Everything Bad is NOT Good For You

everything bad is good for youSteven Johnson’s 2005 book Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter, offered an enormous boon to everyone who wanted to defend the neurological virtues of our increasingly technologized and media-driven culture. I remember hearing Doug Wilson speak at our former church, where he cited Johnson’s book–which was then required reading at New Saint Andrew’s College–as balancing out the work of Neil Postman.

In Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains, Carr responded to Johnson’s claim that book reading under stimulates the senses compared to using a computer. Here is Carr’s rebuttal:

The Shallows What the Internet is Doing to Our BrainsSteven Johnson, in his 2005 book Everything Bad is Good for You, contrasted the widespread, teeming neural activity seen in the brains of computer users with the much more muted activity evident in the brains of book readers. The comparison led him to suggest that computer use provides more intense mental stimulation than does book reading. The neural evidence could even, he wrote, lead a person to conclude that ‘reading books chronically understimulates the senses.’ But while Johnson’s diagnosis is correct, his interpretation of the differing patterns of brain activity is misleading. It is the very fact that book reading ‘understimulates the senses’ that makes the activity so intellectually rewarding. By allowing us to filter out distractions, to quiet the problem-solving functions of the frontal lobes, deep reading becomes a form of deep thinking. The mind of the experienced book reader is a calm mind, not a buzzing one. When it comes to the firing of our neurons, it’s a mistake to assume that more is better.

Further Reading


Project Gratitude: $1,528 pledged, 19% funded, 7 hours to go!

I want to say a BIG thank you to everyone who has supported my Kickstart campaign this month to finance work on a second book. Through your generous contributions, I have raised $1,528 towards the cost of financing this project, which will explore the secrets of gratitude, attentiveness and human flourishing. While this is only 19% of the total required, and it will take a miracle to raise the remaining $6,282 before the campaign expires tonight. However, even if we are not successful and Kickstart returns the money to the various donors, what will not be lost is the warm encouragement people have given throughout this campaign. I have been so blessed by the people who have shared that they are learning with me how to be more grateful during times of difficulty, and more attentive during times of distraction, and to glory in being human with all the pain, vulnerability and joy that is part of the Good Life.

In the final hours of this campaign, I would be appreciate it if you could help spread the word about this project. In my recent post ‘Help Reach More People With Our Message‘, I have explained some practical steps you can do, besides pledging money, to help publicize this project.

By the way, if anyone is wondering why I set the watermark so high at $7,810 when I created the Kickstart campaign, it’s because I felt I needed to be realistic with my supporters about the time and expense involved in undertaking a project like this. Even though I will be working on this project simultaneously with continuing my other jobs, it is still a large time commitment that I don’t want to take lightly.

As we approach the end, please nobody mortgage your homes or sell your cars no matter how desperate you are for me to write this book. But if you want to sell your Xbox on Craig’s List I won’t complain.

Some of The Topics I hope to Cover in The Book

  • Why comparing yourself to others may be making you more unhappy than you think;
  • What Americans can learn from Asians about the role struggle plays in cultivating virtue;
  • How the body is often perceived as the enemy in an age of friendly machines;
  • Lessons from a Nazi concentration camp on how it’s possible to suffer and be grateful at the same time;
  • How mindfulness practices can increase emotional intelligence;
  • How all labor, even the most mundane, can be offered to God as worship;
  • Why some people are content with what they have and others seem to never have enough;
  • How modern technologies are eroding attentiveness and what you can do about it;
  • How cultural assumptions change the brain through neuroplasticity;
  • How the messiness, complexity and vulnerability of being human are strengths our machines can never aspire to;
  • The role of beauty in classical education;
  • 10 things you can do every day that rewire your brain to be more grateful;

Here’s the link to the campaign, where people can donate and where I explain in more detail about this exciting project:

Being Grateful, Being Attentive, Being Human


Help Reach More People With our Message!


Thank you so much to everyone who has been supporting my Kickstart campaign.

In a message to my mailing list on Monday, I shared how blessed I’ve been to receive such positive feedback from those who support this project and who have been learning along with me how to be grateful in a time of grumbling, how to be attentive in an era of distraction, and how to be human during an age of machines. I also shared with my mailing list that even if we are unsuccessful in raising the necessary funds, what will not be lost is the warm encouragement all of you have given. You have urged me to keep sharing my message in spite of obstacles, discouragement and opposition.

As we approach the final hours of this fund-raiser, I need your helping in making one last-ditch effort to publicize this campaign to a wider audience. Many new people are often incentivized to support a project like this in the final hours. Here are two things I am asking you to do:

  • Send an email to your friends telling them about this project and directing them HERE where they can pledge various amounts. You might consider sharing THIS list of topics I plan to cover in the book.
  • Share my recent Facebook post about this project and say a few words about why you would like this book to be written. Encourage your friends to share the post.

Thank you again for your support!

Further Reading

Essential Oils and Brain Fitness (Part 1): My Aromatic Journey to Brain Fitness

This is the first post in my series on essential oils and brain fitness. To see other posts in the series, click here.

