Furthest Right

The Hindus are right: brain control beats social control

Research shows for the first time that a group-based psychological treatment, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), could be a viable alternative to prescription drugs for people suffering from long-term depression.

In a study, published December 1, 2008 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, MBCT proved as effective as maintenance anti-depressants in preventing a relapse and more effective in enhancing peoples’ quality of life. The study also showed MBCT to be as cost-effective as prescription drugs in helping people with a history of depression stay well in the longer-term.

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During the eight-week trial, groups of between eight and fifteen people met with one therapist. They learned a range of meditation exercises that they could continue to practice on their own once the course ended. Many of the exercises were based on Buddhist meditation techniques and helped the individual take time to focus on the present, rather than dwelling on past events, or planning for future tasks. The exercises worked in a different way for each person, but many reported greater acceptance of, and more control over, negative thoughts and feelings.

Science Daily


So we’re looking at less hippie versions of Hindu ideas, because Buddhists (like Protestants) are more individualistic versions of their Catholic/Hindu ancestor dogma.

I never expected antidepressants to work, except as a product, and am convinced that they have negative effects, too.

But we cling to these beliefs — why? — because we succumb to social reality and its counterpart, social control. Social reality = when what other people think becomes more important than reality. Social control = how you keep a society in line when everyone is acting for themselves, meaning you need external means of control like bureaucracies, institutions, religious law, economics, morality, dogma, etc.

Puts this into a neat context, doesn’t it?

Their statistical analysis shows that the subjects are much more satisfied and happier when they are included than when they are excluded, regardless of whether they are in the gain or loss condition. Even in the loss condition of the experiment, the subjects report being much happier if they are included in the group than if they are excluded. They are happy and satisfied to be included in the group even when being included costs them money!

Throughout the course of human evolution, exclusion was always costly and inclusion was always beneficial. These two things always went together, because there were no experimental psychologists in the ancestral environment to manipulate these variables independently. There were no such things as beneficial exclusion and costly inclusion. The human brain therefore cannot comprehend them. The human brain implicitly and unconsciously assumes that all ostracism is costly, just as it assumes that all sex potentially leads to reproduction (and that’s why we still experience sex with contraception as pleasurable).

Microeconomic theory, or any other theory of human behavior which assumes that human behavior is rational and based on carefully calculated cost-benefit analysis, cannot explain van Beest and Williams’ remarkable findings that humans are happy to lose money and sad to make money. Without the Savanna Principle, it would be difficult to explain why ostracism makes people sad when it pays. This is one of the many reasons why evolutionary psychology is superior to microeconomics as a theory of human behavior (even when we are not talking about sex differences) and why we must kill all the economists.

The Scientific Fundamentalist

We’re so busy pandering to one another, we’ve forgotten that the high cost of freedom is slavery — slavery to the lowest common denominator actions that freedom creates.

Did you seriously think it was anything other than a sales job?

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