Courtney T Ball

Matters of Life and Depth


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How Our (Lazy) Brain Thinks

I found this video from Sentis describing conscious vs. subconscious thinking. One of its key points is that conscious thinking takes way more time and energy than subconscious thinking. Much fewer resources are used when we don’t have to think about our actions, make decisions, or solve problems.

This brain laziness serves the same function as our cravings for fat and sugar and our aversion to physical exercise. Our bodies (including our brains) are trained by evolution to use as little energy as possible, because that allows us to survive during lean times.

The problem is, living on autopilot is just about as healthy for us as eating junk food while sitting in front of the TV all day. We need to exercise our brains if we don’t want the mental equivalent of a beer gut.

This means challenging ourselves to be creative, flexible, and always keep learning. It also suggests that we actively keep our minds open to new ways of thinking and even listen for truth from those with whom we tend to disagree.

Hugo Chavez: Hero or Villain?

On Imported Blog

Newspapers all over the world covered the death of Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, on March 5th. The New York Times, NPR, even the Washington Post made sure they included the same adjective in the title to describe Chavez: polarizing. Belen Fernandez of Al Jazeera immediately attacked this, claiming that western media has portrayed him as villainous and is being hypocritical here.

Now I know nothing of Hugo Chavez, so thus begins my research (Wikipedia, anyone?) and my short little bio and view on him.

Hugo Chavez was a military man whose coup to take over Venezuela failed. A few years later, he became elected President through democratic means. Anti-American (hence the hatred of him from our media), he was fueled by nationalism he felt for his home country. A socialist and anti-Imperialist, Chavez created a close alliance with the Castros and Cuba along with other socialist governments in Latin America. The United States and their pro-capitalism approach was on the end of much criticism from Chavez, creating the tension between the two countries.

Taking over Venezuela as they found their oil potential, Chavez exploited these riches and used it to uplift the lower classes at the expense of the upper classes. Hence, he received the reputation as a "polarizing" leader, though it can be argued that every single leader is polarizing. Much of the revenue generated from the oil production was used to rid the United States's influence on the region. He pumped money to revive Cuba's economy, nationalized industries taken over by American corporations, and encouraged allies to destroy diplomatic ties with the U.S.

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