This post contains loads of articles categorised under Psychology and Philosophy. These are handpicked articles over the course of years for CAT Aspirants. This is the last of 2 posts. Click on the following link to go to the previous post: LINK here.
Every Article will have blurb, either written by me or an extract from the original post (mostly the latter) followed by the link to reach the article.
“The Sexual Identity That Emerged on TikTok
Amid progress toward transgender acceptance, the social-media war over “super-straight” shows how not to resolve delicate questions about dating norms.”
“If you think you’ve got a porn addiction, you probably haven’t”
“The Identity Hoaxers
What if people don’t just invent medical symptoms to get attention—what if they feign oppression, too?”
“The Weak Case for Grit
Where’s the evidence that grit predicts success?”
“It’s not a temporary affliction: It’s the millennial condition. It’s our base temperature. It’s our background music. It’s the way things are. It’s our lives.
“To adult” is to complete your to-do list — but everything goes on the list, and the list never ends.
The carrot dangling in front of us is the dream that the to-do list will end, or at least become far more manageable.”
“Stereotypical portrayals too often focus on the rituals and portray none of the nuanced, often agonized thinking behind them. Consequently, it’s become common—and even acceptable—for anyone who likes things in order or who keeps a clean house to use the OCD label to describe themselves.
“I’m so OCD” has become a joke, a shorthand for being clean or organized.”
“What Makes You You?
When you say the word “me,” you probably feel pretty clear about what that means. It’s one of the things you’re clearest on in the whole world—something you’ve understood since you were a year old. You might be working on the question, “Who am I?” but what you’re figuring out is the who am part of the question—the I part is obvious. It’s just you. Easy.”
“How to speak in public
Public speaking can feel like an ordeal, but take a lesson from the ancients: it’s a skill you can develop like any other”
“The superpower of tomorrow? Being “indistractable” Learn how to take back control of your attention span”
“The Pascal of the North‘Philosopher of the Heart’”
“The Science Behind Miracles
How our minds push our bodies to defy expectations, beliefs, and even our own biology—in short, to make miracles”
“The Internet of Beefs”
“The overall summary of all of this is that they’re bad forgetters,” he said. And forgetting is what humans do; often what we need to do.
The “peculiar mixture of forgetting with our remembering,” wrote William James, one of the founders of modern psychology, “is the very keel on which our mental ship is built.” “If we remembered everything,” he continued, “we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing.””
“A Deeper Longing
The teenagers often ask me, “Aren’t you sad that you will never have sex?” I answer: “Yes, a part of me is sad about that, but it is not a hopeless sadness.” Sadness and loneliness are part of the point of celibacy. “
“The mystery of the Gatwick drone
A drone sighting caused the airport to close for two days in 2018, but despite a lengthy police investigation, no culprit was ever found. So what exactly did people see in the Sussex sky?”
“In Nyāya philosophy only some debates are worth having
In premodern India, debates were entertainment in courtly settings, a sport for profiteers and clever men who enjoyed a quick turn of phrase or put-down. Successful debaters gained followers, fame, even wealth.”
“In the chaos of raising a toddler there lies a path to nirvana
It’s hard to be philosophical if you’re worried about paying rent or your physical safety.”
“Commodity of Doom
Elegies for the cigarette”
“The problem with love is deciding who’s doing the dishes”
“How to Stop Feeling Crushed for Time
Quit worrying whether time is money. Start appreciating time’s true value.”
“How a Bizarre Claim About Masks Has Lived on for Months
Why the wrong idea that wearing a mask can harm your health has lived on through multiple debunkings”
“Now you see it
Our brains predict the outcomes of our actions, shaping reality into what we expect. That’s why we see what we believe”
“What We Lose When We Hide Our Smiles Behind a Mask”
“Denham offered his sign in 1575. A mirrored question mark, he hoped, would flag up a rhetorical question, making it easier to get the drift of the writer’s intention. But it never caught on.”
“Kierkegaard on Why Anxiety Powers Creativity Rather Than Hindering It
“Because it is possible to create — creating one’s self, willing to be one’s self… — one has anxiety. One would have no anxiety if there were no possibility whatever.””
“The self of self-help books is adrift from social and economic facts”
“Is Everyone Depressed?
Suddenly, many people meet the criteria for clinical depression. Doctors are scrambling to determine who needs urgent intervention, and who is simply the new normal.”
“Why it pays to be grumpy and bad-tempered”
“The Role of Cognitive Dissonance in the Pandemic
The minute we make any decision—I think COVID-19 is serious; no, I’m sure it is a hoax—we begin to justify the wisdom of our choice and find reasons to dismiss the alternative.”
