Monday, August 31, 2015


It's a different kind of fatal attraction.

Hybristophilia is a term used by criminologists -- but not scientists -- to describe a sexual attraction to violent killers in prison, who often receive racy love letters or sexy undergarments from their fans.
Also known as the "Bonnie and Clyde syndrome," it has existed throughout time and across borders.

Norway's most famous mass murderer gets hundreds of fan letters from lovelorn women, including marriage proposals. Charles Manson had his cult following, even in prison.

Why some women are attracted to "the bad boy" persona baffles normal men.

Perhaps, due to societal pressures and expectations, women have to repress their desires for freedom and adventure. They seek to find fulfillment with "exciting" men who appear to be the rebellious answer to their conservative peer pressures. It also may a motherly adaptation of the theme of trying to change a bad man into a good one.

So who were the "bad boys" of LOST?

Sawyer, the charming con man, clearly used his image and talents to find women falling over him. Even after the con, some women still adored him. The women who fell for him were usually those lonely housewives that lacked a spark of excitement in their marriages, or had self-worth issues that could be solved with a "big financial score." However, Kate was clearly drawn to Sawyer because they shared a same reckless, self-first survival mode.

Ben was a sociopath, a mass murderer. In the show, he had no girlfriend. He tried to impose his will on the women in the compound, but his tyranny did not evoke any connection with women in the camp. However, in fan groups, there were several women who adored Ben's character, which may be closer to the Bonnie and Clyde syndrone mentioned above. Women could be attracted to such a bad character because Ben was not a real person in their lives, much as a prisoner in a life sentence without parole could never be part of the real lives. It is that real barrier that allows the fantasy connection to be expressed by these women.

Jacob may have also been a sociopath. He brought people to the island as candidates, only to have almost all of the candidates perish. He played games with human lives. But he was also a loner. We never saw any connection to anyone, except his Crazy Mother (also a sociopath) and his estranged brother. In an odd way, perhaps Jacob's game of bringing people to the island was a means of combating his loneliness, or a weak attempt to attract someone he could truly love. The mystery of Jacob did spawn a group of followers, including women in the Others camp. But it seems that Jacob never acted upon his cult followers in any way to allow them to meet or interact with him in a human way. Even in Greek stories, the gods would at times come to Earth to mingle, tease, and procreate with interior humans, usually to invoke the wrath of higher gods.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option. ― Mark Twain

Relationships may be the hardest work human beings do.

Attraction is almost involuntary. Becoming a loving couple is intentional.

If one person promises to make the other person in their life their number one priority, that is viewed as an unconditional commitment. But what if the other person is not at the same place in their relationship? Things can quickly turn to a disaster.

Part of building a strong relationship is peeling away the layers of personal illusion (the fantasies, the desires, the dreams of what each individual wants in his/her life, and life partner), and building in its place,  a solid foundation of love, trust and respect for the other person.

If one gets ahead of the other, he will be tearing a part his soul with nothing to replace the missing pieces - - - - and he will become empty inside.

The best in Life is a series of layered, shared experiences. If you can draw the best out of another person, you should be with that person. The little differences, the arguments, the misunderstandings, can easily be balanced through simple, honest and open communication. Working things out is one of the great "shared" experiences that help couples grow fonder and foster a deeper bond between them.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


At the core of the LOST character tree was loneliness. Most of the characters were extremely lonely people with no true friends. This includes Jack, who was a brilliant surgeon, but in his back story had no friends he hung out with outside of work. 

The effect of long term loneliness on the brain and social interaction shows that lonely people tend to create a barrier, a shell, around themselves. Then, they tend to focus on negative aspects in the world around them.

One of the saddest things about loneliness is that it leads to what psychologists call a “negative spiral.” People who feel isolated come to dread bad social experiences and they lose faith that it’s possible to enjoy good company. The usual result is more loneliness. This hardly seems adaptive, but experts say it’s because we’ve evolved to enter a self-preservation mode when we’re alone. Without the backup of friends and family, our brains become alert to threat, especially the potential danger posed by strangers.

Until now, much of the evidence to support this account has come from behavioral studies. For example, when shown a video depicting a social scene, lonely people tend to spend more time than others looking for signs of social threat,  such as a person being ignored by their friends or one person turning their back on another. Research also shows that lonely people’s attention seems to be grabbed more quickly by words that pertain to social threat, such as rejected or unwanted.

Now the University of Chicago’s husband-and-wife research team of Stephanie and John Cacioppo — leading authorities on the psychology and neuroscience of loneliness — have teamed up with their colleague, Stephen Balogh, to provide the first evidence that lonely people’s brains, compared to the non-lonely, are exquisitely alert to the difference between social and nonsocial threats. The finding, reported in the journal, Cortex,  supports the broader theory that, for evolutionary reasons, loneliness triggers a cascade of brain-related changes that put us into a socially nervous, vigilant mode.

The researchers used a loneliness questionnaire to recruit 38 very lonely people and 32 people who didn’t feel lonely (note that loneliness was defined here as the subjective feeling of isolation, as opposed to the number of friends or close relatives one has). Next, the researchers placed an electrode array of 128 sensors on each of the participants’ heads, allowing them to record the participants’ brain waves using an established technique known as electro-encephalography (EEG) that’s particularly suited to measuring brain activity changes over very short time periods.
With the apparatus in place, the participants were asked to look at various words on a computer screen and to indicate with keyboard keys, as quickly as possible, what color they were written in.

This is an adaptation of a classic psychology test known as the Stroop Test. The idea is that since participants are asked to focus not on the word itself but on its color, any influence that the word’s meaning has on the participant is considered to be automatic and subconscious.

Some of the words were social and positive in nature (e.g., belong and party), some were social and negative (e.g., alone and solitary), while others were emotionally positive but nonsocial (e.g., joy), and others were nonsocial and emotionally negative (e.g., sad). The researchers were specifically interested in when and how the participants’ brains responded to the sight of negative words that were social in nature, compared to those that were nonsocial. To do this, they analyzed the participants’ brain waves to see when, after looking at different word types, their brains entered discrete “microstates,” which are periods of relative stability when a sustained pattern of brain regions are activated. When the brain enters a new microstate, this is a sign that it has initiated a new mental operation — that it’s processing some stimulus in a new way.

