Be Whole-Hearted

But in wisdom teaching, purity means singleness, and the proper translation of this Beatitude is, really, “Blessed are those whose heart is not divided” or “whose heart is a unified whole.” Jesus emerged from his baptism as the ihidaya, meaning the “single one” in Aramaic—one who has unified his or her being and become what we would nowadays call “enlightened.”

According to Jesus, this enlightenment takes place primarily within the heart. When your heart becomes “single”—that is, when it desires one thing only, when it can live in perfect alignment with that resonant field of mutual yearning we called “the righteousness of God,” then you “see God.” This does not mean that you see God as an object (for that would be the egoic operating system), but rather, you see through the eyes of non-duality: God is the seeing itself.

So this Beatitude is not about sexual abstinence; it’s about cleansing the lens of perception. It is worth noting that Jesus flags this particular transformation as the core practice of the path.

Yes, working class whites really did make Trump win. No, it wasn’t simply economic anxiety.

We knew all along that Donald Trump drew his strength from the white working class. We knew this from the patterns in the primaries. We knew this from the nonstop polling conducted over the past 18 months. We knew this from all of the campaign-trail dispatches showing his anti-trade, anti-elite message thrilling crowds in the heartland.

.. Tuesday proved that this demographic remains a powerful force in U.S. politics — and the president-elect has thoroughly charmed the group.

.. The specks of red — where Trump won counties that previously voted for Obama — dot the Rust Belt. And these counties all had something in common. They were dominated by whites without a bachelor’s degree.

.. Even after controlling for income levels, employment levels, population size and the foreign-born population in a given county, the more white people there were who lacked a four-year degree, the more likely Trump outperformed Romney in that county. Roughly speaking, if you took an average county and increased the portion of less-educated whites by 10 percentage points, you would boost Trump’s winning margin by about three percentage points.

.. But these places have been like this for a while. In fact, Trump’s victory doesn’t seem to be linked to any recent declines in people’s economic circumstances. The economy has been getting better over the past four years. Median incomes have risen. The unemployment rate has plummeted including in regions won by Trump:

.. for politics, the economy is a state of mind.

.. Gallup economist Jonathan Rothwell has pointed out, surveys show that Trump supporters are not necessarily poorer than average. It may be that many are probably doing pretty well, but they may see others in their neighborhood who are struggling and decide that the nation, as a whole, isn’t that great anymore.

 .. People don’t always vote in their own self-interest — they think about what they believe will be good for the country as a whole.
.. Trump, on some level, understood the importance of making members of the white working class feel as though they were being heard. He tapped into deeper, slower-moving resentments.
..The economic woes people communicated to me … were interlaced with their sense of who they are, who is a part of their community, what their values are, who works hard in society, who is deserving of reward and public support, and how power is distributed in the world. This complex set of ideas is the product of many years of political debate at the national level as well as generations of community members teaching these ideas to each other. This entwined set of beliefs was not something that any one politician instilled in people overnight — or even over a few months.
In other words, the tension was always there. Trump just found a new way to flick at it.

The McGurk Effect (Or, Brains are Weird)

The McGurk effect is mind-blowing. It involves showing a person’s lips making the shape of one sound—like “bah”—while the audio is actually the person saying “fah.” What’s interesting is that your brain changes what you “hear” based on what you see. It’s “bah” all the way through, but when we see “bah” our minds transform “bah” into “fah.”

The effect is named for researcher Harry McGurk, who published a 1976 paper with John MacDonald entitled “Hearing lips and seeing voices.” McGurk and MacDonald described how speech perception isn’t just about sound—it’s also affected by vision, and the integration of the two.

What’s most interesting about the McGurk effect is that, even when the viewer knows what’s happening, it still works. In other words, even thought I know it’s an illusion, my brain can’t seem to turn off the effect. N

Why Elders Smile: “Bifocalism”

Aristotle teaches us that being a good person is not mainly about learning moral rules and following them. It is about performing social roles well — being a good parent or teacher or lawyer or friend.


.. First, there’s bifocalism, the ability to see the same situation from multiple perspectives. Anthony Kronman of Yale Law School once wrote, “Anyone who has worn bifocal lenses knows that it takes time to learn to shift smoothly between perspectives and to combine them in a single field of vision. The same is true of deliberation. It is difficult to be compassionate, and often just as difficult to be detached, but what is most difficult of all is to be both at once.” Only with experience can a person learn to see a fraught situation both close up, with emotional intensity, and far away, with detached perspective.

.. In “Practical Wisdom,” Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe argue that performing many social roles means balancing competing demands. A doctor has to be honest but also kind. A teacher has to instruct but also inspire. You can’t find the right balance in each context by memorizing a rule book.

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