Category Archives: Religion

THE END OF THE WORLD

Published on December 11, 2020

The End of the World as We Know It?

written by Glenn T. Stanton

Edited By Alex Santiago

How is the world going to end? Polls consistently show that most believe the cause will be environmental. “Climate anxiety” has reached such a fevered pitch among young people across the globe that the Lancet recently issued a special “call to action” to help with the problem. Clinicians have even created “climate anxiety scales” to measure the runaway angst spreading through our children, and the rest of us.

But what if the best, emerging science is actually telling us quite firmly that such fears are not only deeply misplaced, but that the most realistic cause of our collective human demise is likely the precise opposite of what most assume? This is the conclusion of a very interesting body of highly sophisticated and inter-disciplinary research. The greatest threat to humanity’s future is certainly not too many people consuming too many limited natural resources, but rather too few people giving birth to the new humans who will continue the creative work of making the world a better, more hospitable place through technological innovation. Data released this summer indicates the beginning of the end of humanity can be glimpsed from where we now stand. That end is a dramatic population bust that will nosedive toward an empty planet. New research places the beginning of that turn at about 30 years from today.

This means that Thomas Robert Malthus, and his many influential disciples, had it precisely wrong. More people are not only not the problem, but a growing population is the very answer to a more humane future in which more people are living better, healthier, longer lives than they ever have in our race’s tumultuously dynamic history.

We are not killing the planet

Pop voices like those of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg and countless Hollywood celebrities have warned that unless drastic action is taken at once, we face irrevocable global catastrophe. The Climate Clock in Manhattan’s Union Square pegs the start of the Earth’s deadline at a little more than seven years from today. But this is not science. The most sophisticated examination considering the Earth’s eco-deadline was just published in August in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. Drawing upon 36 meta-analyses, involving more than 4,600 individual studies spanning the last 45 years, nine ecologists, working from universities in Germany, France, Ireland, and Finland, explain that the empirical data simply does not permit the determination of any kind of environmental dooms date, or “thresholds” as scientists call them.

These scholars state frankly: “We lack systematic quantitative evidence as to whether empirical data allow definition of such thresholds” and “our results thus question the pervasive presence of threshold concepts” found in environmental politics and policy today. They explain that natural bio-systems are so dynamic—ever evolving and adapting over the long-term—that determining longevity timeframes is impossible. Talk of a ticking eco-clock is simply dogma. Two major books published in 2020 serve as carefully researched and copiously documented critiques of environmental scaremongering. Both are written by pedigreed progressive environmentalists concerned about the irrationally wild rhetoric of late.

The first is Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All  by Michael Shellenberger, who TIME magazine has lauded as a “hero of the environment.” Shellenberger explains that not only is the world not going to end due to climate catastrophe, but in very important ways, the environment is getting markedly better and healthier. He adds that technology, commerce, and industry are doing more to fix the Earth’s problems than Greenpeace and other activists. As an environmentalist, he is strongly pro-people and pro-technology, explaining counter-intuitively that the scientific “evidence is overwhelming that our high-energy civilization is better for people and nature than the low-energy civilization that climate alarmists would return us to.” He is right.

The other major environmentalist challenging eco-doom is Bjørn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a think tank that seeks global solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems. The Guardian feted Lomborg as “one of the 50 people who could save the planet.” In his book False Alarm, he explains how “climate change panic” is not only unfounded, but wasting trillions of dollars globally, hurting the poor and failing to fix the very problems it warns us about. Lomborg explains ironically that “the rhetoric on climate change has become more extreme and less moored to the actual science” at the very time that “climate scientists have painstakingly increased knowledge about climate change, and we have more—and more reliable—data than ever before.”

Lomborg holds that while “global warming is real… it is not the end of the world.” “It is a manageable problem” he adds. He is increasingly dismayed that we live in a world “where almost half the population believes climate change will extinguish humanity” at the precise moment when “the science shows us that fears of a climate apocalypse are unfounded.” Demonstrating this is not difficult. Simply consider what we all need to live: air, water, abundant food, and protection from nature. Each of these are improving in dramatic ways precisely because of technology and growth. The scholars at Our World in Data and the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford demonstrate this.

The world’s air is getting cleaner overall, and markedly so.

At the very time that population and industry have both grown dramatically across the globe, not only is the problem not getting worse, but human death rates from air pollution have declined by nearly half since just 1990. And it is not people driving less or living by fewer factories that’s saving lives. Counterintuitively, air pollution deaths are more than 100 times higher in non-industrial societies where cooking over wood or coal burning fires is a regular part of daily life. And as the world develops, such cooking declines. This means growth and technology are literally helping people breathe easier. And ozone pollution, or smog, has been declining rapidly throughout the world even in high-income, heavy manufacturing Asian Pacific regions.

