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Return to Books, Movies, Food, Wine, and Whatever
"Nothing is worth more than this day. "
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"to be alive becomes the fundamental luck each ordinary, compromising day manages to bury"

"At certain moments, always unforseen, I become happy... I look at the strangers near as if I had known them all my life... everything fills me with affection... It may be an hour before the mood passes, but lately I seem to understand that I enter upon it the moment I cease to hate. "

- William Butler Yeats

I love this quote:

You will find that silence or very gentle words are the most exquisite revenge for insult.
Author: Judge Hall

moderation is arbitrary and capricious- as it is on all moderated threads
only on this one
I say it up front :-)
so you know

Freedom of association- it's important. It gives us the right to associate with folks we find congenial. That's a good thing. Let me make this very very simple, if your posts are nice, you will be able to post here, if they are not, you won't. If you are nasty to me, here or elsewhere on SI, you won't be talking to me here. What I can't figure out is why some of you don't get that nasty just isn't fun to be around. You can get your blood pressure up with fighting, to be sure, but some people get tired of that sort of ritual combat after years of it. Let it go boys (and girls)- and leave me alone. If you've been nasty, that's why you can not post here. Freedom in America does not mean you have the freedom to trash people as much as you want AND you then have the right to force your company on the people you have trashed. Think about this going forward, and either be nicer to people, or understand that there are consequences to bad behavior.

Happy People versus Angry People:

"Mirror Neurons
Mirror neurons have been referred to by scientists like V.S. Rmachandran as one of the most important neuroscientific breakthroughs of recent history. This Nova video is a great introduction, but here's the condensed version:

There is now strong evidence to suggest that humans have the same type of "mirror neurons" found in monkeys. It's what these neurons do that's amazing--they activate in the same way when you're watching someone else do something as they do when you're doing it yourself! This mirroring process/capability is thought to be behind our ability to empathize, but you can imagine the role these neurons have played in keeping us alive as a species. We learn from watching others. We learn from imitating (mirroring) others. The potential problem, though, is that these neurons go happily about their business of imitating others without our conscious intention.

Think about that..."

"Emotional Contagion
Steven Stosny, an expert on road rage, is quoted in Restak's book:

"Anger and resentment are thet most contagious of emotions," according to Stonsy. "If you are near a resentful or angry person, you are more prone to become resentful or angry yourself. If one driver engages in angry gestures and takes on the facial expressions of hostility, surrounding drivers will unconsciously imitate the behavior--resulting in an escalation of anger and resentment in all of the drivers. Added to this, the drivers are now more easily startled as a result of the outpouring of adrenaline accompanying their anger. The result is a temper tantrum that can easily escalate into road rage."

If you were around one or more people with a potentially harmful contagious disease, you would probably take steps to protect yourself in some way. And if you were the contagious one, you'd likely take steps to protect others until you were sure the chance of infecting someone else was gone.

But while we all have a lot of respect for physical biological contagions, we do NOT have much respect for physical emotional contagions. (I said "physical", because science has known for quite some time that "emotions" are not simply a fuzzy-feeling concept, but represent physical changes in the brain.)"

"Happy People

The notion of "Happy People" was tossed around in the Robert-Lost-His-Mind posts as something ridiculous at best, dangerous at worst. One blogger equated "happy people" with "vacuous". The idea seems to be that "happy people" implies those who are oblivious to the realities of life, in a fantasy of their own creation, and without the ability to think critically. The science, however, suggests just the opposite.

Neuroscience has made a long, intense study of the brain's fear system--one of the oldest, most primitive parts of our brain. Anger and negativity usually stem from the anxiety and/or fear response in the brain, and one thing we know for sure--when the brain thinks its about to be eaten or smashed by a giant boulder, there's no time to stop and think! In many ways, fear/anger and the ability to think rationally and logically are almost mutually exclusive. Those who stopped to weigh the pros and cons of a flight-or-fight decision were eaten, and didn't pass on their afraid-yet-thoughtful genes. Many neuroscientists (and half the US population) believes that it is exactly this fear != rational thought that best explains the outcome of the last US presidential election... but I digress.

Happines is associated most heavily with the left (i.e. logical) side of the brain, while anger is associated with the right (emotional, non-logical) side of the brain. From a Society for Neuroscience article on Bliss and the Brain:

"Furthermore, studies suggest that certain people's ability to see life through rose-colored glasses links to a heightened left-sided brain function. A scrutiny of brain activity indicates that individuals with natural positive dispositions have trumped up activity in the left prefrontal cortex compared with their more negative counterparts. "

In other words, happy people are better able to think logically.

And apparently happier = healthier:

"Evidence suggests that the left-siders may better handle stressful events on a biological level. For example, studies show that they have a higher function of cells that help defend the body, known as natural killer cells, compared with individuals who have greater right side activity. Left-sided students who face a stressful exam have a smaller drop in their killer cells than right-siders. Other research indicates that generally left-siders may have lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol."

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