A Buddhist makes the claim that the self does not exist. In Sanskrit this is called anâtman. In other words my notion of I or myself is an illusion. When people first hear this, they are astonished. How can anyone deny they exist? Don’t we have our own thoughts and feelings? Don’t we act in … Continue reading Buddhist idea of no self – True or not?
There may be individuals with a radically reformed character. Several theories offer reasons why this may be possible. After having been a bad person, is it later possible to become a much better individual? To be a genuinely reformed character? To develop personal virtues which are the opposites of previous reprehensible conduct? Furthermore, is it … Continue reading Character – How does change happen?
In the post Is there an afterlife? I pointed to a similarity between Swedenborg’s reports of his mystical experiences of life after death and numerous accounts of the near death experience. There are also striking similarities between what various modern psychic mediums have said concerning a realm of spirits with Swedenborg’s writings. These similarities are … Continue reading Life after death – What’s it like?
Some people are just harder to get on with than others. Obvious examples are those who are highly strung, aggressive or manipulative. They may need spiritual healing, but what do we need? What is the secret to avoiding unpleasant scenes with people who cause us a bit of grief from time to time? To better deal with the awkward mob?
A clue can be found in the study of social perception. Research psychologist Daniel T. Gilbert, University of Texas at Austin has pointed out:
“We may strive to see others as they really are, but all too often the charlatan wins our praise and the altruist our scorn. Juries misjudge defendants, voters misjudge candidates, lovers misjudge each other.”
Social psychologists have researched the way we see others in terms of attribution theory. This is studying how people make inferences about the causes of a person’s actions. One thing they have observed is how our expectations about how other people will behave can distort our interpretations. We may assume that the little old lady who bumps into us at the supermarket is someone with unintended poor balance whereas the tattooed hooded youth might be thought to be trying to pick our pockets. Mistaken perception can thus arise from social stereotypes, such as race, sex and age.