Time for Real Connection

Why Do We Feel Lonely in an Over-Connected World?

feel lonely overconnected world

The world has never been so connected as it is now. Communication and internet technologies have made it possible to stay in touch with anyone no matter where they live. Today, it’s probably impossible to find a person who doesn’t use social networks and instant messaging apps, which have become an integral part of our life. Many people can’t even imagine their daily routine without online communication and feel incomplete if they don’t chat with their friends and don’t see their updates in the Facebook feed st least once a day. We are basically never alone and yet, we are lonelier than ever.

This is not just a claim – studies show that the number of people who feel lonely is constantly increasing. For example, a survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that one out of ten people in the UK often feels lonely while 48% of the respondents believe that modern people are getting more and more lonely.

It seems that the feeling of loneliness is a real epidemic of our society. But why do we feel this way while numerous ways of communication with other human beings are available to us at any minute of every day? To answer the question the title of the article asks, first of all, let’s figure out what loneliness actually is. While the dictionary suggests that it’s a state of being alone paired with the feelings of sadness and isolation, loneliness is far more complex than that.

Have you ever been in a company of people you didn’t have much in common with? Or maybe in a company of strangers/acquaintances who were good friends with each other and didn’t pay much attention to you? If you have been in similar situations, you will agree that in those times, you were feeling lonely without being alone.

This is what loneliness really is – a lack of connection and understanding, no matter if you are alone or not. In fact, this feeling may be even more intense when you are among people you don’t resonate with rather than when you are by yourself. Let me cite Robin Williams here: “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”

So isn’t it the reason why we are so lonely in an over-connected world we live in today? Popular culture and our excessive reliance on the social media have basically made us believe that human communication is about quantity, not quality.

To demonstrate this contradiction, let me ask you two simple questions: How many friends on Facebook do you have and how many of them do you have a really deep connection with? I bet that most of you have hundreds of Facebook friends and yet can name only a few individuals you are truly close to.

As you see, what we lack in the modern world is a deep and meaningful connection with other people, which inevitably makes us feel lonely. We are constantly surrounded by people (if not physically, then at least virtually) and yet, we rarely feel truly close to someone mentally and emotionally.

If you think about it, it makes sense why human communication has become so superficial, since the entire mainstream culture is based on superficiality and shallowness. We are made to believe that all we need is to satisfy our physical needs and fulfil our selfish desires.

To sum up, remember that the only way to avoid loneliness is not about being and communicating with people all the time. It’s about establishing a deep connection with the right people along with being a self-sufficient individual who doesn’t need approval from others.

 from:    http://themindunleashed.org/2016/07/feel-lonely-in-an-over-connected-world.html

On Quantum Teleportation

‘Quantum Teleportation’ Beams Information Farther Than Ever Before

Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience senior writer
Date: 06 September 2012
ESA's Optical Ground Station
The Optical Ground Station, run by the European Space Agency on the Canary Island of Tenerife, was used to receive photons in a quantum teleportation experiment reported in September 2012.

Physicists have “teleported” quantum information farther than ever in a new study reported Wednesday (Sept. 5).

This kind of teleportation isn’t quite what Scotty was “beaming up” on television’s Star Trek, but it does represent a kind of magic of its own. While Star Trek’s teleporters transport people from place to place instantaneously, quantum teleportation sends information.

A team of scientists from Austria, Canada and Germany have now beamed the quantum state of a particle of light from one island to another 89 miles (143 kilometers) away.

“One can actually transfer the quantum states of a particle — in our case a photon — from one location to another location without physically transferring this photon itself,” explained physicist Xiaosong Ma of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information at the Austrian Academyof Sciences in Vienna.

To do this, the researchers started out with three particles: one particle to be teleported, and two “entangled” particles. Entanglement is one of the most bizarre implications of the theory of quantum mechanics, which governs the physics of tiny particles. When two particles are entangled, they become connected in such a way that, even if separated over vast distances, an action performed on one affects the other.

