[Paleopsych] drugs and violence

Werbos, Dr. Paul J. paul.werbos at verizon.net
Wed Aug 25 22:03:52 UTC 2004

At 09:22 AM 8/25/2004 -0600, Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. wrote:
>Paul's comments provoke a response from me: Research on religious bodies 
>(like my own mormon community) suggests that it is not just giving 10% of 
>my money that is the key to soul care, so much as the following:
>    - meeting regularly with a diverse group of people who know you and 
> whom you know and come to care about. The mutual caring is very important.
>    - service to those people and through the organized group, service to 
> others. Mormons are particularly high in this, but all religious groups 
> have the concept of volunteerism and help.
>    - sanctioned times of prayer / meditation / reflection.
>    - reduced rates of drug and alcohol abuse. Obviously the mormon 
> community and the adventists are well known for this, but research shows 
> a very large decrease in alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use among the 
> more religious.
>    - Finally, by giving large amounts of income to charity and spiritual 
> pursuits (actually, 10% is the bare minimum, and nearly everyone gives 
> more) there is a detachment from material things. Marty Seligman 
> (Authentic Happiness) has summarized the research that clearly shows that 
> material things do not bring happiness, so it saves the religious 
> community heartburn. Buddha has it right; happiness does not come from 
> getting what we want, but from mastery of our wants.
>This results in higher levels of physical and emotional health and 
>longevity among the religious.
>There has been a very strong trend in western society over the past fifty 
>years toward an irreligious and secular society, and at the same time, 
>depression and social costs have escallated. One might make the charge 
>that state atheism (the so-called wall of seperation between religion and 
>state, a late 20th century innovation) has been tried and found wanting.
>Lynn Johnson
>Salt Lake City

Hi, Lynn!

This is certainly interesting.

Many people have tried hard to care for the soul, but it is so hard to sort 
out what is really known about
what really works, even if allow some common sense and subjectivity to 
enter into it.
And  I have often wondered about what we would need to do to do better.

It is a large subject... but one funny story comes to my mind. Last year, 
at an energy conference,
a person named Patrick Collins asked me about some NSF funding. I mentioned 
how we had had a very
focused and effective  research initiative on learning and intelligent 
systems (LIS), much of whose
value was lost in the "follow-on" huge political initiatives for vast and 
fuzzy topics like
"information technology" and "workforce for the 21st century." (my personal 
opinion only...).
I said: "next thing you know, the wise political types will issue an 
initiative on happiness.."
Patrick turned around and wisely put me back on course; he said: "you know, 
that wouldn't
be such a bad thing. Did you know there is a major new research current 
where I am in Japan
that really addresses that, and has interesting result. For example, it has 
been found that heavy participation in voluntary
organizations is one of the very best predictors.."

A year later, I forget the code phrase he used...

But when will we really maximize such things?

And are there actually many different though related variables here?



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