Tag Archives: Human

Are You Not Entertained: The Amazing Feats of Human Potential

Yesterday, I was watching Diana Nyad’s press conference and it got me thinking about human potential. Not just human potential, but demonstrated human potential.

Over 50 years ago, Sir Roger Bannister busted all previously held illusions about human potential by running one mile in less than 4 minutes. Today, the world record sits at almost 20 seconds better than what Bannister ran on that fateful day in May. The day before yesterday, Diana Nyad swam — yes, swam — from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, (which from the way she describes it, is a really big deal). A little over a year ago, James Cameron went deeper in the ocean than any other human has ever been. This past October, Felix Baumgartner reached the top of the sky when he jumped out of a capsule almost 40km up (into the stratosphere)! How about William Trubridge who, in 2011, set the world record for “free immersion” diving, [underwater without the use of propulsion], by going to a depth of 121 meters. Or maybe Dashrath Manjhi, commonly referred to as “Mountain Man,” who didn’t want anyone else in his village to die because a doctor was too far away, so he carved a path through a mountain. It took him 22 years.

I think at times — especially like these — it’s important to reflect on the amazing feats that humans can achieve when we put our minds to it.

These are just a few “recent” examples (and one not so recent). We could also pull up other examples from history. A common one is JFK exclaiming that he wanted to put a man on the moon before the end of the 60s — check. At the time, that was an unbelievable goal. It certainly helped that there were political implications to this goal, but nonetheless, humans did it. If we want to go back a little bit into history, we can think about Joshua Slocum who was the first person to single-handedly sail around the world.

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Is there something you’ve always dreamed of doing, but were too afraid to really get into it? People like Felix Baumgartner, Diana Nyad, James Cameron, and Sir Roger Bannister, I hope, can give you the motivation and the confidence you need to venture out to pursue that audacious goal. If there’s something that you dream of, believe that you can do it. Believe that you have the willpower and you will find a way to make it.

If you’re looking for a good place to start on your dreams, I highly recommend the idea of macro goals and micro quotas. It certainly seems to work for some folks who are achieving their dreams. Maybe it can work for you, too.

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The Evolution of Energy Sources for Humans Is Shorter Than You Think

I’m a big proponent of clean, renewable, and sustainable energy. Our species will not survive if we continue to use energy in the same way that we do at the same pace at that we do. That’s simply a fact. However, in my thinking about this issue, it never really occurred to me just how “new” energy is to humans. That is, it never really occurred to me just how new our energy sources were.

Take this chart of energy consumption in the United States, for instance.

History of Energy Consumption in the United States

Americans only started using petroleum as an energy source around the time that Abraham Lincoln was president. That’s almost 150 years ago. Americans have “only” been using petroleum as a source of energy for the last 150 years. That means, potentially, your great-great-grandfather may have lived in a world where using petroleum as an energy source was a “new” thing.

Looking a little further along the chart and we can see that 50 years after petroleum became an energy source that Americans used (albeit scarcely), coal was far and away surpassing our usage of petroleum. About 100 years ago, coal was 12, 13, or 14 times as popular as petroleum as a source of energy. It looks as if even wood was more popular as an energy source.

Now let’s look at the last 50 years. Between the early 1900s and the 1950s, the use petroleum as an energy source skyrocketed! As did the use of natural gas as an energy source. Coal seemed to be on the decline, but still in heavy use. Fast-forwarding a little bit more and we see that petroleum is trending down (in terms of its use) as is coal, but not before coal had a big uptick between the 1950s and the early 2000s. In that timespan, nuclear power also took off as an energy source, but it appears to have leveled off in the 2000s and may even be headed for a downward spike since the 2010s.

More notably is the green line for other renewables. We don’t see its existence until the 1950s and its growth is rather slow and steady. However, in what looks like the early 2000s, it begins to trend up. Who knows — maybe we’re on the cusp of what could be an energy revolution. Maybe “other renewables” will grow in popularity and use as coal or petroleum. Maybe its a bit naive or foolhardy to expect great energy transformation from non-renewables to renewables. Evolution does take time.

My point in sharing this today is to add some perspective on just how far humanity has come in terms of its use of energy. Really, only in the last 50 to 100 years has energy consumption skyrocketed in the way that we know and understand today. Who knows what energy consumption will look like in the years to come.