In the recent experiment, all three photons started out on the island of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. One of the entangled photons was then sent through the air 89 miles to the Canary Island of Tenerife. Since the particles were entangled, when a measurement was made of the quantum states of the two particles on La Palma, it affected the particle on Tenerife, too, allowing the first particle to essentially be recreated in a new location without traversing the distance.

This achievement beat the previous quantum teleportation distance record of 60 miles (97 km), set by a Chinese research group just months ago. It represents a significant step toward establishing a “quantum internet” that could allow messages to be sent more securely, and calculations to be completed more quickly, scientists say.

“The quantum internet is predicted to be the next-generation information processing platform, promising secure communication and an exponential speed-up in distributed computation,” the researchers write in a paper detailing their experiment published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The next step will be to establish quantum teleportation between Earth and orbiting satellites.

“The future goal of our research work will be to do such experiments on the satellite level,” Ma told LiveScience. “This will enable intercontinental quantum information exchange.”

from:    http://www.livescience.com/22955-quantum-teleportation-distance-record.html

Dogs Know Us Better than Chimps

Dogs Understand Us Better Than Chimps Do

Jennifer Viegas, DiscoveryNews
Date: 10 February 2012 Time: 08:53 AM ET
a small dog with a baby boy
Dogs may be born with this inherent gift, since 6-week-old puppies with no major training possess it.
CREDIT: Mark Philbrick/BYU.

Chimpanzees may be our closest living relatives, but they do not understand us as well as dogs do.

The study in the latest issue of PLoS ONE. found that chimpanzees could care less when people pointed to objects, but dogs paid attention and knew precisely what the person wanted.

“We think that we are looking at a special adaptation in dogs to be sensitive to human forms of communication,” co-author Juliane Kaminski, a cognitive psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, told Discovery News. “There is multiple evidence suggesting that selection pressures during domestication have changed dogs such that they are perfectly adapted to their new niche, the human environment.”

Dogs may even be born with this inherent gift, since 6-week-old puppies with no major training possess it.

For the study, Kaminski and her colleagues compared how well chimpanzees and dogs understood human pointing. The person pointed at a visible object out of reach of the human but within reach of the animal subject. If the chimp or dog retrieved the object, he or she would be rewarded with a tasty food treat. (Chimps received fruit juice or peanuts, while dogs got dry dog food.)

The chimps bombed, ignoring the human gestures, even though they were interested and motivated to get the food rewards. The dogs aced the test.

The chimpanzees failed to comprehend the referential intention of the human in the task. They did not see the pointing as important to their goal of getting the food, so they simply ignored the people during the study.

“We know that chimpanzees have a very flexible understanding of others,” Kaminski said. “They know what others can or cannot see, when others can or cannot see them, etc.”

Chimps are therefore not clueless, but they have likely not evolved the tendency to pay attention to humans when trying to achieve goals.

Kaminski explained that even wolves do not have this skill.

“Wolves, even when raised in a human environment, are not as flexible with human communication as dogs,” she said. “Dogs can read human gestures from very early ages on.”

As for cats, prior research found that domesticated felines also pay attention to us and can understand human pointing gestures. Kaminski, however, mentioned that “the researchers had to select them out of many hundreds of cats, “ suggesting that only certain house kitties are on par with dogs when it comes to understanding people.

The breed of the animal may also factor in, according to Márta Gácsi, from Eötvös University, Hungary. Gácsi worked with a team of researchers to examine the performance of different breeds of dogs in making sense of the human pointing gesture.

The scientists found that gun dogs and sheep dogs were better than hunting hounds, earth dogs (dogs used for underground hunting), livestock guard dogs and sled dogs at following a pointing finger.

“Although these results may appear to be unsurprising, there is a common tendency to make assumptions about genetic explanations for differences in comprehension between ‘dogs’ and wolves,” Gácsi said. “Our results show that researchers must be careful to control for animal breed when carrying out behavioral experiments.”

