AIl (artificial intelligence) systems shed light on root cause of religious conflict: Humanity is not naturally violent


Medley AI 2

Artificial intelligencecan help us to better understand the causes of religious violence and to potentially control it, according to a new Oxford University collaboration. The study is one of the first to be published that uses psychologically realistic AI – as opposed to machine learning.

The study published in The Journal for Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, combined computer modelling and cognitive psychology to create an AI system able to mimic human religiosity, allowing them to better understand the conditions, triggers and patterns for religious violence.

The study is built around the question of whether people are naturally violent, or if factors such as religion can cause xenophobic tension and anxiety between different groups, that may or may not lead to violence?

The findings reveal that people are a peaceful species by nature. However, in a wide range of contexts they are willing to endorse violence – particularly when others go against the core beliefs which define their identity.

Although the research focuses on specific historic events, the findings can be applied to any occurrence of religious violence, and used to understand the motivations behind it. Particularly events of radicalized Islam, when people's patriotic identity conflicts with their religions one, e.g. the Boston bombing and’London terror attacks. The team hope that the results can be used to support governments to address and prevent social conflict and terrorism.

Conducted by a cohort of researchers from universities including Oxford, Boston University and the University of Agder, Norway, the paper does not explicitly simulate violence, but, instead focuses on the conditions that enabled two specific periods of xenophobic social anxiety, that then escalated to extreme physical violence.

Read more: AIl (artificial intelligence) systems shed light on root cause of religious conflict: Humanity is...

A Practical Guide to Death and Dying - part 2

John White – USA


Medley A Practical 2

[A Practical Guide to Death and Dying was originally published by QUESTbooks in 1980. This particular version was previously published in the Theosophical Digest, y1992 v4 i2-p90.] 

How Will You Be Remembered? — Writing Your Own Obituary.

An obituary is an objective statement of fact. It is both a death notice and a summary of the person’s life. You are now going to write your own obituary, stating the facts of your life as they are to date and — using your imagination — as you’d like them to be for the rest of your life or, perhaps, as you’re afraid they’ll be. Obituaries are usually not very long, so this isn’t a major writing assignment. But it is a major assignment in terms of life assessment— your values, your relations with other people, your accomplishments, success as a provider, spouse, parent, friend, and citizen.

Right now is a good time to take stock of your life. Have you been a “friend to man”? How will your spouse remember you? Your neighbors? Your work associates? Who will eulogize you, and what will be said, and will it be sincere? If you have children, what character development and values have they learned from you, consciously through your training or non-consciously through imitating your example? If you are in some kind of supervisory position in business, education, or the military, how will those under you regard your passing? In short, who will miss you and what will be the effect of your life on the world?

If death seems fearful because your life will have been meaningless, whose fault is that? Isn’t it clear that the meaning of your life is entirely in your control? It grows out of your values, your character, your relations with others, your accomplishments, your sacrifices, and your gifts of love, honesty, tolerance, sympathy, understanding, helpfulness, courage, fairness, loyalty, courtesy, cheerfulness. These are not commodities to be bought and sold. They are yours, entirely within your control. They are the basis of meaning in your life. Without them, human existence is cruel and bleak, no matter how wealthy or famous or powerful you might be. Consider this as you write your own obituary. When you have finished, think deeply upon this:

“My death will be reported like this someday. Will my life have been worthwhile?”

If your obituary leaves you feeling unsatisfied, remorseful, angry, disappointed — anything less than serene and tranquil — then think deeply upon this: It is within my power to change it by changing my life.Don’t mistake a change in your outward circumstances, however, for the kind of change I’m talking about here. Perhaps part of your fear of dying involves guilt over a wrong you committed — say, an insult or lie. If so, you should correct it and clear your conscience. This is not only morally right, it is also in your own best interest because it will relieve you of some of the death-fear you harbor. As Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of Love, Medicine and Miracles,says, “Don’t wait until you’re going to die to start living.”

Read more: A Practical Guide to Death and Dying - part 2

Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 24

Leo Babauta – USA 

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

– Henry David Thoreau

The simple act of walking can be a tremendous boost to your focus, productivity, clarity of mind, not to mention your health and waistline.

Medley Focus 2 Morning Walk

The simple act of WALKING…..

Recently a fellow blogger wrote to me talking about how many pounds she lost on vacation because she walked all day long — something many of us have experienced. She ended by saying, “If only I could find the time to walk 6 hours a day.”

