Archive for September 18th, 2012

September 18, 2012

Religion and Happiness

Laughing Buddha

Religion and happiness have been studied by a number of researchers. The science of positive psychology has identified many components of happiness, and religion seems adapted to satisfy many of them. Some research suggests that both non-religious and religious meaning systems can be quite effective when it comes to managing death anxiety, and that the latter have a few additional advantages. There is extensive research suggesting that religious people are happier and less stressed.

There are a number of mechanisms through which religion may make a person happier, including social contact and support that result from religious pursuits, the mental activity that comes with optimism and volunteering, learned coping strategies that enhance one’s ability to deal with stress, and psychological factors such as ‘reason for being.’ It may also be that religious people engage in behaviors related to good health, such as less substance abuse) since the use of psychotropic substances is sometimes considered abuse. On the other hand, Rastafarians and others use cannabis as a religious sacrament.

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September 18, 2012

Eudaimonia

Eudaimonia [yew-day-mo-nee-uh] is a Greek word commonly translated as ‘happiness’ or ‘welfare’; however, ‘human flourishing’ has been proposed as a more accurate translation. It is a central concept in Aristotelian ethics and political philosophy, along with the terms ‘aretē’ (‘virtue’ or ‘excellence’) and ‘phronesis’ (‘practical or ethical wisdom’).

In Aristotle’s works, eudaimonia was (based on older Greek tradition) used as the term for the highest human good, and so it is the aim of practical philosophy, including ethics and political philosophy, to consider (and also experience) what it really is, and how it can be achieved.

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September 18, 2012

Identity Negotiation

Identity negotiation refers to the processes through which people reach agreements regarding ‘who is who’ in their relationships. Once these agreements are reached, people are expected to remain faithful to the identities they have agreed to assume.

The process of identity negotiation thus establishes what people can expect of one another. Identity negotiation thus provides the interpersonal ‘glue that holds relationships together. The idea that identities are negotiated originated in the sociological literature during the middle of the 20th century. A leading figure in this movement was Goffman, who asserted that the first order of business in social interaction is establishing a ‘working consensus’ or agreement regarding the roles each person will assume in the interaction.

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September 18, 2012

Groupie

A groupie is a person who seeks emotional and sexual intimacy with a musician or other celebrity or public figure. ‘Groupie’ is derived from group in reference to a musical group, but the word is also used in a more general sense, especially in casual conversation. The word ‘groupie’ is commonplace, a derisive term used to describe a particular kind of female fan assumed to be more interested in sex with rock stars than in their music.

Groupies became prominent in the music scene in the 1960s and 1970s. This was prior to the murder of John Lennon in 1980, and before security levels for bands increased significantly. Female groupies in particular have a long-standing reputation of being available to celebrities, pop stars, rock stars, and other public figures. Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant is quoted as distinguishing between fans who wanted brief sexual encounters, and ‘groupies’ who traveled with musicians for extended periods of time, acting as a surrogate girlfriend or mother, often taking care of the musician’s valuables, drugs, wardrobe, and social life.

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September 18, 2012

Basking in Reflected Glory

Groupie

Fair Weather Fan

Basking in reflected glory (BIRGing) is a self-serving cognition whereby an individual associates themself with successful others such that another’s success becomes their own. What is interesting about BIRGing is that the simple affiliation of another’s success is enough to stimulate self glory. The person engaging in BIRGing does not even need to have been personally involved in the successful action with which they are affiliating themselves.

Examples of BIRGing include anything from sharing a home state with a past or present famous person, to religious affiliations, to sports teams. For example, a parent with a bumper sticker reading ‘My child is an honor student’ is basking in the reflected glory of their child. Within social psychology, BIRGing is thought to enhance self-esteem and to be a component of self-management.

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September 18, 2012

Mnemic Neglect

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Mnemic [nee-meeneglect (MN) is a term used in social psychology to describe a pattern of selective forgetting, in which people tend to be poorer at recalling information that is negative with their self-concept, while being unimpaired at recalling information that is positive with their self-concept.

It is proposed that MN arises as a result of a number of underlying motives, such as self-enhancement (the maintenance of self-enhancement).

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September 18, 2012

Atheophobia

moral barometer

Discrimination against atheists (sometimes called atheophobia) includes the persecution and discrimination faced by atheists and those labeled as atheists in the past and in the current era. Differing definitions of atheism historically and culturally mean those discriminated against might not be considered truly atheist by modern Western standards. In constitutional democracies, legal discrimination against atheists is uncommon, but some atheists and atheist groups, particularly those in the United States, have protested laws, regulations and institutions they view as being discriminatory.

In some Islamic countries, atheists face discrimination including lack of legal status or even a death sentence in the case of apostasy. Atheism in its modern sense did not exist before the end of the seventeenth century. However, as governmental authority rested on the notion of divine right, it was threatened by those who denied the existence of the local god. Philosophers such as Plato argued that atheism (as we understand it today) was a danger to society and should be punished as a crime. Those labeled as atheist, which included early Christians and Muslims, were as a result targeted for legal persecution.

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September 18, 2012

Cultural Bias

Religious intolerance

Cultural bias is the phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one’s own culture. The phenomenon is sometimes considered a problem central to social and human sciences, such as economics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology.

Some practitioners of the aforementioned fields have attempted to develop methods and theories to compensate for or a culture make assumptions about conventions, including conventions of language, notation, proof and evidence. They are then accused of mistaking these assumptions for laws of logic or nature. Numerous such biases exist, concerning cultural norms for color, location of body parts, mate selection, concepts of justice, linguistic and logical validity, acceptability of evidence, and taboos.

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September 18, 2012

Supremacism

The White Man's Burden

Supremacism [suh-prem-uh-siz-uhm] is the belief that a particular race, species, ethnic group, religion, gender, sexual orientation, class, belief system or culture is superior to others and entitles those who identify with it to dominate, control or rule those who do not. Many anthropologists consider male supremacism, also known as ‘male dominance’ or ‘patriarchy,’ to exist in all cultures throughout human history. Under it special rights or status is granted to men, i.e. ‘male privilege.’

Such supremacy is enforced through a variety of cultural, political and interpersonal strategies. Others note that this often has been balanced by various forms of female authority. Since the 19th century there have been a number of feminist movements opposed to male supremacism and working for equal legal rights and protections for women in all cultural, political and interpersonal relations.

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September 18, 2012

Pseudologia Fantastica

Facebook Envy

Pseudologia fantastica, mythomania, or pathological lying are three of several terms applied by psychiatrists to the behavior of habitual or compulsive lying. It was first described in the medical literature in 1891 by Anton Delbrueck. Although it is a controversial topic, pathological lying has been defined as ‘falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime.’

A defining characteristic of pseudologia fantastica is that the stories told are not entirely improbable and often have some element of truth. They are not a manifestation of delusion or some broader type of psychosis: upon confrontation, the teller can admit them to be untrue, even if unwillingly.

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