We’re back to Obama and his mystical powers. Forget hypnosis, it’s “elevation” that we should be worried about…and women’s lactation.
Obama in Your Heart
How the president-elect tapped into a powerful—and only recently studied—human emotion called “elevation.”
Posted Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008, at 7:03 AM ET
For researchers of emotions, creating them in the lab can be a problem. Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley, studies the emotions of uplift, and he has tried everything from showing subjects vistas of the Grand Canyon to reading them poetry—with little success. But just this week one of his postdocs came in with a great idea: Hook up the subjects, play Barack Obama’s victory speech, and record as their autonomic nervous systems go into a swoon.
In his forthcoming book, Born To Be Good (which is not a biography of Obama), Keltner writes that he believes when we experience transcendence, it stimulates our vagus nerve, causing “a feeling of spreading, liquid warmth in the chest and a lump in the throat.” For the 66 million Americans who voted for Obama, that experience was shared on Election Day, producing a collective case of an emotion that has only recently gotten research attention. It’s called “elevation.”
Keltner believes certain people are “vagal superstars”—in the lab he has measured people who have high vagus nerve activity. “They respond to stress with calmness and resilience, they build networks, break up conflicts, they’re more cooperative, they handle bereavement better.” He says being around these people makes other people feel good. “I would guarantee Barack Obama is off the charts. Just bring him to my lab.”
It was while looking through the letters of Thomas Jefferson that Haidt first found a description of elevation. Jefferson wrote of the physical sensation that comes from witnessing goodness in others: It is to “dilate [the] breast and elevate [the] sentiments … and privately covenant to copy the fair example.” Haidt took this description as a mandate. Since it’s tricky to study the vagus nerve, he and a psychology student conceived of a way to look at it indirectly. The vagus nerve works with oxytocin, the hormone of connection. Since oxytocin is released during breast-feeding, he and the student brought in 42 lactating women and had them watch either an inspiring clip from The Oprah Winfrey Show about a gang member saved from a life of violence by a teacher or an amusing bit from a Jerry Seinfeld routine.
About half the Oprah-watching mothers either leaked milk into nursing pads or nursed their babies following the viewing; none of the Seinfeld watchers felt enough breast dilation to wet a pad, and fewer than 15 percent of them nursed. You could say elevation is Oprah’s opiate of the masses, so it’s fitting that she early on gave Obama her imprimatur. And that for his victory speech was up front in Grant Park, elevation’s moist embodiment, feeling so at one with humankind that she used a stranger as a handkerchief.
The researchers say elevation is part of a family of self-transcending emotions. Some others are awe, that sense of the vastness of the universe and smallness of self that is often invoked by nature; another is admiration, that goose-bump-making thrill that comes from seeing exceptional skill in action. Keltner says we most powerfully experience these in groups—no wonder people spontaneously ran into the street on election night, hugging strangers. “We had to evolve these emotions to devote ourselves into social collectives,” he says.
When you start thinking about mass movements, all those upturned, glowing faces of true believers—be they the followers of Jim Jones or Adolf Hitler—you don’t always get a warm feeling about mankind. Instead, knowing where some of these “social collectives” end up, the sensation is a cold chill. Haidt acknowledges that in “calling the group to greatness,” elevation can be used for murderous ends. He says: “Anything that takes us out of ourselves and makes us feel we are listening to something larger is part of morality. It’s about pressing the buttons that turn off ‘I’ and turn on ‘we.’ “
My advice? Protect your vagus nerve over the next 4 years AT ALL COSTS!!
In case you missed this photo from a couple of days ago that was posted at the Tennessee Guerilla Women site, I’m posting it here because I can’t resist telling you what my reaction was when I saw it. It’s not the hands so much that hit me (more on the hands later) but how both Clinton and Obama are looking DOWN!