Water is humanity’s second most immediate life need. The number of people around the world with improved access to clean drinking water increased 68 percent from 1990 to 2015, even as the population itself has expanded. That is astounding. Roughly 290,000 people have gained access to improved drinking water every single day across the globe over the last 25 years and that number is only increasing of late.

Food is our third greatest survival need. Contrary to grim Malthusian predictions, the United Nations explains that humanity now produces more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet. In fact, the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture revealed back in 2012 that “we already grow enough food for 10 billion people.” This is a 25 percent bounty over our current global population, a surplus which we will never need. And, as we will see in the next section, our world population is soon to top out at just 9.73 billion people and then start declining precipitously into the coming century. While we must do a better job politically at distributing that bounty, our food supply is not only more plentiful, but of better nutritional quality thanks to technology. It’s why malnutrition is declining dramatically across the world.

And the number of people around the world living in dramatic poverty is dropping, even as we grow in number—a direct refutation of ubiquitous Malthusian projections.

The Earth is actually doing better at providing what is needed to sustain human life as a consequence of human ingenuity of industry and technology. And what about the Earth itself? Let’s look at two important measures.

First, is it becoming more hospitable to human thriving, or less? A major 2019 study in the journal Global Environmental Change drawing from “one of the most complete natural disaster loss databases” reveals “a clear decreasing in both human and economic vulnerability” to “the seven most common climate-related hazards” by up to 80 to 90 percent over the last four decades. These hazards include all forms of flooding, drought, and deaths related to extreme wind, cold or heat. The trend lines are dramatic.

The scholars at Our World in Data add that this also holds for other natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcano activity, wildfire, and landslides. “This decline is even more impressive,” they explain, “when we consider the rate of population growth over this period” revealing a greater than 10-fold decline in nature-related human deaths worldwide over the last century.

This means the Earth is becoming a much safer place for humans to live precisely because we are adapting to it better. That is precisely the opposite of catastrophe by most people’s honest math.

Second, is the Earth itself being more widely exploited or getting a break? The 2018 United Nations List of Protected Areas report (Table 1, p. 41) demonstrates that the total number of protected sites in the world has increased 2,489 percent since 1962 and the total protected terrestrial and aquatic area grew by 1,834 percent. The proportion of land used for all agriculture (crops and grazing) per person across the globe has plummeted dramatically over the last 100 years as technology allows us to grow more food than we can consume on less land per capita than ever before.

And this is true across all continents.

As stewards of the planet, we still have much work to do in improving the environment. But note the key word: improve. The empirical data persuasively indicate the most significant trend lines are moving in the right directions in profound ways for billions of people around the globe, and the reason is technology and human progress. These truths are the exact opposite of an eco-Armageddon.

What does the likeliest end of humanity look like?

So does this mean there are no concerns about humanity’s future? New research published this summer has many of the world’s leading scientists extremely concerned, much more so than when 2020 began. A major demographic study published in the Lancet in July provides a glimpse of humanity’s end if things continue as they are. This work was conducted by 24 leading demographers and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. What concerns these scholars is certainly not too many people, as nearly everyone assumes, but a relatively near future of far too few.

Demographers have long been concerned about this. The “news” part here is how much more dire the Gates research is. Using a more sophisticated analysis than the United Nations and other leading global think tanks have employed to date reveals the world’s population shortfall will be markedly more dramatic, and sooner, than anyone anticipated. The BBC described it as a “jaw dropping global crash.” And none of these demographers see this as a good thing. Quite the opposite. No fewer than 23 leading nations—including Japan, Spain, South Korea, and Italy—will see their population cut in half by 2100. China’s will drop by a stunning 48 percent, knocking it out of contention as the world’s economic super-power. This precipitous decline will not be caused by disease, famine, or any kind of natural disaster. The missing population will simply never have been born. Their would-be parents are simply forgetting to have them.

Imagine any of these countries getting a military intelligence report that a foreign enemy was set to reduce their population by more than half over the next 60 years. But in this case, the dramatic act of war is self-inflicted by each country’s growing cohort of non-parents. Another 34 countries will see dramatic population declines by 25 to 50 percent by 2100. Beyond this, the projected fertility rates in 183 of 195 countries will not be high enough to maintain current populations by the century’s end. That is called negative population growth and once it starts, it probably won’t stop. These scholars predict that sub-Saharan and North Africa, as well as the Middle East, will be the only super regions fertile enough to maintain their populations without dramatic immigration policies.

