Tag Archives | Fear

Fukushima’s Real Threat: Undue Fear

The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Reactor 1 to 4 from right to left.

The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Reactor 1 to 4 from right to left.

Our reaction to the crisis in Fukushima Daiichi has been and continues to be generally irrational.  Contrary to the assertions of some recent sensationalistic articles, there is no evident increase in thyroid health problems in Japanese children living in and around the Prefectures of Fukushima, and it is unlikely that there ever will be (UN Report; Nuclear News; J. of Am. Phys. and Surg.; CBCnews; Hiroshima Syndrome; National GeographicAsahi Shimbun).   This is because the only cause of thyroid risk during a nuclear disaster, iodine-131 which has a half-life of 8 days, was allowed to decay during evacuation and with restrictions on food and milk from the area.  After 80–90 days had passed, released radioactive iodine-131 decays to less than 0.1% of its initial quantity, and therefore the danger is essentially over.  (These precautions were not well followed near Chernobyl and thus resulted in many health problems in future years for the people of Ukraine.)

In fact, it has repeatedly been shown that the worst health effects from Fukushima have come not from any radioactive exposure, but from the the stress of evacuations and fear of radiation itself (Gaji 2013; Japan Daily Press; WHO Report; NYTimes).  “The psychological stress…we should never underestimate that…it’s really what the big problem is, because there’s a lot of fear which might actually cause health effects,” says Kai Vetter of UC Berkley nuclear engineering department.  In fact, not one person has yet died from exposure to Fukushima’s radiation, and it’s likely that no one ever will.… Read the rest

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The Hidden Emotion World: Some Personal Examples

Understanding the realm of emotions is beset by an elemental difficulty: the meaning of words that refer to emotion are so ambiguous that we hardly know what we are talking about. Virginia Woolf stated it succinctly: “The streets of London have their map; but our passions are uncharted” (1922). Compared to maps of the material world, and studies of behavior, thoughts, attitudes, perception, and beliefs, the realm of emotions is still terra incognita. One way of approaching this chaos is to examine one’s own emotions.

Image: Daniel (CC)

Image: Daniel (CC)

 

I became interested in studying emotion because of a series of unanticipated incidents in my own life. At the time my interests were focused on a more conventional topic in my discipline, the sociology of mental illness. When I was 40, I began exploring a new field because of experiences with my own emotions. I had just gotten divorced, and my ex had taken our children to Hawaii for a year.… Read the rest

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The World of Hidden Emotions

Machine Elf 1735 (CC)

Machine Elf 1735 (CC)

Emotions are important, but there is the massive confusion in both popular and scientific conceptions of even what they are.  There is also a sizable structure of erroneous assumptions, such as venting anger “gets it off your chest.”

There seem to be at least four defenses against confronting emotions directly:

1. Ignore.

2. Generalize (using only abstract terms: emotions, affect, arousal, etc.).

3. Disguise: use one of the vast number of alternative words that hide emotional content, such as “an awkward moment.”

4. Confuse: especially in English, the most important emotion terms are at least ambiguous and often misleading.

The elaborate hiding of shame studies by the use of alternative words is described in detail. Approaches to emotion that allow them to be noticed and discussed openly and directly are probably important us as individuals and for our whole civilization.

Understanding the realm of emotions is beset by an elemental difficulty: the meaning of words that refer to emotion are so ambiguous that we hardly know what we are talking about.… Read the rest

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America: Afraid of Shadows in the Dark While Ignoring the Elephants in the Room

via chycho
usa-fear_thumb

What baffles the mind about the United States of America is that many of its citizens have been conditioned to fear shadows in the dark while ignoring the elephants in the room.

I. Homelessness and Bankruptcies

For example, in the last few years anti-homelessness laws have been passed across the United States, some going as far as making it illegal to feed the homeless. As if that wasn’t enough, to deal with America’s homelessness problem (2), some government representatives have turned to violence:

“Remarkably, this vigilante isn’t just some random Hawaiian, but five-term State Rep. Tom Brower (D).

