Welcome to Personality & Spirituality. It’s all about understanding who and what we really are — beyond the personality, to the depths of our innermost being or soul. I’m a psychologist and this is my passion.

The purpose of this website is to be a hub of information, inspiration and occasionally entertainment about who and what we really are — beyond (but including) the personality.

Enjoy! :-)

- barry

A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Cynicism – bad for the brain?

Dr House everybody lies BW2

It has already been found that a cynical outlook is linked to heart disease. Now, research shows that people with high levels of cynicism in later life are also more likely to develop dementia.

Cynicism and Health

Dementia is a brain disease that gradually robs a person of intellectual abilities – memory, knowledge, thinking, language – which severely impacts their ability to function in daily life. The risk of dementia increases with age, and as more people are living longer, dementia is becoming more common.

According to a study published in the medical journal Neurology (May 2014),those with a high degree of cynicism in later life are much more likely to develop dementia than those with more positive attitudes.

The researchers, based at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, began their study back in 1998.

At that time, a group of 1,449 elderly people had been asked to rate their agreement with statements such as “I think people would lie to get ahead”, or “it is safer to trust nobody”. This rating scale (known as the Cook-Medley scale) was used as a measure of each person’s cynical distrust. Based on their rating responses, the volunteers could be divided into three sub-groups: High, Moderate or Low Cynical Distrust.

The same volunteers also underwent a test for dementia, which served as a baseline for later comparison.

A decade later, about a third of the original group had died. Of those remaining, 622 underwent a second dementia test.

The results showed that 9 per cent of the 164 people in the High Cynical Distrust group had been newly diagnosed with dementia, compared with just 4 per cent of the 212 people in the Low Cynical Distrust group. This was after adjusting for other factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.

According to the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Anna-Maija Tolppanen:

“These results add to the evidence that people’s view on life and personality may have an impact on their health. Understanding how a personality trait like cynicism affects risk for dementia might provide us with important insights on how to reduce risks for dementia.”

What’s with the attitude?


Cynicism is often characterised by:

  • A dismissive or contemptuous attitude towards other people’s beliefs, ideals, hopes and values.
  • A tendency to believe only the worst about people, such as believing that everyone is basically devious, untrustworthy, and motivated purely by selfishness.
  • Criticism openly expressed in the form of distrust, fault-finding and mockery.Pessimistic expectations — the most likely outcome of any situation is the opposite of what everyone else is hoping for.

You might well think, that all sounds a bit ugly and negative. Who would adopt an attitude like that? Any why?


To answer the first question, famous cynics include Niccolò Machiavelli, Sigmund Freud, Bette Davis, James Cagney, Charles Manson, Bob Dylan, Joan Rivers, and Oliver Stone. Also, the British TV news presenter Jeremy Paxman, whose face says it all →

And to answer the second question:

We each see and interpret the world through a “mental lens” by which we make consistent sense of ourselves, others, and life in general. This way of thinking is known as our Attitude, and it is one of the defining components of our personality make-up.

There are seven basic Attitudes and each of us adopts one as our primary point of view: Realism, Idealism, Spiritualism, Stoicism, Pragmatism, Skepticism and Cynicism.

Cynicism?  Yeah, right… Whatever.

Cynicism, in the most neutral sense, is simply a way of perceiving that is in direct opposition to falsehood and untruth.

But this often means openly challenging the consensus, rejecting assumptions held by the “common herd”.

Like the goal of Rejection, the attitude of Cynicism is defiantly individualistic and confrontational — which is hard work for those on the receiving end. Cynics see it as their duty to thrust their cold, sharp minds into the soft, warm hearts of those who aren’t thinking straight.

And while Idealists will automatically hope for agreement, progress and positive outcomes, Cynics can all-too-quickly leap into disagreement and criticism, killing any enthusiasm for a project. It is almost as if they are allergic to agreeing with any positive consensus.

But, there is also an upside to cynicism. Like all traits, the Attitude of Cynicism has two poles, one positive and one negative, just like an electrical field.


Notice that a positive pole flows energy out while a negative pole draws energy in … or sucks!

Most of what I have described above reflects the negative pole of cynicism, which can be summarised in one word: DENIGRATION, the unduly harsh criticism and distrust of others. But the positive pole of Cynicism is offering valid and intelligent criticisms in the name of truth. This can be described as CONTRADICTION, as in providing contradictory evidence or a counter-argument that will demolish a false claim.

My guess is that the heart and brain disease effects associated with “cynical distrust” are reflections of the negative pole of Cynicism (Denigration), while those who are cynical in later life in a more positive sense (Contradiction) are likely to be less affected, if at all.

Incidentally, some countries have cynicism as their “national attitude”. These include Scotland, England, Sweden, Norway, and Israel.


Article: ‘Late-life cynical distrust, risk of incident dementia, and mortality in a population-based cohort.’