In 2010, when I began working on my Ph.M. from King’s College London, I became fascinated by new discoveries showing that the wiring of the brain is not static or fixed. Rather, our brains are flexible and continually changing based on how we use them and what we encounter in our environment. The practical ramifications of these discoveries are huge. It means that many of the mental and emotional problems we’ve come to accept as inherent to ourselves – forgetfulness, anxiety, lack of focus, stress, rigidity, etc. – can actually be overcome through knowing how to rewire the brain.

After spending a few years studying these discoveries, I began wondering what role essential oils might play in helping to rewire the brain towards higher levels of mental and emotional fitness. It turns out that there is a large and growing body of research showing the important role essential oils can play in helping our brains and heart achieve their full potential.

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How to Buy High Quality Essential Oils at Wholesale Prices

If you want to skip this page, CLICK HERE to order your starter kit now! Or, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

Becoming a Young Living wholesale member is quick and easy and gives you an instant 24% wholesale discount on hundreds of products!

Some of you are wholesale members at Sam’s or Costco, so you understand the benefits associated with wholesale buying. However, unlike with Costco or Sam’s Club, with Young Living you don’t have to pay a registration fee to join! Your first purchase of essential oils is your registration fee.

And forget about a yearly renewal! As long as you spend at least 50 pv (approx. $50.00) during the year, you’ll maintain your wholesale status! It’s that easy! No selling. No monthly requirements. No headaches!

In other words, all you have to do to get wholesale prices is order a starter kit. It’s that simple!

What You’ll Get with Your Starter Kit…

  • Your choice of Diffuser (see choices, kit costs, and savings above)
  • Lavender 5-ml
  • Peppermint 5-ml
  • Lemon 5-ml
  • Copaiba 5-ml
  • Frankincense 5-ml
  • Thieves® 5-ml
  • Purification® 5-ml
  • R.C.™ 5-ml
  • DiGize™ 5-ml
  • PanAway® 5-ml
  • Stress Away™ 5-ml
  • AromaGlide™ Roller Fitment
  • 10 Sample Packets
  • 10 Love It? Share It! Sample Business Cards
  • 10 Love It? Share It! Sample Oil Bottles
  • 2 NingXia Red® 2-oz. samples
  • Product Guide and Product Price List
  • Essential Oil Magazine
  • Essential Edge Member Resources
  • The value of the Premium Starter Kit is well over $300, while the initial investment starts at only $160! THIS IS AMAZING!

In addition, when you choose the Premium Starter Kit, I will personally send you a WELCOME PACKAGE filled with all sorts of helpful and valuable goodies. I do this because I want you to be well-equipped! Your oils won’t do you much good unless you know how to use them! I will also personally invite you to join my Facebook group ‘Mental and Emotional Fitness With Essential Oils.

Young Living’s Premium Starter Kits represents over $300 worth of oils and products that will be a great blessing to your family. But, depending upon which premium starter kit you order, the cost of the kit is as low as…$160! (You get to choose your kit based on your favorite diffuser or products.)

That’s right, by simply securing a $160 starter kit, you will be able to purchase your future oils at wholesale prices! How cool is that?

Get started now! Simply follow the directions below or feel free to contact me for personalized helped. (To get my contact details, click here.)

Click HERE and follow the directions below. Note: The Young Living sign up page will open as a new page.

  1. Select the “Member” membership type (this choice allows you to get discounted pricing and it qualifies you for the potential of referral commissions, or what we call The Accidental Paycheck.) Choosing this type of membership does not obligate you to ever sell products or refer anyone to Young Living.
  2. Enter my member number: 1297759 into both the enroller and sponsor fields (this should pop in automatically)
  3. Select your country and language.
  4. Click “Continue”.
  5. Fill out your shipping information. Click “I agree” to the terms and conditions, and click “Agree and Continue.”
  6. Choose the Premium Starter Kit of your choice, which will qualify you for a fun welcome packet from me!
  7. Once you’ve completed this process, you will be given your own member number, which will allow you to start shopping with wholesale prices immediately. At this point, I recommend you sign up for the Essential Rewards program so that you can earn FREE oils and enjoy discounted shipping every month! You can read more about this program on my friend Stacy McDonald’s blog here.)

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or contact me through the chat window in the lower right-hand corner. Or phone Young Living directly at 1-800-371-3515. (Please be sure to tell them that I referred you and to give them my member ID which is 1297759. That way this website will get a commission on the sale.)

Further Reading

Struggle is Good

In the spiritual life, is struggle a virtue or a vice?

In the spiritual life, is struggle a virtue or a vice?

“Let go and let God.”

“Human effort plays no part in the spiritual life.”

“If you’re struggling to be holy, that just shows you’re working in your own strength rather than God’s.”

Do these cliches sound familiar? Having spent most of my life in evangelical circles, I can’t begin to count the amount of times I was told that a spirit-led life should not be a struggle, but should come easy. One teacher told me that the Christian life should be as easy as a boy rolling down hill, while other mentors told me that frustration, confusion and struggle are the signs that someone is living in the flesh rather than the Spirit. One book that was recommended to me by almost all my evangelical friends said that will-power played no part in the life of someone surrendered to Jesus.

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