WE see in life what we want to see

WE see in life what we want to see. If we search for evil we’ll find plenty of it.
But the opposite is also true. If we look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, we will see it.
Hope is described in the book The Science of Optimism And Hope as a conscious choice rather than a random feeling
Martin Seligman, Professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote that we all learn to feel either hopeful or helpless.
He said pessimists could be taught to have “skills of optimism”. People taught the skills were less prone to depression and there was evidence that optimism might delay the ageing process.
He also quoted studies that indicate the immune systems of pessimists function less well than those of optimists, that optimists have greater life expectancy than pessimists and people like optimists more than pessimists.
Optimistic HIV patients show slower immunity decline and symptom onset.
Prof Seligman and his team studied the “optimism levels” of US presidents and found 27 out of 29 winners of the presidential race were graded as more optimistic than their unsuccessful opponents.
HOPE is possibly different to optimism. Optimism can be shallow, naive, complacent and inherited.
Optimistic parents are more likely to have optimistic children. But faith, not something we are born with but can choose, is both vulnerable and trusting.
Those who hope can see something positive beyond the world’s suffering.
Helen Keller, the deaf, sightless mute who inspired the world, said: “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
It is practical to hope. We should, as Pearl Buck said, be able to accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.


24 thoughts on “WE see in life what we want to see

  1. This isn’t relevant to the topic at hand, but I think this will be of interest to Faithworks regulars (and to Bryan and Ryan in particular given past discussions). I have a particular interest in the historicity of the biblical Jesus and in the past I’ve argued that the Jesus character may not be a truly historical figure.

    Based on the research I had done, I’ve argued many times on this blog that given the absence of contemporary sources and eyewitness accounts of the biblical Jesus (of which there are none and this is a separate point) you can’t conclude the that the existence of Jesus is a “historical fact”. I would have characterised my position as Jesus probably existed (as say, a 60/40 proposition).

    However when presented with new facts, evidence, and better arguments, a rational person must change their mind right?

    I will let the argument speak for itself, but I would or will no longer argue that the idea of the biblical Jesus not existing is seriously worth pursuing outside (interesting) speculation. My position is now that the biblical Jesus (almost) certainly existed and is therefore a “historical fact”.

    Here’s why I’ve changed my mind:



    • A long read, but I hope everyone will persist for the whole of it, regardless of their own beliefs. The only argument I have is where he states Jews would never accept ideology outside their own, ign oring the fact that much of what Paul introduced was so, and most Jews have to this day not accepted it. That says of course nothing about the fact that Jesus did exist.


      • Cheers Strewth. I think the point the author is trying to make us that a crucified Messiah had no basis in traditional Judaism, so the early Christians had their work cut out for them convincing other Jews or Gentiles. The fact that the stories survived is evidence that they were based on something that actually happened.


    • Obviously if someone thinks jesus may not have existed has simply not done the research required. The research from many sources, many subjects and many time frames show it without doubt.


      • Actually Alexie, it’s not that simple. Many people grow up in a tradition that says the synoptic and canonical gospels are written by eyewitnesses to the biblical Jesus, and never question it. It can come as a shock (even to non believers) that there are no contemporaneous sources to verify the existence of Jesus.

        The evidence is strongly in favour of the existence of a historical Jesus. It’s just not 100% certain. As Tim O’Neill points out, with ancient history we don’t need to be 100% sure.


      • My comments stand on their own. It is beyond doubt both within biblical and non biblical scholarly authors. Textual understanding, history and archeology only further the strength of a 100% historical Jesus. 2000 years of scholarly works against your study I would bet on every time.


      • Alexie

        “Textual understanding, history and archaeology only further the strength of a 100% historical Jesus.”

        Care to back up this assertion of 100% certainty of yours? In order to do that you’d need a contemporaneous written or archaeological record of Jesus (i.e. while Jesus was alive).

        As the article I provided demonstrates, historiography (ancient) doesn’t require 100% certainty for someone to be regarded as a historical figure.



      • 2000 years of scholars! You need to read more. Its all there. Saying i need to back it up changes nothing. If you are truly on the journey you say you are then you will prove it to yourself.


      • “2000 years of scholars! You need to read more. It’s all there.”

        Can you point to any one of those scholars having a contemporaneous written or archaeological record as mentioned? If not, what do you base your 100% certainty on?

