69 Comments

Islamic infection control and Hygiene


In recent years, health professionals around the world have become increasingly concerned with the spread of infectious diseases. Outbreaks of swine flu, avian (bird) flu, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have meant that infectious diseases have taken on a global context and are now on the agenda of world leaders and health policy makers alike. In developed and developing countries, health officials are focusing on infectious disease research and linking it to policymaking and infrastructure.

The scope of infectious diseases is progressively more challenged by globalisation. Easy and frequent air travel allows diseases to spread rapidly between communities and countries. Infectious disease control will continue to be confronted by 21st century issues including global warming, conflict, famine, overpopulation, deforestation, and bioterrorism.
With the rise of the coronavirus, many people are understandably concerned about protecting themselves. Diseases and viruses have alway cds been part of human history. This article seeks to shed light on some of Islam’s teachings regarding hygiene, infection control, and illnesses. In recent years there have been several breakouts of infectious diseases such as the swine flu, SARS, and now the coronavirus. Globalization and international travel make these infectious diseases more complicated to deal with. Air travel allows diseases to spread throughout countries and makes it difficult to contain. For instance, the coronavirus started in China but has since spread throughout most of the world. Islam is a comprehensive religion that takes every aspect of life into account, including the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of human life. It is important to care for individuals, but ultimately safeguarding larger communities and the most helpless is of great importance. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, introduced and emphasized hygienic practices more than 1400 years ago, at a time when there was little understanding of how infectious diseases spread.

Hygiene in Islam
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, referred to purity as half of faith. Purity is half of faith, and the praise of Allah fills the scale (Sahih Muslim). Similarly, the Quran states: Truly, God loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves (Quran 2:222). While this purity involves a spiritual aspect, it also includes physical cleanliness.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, gave several hygienic prescriptions that are still used today:

  1. Washing hands before eating

The Prophet, peace be upon him, taught that blessings are found when one washes their hands before eating. He said: Blessing in food lies in washing the hand before and after eating (Tirmidhi).

  1. Cleaning oneself after using the bathroom

When relieving oneself, the Prophet, peace be upon him, instructed his followers to use no less than three stones. Obviously, at the time, they did not have toilet paper, but this implies that one should ensure they are clean. Furthermore, the Prophet, peace be upon him, also encouraged Muslims to clean their private parts with water after using stones.

  1. Washing before prayer

Muslims perform five daily prayers. In order to conduct these prayers, Muslims must be in a state of physical purity known as ablution (wudu in Arabic). This consists of washing the hands, mouth, nose, face, wiping the head, ears, and washing the feet three times. When an entire community of people do this several times a day it builds a culture of cleanliness and decreases the risk of infectious diseases.

  1. Covering the Face When Sneezing

The Prophet, peace be upon him, instructed Muslims to cover their faces when sneezing. Although it may seem obvious to us today, but he taught Muslims to do this before there was an understanding of how airborne diseases spread.

Plagues and Infectious Diseases
Visiting the sick is one of the greatest good deeds a Muslim can perform. However, in cases of infectious diseases, the Prophet, peace be upon him, restricted travel and instructed people to quarantine themselves in order that the disease not spread. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: If you hear that there is a plague in a land, do not enter it; and if it (plague) visits a land while you are therein, do not go out of it (Sahih Bukhari). The Prophet, peace be upon him, was essentially instituting strategies that are implemented in modern times by public health organizations such as the center for disease control. Quarantine is essential for the comfort of the sick individual as well as the protection of the larger public. In Islamic history, several hospitals were built to prevent the spread of sicknesses. For example, in 706 the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid built the first hospital in Damascus and issued an order to isolate those infected with leprosy from other patients in the hospital. This practice continued until the Ottoman Empire until 1838.

The teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, concerning infectious diseases, cleanliness, and hygiene were well ahead of his time. They were ultimately inspired by God to benefit and protect humans from illnesses and promote healthy lifestyles. Infection control is an inherent part of Islam’s teachings concerning hygiene. The guidelines that are practiced today by major health organizations are almost entirely inline and inspired by the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.

