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the only truth I know is my own experience

SQ – Spiritual Intelligence March 15, 2011

The greatest criminals in human history had high IQs, but their SQ was far below the average…

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What is SQ?

Spiritual intelligence is a term used to indicate a spiritual correlate to IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Quotient). Like EQ, SQ is becoming more mainstream in scientific inquiry and philosophical/psychological discussion. It refers to a suite or set of propensities comprising: perceptions, intuitions, cognitions, etc., related to spirituality and/or religiosity, especially spiritual capital.

 SQ is “in”!

Models for developing and measuring spiritual intelligence are also increasingly used in corporate settings, by companies such as Nokia, Unilever, McKinsey, Shell, Coca-Cola, Hewlett Packard, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Starbucks and the Co-operative Bank. It has been identified as a key component of Leadership by bestselling business author Stephen Covey, who observes that “Spiritual intelligence is the central and most fundamental of all the intelligences, because it becomes the source of guidance for the other[s]…”

Modelling Spiritual Intelligence

There is a vide range of models and definitions of SQ. The question is new to the science and thus still very much open. Here are some examples.

Zohar and Marshall (1997)

The word “spiritual” in relation to the intelligence has no necessary connection with organized religion. A person may be high in SQ but have no religious faith or belief of any kind. Equally, a person may be very religious but low in SQ (SC). The word spiritual in the Zohar/Marshal concept comes from the Latin word spiritus, which means, “that which gives life or vitality to a system”.

Zohar and Marshall introduced 12 qualities of SQ. They derive these principles from the qualities that define complex adaptive systems. In biology, complex adaptive systems are living systems that create order out of chaos, they create order and information and defy the law of entropy.

Those principles are: (more…)

 

Positive Psychology – studying what has gone right, rather than wrong in both individuals and societies October 5, 2010

I was pleased to learn about one interesting recent branch of Psychology, which does just he contrary to the common psychological studies and practices:  Positive psychologists seek “to find and nurture genius and talent”, and “to make normal life more fulfilling”, not simply to treat mental illness. By scientifically studying what has gone right, rather than wrong in both individuals and societies, Positive Psychology hopes to achieve a renaissance of sorts.

The purpose of Positive psychology was summed up in 2000 by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: “We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise that achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving in individuals, families, and communities.”. Yes, finally somebody got it!

As a born psychologist I of cause see the problems and illnesses of human beings and societies very well. But honestly, it’s getting so boring! Why can’t we all start learning how to enjoy the beauty of life and not to make our lives difficult for ourselves and for others?

According to positive psychologists, for most of its life mainstream psychology (sometimes also referred to as ‘psychology as usual’) has been concerned with the negative aspects of human life. There have been pockets of interest in topics such as creativity, optimism and wisdom, but these have not been united by any grand theory or a broad, overarching framework. This rather negative state of affairs was not the original intention of the first psychologists, but came about through a historical accident. Prior to the Second World War, psychology had three tasks, which were to: cure mental illness, improve normal lives and identify and nurture high talent. However, after the war the last two tasks somehow got lost, leaving the field to concentrate predominantly on the first one. How did that happen? Given that psychology as a science depends heavily on the funding of governmental bodies, it is not hard to guess what happened to the resources after World War II. Understandably, facing a human crisis on such an enormous scale, all available resources were poured into learning about and the treatment of psychological illness and psychopathology.

This is how psychology as a field learnt to operate within a disease model. This model has proven very useful. Martin Seligman highlights the victories of the disease model, which are, for example, that 14 previously incurable mental illnesses (such as depression, personality disorder, or anxiety attacks) can now be successfully treated. However, the costs of adopting this disease model included the negative view of psychologists as ‘victimologists’ and ‘pathologisers’, the failure to address the improvement of normal lives and the identification and nurturance of high talent. Just to illustrate, if you were to say to your friends that you were going to see a psychologist, what is the most likely response that you would get? ‘What’s wrong with you?’. How likely are you to hear something along the lines of: ‘Great! Are you planning to concentrate on self-improvement?’. (more…)

 

Children stop being communists at the age of 11, study says June 1, 2010

Many people from different countries and background told me that when they were children it was difficult for them to understand the idea of money and goods distribution. I always thought it is a good proof for my idea that capitalism as  such is a very unnatural institution.

The new study from Norway shows some interesting evidence in support of my supposition. As children progress to adolescence, their sense of fairness changes from pure equality to proportionality based on merit, study says.

The study was conducted at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH) by the research team consisting of Associate Professor Ingvild Almås, Professor Alexander W. Cappelen, Associate Professor Erik Ø. Sørensen, and Professor Bertil Tungodden.

One of the most fundamental questions in the social sciences is how morality and fairness considerations affect human behavior. Previous research has shown that adults differ greatly both in the extent to which they care about fairness considerations and in what they perceive as fair.

“This is, however, the first economic study to show how some of these differences are shaped in adolescence. In doing so, the study also sheds light on how our perceptions of fairness are affected both by the social environment and biological factors,” explains Professor Bertil Tungodden from NHH in Norway.

What is a fair inequality?
Most adults find some inequalities fair. Hence, in contrast, to young children, they do not always think of strict equality as the fair solution to a distributive problem. What explains this and how does this acceptance of inequality develop? These were motivating questions for the present study of the distributive behavior of 500 Norwegian school children 11-19 years old.

“By comparing the behavior for different age groups, we were able to established clear developmental patterns. In particular, the study shows that as children grow older, they increasingly find inequalities reflecting differences in individual achievements fair,” continues Professor Tungodden.