To say the geopolitical and economic consequences of this fact will be profound is an understatement. The Gates research further darkens the already bleak picture painted last year by two Canadian researchers, Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson, in their insightful and carefully documented book, Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline. They warn:

The great defining event of the twenty-first century—one of the great defining events in human history—will occur in three decades, give or take, when the global population starts to decline. Once that decline begins, it will never end. We do not face the challenge of a population bomb, but of a population bust—a relentless, generation-after-generation culling of the human herd. [emphasis added]

The Gates scholars agree with the Empty Planet scenario, marking 2064 as humanity’s demographic high-water mark at just 9.73 billion human souls, short of the long predicted 10 billion. Academic demographers are not given to hyperbole. The unsustainability at work here is extreme. The Gates team explains:

  • The number of global citizens under five years of age will fall from 681 million in 2017 to 401 million in 2100, a 41 percent drop.
  • The number of over 80-year-olds will soar from 141 million in 2017 to 866 million in 2100, a whopping 514 percent increase.

Imagine these are your company’s future customer projections. You don’t get to the future with numbers like this. Putting this in very stark, recent historical perspective, there were 25 worldwide births for every person turning 80 in 1950, a healthy demographic dividend. In 2017, that ratio shrank to 7:1. Not so healthy. These 24 Gates demographers explain, “in 2100 we forecasted one birth for every person turning 80 years old.” (See it for yourself at p.1297.)

This is what the end of humanity looks like. Professor Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine and head of the Gates study, told the BBC, “I find people laugh it off… they can’t imagine it could be true, they think women will just decide to have more kids. If you can’t [find a solution] then eventually the species disappears.” And the solutions that developed countries have tried of late are not working.

The twilight of economic and technological growth

Few scholars have appreciated the full consequences of this implosion like Professor Charles Jones of Stanford University’s King Center on Global Development. In October, he published a persuasive paper entitled ‘The End of Economic Growth? Unintended Consequences of a Declining Population,’ in which he asked what happens to global economic and technological growth, not just when population growth slows or goes to zero, but actually turns negative? Elaborating upon Bricker and Ibbitson’s work, he contends that we must consider what he calls “an Empty Planet result” where “knowledge and living standards stagnate for a population that gradually vanishes.”

Like Shellenberger, Jones is “pro-people” for empirical reasons. He explained to me that contrary to nearly all demographic predictions, “we simultaneously have many more people and much higher living standards” precisely because “people are a crucial input into the production of the new ideas responsible for economic growth.” Jones calls our attention to the groundbreaking work of his mentor, economist Paul Romer, on Endogenous Growth Theory, which explains why more people are not only a good thing but essential to improvements in human thriving and a better world documented above.

Their concern is far more nuanced than fewer babies not becoming the needed taxpayers to support tomorrow’s mushrooming non-working elderly. Endogenous Growth Theory is more subtle and elegant as it actually explains our current developing world. In a 2019 paper in the Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Jones calls Endogenous Growth Theory “truly beautiful,” a superlative seldom employed by nerdy economist types. It earned Romer the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Thomas Malthus saw new people as zero-sum consumers of our precious limited resources. Thus, fewer are better. Romer’s Endogenous Growth Theory demonstrates precisely why Malthus was so spectacularly wrong. He failed to appreciate that humanity’s power as innovators is positively and exponentially greater than our collective drag as consumers. Romer recognized why, rather than devastating scarcity, which breeds fear and drives the need to control, a rapidly growing human population has actually produced unimagined abundance. Human ingenuity and innovation are far richer blessings to the world than our appetites are a curse. The latter drives the former.

And this is not just happy talk. The data bears it out. More people are the answer to a better world for everyone. This is why our global political moment is so critical. Policies that favor difference and competing ideas are where growth happens. That is precisely what good science and democracy require. Death happens when competing ideas are shut down in favor of strictly enforced homogeneity. Endogeny requires the dynamic competition of heterodox ideas so that they can be aired, challenged, and refined by others. Current “progressive thought” is really a new fundamentalism that is contrary to growth. It is fear-based and leads to death. This is precisely what we are seeing today.