In addition to taking the necessary precautions, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, taught that both blessings and trials are from God, and they are an opportunity to become closer to Him. He advised to seek God’s protection in all matters, and then to accept His decree. One of the supplications he would say was, “In the name of God with Whose name nothing is harmed on the earth or in the heavens, and He is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing”

15 Comments

The Torchbearer of applied Science


The Glorious Qur’an heralded a new era of enlightenment in the Dark Ages by pulling out the humanity from the darkness of superstitions and blind Faith and opened new doors of Discovery and investigation. The primary tool of the Qur’an in this effort was to exhort the mankind to prove into the manifestation of nature and to extend an open invitation to have a profound investigation into it’s causes and consequences. This provided a firm bulwark for modern rationalism and empiricism.

The primary motivation for this Qur’nic invitation was to unravel the laws of nature and thereby, correlate the Islamic faith with them and them no scope for the humanity to deny the basic the basic beliefs of Islam. This approach has led the scientific discoveries to negate all forms of polytheism, agnosticism, and materislism. In one way, it has helped in sealing the fate of materislism.

Scientific discoveries in the twentieth century, several of the flaws of scientific arguments as carried on during the ninteenth century too are making themselves evident to the growing tribe of scientists. Its claims to holistic knowledge have been renderd hollow and it is no longer taken as a judge to evaluate things. Indeed the science claim to have insight both into the reality of matter as well as soul have been invalidated. How could this, be taken to be an arbiter on matters that combine both matter and soul? This explains why scientists and philosophers both have failed to suggest a judicious code or way of life for the human existence. While reality of soul is still far from its grip, even the reality of matter seems to have eluded the knowledge of the scientists. For all those who are bereft of divine belief, the mysteries of nature are merely gathering knots.

Islam laid the foundation for empirical science in order to bring about compatibility between physics and metaphysics. This was also in order to revive the spiritual values. Several verses of the Holy Qur’an could be qouted here:

Tell them O Mohammed: “observe what is in the heaven and earth” 10:101

There are indeed signs for the men of understanding in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alteration of the night and the day 3:190

Indeed there are signs for the believers in the heavens and the earth, and in the creation of yourselves and the beasts that he has scattered are signs for the people of the assured faith. 45:3-4

On the earth, as also in your own selves, are signs for those of assured faith. Can’t you see those signs then? 51:20-21

Do they not see as to how does Allah originate the creation and repeat it? Indeed that is easy for Allah. 29:19

Say: “Go about in the land and see how did he originate the creation. Then Allah shall originate another productiin. Indeed Allah is potent over everything. 29:20

Didn’t they look to the sky above them as to how have we made and adorned it,and that there is no fissure in it. Likewise, we have spread forth the earth,cast firm mountains upon it,and caused to grow every beautiful pair in it. All these to serve as an insight and admonition to every remorseful servent.” 59:6-8

Of all his servents, only the knowledgeable fear Allah. 35:28

Take warning, O you with eyes! 59: 2

The Qur’an boasts of innumerable such verses which motivate man to apply his knowledge, intellect and insight and ponder over the natural phenomena. On the other hand, those who refuse to reflect and belie the signs of the Almighty have been eaquated with the worst of the beasts:

Indeed, the worst of the beasts in the sight of Allah are those who are deaf, dumb and do not understand. 8:22

Those who belie our signs are deaf dumb and in the darkness. 6:39

Thus, the Qur’an extends man an open invitation to reflect upon the natural phenomena and seek appropriate lessons from the admonitory truths hidden beneath them. It likens those who act to the contrary to the beasts which can not percieve things, nor can see or comprehend them. There can be a more rationalistic and equitable approach than the present one. Obviously, such an invitation has to come from a being who is well aware of the internal mechanism of entire physical world and who does not run the risk of attracting the allegation of falsehood to His own revealed book.

https://amzn.to/3issNe7
29 Comments

Resurrection: Ertuğrul (Diriliş: Ertuğrul)


Turkish tv series

Turkish game of throne

Resurrection: Ertuğrul (Diriliş: Ertuğrul) is a historical Turkish television series. The show explores the history of the Oghuz Turks and the Muslim world before the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. Five seasons of the show are currently available on Netflix.

