Spiritual Surf: Zimbabwe’s Jews, remaining young, sororities, Islam, small talk, and Guantanomo Bay doctors
Proving that the world is a much smaller place than we thought, and how interconnected we all are, DNA tests have confirmed that a tribe in Zimbabwe has Jewish roots. While the Lemba tribe shares many things in common with Jews (wearing skullcap head coverings, circumcision, avoidance of eating pork), the relationship is more than skin deep. British scientists have confirmed that members of the Lemba are genetically descended from semitic ancestors, probably a small group of Jewish men immigrating from Syria-Palestine over a thousand years ago. Not to mention the Lemba hold a sacred artifact believed to be part of the Ark of the Covenant.
Your perception of aging affects how you will age, particularly with cognitive ability. It really is “mind over matter” as those who maintain a youthful outlook feel younger than their chronological age. Exactly how cognitive ability affects physical health, and vice versa, remains a mystery, but maintaining a youthful spirit does help in intellectual aptitude regardless of chronological age. As medical advice: believe you’re young regardless of your age.
A newly released study indicates that joining a sorority can have negative implications of a young woman’s sense of body image and affect her eating patterns negatively. Through a process of self-objectification (seeing one’s self as the object of the perception of others) some girls in sororities develope a negative perception of their own bodies, an unfortunate consequence created by some social organizations focused on public appearance. We’ll see if sorority initiation comes with the question “Do you feel good about your body regardless of what others think?”
A busy week for Europe over the growing concern over Muslim immigration, assimilation and terrorism. Geert Wilders anti-Islamic ”Freedom Party” (PVV for short) got a polling boost with the collapse of the Dutch government over opposition to retaining troops in Afghanistan. A German court has sentenced four Muslims who conspired to attack US military facilities. At this point the question doesn’t seem to be “When will it all end?” but rather “Where will it all lead?”
Happy people engage in “substantive” conversation, rather than making “small talk.” A recent study has shown that people polled being happier when engaged in numerous serious conversations, when opposed to those who engaged in small talk with few people. Moreover, related studies have also shown that maintaining close communication with friends reduces one’s amount of depression. However, these studies show the benefits of face-to-face interaction; online communcation can have its pitfalls, such as Facebook dependency.
Doctors and psychologists who participated in the torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay have escaped censure. Thus far no investigation has been made public to the ethical accountability of psychologists and doctors giving the thumbs-up on treatment to detainees, at the time denied as “torture” and deemed “acceptable”. If justice is blind in respect to persons under the law, is it to be blind without the law too?