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Beyond Identity

We often think of ourselves as our body, mind, and emotions. We take these three elements
and make an amalgamation. However, we also often talk about a person’s soul. Is there any
scientific basis for the soul? Surprisingly, there is. Each unique personality a person has (even
in circumstances of amnesia and other illnesses), the feeling and identity of the self beyond
age (especially experienced as we grow older), and our inevitable subjective experience as
an individual comprise a scientific foundation for the soul.
Despite neuroplasticity, or the constant shift in the links between our brain cells, we remain
essentially the same personality. This consistency is most stark in the case of mentally ill
patients or people who have experienced memory loss. According to Scientific American:
In his book The Perpetual Now: A Story of Amnesia, Memory and Love, science journalist
Michael Lemonick tells the story of Lonni Sue, a commercial artist who suffered brain damage
as a result of a viral infection. She was left unable to recall her past or to form new memories.
Hence the book’s title. Lemonick assumed that Lonni Sue, when she lost her memories, lost
her self. Because what are we but our memories? But once he got to know Lonni Sue, as well
as people who knew her before and after her injury, Lemonick discovered that her self had
not been destroyed. She was still cheerful in a way that made people around her feel better,
and she was still creative and playful, drawing pictures crammed with visual and verbal puns.
(Horgan, John)
So, despite memory loss, we still retain the essence of our personality. Basically, no matter
what happens to our brain, our unique personality seems to shine through. Besides one’s
personality being present despite memory loss, the soul of a person can be identified through
one’s consciousness. Though we commonly identify with our body and what we see in the
mirror, we also have a sense that we are not a certain age—as our sense of self usually leans
less on age and rather on our subjective feeling of who we are in essence. As author Cate
Montana explains:
Yes, my body is definitely older. But “I” am not. The essence that I call my “self” has not aged
a day. Of course, anybody over forty knows this phenomenon. At some point every human
being on the planet looks in the mirror and says, “I can’t believe I’m 42 (or 62 or 74 or 87
or…). I’m the exact same person on the inside. What the hell happened?” (“Proof of the Soul.”)
So, we have an identity that is more of a physical manifestation, and another identity that
encapsulates our character. Often, behaviorally, people see their character as eternal rather
than bound by age.
Lastly, each person is inevitably subjective about his or her experience. Despite humans
being very, very similar to each other in DNA and overall composition, our perception of reality
is vastly different from individual to individual. According to Psychology Today, “While
neuroscience has made tremendous progress illuminating the functioning of the brain, why
we have a subjective experience remains mysterious. The problem of the soul lies exactly
here, in understanding the nature of the self, the “I” in existence that feels and lives life.
Although the current scientific paradigm is based on the belief that the world has an objective
observer-independent existence, real experiments suggest just the opposite” (“Does The Soul
Exist? Evidence Says ‘Yes’”). As the two-slit experiment has shown, when existence is
observed, it changes its composition. This is only one piece of the puzzle that shows how
“objective” reality is not easy to come by.
The soul of a person is incredibly challenging to prove scientifically. However, with each
person’s personality being unique, the behavioral quality of thinking of the self beyond age,
and our inevitable subjective experience, we can say that the soul has some basis in science.
These realities of our behavior, character, and perception might not be tested stringently, but
they are very difficult to deny
Online Education

It seems everything is moving online these days. Even our education is transferring onto the
internet. Many people might squabble about the disadvantages of this phenomena, but today,
I want to discuss the advantages of getting an education online. This is a pertinent topic, as
the future of education is moving more and more towards shifting physical educational
institutions online. There are reasons for this: many times you can learn whatever you want,
it is more comfortable in a variety of ways, online courses often look good on resumes, the
pacing of learning is managed by the learner, and the cost of virtual education is often lower
than traditional education. The freedom to choose your educational path is an enduring quality
of online education. For more creative people, or people who want to focus on a single activity,
this can be a dream come true. According to elearning Industry, “You can pick the program
of your dreams in traditional education, too, but that would involve traveling away from home,
living in a completely unknown city, and struggling in an extremely competitive learning
environment. With online education, you can take any program or course present in traditional
four-year universities” (Norman, Stephanie). So, the ease of access to the courses and majors
you are striving to study are widely available online. This increases opportunities to gain the
education we desire instead of making needless compromises. Like the last point, comfort
takes center stage for many students. Countless students choose online education in order
to avoid wasting time travelling and on many other activities in order to attend physical
education institutions. According to the Open Education Database, “Commercials that feature
online students studying in their pajamas only skims the surface of one of the benefits of
online education: no physical class sessions. Students listen to lectures and complete
assignments sent to them electronically, with no need to fight traffic, leave work early for class,
or miss important family time. Rather than miss important class sessions (due to weather
conditions), students in online courses can always “attend” by participating in discussion
boards or chat sessions, turning in their work on time, and watching lectures or reading
materials” (“10 Advantages of Taking Online Classes”). In other words, by being an online
student, you circumnavigate many of the issues that regular students endure on a daily basis.