For the first 280 milliseconds (about one-quarter of a second) after a word was shown on the screen, lonely people’s brains entered a series of three discrete microstates that were identical whether a negative word was socially relevant or not. After that point, however, their brains entered a distinct microstate in response to socially negative words — with activation particularly notable in neural areas involved in the control of attention — suggesting that they had entered a highly vigilant mode. By comparison, non-lonely people’s brains continued to respond with the same microstates to social and nonsocial negative words for a full 480 milliseconds (nearly half a second). This difference between lonely and non-lonely people’s brains might sound subtle, but this is an important finding because it shows how lonely people’s brains are primed at a basic level to tune into social threats more quickly than is “normal.”

Because these effects occurred so early on in the lonely participants’ response to negative social words — and because this was all done in the context of the Stroop Test (where you focus on the word’s color, not the meaning) — the researchers say this shows lonely people’s vigilance to social threat is an implicit, nonconscious bias. In other words, it’s not something they’re aware of. The participants weren’t even meant to be paying attention to the words’ meaning, yet lonely people picked up on the difference between a socially threatening word like hostile and a negative nonsocial word like vomit more quickly than non-lonely people did.

In a real-world context, this is a troubling finding. When people feel most alone, these results suggest their brains are not tuned in to smiles and laughter, they’re switched on to frowns and snarls — they’re vigilantly looking out for negativity without really knowing it. This might have helped our distant ancestors stay alive back when lacking social ties was more of a direct threat to one’s well-being than it is today, making it evolutionarily adaptive. But in the modern world, it’s a stressful, unhelpful state to be in. It might even help explain why lonely people often have poorer health and shorter lives than people who feel connected and cared for.

If you take this research and apply it the LOST character base, the light is shown on the motivations of the characters. Many did see social threats all around them, even to the point of paranoia (like Ben, and Locke). Kate looked to the negative aspects of people around her, and when something got "good" and "positive," she fled that person (her husband, and Jack). In fact, some people with the mind set of negative behavior will push themselves toward more destructive behavior (such as Desmond and his ill-advised and nonsensical of the solo voyage across the Pacific to prove his true love to Penny or Charlie's spiral into drug use when his brother left the band to start a new family.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


“This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” – George Bernard Shaw

Monday, August 24, 2015


The reaction of happy married couples to news is now news.

New York Magazine report sunder the heading of this question:

Have you ever waited with excitement to share some amazingly good news with your partner, only to experience a surge of frustration and resentment when he or she barely reacts to your announcement?

As a society, we place a huge amount of emphasis on being there for each other when we’re in need, but past research has actually shown that relationship satisfaction is influenced as much, if not more, by how we react to each other’s good news. Whereas emotional support from a partner when we’re down can have the unfortunate side-effect of making us feel indebted and more aware of our negative emotions, a partner’s positive reaction to our good news can magnify the benefits of that good fortune and make us feel closer to them.

An unusual brain scan study,  published recently in Human Brain Mapping, has added to this picture, showing that the relationship satisfaction of longtime married elderly women is particularly related to the neural activity they show in response to their husbands’ displays of positive emotion, rather than negative emotion.

Psychologist Raluca Petrican at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto and her colleagues at the University of Toronto recruited 14 women with an average age of 72 who’d been married for an average of 40 years. The researchers scanned these women’s brains as they watched some carefully prepared videos.

The silent ten-second videos showed each woman’s husband or a stranger displaying an emotion that mismatched the way the video clip was labeled in a one-sentence description on the screen. For example, the clip might show the husband smiling or laughing about a happy memory (such as the first house they bought), but the video was labeled misleadingly to suggest that the man was showing this emotion while talking about a sad memory (such as the time he got fired). Other videos showed the reverse mismatch: a negative emotional display, ostensibly shown while talking about the memory of a happy event.

Essentially, the videos were designed to make the women feel like they were seeing their husband or the stranger display a surprising emotional reaction that didn’t match their own feelings. The real-world equivalent would be a situation in which a husband is happy about something that his wife doesn’t “get”; and the questions are whether she will notice, and whether she is she more sensitive to this in congruent emotion in her husband than she would be in a stranger.

The first important finding to emerge from this setup was that the women showed enhanced overall brain activity — which suggests more mental and emotional neural processing  — when watching the videos of their husbands compared with videos of the strangers, but only when the videos showed displays of surprisingly in congruent positive emotion. During the other types of videos (when the men appeared to display strangely negative emotion), the women’s brains showed just as much overall activity when watching a stranger as when watching their husband. In other words, their levels of whole-brain activity betrayed a special sensitivity to their husband’s (versus a stranger’s) unexpected positive emotion.    

This jibes with the past research that’s shown it’s our response to our partners’ positive news that is all-important for relationship satisfaction. Remember that these women had been married for decades, so it’s likely that they and their husbands have been doing something right relationship-wise. The brain-imaging data suggest part of the reason might be that the women are acutely tuned to when their husbands are showing happiness that’s personal to them (rather than common to both partners).
This specific interpretation trips up a little with another main result: The women’s levels of marital satisfaction (according to a questionnaire) correlated with the amount of neural processing they showed in response to their husbands positive and negative emotion.

However, the special importance of how we respond to our partners’ positive emotion was supported by another key finding. Namely, women who scored higher on relationship satisfaction showed more brain activation in regions thought to contain mirror neurons (neurons that are considered important for empathy) when watching their spouses than they did when watching a stranger. Moreover, this enhanced mirror-neuron activity was especially present for the videos showing their husbands’ positive, rather than negative, emotion. Again, this appears to support the idea that marital happiness goes hand in hand with sensitivity to our partners’ positive emotion (though the researchers acknowledge a different or complementary interpretation that people in happy relationships have a suppressed response to their partners’ in congruent negative emotion).