Authors: Elisa Neuvonen, Minna Rusanen, MD, PhD, Alina Solomon, MD, PhD, Tiia Ngandu, MD, PhD, Tiina Laatikainen, MD, PhD, Hilkka Soininen, MD, PhD, Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD and Anna-Maija Tolppanen, PhD.

Journal: Neurology, vol. 82 (issue 24), pp. 2205-2212.

Date: June 17, 2014

URL: http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2014/05/28/WNL.0000000000000528

It’s worth pointing out that the study has found a correlation between cynical distrust and dementia in the elderly, but correlation does not prove causation. In other words, we don’t yet know if it’s the attitude that causes the disease. — barry

For an argument in favour of cynicism, see:

Cynicism From Diogenes To Dilbert

If you yourself are so cynical that you would never read a self-help book, try this one:

How to Be Happy, Dammit: A Cynic’s Guide to Spiritual Happiness

For a spiritual insight into cynicism, see:

Beyond Cynicism

How to spot an Artisan soul

Hipster Ariel

Since starting this website I have had some wonderful exchanges with many readers. (Plus a few that have been frankly disturbing…). Some of these exchanges have evolved into collaborations of one sort or another.

One of my most insightful and entertaining collaborators is a guy named Rowan. He and I have had many fruitful discussions about the Michael teachings, and in particular about the way facial characteristics can often reveal an individual’s innermost essence (i.e. soul type and casting).

As an Old Priest, Rowan is quite intuitive and has been developing his ability to sense people’s essence and overleaves. He is very assiduous in his research, determined to hone his skill.

Every now and then Rowan sends me an enormous collection of photos of historical figures, people in the news, actors, pop stars and – I have to say – more than a few Z-list celebrities I’ve never heard of. A typical email starts: “Hey Barry, here’s 170 faces that I think are Warrior-cast Scholars – what do you think?” (Cue two hours of ultra-slow broadband while the photos download.)

Anyway, Rowan has given me his permission to start sharing some of his own insights, and here is one that made me laugh out loud.

[ Continue reading → ]

Dying To Be Me: an incredible NDE

Dying To Be Me NDE


My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing

by Anita Moorjani

ANITA MOORJANI first came to the world’s attention when her near-death experience (NDE) was highlighted on the NDE Research Foundation website. [1] Her experience is remarkable not only for the life-changing and life-affirming insights she brought back with her, but also for the unprecedented and miraculous healing she underwent immediately afterwards.

In this book, she describes her life prior to that pivotal experience, the illness that almost took her life, the realm she experienced while in a seemingly lifeless coma, and the difference it has made to her life since.

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Children with past life memories wanted for TV

Ghost Inside My Child

Are you a parent whose child has experienced past life memories? Has your child ever mentioned memories of another life?

A Los Angeles TV production company* is looking for parents and children to participate in a new reality TV series.

The producers, Joke Fincioen and Biagio Messina, say that they are looking for children aged 2-10, preferably American, with tangible evidence of possible past life memories such as drawings, pictures, or video footage.

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‘Michael Speaks’ — the 1970s group transcripts are finally published


The Center for Michael Teachings announces the release of print versions of the original Michael transcripts from the 1970s — Michael Speaks: The Legacy of Sarah Chambers.


With those few words appearing on a Ouija board in August 1973, Sarah Chambers, her husband, and a few close friends, started a journey that took them far beyond anything they could possibly imagine.

With their new teacher “Michael”, they explored the unseen realm of the spiritual world.  In doing so, they estabished a whole new spiritual teaching that helps us to know and become more of who we truly are.

For the history of the original group of five who first received the Michael teachings, see: History of the Original Michael Teachings Group at AdeptPath.net

Over the next few years, the Oakland-based group kept written transcripts of their meetings.  Those transcripts were copied and passed around to friends and coworkers, and in time found their way to many, many others.

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Peter Higgs – the reincarnation of Isaac Newton?

Speculating about the past lives of prominent individuals has become a pet hobby of mine. Because souls can develop expertise in a field over several lifetimes, I often wonder if someone highly accomplished today might have had a well-known and identifiable life before this one in a similar field of endeavour. It’s then a case of spotting facial similarity as well as other shared characteristics.

Here is what I came up with when I looked into Prof. Peter Higgs. He is the 83-year-old English physicist who gave his name to the “missing-link” particle which scientists now believe they finally have found: the Higgs boson.

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Tarot and the Michael Teachings

Here’s a fascinating new take on the Michael Teachings -

Long-time Michael teachings student and channel Stephen Cocconi has been working on a set of Tarot divination cards based on the teachings.

A Tarot deck represents different archetypal influences that we can encounter during our human journey. But whereas the traditional medieval Tarot using symbols like Magician, Cups, Wands, Swords, etc., the archetypes represented in Stephen’s deck are all based upon the soul and personality energies as described in the Michael teachings.