 

Belongingness, Transpersonal Psychology, and Transpersonal Experiences: Transcendence and Belongingness, Part 2

In yesterday’s post, we looked at the first section of this paper: Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. In today’s post, we’ll look at the three sections that followed: belongingness, transpersonal psychology, and transpersonal experiences.

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Belongingness

According to Baumeister and Leary (1995), “A need to belong, that is, a need to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of interpersonal relationships, is innately prepared (and hence nearly universal) among human beings” (p. 499). Meaning, humans have a desire to be in relationships with other humans similar to how we learned from Maslow. Baumeister and Leary (1995) separated belongingness into two features: interactions with people and a perception that the relationship will continue in the future. In the first feature, interactions with people, Baumeister and Leary (1995) specify that these interactions have a positive affect, but more importantly, the interactions need to be free of negative affect or conflict. Affect is in reference to the experience of the interaction. In the second feature, humans must have a perception that the relationship will continue in the future and that the relationship have affective concern and stability (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). It is very important there be a context by which the humans can have when interacting with others. This is important because a human’s interactions with a stranger are markedly different from the interaction with someone that they perceived to have a relationship with (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). According to Baumeister and Leary (1995), “To satisfy the need to belong, the person must believe that the other cares about his or her welfare and likes (or loves) him or her” (p. 500). Baumeister and Leary (1995) continued by saying that it would be ideal if this interaction would be reciprocating in that both parties care about one another. In sum, belongingness is a need that is classified by one’s need for social contact and intimate relationships (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). In this section, we have gained a greater understanding of belongingness. In the next section, we will explore transpersonal psychology.

Transpersonal Psychology

According to Hartelius, Caplan, and Rardin (2007), there are three main themes that make up a comprehensive definition of transpersonal psychology: “An approach to psychology that 1. studies phenomena beyond the ego as context for 2. an integrative/holistic psychology; this provides a framework for 3. understanding and cultivating human transformation” (p. 11). Beyond the ego refers to states where the person is experiencing from a state that is no longer absorbed in their ego. Meaning, the person is experiencing a state that is “outside of ‘ordinary’ state of mind” (Hartelius, Caplan, & Rardin, 2007, p. 9). Integrative/holistic psychology is a way of incorporating the whole person into psychology. Holistic psychology is made possible to be a specific field within psychology as standard psychology has focused mainly on the ego and its pathologies (Hartelius, Caplan, & Rardin, 2007). Human transformation is the process a human undergoes when it is changing, usually in a positive way. To define transpersonal psychology more succinctly, Hartelius, Caplan, & Rardin (2007) said “transpersonal psychology studies human transcendence, wholeness, and transformation” (p. 11). In this section, we have gained a greater understanding of transpersonal psychology. In the next section, we will look at transpersonal experiences and more specifically, transcendence.

Transpersonal Experiences

In the last section, we said that transpersonal psychology has three main themes: beyond-ego psychology, integrative/holistic psychology, and transformational psychology (Hartelius, Caplan, & Rardin, 2007). In this section, we will look at some of the experiences that go along with these themes. According to Hastings (1999), “Transpersonal psychologists have recognized that certain experiences of mystics, meditators, and religious devotees have transpersonal qualities – that is, they bring the self into a state that transcends individual ego boundaries” p. 198). In other words, one possible transpersonal experience could be transcendence. However, Hastings (1999) noted “There is no one typical experience, and there may be images, ESP, voices, forms, nonforms, visions, and physical effects as part of the encounter” (p. 198). While there are ranges of possibilities for transpersonal experiences, we are going to focus specifically on transcendence.

Maslow (1968) wrote of thirty-five varieties of transcendence. According to Maslow (1968), “transcendence refers to the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness” (p. 66). It has been stated that transcendence is one of the elements of transpersonal psychology, so it is fair to say that transcendence is a transpersonal experience. As there are many varieties of transcendence, in the next section we will look at experiences of transcendence in the context of belongingness.

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Check back tomorrow for the last section of the paper: belongingness and transcendence, followed by the conclusion.

