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Hassan Aziz

@hassana

Iran

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The cause of an equinox

In layman's terms, the equinox happens because the planet earth is not tilted towards the sun while the sun is directly above the equator. This causes the equinox to happen.

So during this time of the year, both hemispheres get the same hours of daylight and night.

On a usual basis, the earth is tilted as it orbits around the sun, about 23.5 degrees. This tilt causes the difference in how much of the sun's radiation we receive at various times of the year.

@hassana

What is an equinox?

livescience.com

When equinoxes happen

The earth's year is not a consistent 365 days, often there is an extra quarter of a day that accumulates each year which causes the date of the equinox to shift.

Nevertheless, the equinox usually happens to mark the astronomical beginning of spring or autumn, but the meteorological beginning of these seasons are March 1st and September 1st.

This 2021, the spring equinox is bound to happen on March 20th, and the fall equinox to happen on September 22nd.

The discovery of equinoxes

Ancient civilizations have noticed solar changes because they've been watching and keeping track of the sun's movements not only for a hundred years but for thousands of years.

With this, their discovery of equinoxes have been a part of their culture, their plantation season - since solar changes dictate the beginning of seasons which helps aid when to plant and harvest crops and their religious traditions.

Monuments that mark the equinoxes

There are many monuments that mark the equinoxes such as the Mayan Temple in Chichen, Itza in Mexico. This temple is also known as the Temple of Kukulcan and was dedicated to a serpent god.

Another monument is the Hindu Temple Complex Angkor Wat in Cambodia wherein the sun rises directly above its central temple. It's one of the largest religious monuments in the world as was built between AD 1113 and 1150.

Nihilism means "nothing." It is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy.

  • Moral nihilism argues that moral facts cannot exist.
  • Metaphysical nihilism argues that we cannot have spiritual facts.
  • Existential nihilism is the idea that life cannot have meaning and nothing has value.

Nietzsche was not a nihilist but wrote about the dangers posed by this philosophy.

10 schools of philosophy and why you should know them

bigthink.com

Existentialism

Existentialism originates from Soren Kierkegaard and Nietzche. It focuses on the problems produced by existential nihilism. For instance:

  • What is the point of living if life has no inherent purpose? 
  • How do we face the knowledge of our inevitable demise?

Existentialism emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice.

Stoicism was popular in ancient Greece and Rome and is practiced by many in high-stress environments.

Stoicism focuses on how to live in a world where things don't go as planned. The idea is to accept all the things beyond your control and to focus on what you can control.

Hedonism is the idea that pleasure and happiness are the keys to a good life. Modern philosophers would say that pleasure is a kind of happiness, but not the only happiness.

Epicurus tied hedonism to a virtue ethics system based around moderation and self-discipline.

Marxism

Marxism is based on the collected ideas of Karl Marx, the German philosopher. He critiqued capitalism. Main ideas:

  • The capitalist mode of production alienates us from the results of our labor;
  • The tendency of capitalism to overproduce and crash as a consequence;
  • The labor theory of value. 

Famous Marxists include Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Slavoj Zizek.

Logical Positivism

It is focused on the idea of verifications. It is trying to base all knowledge on either empirical data or logical tautologies.

The underlying principle of verificationism cannot be shown to be true, making it unsolvable.

Taoism is based around the Tao Te Ching, written by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu. It is based around ideas of:

  • humility
  • the 'Way'
  • a focus on the individual
  • simplicity
  • naturalness

Taoist thought later fused with Buddhism and formed Zen. 

Rationalism

Rationalism is the idea that knowledge must come from reason and thought, rather than empirical evidence. Socrates, Rene Descartes, and Spinoza argued for rationalism.

Today, most thinkers combine rationalist notions with empirical data.

Relativism

Relativism is the idea that views are relative to the perspective. This idea can be applied to morality or truth, where some argue that there are no moral facts or absolute truths.

Cultural relativism is the idea that the morality of two different cultures cannot be compared.

Buddhism

Buddhism is based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha. Although Buddhism has a diverse range of thought, it is bound together by the idea that suffering has a cause.