“Army Ranger School Is a Laboratory of Human Endurance.
The military’s toughest training challenges have a lot in common with outdoor sufferfests like the Barkley Marathons and the Leadville Trail 100: you have to be fit and motivated to make the starting line, but your mind and spirit are what carry you to the end. A Ranger graduate breaks down an ordeal that shapes some of the nation’s finest soldiers.”
“The privilege of boredom
How philosophy can happen in isolation”
“There have always been drug addicts in need of help, but the scale of the present wave of heroin and . . “
“A touch of absurdity can help to wrap your mind around reality
And now for something completely different: how a dose of the surreal or absurd helps to make sense of our place in the world”
“How to Master the Invisible Hand That Shapes Our Lives”
“I share dozens of links on Twitter and Facebook. But how many do I read in full? How many do I share after reading the full thing? Honestly—and I feel comfortable saying this because even mom’s stopped reading at this point—not too many.”
“Impostor syndrome: do you sometimes feel like a fraud?
Many people feel like they are just waiting to be found out. Clancy Martin investigates the modern epidemic of impostor syndrome”
“Splendid isolation: how I stopped time by sitting in a forest for 24 hours
My life seemed to be getting busier, faster: I felt constantly short of time – so I stepped outside it for a day and a night and did nothing.”
“Gradually, the notion of nostalgia attached itself almost exclusively to soldiers—Swiss mercenaries being very popular hires in armies across the continent and doctors being a regular part of army life. It would take a little more than two centuries for doctors to figure out that there might be something more than a mysterious nerve disorder causing young men whose sole job was dismembering other humans and dying gruesomely to yearn for the comforts of home”
“If we are to settle the Solar System astronauts will have to travel for months and years. Are these missions too taxing for human minds?”
“If society is fractured today, if we truly care less about one another, some of the blame lies with the values parents have elevated. In our own lives, we’ve observed many fellow parents becoming so focused on achievement that they fail to nurture kindness. They seem to regard their children’s accolades as a personal badge of honor—and their children’s failures as a negative reflection on their own parenting.”
“Nothing has all of the ingredients for the emotional breakdown recipe quite like a pandemic-induced global shutdown. Lack of face-to-face socializing and general social isolation? Check. Financial uncertainty and mass unemployment? Check. Lack of regular exercise, sunlight, and access to basic necessities? Check. High uncertainty of one’s safety and security in the near future? Check. Tons of free-time to refresh news feeds five thousand times per day? Double check.”
“What is wrong with this picture? Why do modern ‘evidence-based’ treatments fail to produce better outcomes? Indeed, why do things seem to be getting worse, with many forms of suffering, even suicide, on the rise?
Sigmund Freud said that work and love are the cornerstones of our lives and human meaning, and the kinds of transformations in work and love that I was able to achieve are exactly what Freud said good therapy of depth, insight and relationship is for.”
“More than five tonnes of Calpol is sold every day – and more than 12 million units each year. Other brands cost half the price, but Calpol has 70% of the market for children’s pain-relief medicine, which is three times the share of its nearest competitor and 50 times more than the next most popular brand of paracetamol. For British parents, Calpol is overwhelmingly the drug of choice.”
“Jacob is just one of a growing number of people seeking inspiration from business schools rather than poetry in the quest to find the right partner. This hard-headed attitude is evident in the practical turn that romance’s ardent lexicon has taken in recent years. We look for partners, not soulmates. We avoid deal-breakers. “Are you in the right headspace to receive information that might hurt you?” reads a recent meme, advising people to ask loved ones for consent before making demands on their emotional labour.”
Brilliant writeup on life and What is important. CAT Aspirant or not, this is a must read.
“On the last day of class, I ask my students to turn those theoretical lenses on themselves, to find cogent answers to three questions: First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career? Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness? Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail? Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not.”
“In this vehicle that dwarfed even the beefiest of men, Schwarzenegger saw a business opportunity. He contacted AM General, the heavy-automotive manufacturer behind the Humvee (the military vehicle on which the Hummer is based) and other purpose-driven vehicles, to communicate his adoration. He was sure the Hummer needed to be made available for purchase to regular people, and though the company was initially hesitant, the Hummer was introduced to the civilian market in 1992.”
“In a famous experiment, when participants were presented with evidence counter to their political beliefs, areas of their brain associated with physical pain became more active — it’s as if being wrong physically hurts.”