The magic of what Romer and Jones describe is found in the codification of human knowledge and the non-rivalry of ideas. Natural resources are what economists call “rival.” You and I cannot eat the same potato or drink the same glass of water simultaneously. We must either compete for it or produce twice as much. But the idea of how to find and store more potatoes or water is non-rival. It can be written down and shared all around the world by people at the same time without diminishing its full power. So, as Jones explains, “because knowledge is non-rival, growth in the aggregate stock of knowledge at the rate of population growth will cause income per person to grow.” [p. 878, emphasis in original]

Oral rehydration theory is one of Romer’s favorite examples of the power of codified ideas. Dehydration from diarrhea has long been the primary driver of child mortality—deadlier than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. As Jones explains, some medical workers discovered that “dissolving a few inexpensive minerals, salts, and a little sugar in water in just the right proportions produces a solution” that prevents death from dehydration. That relatively simple recipe could be written down, shared, and used by billions at the same time. It has since saved untold lives. Objects are rival. Ideas are non-rival and thus, exponentially powerful. And humans are the globe’s only inhabitants that produce ideas. And when growing groups of people cooperate around and share these ideas, stunning things happen. This is Endogenous Growth Theory and it explains the wonder of the modern world in which we have more wealth and food at a time when we have the most people. Malthus and his disciples said the opposite would happen.

Romer entitled his 2018 Nobel acceptance talk in Stockholm “On the Possibility of Progress,” as an obvious challenge to Malthus, and at an efficient 30 minutes, his lecture is worth watching. He spoke of how his work—and that of Yale’s William Nordhaus, his co-recipient—demonstrates “the benefit of other people.” Our scientific, industrial, and tech revolutions, and their dramatic improvements to human flourishing, were, he explains, “driven by a process of more discoveries, leading to the production of more food, which led to more people, who in turn developed more and more discoveries” which have improved the lives of billions. As Romer explains, “This is not just exponential growth. This is exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth…”https://www.youtube.com/embed/vZmgZGIZtiM?start=1022&feature=oembed

He went on to explain that this “combinatorial explosion” of more people cooperating around ever-growing, world-changing, life-improving ideas makes it “immediately obvious that the discovery of new ideas from an almost infinite set of possibilities could offset the scarce resources implied by the Malthusian analysis.” And it obviously has. If the eco-doomsayers could choose to live at any time in human history, they would undoubtably choose today if their dream is physical safety and a long, prosperous, and contemplative life with an abundance of essential resources and a substantially improving eco-system.

As Romer explained to his Nobel audience on that lovely winter evening in Stockholm, Endogenous Growth Theory is the beautiful explanation of why, “on balance, it is better to have more people” rather than fewer. Limiting our population is not a progressive idea. The most sophisticated, cross-disciplinary science emerging from academia appears to tell us that the ancient Mosaic wisdom of the Judeo/Christian tradition, to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” is exactly the correct progressive prescription for the continuation of human well-being. And failing to do this is what the end of the world actually looks like.

Glenn T. Stanton is the director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, CO. His latest book is The Myth of the Dying Church: How Christianity is Actually Thriving in America and the World. You can follow him on Twitter @GlennStanton.

SURPRISING ANCIENT SURGERY

The Ancient and Surprising History of Surgery

Written by Ren on Wednesday January 30, 2019

Was surgery performed on Egyptians: Prosthetic pin in 3000-year-old mummy  discovered | Weird | News | Express.co.uk

While it may seem intuitive to describe surgery as a ‘modern’ medical practice, its origins in fact can be traced back thousands of years, deep into the Pre-Classical and even Neolithic era. 

The earliest recorded archaeological evidence for surgical practice is an astounding 12000 BCE. To put a time frame like this in perspective, writing wasn’t developed until 2600 BCE in Egypt. Early people were practicing rudimentary surgery before recorded history! 

Prehistoric surgery focused around a practice called trepanation, which involves scooping or drilling a hole into the skull of the patient. This ancient practice was used as a panacea for everything from relieving migraine or intracranial swelling, cleaning out fractured skull fragments from a war injury, and even as a means of managing misunderstood mental health conditions that were viewed as a malignant spirit trapped within the patient’s cranial cavity.

In 500 BCE, the first example of plastic surgery sprung up in India. Having one’s nose cut off was a common punishment for a past crime, and so reformed felons would have their noses reconstructed via early rhinoplasty to avoid the social stigma. Surgery in Ancient Greece included a variety of makeshift surgical work including the setting of broken bones, bloodletting,  the draining of lungs from patients suffering from pneumonia, and the severing of gangrenous limbs. The Mayans were really at the forefront of global surgical practice at this time and performed routine dentistry, filling in cavities with flecks of jade, turquoise, quartz, or hematite. The Incas had master surgeons specializing in head injuries and cranial surgery, and records show they had substantially better success rates than surgeons during the American Civil War, nearly 500 years later. 