Buddhism believe suffering can be overcome by: meditation, following the eightfold path and contemplation of sutras.

Hip Hop culture and values

Hip Hop culture and rap have been associated with negative connotations, equating them with profanity, misogyny, violence and crime.

The lyrical content of hip hop is confronting and often includes the glorification of violence, substance use, and gender discrimination. But, at its core, it is built on values of social justice, peace, respect, self-worth, community, and having fun. Because of these values, it's used as a therapeutic tool with younger people.

The healing power of hip hop

theconversation.com

Hip hop culture originated in New York City but is now a worldwide phenomenon.

  • One reason for the spread is the commercialisation of the culture as a commodity, making it one of the world's most influential industries.
  • The other is that it remains accessible and grassroots. You can make a beat with your mouth or create or recite lyrics about anything without singing.
  1. Deejaying scratch and mix
  2. Rapping, also known as “MCing” (emceeing) “rhyming
  3. Graffiti artists that draw and write
  4. Break dancing, or “B-boying
  5. A fifth element is Knowledge of Self - the drive for self-awareness and social-consciousness.

This accessibility and inclusivity make hip hop an effective therapeutic tool as it provides a way to build rapport between client and therapist. The lyrical content enables therapists to access hard to talk about topics.

Hip hop emerged as a reaction to the gang culture and violence of the South Bronx in the 1970s. It represents and values resilience, understanding, community and social justice.

Many communities around the world still face the effects of discrimination, segregation, and injustice. Hip hop is a voice to the reality of young people's lives, their neighbourhoods, and their broader social circumstances. It reflects on our society and can be used to expose issues that still remain.

Why Personal Core Values Are Important

Values are a part of us. They highlight what we stand for. Values guide our behavior, providing us with a personal code of conduct.

When we honor our personal core values consistently, we experience fulfillment.

7 Steps to Discovering Your Personal Core Values

scottjeffrey.com

Knowing your personal values changes your behavior.

For instance: When you value health, you don’t have to wrestle with managing impulse control as much. If you know a particular food or activity isn’t good for your body, you don’t want it.

  1. Start with a beginner’s mind, someone with no preconceived notions of what is.
  2. Create your list of personal values. 
  3. Chunk your personal values into related groups. 
  4. Highlight the central theme of each value group. 
  5. Determine your top Personal Core Values. Whittle your list down to 5 - 10 core values and rank them in order of importance.
  6. Give your personal values richer context. Highlight values into memorable phrases or sentences.
  7. Test the ecology of each value. Review your list a day later: Are they personal to you? Do you see any values that feel inconsistent?
Living Your Personal Values

Assess how well you’re honoring each value by scoring each one on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 = optimally living the value).

  • What’s your level of satisfaction with each value?
  • Record your score for each. 
  • Date the top of the column. Repeat this exercise once a month or quarter to assess your progress.
  • If you score below 7 in a particular value, what changes do you need to make? 
  • What has to happen for you to further honor this value?
Use Core Values to Make Decisions

Knowing your personal core values and their order of priority is helpful in making difficult decisions.

  • Start by scoring your values. Then, imagine your life several months or years from now having decided.
  • Step into this future picture as much as you can. Have it come alive in your mind.

  • Score your personal values while keeping the vision alive in your mind. Does it cause friction with one of your higher values?

Being right is ingrained

The phenomenon to be right start from a very young age as children are taught the benefits of being right. The schooling system is established on the standard of right and wrong answers. The primary goal becomes getting the correct answer quickly.

This mental model is carried into adulthood as being part of us.

Why do we need to be right? - Ness Labs

nesslabs.com

The need to be right is part of our culture. Often, we don't just want to be right, we want to be "more right" than someone else. The need to be "more right" is mostly based on fear, uncertainty, our desire to be socially connected, and misplaced intellectualism.

  • Anxiety of abandonment. They unconsciously worry that people close to them will leave.
  • Fear of failure. Researchers found a link between parent's high expectations and children's fear of failure.
  • Avoiding disappointment.