One man can change the destiny of his nation. Such heroic men are born once in a century and history remembers their names. One such man was Ertugrul (ارطغرل).A hero and the founder of the Ottoman Empire, Ertugrul (ارطغرل), is given tribute through the television series of the same title.Ertugrul (ارطغرل) saved hundreds of people of his clan.

He worked hard to provide them with a secure and safe life.The character of Ertugrul (ارطغرل) is played by the handsome, heroic-looking Engin Altan Düzyatan.Based on the history of the Muslim Oghuz Turks, the 13th century-set show focuses on the life of Ertu?rul, a famous warrior whose son – Osman I – would go on to found the Ottoman Empire.He’s described by the show’s synopsis as an ambitious man looking to bring peace to a country trapped in the grip of war.

Crusaders besiege his homeland on one side, with the Byzantines on the other.The all-consuming Mongol Empire, led by the Khans, is also encroaching on the borders.Then there’s the conflict between Ertugrul’s love life and his military ambitions; a multi-stranded plot that certainly rivals the ups, downs, twists and turns of Game of Thrones’ most exciting seasons

It is a genius tool to help Western society understand a part of Islamic history along with the values and principles of the religion. It even shows that not every person who looks and acts Muslim holds the same values in their heart.What It’s AboutThe show’s opening scene, as well as much of the plot, takes place in the Kayı tribe, a Turkish nomad tribe led by Suleyman Shah at the time. During a regular hunting trip, The son of the leader of the tribe, Ertuğrul, cross paths with prisoners who were taken captive by the Templars. In this scene, the strength and fighting skills of the Turks are revealed. By their skilled fighting, they were able to overcome the Templar soldiers and rescue the prisoners, bringing them back to their tent.The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, also known as Templars in the show, were a military order of the Catholics set into place in the year 1139. The story shows us their motives to recapture Jerusalem by starting a new Crusade. Since much of the land on the way to Jerusalem was occupied by Muslims at the time, their main strategy was the disruption of the Muslim world. They decided the easiest path to dominance was to make the Muslims fight another. Thus, they met with corrupt leaders in secrecy and placed spies in communities that posed threats to their goal.Image result for seljuk turks

The Templars are enraged as they realize their prisoners were freed. Once they narrow their search of the culprit, they pinpoint the sons of the Kayi tribe, They force their pawns in the Muslim to pressure the return of the prisoners.

Nevertheless, The Kayi tribe refuses to do so… but little did the tribe know that these events would reveal bigger issues involving the entire Muslim world.Historical Context: Jerusalem and the MongolsJerusalem was in the hands of Saladin, a founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. It was previously the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem which was established in 1099 after the First Crusade.In the year 1187, the Kingdom was mostly in the hands of Saladin. This caused Christian leaders and Kings to push for a new crusade, which was called the Third Crusade or the King’s Crusade. The Crusade ended by a signed treaty, allowing unarmed Christians in the city. The failure of the Crusaders during the 3rd Crusades caused the many more attempts to capture the Holy City.Image result for knights templar crusades

The supposed death of Suleyman Shah in the year 1236 and the Final Crusade lasting from 1207 to 1271 can point to that the timeline of the show being around the time of the Final Crusades.The Mongols are also an exposed threat to the cities and tribes during this time period. The Mongols started their conquest around the year 1206. In the year 1218, Shah Muhammad puts a Mongol envoy to death. This launches their empire to spread West. They were around the northern part of modern-day Iran around the year 1237.FaithThe show explores themes of deep corruption, minor error, growth, strength, and faith. There are many religious and moral values captured within each episode.The characters struggle to overcome the hardships placed upon them. The hardships lead some characters towards wickedness while also increasing the other’s faith. We see some characters who are misguided later become guided through repentance.Many references to the trials of the Prophets and their reliance on Allah are mentioned along with prayers. The optimism is shown as they hope Allah will help the tribe too if He wishes. There are also stories told of our beloved Prophet and mentions of Allah’s mercy.“The same God that turned Ibrahim’s fire into a lake will have mercy on your fire too.” – Wild Demir
Overall the show provides excellent examples and models of Islamic rules and values. It even forces us to examine if we are upholding these values ourselves. It is a beautiful reminder of how we are directed to act, speak, and even think as Muslims.

