Health

  • Make your next Facebook status: "Just meditated to ensure that I care about all you people." Paid Member

    A recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, has found that college students today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were in 1979, with the steepest decline coming in the last 10 years. From Keith O'Brien at the Boston Globe, “The empathy deficit: Even as they become more connected, young people are caring less about others”: Perhaps more than any other characteristic, one’s capacity for empathic concern dictates how much one cares about others. Those who score high in empathic concern, according to past research, are more likely to return incorrect change to a cashier, let someone else ahead of them in line, carry a stranger’s belongings, give money to a homeless person, volunteer, donate to a charity, look after a friend’s pet or plant, or even live on a vegetarian diet. And what’s alarming, Konrath said, is that empathic concern has fallen more than any other aspect of empathy. Between 1979 and 2009, according to the new research, empathic concern dropped 48 percent. The results have led to the obvious follow-up questions: What cultural changes may have shaped children in the 1980s and ’90s, giving rise to a less empathetic generation? Why do we care less? And is there any way we can reverse the trend? Read the rest of “The empathy deficit” here. Although they don’t mention this in this article, other recent studies suggest that meditation works as a way to reverse this trend. This from a 2008 msnbc.com article “Neuroscience may explain the Dalai Lama: A new study reveals that meditation may increase empathy, benevolence”: More »
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn on the Healing Power of Mindfulness Paid Member

    On October 6th at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles, renowned scientist, writer, and meditation teacher Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn will be giving a talk titled  “Letting Everything Become Your Teacher: The Healing Power of Mindfulness,” as part of the Lynn Lecture series.  Tickets can be purchased here. The event has been organized by the Los Angeles affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization dedicated to supporting breast cancer research. More »
  • Meet the doctor who wants to measure your consciousness Paid Member

    Dr. Giulio Tononi has devoted his life's work to developing a theory of consciousness. A distinguished chair in consciousness science at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Tononi's interest in consciousness began when he was a teenager. According to a recent profile published in the New York Times, Dr. Tononi was "initially interested in ethics, but he decided that questions of personal responsibility depended on our consciousness of our own actions. So he would have to figure out consciousness first. 'I’ve been stuck with this thing for most of my life,' he said." More »
  • The Ethics of Farming Animals Paid Member

    The way I see it, there are two ways to think about the ethics of meat eating. One is to look at the suffering of each individual animal that is killed for consumption. The other way is to take a global approach, where one is concerned with negative environmental/human consequences caused by the meat industry. Of course, you don't have to choose one over the other, it just seems worthwhile to make a distinction. With this distinction in mind I'd like to call attention to a recent piece by George Monbiot in The Guardian that argues that much of the human malnutrition connected to the meat industry could be alleviated most effectively by changing the system in which animals are farmed. The author, a longtime proponent of veganism, had some of his assumptions challenged by the book Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie. From "I was wrong about veganism. More »