The "need to be right" all the time is a kind of fixed mindset that interferes with personal growth. People who want to be right about everything prevent themselves from learning from their mistakes. They fall prey to the Dunning-Kruger effect, where they assume they know more than they really know.

Every time we are proven wrong, we have an opportunity to learn and grow. We can embrace the scientific discovery process, where we can learn through observation.

It is often painful to get rid of our need to be right, but some strategies can help.

  • Ask more open-ended questions instead of making affirmative statements. If a comment seems illogical, instead of jumping to conclusions, ask more questions.
  • Explore alternative views. Read content from authors that are different from your view. Talk with friends who disagree with you. Then try to understand the opposite view.
  • Fail like a scientist. Everything is an experiment and an opportunity to learn.
Learning to worry well

Worry is generally seen as a negative thing. But it could also have a positive function.

Worry is an adaptive function to better solve problems and imagine creative solutions. And worrying well is a skill anyone can learn.

Worrying well: how to bring wisdom to your worries - Ness Labs

nesslabs.com

Worry is actually a product of imagination. If we didn’t have an imagination, we wouldn’t worry.

Worry and imagination are built on remembering things from the past and projecting ourselves into the future.

  • Worry. A repetitive form of thinking about the future or the past.
  • Anxiety. An uncomfortable feeling of fear, apprehension, or dread, often in the gut or chest, accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat and sweating.
  • Stress. A physical response (fight or flight) to a threat, real or imagined. It’s characterised by an adrenaline and cortisol surge, and increased blood levels to your muscles.
  • Good worry: it anticipates and solves problems. It is functional to worry about certain future events instead of burying your head in the sand.
  • Bad worry: it is circular and habitual. It doesn’t lead to any solution, and it makes you feel scared, blocking you from seeing things clearly.
The People Around Us Shape Us

Right from childhood, the people we interact with and spend time with are rewiring and shaping our brains at a neurological level.

Slowly and slowly, our brain is ‘pruned’ and tuned according to the people who are with us, like our family, friends, neighbours and even strangers.

People’s words and actions can actually shape your brain — a neuroscientist explains how 

ideas.ted.com

If we are with someone we care about, our breathing synchronizes with them, along with the beating of the heart.

This ‘two become one’ phenomenon happens between infants and their caretakers, between therapists and their clients, people singing together, or taking a yoga session.

  • If we raise our voice or even change our facial expression, we can affect what happens in other peoples bodies, brains and neurological systems.
  • If someone is in pain and we hold their hand, it can lessen their suffering. One tends to have a long and healthy life if their partners are supportive and caring and if the relationship with others is supportive.
  • Even if one has a serious disease, the power of love can increase the likelihood of getting better.
  • People die years earlier if they are lonely, as no one is there to ‘regulate’ their body budget.
  • Losing a loved one feels like losing a part of oneself for the same reason: One loses a regulation mechanism of their body budget.
  • Our feelings of empathy vary according to how well we know and understand the other person’s problem.

A comforting word can calm us, and a hateful word can make our brain rush towards a fight or flight mechanism.

People create ‘echo chambers’ where they only see and hear what they want to because it reduces the cognitive and metabolic load on the brain while having a side-effect: They learn nothing new.

Words are powerful keys due to the wiring of our brain. A word can heal us from a great distance. If a loved one sends us a beautiful message from across the world, it will change our heart rate, breathing and metabolism.

Ancient texts like The Geeta or The Bible can comfort us now even though they are centuries old. Books and podcasts have words that penetrate us and tweak our nervous systems.

Words are tools for managing our bodies, even if we are not aware of it.

The words we listen to and hear all day have a wide-ranging effect on our brain, which in turn manages our organs and our body budget. The language network controls our heart rate and adjusts the glucose entering our bloodstream to power our cells.

  • Toxic words and language are harmful to our health if given in large doses and like chronic stress, can eat away our brain. This includes verbal aggression, neglect and rejection.
  • Our bodies are already having a lot of stress due to the environment, wrong nutrition, lack of sleep or exercise, hormonal imbalance, and the problems in our working lives.
  • Long periods of chronic stress of any kind is harmful to our brain.
Memory bias

A memory bias distorts the content of your memory.