The series depicts very good and well-shot war scenes which bring to light the bravery of this hero. The main actors are Engin Altan Düzyatan, Esra Bilgiç, Kaan Taşaner, Didem Balçın, and Hülya Darcan.

Things I enjoyed

Religious reminders throughout the series
Incorporation of Islamic rules and values
The modesty of both female and male characters
Censoring/blurring of more graphic things
Usually very fast and packed with action
Historical timeline makes sense
Costumes stay close to the traditional clothing of that time
Background music choices
Things I didn’t enjoySometimes the men will hit women unjustly
Action dies down for a few episodes
Characters sometimes seemed oblivious

ConclusionResurrection: Ertuğrul is a good show all around. Packed with faith values and reminders along with interesting history lessons, it will surely become your new favorite show.

#turkish game of thrones

#Ottoman history

#crusade

#best TV series

#Muslim history

37 Comments

Prince Charles at the Oxford islamic center


In October of 1993, Prince Charles addressed the Oxford center of Islamic Studies. A major patron of the Center, he was asked to speak about his Knowledge of Islam. The following paragraphs are some excerpts of his talk:

“The depressing fact is, that despite the advances in technology and mass communications of the second half of the 20th century, despite mass travel, the intermingling of the races, the ever growing reduction – or so we believe -about the mysteries of our world, misunderstanding between Islam and the West continue… As far as the West is concerned, this can not be because of ignorance. There are more than billion Muslims worldwide. Many millions live in Commonwealth. Ten million of them live in the West and around one million live in Britain. Our own Islamic community has been growing and flourishing for decades… it is odd, in many ways, that misunderstandings between Islam and the West should persist. For that which binds our two worlds to gather is so much more powerful than that which divide us. We share many key values in common… another obvious Western prejudice is to judge the position of women in Islamic society by the extreme cases. The rights of muslim women to property and inheritance, to some protection if divorced,and to the conducting of business were rights prescribed by the Qur’an 1400 years ago. In Britain at least, some of these were novel even to my grandfather’s generation!”

He goes on to remind the west of its apparent forgetfulness and indebtedness to the Muslim world, stating,

“We have underestimated the importance of 800 years of Islamic society and culture in Spain between the 8th and 15th centuries… to the preservation of classical learning during the Dark Ages, and to the first flowerings of the Renaissance… not only did muslim Spain gather and preserve the intellectual content of ancient Greek and Roman civilization, it also interpreted and expanded upon that civilization and made a vital contribution of its own in so many fields… in science, astronomy, mathematics, algebra…law, history, medicine, pharmacology, optics, agriculture, architecture, theology, and music… Many of the traits on which modern Europe prides itself came to it from Muslim Spain. Diplomacy, free trade, open borders, the techniques of academic research, of anthropology, etiquette, fashion, alternative medicine, hospitals, all came from this great city of cities. Medieval Islam was religion of remarkable tolerance for its time, allowing Jews and Christians the right to practice their inherited beliefs and setting an example which was not, unfortunately, copied for many centuries in the West…”

Near the end of Prince Charles’ speech he said, “More than this, Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in a world which Christianity itself is poorer for having lost. At the heart of Islam is its preservation of an integral view of the universe. Islam refuses to separate man and nature, religion and science, mind and matter, and has preserved a metaphysical and unified view of ourselves and the world around us… But the West gradually lost this integrated vision of the world with Copernicus and Descartes and the coming of the scientific revolution.”