The World — as we know it — is in its Infancy

After watching this week’s Crash Course: World History on decolonization and nationalism, I have a newfound understanding (respect?) for the current state of the world. I used to think, ‘my goodness, humans have existed for so long, why are we still fighting?’ This presupposes that the makeup of the world had stayed relatively the same. And this, of course, is wrong.

According to modern scientific thought, humans have been around for 200,000 years. I always thought that with our being around for so long, we would have ‘figured it out’ by now and would be “nice” to each other. After reading Wilber and delving into Integral Theory, it adds a unique lens on why some groups of people are different from other groups of people, with regard to their development. Still, that wasn’t enough for me to “get it.” I still thought that development should have “happened” such that we treat each other better.

It wasn’t until I watched “Decolonization and Nationalism Triumphant” yesterday afternoon that I realized how young the world is in its current form. At most, we’ve existed in this way for about 70 years. Crazy, huh? When it’s put in those terms, that’s less than a lifetime! It starts to make more sense that certain conflicts haven’t yet settled and that there is still a desire for guns.

Even The Best, Fail

In the “West,” there’s definitely a preoccupation with success and perfection. Some may say there’s good reason for that, but I thought it would be enlightening to remember an example when someone, widely considered the best at what they do, failed. The person I had in mind: .

Mariano Rivera is the closer for the New York Yankees. During his , he’s become MLB’s all-time regular season leader in saves, the all-time  postseason leader in saves, been chosen for the all-star team 12 (!) times, won the World Series 5 times, and he is most assuredly going to be elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Without a doubt, a conversation about the best closer of all-time would have to include Mariano Rivera.

Now that I’ve set the stage for just how good Mariano Rivera is, I want to take you back to the . In particular, . Every young boy (and some girls, too!) dream of getting to be the hero in Game 7 of the World Series. For some little boys and girls, that’s about being up to bat in the Bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded and 2 out and the team losing by 3 runs. A grand slam would win the game and forever immortalize them! For other little boys and girls, those who are pitchers (like Mariano Rivera), it’s about being on the mound in the bottom of the 9th. It’s about being the pitcher that the manager and the rest of the team is counting on to finish the game.

This is exactly what happened for Mariano Rivera. In Game 7, the Yankees were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks took the lead in the 6th inning, but the Yankees came back with runs in the 7th and the 8th to take a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the 8th, Joe Torre turned to Mariano Rivera. Mariano did not disappoint in the bottom of the 8th — striking out the side. And then came the 9th inning. Instead of creating a narrative in print, I thought I’d embed a video I found (courtesy of MLB.com) that replays some of the drama/heroics of game 7. It’s only about 4 and a half minutes long and I highly suggest watching all of it, but if you want to skip to the “Mariano Rivera” part, it starts at around 2:20.

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This moment was extremely shocking. Even having seen the game live and knowing what’s going to happen, it’s still shocking. One of the best relief pitchers of all-time and widely considered to be at the , failed. It just goes to show us that no matter who you are or where you are in life, fallibility is inescapable.

To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before…

spaceship, space shuttle, discovery, hubble telescope, outer space, planet, satellite, Every so often, there will be an old episode of Star Trek (The Next Generation) on and I can’t help, but sit and watch. The show, in my opinion, was one of the better shows of its time and even to this day, lives on. There’s something about the show that isn’t really dated. Well, if you ignore the “graphics,” the show could just have easily run in the mid-2000’s (while it actually ran from the late-80’s through the early-90’s.

Let’s take a step back into history (but not so far back as to invoke a debate of evolution and creationism). Humans on the planet started somewhere. Let’s call this somewhere land F. From land F, these humans began to explore outward. They began to explore the lands of neighboring E and G. So, where there were humans in only land F, now there were humans in E, F, and G. This continued until humans had explored all the land that they could by foot. Then, being an infinitely curious species by nature, humans built vessels by which to explore the seas. Soon, humans had explored every piece of land and every inch of sea on the planet.

Cave man, cave men, scientific american, rhino, hunter, gatherer, forage, food, earth, walk, What was next? Well, obviously, the sky. Humans sent probes out into the sky. Once they figured out a way to get a human up into the sky, they did that, too. Humans have been exploring the limits of their existence for as long as there have been humans. Something I find a little strange — how come we haven’t “conquered” space, yet? Or do we think that we already have?

