The practical wisdom of Zen

Science of Life   Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that began in China during the Tang dynasty (618 – 907). It is a combination of the insights of Buddha (490-410 BC) with the Tao. The Tao is an intuitive philosophy used in China for thousands of years and pointing to the essence of…

Climate change and a vegetarian diet

Science of Life   Mary Robinson, Head of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, recently advocated that we should all reduce our consumption of meat in order to ameliorate global warming, saying: “We need to eat less meat, maybe become vegetarian, or even vegan.” The underlying idea is to eliminate emissions of warming gases…

The power of vaccination

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently reported a sharp increase in the incidence of measles in the WHO European region in the first half of 2018 compared to 2017. This increase also occurred in Ireland. The ironic thing is that measles is a disease preventable by simple vaccination and the current resurgence of the disease…

The psychology of social class

Science of Life   You might think that social class divisions are fast disappearing in our modern world as we all increasingly enjoy affording things that used to be luxuries, e.g. motor cars, foreign holidays, university education, etc. but a recent review by Antony Manstead  (British Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 57, Issue 2, 2018)…

Religion is good for your health

Science of Life   I awoke this morning to the radio announcing that the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education has recommended that vending machines that dispense junk food and sugary drinks in schools should be banned. We are constantly bombarded with advice through the media on how to foster and maintain good physical and mental health…

Developing a male contraceptive pill

Science of Life   When we think of artificial contraception we think primarily of the ‘contraceptive pill’, easily the most common form of contraception used by women. There is no corresponding contraceptive pill for men, but efforts are underway to develop such contraception. It is predicted that if such a male pill became available the…

The Ageing Process

Science of Life   We all take the same journey through life – we are born, we grow old and we die. Today I will talk about the ageing process particularly from the 50s onwards, why our bodies dis-improve physically as we age and what to expect in old age. Average life expectancy is rising.…

Testing to excess

Science of Life   A ripple of excitement recently ran through the news media with the announcement that a blood test to detect cancer is under active development. Such a test would undoubtedly be a great boon, enabling very early detection of cancer when treatment has the best hope of success. New medical tests are constantly…

Being productive the Stoic way

Science of Life   We would all like to be productive, to use our time well and to get lots of things done. I know I would – I tend to have a problem with procrastination. But effective techniques to enhance productivity are well known, if only we would use them. Today I will outline…