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Information, education, knowledge, wisdom: Access
We are all caught between free access to information, and the restriction to that access. Whether we are born to freely access media, or whether we are born in a highly repressive environment where media is restricted, access ultimately impacts who we are, and how we think.
Commercial enterprise drives much of the system delivering media to the world. Iggy Pop talks about these complex relationships in his Peel lecture. Anyone who wants to think about these things should take the time to listen, contemplate, and act.
In a Better World (Original Danish title: Hævnen) is a 2010 Danish-Swedish drama thriller film written by Anders Thomas Jensen and directed by Susanne Bier. The film stars Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, and Ulrich Thomsen in a story which takes place in small-town Denmark and a refugee camp in Africa. Its original Danish title is Hævnen, which means “The Revenge”.
A Danish majority production with co-producers in Sweden, In a Better World won the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.
Director Susanne Bier said: “Our experiment in this film is about looking at how little it really takes before a child – or an adult – thinks something is deeply unjust. It really doesn’t take much, and I find that profoundly interesting. And scary.”
Criteria for segmenting consumers by lifestyle, attitudes, beliefs, values, personality, buying motives, and/or extent of product usage. Psychographic analyses are used like geographic (place of residence, or work) and demographic (age, income, occupation) criteria to describe and identify customers and prospective customers and to aid in developing promotion strategies designed to appeal to specific psychographic segments of the market for a product. For example, the market for soap may consist of various psychographic segments described by their primary purchase motives (beauty, health, grooming), usage styles (daily, weekly, salon-only), or lifestyle (frequent travelers, parents).
The psychographic characteristics of the market affect advertising copy, packaging (travel size, child-proof, decorator pump), and channels of distribution (supermarkets, pharmacies, specialty stores, internet).
Psychographic data can be gathered firsthand through personal interviews, focus group interviews or questionnaires, or purchased from research companies in the form of list overlays for direct marketers or market profiles for general marketers.
OBSERVATION: Establishing limits, and quantifying social strata are tools utilized by advertisers working to expand markets. Through the careful collection of personal data, this information can be extrapolated into expected cause and effect, or decision making strategies of consumers as potential customers for products and services.
In the grand scale, marketers, such as Edward Bernays applied psychographics combined with advanced psychological theories regarding control of social masses to expand marketing potentials. In contemplating these ideas, we can clearly see the complexity of modern society in terms of individual purpose, decision making, and the desire for businesses to collect data regarding these behaviors. Consumers, for the most part, are probably unaware of the means employed in extracting personal psychological profiles (extrapolated as larger scale demographics) utilized in creating advertising, marketing, public relations, and other social-political strategies.
I see no good in having several lords;
Let one alone be master, let one alone be king.
These words Homer puts in the mouth of Ulysses, as he addresses the people. If he had said nothing further than “I see no good in having several lords,” it would have been well spoken. For the sake of logic he should have maintained that the rule of several could not be good since the power of one man alone, as soon as he acquires the title of master, becomes abusive and unreasonable. Instead he declared what seems preposterous: “Let one alone be master, let one alone be king.” We must not be critical of Ulysses, who at the moment was perhaps obliged to speak these words in order to quell a mutiny in the army, for this reason, in my opinion, choosing language to meet the emergency rather than the truth. Yet, in the light of reason, it is a great misfortune to be at the beck and call of one master, for it is impossible to be sure that he is going to be kind, since it is always in his power to be cruel whenever he pleases. As for having several masters, according to the number one has, it amounts to being that many times unfortunate. Although I do not wish at this time to discuss this much debated question, namely whether other types of government are preferable to monarchy, still I should like to know, before casting doubt on the place that monarchy should occupy among commonwealths, whether or not it belongs to such a group, since it is hard to believe that there is anything of common wealth in a country where everything belongs to one master. This question, however, can remain for another time and would really require a separate treatment involving by its very nature all sorts of political discussion.
