Observing ourselves essays in social research

A study conducted in 2009 provides evidence for people's capacity to feel schadenfreude in response to negative events in politics. [38] The study was designed to determine whether or not there was a possibility that events containing objective misfortunes might produce schadenfreude. It was reported in the study that the likelihood of experiencing feelings of schadenfreude depends upon whether an individual's own party or the opposing party is suffering harm. This study suggests that the domain of politics is prime territory for feelings of schadenfreude, especially for those who identify strongly with their political party.

I find it odd that this domain does not exist given the sine qua non topic of psychology is the self. Moreover, ever since the Greeks carved in stone at Delphi that the unexamined life is not worth living some 2,500 years ago, the role of self-knowledge has been central to Western thought. Alas, modern psychology appears late to the game. However, we should welcome the empirical data that emerges out of this new area of research. Hopefully with more information, and a bit of observation, we can shake our addiction to the blue pill and step outside the epistemic matrix. 

  What to do :  Allow streams of individual thoughts to flow : One of the best ways to get a good understanding of witnessing the kleshas ( colorings ) is to sit quietly and intentionally allow streams of individual thoughts to arise. This doesn't mean thinking or worrying. It literally is an experiment in which you intentionally let an image come. It is easiest to do with what seem to be insignificant impressions. For example, imagine a fruit, and notice what comes to mind. An apple may come to mind, and you simply note "Attraction" if you like it, or are drawn to it. It may not be a strong coloring, but maybe you notice there is some coloring. You may think of a pear, and note that there is an ever so slight "aversion" because you do not like pears. Experiment with colorings : Allow lots of such to images come. One of the things I have done often with people is to grab about 10-15 small stones in my hand, and ask a person to pick one they like. Then I ask them to pick one they are less drawn to (few people will say they "dislike" one of the stones). It is a very simple experiment that demonstrates the way in which attractions and aversions are born. It is easier at first to experiment with witnessing thoughts for which there is only slight coloring, only a small amount of attraction or aversion. You can easily run such experiments with many objects arising into the field of mind from the unconscious. You can also easily do this by observing the world around you. Notice the countless ways in which your attention is drawn to this or that object or person, but gently or strongly turns away from other objects or people. Though it is a bit harder to do, notice the countless objects you pass by everyday for which there is no response whatsoever. These are examples of neutral impressions in the mind field. Gradually witness stronger colorings : By observing in this way, it is easier to gradually witness stronger attractions and aversions in a similar way. When we can begin the process of witnessing the type of coloring, then we can start the process of attenuating the coloring, which is discussed in the next section.    top

Observing ourselves essays in social research

observing ourselves essays in social research

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