Month: September 2013
This morning I woke and headed straight for Mr. Coffee and my personal French Roast blend, just like every other day. As the smell of caffeine baited my brain into activity, I pondered about what I’ve actually been pouring into my body by the gallons for most of my life. After searching the internet for validation of my love affair with the beverage, I came up with all the predictable negatives, but wisely decided to adopt this excerpt as my coffee mantra.
Caffeine as Panacea?
In the tradition of the Enlightenment philosophers, many scientists and coffee enthusiasts are eulogizing caffeine today for its seemingly myriad advantageous effects on body and mind.
A prominent example of this is the case of memory, which some studies have shown is aided by caffeine. As Stephen Braun writes, “Neurons bathed in modest levels of caffeine respond more vigorously to stimulation and form longer-lasting changes in their connections with other neurons.” It has also been speculated that because caffeine increases levels of adrenaline—the “fight or flight” hormone, which plays a role in our memories of important and shocking events—it might prompt improved memory in other ways.
For some, the smallest amount of caffeine is enough to keep them awake all night. Others profess to drinking ten—even twenty—cups a day without a disruption of sleep.
Additionally, caffeine has been shown to improve athletic performance, astoundingly in some cases, by up to 70 percent. This is why the Olympic Committee lists caffeine as a “doping agent” and has straightforward (though fairly reasonable) rules for what is an acceptable amount of caffeine in an athlete’s blood. The legal limit, 12 micrograms per milliliter, equals about six cups of coffee in a half hour.
Perhaps most obviously, caffeine has been shown in recent studies—confirming hundreds of years of folk wisdom—to improve rapidity and accuracy of performance in certain intellectual tasks. Braun writes that caffeine is most helpful in “relatively passive, automatic, data-driven tasks such as auditory reaction time, visual-choice reaction time, and performing simple arithmetic,” and is less useful in more complicated processes, like “logical and numerical reasoning, reading comprehension, and complicated arithmetic.”
Now for that treasured second cup of brown lightening in a carafe!
Current Music: “Black Coffee” by Sinead O’Connor
Current Mood: Analeptic
Thirty years ago, I led a group of people based on a leap of faith. The words of a stranger convinced them to walk away from their lives, climb into a space shuttle and only look back long enough to watch the Earth implode onto itself.
We traveled for thirty-four hours and landed safely on a dormant planet wreathed in misty clouds. The climate was acceptable and the air was safe, so a new frontier was established to support our existence. Extreme loss triggered an intense desire to live. Collectively, the colony accomplished many small miracles and a handful of big ones.
We were driven by faith and circumstance to create and sustain our personal bests and are now all resident benefactors of a utopian society. Strengths are enhanced and weaknesses denied as relationships flourish within the group. The permanency of the situation gives everyone reason to be authentic. Stripping away the entrapments of a material life leaves ample room for everything else to emerge.
Still, unspoken dreams of returning to Earth persist. For the first time since our arrival, I think it might actually be possible.
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Dad used to say that you can always judge the level of kindness a person has by the way they treat their pets and other animals. Dog and Cat lovers range high on the kindness meter because of their unending devotion to mankind’s best friends. Sometimes, I have conversations with my dogs, in which they communicate through body language, facial expressions and even vocal sounds. They instinctively know when I’m sick, sad, hungry, tired or upset and are readily available to offer their support with a paw, a smile, a nuzzle or bark. Equally perceptive during happy moments, their tales create joyful breezes that can clear a coffee table with a few strategic wags. They provide nightly patrols to ensure my safe slumber and would defend me if it became necessary. What’s not to love?
I’ve never forgotten Dad’s gauge of a person’s character since it has yet to be proven wrong.
Current Mood: Reflective
Current Music: “Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys
“It is impossible not to believe what you see
but it is equally impossible to see what you do not believe”
– A Course in Miracles
This statement from the Course has far reaching truth, well beyond the scope of core spiritual beliefs. With so many new discoveries beyond our blue world, who can really say what lies ahead for future generations. The NASA Kepplar image above is of a newly-discovered Earth-like planet. Open-minded perceptions make the limits of our gravitational hold to this planet seem less important.
Current Mood: Curious
Current Music: “Black Holes and Revelations” MUSE