Posted in Simple Pleasures of Life

Simple Pleasures of Life #10

Watching new episodes of your favourite shows and laughing so hard that all your worries and troubles melt away.

The new (and final) season of How I Met Your Mother started today!!! I’ve been so excited for this and the season premier (double episode) lived up to my expectations~ Had some good laughs hehe. I’m excited for what the rest of the season will bring, and I’m interested in the format of the season (won’t spoil anything). Also, there was a new episode of Adventure Time and that’s always welcome! 🙂

My good mood today is brought to you by what I said above, 9:30am finish from hospital, good nap, pumpkin soup (success!), nice salmon, new Magic cards (woo!), stormy weather and essentially no study. Daddy needed a break day after 34 hours of hospital over the weekends and Monday…

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Posted in Simple Pleasures of Life

Simple Pleasures of Life #26

Laughing over even the silliest of things.

There are many people who frown upon cheesy humour and say “that’s just immature” or something along the lines of “that’s not sophisticated enough for someone like me”. Essentially, everyone has a standard that they measure all things humorous against.

Mine happens to be rather low, so I’ll easily laugh over the littlest things or find a TV show episode very funny even when others just LOOK at me funny haha. But my rationale is that the end result is that I’m laughing and releasing tons of endorphins into my bloodstream.

So who cares if other people think the things you like are lame? As long as you’re happy. 🙂

Relevant ARK: https://jineralknowledge.com/laughter

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Posted in Philosophy

Of Cats And Dogs

When a dog is fed by its owner, it thinks to itself: “This human feeds me every day and cares for my every need. It must be god.

When a cat is fed by its owner, it thinks to itself: “This human feeds me every day and cares for my every need. I must be god.

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Posted in Psychology & Medicine

Flow

Have you ever had a moment of pure passion, where you are so immersed in what you are doing that everything around you does not matter and you are in a state of total bliss? In that moment, you feel fully alive, present and completely engaged with what you are doing. When the happiness and creativity expert Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi was studying how painters work, he noticed an odd thing. When their painting was going well, they did not care about getting tired, hungry or uncomfortable. They just carried on. But when the painting was finished, they rapidly lost interest in it.

Csíkszentmihályi described this state of mind as a flow state: the experience of being fully engaged with what you are currently doing. When in a flow state, an hour can pass in the blink of an eye, action and awareness merges and the experience is intrinsically rewarding. You feel that what you are doing is important, in full control and not self-conscious. Flow state does not just involve ultimate concentration. It is a complex state of mind where you are solely driven by focused motivation, operating at your peak level of mental and emotional engagement. Essentially, your mind uses 100% of its capacity for the task at hand, rather than wondering what is for dinner or peeking at the beautiful girl across the road. Because of this, a person in flow state not only works with great efficiency and creativity, but they also feel positive, energised and happy. In fact, the intense spontaneous joy brought on by flow state can almost be considered the mental equivalent of an orgasm.

So how can you achieve flow state? Flow state is not something that one chooses to go into. It is only attained when certain criteria are met.

  • Flow state can happen with any activity, but it is more likely to occur if you are internally motivated (i.e. you are doing the activity mainly for its own sake).
  • You should have clear short-term goals for what you are trying to achieve. This adds direction and structure to the task.
  • An important aspect of flow is that the activity must be challenging enough to stretch your skills almost to the limits, but not more. If it is not challenging enough, you will get bored. If it demands more skill than what you are capable of, you will become anxious. That being said, the balance only has to be between “perceived” challenge and skill. In other words, all you need is confidence that you can take on the challenge.
  • The activity should provide immediate feedback on how you are doing (e.g. seeing how a painting is turning out, hearing yourself sing). This allows you to adjust your performance in order to maintain flow state.

Flow is an incredibly useful thing. Through flow, you can forget about your worries and your strife, reach a state of pure happiness and inner peace and produce something truly great. The key to happiness is knowing what allows you to reach flow state and routinely entering flow state. For example, I know that the three things that give me flow are: music, humour and obsessions. Ergo, I play my guitar and sing, watch television shows that make me laugh and write an entry for the Encyclopaedia of Absolute and Relative Knowledge every day. All of these activities allow me to be truly happy, no matter what the situation may be.

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Posted in Science & Nature

Niven’s Laws

Larry Niven is a science fiction author. Like many other science fiction authors, he is responsible for citing many rules regarding the world, humorous or not. Niven took to this another level by publishing a series of laws on “how the universe works” as far as he can tell. The following is the revised list as of January 29, 2002.