We need to interpret these preliminary and complex findings with caution. And the exclusive focus on wives’ reactions to their husbands’ emotions does lend the study a slightly retro ’70s vibe — what about the way that husbands respond to their wives’ emotions, and the importance of that for the marital happiness of both parties? But that said, the results are tantalizing in suggesting that at a neural level, people in a long-term, committed relationship are especially sensitive to their partners’ positive emotion, and particularly so when this emotion is different from their own. This neatly complements other research showing, for example, that people who are unable to differentiate their partners’ emotions from their own (they assume they’re the same), tend to be viewed by their partners as more controlling and smothering.

As a whole, this entire body of research gives pause for thought. How do you react when your partner arrives home on an emotional high? Would you only notice if you were feeling happy too?

Positive responses to positive emotions makes a married couples more positive toward each other. It also goes to show that when a partner is "indifferent" to their significant other's news or needs, the relationship can quickly turn toxic. There is a probability of negative reinforcement that will gradually build between couples because they think since they are together, they should each feel the same toward each other. In most cases, that is probably true. But in every relationship, there is a roller coaster ride of highs and low points. Listening, respect and trust are the most important factors to get through any rough times. If one can try to mine a nugget of positive out of a negative situation, it is better for everyone.

Friday, August 21, 2015


We don't know exactly because it’s difficult to study—you can’t induce déjà vu in most people. 

But scientists have theories. It may be a memory error: An experience triggers a memory, but the brain can’t retrieve it. When that happens, your brain fails to distinguish the past from the present, leaving you with an odd feeling of familiarity. 

Another theory holds that two parts of the brain perceive an experience at the same time. If information arrives slightly faster to one part, a person can feel like they’re having the same experience twice. 

However, a group of scientists from the U.K., France, and Canada think another cause could be anxiety. They recently studied the bizarre case of a 23-year-old man with chronic déjà vu and found in one instance that the more distressed he became by the endless loop of déjà vu experiences, the worse they got. But you’ve probably heard that before.

We play mind games all the time: puzzles, board games, mental math tables, etc.

But most people do not realize that their own mind plays games on them. We may be aware of the mind game consciously when we hear a noise in the dark and the mind flashes to an intruder, or a banging shutter. But the mind can also play subconscious tricks on you.

Some psychologists believe that the subconscious mind tricks as a defensive or coping mechanism. For example, past hurtful experiences may be housed in a section of the brain that is triggered under similar circumstances. When a shy person sees a person that is attractive, his subconscious mind triggers a hurtful memory of rejection so the shy person never attempts to say hello to the attractive lady. This sets off another reaction in the conscious mind of guilt, remorse, loneliness and shame. But a person usually can cope, in reality hide, with their internal demons than a public display of rejection that puts a cloud of group judgment on themselves.

Deja vu could also be the mental process in which to solve problems. In third grade, you did math tables. As an adult, you are trying to split a $36 bar tab three ways. You access that math table in an instant to figure out the share sums. You may not mentally flash to the third grade chalkboard, but the subconscious mind does that for you.

The whole concept of LOST's flash backs and flash forwards could have been incorporated into mental experiments by scientists trying to figure out the brain functions that trigger deja vu memory recall.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


One of the branches of LOST theories is mental experiments. The premise of the show has to be centered upon some mental institution where evil scientists are probing the minds of the main characters, manipulating their consciousness while under medications or sedation. 

It is possible to make a connection between the strange and wild mental swings of the characters to anyone who has watched the slow unraveling of the mind of a loved one to Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer's is one of the crueler diseases because it does not affect the patient's body but slowly takes away their mind.  Or so that is how loved one perceive is happening to the patient because the patient begins to lose a sense of reality, goes back deeper into memory, to finally be lost to the real world.

Science knows how crucial it is to develop new treatments. In America alone, currently more than 5.3 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and 15 million are providing care for loved ones with the disease. Unless treatments are developed to slow or even cure it, 28 million baby boomers will fall ill with Alzheimer's by 2040, consuming 24 percent of Medicare spending, according to AAIC.

Alzheimer’s, an aggressive form of age-related dementia is a result of accumulations and “misfolding” of proteins in the brain known as amyloid fibrils and tau tangles. 

In large amounts, these proteins are toxic to brain cells and cause degeneration.

But there is hope on the horizon for earlier detection due to new research, and new studies into treatments that may eventually lead to drugs and, possibly, a cure. Since Alzheimer’s is generally considered an elderly person’s disease, very early onset Alzheimer’s—which can begin as early as age 50—often goes undetected until it’s far too late for significant symptom treatment. That's why earlier detection is such a focus of research. 

The idea that the LOST universe is the collapsing mind of an Alzheimer's patient has never been discussed as a fan theory, but it makes some sense. If the LOST characters actions on the island were internal manifestations of the disease at various levels of severity (like when Claire went squirrel insane), then the island as a fantasy world inhabited by "real" people makes some sense.

A wasted mind is a terrible thing. A diseased mind is a sad occurrence. If one has wasted their life, would those regrets and sadness compound themselves in a diseased mind to create a vivid and dangerous LOST world?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


The BBC recently reported that scientists have finally mapped individual brain cells during REM sleep cycles.

For the first time, scientists have recorded from individual brain cells during the dreaming phase of sleep.

After each rapid eye movement (REM) they recorded bursts of activity that match what happens when we are awake and we see - or imagine - a new image. 

They suggest that these well-known flickering movements accompany a "change of scene" in our dreams.

The recordings were made from patients with electrodes implanted in their brains to monitor seizures.
"It's a unique opportunity to look at what's happening inside the human brain," Dr Yuval Nir, from Tel Aviv University in Israel, told the BBC. "We're very thankful to the epilepsy patients who volunteered to take part."

Dr Nir worked with colleagues from France and the US on the study, which is published in the Nature Communications journal. 

Over the course of four years they worked with 19 different patients, recording from electrodes in several different brain areas but largely within the medial temporal lobe. 

