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Rated: E · Book · Other · #2196884
Are we all storytellers even if we don't write?
We create a narrative for our lives. Some stories are good, others not so.

Self-talk or inner speech is an inner narrative which gives a voice to our thoughts while we are awake. Dramatists use a monologue or soliloquy to tell the audience what a character is thinking. They sometimes use it to share information with the audience. But what of the stories we tell ourselves? Why do we do it and can they affect us?

For most of us, the answer is yes, and our story can impact everything we do. Tell ourselves a bad story and our life can be hell.

Introspection is the examination of our own conscious thoughts. It also involves a look at our soul in a spiritual context. For thousands of years, people talked about the inner voice. Plato once questioned, “...why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts”. Self-reflection is an image we have of ourselves and is hard to change. It comes from things learned about who we are.

Research has shown human brains can only experience one thought at a time as a fast-flowing stream. Buddhist scriptures describe it as the 'Mind Stream'. Practising mindfulness is being aware of the moment-to-moment events in our lives and how we react. Buddhist teachings say the mental and material events created by the senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, touch, and thoughts are related to the past, present, and future.

In literature, the technique of narrating the flow of thoughts and feelings in the minds of characters is called stream of consciousness. Stream of consciousness is a literary device which gives the writer the ability to tell an audience or reader what a character is thinking. It can be a loose selection of thoughts in connection with how the person feels or reacts to something.

Authors, however, did not invent stream of consciousness but the term was coined by eminent psychologist William James. Susan Blackmore, visiting professor, University of Plymouth describes it this way, “When I say that consciousness is an illusion I do not mean that consciousness does not exist. I mean that consciousness is not what it appears to be. If it seems to be a continuous stream of rich and detailed experiences, happening one after the other to a conscious person, this is the illusion.”

We know a negative self-talking story is associated with psychological disorders such as low moods affecting how we behave, and our sense of well-being. It can also lead to a sense of dread and turmoil resulting in loss of sleep.

In the next blog, I look at ways to tell ourselves a better story.
March 7, 2020 at 8:00pm
March 7, 2020 at 8:00pm
#977443
Living in this time of COVID-19 or the novel corona virus witnesses a few challenges not seen before--at least not in my lifetime. I've read stories about a time when coupons were issued for petrol or gasoline. Coupons were also issued for sugar and other commodities in short supply. American civilians got their first “Sugar Book” in May 1942. Coffee was rationed in that same year to 0.45kg to individuals ever five weeks. By November 1943 even firewood was rationed. In the UK, rationing was more severe than during the war years. The limit on sugar and eggs did not end until 1954.

Black and white images from that time show people in queues waiting patiently for their supplies In 2020 television viewers witnessed three women in a supermarket aisle fighting over packets of toilet rolls. The modern consumer experienced decades of abundant goods with readily available funds to purchase. Most people in the developed world have not lived through hardship.

How will the modern person cope with rationing? Foreseeably, emissions credits will be allocated to all adults where those who emit below their quota can sell their surplus credits.
Most people accept this as a consequence of modern living. But what if the COVID-19 gains further traction the supply chain? How would the CEO’s of supermarket chains cope? OCR scans on phones (in place of stamps), could limit a commodity the consumer buys at any one time, such as toilet paper.

Present day shoppers not allowed to buy what and when they want? Quelle horreur!
March 2, 2020 at 7:03pm
March 2, 2020 at 7:03pm
#976889
Iran has become the latest epicentre for coronavirus in part because of the Fatima Masumeh Shrine which draws pilgrims from around the world. But what about Australia? Do we have similar, drawing tens of thousands to touch an icon, albeit non-religious?

Poker machines or slot machines are found in all states of Australia. For example, NSW (New South Wales) alone has 100,500 machines in clubs, pubs, and casinos. The buttons on each machine are touched by scores of people throughout the day. It would be a safe bet that players, intent on winning, do not wash their hands before and after touching the machine.

Touching parts of the face after coming in contact with an infected person is a sure-fire way to catch the virus.

Australia has more poker machines per person than any other country on Earth. It would be fair to say they are an Aussie icon.

If this corona scourge ever makes its way into the gaming rooms from tourists having a little flutter, players could find bigger odds than just losing a few dollars.
January 27, 2020 at 6:19pm
January 27, 2020 at 6:19pm
#974343
Here in Australia, when large tracts of the country started to burn, politicians acted quickly by booking Christmas holidays before queues got big at the airports.

One politician looked to the skies and declared the disaster was from a higher authority, and there is nothing we can do about it.

