Cognitive Therapy and Stress: Changing our Approach to Stress

Watch this great TED talk on using stress to our advantage as opposed to disadvantage and consider the following:

  • How does this relate to other areas of cognitive psychology? 

  • How does this relate to “learned Helplesness” and the the longitudinal study by Marmot et al (1997) on civil service workers in the UK?

And connected to all of this is the following piece in the NYTimes:


ISIS, ISLAM and Atheism … How to nurture tolerance in the face of Intolerable Ideas?

James Foley, beheaded by ISIS militants

ISIS is horrible. The Islamic State is horribly intolerant, violent, and oppressive. There is no doubting this unless you are a fellow Islamic extremist.

Read this EXCELLENT primer on ISIS by Graeme Wood from The Atlantic (world’s greatest magazine) below:

Further Interesting and relevant information is linked below for your intellectual development:

The question is then, what is the responsibility of non-extremist Muslims in regard to combating this ideology?  What is the responsibility of non Muslims in combating this ideology? 

Recently, a massive debate has been sparked on this very issue by comedian and political pundit Bill Maher, Actor/Director Ben Affleck, Intellectual and famous Atheist Sam Harris, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

See the links below to get up to speed:

University professor and Muslim Resa Aslan on what the “new atheists” get wrong about Islam:

Mr. Kristof’s response to the drama:

Sam Harris Response to the Drama:

This brings up innumerable ideas, questions, comments and musings…however here are a few to focus our discussion: 

  1. If a knowledge system leads to extreme violence and oppression, is that knowledge system wrong? 
  2. Was Bill Maher Wrong?  Was Bill Maher Right? 
  3. What’s the difference between belief systems and religion?
  4. Are there violent religions or just violent people? 
  5. What is the logical relationship between ideas and behavior? 

Sensation: Vision


IN the above TED Talk, the presenter discusses the fact that our brain is heavily involved in our visual perception and that context has a massive impact on perception.


This is the KEY difference between sensation and perception.  Perception is what’s referred to as “top down processing” in short, it involves the brain and cognition whereas sensation is bottom up processing and is based off biological senses and is more “automatic” thus lacks processing by higher brain regions.

Context has a major effect on perception of all types of stimuli, but the above TED talk brilliantly illustrates the context effects on vision!

TOK Journal Collect #2: Your Thoughts Needed on the following…

Think hard!

#6…..What is Truth?  Is truth possible? Lastly, does it even matter if something is true or not?

#5….Consider a piece of culture…the movie HER for example, or Fight Club, or even another work of literature/philosophy…Thoreau’s Walden comes to mind…how does the creator of that cultural artifact view the essence of technology? What is their point of view?

#4….Kant famously wrote “I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith”? Unpack and discuss this statement in a TOK way!!