The Urban Monk Podcast (general)

How can we be good people? What determines that? One indicator many people look at is the ability to empathize with others. The ability to look at the pain and suffering of others and enact change is looked upon as a great moral compass for humanity. But what if our ability to empathize is actually hindering society on a grand scale? Today on The Urban Monk, Paul Bloom, Yale researcher and author of "Against Empathy," argues that empathy is one of the leading motivators of inequality and immorality in society. How can empathy muddle our judgement? How does it actually create more prejudices that people might not notice upon first glance? How can we live a progressive life of compassion for others?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk079PaulBloom.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Does Capitalism fuel greed? In the United States, is the middle class shrinking? Are the rich getting richer and are the poor getting poorer? To help break through media taglines and tweetable snippets, Neil Gilbert, author of "Never Enough: Capitalism and the Progressive Spirit" and professor of Social Welfare at Berkeley Social Welfare, comes to The Urban Monk to help explain the current economic landscape. Is capitalism to blame for the current poverty levels throughout the world? What causes such inequality? Is grand inequality unavoidable? Does social welfare spending and universal benefits help or hinder those of less economic means? How do we all measure our own economic success? How can we make sure we see ourselves as successful?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk078NeilGilbert.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

When it comes to the news and the health risks inherent with apparently just living every day life, how do we know what to worry about? Do mobile phones cause brain cancer? Does BPA cause cancer? Is the HPV vaccine safe? There is conflicting information on the safety or lack thereof on nearly everything. To help cut through the false science reports, Geoffrey C. Kabat joins the program today. How can we distinguish real science from poorly reported and misinterpreted stories? What risks are worth worrying about and what should we let go?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk077GeoffreyKabat.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Many of us do everything we can to maintain a healthy life but sometimes there's a lot to worry about. From diet to exercise to sleep, the battles are ongoing. What do we prioritize first? Well, for Dr. Daniel Amen and his wife Tana Amen, they think you should focus first what's between your ears. Your brain is the control center of your body and when that's not working nothing is in control. How can we win the battles that constantly barrage against our brains? How can we be present and aware on a daily basis against the various fights we might face?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk076DanielAndTanaAmen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Well.org!

Is becoming a genius born or bred? For Michael J. Gelb, it's made. To him, everyone can become a genius like Leonardo da Vinci. How can people spark their own curiosity, creativity, and desire for learning like one of the great Renaissance masters. For us regular-folk in the 21st century, is it possible for us to think like a great Renaissance master? How can a change in thinking lead us to be better problem solvers or more creative thinkers or more expressive people? How can thinking like Leonardo da Vinci allow us to just better enjoy the world around us?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk075MichaelGelb.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Some of you might live with terribly chronic pain. It's impossible to ignore a life with such pain, but have you ever wondered where it even comes from? What is causing the pain and is it possible to stop it before it even begins? Today Miranda Esmonde-White joins Pedram Shojai on The Urban Monk to discuss how muscle imbalances can cause connective tissue problems which can create some awful pain for people. What is causing muscle imbalances? Is it something people actively do or is it from habits or perhaps injuries? What alterations can we make in our lives to truly live forever painless?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk074MirandaEsmondeWhite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:21pm EDT

We all have different genetic make-up that makes us all unique but many of us think we're stuck with the genes we have and that's it. But Dr. Jennifer Stagg wants to let us know that that is not the case. She is a physician who has been studying a different approach to disease prevention. How does our environment affect how our genes are expressed? How do we even know what genes we have? What sort of steps can we take once we know what genes we have and what may or may not be activated? Can we really radically transform our health by focusing on the environment around us?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk073JenniferStaggs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

We work hard for money. We need money. Whether it's to pay for our home, pay for food, pay for clothing, we know we need it. But why do we behave the way we do with money? Why are some people really good at saving while others are really good at spending? BBC Radio 4 presenter Claudia Hammond joins today's program to discuss the psychology behind our relationship to money. Are there tips and tricks that can help us use our money in better ways? Are there ways in which we can use money to make us feel better?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk071ClaudiaHammond.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:06pm EDT

Some of us might know that person. That person that's super spiritual, but you're not sure they even know what that means. JP Sears knows this person too. In fact, he might know that person too well as he was able to perfectly satirize the "spiritual" personality in a series of YouTube videos. Nothing takes the funny out of talking about how comedy works, but what is it about humor that can disarm certain topics?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk072JPSears.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32pm EDT

Today's guest has a fascinating relationship to the human heart. Struggling with heart disease himself, Dr. Thomas Cowan set to study the human heart not only in medical terms, you know, as a muscle that pumps blood, but also on a deeper level. Dr. Cowan was interested mostly in the work of Rudolf Steiner and his claim that the heart is not simply a pump. If so, what then is the heart? What is the relationship of the heart to the rest of the body? If we change how we look at the human heart, then how does that change how we study it? Treat diseases affecting it? If we change our relationship to our own hearts, how does that change our relationships to one another?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk070ThomasCowan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT