Category Archives: Social Science

Freedom of the Press

Civil society requires civil thought and action. While there are those in the world who protect freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, there are others who seek to limit access to these freedoms. How humans live in the 21st century, and how they act, is a by-product of education, social bias, political and religious beliefs.

Having the freedom to act, and speak freely is an essential component for any civil society, and without the protection of these freedoms, chaos, anarchy, and suffering prevail.

Studying the recent murders in Paris gives us a clue to the complex nature of words, images, and human communication. How we, as human beings respond to these murders will ultimately guide our own thoughts. Anyone with even a glimmer of altruism, empathy, and concern for the lives of others will be saddened by this wanton act of violence.

Several links follow:

http://news.artnet.com/people/12-killed-at-magazine-previously-attacked-for-satirical-cartoons-213867?utm_campaign=artnetnews&utm_source=010715daily&utm_medium=email

http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/jan/07/shooting-paris-satirical-magazine-charlie-hebdo

http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2015/01/07/attaque-au-siege-de-charlie-hebdo_4550630_3224.html

http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2015/01/07/le-siege-de-charlie-hebo-vise-par-des-tirs_1175326

THE HUMAN JOURNEY

http://www.humanjourney.us/intro.html

Pondering the past, wondering about who we are as human beings, and attempting to decipher the code of human heritage are all components of the research found at human journey. We live in a time unprecedented in human history when, and where we are able to use science as a tool to refine our understanding of the past, unlocking the code of human evolution.

Werner Herzog, and his recent film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams points to an earlier time in human history, a time when humans had a capacity for art, long before most of us think of human beings as the artists we have become in the twenty first century. www.wernerherzog.com

Thank you to all who put these ideas into the ethers, and for all of the great educators who continue to propel our understanding of things.

best, dk

PSYCHOGRAPHICS

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.

The Origin of Species & Other Poems

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
gradually
another species
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
all brothers
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!

FROMM: Necrophilous

FROMM, Erich, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1973.

“The term “necrophilous” to denote a character trait rather than a perverse act in the traditional sense, was used by the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno in 1936 on the occasion of a speech by nationalist general Millan Astray at the University of Salamanca, where Unamuno was rector at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. The general’s favorite motto was Viva la Muerte! (“Long live death!”) and one of his followers shouted it from the back of the hall. When the general had finished his speech, Unamuno rose and said:

“Just now I heard a necrophilous and senseless cry: “Long live death!” And I, who have spent my life shaping paradoxes which have aroused the uncomprehending anger of others, I must tell you, as an expert authority, that this outlandish paradox is repellent to me. General Millan Astray is a cripple. Let it be said without any slighting undertone. So was Cervantes. Unfortunately there are too many cripples in Spain just now. And soon there will be even more of them if God does not come to our aid. It pains me to think that General Millan Astray should dictate the pattern of mass psychology. A cripple who lacks the spiritual greatness of a Cervantes is wont to seek ominous relief in causing mutilation around him. (M. de Unamuno, 1936.)

At this Millan Astray was unable to restrain himself any longer. “Abajo la inteligencia! (“Down with intelligence!”) he shouted. “Long life death!” There was a clamor of support for this remark from the Falangists. But Unamuno went on: This is the temple of the intellect. And I am the high priest. It is you who profane its sacred precincts. You will win, because you have more than enough brute force. But you will not convince. For to convince you need to persuade. And in order to persuade you would need what you lack: Reason and Right in the struggle. I consider it futile to exhort you to think of Spain. I have done. (M. de Unamuno, 1936.)

OBSERVATION: Freud’s theory of life and death instincts are rooted in the idea that man’s striving for life and death are two of the most fundamental principles in man. “Necrophilia in the characterological sense can be described as the passionate attraction to all that is dead, decayed, putrid, sickly; it is the passion to transform that which is alive into something unalive; to destroy for the sake of destruction; the exclusive interest in all that is purely mechanical. It is the passion “to tear apart living structures.” (H. von Hentig, 1964.) How is it that human destructiveness persists, after the recognition of the tragedy and horror it brings to human life? How is it that awareness, and the application of ethical and moral behavior have not become the standard by which all human behavior moves forward? Life, or Death?

APOLOGY for WONDER: SAM KEEN

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.

MORE: DISSENT: FEBRUARY 7, 1478-JULY 6, 1535

Thomas More, remembered for Utopia published in 1516 was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1935. More was a practising lawyer, statesman, Lord Chancellor, and was beheaded in 1535 for treason. Thomas More failed to acknowledge that King Henry VIII was the supreme head of the Church of England.

In Utopia, More describes a society lacking private property, prescribing religious tolerance, and the recognition of order and discipline as necessary elements for the well being of the society.

Thomas More failed to recognize the King as the true spiritual leader of the Church of England, and it is this premise that lead to his demise by beheading. More brought into question the relation between temporal and spiritual power, concepts that are difficult to quantify, even though they persist in contemporary society.

In order to maintain power and authority bureaucracies typically utilize a hierarchical structure. This methodology uses stratification where power is concentrated in specific modules. These modules dictate, or disseminate power as necessary to maintain the organization. Most hierarchical bureaucracies utilize strict controls in order to preserve the power structure, ultimately retaining control and authority of the organization. Some bureaucracies utilize a collegiate hierarchy where individual input is encouraged, allowing individuals a voice in the decision-making and creative process. Altruistic bureaucracies exist, as evidenced in the hierarchical structure of the honeybee. Bees utilize a social structure, sacrificing sexual dominance in favor of a focus on the maintenance of the queen, recognizing the hive as a single organism. Bees function so well within their chosen social organization as to be able to control the temperature of the hive. Rudolf Steiner lectured extensively about the social order of bees in 1925.

The power to dissent can bring with it severe punishment if the dissent is recognized by those in positions of power to threaten the structure of the bureaucratic hierarchy. Thomas More gave his life, and his head in order to maintain his beliefs about the distribution, and distinction between temporal and spiritual power.

VALUE FOR MONEY

Idries Shah, Thinkers of the East, Idries Shah, 1971.

p 84 “Awad Afifi had a book in which he had written the accounts of a conversation with sages and philosophers during twenty years of travel and studies.

One day a scholar called to see him and asked if he could make a copy of the book.

‘Yes,’ said Awad, ‘you may certainly do so. I will charge you however, a thousand gold pieces for the service.’

‘That is a tremendous sum to pay for something that you have here, which I am not even going to deplete by copying,’ said the scholar, ‘and besides, it is unworthy to charge for knowledge.’

‘I make no charge for knowledge itself,’ said Awad, ‘for knowledge is not in books, only some of the ways to gain it. As for the thousand gold pieces: I intend to spend them on the travel expenses of pupils who cannot afford to travel. And as for the greatness of the sum: I have spent fifty thousand on my travels, plus twenty years of my life. Perhaps you might care to let me know what that amounts to?’

OBSERVATION: Encountering a true teacher is a rare moment in the life of any individual. The special relation between teacher and student requires the recognition of the genuine value found in the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge. While knowledge is a recognizable characteristic, it is also ephemeral, transitory, and difficult to define in absolute terms. Perhaps, more than anything, the teacher must recognize the needs of the student, provide direction, mis-direction, and a path to stimulate the capacity of the student, acting as an enzyme or catalyst.