  1. Never throw shit at an armed man.
  2. Corollary to #1: Never stand next to someone throwing shit at an armed man. 
  3. Never fire a laser at a mirror.
  4. Mother Nature doesn’t care if you’re having fun.
  5. Giving up freedom for security is beginning to look naive. (or “F x S = k”, meaning that the product of freedom and security is a constant.)
  6. Psi and/or magical powers, if real, are nearly useless.
  7. It is easier to destroy than to create.
  8. Any damn fool can predict the past.
  9. History never repeats itself.
  10. Ethics change with technology.
  11. Anarchy is the least stable of political structures.
  12. There is a time and a place for tact.
  13. The ways of being human are bounded but infinite.
  14. When your life starts to look like a soap opera, it’s time to change the channel.
  15. The only universal message in science fiction: There exist minds that think as well as you do, but differently.
  16. Corollary to #15: The gene-tampered turkey you’re talking to isn’t necessarily one of them.
  17. Never waste calories.
  18. There is no cause so right that one cannot find a fool following it.
  19. No technique works if it isn’t used.
  20. Not responsible for advice not taken.
  21. Think before you make the coward’s choice. Old age is not for sissies.
  22. Never let a waiter escape.

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Posted in Psychology & Medicine

Laughter

We laugh when we are happy. Laughter provides us with happiness and is the best medicine available to us, relieving the pain and stress of life. In fact, when we laugh we secrete a neurotransmitter called endorphin, which as the name suggests (endo(inside) + morphine), has the same properties as morphine.

What makes us laugh? The best theory to date is that laughter is an instinctive response to the passing of danger (also called the relief theory). For example, if our ancestor came across a predator but it passed by without noticing him, he would have laughed in response to the relief he felt. Others would see from his laugh that the danger had passed and laugh also (possibly explaining why laughter is contagious).

This theory also explains why humour makes us laugh. When you throw a joke, you are essentially giving the other person a “cognitive riddle” with a logical inconsistency. This inconsistency causes the recipient’s subconscious to become confused: “Why is it funny? Why can’t I understand it?”. As jokes are fundamentally a “surprise” to the other person’s mind, they try to solve it and figure it out whether it is a danger or not. If they get the joke, the inconsistency is solved and the person feels relief (as it has been revealed that the confusion brought on by the inconsistency was not dangerous). Once the confusion passes, the person laughs in response. But if the person does not get the joke, the “danger” has not passed and the person does not laugh. This is the basis of one of the laws of comedians: “if the audience is confused, they do not laugh”.

Laughter is beneficial for your health. Frequent laughter lowers the blood pressure, boosts the immune system, relieves pain and lowers the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. Laughter is especially good for your mental health, therefore having a five-minute laughter yoga session every day where you just laugh as hard as you can will help you lead a happier life. However, ironically laughter can kill you too. Cases of “death from laughter” have been recorded since ancient Greek times to the modern day. The cause has not been identified but it is known that intense laughter can cause cataplexy, which is a paralysis induced by extreme emotions. It is possible that intense laughter overloads the nervous system and causes a heart attack.

Whatever it is, anything is toxic in excess.

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Posted in Philosophy

Monkeys And Acorns

A man living in the Song Dynasty had many monkeys. He was wary that he might not have enough food to feed the monkeys, so he implemented a rationing system, telling the monkeys “As we are short of food, I will limit the acorns you get to three in the morning and four in the evening”. The monkeys screamed and protested, so the man told the monkeys: “Then I will change it to four in the morning and three in the evening. The stupid monkeys could not figure out that the sum was the same and were overjoyed. This is the story behind the proverb: cho sam mo sa ("Three in the morning, four in the evening”, 조삼모사, 朝三暮四).

It is common to see people who cannot see the forest for the trees and only focus on the immediate gains, just like the monkeys. Although there might be some short-term benefit, the results will be the same (or worse) in the long run and not seeing this is very foolish. To lead a successful life one must have the insight to understand how the happiness gained now will affect the future and the wisdom to achieve the balance between short-term and long-term benefits. Too many people lack these qualities and fall into the trap of hire purchases, mortgages and frauds.

The monkeys made another critical mistake. If they protest against the man’s plans for a better future, he can just say “If you’re not happy, starve” and everything will be over. To throw away the future for a quick fix is an incredibly idiotic act.

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Posted in History & Literature

Elements: Four Elements Of The West

Human beings have believed that all matter can be divided into basic elements for a very long time. Although we now know that the basic building block of the universe is atoms, what did ancient people believe matter was made of?

In ancient Greece, the seat of Western culture, it was believed that everything was made from the four elements: earth, fire, water and air. According to Aristotle, every element has a primary and secondary characteristic, with the four characteristics being hot, cold, dry and wet. Air is primarily wet and secondarily hot, fire is primarily hot and secondarily dry, earth is primarily dry and secondarily cold and water is primarily cold and secondarily wet. He also spoke of a fifth element (quintessence) beyond the four elements. The name of the fifth element is aether and it is a pure and heavenly element that cannot be corrupted like the earthly four elements. Furthermore, it was thought that aether was the element of the sky and stars were composed of it as they were heavenly, not earthly.

