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Suffering from memories

Dr Bessel van der Kolk, a leading expert in the study of trauma, suggests that post-traumatic stress is a widespread problem in our society and that the solution to this problem may lie in going beyond traditional treatment. The symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) may be well known. People with PTSD suffer from flashbacks […]

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Seeing things as they are

Buddhism is quite different from all other major religions. While other religions offer to its followers the answers to metaphysical questions and doctrines to devote oneself to, Buddhism presents to those interested primarily a different way of seeing things. This is because Buddhists say that the Buddha was first and foremost interested in the human […]

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Seneca on Adversity

When his friend Lucilius asked why good people suffer from misfortune, the Roman philosopher Seneca answered that nothing bad can happen to a good person. Seneca tells Lucilius that a good person is one who lives a virtuous life; and that the virtuous person is one who accepts what fate hands them and is calm […]

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The fear of knowing

The American psychologist Abraham Maslow suggested that there exists, in many of us, a general feeling of dread towards being curious and acquiring knowledge. Maslow stated that to avoid anxiety, many people refuse to learn about the world and their place in it. He called this phenomenon the ‘Fear of Knowing’. According to Maslow, there […]

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The psychology of self-actualized people

A theory of mental health In Toward a psychology of being, the psychologist Abraham Maslow puts forward a theory of psychological health that is predicated on the fulfilment of human needs. Maslow believed that fellow psychologists tended to focus too heavily on the symptoms of people who are mentally unwell, and not enough on the qualities of […]

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A sacred need for Silence

In the Christian religion, speaking in a way that is unrestrained and indiscriminate is considered morally evil. According to the bible, for “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment”. But Christianity is just one of the many religions that have a bleak assessment of those […]

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What it means to be Agnostic

A misconception In the myth of Adam and Eve, one of the first privileges granted to Adam is that of naming all the animals in the Garden of Eden. With the ability to name things, Adam has the power to think about, and differentiate between, the other inhabitants. Naming is a potent ability as for […]

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An attitude for an absurd world

The philosopher Albert Camus said that “there is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide”. According to Camus, the fundamental question that philosophy should try to answer is whether life is worth living or not. Many people choose to die when they believe that life is not worth living and so we […]

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The quiet power of introverts

A life of the mind Our personality greatly shapes who we are as individuals and influences nearly every aspect of our life. Our place on the introversion-extroversion spectrum, in particular, seems to have the most impact on the choices we make in life. Where we lie on this spectrum affects the friendships we make, the […]

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The obligation to think with effort

The flawed mind When we think about human nature, the idea that we are rational beings is one that is generally accepted. Every day we are bombarded with a sea of situations which we must face by making decisions. However, research shows that we aren’t actually the author of our choices and actions that we […]