This is not a part of the brain directly involved in vision, Dr Nir said.

"The activity of these neurons doesn't reflect image processing. It's more about signalling to the brain about a certain concept. You can close your eyes and imagine Queen Elizabeth, and these neurons will fire. This activity implies a refresh of the mental imagery and the associations."

When the patients were awake and shown a picture, especially one associated with a memory, the researchers saw a particular pattern of activity.

"About a 0.3 seconds after the picture appears, these neurons burst - they become vigorously active," Dr Nir explained. "This also happens when people just close their eyes and imagine these pictures, or these concepts."

Intriguingly, he and his colleagues spotted a "very, very similar pattern" during sleep. In particular, these bursts arrived just after eye movements during REM sleep.

This is the phase of sleep in which we dream, and it is characterized by these occasional, very quick eye movements.

It has long been thought that these movements might reflect the visual component of dreams, but there has been no clear evidence for this - until now, Dr Nir said.

"We are intimately familiar with the activity of these neurons. We know they are active every time you look at an image, or when you imagine that image. And now we see them active in a similar way when you move your eyes in REM sleep, so it becomes very probable that the eye movements represent some type of reset, or 'moving onto the next dream frame'.

"It's almost like when I was growing up and we had slide projectors. You move to the next dream slide, if you like." Our eyes flicker in spurts during the dreaming phase of sleep.

This could help to explain why unborn babies and blind people also move their eyes during REM sleep, he added.

"Even people who are congenitally blind... can still dream about their aunt coming to visit from Florida: her voice, the emotions and all the associations that go with that.

"And when the dream changes from meeting this aunt to, say, taking your dog for a stroll in the park, then the brain activity changes and this happens in sync with eye movements."

Other sleep researchers welcomed the findings. Prof Jim Horne, who established the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, said the study fits with our improving understanding of REM sleep.

He also emphasized that flickering of a dreamer's eyes, which only happens in brief spurts, does not mean they are surveying a scene. 

"The eye movements are not actually scanning your dream - they're reorienting your visual thoughts," Prof Horne told BBC News.

"This study endorses other findings that REM sleep has many similarities to wakefulness. I see REM sleep as rather like the screensaver on your computer; all you need is the touch of a button and your computer leaps to life. It's very close to wakefulness. Non-REM sleep is more like when you switch your computer off, and waking up requires a process of rebooting," he said.

Prof William Wisden, a neuroscientist at Imperial College London, was also convinced by the similarity of brain activity between awake and REM states - but he said there are bigger questions still to answer.

"The most fascinating question of all is why do we have to have REM sleep? Why does our brain have all this circuitry to do that?This paper doesn't answer that, but it does emphasize how similar being awake and in REM sleep are, for particular circuits in the brain," he concluded.

One of the popular theories to LOST was that it was part of an elaborate dream sequence, whether it was an individual creating their own sleep fantasy world, or a collective dream by networking the sleep cycles of patients together to form an interactive video-like game, or a laboratory experiment in human behavior where stories, characters and the like are feed back into the subjects who use experience it as a vivid dream.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Huffington Post article on 8 subconscious behaviors that keep people from living their lives they want to live:

Every generation has a "monoculture" of sorts, a governing pattern or system of beliefs that people unconsciously accept as "truth." It's easy to identify the monoculture of Germany in the 1930s, or America in 1776. It's clear what people at those times, in those places, accepted to be "good" and "true" even when in reality, that was certainly not always the case.

The objectivity required to see the effects of present monoculture is very difficult to maintain (once you have so deeply accepted an idea as 'truth' it doesn't register as 'cultural' or 'subjective' anymore) ... but it's crucial. So much of our inner turmoil is simply the result of conducting a life we don't inherently agree with, because we have accepted an inner narrative of "normal" and "ideal" without ever realizing.

The fundamentals of any given monoculture tend to surround how to live your best life, how to live a better life, and what's most worth living for (nation, religion, self, etc.) and there are a number of ways in which our current system has us shooting ourselves in the feet as we try to step forward. Simply, there are a few fundamentals on happiness, decision making, instinct following and peace finding that we don't seem to understand.

So here, eight of the daily behaviors and unconscious habits that are keeping you from the life you really want.

1. You believe that creating your best possible life is a matter of deciding what you want and then going after it, but in reality, you are psychologically incapable of being able to predict what will make you happy. 

Your brain can only perceive what it has known, so when you choose what you want for the future, you're actually just re-creating a solution or an ideal of the past. Ironically, when said ideas don't come to fruition (things never look the way we think they will) you suffer, because you think you've failed, when really, you're most likely experiencing something better than you could have chosen for yourself at the time. (Moral of the story: Living in the moment isn't a lofty ideal reserved for the zen and enlightened, it's the only way to live a life that isn't infiltrated with illusions... it's the only thing your brain can actually comprehend.)

2. You extrapolate the present moment because you believe that success is somewhere you "arrive," so you are constantly trying to take a snapshot of your life and see if you can be happy yet. 

You accidentally convince yourself that any given moment is your life, when in reality, it is a moment in your life. Because we're wired to believe that success is somewhere we get to - when goals are accomplished and things are completed - we're constantly measuring our present moments by how "finished" they are, how good the story sounds, how someone else would judge the summary. (If at any point you find yourself thinking: "is this all there is?" you're forgetting that everything is transitory. There is nowhere to "arrive" at. The only thing you're rushing toward is death. Accomplishing goals is not success. How much you learn and enjoy and expand in the process of doing them is.)

3. You assume that when it comes to following your "gut instincts," happiness is "good," and fear and pain is "bad." 

When you consider doing something that you truly love and are invested in, you are going to feel an influx of fear and pain, mostly because it will involve being vulnerable. When it comes to making decisions, you have to know that bad feelings are not deterrents. They are indicators that you want to do something, but it scares you (which are the things most worth doing, if you ask me). Not wanting to do something would make you feel indifferent about it. Fear = interest. 