For the present I should like merely to understand how it happens that so many men, so many villages, so many cities, so many nations, sometimes suffer under a single tyrant who has no other power than the power they give him; who is able to harm them only to the extent to which they have the willingness to bear with him; who could do them absolutely no injury unless they preferred to put up with him rather than contradict him. Surely a striking situation! Yet it is so common that one must grieve the more and wonder the less at the spectacle of a million men serving in wretchedness, their necks under the yoke, not constrained by a greater multitude than they, but simply, it would seem, delighted and charmed by the name of one man alone whose power they need not fear, for he is evidently the one person whose qualities they cannot admire because of his inhumanity and brutality toward them. A weakness characteristic of human kind is that we often have to obey force; we have to make concessions; we ourselves cannot always be the stronger. Therefore, when a nation is constrained by the fortune of war to serve a single clique, as happened when the city of Athens served the thirty Tyrants, one should not be amazed that the nation obeys, but simply be grieved by the situation; or rather, instead of being amazed or saddened, consider patiently the evil and look forward hopefully toward a happier future.
OBSERVATION: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, Etienne de la Boetie 1546-48 This introductory excerpt to the discourse introduces the premise: human behavior within the social context of servant, and the served. In the mid 1500’s La Boetie examined the need to understand how social hierarchy and organization fell into place, elaborating these ideas in the full discourse. The relevance of this essay remains intact, questioning how authority is distributed throughout human social hierarchy.
Ernesto Cardenal, The Origin of Species and Other Poems,
ISBN 0896726894 Publisher: Texas Tech Press, U.S., 2011
THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES (Excerpt)
That all life on earth
should come from a single cell:
the great mystery
Everyone from a single ancestor
a universe still creating itself
one like a cow entered the sea
and became the whale
Fish or mammal?
Or mammal and fish
To Linnaeus a mammal
with a heart and lungs
and eyelashes that move
but with aquatic habits
By adapting to the environment
fins of fish develop
into paws of invertebrates
why is one a parrot
and another a tiger
once there were no brains
now there are billions
there was no leaf
now everything is green
From a single cell
trees animals you
we are all a modification of another
the bird wing was dinosaur’s paw ………….
OBSERVATION: How do we define the poet? The true poet lives, linked to the world, to life, to being human. Those poets who leave an indelible mark on the history of human thought offer us a glimpse into what is possible, what is truly possible when the human organism functions at its peak potential. Find this book, read it, ponder it, absorb it, learn from it!
G. Polya, “How to Solve It“, 2nd ed.,
Princeton University Press, 1957, ISBN 0-691-08097-6.
1 UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM
You have to understand the problem. What is the unknown? What are the data? What is the condition? Is it possible to satisfy the condition? Is the condition sufficient to determine the unknown? Or is it insufficient? Or redundant? Or contradictory? Draw a figure. Introduce suitable notation. Separate the various parts of the condition. Can you write them down?
2 DEVISING A PLAN
Find the connection between the data and the unknown. You may be obliged to consider auxiliary problems if an immediate connection cannot be found. You should obtain eventually a plan of the solution. Have you seen it before? Or have you seen the same problem in a slightly different form? Do you know a related problem? Do you know a theorem that could be useful? Look at the unknown! And try to think of a familiar problem having the same or a similar unknown. Here is a problem related to yours and solved before. Could you use it? Could you use its result? Could you use its method? Should you introduce some auxiliary element in order to make its use possible? Could you restate the problem? Could you restate it still differently? Go back to definitions. If you cannot solve the proposed problem try to solve first some related problem. Could you imagine a more accessible related problem? A more general problem? A more special problem? An analogous problem? Could you solve a part of the problem? Keep only a part of the condition, drop the other part; how far is the unknown then determined, how can it vary? Could you derive something useful from the data? Could you think of other data appropriate to determine the unknown? Could you change the unknown or data, or both if necessary, so that the new unknown and the new data are nearer to each other? Did you use all the data? Did you use the whole condition? Have you taken into account all essential notions involved in the problem?
3 CARRYING OUT THE PLAN
Carry out your plan. Carrying out your plan of the solution, check each step. Can you see clearly that the step is correct? Can you prove that it is correct?
4 LOOKING BACK
Examine the solution obtained. Can you check the result? Can you check the argument? Can you derive the solution differently? Can you see it at a glance? Can you use the result, or the method, for some other problem?
Another way of summarising the ideas in George Polya’s book “How to solve it”:
SEE , PLAN , DO , CHECK
Understand the Problem – (SEE)
Carefully read the problem.
Decide what you are trying to do.
Identify the important data.
Devise a plan – (PLAN)
Gather together all available information.