Our memories are reconstructed during recall. The process of recall makes them prone to manipulation and errors.

Memory bias: how selective recall can impact your memories - Ness Labs

nesslabs.com

  • Rosy retrospection bias. We often remember the past as having been better than it really was.
  • Consistency bias. We wrongly remember our past attitudes and behaviour as similar to our present attitudes and behaviour.
  • Mood-congruent memory bias. We better remember memories that are consistent with our current mood.
  • Hindsight or knew-it-all-along bias. We consider past events as being predictable.
  • Egocentric bias. We recall past events in a self-serving manner. We remember a caught fish as bigger than it was.
  • Availability bias. We think the memories that come easily to mind is more representative than it really is.
  • Recency effect. We best remember the most recent information.
  • Choice-supportive bias. We remember chosen options as better than rejected options.
  • Fading effect bias. Our emotions associated with negative memories fade faster than our feelings associated with pleasant memories.
  • Confirmation bias. We tend to interpret memories in a way that confirms our prior hypotheses of personal beliefs.

The limits of our memory serve us well in many respects.

  • Limited memories are useful trade-off to allow us to function and survive. We have thousands of memories, for example, of tables. If we recall all the events related to a table, it will create mass confusion with data overload.
  • Flawed memories may also help us to cope with our past and navigate our future. It may give us more confidence in our past decisions or make us remember happier events.
Ethnomusicology: The Why And How Of Music

Music and its creation come with a larger context of culture, ethnicity, heritage, lifestyles and habits of humans in the particular era. This study is known as Ethnomusicology, a term coined by musicologist Jaap Kunst.

Non-western music, like world music and folkloric music, is studied by ethnomusicologists who look at the wider culture, purpose, social roles and the various facets of identity to create a larger circle which encompasses comparative and historical musicology.

What Is Ethnomusicology? Definition, History, and Methods

thoughtco.com

The first musical ethnography was published by the early comparative musicologist Carl Stumpf, which documented the origins and the evolution of the art.

They looked at the changing landscapes and the nomadic nature of influences. Comparative musicology also looked at the classification of musical instruments and systems.

The 80s and 90s saw the study of ethnomusicology shift from its traditional field towards more contemporary forms of music like rap, rock, salsa, afro-pop, and Hindustani classical music.

Music started to intersect with technology, globalization, media and even social unrest, making the study vast enough to have it’s graduate programs in major universities.

Ethnomusicologists study linguistics, social science concepts, local culture, ethnicity, sociology, and history. This includes the study of archives, ancient texts, and research with musicians, interviewing and observation of participants who indulge in the art is one of the main methods of research.

The study of music entails playing, singing and dancing to the various musical forms, feeling the music at one’s core instead of mere academic research.

Forced positivity

"Look on the bright side." Amid a pandemic and widespread social unrest, experts caution us against phrases like these that are not only unhelpful but also toxic.

While cultivating a positive mindset is a good coping mechanism, putting a positive spin as the only way to cope is harmful. It's like forcing more ice cream than you can eat with the hope that you will feel even better.

Time to ditch ‘toxic positivity,’ experts say: ‘It’s okay not to be okay’

washingtonpost.com

Positivity makes people appear more well-adapted and popular with their peers.

The issue is not the people who are genuinely upbeat but when people are forced to appear positive in situations where it's not natural, like illness, homelessness, food insecurity, unemployment, or racial injustice.

Forcing positivity denies a very real sense of despair and hopelessness and alienates those who are struggling.

Internalizing these messages can also be damaging. We judge ourselves for feeling negative and then feel bad for feeling bad. It postpones any healing or move toward problem-solving.

Research shows that accepting negative emotions may be more beneficial. Recognize that how you feel is valid. It's okay not to feel okay. Don't feel pressured to attempt lofty tasks such as picking a new hobby.

Make the best of it by accepting the situation as it is and doing the best you can. If you want to support another person, ask them what kind of support they would like and ensure to validate their emotions.

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