        “Saying i need to back it up changes nothing.”

        If you can’t back up your claim, then your claim can be dismissed accordingly.

        “If you are truly on the journey you say you are then you will prove it to yourself’

        I don’t know what you are trying to say here, or what “journey” you think I’m on.


    • Hi Stu,
      yep you are talking my language, I have to say. On the score of the historicity versus mythicality of Jesus, I’ve been swinging back and forth for some time. that write-up you referred to there was a good bit of information and assessment.

      An old bit of historical info that I’ve seen quoted a number of times really made me question the mythist viewpoint. That was the detail that tells how one of the later Roman Emperors summoned certain of the characters who were known or said to be descendants of relatives of Jesus, in order to check out any potential threat from them re the royal claims.

      He discovered that they were simiple farmers with no interests in causing insurrection or threats, and he dismissed them as simpletons. Somewhere among my books I have accounts of the whole incident.

      Of course, coming to any conclusion that Jesus did live, does not offer any real evidence that can back up much of the Gospel accounts. Yeshua/Joshua/Jesus or what ever variation was not at all uncommon among males in the Jewish community, especially those whose families carried a patriotic pride, and who might well support insurrection against the Romans. Such individuals bearing the name would be very likely candidates for arrest and crucifixion by the Romans, ahead of persons with less warlike types of name and background. So there really could have been any number of men bearing the name who were crucified. Some records about Barabbas of course describe him has bearing the name of Jesus Barabbas.

      All very interesting. Cheers, Rian. (always open to learning new things, and when necessary, changing my mind!)


      • Cheers Ryan, I thought that it may interest you.

        “Of course, coming to any conclusion that Jesus did live, does not offer any real evidence that can back up much of the Gospel accounts.”

        I couldn’t agree more. You only have to read Matthew 27:51-53 to come to that conclusion.


      • “You only have to read Matthew 27:51-53 to come to that conclusion.”

        And therein lies a problem. Having established an historical Jesus some then try and conflate him with the messianic Jesus.


      • Strewth,
        Hi, Yes I know the theory about Julius Caesar and all that, but no, the story I’m referring to was specifically about the family of Jesus himself one or more centuries later on. I’ll check out the details some time and let you know. If I remember correctly, though the particular individuals were investigated and dismissed by one Emperor, they or their descendant were carefully ‘eliminated’ by a later Emperor who was taking no chances.

        Cheers, Rian.


      • Then, Rian, perhaps it was re the Merovingian royal family, which seems to be largely discredited. I believe a Roman Emperor was involved with enquiries there.
        But Plantard’s “Priory of Sion” only claimed that the Merovingians were descended from the Tribe of Benjamin,[54]
        which contradicts the hypothesis of a Jesus bloodline as the missing link between the Merovingian line and the Davidic line from the Tribe of Judah.

        The notion of a direct bloodline from Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and its supposed relationship to the Merovingians (as well as their alleged modern descendants: House of Habsburg, Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg, Clan Sinclair, House of Stuart, House of Cavendish, House of Bourbon, House of Orléans and other noble families), is strongly dismissed as pseudohistorical by a qualified majority of Christian and secular historians such as Darrell Bock[55] and Bart D. Ehrman,[4][56] along with journalists and investigators such as Jean-Luc Chaumeil, who has an extensive archive on this subject matter.
        Gospel of Jesus’ wife
        A small piece of papyrus includes text in Egyptian Coptic with the words, “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife…'”. The fragment has led to a revival of theories and discussion about a possible bloodline.[30] The name of Jesus’ wife is not given in the papyrus fragment. Following extensive study and analysis, experts concluded that the fragment was likely written in the same ink and by the same hand as a known forgery. As a result, the fragment is now considered to be a fake.[3]
        Although Jesus bloodline hypotheses were not submitted to the judgment of the Jesus Seminar, a group of scholars involved in the quest for the historical Jesus from a liberal Christian perspective, they were unable to determine whether Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a matrimonial relationship due to the dearth of historical evidence.