Another major leap forward was in 900 AD, with the highly esteemed ‘father of surgery’  Al-Zahrawi, and his all-encompassing surgical text Kitab al-Tasrif. It was a cutting-edge compendium on every known practice and procedure, including orthopedics, military surgery, and ear, nose, and throat surgery. A combination of Al-Zahrawi’s collected knowledge and local folk remedies remained the go-to surgical manual for nearly eight hundred years. Up until the 18th century, there was no formal medical training in Europe, and so most surgeons learned their trade through apprenticeship, much like one might learn blacksmithing or another artisan skill. In fact, because surgeons were seen as ‘lesser’ physicians during this period of time, many women were trained and practiced as surgeons. It wasn’t until the 1700s, with the development of medical colleges and academic institutions, that women were then excluded from practicing. 

As far as patient care was concerned, it really wasn’t until modernity that a surgical procedure became anything short of horrific to experience. With little regard for infection control, pain management, bodily fluid contamination, or proper wound maintenance, being a patient before modern anesthetic was akin to torture. Many physicians believed it was important to keep patients alert and awake during surgery, and would periodically rouse the patient if it appeared they were in danger of losing consciousness. Opium and alcohol were used as analgesics only sparingly, and never in quantities large enough to diminish patient consciousness. Japanese surgeons were the first to implement true general anesthetic in the early 1800s, at which point ether, chloroform, and locally-administered cocaine became more commonplace globally as anesthetic for patients in the operating room. 

While far from a modern practice, surgery has grown and developed to be a vastly safer and more pleasant patient experience over the millennia, all thanks to talented medical pioneers and advocates all over the world.

HOW TO FIND YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE

Are you struggling to discover your purpose? That may be because you feel isolated from other people. Here’s how you can overcome that.

 

Do you have a sense of purpose?

For decades, psychologists have studied how long-term, meaningful goals develop over the span of our lives. The goals that foster a sense of purpose are ones that can potentially change the lives of other people, like launching an organization, researching disease, or teaching kids to read.

Indeed, a sense of purpose appears to have evolved in humans so that we can accomplish big things together—which may be why it’s associated with better physical and mental health. Purpose is adaptive, in an evolutionary sense. It helps both individuals and the species to survive.

Meet the Greater Good Toolkit
From the GGSC to your bookshelf: 30 science-backed tools for well-being.

Many seem to believe that purpose arises from your special gifts and sets you apart from other people—but that’s only part of the truth. It also grows from our connection to others, which is why a crisis of purpose is often a symptom of isolation. Once you find your path, you’ll almost certainly find others traveling along with you, hoping to reach the same destination—a community.

Here are six ways to overcome isolation and discover your purpose in life.

1. Read

Reading connects us to people we’ll never know, across time and space—an experience that research says is linked to a sense of meaning and purpose. (Note: “Meaning” and “purpose” are related but separate social-scientific constructs. Purpose is a part of meaning; meaning is a much broader concept that usually also includes value, efficacy, and self-worth.)

In a 2010 paper, for example, Leslie Francis studied a group of nearly 26,000 teenagers throughout England and Wales—and found that those who read the Bible more tended to have a stronger sense of purpose. Secular reading seems to make a difference, as well. In a survey of empirical studies, Raymond A. Mar and colleagues found a link between reading poetry and fiction and a sense of purpose among adolescents.

“Reading fiction might allow adolescents to reason about the whole lives of characters, giving them specific insight into an entire lifespan without having to have fully lived most of their own lives,” they suggest. By seeing purpose in the lives of other people, teens are more likely to see it in their own lives. In this sense, purpose is an act of the imagination.

Many people I interviewed for this article mentioned pivotal books or ideas they found in books.

The writing of historian W.E.B. Du Bois pushed social-justice activist Art McGee to embrace a specific vision of African-American identity and liberation. Journalist Michael Stoll found inspiration in the “social responsibility theory of journalism,” which he read about at Stanford University. “Basically, reporters and editors have not just the ability but also the duty to improve their community by being independent arbiters of problems that need solving,” he says. “It’s been my professional North Star ever since.” Spurred by this idea, Michael went on to launch an award-winning nonprofit news agency called The San Francisco Public Press.

So, if you’re feeling a crisis of purpose in your life, go to the bookstore or library or university. Find books that matter to you—and they might help you to see what matters in your own life.

2. Turn hurts into healing for others

  • JOIN THE PURPOSE CHALLENGE

    Want to help high schoolers find purpose? The GGSC’s Purpose Challenge for students, educators, and parents incorporates cutting-edge science into videos and interactive exercises. Students can get help with their college essay and win up to $25,000 in scholarship money.