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“How near-death experiences are changing the world” – new video

david sunfellowDavid Sunfellow (right), head of the organization New Heaven New Earth, has compiled a 2-hour video on How Near-Death Experiences are Changing the World.

The video is based on talks about near-death experiences (NDEs) given by David in Sedona earlier this year.

It is split into two parts:

Part 1 (1 hr 7 min) gives an overview of the history of NDEs, their common themes and characteristics, and some global statistics. Unusually, perhaps, David begins by stating that NDEs can be related to the teachings of Jesus about the Kingdom of Heaven.

[ Continue reading → ]

NDE researcher arrested for “waterboarding his own daughter”


A well-known near-death experience (NDE) researcher and his wife have been arrested for allegedly endangering their own daughter.

I normally look for uplifting news to share but this is just too peculiar and potentially disturbing to ignore.

Dr. Melvin Morse, a paediatrician based in Delaware, is a co-author of Closer To The Light , a landmark study of NDEs in children. He has appeared on Larry King Live and the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss his research.

Morse, 58, has been accused by his 11-year-old daughter of ‘waterboarding’ her — holding her face under running water. Waterboarding simulates drowning and it has been used in the past by U.S. interrogators on terrorism suspects. Many say it is actually a form of torture and should not be used at all.

Continue reading ‘NDE researcher arrested for “waterboarding his own daughter”’

International Association for Near-Death Studies – 2012 Conference

IANDS 2012

There has been a lot of hype around the meaning of “2012″. This year’s IANDS Conference focuses on visions and prophecies associated with NDEs and what those experiences can tell us about the future of humanity.

People who have near-death and near-death-like experiences sometimes report receiving visions of the future. In some cases these are visions of a personal nature that are later proven correct.

Sometimes, visions are more general, relating to Earth and humanity. A vision can simply show a possible future or provide a note of caution. Still others are hopeful, showing a very positive outcome for humanity.

This Conference, entitled Visions: 2012 and Beyond, will focus on visions that can give us guidance for the future.

The Conference will be held from Aug 31 to Sept 2 at the DoubleTree Paradise Valley Hotel, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Keynote speakers include Dannion Brinkley (left), a three-time near-death experiencer and the author of Saved by the Light. During his NDEs, he received prophetic visions, a number of which have proven accurate.

Conference registration is now open.

For program, accommodation information and online registration, please go to:


Explaining near-death experiences – Or, why Occam’s razor cuts both ways

Scientific explanations for near-death experiences are sometimes a lot less believable than the experiences themselves.

[ Continue reading → ]

Psychic experiences and synesthesia – online survey invitation


Parapsychology researchers Dr. Carols Alvorado and Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore have asked me to announce that they are inviting members of the public to complete an online survey of psychic experiences.

Their website explains:

We are interested in learning more about a variety of human experiences, some of which are unusual, but are by no means uncommon in the general population. We are undertaking an online survey to explore individual differences, synesthesia (the tendency for some people to experience two senses together, e.g., colored words or numbers; tasting shapes; spatially organized calendars, etc.), and a variety of anomalous experiences (for example, extrasensory perception.

We would very much appreciate it if you would take the time to complete this online questionnaire, even if you have never experienced the things described on the questionnaire.

You can access the survey from this link: http://carlossalvarado.edublogs.org/2012/03/05/new-survey-study-of-psychic-experiences-and-synesthesia/

Please email Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore (csimmond@westga.edu) if you have any questions about the survey.

alvoradoCarlos is the Scholar in Residence at Atlantic University. He has been professionally involved in parapsychology since the 1980s. His previous research work has centered on the psychological study of out-of-body experiences and other phenomena. In recent times he has conducted survey studies of the general population on such topics as depersonalization experiences and imaginary companions.

simmonds-mooreChristine is a British-born psychologist working at the University of West Georgia. She is the editor of “Exceptional Experience and Health: Essays on Mind, body and human potential”, a co-author of text book on Anomalistic Psychology and is working on a book about the relationship between schizotypy and exceptional experiences.

Enlightenment Intensives

If you have ever wanted to experience for yourself a moment of genuine spiritual awakening, or if you simply want to know who you truly are, then an Enlightenment Intensive could be for you. Highly recommended.

In the USA, see:

In the UK:

Or to find out more, see my articles here:

Recommended book

Spiritual Turning Points

A Metaphysical Perspective of the Seven Life Transitions

Amazon link


Victoria Marina-Tompkins


Xlibris, Corp. (January 25, 2011)

A groundbreaking look at the Seven Life Transitions --

  • Birth
  • the Terrible Twos
  • Adolescence
  • Mid-life Crisis
  • Life Review
  • Dying
  • Death

-- through the lens of the Michael Teachings, Shamanism and Astrology.

Order from Amazon:

Spiritual Turning Points



You can email me here.