya tells her story over the course of two years, as she journeys from teenage girl to woman, from daughter to wife, and from one family to another.

Shadya is lucky to have grown up with a father who wanted his daughter to be free to practice karate and develop her talent in the sport to the fullest. But despite her father’s support, the social pressure from her brothers and the surrounding community is difficult to overcome. In her brothers’ view, a Muslim woman has a specific path in life and is forbidden to stray from this destiny. At the same time, Shadya is grappling with the challenges that Muslims face as citizens of Israel. Her internal conflicts intensify when she meets the Palestinian team at an athletic competition, and when she prepares for marriage at the height of her career.

At the start of the film, Shadya, the 2003 World Shotokan Karate Champion, is full of optimism and self-confidence. “I’m different,” she says. “This is the way I am.” But will she succeed in balancing her aspirations after her marriage? Will she stay true to her promises to never give in and continue competing in karate? Depicting a universal conflict between tradition and modernity, Shadya is the coming-of-age story of a young Muslim woman who desires to succeed on her own terms while staying committed to life within her community.”