Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Reading from zunguzungu

looking for something to read? fat link collection from zunguzungu should keep you busy, maybe even engaged or enraged. if the latter, bear in mind that messengers are not season ~ ever. Scroll to bottom of site for a gander at source blogs and categories (i.e. blogs that are trained, embalmed blogs, stray dogs and others). zunguzungu seems a flâneuse kind of blog; otherwise, our multiple online personae have been hard put picking an appropriate folder. despite academented provenance, we went with snark. zunguzungu explains itself here.

Sunday reading, as usual, blah blah. EXCEPT! Today, with special bonus links from two awesome guests! Scroll down to the bottom!
The Debate over Student Loan Interest is Nothing But A Sideshow:
“Keeping the cost of borrowed money a bit lower for one more year won’t cure the rising cost of higher education. It’s not even a bandage. It’s more like giving some comforting words to a critically injured patient. It might make a few people feel better, or win some votes, but it won’t do much to help our problems."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dreamers and Storytellers: E. O. Wilson on Art and Reconciling Science and the Humanities

... is re-posted from BrainPickings in its luminous entirety and with the fervent hope that readers will follow links to read the complete E.O. Wilson essay and other related articles revisiting C.P. Snow and Johan Lehrer .... and why art and science need each other. Follow the link in the footer to subscribe to weekly email Brain Pickings.

‘In the early stages of creation of both art and science, everything in the mind is a story.’

This month, legendary Harvard sociobiologist E. O. Wilson — who once famously said that “the elegance, we can fairly say the beauty, of any particular scientific generalization is measured by its simplicity relative to the number of phenomena it can explain” — penned a terrific Harvard Magazine piece on the origin of the arts. One of Wilson’s most urgent points is something we’ve already seen articulated by C. P. Snow, who in 1959 lamented a dangerous cultural dichotomy, and Johan Lehrer, who spoke of a “fourth culture of knowledge” — the need for bridging the sciences and the humanities. Wilson writes:
Since the fading of the original Enlightenment during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, stubborn impasse has existed in the consilience of the humanities and natural sciences. One way to break it is to collate the creative process and writing styles of literature and scientific research. This might not prove so difficult as it first seems. Innovators in both of two domains are basically dreamers and storytellers. In the early stages of creation of both art and science, everything in the mind is a story.
Wilson’s great talent is perhaps the gift of bridging the poetic with the scientific:
If ever there was a reason for bringing the humanities and science closer together, it is the need to understand the true nature of the human sensory world, as contrasted with that seen by the rest of life. But there is another, even more important reason to move toward consilience among the great branches of learning. Substantial evidence now exists that human social behavior arose genetically by multilevel evolution. If this interpretation is correct, and a growing number of evolutionary biologists and anthropologists believe it is, we can expect a continuing conflict between components of behavior favored by individual selection and those favored by group selection. Selection at the individual level tends to create competitiveness and selfish behavior among group members—in status, mating, and the securing of resources. In opposition, selection between groups tends to create selfless behavior, expressed in greater generosity and altruism, which in turn promote stronger cohesion and strength of the group as a whole.
But the most expansive beauty of Wilson’s essay lies in his articulation of art, at the heart of which is a sentiment common to the greatest definitions of science and of philosophy:
A quality of great art is its ability to guide attention from one of its parts to another in a manner that pleases, informs, and provokes.
Image by Desert Stars Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Paris versus New York

Playfully pitting Paris and New York against each other, graphic designer Vahram Muratyan has created a visual homage to two evocative cities.

Vahram Muratyan says:
"It all started when I wondered, if I was stranded on a desert island, what aspects of Paris and New York would I keep? What would be the perfect collection of things? They could be habits, or landmarks or food, anything that would bring the two cultures together in one image."
Paris versus New York: A Tally of Two Cities, Penguin, £11.99

Paris versus New York - in graphic form | Books | The Observer

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Further Thoughts on Your Inner Pigdog from Plato, Freud and Zizek

Trevor Malkinson writes in Beams & Struts

chariotA couple weeks back TJ published an article called Are You Controlled by Your Inner Pigdog? - the Neurobiology of Choice. I was one of the editors of that piece, and I sent some resources TJ's way that ended up on the cutting room floor of the final article (you can't get it all in), so I'm going to pop them into a Bricolage here as a sort of extended footnote to that piece.

chariotWhen I read TJ's article one thing immediately sprang to mind- Plato's famous Chariot Allegory. In it a charioteer (us) has to keep a handle on two very different horses pulling his chariot. The first one "is noble and of noble breed". The other? Not so much.... Some contemporary readers of Plato noticed the similarity of his second dark horse with Freud's notion of the Id (literally das Es, or "the It") ....

And lastly for this Bricolage, what would happen if we lived in a culture where the Id, our inner pigdog, was actually encouraged to come on out and run the show? Well, in many ways, we already live in that culture.

Read all of Further Thoughts on Your Inner Pigdog from Plato, Freud and Zizek
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