“PICTURE THIS: everyone in your life is obsessed with ice cream, and you just don’t understand the hype. You’ve tasted it, and maybe you’ve even enjoyed it from time to time, but you don’t actively crave it like the people around you seem to—nor do you centre your life around it like they do. “Can’t wait to get some ice cream!” they effervesce in tweets and Facebook posts, and you wonder why. Dates with potential romantic partners, and even get-togethers with friends, often seem organized around the acquisition or discussion of ice cream, pushing you further into an isolation that feels like your own doing.”
“I know I’m not alone. We all know that person: there’s the child minder who is always late, the colleague who misses every deadline, even if just by a few hours, the friend you must tell to arrive 30 minutes earlier than she needs to for your lunch reservation.”
“The most surprising result of the study was that the non-demanding task was actually better than doing nothing,” Schooler says. Why this is so, however, is less clear. “My best guess is that if you’re engaged in a non-demanding task, it kind of prevents you from having long trains of thought,” Schooler posits. “It’s sort of churning things up, stirring the pot, so you’re not maintaining one thought for a particularly long time. There are a lot of different ideas going in and out, and that sort of associative process leads to creative incubation.”
“From now on, he always consults the dice. Since it has six sides, he gives it six options. The first is to do what he has always done. The five others depart more or less distinctly from this routine. Once it has been subjected to the dice, even the most anodyne choice – that of a film, a restaurant – opens a vast array of possibilities for putting your routine behind you.”
“Ironically, accusing others of virtue signalling might itself constitute virtue signalling – just signalling to a different audience. Whether it should be counted as virtue signalling or not, the accusation does exactly what it accuses others of: it moves the focus from the target of the moral claim to the person making it. It can therefore be used to avoid addressing the moral claim made.”
Brilliant passage that delves deep on solitude, herd mentality, moral stance, introspection, leadership and many other ideas in a beautiful, coherent way. Must Read.
“Introspection means talking to yourself, and one of the best ways of talking to yourself is by talking to another person. One other person you can trust, one other person to whom you can unfold your soul. One other person you feel safe enough with to allow you to acknowledge things—to acknowledge things to yourself—that you otherwise can’t. Doubts you aren’t supposed to have, questions you aren’t supposed to ask. Feelings or opinions that would get you laughed at by the group or reprimanded by the authorities.”
“They would follow him from room to room, everywhere he went in the house, and lie down next to him while he slept. Crawled on, dribbled on, kicked, elbowed and kneed: these occurrences were all treated with a resigned fatalism. The fingers in the eye they received on a daily basis would be shrugged off with an almost Zen-like calm. In many respects, they were better parents than me. If my son so much as squeaked during the night, I would instantly feel two cold noses pressed in my face: get up, you negligent father — your son needs you.”
“I broke this cycle when my daughters were born and I realised that it would be irresponsible to stop treatment because being a good father meant having a stable mood. It was a purely pragmatic decision, made without resolving the existential issues that antidepressants had raised for me before. That being the case, I do not write with the fervour of the newly converted, although sometimes I speculate about how much smoother my life would have been had I decided much sooner to stick to the antidepressants.”
“Never underestimate the willingness of a man to believe flattering things about himself.” Samuelson was not a behavioral economist, but he clearly recognized that people’s self-assessments were often higher than warranted by objective evidence. In surveys, for example, more than 90 percent of people describe themselves as above-average drivers. The same self-assessment was reported by more than 80 percent of drivers surveyed while they were in the hospital recovering from accidents, many of which they had surely caused themselves.
“The worker is the hamster, consumer culture is the hamster wheel. People are tricked into believing that Furbies, iPads and all those other pointless goods and services are necessary for a happy and fulfilled existence. A sense of ‘meaning’ has been replaced with instant, short-term, on-demand happiness.”
Freud believed that, over the course of human history, humankind had suffered three ‘great outrages upon its naïve self-love’. First, there was Copernicus, who, with his finding that the Earth revolved around the Sun, showed that we were not at the centre of the Universe; second, there was Charles Darwin who, with his theory of evolution, showed that we emerged from the animal kingdom, and did not exist apart from it; last, there was Freud himself (he was never one for modesty), via whom psychoanalysis had shown that man was ‘not even master in his own house’ due to the massive effects of the unconscious.
Vohs, who has studied the effect of choice on consumers for many years, found in a recent project that even making pleasant choices can deplete one’s mental resources, making a person less able to concentrate later.
At night, the sky is a watercolor wash. Sunset tries to push in but day resists, never giving over to real darkness, instead smudging the blue over the glaciers peach and mauve. Waterfalls of glacial rock glow rose and coral in the perma-dusk. Clouds roll in just to catch the pinkish light. Distant peaks are scoops of sorbet. Everything seems impossibly far apart, held together precariously in any moment by the eye, always about to drift even farther.