The current fires could be interpreted as God’s message much the same way he impressed Moses with a burning bush.

The Almighty, “Like, um, you better do something. And don’t even think to question the Lord.”

Mark Eggleton reporting in the Financial Review quotes the chief executive officer of the Clean Energy Council Kane Thornton as saying, “The technology’s proven, and we are seeing this around the world, so very clearly we can transition (from fossil fuel) much faster now than people had anticipated.”

This fire crisis in a country with no national energy policy makes Australians look indecisive, not to mention a mob of half-baked cow-pat kickers.

As the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison rummages through the eggplant and lentils in the parliament house kitchen, hoping to find a pork sausage to beef-up his flexitarian diet, he might think of renewable technology…

It changes as quickly as voters change their minds.

January 20, 2020 at 12:28am
January 20, 2020 at 12:28am
#973757
By the 1990s, computer models predicted an increase in global temperature of around 2C. Everyone thought, be serious! Two degrees ain’t so bad, it’s nothing!

What the computer models didn’t tell scientists because programmer Maybell Rutledge from Jackson Hole Wyoming forgot to put a comma between a mindboggling big set of numbers was—a warmer climate means hotter summers, less rain, and countrysides bursting in firestorms.

The world witnessed how devastating wildfires can be for humans and animals.

The computers also forgot to mention that farm animals will die, and menus will feature big slabs of tofu topped pizzas.

If you ever thought a vegetarian lifestyle is not for you, think again.
January 17, 2020 at 6:20pm
January 17, 2020 at 6:20pm
#973605
Meat Lover’s pizzas will disappear from menus as quickly as the Tasmanian Tiger vanished from a concrete zoo in 1936. A child of the future may ask the fated question at a dinner table, “What was a meat lover?” To which the vegetarian parents will scramble to Google or ask Siri to find a photo of a grease-stained menu.

Thomas Edison, who invented electricity, was one of the first to raise concern that generating electricity to power the light bulb could, to say the least, be a bit tricky. Perhaps he guessed back in 1930 that his invention would see hundreds of household devices needing electrical power from coal-fired power stations. These power stations pump CO2 into the biosphere, which in turn heats the atmosphere.

Billions of households sweating it out cool down by turning on the air conditioner. More and more coal is burned to power the air-cons, but the Earth is heating up. The flustered masses drop the thermostat to notch up the cold…and you get the picture.
January 14, 2020 at 1:27am
January 14, 2020 at 1:27am
#973350
Gundi Rhoades is a veterinarian caring for livestock in northern NSW for the last 22 years. In an article published in the Brisbane Times, she writes of the devastation she sees daily caused by a changing climate.

“Cattle that sold for thousands (of dollars) are now in sale yards a $70 per head,” she said.

Magnificent bloodline stock going for a song? It made me think what a fantastic marketing opportunity for a fast-food franchise: Not just a beef patty, but a pedigree burger. The vet’s point is that bulls, or more specifically their unmentionables, are overheating in 40C/100F temperatures in what usually has been a temperate zone.

A bull with hot private parts can’t do what a bull has to do, which means cattle herds are going the way of the dinosaur.

Rhoades went on to say about the prolonged hot and dry conditions in that part of Australia, “Piglets and calves are aborting.”

The vet’s point is that the food chain, especially the animal protein part, is deserting us and meat could become extinct from our dinner plates. The finger of blame cannot be levelled solely at the rise of Indian vegetarian restaurants. A thing more sinister is at hand.
January 14, 2020 at 1:25am
January 14, 2020 at 1:25am
#973349
A thick slab of beef browning in a skillet of oil could make way for braised quinoa or a tempeh confit. But don’t expect meat lovers to chain themselves to bridge pylons in protest. The conversion to a country of beany-boilers will arrive slowly, just as a warming climate crept unawares.

Gone will be the days when shoppers shook hands with beef, but join the queues of grass-holes and tree-huggers in the Republic of Vegantopia—formerly known as Australia.
...to be continued.
December 30, 2019 at 3:51pm
December 30, 2019 at 3:51pm
#972267
Punishment for crimes.
In the early centuries, those who committed a crime against the community were regarded as offending the gods. The gods would vent their displeasure in the form of floods or famine. The Bible says, lex talionis or ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. It means punishment for the crime should not spiral to personal revenge resulting in blood feuds but no greater than what befits the wrongdoing. Various societies sought ways to penalize criminals. Some, by today’s standards, seem bizarre and unjust. The next blog will feature a few curious examples.
August 5, 2019 at 2:51am
August 5, 2019 at 2:51am
#963741
The stories we tell ourselves develop from things that happen in the day-to-day from childhood to the job we had last week. The time when the teacher yelled at us for crayon scribbles on the wall, even though we didn't do it, set-up 'automatic thoughts' which get repeated over and over as a view of ourself and the world around us.

