Tag Archives | Jon Ronson

The Energetics of Psychopathy

Picture: Anna Bal (CC)

Do you remember the scene in The Green Mile when death row inmate John Coffee is touched by murderer “Wild Bill”? After feeling some powerful negative energy, he says, “You a bad man.”

Are you like John Coffee? Would you know it if you brushed up against a cold-blooded killer? You might if you’re what Dr. Judith Orloff calls an “intuitive empath“.

I began to sense energy emanating from people when I was around 20 or 21 years old.  An interesting thing happens when a person turns 21: The prefrontal cortex of the brain matures. I think that I had always sensed energy around me unconsciously, but at this time I became conscious of it and began to investigate these experiences analytically. When I learned about Chi or Qi energy  in practices like reiki and qi gong, it was not simply an idea I accepted intellectually or on faith: It simply put a name to what I had already experienced.… Read the rest

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BoingBoing Interviews Jon Ronson: ‘Lost at Sea’

Writer Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Psychopath Test, Them! Adventures with Extremists) discussed his new book Lost at Sea on this week's episode of the BoingBoing podcast Gweek. (You may also remember my own interview with Ronson on the DisinfoCast a few months back.) Via Mark Frauenfelder:
Lost at Sea collects 22 Guardian articles Jon's written over the years, and they are fascinating portraits of people and groups a few standard deviations away from the middle of the normalcy bell curve. Subjects include: Insane Clown Posse and their announcement that they are born-again Christians who have encoded secret messages in their songs for the last decade, the billionaire transgender woman who invented satellite radio and her attempt to create a lifelike robot of her partner, the culture of Indigo Children, a British pop star's fascination with UFOs and aliens abductions, the contents of Stanley Kubrik's archival boxes, the tiny town of North Pole, Alaska, where Christmas is celebrated 365 days a year and where a group of high school students were caught trying to duplicate the Columbine high school massacre, a profile of Neuro-linguistic Programming co-creator Richard Bandler, a Children of God offshoot that donates kidneys as part of their religious practice, a profile of psychic Sylvia Browne, and many more stories.
I can't imagine a disinfonaut not being familiar with Jon Ronson's work, but if you haven't read his stuff then you're in for a treat. Ronson writes about all manner of weird things and people, and does so from a place of both humor and warmth. I've been a fan for many years.
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Logical Thinking Seems to Negate Empathy

Picture: Grindilu (CC)

Disinfonaughts are likely to be familiar with Jon Ronson’s book “The Psychopath Test”. In a nutshell the acclaimed journalist discovered evidence that suggested being a psychopath is useful if you want to survive in the cold logical world of management and business. (Listen to Jon Ronson on the Disinfocast – ed.) Now PopSci reports on evidence that empathy (a quality missing from the mind of a psychopath) is difficult to maintain when processing purely logical thoughts:

A new study published in NeuroImage found that separate neural pathways are used alternately for empathetic and analytic problem solving. The study compares it to a see-saw. When you’re busy empathizing, the neural network for analysis is repressed, and this switches according to the task at hand.

Anthony Jack, an assistant professor in cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University and lead author of the study, relates the idea to an optical illusion.

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Jon Ronson on The DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs

Jon Ronson | The DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs: Episode 10

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Award-winning writer and documentarian Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats, Them! Adventures with Extremists, The Psychopath Test) is here, and boy, does he have some stories: being chased by agents of the Bilderberg Group; witnessing secret ceremonies at the Bohemian Grove; being outed as a Jew among Islamic radical terrorists and more that barely scratch the surface. Tune in for all this on this episode of The DisinfoCast.
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Jon Ronson on How to Spot A Psychopath (Video)

American PsychoThe Guardian has an excerpt of Jon Ronsom's new book The Psychopath Test:
It was visiting hour at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital and patients began drifting in to sit with their loved ones at tables and chairs that had been fixed to the ground. They were mostly overweight, wearing loose, comfortable T-shirts and elasticated sweatpants. There probably wasn't much to do in Broadmoor but eat. I wondered if any of them were famous. Broadmoor was where they sent Ian Brady, the Moors murderer, and Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper. A man in his late 20s walked towards me. His arm was outstretched. He wasn't wearing sweatpants. He was wearing a pinstripe jacket and trousers. He looked like a young businessman trying to make his way in the world, someone who wanted to show everyone that he was very, very sane. We shook hands. "I'm Tony," he said. He sat down. "So I hear you faked your way in here," I said. (Read More in the Guardian)
Ronson also created a video about his new project:
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The Real Psychic Soldier Behind The Men Who Stare at Goats

Lauren Davis writes on io9.com:

When Jim Channon authored the First Earth Battalion manual, he was hoping to bring warfare into a more humane, modern age. In a new series of columns, he talks about the film and why harnessing the paranormal is so important.

StaringAtGoats

Jon Ronson, who wrote the book The Men Who Stare at Goats, has taken over the Guardian‘s film section this week, and asked former Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon, one of the inspirations behind The Men Who Stare at Goats, write a few columns about the film and his ideas. Channon authored the First Earth Battalion manual, which proposed that the US Army modernize warfare by looking toward the human potential movement. Channon suggested engaging the enemy with positive vibrations and offerings of peace, but also suggested that soldiers unlock their potential by practicing meditation and yoga, and that work to develop superhuman abilities such as perceiving auras, teleportation, psychokinesis, and precognition.

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