With chimps added to the study mix, researchers are now puzzled, as popular theories about communication hold that certain core abilities can be inherited. Chimpanzees are so close to us on the primate family tree, and yet they cannot seem to understand our pointing gestures. This suggests that pointing may be a unique form of human communication, but dogs challenge the hypothesis.

Kaminski said, “We therefore need to study in more detail the mechanisms behind dogs’ understanding of human forms of communication.”

This article was provided by Discovery News.

from:   http://www.livescience.com/18411-dogs-understand-humans-chimps.html

Nancy Colier on Surviving the Virtual World

Psychotherapist, interfaith minister, writer and public speaker

Virtual Community: Can We Survive It?

Posted: 01/31/2012 2:20 pm

Community is a hot topic these days. Many people now complain that they feel isolated, that community has disappeared, and with it, the experience that community offers — belonging, inclusion, grounding, shared goals, connection, etc. The institutions that used to provide us with the experience of community — our schools, neighborhoods, spiritual organizations, etc. are not bringing us the same sense of connection that they used to. So what’s changed?

I recently asked a young woman why she spent so much time playing The Sims 3, the virtual character video game. Her answer: she liked the sense of community that it offered her. She could go out into the neighborhood, walk around and see other people in their houses and get a real sense of the community. As a result, she felt less cooped up in her own home and more a part of the world. The world she was talking about of course was a virtual world. When I reminded her that the people she was looking at in the other homes were not real, and the neighborhood she was wandering around in, also fake, she laughed and said she knew all that, but it didn’t bother her.

While people may still be participating in real-world communities, they are not engaging in them in the same way as they used to. Because we now rely on social media for our sense of connection and belonging, for community, we have removed ourselves to some degree from our interaction in the physical world. We are still there but in a less intimate way. At a recent visit to a local café, I noticed the so-called community table, a long wooden farm table that conspicuously evoked the sense of warmth from an earlier time, when generations of families convened over day-long meals. On this day in 2012, nine of the 10 people seated at the community table were staring into a personal screen of some kind. I laughed out loud, imagining the day when ten iPhones will occupy those community seats, sharing stories about the humans that they have to put up with.

Because we know that we can always get on Facebook, or tweet or text, the very manner in which we are interacting in the physical world has changed. We are less engaged and less committed, less dependent upon this moment of being together for our sense of connection and emotional nourishment. Physical interaction has become an impediment to our engaging with technology. We have to hurry up and finish with the people in front of us so that we can get back to tweeting and texting to people who are somewhere else. The system has flipped: People are now the distraction and our on-line world, the main stage.

It used to be that the time we spent together had an inherent importance to it. We could reach each other by telephone, but being together physically was special and an opportunity of sorts. If we were not visiting with each other, we were at home and apart. Now, together and not-together time is blurred. We are living in a continually together space, interacting constantly with no separation between the private and public experience. Sadly however, the more virtually together we are, the less genuinely together we seem to become.

The problem is not that we are shifting our sources of community, but rather that online communities cannot offer the same emotional nourishment that physical communities can. After hours of participating in virtual communities, people report feeling empty and isolated, just the opposite of the experience that physical communities provide. “But the online communities are just launching pads for people to meet in person,” supporters argue. In my research however, I have not found this to be the case. Social media is an end unto itself with its community experience remaining primarily in the online world

Since the beginning of time, humans have come together to create communities — because they are important to our well-being. We need them, to feel grounded and a part of something larger than just ourselves. The young woman who is deriving her sense of community by wandering through a virtual neighborhood, walking her virtual dog, looking into the houses of other virtual characters, is not, in my estimation, receiving the benefits that real community offers.