What a beautyful representation of some of the facts about Islam, it’s history and Arab contribution to the world. But how many westerners have heard this speech in total ? How many fearful minds and hearts could have been comforted and enlightened by this message ? Did the Western media advertise this advocacy for true Islamic understanding? No because the media’s agenda is at odd with what Islam stands for.

#Islamophobia # Prince Charles #womenrights in islam

40 Comments

Contemporary culture & it’s vanity


FRAUDULENT CULTURE AND ITS VANITY

The present culture of the West is characterised by athiestic philosophy as it is devoid of spiritualism. Being only a new incarnation of Greek materialism, it is enchantingly deceptive with a bright mask of material benefits, luxuries and pleasures. But behind this mask lie such characteristics that are marked by selfishness, sensuality, deception, terrorism, warmongering, genocide, plundering, canniblism, and so on. The reality is that the present western society has completely given up the belief in God and the Ressurrection Day and is hopelessly wandering in the dark alleys of materialism like a ship without a compass – lost! According to Leopold Weiss: “The prayer halls of materialism are its huge factories, cinema, chemical laboratries, clubs, and power houses. And its guides and leaders are the bankers, engineers, film directors, film actors, popstars, rockstars, and industrialists.” The western nations are so enamoured by the charms of sensual life that they strive continuously to devise newer forms and ways of seeking pleasure and enjoyment, thier sole aim in life being only to satisfy thier physical and carnal appetites. Devoid of any lofty aim in life, they are thus wedded to hedonism only.

# contemporary Culture

106 Comments

Children without fathers


*Children without Fathers*

Today more than ever, victims of a free society are the children.
With 15 million children in the United States alone living in poverty, it is not difficult to understand the stresses and injustices being faced. It can be safely assumed that for the most part, these children are living with their single mothers, who are usually earning much less than the fathers who after divorce make a complete disappearing act, do not pay child support, and who carry on as if they never had a child is “deadbeat dads” contemporary studies show how important the father figure is for all children. Boys especially, need male role models, but current studies are showing a disadvantage for children raised without fathers. Without the father’s presence, researches contend, children are more likely going to learn how to deal with life much the same way their mothers do, often more emotionally charged. Boys raised in the absence of a father are especially able to manipulate the mother who is not as rigid in discipline as father usually is. Before long the kids are out from under the mother’s control.

There have been studies documenting that 98% of juvenile offenders come from homes with absent fathers or homes with stepfathers, while in contrast only 17% were without a mother. While there are numerous studies linking a mother’s absence due to working outside of the home, there seems to be a correlation that has been ignored between delinquency and weak or absent fathers. As Terri Apter puts it, ” Sons need fathers if they are to mature into adults who can function in this demanding and often unfriendly society. Men who have had the benefit of a strong bond with their fathers are most likely to be successful in their education and careers; they are less emotional and more logical in their approach to life. Because men show more intrest in studies about automobiles, electronics and architecture, they often know how to deal more effectively with things related to everyday necessities such as the maintenance of automobiles and house repairs. These little but valuable how-to techniques are of vital importance to everyday living. Without a man around the house woman find they struggle more with things they do not fully understand or have an intrest in.

New studies suggest that even young girls are deeply effected when raised without father. In short, the studies found that women who had a strong father figure were more likely to succeed in the social stratosphere in comparison to women who did not grow up with fathers.

# single mothers, juvenile,Orphans

39 Comments

Women health and Male circumcision


Male circumcision is one of the most hotly debated sexual health issues in the medical community, and it’s also widely discussed among everyday men and women. Why it is such a controversial topic? Well, part of the reason might be because there’s no definitive evidence that being circumcised is better, medically speaking, than being uncircumcised – and vice versa.

However, there are certain things that we are sure of when it comes to circumcision, which involves a minor surgical procedure to remove the foreskin (the sleeve of skin around the head of the penis). These factors offer compelling reasons for men to get the snip.

