Transgenderism vs. Feminism

The arguments for transgenderism contradict the arguments for feminism. So claims Joseph Backholm, who concludes that the real issue is “declaring independence from a fixed reality.” [Read more…]

How to be happy?

Happiness is not all it’s cracked up to be.  And happiness is not the test of faith or a sign of being right with God.  Having said that, it’s interesting that the Mayo Clinic has completed a big study of human happiness.  See some details after the jump. [Read more…]

Psychology studies too reliant on college students

The field of experimental psychology operates mostly in research universities.  So their test subjects tend to be 20-something-undergraduates volunteering for research projects to get extra credit.  That is not the world’s most representative population.  (I volunteered for some of those experiments myself, and I remember how seriously I took them, which was not very.)  A few years ago, the profession began to realize that this bias can skew research findings. [Read more…]

The “Transabled”: people who want to be disabled

Transgendered individuals feel that they were born in the wrong body.  There are also people who feel uncomfortable with their fully functioning bodies and feel that they should be disabled.  They sometimes stage accidents to cut off their own legs or blind themselves.  Some use leg braces and wheel chairs even though they don’t need to.

Now, in light of the transgendered sensitivity, there are those who are advocating for the rights of the “transabled,” saying it is not a mental illness, just another manifestation of “body diversity” and that doctors should provide operations such as  amputations just like any other cosmetic surgery. [Read more…]

Between first sleep and second sleep

About two years ago, we posted First Sleep, Second Sleep, which became the 12th most-read post on this blog, with people to this day clicking on it.  It had to do with what historians have discovered about sleep patterns in the days before artificial lighting, from ancient and Biblical days through the 17th century.  People would go to bed shortly after it turned dark, sleep for four hours, wake up for two or three hours, then go back to sleep for another four hours.  During the period of wakefulness between “first sleep” and “second sleep,” people would talk, read, and pray.  This seems to have been the main time when married couples would make love.  Artificial lighting–not just candles but oil lamps and especially electric lighting–changed people’s sleeping patterns, letting us stay up late, though patterns of insomnia suggest that first sleep and second sleep is deep wired into our nature.

Anyway, researchers have been studying this phenomenon.  Test subjects made to go to sleep when it gets dark, after a period of adjustment, fall back into the pattern.  But then scientists discovered something else.  That time between first sleep and second sleep is characterized by a unique state of consciousness.  Although the person is fully awake, he or she is in a state of deep rest, relaxation, and peace.

Clark Strand, who has written a book on the subject, relates it to the “mindfulness” of Eastern meditation.  I don’t think we have to go all mystical about it, like he does (though the connection might suggest why “the night watches” were such a good time for Bible reading and prayer), but I’m curious what this would have meant for marriages.  Marital intimacy–sex, yes, but also conversation–may well have been heightened during this nightly state of mind.  “Sleeping together” may have been more than a euphemism, perhaps a description of an deep intimacy that may be difficult to attain today. [Read more…]

The World Beyond Your Head

Matthew Crawford, a philosopher who has found wisdom in being a motorcycle mechanic, is the author of an excellent book on vocation entitled Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work.  He now has another book that shows how the Enlightenment has given us a very distorted view of the self, one which insulates the inner mind from outside reality.  The new book has the felicitous title  The World Beyond Your Head.

After the jump, I excerpt and link to an extremely thoughtful and perceptive review of the book, one that interacts with Crawford’s ideas with great learning and insight.  I was stunned to see that the reviewer is Gracy Olmstead, a recent student of mine!  I can see Patrick Henry College’s classical liberal arts curriculum underlying her essay, as she draws on the “great books” that we have read and takes part in the “great conversation” of the history of ideas.  Note too the depth of her thinking and how she compares to other recent graduates that you might have encountered.  Sorry–I’m just proud of her, that’s all. [Read more…]


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