We are not going to lose our online communities any time soon and in fact they are proliferating. But they are not and should not be a replacement for our real life communities. When we are in direct physical contact with one another, the people we see on a regular basis, we can remind ourselves that such moments matter, can remember to land there in the interaction. It is important to honor the importance of the physical community, and the profound nourishment that it offers — nourishment that we in fact need. Physical and emotional presence are the building blocks of community. Both require effort, but it is effort wisely invested and unmistakably rewarded.

from:    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-colier/technology-dependence_b_1241578.html?ref=unplug-and-recharge

Jim Self on Layers of Thought — Part 1

Seven Layers of Thought – Part 1

Jim Self
a message from Jim Self
Monday, 5 December, 2011  (posted 25 January, 2012)

Excerpts from a live webinar

As you know, our minds can be very noisy sometimes. As this Shift continues to unfold and trigger more of the who-we-are-not to surface and move out, understanding the steps or levels our thoughts move through may prove helpful in managing them. We are moving toward becoming more masterful of every thought, every emotion, and every action in every moment. Thoughts occur at many levels of loudness from the complete silence of knowingness to the screaming and arguing inner voice. Although there are many levels or layers of thought, let’s keep it simple and talk about the seven distinctive layers available to each of us. As we do this, please don’t get locked into these layers as rigid lines. There is actually a fluidity and flow between them.  The flow from one layer of thought to the next is similar to watching the dawning of the day. For instance you can’t easily identify 6:30am, or 6:32am by looking at the sky. The sun rises and the sky flows from darkness into light. A moment ago it was pre-dawn. Now the sun is up and shining.

First Layer of Thought

The first layer of thought is where we simply speak without thinking much about what we are saying. We see this occur every day. The man in the airport just blurts out meaningless comments. The woman chatters away as if she has no filter. Two minutes later, they don’t remember what they were talking about. Functioning in this layer of thought, a person is generally unconscious of being unconscious, and goes about their day in a default-mode vs being conscious and intentional. Those who have not awakened spiritually live here. And those who are more awake and self-aware may still find themselves in this layer of thought. You might make a project of becoming more aware when you are in this layer. Notice when you make unnecessary comments, gossip, or contribute to a conversation that is noisy. When you begin to become conscious of this layer of thought, you will quickly begin to not participate in the unconscious babble. You will make better choices about how to present yourself and in what layer of thought you want to live.

Second Layer of Thought

This is the layer where you have conversations or arguments with other people in your head. You go back and forth in your mind about the situation and how you were right/bad/wrong/hurt. You scold the other person about how they were wrong/bad/hurtful/stupid. Guilt and blame lives here. So do resentment and revenge. All these thoughts can be very, very loud and consuming sometimes. Although not spoken, this level of thought also has a relationship to telepathy and clairaudience, because that conversation you are having in your head is very real in the moment and it is happening. Whether the person is next to you or a thousand miles away, the conversation is happening.  On an energy level, that other person can feel the energy you are throwing at them. This is also the layer where you really want to curse at the person standing before you: “You stupid person/idiot/jerk,” but instead you smile pleasantly and continue to argue with them in your head. Like the first layer of thought, this one has a huge amount of internal motion to it. In both layers you are still “going-to,” or engaging with the situation versus being still.

Third Layer of Thought

This third layer is where you figure things out, strategize, and problem solve. There is still a bit of motion here, and an internal, back and forth type of conversation. There is still a degree of engagement and emotional attachment.

“I tried three different things and know this next way won’t work. How can I get this computer issue figured out before this deadline?”

“Okay, I said hello to her but she didn’t see me. What do I do now to get her attention?”

“What does that sign over there say? It looks so interesting.” Although not as screaming and intense as the first two layers of thought, there is still a little bit of undisciplined focus. Your mind is bouncing around trying to find an answer. There is a looking outward for the answer vs taking a breath, becoming quiet, and allowing the answer to make itself available to you.

