Category Archives: Psychology

Why People Love Post-Apocalyptic Stories

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Whether it’s zombie outbreaks, nuclear wastelands, or climate change, people love post-apocalyptic stories. Examples include books like The Road and A Canticle for Leibowitz, TV shows like The Walking Dead and Jericho, video games like Fallout and The Last of Us, comics like Y: The Last Man, and movies like Mad Max, I am Legend, World War ZBook of Eli, and The Postman. The causes and effects differ, but what these stories share is the setting of a world after civilization has fallen, with people living in brutal conditions where everyday survival is a struggle. The themes are dark and dour, yet these stories are extremely popular. The question is: why are people so drawn to post-apocalyptic stories? Continue reading

Recommendation Algorithms Rule Your Life

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Cultural critics used to be essential curators of music, movies, books, and art. When there were only a couple of newspapers or radio stations or TV stations, the select few professional critics had enormous power in telling the public which art they should pay attention to. Then came the internet and everything changed. With blogs, message boards, and podcasts, anybody could become a critic. Both the creation and critique of art became more democratic. Traditional critics became less important. People preferred to take recommendations from like-minded people in their specific cultural niche. This gave real cultural power to bloggers and amateur critics on the internet who developed a following. Continue reading

Overthinking is NOT the Problem

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The term “overthinking” seems to have been stigmatized by society as a bad thing. Why is that? To think is to be human. Thinking is literally consciousness, or self-awareness, the most cherished of human traits. Some people think less and are less self-aware than others; therefore, they are less conscious. They are more animalistic and act on gut and instincts rather than thinking of the consequences to their actions. That’s certainly not good. Prisons are full of people like this. Continue reading

A Memory…

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It was the sixth grade, and we were on the bus ride home from our class trip. I was sitting in the back with my best friend, Gary. The other kids were joking around, making fun of him in a cruel way. He was not taking it well. I felt bad, but as an extremely shy person, I was too afraid to speak up. The teasing got worse and worse, then, as the bus arrived at my apartment complex, Gary pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head. He died instantly.

Then I woke up. I was not in the sixth grade—I was 31 years old. Gary was alive and well. It was all a dream. Continue reading

Why Does Everybody Have More Free Time Than Me?

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There are so many stories I want to write, books I want to read, movies, TV shows, and documentaries I want to watch, video games I want to play, music and podcasts I want to listen to, and places I want to go. I never seem to have enough time to do everything I want to. But when I look around, everybody else seems to be having no problem finding the time to do it all. Which drives me crazy. Why does everybody have so much more free time than me? Continue reading

The Evolutionary Advantage of Shyness and Social Anxiety

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I used to think of my shyness and social anxiety as a disorder—something wrong with me. As if I got unlucky and inherited a genetic defect. Then, I heard that social anxiety is not something you’re born with—it’s developed. Which didn’t make sense either because I’ve been shy and socially anxious my entire life. It wasn’t until I learned about evolutionary psychology that everything started to make sense. I was born with the tendency to be shy around strangers and worry about what other people think of me, but that wasn’t a genetic mistake. Shyness and social anxiety were actually an evolutionary advantage. Continue reading

Mindfulness in the Age of the Internet

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Two of my favorite people on the internet collided this week when Leo Babauta of Zen Habits went on the Rich Roll Podcast. As expected, it was a great episode, full of insight and wisdom, but there was one thing they said that I wanted to expand upon. At one point, Rich asked Leo why he thought mindfulness is becoming more popular and mainstream lately, but neither had a clear answer.

I think the main reason is the internet. Continue reading