Lunch usually consisted of salad. I would choose three different vegetables or fruits. The first thing I would do was smell the items for freshness and run my fingers over them—a process that filled me with a mixture of delight and disgust. “These are pure enough,” I used to say to myself. Then I would go about washing each one, cutting them in a set order, weighing each portion, and methodically arranging the foods on a plate.
A phobia is generally considered “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation”.
Mussolini didn’t eat mashed potatoes because they gave him a headache. Idi Amin doesn’t seem like he’d have been a fussy eater, but he had his limits, “I tried human flesh, and it is too salty for my taste.” Of course the reader can’t be sure if this flesh was raw or cooked: if the latter, then surely the saltiness was the fault of the cook.
Forget about RC. Forget about reading practice. Forget about CAT. Read this brilliant and short write-up about scarcity, abundance and generosity.
“Imagine that out of the blue, you tell your child you’re going to go for ice cream. Five minutes later, tell them you’ve changed your mind and you’ll go some other time.”
“I don’t understand how people…live. It’s amazing to me that people wake up every morning and say, ‘Yeah, another day, let’s do it.’ How do people do it? I don’t know how.”
“It doesn’t matter where you are, it’s who you are. And that’s not gonna change whether you’re in California or Maine or New Mexico. You know, you can’t escape…you.”
“Flashback to early capitalism: the Protestant ethic sucked up happy-go-lucky peasants and churned out industrious wage slaves. Flash forward to digital capitalism, which sucks up helpless little babies and churns out Facebook slaves who labour for the likes and turn the conversation to themselves at every opportunity.
Basically, narcissism is the new herpes. It’s not like you got it on purpose, you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now everyone’s pointing fingers and trying to pretend they don’t have it, too. Hence the blame game.”
Brilliant perception of death and grief. Will make lot more sense if you have ever lost someone close to heart.
“Death really is the manifestation of the ordinary to everyone except the griever. Barthes’s experience of looking at the Winter Garden image cannot be reproduced because his loss cannot be reproduced. If by merely looking at Henriette as a child we could feel what Barthes feels, grief would be translatable in a way that anyone who has grieved knows it is certainly not.”
“Three features of the definition stand out: the outsider status of intellectuals, their extraordinariness or even their singularity, and their politics.”
“He’s driving his truck, saying “Taco should be a verb.” The taco, he says, is heated on the griddle, and the counterman slides meat onto it and sauces it and hands it to you and you eat it, all in one extended motion. “I know it’s overly romantic,””
“Take Immanuel Kant’s elegant formulation of how to do the right thing: act in ways that could be generalized to universal principles. You’ll choose the right thing to do, every time, if you ask yourself: If everyone acted in this way, would the world be a better place? Reason will always guide you to the right answer, and to its corollary, which is that we should treat others never as means but always as ends in themselves. The narcissist, in contrast, always chooses to act in exactly such a way that if everyone were to follow suit, the world would go straight to hell.”
“More practically, the idea of niksen is to take conscious, considered time and energy to do activities like gazing out of a window or sitting motionless. The less-enlightened might call such activities “lazy” or “wasteful.” Again: nonsense.”
“At the time, this was a radical idea – and it still is. It essentially suggests that the brain makes no distinction between a broken bone and an aching heart. Rejection, it tells us, actually hurts.
‘It’s not just in our head. It is in our head because it’s in our brain.’
Some participants were told that everyone had picked them, while others were told that no one had. In the end, when all the students rated their feelings, the rejected group showed no change in emotions: instead of feeling upset, they seemed to have become emotionally numb.”
“Today, with the pollution that new technologies have brought to our information ecosystem, this distinction is no longer so easy to make. And this is the real problem, and danger, of satire: not that it mocks and belittles respect-worthy pieties, not that it “punches down,” but that it has become impossible to separate it cleanly from the toxic disinformation that defines our era.”
“Narcissism gives you the confidence to believe you can achieve great things. It’s hard to imagine someone other than Steve Jobs having the grandiose vision of creating Apple. And we’re all drawn to that confidence — it’s why narcissists are more likely to rise up the ranks of the corporate elite and get elected to political office. But alone, narcissism is dangerous. Studies show that tech companies with narcissistic CEOs have more fluctuating, volatile performance.”
“My dissatisfaction was whiny and irrational, as I well knew, so I kept it to myself. When I thought about it—which I did, a lot—I rejected the term midlife crisis, because I was holding a steady course and never in fact experienced a crisis: more like a constant drizzle of disappointment. What annoyed me most of all, much more than the disappointment itself, was that I felt ungrateful, the last thing in the world I was entitled to be.”