In addition, many employers are happy to see online courses on resumes. Many recruiters
see the taking of online courses as a sign of taking initiative. As stated by Pongo Resume,
“Employers respect a degree earned online as much as a degree earned from attending a
brick-and-mortar school. They understand that with the technological advances we have
today, more and more employees are getting their education and training online. Because
hiring managers value continuing education and professional development, having the
relevant courses and programs in the education section of your resume will demonstrate that
you are resourceful and have taken the initiative to stay ahead of the curve and improve
professionally” (“The Advantages of Online Learning for You and Your Career”). Therefore,
not only is online education seen as equal to regular education by employers, but it is also
viewed as being competent in the latest technologies and trends. Back to the students, one
of the great advantages of online education is that learners can study at their own pace.
According to eLearning Industry, “This type of system does not require attending live
sessions; you can access the materials at any time that works for you. If you have to work or
take care of your home and children during the day, you can study at night. That’s an
advantage the traditional educational system cannot beat” (Norman, Stephanie). In addition,
people who want to take a longer time to receive a degree can do so without any pressure.
Finally, the cost of getting an online education is cheaper on average than receiving a
traditional education. According to the Open Education Database, “Though not all online
degrees offer less expensive net tuition prices than traditional colleges, associated expenses
almost always cost less. For example, there are no commuting costs, and sometimes required
course materials, such as textbooks, are available online at no cost. In addition, many
colleges and universities accept credits earned via free massive open online courses
(MOOCs), the most recent advance in online education” (“10 Advantages of Taking Online
Classes”). Thus, there are a variety of reasons why an online education costs less. Receiving
an online education is becoming more and more popular due to a multitude of advantages it
has over traditional instruction. These advantages include, to name a few: students can learn
whatever they want, it is more comfortable, online courses often look great on resumes, the
pacing of learning is managed by the pupil, and the cost is often lower than traditional
education. With these reasons, it is hard to not see why this form of education is on the rise
How to Start a Business

In this age of capitalism, starting a business sounds like a great thing to do. However, many
people do not know where to start. In fact, “how to start a business” is one of the most
searched-for queries on the internet for a reason. It is a daunting act. You have to sacrifice
your time, money, and energy for an idea that might not come to fruition. That is why it is good
to know a process you can follow to ensure success. In the following paragraphs, a step by
step guide on how to start a business will be given. The first step in starting a business is
doing research. You have to investigate your business idea, explore the market for your
concept, look into your competition, and more. According to The Balance, there are a few
questions you should ask during the research process: “Is there a need for your anticipated
products/services? Who needs it? Are there other companies offering similar
products/services now?What is the competition like? How will your business fit into the
market?” (Gregory, Alyssa). Without this research and inquiry process, you might be making
a business without any foundation. After you have conducted research, you are now ready to
create a business plan. As stated by Business News Daily, “A business plan helps you figure
out where your company is going, how it will overcome any potential difficulties and what you
need to sustain it” (Conlin, Bennett). Take your time while creating a business plan, as it
needs to be thorough and reviewed by peers in order to be taken seriously. Next in line is
planning your finances in relation to your business. According to The Balance, “Starting a
small business doesn’t have to require a lot of money, but it will involve some initial investment
as well as the ability to cover ongoing expenses before you are turning a profit. Put together
a spreadsheet that estimates the one-time startup costs for your business (licenses and
permits, equipment, legal fees, insurance, branding, market research, inventory,
trademarking, grand opening events, property leases, etc.), as well as what you anticipate
you will need to keep your business running for at least 12 months (rent, utilities, marketing
and advertising, production, supplies, travel expenses, employee salaries, your own salary,
etc.)” (Gregory, Alyssa). Thus, you need to be financially secure before starting a business,
as the risk of losing money is too high to be frivolous. Subsequently, you need to pick a
business structure. You can choose from several options: a sole proprietorship, a partnership,
a limited liability company, or a corporation. The structure should fit with the needs of your
business, and you might need to hire a specialist to determine the exact structure that fits
best with your concept (Conlin, Bennett). It gets more exciting and realistic as you choose
and register a business name. According to Forbes, “Finding the right name for your startup
can have a significant impact on your success. The wrong name can do worse than fail to
connect with customers; it can also result in insurmountable business and legal hurdles. In
contrast, a clear, powerful name can be extremely helpful in your marketing and branding
efforts” (Harroch, Richard). Choose your business name wisely, as it can be a great
advantage to you. Next, you will have to obtain the proper licenses and permits to own a
business. Check which ones you have to apply for in relation to the structure of your business.