4. You needlessly create problems and crises in your life because you're afraid of actually living it. 

The pattern of unnecessarily creating crisis in your life is actually an avoidance technique. It distracts you from actually having to be vulnerable or held accountable or whatever it is you're afraid of. You're never upset for the reason you think you are: at the core of your desire to create a problem is simply the fear of being who you are, and living the life you want.

5. You think that to change your beliefs, you have to adopt a new line of thinking, rather than seek experiences that make that thinking self-evident. 

A belief is what you know to be true because experience has made it evident to you. If you want to change your life, change your beliefs. If you want to change your beliefs, go out and have experiences that make them real to you. Not the opposite way around.

6. You think "problems" are road blocks to achieving what you want, when in reality, they are pathways. 

If you haven't heard it before, Marcus Aurelius sums this up well: "The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way." Ryan Holiday explains it even more gracefully:  "The obstacle is the way."Simply, running into a "problem" forces you to take action to resolve it. That action leads you down the path you had ultimately intended to go anyway, as the only "problems" in your life ultimately come down to how you resist who you are and how your life naturally unfolds.

7. You think your past defines you, and worse, you think that it is an unchangeable reality, when really, your perception of it changes as you do. 

Because experience is always multi-dimensional, there are a variety of memories, experiences, feelings, "gists" you can choose to recall... and what you choose is indicative of your present state of mind. So many people get caught up in allowing the past to define them, or haunt them, simply because they have not evolved to the place of seeing how the past did not prevent them from achieving the life they want... it facilitated it (see: the obstacle is the way). This doesn't mean to disregard or gloss over painful or traumatic events, but simply to be able to recall them with acceptance and to be able to place them in the storyline of your personal evolution.

8. You try to change other people, situations and things (or you just complain/get upset about them) when anger = self-recognition. 

Most negative emotional reactions are you identifying a disassociated aspect of yourself. Your "shadow selves" are the parts of you that, at some point, you were conditioned to believe were "not okay," so you suppressed them and have done everything in your power not to acknowledge them. You don't actually dislike these parts of yourself, though, you absolutely love them. So when you see somebody else displaying one of these traits, it absolutely infuriates you, not because you inherently dislike it, but because you have to fight your desire to fully integrate it into your whole consciousness. The things you love about others are the things you love about yourself. The things you hate about others are the things you cannot see in yourself.

Friday, August 14, 2015


In 1993, social psychologist Craig Haney  began studying the effects of solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison in California, one of the first "super-max" prisons in the country.

Twenty years later, he went back to gather more information — and found many of the same inmates still suffering alone in their cells.

"It was shocking, frankly," Haney, a professor in the psychology department at the University of California Santa Cruz, recently told The New York Times.

Despite not being peer reviewed as a formal study yet, Haney's interviewed of 56 prisoners, all of whom spent between 10 and 28 years in solitary confinement.

The results provide the most comprehensive look at the effects of long-term solitary confinement yet, according to the Times.

An estimated 75,000 prisoners across the US live in Special Housing Units, also known as the SHU — what the Federal Bureau of Prisons calls solitary confinement. There, they spend up to 23 hours locked in cells often no larger than the span of their outstretched arms with little to no interaction with others. 

During their few precious hours free from bars, they shower, exercise, and tend to their medical needs, still often alone.

In such extreme isolation for years, the prisoners Haney interviewed at Pelican Bay experienced what he calls a "social death."

“They were grieving for their lost lives, for their loss of connectedness to the social world and their families outside, and also for their lost selves,” Haney told the Times. “Most of them really did understand that they had lost who they were, and weren’t sure of who they had become."

The inmates describe the experience much more viscerally.

One compared Pelican Bay's solitary confinement wing to "a weapons labs or a place for human experiments," the Times reported. Another admitted he imagines his family watching TV with him and talks to them.

"Maybe I'm crazy, but it makes me feel like I'm with them," the inmate told Haney, according to the Times.

Yet another had considered begging a judge for the death penalty.

In 1993, the inmates Haney interviewed reported high rates of psychiatric issues, like depression and irrational anger and even confusion and dizziness.

When Haney returned to Pelican Bay in 2013, according to the Times, the prisoner's conditions hadn't improved.

Sixty-three percent of the inmates in solitary for more than 10 years told Haney they felt near an "impending breakdown," the Times reported. 

By contrast, only 4% of the regular inmates at the maximum security facility described themselves in the same manner. And 73% of solitary prisoners reported being chronically depressed, compared to 48% of maximum-security inmates.

Prolonged depression has been linked to the shrinkage of the brain's hippocampus, an area of the brain that helps us form new memories, process long-term memories, and link emotions to those memories.

Ian Hickie, the co-director of the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute, helped lead the largest international study comparing brain volumes in people with and without major depression. The study, published in June 2015, found that "more episodes of depression a person had, the greater the reduction in hippocampus size," he told The Guardian newspaper.

Aside from depression, the lack of physical activity, social interaction, or natural sunlight in solitary would likely be enough to cause a person harm, explained, Haney. "Each one is sufficient enough to change the brain and change it dramatically, whether it is brief or extended. And when I say extended, I mean days, not decades," he said.

While these studies show that isolation in a prison setting can cause severe mental and emotional problems, when we examine LOST's foundational story lines that have the basis in severe emotional and mental issues, one can see a link between the two.

Isolation does not have to come from prison confinement. At times, people create their own prisons. They withdraw from the world; hide in their own homes; remove contact with friends and family members. In such a situation, their mind preys upon their anxieties, fears, phobias and disillusions about how bad their life has become because of X, Y or Z reasons.  

Normal human beings live life. They work, try, fail, learn and try again. But those people trapped in their own mental prisons create the illusion of a real life because they cannot experience a real one. And this illusion based on past memories can be as vivid as reality itself.

So, even non-institutional people can create their own "social death." People are  grieving for their lost lives, for their loss of connectedness to the social world and their families outside, and also for their lost selves. That sounds like the foundational story engine for the LOST series.

Monday, August 10, 2015

WHOLE WORLD SIMULATION PART THREE reports that scientists have been baffled by a new cosmic discovery.

The sheer size of our universe is just about unfathomable, so you can imagine the surprise that researchers must have experienced when they recently discovered a structure within our known universe that measures 5 billion light years across. That's more than one-ninth the size of the entire observable universe, and by far the largest structure ever discovered by Earth scientists.

The mysterious structure is so colossal that it could shatter our current understanding of how the universe operates in size and shape.

“If we are right, this structure contradicts the current models of the universe,” said Lajos Balazs, lead author on the paper. “It was a huge surprise to find something this big – and we still don’t quite understand how it came to exist at all.”

Just what is this massive structure? It's not a single, physical object, but rather a cluster of nine massive galaxies bound together gravitationally, much like how our Milky Way is part of a cluster of galaxies. It was discovered after researchers identified a ring of nine gamma ray bursts (GRBs) that appeared to be at very similar distances from us, each around 7 billion light years away.

GRBs are the brightest electromagnetic events known to occur in the universe, caused by a supernova. Their detection typically indicates the presence of a galaxy, so all of the GRBs in this ring are believed to each come from a different galaxy. But their close proximity to one another suggests that these galaxies must be linked together. There is only a 1 in 20,000 probability of the GRBs being in this distribution by chance.

A mega-cluster of this size shouldn't be possible, at least not if you think in terms of our current theories. Those theories predict that the universe ought to be relatively uniform on the largest scales, meaning that the sizes of structures shouldn't vary by much. In fact, the theoretical limit to structure size has been calculated at around 1.2 billion light years across.

If the Hungarian-American team's calculations are correct, then this giant new structure-- which measures in at over 5 billion light years across — would blow that classic model out of the water. In fact, either the researchers' calculations are wrong on this, or scientists will need to radically revise their theories on the evolution of the cosmos.

 This discovery  reminds us just how small our view of the universe really is and what it contains.

One can apply this new discovery to our recent discussion of our world being a simulation from higher species far, far, far away in space. If we are allowed to break through the fourth wall of our current illusion to find the reality of our existence, then this massive GRB, an electromagnetic event, could be the "projector" of all we know, understand and feel in our lives.

As Daniel observed, the electromagnetics of the island were "off."  He could not explain it, but perhaps this was the focal point for the data stream from outside our world. In essence, the island would be the "router" of the illusion we call reality through our world. The light source is our planetary projector which provides us with all the elements of life.

But why would a higher intelligence beam an illusion to Earth? Perhaps, it is a method of augmented reality - - - overlaying additional information inside the heads of lower species. Whether that augmentation is supposed to help raise the consciousness of mankind or hinder its progress is a debate for another day. But it does fit into the notion that human beings, as biochemical computers, could be constantly fed "firmware" updates from their programmers (creators).

Saturday, August 8, 2015


There was a fan theory that LOST was just an elaborate computer game. The main characters were merely avatars in computer worlds (which do not have to conform to science, laws of physics or even continuity). Most fans discounted the game theory notion because the series had live actors so it seemed real.
But for a long time, scientists and philosophers have debated our own understanding of the world around us. There has been some traction that everything we know may just be part of a Matrix-style simulation, according to physicists who claim that we could all be part of a giant GAME.

A new theory has suggested that our entire lives and memories may not be real, instead being part of a computer program played by advanced robots, according to Yahoo News article.

The so-called ‘simulation argument’ has been theorized for several years, with noted academics including Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom, suggesting that the plot of The Matrix could be closer to real life than we think.

In the sci-fi classic, humans are bred in vats that are fed with simulations that make them believe they are living an ordinary life. Scientists say that we could all be living in the future, and our life in 2015 is nothing more than a series of numbers in a computer program.

It may sound like science fiction but scientists believe they may actually be able to PROVE that what you know isn’t what you know.
Marvin Minsky, one of the founders of artificial intelligence (AI) thinks that there may be tell-tale signs if the programmer of our mass simulation “has made some slips."

He said that some laws of physics that “aren’t quite right” could be the start of being able to prove that the universe is a simulation.

Silas Beane, from the University of Bonn, suggested several years ago that if humans were to build a small-sale simulation of the universe we would be able to identify any constraints. These constraints would include a cut-off in the spectrum of high energy particles - exactly the kind of cut off in the energy of cosmic rays. This would be the start of proving that our universe is not what it seems - and that it is part of a giant construct.

This is an interesting notion because of Daniel's express comments when he arrived at the island, that the light "acted differently" and the spectrum was off. This could be the biggest clue that the island itself was not what we viewed it as, but as another construct (with various other theories such as alternative dimension, time loop, mini-worm hole, alien space craft, different planet through a cosmic gateway, etc.)

These theories are not the first time that humans have debated whether we are actually real - French philosopher Rene Descartes theorized that nothing we perceive is true except our consciousness being aware of itself and its doubts - which is how the phrase ‘I think, therefore I am’ came about.

However, some believe that our own thoughts can also be part of a simulation or program that is being controlled by robots or aliens. The concept of "free will" may be artificial intelligence programming that allows people "choices" from various sets of rational, irrational, logical, illogical, emotional, intellectual, etc. 

But what about us as human beings? In the U.S.-U.K series Humans, android AI robots called synths look and act like human beings but they are just complex machines. They are called synths because that is what they are programmed to be; so there is no reason why artificial intelligent machines could be called "humans."

But then what about our own perceptions and senses, like touch, smell, vision? Again, in theory we occupy three dimensional space because that is what our brains process as three dimensional space. WE touch, hold, feel objects because our brain processes the tactile responses from the sensors in our hands and fingertips. At its core, that is merely data being processed by an organic computer module which automatically sends back feedback in the form of conscious recognition of touch, smell or imagines of the world around us.

It does put an introspective question to any human being. What is our true reality?

We may be organic beings, but could some other advanced civilization have created organic computing machines? We could be nanobots in a different universe. There is a basis for that belief because every time a scientist puts a prepared glass plate under a microscope, he will find an invisible world of microbes and viruses which have no perception of our world view. So, logically, in some other world view, we are microbes and viruses to another alien world.

