Weekend Thoughts - 8.29.15

Image by  Tina Sbrigato , courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Image by Tina Sbrigato, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. Health information researcher, writer, and teacher Deane Alban wrote a brilliant article on Reset.me that covers the topic of how processed foods hijack the brain. Among the shocking tidbits included: the United States ranks last among developed countries in life expectancy and overall health and modern wheat is an addictive substance that produces a high similar to heroin, morphine or Oxycontin (in fact, administering naloxone, which is normally used during heroin overdoses, will eliminate the withdrawal process from wheat!). People don't often think of foods as drugs, but they certainly behave as drugs in the body, often producing undesirable psychoactive and physiological effects as well!

2. This article from Psychology Today suggests that mere exposure to conspiracy theories can make you less pro-social and less likely to accept established scientific principles. Dubbed the "Conspiracy Effect", the author argues that it isn't necessary to believe in the conspiracy theory; it is sufficient to have simply come in contact with the theory itself. According to his research, this can lead to a paranoid delusional worldview and a distrust of science. This part really got me: "...studies have shown that people who believe in conspiracy theories often espouse mutually contradictory explanations about the same event and are even eager to endorse entirely made-up conspiracy theories. In sum, it's not really about the actual evidence but rather about whether a theory is consistent with a larger conspiratorial worldview." At any rate, it's definitely worth assessing your current reality-tunnel, a concept that Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson often used to describe individual worldviews.

3. I found an article titled It is Time We Discussed Abolishing the Police from Counter Punch to be interesting. Especially this part: "There are many people who think the police exist to fight crime. The reality is that the police exist to maintain the status-quo with the rich on top and everyone else fighting for scraps. During the uprising in Ferguson last year comedian Chris Rock commented, 'If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets.' The police represent the first line of defense between the rich and the rioters. Those involved in the Black Lives Matter movement—the latest challenge to the racist status-quo—learn quickly the true function of the police as they are shouted at and insulted by police in riot gear who hem in their marches, as they have their photos taken by police surveillance teams for further investigation, as they deal with the never ending stream of plain-clothes cops intimidating, monitoring, sowing seeds of distrust. Knowing the political role of the police perhaps it is time to stop hoping for reform and start imagining a world without the police." There are certainly legitimate situations where it seems like we would need official enforcement, such as a volatile hostage situation or a burglar attempting to escape on foot. But the ongoing trend of police groups infiltrating Left-leaning political reform movements certainly does seem like the law enforcement organization is positioned between the haves and the have-nots, as the author has described.

4. Cop Shoots and Kills Man Threatening Him With a Spoon—Although the cop had a body camera available, it was not turned on. Although it is upsetting that a man with a spoon was murdered by a cop, it does make sense though: cops prefer foods that don't require utensils, like donuts.

5. Some great videos on The Real History of Drugs have been making the rounds this week. The videos are short and take a look at some of the racist underpinnings of the drug war. The drugs featured include cocaine, MDMA, cannabis, opium, and LSD. I highly suggest giving them a watch—you may even learn something that you didn't know beforehand!

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.