Being the cynic that I am, my first reaction was that they looked like they were both looking over the edge of a chasm and seeing a raging river below. (Perhaps with a huge fire moving toward them from behind.) Sort of like what you’d see at Lucifer Falls near my beloved Ithaca, NY (I did NOT make that name up!). They looked like they were about to jump. My second reaction was simply…JUMP!
About those hands…Obama’s hands. According to a report filed yesterday (12/4/08) at The Hill, Obama has hands that are “soft as butter.”
A Philadelphia man who lingered at his gym to get a chance to work out with President-elect Barack Obama said he was smitten with Obama’s personality and his soft skin.
Stepp Stewart said he worked out with Obama on Tuesday, when he was in Philadelphia for a National Governors Association meeting.
“I get off the bike. He looks me dead in the eye. He shook my hand,” Stewart told the local NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C.
“I held onto it as long as I could,” Stewart added. “His hands were soft as butter!”
Stewart said he heard that Obama was visiting his gym after he had finished his workout, prompting him to return to the gym.
“Girl, I put my sweat-drenched, funky-smellin’ clothes right back on, got right back on the floor and started fakin’ a workout!” Stewart said.
Stewart, a musical director and choreographer, said that he ran on a treadmill next to the president-elect, who also used other workout machines and read USA Today while at the Philadelphia Sports Club.
The choice of words in this piece reminded me about the stories about Obama’s sexual preferences that were circulating a few months ago (remember Larry Sinclair?) The guy is described as being “smitten” and is quoted as holding Obama’s hand for as long as he could and noted that really soft skin during the clench. He actually went back to “fake a workout” so he could be on the treadmill next to O (and who’s the “girl” he’s referring to?). I’m not going to assume that the guy is gay just because the he’s a “musical director and choreographer,” so I’ll just ponder the real question about how Obama keeps his hands so smooth? Hot waxing like I saw the other night in a scene from “An Unmarried Woman”? I can just see Obama in big mitts as he sits through a relaxing hand treatment…or maybe it’s just new Dawn “Hand Renewal” dishwashing liquid?
I’m now wondering if Sen. Patty Murray is going to have any success pushing to overturn the new “Conscience Rule” that Bushco is on the verge of hurling down on us womenfolk. (And it could effect everybody less obvious ways, as well.) Hillary Clinton was working with Murray on a bill to stop this in its tracks. As reported in the LA Times:
Broader medical refusal rule may go far beyond abortionThe Bush administration plans a new ‘right of conscience’ rule that would allow more workers to refuse more procedures. Critics say it could apply to artificial insemination and birth control.Reporting from Washington — The outgoing Bush administration is planning to announce a broad new “right of conscience” rule permitting medical facilities, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable, including abortion and possibly even artificial insemination and birth control.
For more than 30 years, federal law has dictated that doctors and nurses may refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further by making clear that healthcare workers also may refuse to provide information or advice to patients who might want an abortion.
It also seeks to cover more employees. For example, in addition to a surgeon and a nurse in an operating room, the rule would extend to “an employee whose task it is to clean the instruments,” the draft rule said.
The “conscience” rule could set the stage for an abortion controversy in the early months of Barack Obama’s administration.
If the regulation is issued before Dec. 20, it will be final when the new administration takes office, HHS officials say. Overturning it would require publishing a proposed new rule for public comment and then waiting months to accept comments before drafting a final rule.
Abortion-rights advocates think it might be easier to get Congress to reject the rule. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), before being nominated Monday for secretary of State, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have said they would move to reverse it.
The HHS proposal has set off a sharp debate about medical ethics and the duties of healthcare workers.
Last year, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology said a “patient’s well-being must be paramount” when a conflict arises over a medical professional’s beliefs.
In calling for limits on “conscientious refusals,” ACOG cited four recent examples. In Texas, a pharmacist rejected a rape victim’s prescription for emergency contraception. In Virginia, a 42-year-old mother of two became pregnant after being refused emergency contraception. In California, a physician refused to perform artificial insemination for a lesbian couple. (In August, the California Supreme Court ruled that this refusal amounted to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation.) And in Nebraska, a 19-year-old with a life-threatening embolism was refused an early abortion at a religiously affiliated hospital.