Just luck?
In the experiment, the children worked on a task for 45 minutes. At the end of the work session, some were lucky and received a high price on their production; others were unlucky and received a low price. Thus, there were inequalities in earnings that reflected differences in both individual production and luck.

Each participant then had to decide how to distribute the total earnings between themselves and one other participant. Hence, they had to decide which inequalities they found fair.
“Here we observed a very interesting pattern,” adds Professor Tungodden.

“While almost none of the younger children made a distinction between luck and individual production, a substantial share of the older children did so. They accepted inequalities reflecting differences in individual production, but not inequalities reflecting just luck.” (more…)

 

Cool breeze proven by science May 26, 2010

At long last scientific verification of “cool breeze” has been published in a scientific journal!

Although studies on cool breeze have already been done in India by Prof UC Rai, they were not published in journals accessible to Western scientists.
 
The small study demonstrates a skin temperature reduction on the palms of the hands during the experience of mental silence, arising as a result of a single 10 minute session of Sahaja yoga meditation. However when people (non-meditators) were asked to do a simple relaxation exercise, under the same conditions, their skin temperature increased which is the opposite of what occurred for those using the mental silence approach to meditation.


 
The outcomes of this study therefore suggest that “thoughtless awareness” is both experientially and physiologically different to simple relaxation.
Interestingly, all other studies of (non-Sahaja Yoga) meditation  that have studied skin temperature show that skin temperature either increases (i.e. the hand get warmer) or does not change during the meditation session, leading scientists to assume that meditation is the same as relaxation, which also provokes skin temperature increases.

 So this study not only shows how Sahaja Yoga is different from other forms of meditation but also supports the idea that meditation is more correctly defined by the experience of mental silence rather than relaxation. This definition of meditation may well be the best way to differentiate meditation from relaxation, hypnosis, sleep, reiki, chi-gong, TM and other practices.

Manocha R, Black D, Ryan J, Stough C, Spiro D, Changing Definitions of Meditation: Physiological Corollorary, Journal of the International Society of Life Sciences, Vol 28 (1), Mar 2010

Read the whole article here.

 

Albert Einstein “The Merging of Spirit and Science” May 15, 2010

The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical.

It is the sower of all true science.

He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.

To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists,

manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our

dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms

– this knowledge, this feeling is at the centre of true religiousness.

Albert Einstein “The Merging of Spirit and Science”

 

A Mathematician’s Lament – or why I hated math at school May 10, 2010

Mathimatics has been always a horrow subject to me. My brain blocks when I only see numbers and formulas… It’s a wonder how I could have survived so far with such an attitute towards maths!

Renecetly I came across an amazing article on mathematics, which literary has blown my mind. A Mathematician’s Lament, is written by Paul Lockhart in 2002. Paul is a mathematics teacher at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, New York. His article has been circulating through parts of the mathematics and math ed communities ever since. His point is that much mathematics education is hijacked by people who know nothing about it.

Here are some quotes:
“The first thing to understand is that mathematics is an art.  The difference between math and
the other arts, such as music and painting, is that our culture does not recognize it as such. 
Everyone understands that poets, painters, and musicians create works of art, and are expressing themselves in word, image, and sound. 

In fact, our society is rather generous when it comes to  creative expression; architects, chefs, and even television directors are considered to be working artists.  So why not mathematicians?
 
Part of the problem is that nobody has the faintest idea what it is that mathematicians do. 
The common perception seems to be that mathematicians are somehow connected with
science– perhaps they help the scientists with their formulas, or feed big numbers into
computers for some reason or other.  There is no question that if the world had to be divided into the “poetic dreamers” and the “rational thinkers” most people would place mathematicians in the latter category.
  
Nevertheless, the fact is that there is nothing as dreamy and poetic, nothing as radical,
subversive, and psychedelic, as mathematics.
  It is every bit as mind blowing as cosmology or
physics (mathematicians conceived of black holes long before astronomers actually found any), and allows more freedom of expression than poetry, art, or music (which depend heavily on properties of the physical universe).  Mathematics is the purest of the arts, as well as the most misunderstood.
 
So let me try to explain what mathematics is, and what mathematicians do.  I can hardly do
better than to begin with G.H. Hardy’s excellent description: 

A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker
of patterns.  If his patterns are more permanent than
theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.
 

So mathematicians sit around making patterns of ideas.  What sort of patterns?  What sort of
ideas?  Ideas about the rhinoceros?  No, those we leave to the biologists.  Ideas about language and culture?  No, not usually.  (more…)

 

Is there a difference between scientific and spiritual experience? March 26, 2010

   

A material scientist today finds out something and says, ‘Here is a new discovery!’ Another says, ‘No, it is not true; here is another discovery which proves it wrong.’ And so it goes on; every year there are many new discoveries. Sometimes, too, one scientist does not think like another; they may belong to the same school, and yet each has his own idea which does not agree with the other man’s. But when we consider the mystics and thinkers who look at life from a spiritual point of view, they all agree, be they Yogis, Sufis, Buddhists, or Christians–it does not matter which.

    Whenever they arrive at a certain stage of understanding they all agree, they all have the same experiences, they all have the same realization to which they come in spite of all differences. The differences in the dogmas of the various religions are only differences of form: those who look at the surface see variations, but those who look below the surface see one and the same truth hidden beneath all religions, which have been given at different times by different masters. Naturally, therefore, the method of expression is different, but when one comes to the essence it is all one and the same, and those who are spiritually evolved come to the conclusion that they do not differ one from the other in their belief. (more…)

 

 
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