Of course, finding purpose is not just an intellectual pursuit; it’s something we need to feel. That’s why it can grow out of suffering, both our own and others’.

Kezia Willingham was raised in poverty in Corvallis, Oregon, her family riven by domestic violence. “No one at school intervened or helped or supported my mother, myself, or my brother when I was growing up poor, ashamed, and sure that my existence was a mistake,” she says. “I was running the streets, skipping school, having sex with strangers, and abusing every drug I could get my hands on.”

When she was 16, Kezia enrolled at an alternative high school that “led me to believe I had options and a path out of poverty.” She made her way to college and was especially “drawn to the kids with ‘issues’”—kids like the one she had once been. She says:

I want the kids out there who grew up like me, to know they have futures ahead of them. I want them to know they are smart, even if they may not meet state academic standards. I want them to know that they are just as good and valuable as any other human who happens to be born into more privileged circumstances. Because they are. And there are so damn many messages telling them otherwise.

Sometimes, another person’s pain can lead us to purpose. When Christopher Pepper was a senior in high school, a “trembling, tearful friend” told him that she had been raped by a classmate. “I comforted as well as I could, and left that conversation vowing that I would do something to keep this from happening to others,” says Christopher. He kept that promise by becoming a Peer Rape Educator in college—and then a sex educator in San Francisco public schools.

Why do people like Kezia and Christopher seem to find purpose in suffering—while others are crushed by it? Part of the answer, as we’ll see next, might have to do with the emotions and behaviors we cultivate in ourselves.

3. Cultivate awe, gratitude, and altruism

Certain emotions and behaviorsthat promote health and well-being can also foster a sense of purpose—specifically, awe, gratitude, and altruism.

Several studies conducted by the Greater Good Science Center’s Dacher Keltner have shown that the experience of awe makes usfeel connected to something larger than ourselves—and so can provide the emotional foundation for a sense of purpose.

Of course, awe all by itself won’t give you a purpose in life. It’s not enough to just feel like you’re a small part of something big; you also need to feel driven to make a positive impact on the world. That’s where gratitude and generosity come into play.

“It may seem counterintuitive to foster purpose by cultivating a grateful mindset, but it works,” writes psychologist Kendall Bronk, a leading expert on purpose. As research by William Damon, Robert Emmons, and others has found, children and adults who are able to count their blessings are much more likely to try to “contribute to the world beyond themselves.” This is probably because, if we can see how others make our world a better place, we’ll be more motivated to give something back.

Here we arrive at altruism. There’s little question, at this point, that helping others is associated with a meaningful, purposeful life. In one study, for example, Daryl Van Tongeren and colleagues found that people who engage in more altruistic behaviors, like volunteering or donating money, tend to have a greater sense of purpose in their lives.

Interestingly, gratitude and altruism seem to work together to generate meaning and purpose. In a second experiment, the researchers randomly assigned some participants to write letters of gratitude—and those people later reported a stronger sense of purpose. More recent work by Christina Karns and colleagues found that altruism and gratitude are neurologically linked, activating the same reward circuits in the brain.

4. Listen to what other people appreciate about you

Giving thanks can help you find your purpose. But you can also find purpose in what people thank you for.

Like Kezia Willingham, Shawn Taylor had a tough childhood—and he was also drawn to working with kids who had severe behavioral problems. Unlike her, however, he often felt like the work was a dead-end. “I thought I sucked at my chosen profession,” he says. Then, one day, a girl he’d worked with five years before contacted him.

“She detailed how I helped to change her life,” says Shawn—and she asked him to walk her down the aisle when she got married. Shawn hadn’t even thought about her, in all that time. “Something clicked and I knew this was my path. No specifics, but youth work was my purpose.”

The artists, writers, and musicians I interviewed often described how appreciation from others fueled their work. Dani Burlison never lacked a sense of purpose, and she toiled for years as a writer and social-justice activist in Santa Rosa, California. But when wildfires swept through her community, Dani discovered that her strengths were needed in a new way: “I’ve found that my networking and emergency response skills have been really helpful to my community, my students, and to firefighters!”

Although there is no research that directly explores how being thanked might fuel a sense of purpose, we do know that gratitude strengthens relationships—and those are often the source of our purpose, as many of these stories suggest.

5. Find and build community

As we see in Dani’s case, we can often find our sense of purpose in the people around us.

Many people told me about finding purpose in family. In tandem with his reading, Art McGee found purpose—working for social and racial justice—in “love and respect for my hardworking father,” he says. “Working people like him deserved so much better.”