Fourth Layer of Thought

This layer is a place that I will define as pondering. It is being curious and sitting back without being engaged in a situation. This is the first non-engaged, non-invested layer of thought. Curious: ”I wonder how that works?” Or “Where did that come from?” Or “What an interesting possibility.” There is no emotional attachment, judgment or pre-definition of answers or possibilities. Many times you get into this easy layer when you are not stressed or not being pushed on; when there are few external demands on you at that moment.  You might begin to think, ”Well, maybe it’s time to consider moving. I wonder where I would like to live?” This is a question without a defined answer to it. The question is open-ended. The answer appears where that non-charged question is asked. All you have to do is allow it and not “move” from your thought to search for the answer. The answer, and the wandering thoughts surrounding the answer, then come into your awareness from the broader field of possibilities: “Well if I go to Portland, Oregon I will have this experience, but if I go to Tokyo I will have that experience, and then I could always move down to Perth in Australia and have this.” The process unfolds by itself and you are simply watching the process from a place of neutral curiosity. In this layer of thought someone may say to you, “Have you considered Boulder Colorado?” and you are open enough to consider it without rejecting or judging the possibility. No opinion. Curious.

Try it. Feel the difference – and let us know what you discover.

Jim Self is an author, international speaker, and teacher of  the Tools for Mastering Alchemy. This work is in co-creation with Archangels, Ascended Masters and Teachers of Light. www.MasteringAlchemy.com or             775-851-8950       ~ Copyright: You may share this article with your friends as long it is kept whole and our website is included.

Communicating with Canines

Clever Canines: Dogs Can ‘Read’ Our Communication Cues

Joseph Castro, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 05 January 2012 Time: 12:01 PM ET
dog, pet, puppy

Dogs can understand our intent to communicate with them and are about as receptive to human communication as pre-verbal infants, a new study shows.

Researchers used eye-tracking technology to study how dogs observed a person looking at pots after giving the dogs communicative cues, such as eye contact and directed speech. They found that the dogs’ tendency to follow the person’s gaze was on par with that of 6-month-old infants.

The study suggests that dogs have evolved to be especially attuned to human communicative signals, and early humans may have selected them for domestication particularly for this reason, the researchers said.

Other scientists are excited that the eye-tracking method has been successfully adapted for dogs. “This opens many new opportunities in studying dog cognition,” said Juliane Kaminski, a cognitive psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, who was not involved in the research.

Communicative Intent

“The research was motivated by the infant scientific literature,” said study first author Erno Teglas, an infant psychologist at the Central European University in Hungary. The researchers essentially conducted the same experiment with dogs that other scientists did with infants in 2008.

For their study, Teglas and his colleagues tracked the eye movementsof 16 untrained adult dogs during two different trials. The dogs watched a series of movies in which a woman turned her attention toward one of two identical containers — one on her left and one on her right — after addressing the dogs in an “ostensive” or “non-ostensive” manner.

Ostensive signals, Teglas explained, convey the intention of communication. “You’re saying to the dog: ‘You are addressed and not someone else, and now I am going to tell you something that’s relevant or important to you,’” he told LiveScience.

To convey her intent to communicate in the first trial, the woman in the video made eye contactwith the dogs and then said, “Hi dog!” in a high-pitch, motherly tone (or “doggerly tone,” as Teglas describes it). In the second, non-ostensive, trial, the woman didn’t look at the dogs at all and said, “Hi dog,” in a low-pitch tone, as if she were speaking to another adult.

The researchers found that the dogs spent a similar amount of time looking toward the woman and scanning her face in both trials. However, the dogs spent more time looking at the same container as the woman in the ostensive trials compared with the non-ostensive trials.

The results indicate that, like infants, dogs are sensitive to cues that signal a person’s intent to communicate useful information, Teglas said, though it’s unclear if certain breeds are better at reading communicative signals than others.

A special adaptation

Kaminski says that the study fits in with other research (including her own) showing that dogs are aware of the “intentional dimension of communication,” a skill that may be a special adaptation unique to dogs.

“There is no other species which is so responsive to communicative cues coming from humans,” Kaminski wrote in an email to LiveScience. “Not even apes, as humans’ closest living relatives, have the same sensitivity to human communication.”

Teglas notes that previous research has shown that wolves, dogs’ closest living relatives, are not as adept as dogs at following human gestures to find food or other rewards (in fact, puppies will do better than adult wolves, unless the wolves were specially trained).