“Noting that he’s ‘disgusted’ with homeless people, Brower told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser about his own personal brand of ‘justice’: ‘If I see shopping carts that I can’t identify, I will destroy them so they can’t be pushed on the streets.’ Brower has waged this campaign for two weeks, estimating that he’s smashed about 30 shopping carts in the process.

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How to Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking and Be The Truest Version of Yourself

In this video, Luke Rudkowski tells you how to deal with one of the biggest fear’s, the fear of public speaking.

He goes into great detail about his personal strategy and gives you some advice on how to mentally and physically deal with the fear. We hope this video is helpful to you and we wish to continue this dialog series so please ask us your questions on Luke’s social media.

Via WeAreChange

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Amygdala Myths Revealed: It’s Not All About the Fear

1959_1028_tinglerNeurology has always interested me, and I still remember learning in my undergrad neuropsychology class  that the almond-shaped portion of the brain know as the amygdala was responsible for the emotion of fear. Like so many things we grow up hearing, the truth is a little more complicated, as BoingBoing science writer Maggie Koerth-Baker learns in her interview with scientist Paul Whalen. It turns out that fear is just easier to study.

BoingBoing:

Maggie Koerth-Baker: Your research shows that the amygdala does a lot more than just make us afraid. In fact, your research suggests that the idea of “fear” involves a lot more than just reacting to something scary. But where did these ideas come from, to begin with? Why do we think of the amygdala as a “fear center”?

Paul Whalen: In the early 1980s, the psychologists who wanted to study emotion had to pick one, and fear is the easiest to study in a human or animal.

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Low Dose Psychedelics Allow Mice To Generate Neurons And Unlearn Conditioned Fear

psychedelics

Psychedelic Frontier reports on another study pointing to the immense power (and hazards) of psychedelics:

A new study of mice published in Experimental Brain Research shows that low doses (but not high doses) of psychedelics increase the rate of neuron creation in the hippocampus, and help the mice to rapidly unlearn conditioned fear responses.

Mice injected with low doses of PSOP [psilocybin] extinguished cued fear conditioning significantly more rapidly than high-dose PSOP or saline-treated mice. PSOP facilitates extinction of the conditioned fear response, and this, and similar agents, should be explored as potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.

Research continues to confirm psychedelics’ ability to reduce the conditioned fear response, enabling patients to confront fearful stimuli without the usual baggage of anxiety and defense mechanisms.

With the right therapeutic approach, psychedelics allow us to rewire our brains in a positive manner. On the flip side, reckless use of these substances may cause lasting negative changes in the brain.

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The Woolwich Murder and Inflaming Racial Tensions

SpotthediferenceVia orwellwasright:

The brutal murder of a man in Woolwich, set upon by two men wielding knives and machetes, inevitably led to a lot of heated responses, not least from the hundreds of closet bigots coming out of the woodwork on social media networks, eager to denounce Islam and calling for all Muslims to be thrown out of the country, or worse. Certainly, the reported scenario – Islamic extremists attack serving British soldier who was wearing a ‘Help for Heroes’ t-shirt in broad daylight – is about as shocking and sensational as you can get, guaranteed to inflame racial tensions in a country where years of terrorism and immigration propaganda has worked to instill a culture of fear and separation throughout the population.

Some of the comments on Facebook on the evening of the murder left me under the impression that the ghost of Enoch Powell had somehow merged with the internet, possessing people with a relentless, savage desire for rivers of Muslim blood cascading through the streets of Britain.

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How Should We React To A Terrorist Attack?

terrorist attackParadoxically, in a sense, by doing nothing, says security theorizer Bruce Schneier, speaking to the Washington Post:

What should policymakers do in the aftermath of this kind of event? Nothing. This is a singular event, and not something that should drive policy. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent this sort of thing 100 percent.

By definition, news is something that almost never happens. The brain fools you into thinking the news is what’s important. So what should we be afraid of? Car crashes. Global warming. It feels insensitive to say it so close to the tragedy, but it’s true. Things so common that they’re no longer news — that’s what kills people.

The damage from terrorism is primarily emotional. To the extent this terrorist attack succeeds has very little do with the attack itself. Imagine if the bombs were found and moved at the last second, and no one died, but everyone was just as scared.

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