After all the misogyny we’ve witnessed this year, the last minute pander to the far-right by Bushco really pisses me off no end, for several reasons.
First, years ago I had a friend who had an ectopic pregnancy. She was rushed to the closest hospital doubled over in pain. As luck would have it, it was a Catholic hospital. When she was diagnosed, she was informed that they wouldn’t treat her because it was considered to be “an abortion.” So, her frantic husband had to arrange to have her moved to ANOTHER hospital. My friend could have DIED! So much for the “conscience” of the “healthcare providers” at that Catholic hospital. No Hippocratic Oath there, I guess. Just this bullshit about choosing a the “life” of a misplaced zygote that would never survive over the life of a LIVE WOMAN!
Secondly, I get totally ballistic when I see the Viagra ads on TV and know that that crap is covered by many insurance plans while contraception is often excluded. Pleasure for men=covered. Health and well-being achieved by preventing an unplanned pregnancy=covered, are you KIDDING??
If you wonder if women are truly considered to be second-class citizens, look no further than this setup! And, apparently, many women simply grin and bear it. As for a new Obama Administration…do you think this disrespectful bastard will want to expend any political capital on this issues considering he’s embraced those mega-pastors??
So, Hillary Clinton leaves the Senate and this issue. I just hope Patty Murray can make some noise…or will she be squelched by the Obama crowd? Let’s see if NARAL and NOW make excuses for Obama if he fails to support the reversal of this INSULTING rule and enables the further mistreatment of women. I’m not holding my breath…
And then it’s back to the misinformation about abortion that has been shoved at us for years. Apparently, some researchers are getting bit “uppity” about situation. As reported by Reuters:
Abortion not seen linked with depression
Review of studies found no evidence of emotional harm after procedureS(“3053751″)Updated 6:59 a.m. MT, Thurs., Dec. 4, 2008
WASHINGTON – No high-quality study done to date can document that having an abortion causes psychological distress, or a “post-abortion syndrome,” and efforts to show it does occur appear to be politically motivated, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.
A team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reviewed 21 studies involving more than 150,000 women and found the high-quality studies showed no significant differences in long-term mental health between women who choose to abort a pregnancy and others.
“The best research does not support the existence of a ‘post-abortion syndrome’ similar to post-traumatic stress disorder,” Dr. Robert Blum, who led the study published in the journal Contraception, said in a statement.
“The U.S. Supreme Court, while noting that ‘we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon,’ cited adverse mental health outcomes for women as part of the rationale for limiting late term abortions,” Blum’s team wrote.
“The best quality studies indicate no significant differences in long-term mental health between women in the United States who choose to terminate a pregnancy and those who do not,” they wrote.
“…studies with the most flawed methodology consistently found negative mental health consequences of abortion,” they added. “Scientists are still conducting research to answer politically motivated questions.“
Is that the same Supreme Court Fart that is supposed to decide Obama’s citizenship case today (Friday)? And are those “scientists” who are still trying to fit research into a political goal really “scientists?” Let’s stop being so polite!!
Filed under: Current Politics Tagged: | "Conscience Rule", abortion, abortion. abortion rights, Adolf Hitler, Barack Obama, Born to be Good, breast-feeding, Catholic hospitals, contraception, Contraception (journal), depression, Dr. Robert Blum, Hillary Clinton, human emotion "elevation", Ithaca NY gorges, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Jones, Johns Hopkins University, lactation, Lucifer Falls, medical refusal rule, NARAL, NOW, Obama's soft hands, Oprah Winfrey, oxytocin, politically-motivated science, Professor Dacher Keltner, psychology of social collectives, Senator Patty Murray, Slate, soft as butter, Supreme Court, Tennessee Guerilla Women, Thomas Jefferson, vagus nerve, Viagra