Here are some of the advantages of circumcisions:

Circumcision does not affect male sexual drive or functioning.
When a guy is not circumcised, moisture can get trapped between his penis and the foreskin, which creates an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. This means there’s a higher risk of infection and it’s easier to spread viruses to others.
Removing the foreskin gets rid of the wet, warm and dark environment that can sustain viruses such as HIV and other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, herpes and cancroids.
Being circumcised reduces your female partner’s risk of cervical cancer.
By getting circumcised, you not only reduce your own HIV and STI risk, but your partner’s too.
It can be difficult to keep an uncircumcised penis fresh 100% of the time. Circumcision simplifies the task of keeping the penis clean and keeps you fresher, giving you more confidence.
Some women prefer circumcised penises due to personal preference, as well as the reasons listed here.
The procedure: What to expect and recovery time
A medical male circumcision takes about 30 minutes and is done under anaesthetic by a doctor. The foreskin is snipped off and a few stitches are used to close the incision. These fall out on their own once the penis has healed.

Afterwards you may experience some discomfort for a day or two, but generally it isn’t very painful. There should be no more swelling after two to three weeks, and complete recovery in adult men takes around four to six weeks.

For many years, men have been the direct recipients of messages on medical male circumcision and its benefits. One of them being that it reduces the risk of HIV infection in men. Now women are being made aware that having a circumcised partner does not only protect him, but also protects the woman from getting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which ultimately leads to cancer. Cindra Feuer from AVAC, the Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, explains.

‘A man who is circumcised… he’s less likely to transmit HPV, he’s less likely to transmit herpes and other sexually transmitted infections. There is data that shows that it reduces transmission of HPV from men to women – and other STI’s. HPV causes cervical cancer and also causes penile cancer in men. The reason why it is protective is because when a man has a foreskin, there are cells in the foreskin that attract HIV, so they are more vulnerable to HIV than if there was no foreskin. And, also, it’s a warm place… bacteria can grow more says Cindra Feuer, form the AVAC Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention.

A random study done in Uganda between 2003 and 2006 sought to investigate whether an HIV negative circumcised man can reduce the chances of his HIV-negative female partner from contracting HPV. After 24 months, the study found that more than 38% of women whose partners were uncircumcised had high risk HPV infection compared to 27.8% of women whose partners were circumcised.

From the study’s findings it is now recommended that medical male circumcision should be accepted as an effective intervention for reducing the prevalence and incidence of HPV infection in women. But many women are not aware that medical male circumcision is beneficial for them, as evidenced by these two women I met.

‘This is new information to me and I believe it’s good now that I know. And other women should, too. Many times they tell us about HIV and never inform us about cancer – and cervical cancer is very serious. I will encourage women to talk to their partners because cancer is a slow killer. It is worse than HIV, so women need to know this for their own life and health as well.

‘I wasn’t aware. I always thought since it is about the guy, it only benefits them. I really didn’t know. This is something I have never thought about the women said.

It would seem there is a lack of information out there for women about the benefits of medical male circumcision. Dr Dimakatso Lebina of Zuzimpilo Medical Centre in downtown Jo’burg, says there are small, but steady efforts to make this information available.

‘Now there is a shift towards that change because we know, as healthcare professionals, women utilise the services more than men. And unless the women were not informed of these benefits, we would not have as many men as we are having now to request the services. Some men are brought by their partners who have read about these benefits’, she says.