It would seem that we have grown, exponentially, in our ability to explore. With the whole walking across the land-thing, that took awhile. Then, the boats. Then, the planes. If you look at the dates for which these sorts of things have been discovered/invented, it would seem that we’d be due to figure out how to pilot a plane across the galaxy. And then I take a step back and read some of the headlines…

And then it makes sense.

Instead of using our abilities to create, instead of peacefully cooperating with each other, we, where we is us as a species, would rather get into various brouhahas. This is troubling. Open any newspaper and I challenge you to not find something about political unrest somewhere in the world. How the heck are we supposed to come together as a species, come together and represent the Earth, when we can’t get a long?

Some people believe (and some people don’t believe) that there are other species on other planets. Forget for a second which side of this debate you fall on and just consider that there are. astral connections: In the year 2424 man has no need for bodies nor gasoline stations but energy will still be needed for travel amongst the stars. Here the energy nozzles at an astral enery station await the space orbs to energize them.Consider that there are a species of intelligent beings out there who can look in on what’s happening in our world and see what we’re doing. Given that they are able to see what we are doing, there’s a good chance that their technology is far superior to ours. Do you think… as they watch us fight with each other constantly… do you think that they would want to help us out? Meaning, do you think that that they would willingly give us superior technology to help us send our people out beyond the galaxy? The answer is no. No, they wouldn’t. Because if they did, they know that our planet, or at least the majority of our species, would disappear in about 3 days. Humans with superior technology is not safe. Humans need to learn compassion. Humans need to learn empathy. Humans need to learn that killing each other is not a sanctionable act.

I hope that in my lifetime, if there are intelligent beings on other planets, we get to meet them.

Politicians Are Inherently Good

I believe that people are inherently good and because I believe that politicians are people, too, I also believe that politicians are inherently good. [.] You’ll find many about the topic as to whether people are good and you’ll also find many people in general debating this topic (, , and ). Some people think it’s clear that . You’ll even find academic articles written on the subject of humans inherent goodness ( and ). While I acknowledge the religious component to this debate, from everything I’ve seen of people, I think they are inherently good.

Yes, there are heinous acts committed everyday around the world, but I don’t think that people are doing these things in their “right mind.” That is, I think that there is some form of . I think that people couldn’t do some of the things that they do without being, in some way, detached from what they are doing. While the human condition encompasses a wide variety of human behavior, I don’t think that humans, without being (unaware) to some extent, of what they are doing, that they could do what they do (when they harm other humans).

I am in the process of working on a series of posts where I make the claim that is way behind and while this implicates the politicians who, by the very nature of the system, are directly involved with the writing and publishing of American public policy, I do not think that politicians are deliberately (and maliciously, that’s key) making it this way. I think that because of the way that the system of the American government is set up and the system of the American media, it’s much easier for American politicians to get away with the kinds of things they get away with, but I don’t think there is harmful intent.

Some may call me idealistic, but I believe that (most) humans on the planet, given an opportunity to help a fellow human, would do so. When presented with an , I think that most humans will do what they can to help someone out. More importantly, I think that those who wouldn’t help out are still human, but are expressing what would call, “.”

We can understand this a little easier by looking at some of the things that  has to say: “The thoughts that go through your mind, of course, are linked to the collective mind of the culture you live in – humanity as a whole. They are not your thoughts as such, but you pick them up from the collective… You believe in every thought that arises and you derive your sense of who you are from what your mind is telling you who you are.”

And then pair them with the lens of : “…when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer…”

Inherently people are good. While I understand that some people my disagree, this is a topic that I have a hard time honestly taking a step back and hearing both sides. I think that people always, always mean well. Like I said earlier, yes, there are some “bad” things that happen in the world, but I do not think that its intentionally harmful (and I really hope not, too). I think that psychology’s perspective on the shadow, along with viewpoints from spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie help us to understand why some people may do “bad things,” and still, inherently, be good people.

Lastly, I wanted to offer a perspective from someone who I think has something important to say on this topic. wrote, what I think, is one of the more important books of this generation. It came out in 2010 and it has already been translated into more than 30 languages. He gave (50 minutes), which was then turned into a . The implications are profound and I have included the animated speech below for your viewing pleasure.