That got me to ask — why not? Why can’t we work out a routine where we walk all day long?

What follows are a couple of radical but incredibly fulfilling and productive changes from most people’s daily routine. I think they’re worthy of consideration if you:

  • have any control over your schedule;
  • can work from different locations;
  • want to get more active and trim your waistline; and
  • need to find new ways to focus and get important things done.

I recently tried both these routines and loved them and am working them into my life in different ways.

Read more: Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 24

How music lessons can improve language skills

Medley How 2


Study links piano education with better word discrimination by kindergartners

Many studies have shown that musical training can enhance language skills. However, it was unknown whether music lessons improve general cognitive ability, leading to better language proficiency, or if the effect of music is more specific to language processing.

A new study from MIT has found that piano lessons have a very specific effect on kindergartners' ability to distinguish different pitches, which translates into an improvement in discriminating between spoken words. However, the piano lessons did not appear to confer any benefit for overall cognitive ability, as measured by IQ, attention span, and working memory.

“The children didn't differ in the more broad cognitive measures, but they did show some improvements in word discrimination, particularly for consonants. The piano group showed the best improvement there,” says Robert Desimone, director of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the senior author of the paper.

The study, performed in Beijing, suggests that musical training is at least as beneficial in improving language skills, and possibly more beneficial, than offering children extra reading lessons. The school where the study was performed has continued to offer piano lessons to students, and the researchers hope their findings could encourage other schools to keep or enhance their music offerings.

Yun Nan, an associate professor at Beijing Normal University, is the lead author of the study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of June 25.

Other authors include Li Liu, Hua Shu, and Qi Dong, all of Beijing Normal University; Eveline Geiser, a former MIT research scientist; Chen-chen Gong, an MIT research associate; and John Gabrieli, the Grover M. Hermann Professor in Health Sciences and Technology, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences, and a member of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research.

Read more: How music lessons can improve language skills

God, War, Work, Sex, Death and Money: An Esoteric Perspective

Medley God 2

The author

 Tim Wyatt – England 

[Introduction:These six ideas dominate our thinking and obsess our lives but our understanding of them all is deeply flawed because we look on them from a purely material rather than a deeper spiritual perspective. When we begin to explore these ideas esoterically from an Ageless Wisdom perspective, we realise that there is much more to them than we may have originally imagined and so we need to radically re-think these notions. God is not a separate and seasoned sadist waiting to punish us. War is cruel, but it has also been a key catalyst for evolution. Work is undergoing its biggest transformation in the history of the human race. Sex is widely misused and misunderstood but will ultimately prove to be redundant. Death is a myth. And because money has been systematically degraded from an energy into a toxic form of control it needs to be re-spiritualised.] 


Read more: God, War, Work, Sex, Death and Money: An Esoteric Perspective

Novel synaptic architecture for brain inspired computing

Medley Novel 2

Two New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) researchers, working with collaborators from the IBM Research Zurich Laboratory and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, have demonstrated a novel synaptic architecture that could lead to a new class of information processing systems inspired by the brain.

The findings are an important step toward building more energy-efficient computing systems that also are capable of learning and adaptation in the real world. They were published last week in a paper in the journal Nature Communications.

Read more: Novel synaptic architecture for brain inspired computing

Identity Politics – The Esoteric Truth

Tim Wyatt – England

Medley TW 2

The bulk of humanity has largely failed to answer those fundamental questions it has relentlessly been asking itself for countless millennia: Who exactly are we? Where do we come from? What is our purpose? And where are we going? 

Read more: Identity Politics – The Esoteric Truth

Rudolf Steiner (25 Feb 1861- 30 Mar 1925): The Laws of Nature

René Wadlow – USA

Medley Rudolf 2 Steiner

“Man is not a being who stands still; he is a being in the process of becoming.  The more he enables himself to become, the more he fulfils his true mission.”-  Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner was for many years prior to World War I a leader of the German branch of the Theosophical Society.  One of his best-known books is titled Theosophy and the two pillars of Steiner’s approach are in common with other theosophical writers: the law of karma and evolution through the workings of spiritual energy.  For Steiner karma and spiritual energy, which he called love, are the basic laws of Nature.

Read more: Rudolf Steiner (25 Feb 1861- 30 Mar 1925): The Laws of Nature

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