14/10/2013

Train your mind to be happy

After years of study of his brain in the affective neuroscience laboratory at the University of Wisconsin, USA, in April 2007 Matthieu Ricard was considered as ‘the happiest man in the world’.

He was subjected to nuclear magnetic resonance and connected to 256 sensors to detect his stress, irritability, anger, pleasure, satisfaction and many different sensations, and the results were compared with those obtained from hundreds of volunteers whose happiness was classified at levels ranged from 0.3 (very unhappy) to -0.3 (very happy). Matthieu managed to -0.45, overflowing the limits provided in the study, surpassing all previous records and earning a title that he does not accept. He prefers to highlight that effectively the amount of ‘positive emotions’ that produces his brain is ‘far from normal parameters’.

Matthieu is a Buddhist monk who resides in the Dargyeling Tennyi Shechen monastery in Nepal. He was born in Paris in 1946 and is the son of Jean-François Revel, a French philosopher of renown, so he grew up surrounded by the French intellectual elite. PhD in molecular genetics at the Pasteur Institute, after completing his doctoral thesis in 1972 decided to abandon the scientific career and concentrate on the practice of Tibetan Buddhism. He lived in the Himalayas and was a disciple of Kangyur Rinpoche, master of an ancient Buddhist school of the Nyingma tradition. Then it became a close disciple of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche until his death in 1991, and since then is personal adviser to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

In this interview, conducted on channel Vision, he explains how happiness is something that can be achieved through learning and training, just like reading, writing, bicycling or playing music of Mozart.