Be thorough with all of the information you need to send to governmental and financial
institutions (Gregory, Alyssa). Though it may sound tedious, but you have to choose an
accounting system as well. As stated by The Balance, “Your accounting system is necessary
in order to create and manage your budget, set your rates and prices, conduct business with
others, and file your taxes. You can set up your accounting system yourself, or hire an
accountant to take away some of the guesswork. If you decide to get started on your own,
make sure you consider these questions that are vital when choosing accounting software”
(Gregory, Alyssa). Without setting up an accounting system, you can easily lose money and
run an inefficient business. The crucial next step is setting up your business location. You
might have a home office, a retail spot, or a shared or private office space. In addition, you
will have to think about buying, renting, or leasing a place for your business (Gregory, Alyssa).
The penultimate step is gathering a team. You will need to hire people you can trust and that
are solid in their work experience in order to lift your business off the ground. You will also
have to figure out the salaries for each position, and what you can afford in terms of the size
of your team (Conlin, Bennett). For the last step, you need to launch your business with the
proper amount of advertising and security of your finances. According to Business News
Daily, “Collaborating with more established brands in your industry is a great way to achieve
growth. Reach out to other companies or even influential bloggers and ask for some
promotion in exchange for a free product sample or service. Partner with a charity
organization and volunteer some of your time or products to get your name out there” (Conlin,
Bennett). Do whatever you can to make the launch of your business a success. This has been
a systematic run-down of how to start a business. If you follow these steps accordingly and
work with professionals in launching businesses, you will have a greater chance of success
A Lack of Sleep

A lack of sleep seems pervasive. We are sleeping less than ever before, some studies have
shown. Our lives are becoming more and more busy with each passing era, and even children
are suffering from sleep deprivation due to all the activities they are engaging in. In light of
these issues, it is important to know the effects of a lack of sleep. The most common effects
of sleep deprivation are drowsiness during the day, experiencing microsleeps, a difficulty
concentrating, impulsive behavior, a difficulty learning, and lower physical immunity.
Drowsiness is a noticeable effect of a lack of sleep. In fact, it is quite dangerous, as according
to WebMD, “Drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk. The National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto
crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S. The problem is greatest among
people under 25 years old” (Peri, Camille). Therefore, we have to be careful not to become
sleepy during the day in order to not harm others. In addition to regular drowsiness, we can
experience microsleeps due to sleep deprivation. Once again, these occurrences are
hazardous, as HealthLine states that, “During these episodes, you’ll fall asleep for a few
seconds or minutes without realizing it. Microsleep is out of your control and can be extremely
dangerous if you’re driving. It can also make you more prone to injury due to trips and falls”
(“11 Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body”). In order to avoid microsleep, you must get
at least six hours of sleep a night. In the same vein, concentration becomes more difficult with
a lack of sleep. According to Healthline, “Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted, so it
can’t perform its duties as well. You may also find it more difficult to concentrate or learn new
things. The signals your body sends may also come at a delay, decreasing your coordination
skills and increasing your risks for accidents” (“11 Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your
Body”). A lack of concentration can also affect us seriously at work, where this function is
often the name of the game. With a lack of concentration can come impulsive behaviour. A
study on the link between this characteristic and sleep deprivation noted that, “Patients with
impulse control disorders often report sleep problems, and sleep deprivation even in healthy
individuals impairs cognition, decision-making, and perhaps impulse control” (Acheson, A, et
al.). In general, neglecting sleep can cause harmful, impulsive behaviour. Not only does not
getting enough sleep make us impulsive, but also not as smart. According to WebMD, “Sleep
plays a critical role in thinking and learning. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration,
reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently” (Peri, Camille).
So, if you want to learn and have all the engines firing up there, so to speak, it is best to sleep
the minimum amount to perform well mentally. Sometimes people wonder why they get sick
so often. The reason might be that you are not sleeping enough. In fact, sleep deprivation
has been linked to acquiring sickness easier through a deficiency in immunity. According to
Healthline, “Sleep deprivation prevents your immune system from building up its forces. If you
don’t get enough sleep, your body may not be able to fend off invaders. It may also take you
longer to recover from illness” (“11 Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body”). It is also
known that long-term sleep deprivation causes one to be more prone towards getting diabetes
and heart disease. There are many other effects that could be listed when speaking about
how a lack of sleep affects our well-being. However, these examples are the most apparent.
Ponder them the next time you want to sleep less, or you have scheduled only a short time
for sleep.