Health

The frustrating thing about panic is that it’s incredibly difficult to be talked out of it.

From where you’re standing, it could be obvious that someone else’s panic isn’t rooted in reason or logic. But telling them this is rarely enough to relieve them (or stop them from filling their attic with toilet paper).

Because from where they’re standing, your calmness might be only be registering as blind, delusional ignorance in the face of a serious threat.

Panic is a defence mechanism people usually have to prove themselves out of.

We can offer others the tools them need to rationalise themselves out of panic, but the rationalising is ultimately up to them.

Any attempt to force logic down the throat of someone in a panic spiral might only send them further into panic.

So, even in the most turbulent and frustrating times, we should focus on sharpening our own thinking before trying to alter anyone else’s.

Bibliotherapy is the prescribed reading of specific literature for thereputic purposes.

While it has only been defined this way for a short while, human beings have engaged in bibliotherapy for as long as we have physically recorded stories; ancient Greeks once called their libraries pharmacies containing ‘medicines for the soul’.

Bibliotherapy involves texts being prescribed at times when they may prove most thereputic to an individual, and they can prove useful in a variety of ways.

Some stories model growth, others inspire hope and some may offer nothing more than an unexpected but necessary lens through which to understand a situation.

Often, this process follows a regular formula: a person will go through a process of identification, as they realise that the text has some relevance to their own experience; followed by a sense of catharsis as the relationship between the literature and the reader develops into a meaningful exchange; and then insight. The reader walks away from their experience with some understanding they did not possess beforehard.

The little kid at the bottom of the heap who shows up to every training regardless, is strong.

So is the woman who stands her ground when her coworker critiques the appropriateness of her dress sense.

As is the huge veiny man at the gym lifting 140 kilograms so far above his head that his small intestine wants to burst.

And so is the poet, trembling before the mic at their first public gig, eyes on the ground and paper in hand.

Strength isn’t restricted by gender, measured by weight or determined by contest.

Strength is the courage to show up; to commit, to fail, and to learn.

Strength is your ability to grow.

The number zero, like all other human constructions, hasn’t always existed. For millennia, beings roamed the earth who had not yet invented God, taxes, or rights of any kind to be violated.

What was, was. What happened, happened. And that was all.

It seems that we are beginning to realise just how much we take for granted. Perhaps the upshot of COVID-19 is that those of us who make it through will live in a world where we question the longevity of the systems we’ve come to rely on. And we might all just be a little less quick to lean on them too heavily once the status quo stabilises.

Even if only for a while.

If someone knows your name, you have a brand.

What people think and, more importantly, how people feel when they hear your name is that brand.

It’s got nothing to do with who we think we are and everything to do with who we actually are to other people.

Are we reliable? Trustworthy?Charming? Funny?

Not unless someone else thinks so. Self belief might inspire our action, but it’s our actions which inspire our reputations. Which, in turn, define us.

We are responsible for cultivating our reputation, but we don’t get the privilege of disagreeing with it once it’s out there.

We can seek to improve our reputation, but there is no sense in refuting it.

It just is.

If who we think we are doesn’t matter, then perhaps we should do less thinking about who we are today or who we were ten years ago, and more thinking about who we might aspire to be for someone else tomorrow.

When you got your first mobile phone, did you imagine that you’d eventually spend thousands of hours every year looking into one?

I didn’t, and I’m 22.

But the ten year old down the street who got her first phone last week fully expects to spend that kind of time with phone in hand. She’s never know any different.

The game has changed. We’re now more and less connected than we’ve ever been before.

Young people need to be trusted to flourish in this connection, and protected against its most vile byproducts.

In an ecosystem of dichotomies and extremes, confusion is natural and moderation is key.

Robert Sterberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence suggests that intelligence exists across a spectrum which involves three distinct forms: analytical intelligence, practical intelligence and creative intelligence.

Analytical intelligence is what we typically associate with ‘smart’ people. It’s book smarts. Specifically, it’s the ability to understand, recall and develop ideas which aid in problem solving and decision making.

Practical intelligence is all about how we interact with our environment. How to we change ourselves to suit it, and how to we change our environment to suit us? Practically intelligent people are excellent lifestyle designers.

Finally, creative intelligence is about extending beyond analytical ideas and into the generation of ideas which react effectively to new situations. People with high creative intelligence are those who are comfortable developing new approaches to problems which may not always align with conventional thinking.

Each of these forms are multiplied by one another. If we excel in one but are deficient in another, our overall intelligence still suffers.

If we’re honest with ourselves, can we spot our weakest link?

How much could we be benefit from focussing on improving it?

There’s a lot of research which suggests that we can foster any one of these forms with a bit of dedicated practice.

If that’s important to you, find your weak spot and begin building a habit.

Don’t wait.

Start now.

Death is an uncomfortable, turbulent, messy part of life.

Most of all because the toll greif takes is insensitively personal. It’s an isolating experience like no other, which sometimes prompts us to reach out.

And we ought to reach out. Because community is the antidote to most feelings of isolation.

What’s important to consider are the channels through which we seek that community.

Some of our channels limit our ability to connect earnestly, honestly, and with respect.

Seeking support in these places can be a demoralising way to realise that life goes on and not as many people care as perhaps it feels like they should.

If you’re in need, find a friend and share the same air for a while. Each second will be worth a thousand shallow likes.

We’re born with talent, we develop skill and we earn opportunity.

Ability is what we get when we take advantage of all three.

To feel like we’re making ‘progress’, our abilities must be growing.

When they’re not, we start to feel stagnant – in creeps the humble dread of meaninglessness.

Shield against that. Learn to love learning. Take risks.

Grow.

Biological robots exist now. They’re called Xenobots and while they can’t do much of anything yet, the potential implications of their existence are enormous.

Xenobots are made from frog skin and heart cells. They can be programmed through a digital simulation of natural selection.

Xenobots are living robots
The computer produces a design, left, which is used to create the living robot on the right. The Robot is about 0.7 Millimetres in size.

When asked about why this research is important, the researchers behind the breakthrough explained;

“Once we figure out how cells can be motivated to build specific structures, this will not only have a massive impact on regenerative medicine (building body parts and inducing regeneration), but the same principles will lead to better robotics, communication systems, and maybe new (non-neurocentric) AI platforms.”

Whether or not programable life is something we should be messing with in the first place is perhaps another question.

“The long-term goal here is to figure out how living agents (cells) can be motivated to build specific things, and how to exploit their plasticity and competency to do things that are too hard to micromanage directly (like build an eye, hand, etc.).”

The development of this technology could be the future of health science and medicine.

For a detailed and visual overview, check out this video from ASAP Science on YouTube.