Environmental and social-justice organizer Jodi Sugerman-Brozan feels driven “to leave the world in a better place than I found it.” Becoming a mom “strengthened that purpose (it’s going to be their world, and their kids’ world),” she says. It “definitely influences how I parent (wanting to raise anti-racist, feminist, radical kids who will want to continue the fight and be leaders).”

Of course, our kids may not embrace our purpose. Amber Cantorna was raised by purpose-driven parents who were right-wing Christians. “My mom had us involved in stuff all the time, all within that conservative Christian bubble,” she says. This family and community fueled a strong sense of purpose in Amber: “To be a good Christian and role model. To be a blessing to other people.”

The trouble is that this underlying purpose involved making other people more like them. When she came out as a lesbian at age 27, Amber’s family and community swiftly and suddenly cast her out. This triggered a deep crisis of purpose—one that she resolved by finding a new faith community “that helped shape me and gave me a sense of belonging,” she says.

Often, the nobility of our purpose reflects the company we keep. The purpose that came from Amber’s parents was based on exclusion, as she discovered. There was no place—and no purpose—for her in that community once she embraced an identity they couldn’t accept. A new sense of purpose came with the new community and identity she helped to build, of gay and lesbian Christians.

If you’re having trouble remembering your purpose, take a look at the people around you. What do you have in common with them? What are they trying to be? What impact do you see them having on the world? Is that impact a positive one? Can you join with them in making that impact? What do they need? Can you give it them?

If the answers to those questions don’t inspire you, then you might need to find a new community—and with that, a new purpose may come.

6. Tell your story

Purpose often arises from curiosity about your own life. What obstacles have you encountered? What strengths helped you to overcome them? How did other people help you? How did your strengths help make life better for others?Reading can help you find your purpose—but so can writing,

“We all have the ability to make a narrative out of our own lives,” says Emily Esfahani Smith, author of the 2017 book The Power of Meaning. “It gives us clarity on our own lives, how to understand ourselves, and gives us a framework that goes beyond the day-to-day and basically helps us make sense of our experiences.”

That’s why Amber Cantorna wrote her memoir, Refocusing My Family: Coming Out, Being Cast Out, and Discovering the True Love of God. At first depressed after losing everyone she loved, Amber soon discovered new strengths in herself—and she is using her book to help build a nonprofit organization called Beyond to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians in their coming-out process.

One 2008 study found that those who see meaning and purpose in their lives are able to tell a story of change and growth, where they managed to overcome the obstacles they encountered. In other words, creating a narrative like Amber’s can help us to see our own strengths and how applying those strengths can make a difference in the world, which increases our sense of self-efficacy.

This is a valuable reflective process to all people, but Amber took it one step further, by publishing her autobiography and turning it into a tool for social change. Today, Amber’s purpose is to help people like her feel less alone.

“My sense of purpose has grown a lot with my desire to share my story—and the realization that so man.y other people have shared my journey.”

Tracker Pixel for Entry

TERRIFYING PLACES ON THE INTERNET THAT WILL STEAL YOUR SLEEP FOREVER

 

13 Terrifying Places on The Internet That Will Steal Your Sleep Forever

They say that the internet that is visible to our eyes is only 5% of the entire network: a tip of the iceberg. The remaining 95% is a place you would never, in your wildest dreams, want to find yourself. Also known as the Deep Web, this almost invisible web surface cannot be accessed through the usual search engines like Chrome, Safari or Firefox, and harbors the most grotesque, deranged and despicable things known to mankind. Those that are capable of making your blood curdle and sending chills down your spine. Active drug markets, child pornography, human experimentation, red rooms and cannibal forums. Everything and anything is possible on the Deep Web. Following are some of the many horrifying things users have found on the Deep Web, those that still haunt them every single night.

1. How to Cook a Woman

While there have been many reports of forums full of people swapping tips on having humans for lunch. But perhaps the most chilling is the one lucky individual who stumbled upon a detailed guide on how to butcher and properly cook women. This page had information on what body types to use for specific cuts, how to prepare these cuts, and how to cook the girl so she lives as long as possible. It horrifies me that people way worse than the freaks on Criminal Minds exist.

2. Stillborn Babies Collection

A deep web user happened to stumble upon a forum where mothers shared photos of their stillborn babies. It is a site for women who can’t deal with the fact that their babies had been stillborn. It was filled with pictures of dead fetuses dressed up and had this really sad, creepy song playing as you scrolled through. I don’t think a forum could get more depressing and creepier than that!

 

3. Human Leather

Yes, that’s right: HUMAN LEATHER! This website is filled with products made from human flesh like food, wallets, belts, etc. If you fancy products made out of human skin, what am I saying, of course we all do! If you understood I was being sarcastic then good for you, if you didn’t then this site is probably for you!

