You Should Replace Should With Could

Some new research hints that you should change how you think about issues and what to do. Often we think about things we should do and what we ought to do is ask what we could do.

Asking yourself, for example, “What should I do with my life?” tacitly implies that there’s a right and a wrong answer to that question. It seems that the word should can cause us to think in black and white, while could reveals the in-between shades of gray. “What initially seems like a problem that involves competing and incompatible principles turned out to be a problem that can be solved when we approach it with a ‘could’ mind-set,” Francesca Gino, one of the paper’s co-authors and author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan, said in an email to Science of Us.

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Vermont Stops Their War on Drugs, Will Help People Instead

The war on drugs is a backwards, destructive, and anti-human campaign that has destroyed lives. It was launched by Nixon and since then it the ‘war’ has negatively impacted everything it touches from people’s lives to the global economy.

The USA tries to enforce it’s inflexible approach around the world, yet at home many states are realizing that it’s a foolish approach. Vermont has now openly backed out of the ignorant ‘battle’ against drugs and is taking a more educated approach: helping people who are addicted rather than punishing them.

Vermont has passed a battery of reforms that have turned the tiny state of about 627,000 people into a national proving ground for a less punitive approach to getting hard drugs under control. Under policies now in effect or soon to take hold, people caught using or in possession of heroin will be offered the chance to avoid prosecution by enrolling in treatment. Addicts, including some prisoners, will have greater access to synthetic heroin substitutes to help them reduce their dependency on illegal narcotics or kick the habit. A good Samaritan law will shield heroin users from arrest when they call an ambulance to help someone who’s overdosed. The drug naloxone, which can reverse the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose, will be carried by cops, EMTs, and state troopers. It will also be available at pharmacies without a prescription. “This is an experiment,” Shumlin says. “And we’re not going to really know the results for a while.”

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A Checklist for Rational Thinking

There exists a Center for Applied Rationality (as opposed to unapplied rationality?) and they have set out to make the world more rational. Their approach is questionable, as it’s unclear as to what form of rationality they are openly proselytizing. Regardless, they do have a neat checklist to help people work through problems and see debates in a more thoughtful way.

Here’s the first item on their rationality checklist:

Reacting to evidence / surprises / arguments you haven’t heard before; flagging beliefs for examination.

  • When I see something odd – something that doesn’t fit with what I’d ordinarily expect, given my other beliefs – I successfully notice, promote it to conscious attention and think “I notice that I am confused” or some equivalent thereof.
  • When somebody says something that isn’t quite clear enough for me to visualize, I notice this and ask for examples.
  • I notice when my mind is arguing for a side (instead of evaluating which side to choose), and flag this as an error mode.
  • I notice my mind flinching away from a thought; and when I notice, I flag that area as requiring more deliberate exploration.
  • I consciously attempt to welcome bad news, or at least not push it away.

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Live in the Now, Plan for Your Future Self

There are many things that make one happy, but what if our fundamental approach is wrong? Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert looks into other ways of thinking about happiness and the overall take we have on our self.

“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.” Dan Gilbert shares recent research on a phenomenon he calls the “end of history illusion,” where we somehow imagine that the person we are right now is the person we’ll be for the rest of time. Hint: that’s not the case.

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Lucid Dreamers Demonstrate Better Awareness When Awake

People who can lucid dream are able to transfer skills acquired for lucid dreaming into the waking world. In fact, this skill makes lucid dreamers more aware and cognizant than non-lucid dreamers.

Lucid dreaming is essentially the ability to be aware of and in some cases manipulate dreams as they happen. Like the movie Inception.

The study examined 68 participants aged between 18 and 25 who had experienced different levels of lucid dreaming, from never to several times a month. They were asked to solve 30 problems designed to test insight. Each problem consisted of three words and a solution word.

Each of the three words could be combined with the solution word to create a new compound word.

For example with the words ‘sand’, ‘mile’ and ‘age’, the linking word would be ‘stone’.

Results showed that frequent lucid dreamers solved 25 per cent more of the insight problems than the non-lucid dreamers.

Miss Shaw, who conducted the research as part of her undergraduate dissertation, said the ability to experience lucid dreams is something that can be learned. “We aren’t entirely sure why some people are naturally better at lucid dreaming than others, although it is a skill which can be taught,” said Hannah.

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