Even our current generation of video games have graphics that begin to rival HD movie films. So the idea that perception is reality is something that everyone thinks about daily at a subconscious level.  It is when it reaches a conscious level discussion that things get strange.

In a logic program, the smoke monster may have been not a security system, but a software program to use to combat computer viruses (in the form of evil, destructive character avatars). 

But if humans are part of a complex computer program or network, does that put doubt into the meaning of our lives? Perhaps. And that may be the main reason why human beings need to pair bond, to form communities, share resources and values and create religious principles to calm and comfort those desiring a better explanation of life and death. All machines have a useful life expectancy. So do human beings. Creating circuit pathways to lead to productive output is the goal of both man and machine.  It may be the reason why some consider humans the greatest machines in history.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


The notion that humanity might be living in an artificial reality — a simulated universe — seemed sophomoric, at best science fiction. 

However, many scientists and philosophers realized that the notion that everything humans see and know is a gigantic computer game of sorts, the creation of super-intelligent hackers existing somewhere else, is not a joke. Exploring a "whole-world simulation," Yahoo News reported:

David Brin, sci-fi writer and space scientist, relates the Chinese parable of an emperor dreaming that he was a butterfly dreaming that he was an emperor. In contemporary versions, Brin said, it may be the year 2050 and people are living in a computer simulation of what life was like in the early 21st century — or it may be billions of years from now, and people are in a simulation of what primitive planets and people were once like.

It's like the movie "The Matrix," Bostrom said, except that "instead of having brains in vats that are fed by sensory inputs from a simulator, the brains themselves would also be part of the simulation. It would be one big computer program simulating everything, including human brains down to neurons and synapses."

Bostrum is not saying that humanity is living in such a simulation. Rather, his "Simulation Argument" seeks to show that one of three possible scenarios must be true (assuming there are other intelligent civilizations):

All civilizations become extinct before becoming technologically mature; 

All technologically mature civilizations lose interest in creating simulations; 

Humanity is literally living in a computer simulation.

His point is that all cosmic civilizations either disappear (e.g., destroy themselves) before becoming technologically capable, or all decide not to generate whole-world simulations (e.g., decide such creations are not ethical, or get bored with them). The operative word is "all" — because if even one civilization anywhere in the cosmos could generate such simulations, then simulated worlds would multiply rapidly and almost certainly humanity would be in one.

As technology visionary Ray Kurzweil put it, "maybe our whole universe is a science experiment of some junior high school student in another universe." 

Kurzweil's worldview is based on the profound implications of what happens over time when computing power grows exponentially. To Kurzweil, a precise simulation is not meaningfully different from real reality. Corroborating the evidence that this universe runs on a computer, he says, is that "physical laws are sets of computational processes" and "information is constantly changing, being manipulated, running on some computational substrate." And that would mean, he concluded, "the universe is a computer." Kurzweil said he considers himself to be a "pattern of information."
"I'm a patternist," he said. "I think patterns, which means that information is the fundamental reality." 

 If people are in a whole-world simulation, how could they know it? Brin suggests a "back door" in the simulation program that would enable the alleged programmers to control people (much like countries accuse each other of installing "back doors" in code to conduct espionage). 

"If we are living in a simulation, then everything is software, including every atom in our bodies," Brin said, "and there may be 'back doors' that the programmers left ajar."

Marvin Minsky, a legendary founder of artificial intelligence, to distinguish among three kinds of simulations: (i) brains in vats, (ii) universal simulation as pure software and (iii) universal simulation as real physical stuff.

"It would be very hard to distinguish among those," Minsky said, "unless the programmer has made some slips — if you notice that some laws of physics aren't quite right, if you find rounding-off errors, you might sense some of the grain of the computer showing through."

If that were the case, he says, it would mean that the universe is easier to understand than scientists had imagined, and that they might even find ways to change it. 

The thought that this level of reality might not be ultimate reality can be unsettling, but not to Minsky: "Wouldn't it be nice to know that we are part of a larger reality?" 

Martin Rees, U.K. Astronomer Royal, is a bold visionary and hard-nosed realist. "Well, it's a bit flaky, but a fascinating idea," he said. "The real question is what are the limits of computing powers."

Astronomers are already doing simulations of parts of universes. "We can't do experiments on stars and galaxies," Rees explained, "but we can have a virtual universe in our computer, and calculate what happens if you crash galaxies together, evolve stars, etc. So, because we can simulate some cosmic features in a gross sense, we have to ask, 'As computers become vastly more powerful, what more could we simulate?'

"It's not crazy to believe that some time in the far future," he said, "there could be computers which could simulate a fairly large fraction of a world."

A prime assumption of all simulation theories is that consciousness — the inner sense of awareness, like the sound of Gershwin or the smell of garlic — can be simulated; in other words, that a replication of the complete physical states of the brain will yield, ipso facto, the complete mental states of the mind. (This direct correspondence usually assumes, unknowingly, the veracity of what's known in philosophy of mind as "identity theory," one among many competing theories seeking to solve the intractable "mind-body problem".) Such a brain-only mechanism to account for consciousness, required for whole-world simulations and promulgated by physicalists.

"That may be the kind of question that would demand a superhuman intelligence to answer," which, Rees said on whether human-level consciousness and self-consciousness can be simulated., "could be forever beyond our capacity." 

Physicist Paul Davies has a different take. He uses simulation theory to tease out possible contradictions in the multiple universe (multiverse) theory, which is his countercultural challenge to today's mainstream cosmology.

"If you take seriously the theory of all possible universes, including all possible variations," Davies said, "at least some of them must have intelligent civilizations with enough computing power to simulate entire fake worlds. Simulated universes are much cheaper to make than the real thing, and so the number of fake universes would proliferate and vastly outnumber the real ones. And assuming we're just typical observers, then we're overwhelmingly likely to find ourselves in a fake universe, not a real one." 