        They concluded that the historical Mary Magdalene was not a repentant prostitute but a prominent disciple of Jesus and a leader in the early Christian movement.[60]


        I would be more willing to consider Margaret Theiring’s research, http://www.peshertechnique.infinitesoulutions.com/Pesher/Marriage_of_Jesus.html,
        or Donovan Joyce’s. In Joyce’s 1977 book Jesus died in Kashmir: “Jesus, Moses and the ten lost tribes of Israel”. Andreas Faber-Kaiser explored the legend that Jesus met, married and had several children with a Kashmiri woman. The author also interviewed the late Basharat Saleem who claimed to be a Kashmiri descendant of Jesus.[11]

        But what Christians worship is an ideal that need not change. We should not confuse reality with truth. If that doesn’t make sense, just dismiss it. You know I talk nonsense, and that’s okay. :-))


      • Strewth,
        Ah just checked.
        It was the Emperor Domitian who sought out the descendents of Jude who was supposedly brother to Jesus. The whole account is told in the History of the Christian Church by Eusebius;

        Cheers, Rian.;


  2. “How Can I Keep From Singing?”

    My life goes on in endless song
    Above earth’s lamentations,
    I hear the real, though far-off hymn
    That hails a new creation.

    Through all the tumult and the strife
    I hear it’s music ringing,
    It sounds an echo in my soul.
    How can I keep from singing?

    While though the tempest loudly roars,
    I hear the truth, it liveth.
    And though the darkness ’round me close,
    Songs in the night it giveth.

    No storm can shake my inmost calm,
    While to that rock I’m clinging.
    Since love is lord of heaven and earth
    How can I keep from singing?


  3. ” Probiotics Might Raise Your Mood” by Adam Khan, the author of “Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often” and co-author with Klassy Evans of “Viewfinder: How to Change the Way You Look at Things.”

    IN A RECENT study, mice were cured of depression and anxiety with probiotics. The study reminded me of an earlier experiment done with humans showing that people who took probiotic supplements felt less stressed and had less anxiety and depression than people who had taken a placebo.

    In the more recent study, researchers took normal mice, which are usually fairly timid (staying close to walls when they explore, and being reluctant to walk in the open). They fed half the mice a brew containing a particular strain of gut bacteria — Lactobacillus rhamnosus (a strain found in some yogurts and probiotic supplements) — and the mice became less timid; they explored more freely.

    And when the researchers put the mice under stress (by plunging them in water, for example), the “probiotic mice” were less stressed than normal mice (the stress hormones in their blood didn’t rise as much in response to the stress). You can read more details about the study here and here.

    But the researchers wondered how a bacteria in the gut could alter the mice “psychologically.” So they cut the vagus nerve — the bundle of nerve fibers that connect the guts and the brain — and sure enough, this stopped the positive effects of the probiotics.

    So somehow the bacteria did something to the mice guts that sent a signal to the brain, causing the mice to feel (or at least behave) less anxious and depressed, and to produce less stress hormones.

    Probiotics are also good for your immune system, can help prevent gum disease and cavities, and might lower your risks of cancer and heart disease. Read more about how you can use probiotics to improve your health and mood here: Why Are Probiotics Good For You?



    • Researchers gave a multispecies probiotic called “Ecologic Barrier“ (Winclove probiotics) for 4 weeks to 20 non-depressed individuals and placebo to 20 control individuals. All individuals were non-smoking young adults with no reported heart, kidney or liver conditions, no prescribed medication or drug use, no use of more than 3-5 alcoholic drinks per week and no allergies or intolerances to lactose or gluten. Additionally, the participants had no psychiatric or neurological disorders, no personal or family history of depression or migraine, and they were assessed for depressed states and anxiety with Beck Inventories prior to intervention.
      This was a triple-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, pre- and post-intervention assessment test. “Triple blind” means that neither the researchers, nor the participants, nor the evaluators of the Leiden index knew who received the active probiotic or the placebo.

      Researchers were looking at the four patterns of dysfunctional thinking listed above and found that the two behaviors that were significantly helped by the probiotic formula were rumination and aggressive thoughts.
      Other Studies for Probiotics Helping with This Mood Disorder
      There are other studies which I will be adding in the future, but these 3 show that:

      There isn’t only one type of microbe that can help with depressed states
      That sometimes a single probiotic can help, and other times, multiple species of probiotics can help
      Probiotics may be the light to help end the darkness of depression!

      – See more at: http://www.powerofprobiotics.com/Depression.html#sthash.UxXicpFE.dpuf


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s