Secular Ecstasy: Mystical States Without the Supernatural Element

It is possible for anyone, regardless of his or her religious or metaphysical beliefs, to have a mystical experience. These mystical states of consciousness have been accessible since time immemorial. You can find accounts of profound altered states in ancient Hindu and Buddhist scriptures and in the descriptions of the Eleusinian Mysteries, those secret rituals…View Post

Diet and the Evolution of the Human Brain

The evolution of the human brain has always been shrouded in mystery. This is because the organ tripled in size over the course of nearly seven million years, a pace of evolution that is unheard of in the natural world. Most of this growth occurred in the past two million years, during which time the…View Post

What Makes a Theory ‘Scientific’?

There are all kinds of ‘theories’ that exist, from the philosophical to the conspiratorial – the term ‘theory’ is also used colloquially to refer to something that may be more accurately called a hypothesis, an idea not yet confirmed. Scientific theories, however, are not mere speculations about what the world is like, but frameworks that…View Post

Why Does Social Anxiety Exist?

Social anxiety is a debilitating nervousness of being in social situations, which affects up to 12% of people in the UK. This makes it the most common type of anxiety disorder (for comparison, generalised anxiety disorder is present in 6% of the UK population). Common symptoms of social anxiety disorder include intense worrying about interactions…View Post

The Human Need for Storytelling

We are a storytelling species. Not only do we weave stories about our own lives (which is known as narrativisation: the process of presenting and interpreting experiences, events, and scenarios in the form of a narrative; that is, a story), we also create, tell, and retell stories of an epic, mythic, and fantastical nature. Moreover,…View Post