One question still remaining, Teglas said, is which communicative cue — eye contact or directed speech — is more important. “One should think that one of the cues might be more relevant,” he said. “There might even be different kinds of animals that respond to different kinds of cues.”

The research was published today (Jan. 5) in the journal Current Biology.

from:    http://www.livescience.com/17763-dogs-communication-intent.html

Dolphin Communication

Dolphins ‘Talk’ Like Humans, New Study Suggests

Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor
Date: 07 September 2011 Time: 09:32 AM ET
bottlenose dolphin in the water
New research suggests the whistles of bottlenose dolphins aren’t whistles at all.
CREDIT: © Chris Johnson – earthOCEAN

Dolphins “talk” to each other, using the same process to make their high-pitched sounds as humans, according to a new analysis of results from a 1970s experiment.

The findings mean dolphins don’t actually whistle as has been long thought, but instead rely on vibrations of tissues in their nasal cavities that are analogous to our vocal cords.

Scientists are only now figuring this out, “because it certainly sounds like a whistle,” said study researcher Peter Madsen of the Institute of Bioscience at Aarhus University in Denmark, adding that the term was coined in a paper published in 1949 in the journal Science. “And it has stuck since

The finding clears up a question that has long puzzled scientists: How can dolphins make their signature identifying whistles at the water’s surface and during deep dives where compression causes sound waves to travel faster and would thus change the frequency of those calls.

To answer that question, Madsen and his colleagues analyzed recently digitized recordings of a 12-year-old male bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) from 1977. At the time, the researchers had the dolphin breathe a mixture of helium and oxygen called heliox. (Used by humans, heliox makes one sound like Donald Duck.)

The heliox was meant to mimic conditions during a deep dive since it causes a shift up in frequency. When breathing air or heliox, the male dolphin, however, continued to make the same whistles, with the same frequency.

Rather than vocal cords, the dolphins likely use tissue vibrations in their nasal cavities to produce their “whistles,” which aren’t true whistles after all. The researchers suggest structures in the nasal cavity, called phonic lips, are responsible for the sound.

The dolphins aren’t actually talking, though.

“It does not mean that they talk like humans, only that they communicate with sound made in the same way,” Madsen told LiveScience.

“Cetean ancestors lived on land some 40 million years ago and made sounds with vocal folds in their larynx,” Madsen said, referring to the group of mammals to which dolphins belong. “They lost that during the adaptations to a fully aquatic lifestyle, but evolved sound production in the nose that functions like that of vocal folds.”

This vocal ability also likely gives dolphins a broader range of sounds.

to read more, go to:    http://www.livescience.com/15928-dolphins-whistles-talk-humans.html

The Birds Know

Hitchcockian Crows Spread the Word About Unkind Humans

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 28 June 2011 Time: 07:01 PM ET
An American crow.
CREDIT: stock.xchng

The common crow knows when you’re out to get him — and he’s likely to teach his friends and family to watch out for you, a new study finds.

In results that can only be described as Hitchcockian, researchers in Seattle who trapped and banded crows for five years found that those birds don’t forget a face. Even after going for a year without seeing the threatening human, the crows would scold the person on sight, cackling, swooping and dive-bombing in mobs of 30 or more.

to read more, go to:    http://www.livescience.com/14819-crows-learn-dangerous-faces.html

Canine Connection

Canine Connection: Study Explores How Dogs Think and Learn About Human Behavior

ScienceDaily (June 9, 2011) — Dog owners often attest to their canine companion’s seeming ability to read their minds. How do dogs they learn to beg for food or behave badly primarily when we’re not looking? According to Monique Udell and her team, from the University of Florida in the US, the way that dogs come to respond to the level of people’s attentiveness tells us something about the ways dogs think and learn about human behavior. Their research, published online in Springer’s journalLearning & Behavior, suggests it is down to a combination of specific cues, context and previous experience.

to read more, go to:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110609084808.htm