"The success of Homo sapiens as a species is built on our inability to tell the difference between a fiction and a reality."
~ Yuval Noah Harari
Any perception you can observe directly in real time can be used to train a variety of attention-related skills.
I like to make a game out of turning ordinary activities into opportunities for practice.
There are a number of exercises I use when watching a film — whether it’s one I enjoy, dislike, or have seen before.
"The reason that we have the impression that the world is a violent place is that that's what news is about. News is about stuff that happens, not about stuff that doesn't happen, and all the parts of the world that are free of war, that are free of terrorist attacks just don't get reported to us and so we forget about them. We're getting better and better at reporting the violent events that do occur. Something blows up, you can be sure you'll hear about it, but we don't appreciate how much of the world at any given time is at peace."
~ Steven Pinker
"I think a lot of people probably live their life not concerned with their own happiness, but with the story they're creating."
~ Philip Seymour Hoffman
"Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds, but in doing that, they change the way our brains work and potentially change our brain chemistry. And that’s what it means to be a social creature—to connect with others, to care about others, even complete strangers. It's so interesting that dramatic stories cause us to do this."
~ Paul Zak director of the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies and author of The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity
See also: "Trust, morality — and oxytocin?" In this TED Talk, neuroeconomist Paul Zak shows why he believes oxytocin (he calls it "the moral molecule") is responsible for trust, empathy and other feelings that help build a stable society.
"One of the most difficult things to say to another person is, I hope that you will love me for no good reason. But it is what we all want and rarely dare to say to one another – to our children, to our parents and mates, to our friends, and to strangers. Especially to strangers, who have neither good nor bad reasons to love us."
~ Russell Banks, from The Angel on the Roof
"Because of your unique history, you have evolved a series of stories that you repeatedly return to throughout your life. These stories determine how you see yourself and how you interpret what is happening to you. You may well be overidentified with your stories and not see that they represent only one view of your circumstances. Your stories can limit what you believe to be your choices and define what happens to you in your day. They may not have even come from you but may have been suggested by someone else. You may not even recognize them as stories; to you they may seem like worries or just the way you are."