The four classic elements of ancient Greece had an impact not only on physics and chemistry, but also on philosophy and culture (the concept of the four elements is popular in modern games too). The most interesting example of these is a theory by Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, that states that the human body is composed of four bodily fluids (humours) and an imbalance between the humours caused diseases. The four humours are yellow bile (fire), black bile (earth), blood (air) and phlegm (water). Furthermore, he believed that the four humours affected personalities too. For example, an excess of black bile (“melan chole” in Greek) would cause a person to become introspective and think negatively, leading to depression or “melancholy”. This is quite possibly the first medical records on clinical depression.

The four classic elements of ancient Greece can also be found in ancient Egypt and many other ancient civilisations. It also had a significant influence on alchemy in the Middle Ages.

(Image sourcehttp://y3rk0.deviantart.com/art/The-Four-Elements-87598175)

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Posted in Life & Happiness

Slap Bet

If you ever have a disagreement with a friend and would like to bet over who is right, make the ultimate wager: the slap bet. Basically, whoever is right gets to slap the other person in the face as hard as they possibly can. On the surface it appears to be simple and harmless. But in reality, it is a deadly and formidable wager. For example, if one ever makes the unfortunate mistake of making a slap bet with the condition that the slap can occur at any place at any time, then they must live in fear of a slap appearing out of the blue and leaving a glowing, red and rather painful hand print on your face.

Being such a pricey bet, it is always useful to appoint a Slap Bet Commissioner. The Commissioner is responsible for resolving any problems that may arise regarding the bet, such as making a ruling. They must remain completely unbiased and hold the integrity of the slap bet above all else. They must also enforce the sacred rules of the slap bet, such as no premature slapulation. If the rules are disobeyed, the Commissioner has the power to endow one player the right to slap the other player (with completely subjective judgement of how many slaps they can get).

The slap bet is also highly customisable, where the players can settle on the number of slaps and the manner in which they will be delivered. Will the loser receive ten slaps in a row? Or will they get five slaps that can occur from the moment they lose to infinity?

A slap bet is the ultimate bet that is so satisfying and cathartic for the winner, but for the loser it is… well, let’s just say it is a real slap in the face.

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Posted in History & Literature

Laconic Phrase

The Spartans are well-known to us as some of the bravest and toughest soldiers in Western history, with a culture completely focussed on breeding the best of the best warriors. However, during ancient times they were famous for another trait.
Spartans were famous for stating their arguments in concise statements, able to express their ideas with just a few words. This type of speech was known as laconic phrase, named after the region of Laconia where Sparta was located. Laconic phrases are not only short, but extremely efficient and often witty. In fact, another trait that Spartans shared was a sense of dry wit known as laconic humour.

There are plenty of records, such as Socrates’, that describe the Spartan’s ability to effortlessly throw off pithy comments in retaliation. Ergo, the Spartans did not use little words because they were illiterate or did not value education and culture; they used as little words as possible to conceal their wisdom in a concentrated phrase. The Spartans deemed this a valuable skill as a true professional is efficient in whatever he does, including language.

Many examples of laconic phrase can be drawn from the historic Battle of Thermopylae – the battle portrayed by the movie 300 (which, despite a rather dramatic presentation, quite accurately portrays many aspects of the battle).

  • Before the war, a Persian envoy came to Sparta demanding an offering of soil and water – a traditional symbol of surrender. The Spartans threw them in a well and said “Dig it out for yourselves”.
  • This infuriated the Persian Empire and war broke out. As King Leonidas departed for the Battle of Thermopylae, he advised her wife: “Marry a good man and bear good children”.
  • When Xerxes of Persia offered to spare the Spartan army in exchange for their surrender and giving up their weapons, Leonidas simply retorted: “Molon labe”, which translates to “Come and take them”.
  • On the morning of the last day of the battle, Leonidas knew that defeat was inevitable. To boost his troop’s morale, he spoke the famous line: “Eat well, for tonight we dine in Hades”.

The Spartans’ efficiency with words and wit inspired many famous words over history. These range from responding to the enemy’s demand for surrender (at the end of the Battle of Waterloo, British forces demand the French surrender, to which General Cambronne replied: “Merde” or “Go to hell”), a pithy description of a disastrous situation (during the Battle of Imjin River of the Korean War, Lieutenant Colonel Carne – surrounded by the Chinese and his forces utterly destroyed – described the situation as “A bit sticky”), to the modern day epic burn.

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