Davies claims that because the theoretical existence of multiple universes is based on the laws of physics in our universe, if this universe is simulated, then its laws of physics are also simulated, which would mean that this universe's physics is a fake. Therefore, Davies reasoned, "We cannot use the argument that the physics in our universe leads to multiple universes, because it also leads to a fake universe with fake physics." That undermines the whole argument that fundamental physics generates multiple universes, because the reasoning collapses in circularity.

Davies concluded, "While multiple universes seem almost inevitable given our understanding of the Big Bang, using them to explain all existence is a dangerous, slippery slope, leading to apparently absurd conclusions."

Five premises to the simulation argument:

(i) Other intelligent civilizations exist; 
(ii) their technologies grow exponentially; 
(iii) they do not all go extinct; 
(iv) there is no universal ban or barrier for running simulations; and 
(v) consciousness can be simulated. 

If these five premises are true, humanity is likely living in a simulation. The logic seems sound, which means that if you don't accept (or don't want to accept) the conclusion, then you must reject at least one of the premises. 

Which to reject? Other intelligent civilizations? Exponential growth of technology?
Not all civilizations going extinct? No simulations ban or barrier? Consciousness simulated?
Whichever you choose, it must apply always, everywhere. For all time. In all universes. No exceptions. 

Would the simulation argument relate to theism, the existence of God? Not necessarily.

Bostrum said, "the simulation hypothesis is not an alternative to theism or atheism. It could be a version of either — it's independent of whether God exists." While the simulation argument is "not an attempt to refute theism," he said, it would "imply a weaker form of a creation hypothesis," because the creator-simulators "would have some of the attributes we traditionally associate with God in the sense that they would have created our world." 

They would be superintelligent, but they "wouldn't need unlimited or infinite minds." They could "intervene in the world, our experiential world, by manipulating the simulation. So they would have some of the capabilities of omnipotence in the sense that they could change anything they wanted about our world."

So even if this universe looks like it was created, neither scientists nor philosophers nor theologians could easily distinguish between the traditional creator God and hyper-advanced creator-simulators.
But that leads to the old regress game and the question of who created the (weaker) creator-simulators.

At some point, the chain of causation must end — although even this, some would dispute.
 But because the simulation argument seems to work, what it seems to do is to uncover deep discrepancies, or fundamental flaws, in how people think about deep reality — about this universe, multiple universes, consciousness, and even inferences for and against theism.

Monday, August 3, 2015


I can't imagine I am the only woman over 50, not married or in a serious relationship, that has been told by some well meaning friend that It would be so good for me to find someone. Find someone? Is there a specific spot I should look? Is there a lost and found pile I can dig through to see if someone in there belongs to me? Perhaps there's a room full of eligible smart kind men in a building somewhere I can't locate. Of course I am kidding. I know people are well intentioned when they say it. But did they ever think that people who aren't in serious relationships can still be seriously happy? 

That while it may be lovely to be with someone it doesn't mean we can't be happy without someone? My happiness is based on me liking myself and loving the time I spend with my family and my friends. I've been in relationships that tore my very soul apart and left me desperately unhappy and marginalized. But, from the outside looking in I would have been seen to have it all. A handsome man and a ring on your finger is not the arbiter of a life or love fulfilled.

I have no problems with the truth on this matter. It will be nice if or when I meet the right, good man. But for now I am most happily living with exactly the right woman. Me.

--Arlene Dickinson

Society puts expectations on all of us. Especially on women on their role in our culture.

In fact, many people still judge another person by their status - - - whether it be social, wealth or relationship.

In Asian cultures, if a woman is not married by age 30, she is deemed a social outcast, an old maid, not worthy of total respect. In America, there was a strong Puritan ethic that women should marry early, raise children and tend a household. The American Dream was defined by a suburban house, picket fence, two cars in the garage and chicken in the stove pot. 

But times change but the perceptions remain the same.

In the 1970s, women were told by feminists that they could have a career as good as men; that they did not need men to validate their lives; that they could find their own path to happiness. Women were no longer defined by the men around them.

Even so, there were expectations that women were to settle down, marry and have a "normal" life.

With the advent of no fault divorces (where the promise "until death do we part" has been nullified), more and more women find themselves at mid-life, alone and in the cross hairs of family and friend advice that happiness is sharing your life with someone new.

Some women are too hurt by their past experiences to try it again. Past pain does not equate to future unhappiness, but human minds do tend to lessen emotional risks with mental excuses and procrastination themes. Some women try too hard to find a new partner, only to change their personality to something they are not - - - and hurting both themselves and their new relationship in the process of unwinding the white lies.

In LOST, many of the women were defined in this cultural stigma. 

Juliet was a medical doctor. But she was defined by her brilliant doctor husband. She was always in his shadow. Her accomplishments were secondary to his work. He cheated on her, disrespected her and then discarded her. But her upbringing and personality keep that bond with him even after they broke up. They were never compatible because he lacked the mutual trust and respect for her.

Kate was the rural farm girl. She had the spunk and fire of a tom boy. She was adventurous and fun. But at the point where she was supposed to grow up and become a responsible woman (settle down, marry, get a stable job, raise a family, etc.) she rebelled and lashed out at her own family. She valued her freedom more than her own happiness. It made her a bitter, lonely, frightened and sad young woman with no goals, desires or dreams.

Sun was the opposite. She was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist. She grew up in the power and position of a wealthy family. She had no hardships growing up. She became bored with the life of a rich princess. She hated the fact that her parents had their own path for her life (including marrying a proper man). Like Kate, she rebelled against her parents to marry Jin, a lowly, poor, uneducated fisherman's son. To her own shock, Jin did not take to her own adventurous side - - - he quickly changed to become Sun's father's "yes man," because Jin wanted what Sun already abandoned: wealth and status. 

People have to decide their own paths. Yes, there are speed bumps along the journey of life. Some of those are created by luck, society's pressures, cultural perceptions and one's own mistaken choices. But in the end, every person must make their own decisions that are best for them and them alone. Only then can that person who is comfortable with their own life, open up to share the "real" them with another person.