48 Comments

Desensitization to morality nature, cause and effect


Desensitization to Immorality

Contracting the disease from so-called modern societies, we have become tremendously desensitized to immorality. Accelerated by the advent of the internet, pornography and sexually explicit images and messages are accessible almost at any time and place in our daily lives. Sin, morality, evil, and good are being continuously redefined for the sake of our own ‘rights’ and preferences. Practices and lifestyles deemed intolerable a few decades ago are now commonplace and in the open. Nudity and scantily-clad bodies are ‘expressions of art’. LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual) group expansion hides under the name of liberty and progressiveness. It is no longer surprising to see ‘Human Rights’ or LGBT advocates proudly professing their religious affiliation and expressing their views in religious dialogues. At the same time religious and spiritual values are labelled archaic and conservative.
This desensitization needs to be addressed rapidly, as it confuses people as to what is right and wrong, to the extent that it can result in violence and crime. Not only does it cause women to self-objectify and convince themselves that their primary worth is determined by their sexualized appearance, but over-sexualization of the environment causes men to view women as sexual objects to be used and violated. As noted by Dworkin and MacKinnon in their criticism of pornography, pornography teaches its consumers that not only is it permissible to treat women in these ways, but also that women themselves enjoy being used, violated and abused by men (1). Although the occurrence of rape has multiple causes, viewing women in such a way may predispose some men to desire to rape or increase the predisposition of other men who already felt this desire. This, in some cases, eventually results in rape and other forms of sexual aggression which may affect other innocent women and children, over whom the perpetrators have power and opportunity.

NATURE, CAUSE AND EFFECT

7 Things You Should Know About Pornography and the Brain

[Note: The following contains a frank, though non-graphic, discussion of pornography addiction. Parents are therefore cautioned to examine the material themselves before sharing it with children or teenagers.]

“Because the human brain is the biological anchor of our psychological experience, it is helpful to understand how it operates,” says William M. Struthers, associate professor of psychology at Wheaton College. “Knowing how it is wired together and where it is sensitive can help us understand why pornography affects people the way it does.” Here are 9 things you should know about pornography affects the brain.

1. Sexually explicit material triggers mirror neurons in the male brain. These neurons, which are involved with the process for how to mimic a behavior, contain a motor system that correlates to the planning out of a behavior. In the case of pornography, this mirror neuron system triggers the arousal, which leads to sexual tension and a need for an outlet. “The unfortunate reality is that when he acts out (often by masturbating), this leads to hormonal and neurological consequences, which are designed to bind him to the object he is focusing on,” says Struthers. “In God’s plan, this would be his wife, but for many men it is an image on a screen. Pornography thus enslaves the viewer to an image, hijacking the biological response intended to bond a man to his wife and therefore inevitably loosening that bond.”

2. In men, there are five primary chemicals involved in sexual arousal and response. The one that likely plays the most significant role in pornography addiction is dopamine. Dopamine plays a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain, and a variety of addictive drugs, including stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine, act directly on the dopamine system. Dopamine surges when a person is exposed to novel stimuli, particularly if it is sexual, or when a stimuli is more arousing than anticipated. Because erotic imagery triggers more dopamine than sex with a familiar partner, exposure to pornography leads to “arousal addiction” and teaches the brain to prefer the image and become less satisfied with real-life sexual partners.

3. Why do men seek out a variety of new explicit sexual images rather than being satisfied with the same ones? The reason is attributed to the Coolidge effect, a phenomenon seen in mammalian species whereby males (and to a lesser extent females) exhibit renewed sexual interest if introduced to new receptive sexual partners, even after refusing sex from prior but still available sexual partners. This neurological mechanism is one of the primary reasons for the abundance and addictiveness of Internet pornography.

4. Overstimulation of the reward circuitry—such as occurs with repeated dopamine spikes related to viewing pornography—creates desensitization. As Gary Wilson explains, “When dopamine receptors drop after too much stimulation, the brain doesn’t respond as much, and we feel less reward from pleasure. That drives us to search even harder for feelings of satisfaction—for example, by seeking out more extreme sexual stimuli, longer porn sessions, or more frequent porn viewing—thus further numbing the brain.

5. “The psychological, behavioral, and emotional habits that form our sexual character will be based on the decisions we make,” says Struthers. “Whenever the sequence of arousal and response is activated, it forms a neurological memory that will influence future processing and response to sexual cues. As this pathway becomes activated and traveled, it becomes a preferred route—a mental journey—that is regularly trod. The consequences of this are far-reaching.”

6. What makes Internet porn unique? Wilson identifies a number of reasons, including: (1) Internet porn offers extreme novelty; (2) Unlike food and drugs, there are almost no physical limitations to Internet porn consumption; (3) With Internet porn one can escalate both with more novel “partners” and by viewing new and unusual genres; (4) Unlike drugs and food, Internet porn doesn’t eventually activate the brain’s natural aversion system; and (5) The age users start watching porn. A teen’s brain is at its peak of dopamine production and neuroplasticity, making it highly vulnerable to addiction and rewiring.