Consider some possible actions:
look for a pattern;
draw a sketch;
make an organised list;
simplify the problem;
quess and check;
make a table;
write a number sentence;
act out the problem;
identify a sub-task; and
check the validity of given information.
Carry out the plan – (DO)
Implement a particular plan of attack.
Revise and modify the plan as needed.
Create a new plan if necessary.
Check the answer – (CHECK)
Ensure you have used all the important information.
Decide whether or not the answer makes sense.
Check that all of the given conditions of the problem are met by the answer.
Put your answer in a complete sentence.
OBSERVATION: POLYA’S ideas about problem solving show a sequence of form, allowing one to observe, enhance, and define problems through the use of series, or progression. Do art, science, and mathematics have common ground for investigation? Is there a similarity between these three seemingly disparate fields of study? Posing a problem, recognizing its parameters, observing it, and ultimately solving it are essential to the function of curiosity and investigation, and are central to the process of creativity. HEURISTICS: involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods, also: of or relating to exploratory problem-solving techniques that utilize self-educating techniques (as the evaluation of feedback) to improve performance such as a heuristic computer program.
Humans have extraordinary capacity for abstract reasoning. Through the years they have developed religious awareness, spiritual life, and assorted elements of mythological, and metaphysical belief. Additionally, the ability to appreciate aesthetic, moral, and ethical behavior have become part of the human psyche. Through self-conscious discipline humans have been able to harness the will. While it is easy to recognize the genius involved in all of these capabilities, humans also function without conscience, building horror upon horror in the lives of others, and in the natural world.
In aesthetics, artists delve into the mysteries of the human capacity for imagination, intuition, expression; a world of the yet unknown. This is the place where art bridges the instinctual with the conscious. At the instinctual level, the human mind invokes, reacts, and processes ideas in an immediate (pre-conscious) way. Prior to the mechanism of conscious intervention, the instinctual creative mind brings to the surface ideas, organizing thoughts from the many regions of the mind, the intellect, the emotions. These processes of inspiration, intuition, instinct, and imagination, all contribute to the ability to foresee that which is intangible. In bringing forth ideas from these complex regions of the mind and brain, the artist transforms idea into a fashioned, constructed manifestation (the form). The medium takes on the characteristics of that original thought, allowing material to act as a cohesive device, a kind of matrix holding ideas in place.
Aesthetic encounter takes the art further, when a viewer, or participant interacts with the concept using powers of perception to draw the idea into the self, merging mind with mind. As the perceptual mechanism absorbs data, feeding the information to the higher functions of the brain, a new impression forms in the viewers mind, perhaps, nearly identical with the original moment of creation, perhaps different, but at the very least becoming a tool, an experience for new and uncharted mental ideation. Art is the catalyst, the enzyme triggering a cascade of secondary responses in the viewer’s mind. Perhaps this is the greatest function of art, where the mind of the viewer takes on new characteristics, new capacity to learn, understand, and feel, becoming immersed in the aesthetic experience.
Each viewer enters this action of aesthetic encounter with unique criteria; perceiving, processing, and making new the art put in place by the artist. Here we find the power of communication evident in the language of art; the tangible, the unknown, beauty, horror, complexity.
Keen, Sam, Apology for Wonder, Harper & Row, 1969.
p 24 “The philosophical term “contingency” most accurately describes one characteristic of objects as they are given to us in wonder. As used here, contingency means that in raw experience the object we apprehend in wonder comes to us without bearing its own explanation. Why it is, or perhaps even what it is, is not immediately obvious. In less philosophical but more modern terminology, wonder-events are happenings, revelatory occurrences which appear, as if by chance, bearing some new meaning (value, promise) which cannot immediately be integrated into a past pattern of understanding and explanation.”
OBSERVATION: Moving through life, observing the passage of time and space, interacting with the inner world of the imagination, and outer world of perceived reality, we begin to recognize the profound nature of all that exists. Whether we try to define the absolute, or whether we simply accept things as they are, moving forward, allowing the mind to ponder the wondrous events we experience, it is important to understand and activate wonder. Tabula rasa, before the indoctrination, free to find profound experience in the mundane, this is the wonder and fascination found in the child’s eye of the mind. Wonder is at the source of who we are as human beings, it is central to the function of the imagination, and helps us recognize the true mysteries of the possible.