Feeling Good and Doing Well

Here’s another good post from The Art of Manliness website titled “The Decline of Traditional Honor in the West in the 20th Century.” It’s a long one but definitely worth reading. Here’s an excerpt in the section of the article titled “Egalitarianism and Inclusion.”

In 1969, psychologist Nathaniel Brandon published a very influential paper called “The Psychology of Self-Esteem” in which he argued that “feelings of self-esteem are the key to success in life.” Brandon’s ideas were first institutionalized when a task force, charged by the California state legislature, formulated a set of recommendations entitled, “Toward a State of Esteem.” The report argued that low self-esteem caused a variety of ills ranging from academic failure to teen pregnancy, and that teaching self-esteem in schools would be a “social vaccine” to inoculate kids from these problems. It recommended that every school district in California strive for “the promotion of self-esteem…as a clearly stated goal, integrated into its total curriculum and informing all of its polices and operations” and that “course work in self-esteem should be required for credentials…for all educators.”

Other states and schools were swept up into this movement and incorporated self-esteem-boosting exercises into their curriculum and programs. These exercises and guidelines – which often revolved around eliminating competition from the classroom — were designed to make students feel good about themselves, under the belief that these good feelings would then beget all sorts of success for them.

However, as later researchers found out, true self-esteem actually has two components — feeling good and doing well. The self-esteem movement had gotten their order mixed up. While the California report posited that low self-esteem causes problems like teen pregnancy and welfare dependence, studies have shown that the opposite is true; low self-esteem is the consequence, not the cause, of such behavior. Thus you can’t start with “feeling good” and have it lead to doing well. It happens the other way around. Feeling good, and true self-esteem, naturally follow from doing well. You can’t pump kids full of self-esteem — it’s something they have to earn for themselves, through true merit.

You really should read the whole thing. There’s a lot to chew on here.

Also, the new issue of Salvo is in the mail now. Subscribers should be receiving their issues soon if they haven’t already. Some articles are up online too, along with the fake ads. I’ll be posting more here at the blog soon.

Religion Poisons Everything?

Maybe it’d be better stated that (fallen) humanity poisons everything. Let’s face it, every worldview has to account for “sin.”

Cooler Heads
A Closer Look at All the Factors & Views on Global Warming
by Regis Nicoll

Every religion has its doctrines of Sin, Judgment, and Redemption. The current misanthropic strain of environmentalism is no exception. In this eco-religion, the Sin is man’s carbon footprint; the Judgment is the sizzling Eschaton of global warming; and Redemption can be obtained through carbon credits and population control. Pounding its pulpits, its prophets preach on the ecological Fall and the gospel of sustainability. One such prophet is Steven Schneider, who, early in the global warming debate, confessed:

To capture the public’s imagination . . . we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. . . . Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

continue reading . . .

Salvo Issue 23 Plus Other Good Stuff

The latest issue of Salvo has gone to press! Take a look at the table of contents to find out more. The articles and fake ads will be up online in about a week or so, so stay tuned.

Below you will find some articles of interest from around the web:

The Neuro Transformers
Culture & the Malleability of the Human Brain

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason,” wrote Robert Jastrow in God and the Astronomers, “the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Jastrow’s words come to mind whenever I hear about professional scientists being obliged to abandon, or at least to seriously modify, their Darwinian assumptions. From cutting-edge work in genetics to the latest discoveries in astrophysics, the evidence is increasingly pointing to one fact: Darwin was wrong.

This has been impressed upon me recently, as I have been studying the way culture affects the human brain. Contemporary neuroscientists have been making some fascinating discoveries about the way our cultural preoccupations and artifacts alter the physiological structure of our brains, and, once again, Darwinian orthodoxy is being compelled to yield to new findings. read the rest.

Unlocking the Science of Habits
How to Hack the Habit Loop & Become the Man You Want to Be

For better or for worse, our habits shape us. A good habit is a strong ally in our journey to becoming the men we want to be, while a bad habit acts like a millstone around our necks. (Want to know why? Read this Manvotional.) To achieve our goals, whatever they may be, it’s necessary to defeat our bad habits and encourage the good ones. But how do you go about doing that? We’ve written about making and breaking habits before, but honestly, most of what I suggested  was based off of anecdotal evidence of what’s worked in my life. Sure, those tips can work, but since then I’ve continued my search for more efficient, science-based ways to improve my habits.

Fortunately for me, a book was published earlier this year that highlights the latest research by psychologists and neuroscientists on the science of habit formation. It’s called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and it’s among the top five books I’ve read in 2012. In The Power of Habit, Duhigg explains how habits work in our brain. More importantly, he reveals the process by which a habit becomes a habit. By being aware of what he calls the “Habit Loop” we can take control of the habits in our lives. read more.

How to Save Your Marriage

Young people are good at dating. Some are good at hooking up. Some have even mastered the skills required to conduct a relationship.

Yet, many young people do not have the skills required to sustain a good marriage.

Laura Doyle is addressing women, and we will maintain her rhetorical posture. She sums up the problem:

Unfortunately most women didn’t have good relationship role-models. We are largely the product of single parents, broken homes or marriages that we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy — the equivalent of learning oral care from parents with false teeth.

Surely, Doyle is correct.

But, let’s not overlook the role that the culture plays.

As a culture we are much more interested in marital dysfunction than we are in marital success. The former is dramatic; the latter is boring. read more.

Getting Rid of God Isn’t So Easy

Quote of the day:

FIRST-PERSON: Can science rule out God?

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“Most scientists … suspect that the search for ultimate explanations eventually terminates in some final theory of the world, along with the phrase ‘and that’s just how it is.'” When Christians look at the unanswerable questions of creation, refer to the Creator God, and say, “That’s just how it is,” scientists scoff. When scientists look at the unanswerable questions of creation, refer to a theory that cannot answer those same questions, and say, “That’s just how it is,” that is great science. The fact is that scientists know that some questions, such as the origin of matter, energy or the laws of physics cannot be answered by science and must succumb to the old parents’ final answer, “Because we say so!” That also means that some scientists, like Carroll, are willing to abandon true science and its methods in order to deny God and to avoid the fact that science cannot answer ultimate questions.

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Stoic-Christian Honor Code

I highly recommend this article from The Art of Manliness website:

Manly Honor: Part III — The Victorian Era and the Development of the Stoic-Christian Code of Honor

Now brace yourself – today’s post is a doozy. The topic of honor in the Victorian period is the most complex part of a complex evolution, as it involves a myriad of influences and factors. The workload on this one, and the remaining historical installments, necessitated my enlisting of Kate’s historical research and writing chops, and together we pored through over 1500 pages of research, and took dozens of pages of notes. After two weeks of banging our heads on our desk, throwing things, several near mental breakdowns, and one all-nighter, we have completed this article. All of which is to say, while I pledge my honor that we have done our very best to make everything as accurate as possible, if there are any errors in our historical facts or terminology, we welcome your very kind and gentle corrections in the comments. Also welcome are any encouraging comments. Twil be like manna for the soul.

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And you may also want to check out this article from a few issues ago by Cameron Wybrow on the Stoics and Design.