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array(4) { [0]=> object(WP_Post)#1690 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4813) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-05-20 00:01:20" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-05-19 22:01:20" ["post_content"]=> string(3697) "'El futuro no tiene buena pinta'. Lingüista, filósofo, historiador, crítico político y activista americano, es profesor emérito en el departamento de Lingüística y Filosofía del MIT —Instituto Tecnológico de Massachusetts—, donde lleva trabajando más de 50 años. Además de su impresionante labor en el campo de la lingüística, ha escrito más de 100 libros sobre guerra, política y medios de comunicación, siendo el más conocido 'Los guardianes de la libertad' —Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media—, escrito con Edward S. Herman en 1988. Según el Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI) fue el investigador vivo más citado como fuente entre 1980 y 1992, y el octavo de todos los tiempos. Está considerado una figura cultural prominente a nivel mundial y The New York Times llegó a denominarle 'el más importante de los pensadores contemporáneos'. Padre de la lingüística moderna y figura destacada en el campo de la filosofía analítica, su trabajo ha tenido influencia en sectores tan diversos como la informática, las matemáticas o la psicología. Fue autor de la Jerarquía de Chomsky, que revolucionó el estudio del lenguaje, y co-autor del Teorema de Chomsky-Schützenberger. Después de la publicación de su primer libro sobre lingüística se convirtió en un crítico feroz de la guerra de Vietnam, y desde entonces no ha dejado de publicar libros de análisis político. Es bien conocida su postura crítica con las políticas exteriores de Estados Unidos e Israel, con el capitalismo contemporáneo y con los medios de comunicación de masas. Chomsky, que desvincula completamente su actividad científica de su activismo político, se describe a sí mismo como un simpatizante del anarcosindicalismo y es miembro del sindicato IWW, Industrial Workers of the World —Trabajadores industriales del mundo—.'The future is not a pretty picture'. American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, political critic and activist, he is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT —Massachusetts Institute of Technology—, where he has worked for over 50 years. In addition to his work in linguistics he has written on war, politics and mass media, and is the author of over 100 books, including the influential 'Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media' with Edward S. Herman in 1988. According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index in 1992, Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar from 1980 to 1992, and was the eighth most cited source overall. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and he was voted the 'World's top public intellectual' in a 2005 poll. Chomsky has been described as the 'father of modern linguistics' and a major figure of analytic philosophy. His work has influenced fields such as computer science, mathematics and psychology. He is credited as the creator of the Chomsky hierarchy, the universal grammar theory, and co-creator of the Chomsky-Schützenberger theorem. After the publication of his first book on linguistics, Chomsky became a prominent critic of the Vietnam War, and since then has continued to publish books of political criticism. He has become well known for his critiques of US foreign policy, state capitalism and the mainstream news media. He describes his views as 'fairly traditional anarchist ones, with origins in the Enlightenment and classical liberalism', and often identifies with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. He is a member of the union IWW, Industrials Workers of the World." 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Se le conoce sobre todo por su labor como intérprete y divulgador de las filosofías asiáticas para la audiencia occidental. Escribió más de 25 libros y numerosos artículos sobre temas como la identidad personal, la verdadera naturaleza de la realidad, la elevación de la conciencia y la búsqueda de la felicidad, relacionando su experiencia con el conocimiento científico y con la enseñanza de las religiones y filosofías orientales y occidentales —budismo, taoísmo, cristianismo, hinduismo, etc—. Becado por la Universidad de Harvard y la Bollingen Foundation, obtuvo un máster en teología por el seminario teológico Sudbury-Western y un doctorado honoris causa por la Universidad de Vermont, en reconocimiento a su contribución al campo de las religiones comparadas. En este vídeo defiende la existencia de un vínculo entre todo lo que hay en el Universo y habla de la importancia de las creencias y de cómo al modificarlas se producen cambios en las emociones y en el comportamiento.Alan Watts was a British philosopher, writer, editor, lecturer, Anglican priest and expert on religion. He is known primarily for his work as an interpreter and popularizer of Asian philosophies for a Western audience. He wrote more than 25 books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, consciousness raising and the pursuit of happiness, relating his experience to scientific knowledge and the teaching of religions and philosophies East and West —Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, etc—. Grant from Harvard University and the Bollingen Foundation, obtained a masters in theology from the Sudbury-Western Theological Seminary and an honorary doctorate from the University of Vermont, in recognition of his contribution to the field of comparative religion. In this video defends the existence of a link between everything in the Universe and talks about the importance of our beliefs and how to modify them are changes in emotions and behavior." 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La presentación de los autores fue la siguiente: 'Si en un universo paralelo Ludwig Wittgenstein y Marshall McLuhan se hubiesen casado, su hija–robot habría hecho una animación como esta. Esperamos que les guste'. Una interesante y crítica reflexión sobre lo que ellos llaman el Homo Modernus, es decir, sobre nosotros mismos. El hombre del presente, inmerso en el capitalismo, la sociedad de consumo y de la información; el hombre al que el sistema ha hecho, mediante las pautas de consumo y producción, a su imagen y semejanza; el hombre que lo tiene que externalizar todo quedando como un jarrón vacío; el hombre al que definen como un híbrido entre hiena y tiburón, que mientras ríe de todo, confuso y vacío, permite que los tiburones sigan, como es propio de su comportamiento, cazando solos.Directed by Iñigo Orduña and Claudio Molinari and based on an original text of the second, 'Homo Modernus: Tractatus Philosophicus' is one of the two Spanish short films selected for the Youtubeplay final competition held at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in 2010. The presentation of the authors was: 'If in a parallel universe Ludwig Wittgenstein would married Marshall McLuhan, his daughter-robot would have made an animation like this. Hope you like'. An interesting and critical reflection on what they call the Homo Modernus, ie, ourselves. The man of the present, steeped in Capitalism and the consumer and information society; the man whom the system, through patterns of consumption and production, has made in his image and likeness; the man who has to outsource all leaving himself as an empty vase; the man who is defined as a hybrid of hyena and shark, who while laughs, confused and empty, still allows sharks, as befits their behavior, hunt alone." 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Nacido en el seno de una familia católica conservadora, hijo del director del Banco de Francia Francois Jacquard y de Marie-Louise Fourgeot, en 1934 el automóvil en el que viaja sufre un accidente en el que fallecen su hermano menor y sus abuelos paternos, y él queda desfigurado. En 1943 obtiene los bachilleratos en matemática y filosofía, y en 1948 se gradúa en ingeniería de fábricas públicas en la Escuela Politécnica Francesa y se integra en el Instituto Francés de Estadística. En 1951 se incorpora al monopolio SEITA como ingeniero de organización y de método y más tarde trabaja como investigador en el Tribunal de Cuentas francés y como alto ejecutivo en el ministerio de salud. En 1966 se traslada a Estados Unidos para estudiar genética de población en la Universidad de Stanford y regresa a Francia para incorporarse al instituto francés para estudios demográficos, como responsable del departamento de genética. En 1973 es nombrado experto en genética por la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), el organismo de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) especializado en gestionar políticas de prevención, promoción e intervención en salud a nivel mundial. En 1973 comienza a dar clases en la Universidad de Ginebra, Suiza (1973—1976) y tiempo después en la Universidad Pierre y Marie Curie de París (1978—1990) y en la Universidad Católica de Lovaina, Bélgica (1979—1981). Su obra le valió el reconocimiento nacional, siendo nombrado Oficial de la Legión de Honor y Comandante de la Orden Nacional del Mérito (1980), además de recibir el Premio de Ciencia de la Fundación Francia el mismo año. Entre sus obras destacan 'Yo acuso a la economía triunfante' (1996), 'Pequeña filosofía para no filósofos' (1997) y 'Mi utopía' (2006).The French writer, essayist, teacher, philosopher, biologist and geneticist Albert Jacquard shares on this interview some interesting and revealing reflections on work. Born into a conservative Catholic family, son of the director of the Bank of France Francois Jacquard and Marie-Louise Fourgeot, in 1934 he suffers a car accident in which his younger brother and his paternal grandparents die, and he is disfigured. In 1943 obtained the bachelor in mathematics and philosophy, and in 1948 he graduated in public factories engineering in the French Polytechnique School and becomes part of the French Institute of Statistics. In 1951 is incorporated to the monopoly Seita as an engineer on organization and method and later worked as a researcher at the French Court of Auditors and as a senior executive in the health ministry. In 1966 he moved to the United States to study population genetics at Stanford University and returned to France to join the French Institute for Demographic Studies, as head of the department of genetics. In 1973 he was appointed geneticist by the World Health Organization (WHO), the agency of the United Nations (UN) specialized in managing policies for prevention, promotion and intervention in health worldwide. In 1973 he began teaching at the University of Geneva, Switzerland (1973—1976) and then at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris (1978—1990) and at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium (1979—1981). His work earned him national recognition, being named Officer of the Legion of Honor and Commander of the National Order of Merit (1980), and received the Science Award of the Foundation France the same year. His works include 'I accuse the triumphant economy' (1996), 'Small philosophy for non philosophers' (1997) and 'My utopia' (2006)." 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