7. Men’s exposure to sexually explicit material is correlated with social anxiety, depression, low motivation, erectile dysfunction, concentration problems, and negative self-perceptions in terms of physical appearance and sexual functioning.

37 Comments

Victory over insomia easy tricks 


“Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing, and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation.”

Dr. Andrew weil
Here is how you do the exercise:
Place the tip of your tongue against the tissue ridge right above your upper front teeth. Keep it there for the remainder of the exercise.

Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound as you do so.

Close your mouth and inhale slowly through your nose while mentally counting to four.

Hold your breath for a mental count of seven.

Exhale completely through your mouth for a mental count of eight. Make the same whoosh sound from Step Two.

This concludes the first cycle. Repeat the same process three more times for a total of four renditions.

116 Comments

Emotional Intelligence and Managament


Everyone’s always talking about Emotional Intelligence (EI) but what exactly is it? One important aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions – in oneself and others – and to use that information appropriately. For example, recognizing emotional intelligence in oneself can help you regulate and manage your emotions, while recognizing emotions in others can lead to empathy and success in your relationships, both personal and professional.
Given the importance of emotional intelligence, I thought it might be helpful to give a very brief overview of the topic, as well as 10 ways to enhance your emotional

 1. Don’t interrupt or change the subject. If feelings are uncomfortable, we may want to avoid them by interrupting or distracting ourselves. Sit down at least twice a day and ask, “How am I feeling?” It may take a little time for the feelings to arise. Allow yourself that small space of time, uninterrupted.

2. Don’t judge or edit your feelings too quickly. Try not to dismiss your feelings before you have a chance to think them through. Healthy emotions often rise and fall in a wave, rising, peaking, and fading naturally. Your aim should be not to cut off the wave before it peaks.
3. See if you can find connections between your feelings and other times you have felt the same way. When a difficult feeling arises, ask yourself, “When have I felt this feeling before?” Doing this may help you to realize if your current emotional state is reflective of the current situation, or of another time in your past.
4. Connect your feelings with your thoughts. When you feel something that strikes you as out of the ordinary, it is always useful to ask, “What do I think about that?” Often times, one of our feelings will contradict others. That’s normal. Listening to your feelings is like listening to all the witnesses in a court case. Only by admitting all the evidence will you be able to reach the best verdict.

5. Listen to your body. A knot in your stomach while driving to work may be a clue that your job is a source of stress. A flutter of the heart when you pick up a girl you have just started to date may be a clue that this could be “the real thing.” Listening to these sensations and the underlying feelings that they signal will allow you to process with your powers of reason.
6. If you don’t know how you’re feeling, ask someone else. People seldom realize that others are able to judge how they are feeling. Ask someone who knows you (and whom you trust) how you are coming across. You may find the answer both surprising and illuminating.

7. Tune in to your unconscious feelings. How can you become more aware of your unconscious feelings? Try free association. While in a relaxed state, allow your thoughts to roam freely and watch where they go. Analyze your dreams. Keep a notebook and pen at the side of your bed and jot down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Pay special attention to dreams that repeat or are charged with powerful emotion.
8. Ask yourself: How do I feel today? Start by rating your overall sense of well-being on a scale of 0 and 100 and write the scores down in a daily log book. If your feelings seem extreme one day, take a minute or two to think about any ideas or associations that seem to be connected with the feeling.

9. Write thoughts and feelings down. Research has shown that writing down your thoughts and feelings can help profoundly. A simple exercise like this could take only a few hours per week.
10. Know when enough is enough. There comes a time to stop looking inward; learn when its time to shift your focus outward. Studies have shown that encouraging people to dwell upon negative feelings can amplify these feelings. Emotional intelligence involves not only the ability to look within, but also to be present in the world around you.