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One of the features of humankind that has long been thought to be unique to us is the theory of mind.  This is our ability to deduce what another might be thinking, a critical base for such behaviors as for empathy, socialization, even battle and strategy.  It is so prevalent and so innate that we often do it without realizing it, anthropomorphizing machines, televisions, the computer, animals, even the clouds and the waves.  Imagine a world where no one did this.  Imagine for a minute not even realizing that the people you interact with daily have their own minds inner workings and dealings.  This is the world of Asperger Syndrome.

 

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First published Jan. 13th 2008.

Disclosure–This is an intensely personal subject for me. I suffer from Major Depression, I have had to come to a knowledge of this thing both as a patient and a physician and as a committed religious person. In my journey, I have gained a LOT of perspective and at a painful price. Ironically, I think the biggest reason I still use the Doc pseudonym for posting is the stigma this problem might create for me as a physician. My particular story is to come in a later post when I am in a more soul baring mood.

Who is to blame for depression? Ourselves, God, the devil, our genes, our culture, our loved ones, our experience, our brain? The question is perplexing and has loud advocates in all camps. Everyone wants to fit it into their boxes and have their own solutions. In my experience each is incomplete. A condition arising at the seat of consciousness, with devastating consequences for our families, our relationships, our work, our personal happiness and yet leaving no marks is difficult for us as humans to reconcile. However reconcile it we must, because Depression carries with it a mortality in the form of suicide. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s that time again, when yours truly scours the internet from one end to the other, in a tireless search for all things mind, soul and body.  Today I have not-so-random noise, QBs and their IQs, fabulous fatigue, the human body baked in bread, Mecca moderated Muslims, Lupus vanquished on American Idol, Barack Obama keeping cool, Christmas trees, Christmas paintings, and even a live interview with the Jolly Old Elf, himself.  So without any more delay, I present the absolute best of the internet to come across my screen- Read the rest of this entry »

The long awaited end to the hiatus is here, at least temporarily.  I break it in the way you may have come to expect, by sharing all the stuff I would have written myself, if only I were bright and talented enough with lots more free time.  So I present, especially for my faithful readers, both of you, the very best of the internet I could find over the past while or so Read the rest of this entry »

” Be ye Therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.”

Matthew 5:48

    We love and adore that which is perfect in our society.  Hollywood is built on the premise that the beautiful people can sell movies, models are airbrushed to perfection to sell magazines.  The Olympic games is going on currently with its motto, “Bigger, stronger, faster.”

    As the records fall, it seems these athletes do live up to the motto.  Just look at Michael Phelps, the epitome of the bigger, stronger, faster ideal.

 

Michael Phelps, olympic swimmer has a very real chance at an unprecedented eight gold medals this Olympics.

 

    Sadly, as recent scandals in Baseball and Bicycling have revealed, the push to be bigger, faster, and stronger can lead to the use of steroids, amphetamines, or other substances with very real consequences for an athletes long term health and well being.  When does the drive to perform cross the line into madness.  In my day, Michael Jordan was celebrated worldwide as the greatest ever, even carrying his team to victory over my beloved Utah Jazz in one game in the finals with Forty some odd point and the flu.  Today, it is Tiger Woods held in much the same esteem, having just won the US open with a severe knee injury in a playoff he counts as his greatest victory ever.  My question is, at what point does this single minded devotion turn into madness.  

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My own recent deficiencies notwithstanding, this has been an especially powerful and abundant week for the mind, soul and body on the Internet.  There is more to share than I had room for.  It sometimes seems I spend more time bringing everyone else’s work than I do in my own writing, but know this- I do it especially for you, the reader.  What good is wisdom and knowledge if not shared among people.  So partake and enjoy the best of the Internet- Read the rest of this entry »

I just wanted to announce that the twice monthly Brainblogging carnival is out and excellent as always, moving beyond the neuroscience into more personal psychosocial side of the brain. It seems I am becoming a something of a regular contributor there, which is both flattering and humbling. Many thanks.

Also this weekend is time for the semiannual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, something of a spiritual feast for myself as we Mormons get to hear from those we hold to be living prophets and apostles proclaim God’s message to us today. Any interested are welcome to listen in. I have also found it is sometimes interesting to get other’s reactions at the LDS Bloggernaccle various open threads found here, here, here, and here.

Here is the remaining best of the web in what has been a very, very interesting week, especially for you, the reader. Read the rest of this entry »

The classic differentiator between optimism and cynicism is the half glass of water. It takes a neutral fact and adds a judgement that tells us much about the observers life view, half empty or half full. I think it is possible for either view to overstep its bounds, be it Pollyanna type platitudes or cynical misrepresentations of the motivations of others leading to prejudice and division. One popular truism in the cynical worldview is that it is the same people doing both, that the dreamer is always destined to become the cynic. I do believe this is a possibility and a danger, but I question the underlying assumption. Are optimists just fooling themselves? Do they become cynical when they face up to the truth? There is a certain school of thought, ascribing cynicism to realism with a certain self righteousness about “keeping it real.” Is this valid?

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