“This terrorism takes the form of what psychologists call ‘intrusive thoughts’ — unwanted, painful thoughts or images that invade one’s consciousness, triggering profound fear and anxiety. This is the ‘obsessive’ part of OCD, and it can arise in even the most mundane circumstances. Sitting here typing, for example, I sometimes feel modest pain in my fingers, and my mind kicks into gear: You’re typing too much and causing permanent damage to your hands. Feel those little irritations at the second knuckle of your left ring finger? Those are the harbingers of arthritis. This is how it starts.”
““If you stop logging into Facebook, you’re not going to get the shakes and start vomiting and going into physical withdrawals,” Baumer says. It’s more like a gambling problem, he says, because “it’s less a question of addiction and more a question of impulse control.””
“If you tell me to calm down, I probably won’t. The same goes for: “be reasonable,” “get over it already,” “you’re overreacting,” “it was just a joke,” “it’s not such a big deal.” When someone minimizes my feelings, my self-protective reflexes kick in. My body, my mind, my job, my interests, my talents—these are all “mine”—but nothing has quite the power to declare itself as “mine” as a passionate emotion does. When waves of anger or love or grief wash over me, that emotion feels like life itself. It wells up from an innermost core, like my voice, which it usually inflects. And so if you move to tamp it down, I parry by shutting you out: I erect walls around my sanctum sanctorum, to shield the flame of my passion—my life—from your soul-quenching intrusions. Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot feel?!”
“In her book on international adoption, historian Karen Dubinsky writes about rumors circulating in Guatemala that foreigners abduct local children and turn them into sex slaves or steal their organs. Illustrating the power such falsehoods can have, tourists have been lynched as a result of the accusations.”
Generally, when authors base their articles on research from studies,, I am cynical. But this is an idea that I definitely buy into – Anger leads to more anger. Anger, and as an extent, emotions can be contagious.
“He says when he wrote those angry tweets, he was in a bad place, angry at himself for letting his health deteriorate: “It was easy to snap back and snarl.” But Beatty says the empathy shown toward him changed him. He has begun to think, “People are good.” He realizes that politics divide people, but one on one, “people are caring, generous, helpful.” “
“You cannot convey the pure concussive terror of a panic attack in words either, the sense that all your bones are thrumming a bad, insistent chord. I have tried to explain why I must leave the restaurant, why I must have an aisle seat at the show, why sometimes my throat seizes so powerfully I can’t even drink water. Some friends and family members understand; others don’t; and I hide my phobias when I can.”
“What is workism? It is the belief that work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one’s identity and life’s purpose; and the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work.”
When we are living in a world where we don’t have time for boredom, We might even get existential crisis if the sitcom that one’s watching gets over. I can’t remember a time in the last five years or so when I was bored. I do remember times when I was bored in my childhood and had lot of time to just be with my thoughts, imagination, creatures in my head and fantasy lands. Oh I wish I can get those back.
“You are bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.”
“I have read that Tinder users agree that one should “swipe left’” (i.e. reject) on any prospective mate or hookup who proclaims a fondness for, among other writers, Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway or William S. Burroughs. I couldn’t care less about the first two of these, but Burroughs is very important to me. He played a vital role in shaping how I see the world (Cities of the Red Night, in particular), and I would want any person with whom I spend much time communicating to know this. I believe I have good reasons for valuing him, and would be happy to talk about these reasons.”
“I still have the memory of what it’s like when the depersonalisation lifts. Those are periods of such indescribable joy. They’re memories I try to hang on to when things get tough – memories of just sitting at my tiny kitchen table in my flat, without feeling the need to achieve or function or engage. Just being. Just living.”
“Wolf does not mean to suggest that non-moral equals immoral: just because something doesn’t have anything to do with morality (playing tennis, for instance) it does not follow that it is therefore morally bad. The point is that morality is, intuitively, focused on issues such as treating others equally, and on trying to relieve suffering. And good things these are: but so is holidaying with a friend, or exploring the Alaskan rain forest, or enjoying a curry. Moral goodness is just one aspect of the good things in life and, if you live as if the moral aspect is the only aspect that matters, then you are likely to be very impoverished in terms of the non-moral goods in your life. And that means missing out on a lot.”
“It had become, in Clark’s words, “transparent equipment.” And the physiological effects of losing that equipment were acute: my heart began to race in the Verizon store when the employee told me he was deactivating my phone, and in the following hours and days, I would frequently find myself reaching for my iPhone, the way a girl reaches for a non-existent ponytail after a drastic haircut. Of course, I would gradually begin to notice not being able to use Google Maps or post to Instagram, but the physical sense of loss was instantaneous and intense. I literally felt a part of me was missing.”