A bad story can also come from wanting to do something perfectly. All of us have a choice in how we live and the story we tell. It is entirely possible to kick back and do nothing, live a happy life of unchallenged bliss? Probably not. A tiny voice would rehash saying such as life is not a rehearsal, or time waits for no man to remind us of our story of doing little or nothing is no story at all. Most of us want to do something, take a challenge, leave statements of the minutes, hours and days of our existence.

Attempting to do something—such as write a blog—opens up the possibility of failing. Failure is inevitable. It is how we tell the story of what happened in those dismal times of defeat that makes the difference. We can distort a bad story after a failure into something like, I'm the dumbest that ever lived. Such a story is not true and a method of arguments called elenchi would cross-examine the facts to disprove the bad story.

We've all read stories of epic failures by famous people. Stephen King was working as a school teacher when he wrote Carrie. After getting his novel rejected 30 times he did what Homer Simpson advised, 'If at first you don't succeed, give up before you fail again.' King tossed the manuscript into the trash. His wife convinced him to submit it one last time.

Thomas Edison said, 'Many of life's failures are people who did not know how close they were to success when they gave up.' That could have been Stephen King's story. Edison who endured many failures turned the story he told himself around. He said, 'I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work.' His life story had the hallmarks of being a bad one. While at school, his teachers assessed him as pretty dumb and would not likely succeed in life.

Back in an era called the 'swinging sixties' people became fascinated with the capabilities of the mind. Some took drugs called hallucinogens to cause them to see, hear, and feel things that weren't there—experiences only in their head. It opened questions about reality and how we deal with it. At the same time psychiatrist, Aaron T. Beck started to believe thoughts, feelings, and behaviour are all associated. He came up with the idea that if we want to do something and overcome obstacles along the way, we have to change our thinking. It set the basis for what we now know as Cognitive Therapy.

Here's the thing: many of us don't recognise we have bad thoughts or stories. There are four basics steps in what we call Cognitive Restructuring: the first is knowing we have bad stories that are negative about us and the world around us. The second is understanding these thoughts are distorted and we must do something about it. The third is cross-examining the story to disprove it. While the fourth is coming up with a good argument that these automatic thoughts are bad.

If we want to be better, tell ourselves a better story.
July 30, 2019 at 7:01pm
July 30, 2019 at 7:01pm
#963462
We create a narrative for our lives. Some stories are good, others not so.

Self-talk or inner speech is an inner narrative which gives a voice to our thoughts while we are awake. Dramatists use a monologue or soliloquy to tell the audience what a character is thinking. They sometimes use it to share information with the audience. But what of the stories we tell ourselves? Why do we do it and can they affect us?

For most of us, the answer is yes, and our story can impact everything we do. Tell ourselves a bad story and our life can be hell.

Introspection is the examination of our own conscious thoughts. It also involves a look at our soul in a spiritual context. For thousands of years, people talked about the inner voice. Plato once questioned, “...why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts”. Self-reflection is an image we have of ourselves and is hard to change. It comes from things learned about who we are.

Research has shown human brains can only experience one thought at a time as a fast-flowing stream. Buddhist scriptures describe it as the 'Mind Stream'. Practicing mindfulness is being aware of the moment-to-moment events in our lives and how we react. Buddhist teachings say the mental and material events created by the senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, touch, and thoughts are related to the past, present, and future.

In literature, the technique of narrating the flow of thoughts and feelings in the minds of characters is called stream of consciousness. Stream of consciousness is a literary device which gives the writer the ability to tell an audience or reader what a character is thinking. It can be a loose selection of thoughts in connection with how the person feels or reacts to something.

Authors, however, did not invent stream of consciousness but the term was coined by eminent psychologist William James. Susan Blackmore, visiting professor, University of Plymouth describes it this way, “When I say that consciousness is an illusion I do not mean that consciousness does not exist. I mean that consciousness is not what it appears to be. If it seems to be a continuous stream of rich and detailed experiences, happening one after the other to a conscious person, this is the illusion.”

We know a negative self-talking story is associated with psychological disorders such as low moods affecting how we behave, and our sense of well-being. It can also lead to a sense of dread and turmoil resulting in loss of sleep.

In the next blog, I look at ways to tell ourselves a better story.

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