4. Living Sex Dolls

This deep web story is sick and disturbing.  It is not for the faint-hearted.  If you are a sensitive person, you should stop reading right here. Continue at your own risk.

It is believed that a surgeon living in Easter Europe sold something peculiar on the Dark Web: Live Sex Dolls. He would adopt several young girls between the ages of 6-18 from a local orphanage that was happy to get rid of any extra mouths to feed. He would then take them home and surgically remove all of their limbs and sexually torture them.

The girls were only fed from a bottle minimum, their teeth were removed and a rubber was inserted in their mouths to maintain beauty and to assist with fellatio. The girls were then physically and mentally abused to turn them into unquestioning, unfeeling slaves. They were electrocuted, their genitals were sliced and were beaten regularly by the surgeon. The doctor destroyed their sense of hearing by playing extremely loud music and sounds on headphones, and used laser to blind the girls.  Almost all of their senses were destroyed to make them more docile. He tortured them for months preparing them for their new owner before they were ready to be sold for $40000 on the Dark Web!

5. Dead Girls

Well this is one disturbing site the does exactly what it says on the tin, lots and lots of photos of dead girls. The site is supposed to be full of photos of girls ranging from 5 to 16, all dead from various ways and means. While that’s just morbid there are a number of creepypasta stories surrounding the site and the subsequent madness that followed with seeing all those dead girls.

6. Hitmen for Hire

Yes, there are websites on the Dark Web that offer Hitmen for hire. These websites also post pictures as proof that these guys actually mean business. Getting someone killed is as you expect not cheap but from the looks of it, they’ll get the job done.

7. IRL Cannibal Forums

What may sound like Hannibal or Silence of The Lamb fan forums, are actually real life cannibal forums about eating people and being eaten by people. Some members even chat and arrange meetups there to eat each other like, “I need someone to eat my fresh meat. I am juicy and tender.” And all that crazy shit.

8. Child Pornography

Of the most deranged things found on the Deep and Dark Web, child abuse seems to be the most prevalent. Although many of these websites have been shut down by the authorities, there still remain an array of predators and pedophiles operating anonymously on the Deep Web.

9. Human Experimentation

This unholy creep fest is a room on the deep web. The guys who run this site believe that not all humans are equal, and to prove their point they find homeless people and perform dark and possibly painful experiments on them, similar to the likes of the Japanese unit 731 that existed during World War II. Experiments range from water/fluid restriction, injecting pregnant women with bleach, starvation, radiation exposure and even sterilization. Fake or not, it is bone-chilling and some of the experiments that were documented were creepy. Yep, told you it was a sick place.

10. Summoning Demons

Don’t think you’re having enough fun at your regular party? Worry no more, you can go ahead and summon a demon and get that party going! Yeah, but jokes aside, very creepy!

11. Drug Markets

Perhaps the most famous thing about the deep web is the fact that you can get every and any drug ever made. Ranging from premium quality marijuana to pills and acid, the Deep Web is laden with websites that engage in the sale of drugs. ‘The Silkroad’ was a very popular and the most credible source for some fine bud or anything else until it got taken down very recently.

12. Professional hackers, Fake ID’s and Credit Card Fraudulence

There is a whole bunch of sites where you can find people to hack anything for you, be it is your ex’s account or a top secret government website. These guys are up for anything. The deep web is also home to anonymous sellers who advertise their goods on topic-specific forums like copied credit cards on a credit card fraud board. Apart from forging credit cards, people can also purchase fake identification too. An American passport could cost you around 700 Euros, or 973.91 USD.

13. Red Rooms/ Live Torture Streams

While the existence of such rooms has not been proven as of yet, people have repeatedly claimed to have found terrifying live streams. Some guy stumbled on a live stream where a girl was sitting in a chair and commanded people from a chat window to tell her what kind of abuse she should do to herself. After many cuts, bruises, eye gouging, the girl eventually killed herself on the live stream.

This is not the only case where people have brought harm to themselves on a live stream on the deep web. These live streams are popularly known as “Red Rooms”: a place even ISIS is believed to have started using as a platform to conduct beheadings and murder.

"HELPING FAMILIES TO FIGHT THE COST OF LIVING"

WhyToStop

Seattle Fashion & Lifestyle Blog By Rachna

Wendy Cottiers Nutrition (954) 873-7388

Certified Holistic Nutritionist - Author - Instagram WendyCottiersNutrition

ONLINE SHOPPING

My Info Blog

%d bloggers like this: