Infinite Spiders

“I realized then that the difference between what can happen to a human and to a naked mole rat family is mainly one of terminology.” Bernd Heinrich (The Homing Instinct) "We don’t utter sentences, but rather tokens of sentences. Since communication depends on what we make of the tokens of others, and communication often succeeds, we can normally assume that others mean what we would mean if we uttered those sentences." Donald Davidson (Truth and Prediction) “But the most characteristic feature of the Odyssey is the way in which its personages ascribe all sorts of mental (as well as physical) events to the intervention of a nameless and indeterminate daemon or "god" or "gods.” E. … [Read more...]

The Mechanical Soul

"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." Proverbs 6:6-8 “ is more probable that worms and flies and caterpillars move mechanically than that they all have immortal souls.” Rene Descartes (Discourse on Method) "Generally speaking, when the cognitive revolution pushed the study of learning into the background, with it went much of the interest in the classic epistemic problems of knowledge acquisition with which philosophers and psychologists had struggled for decades. For the most part, contemporary cognitivists have been captured by … [Read more...]

The Colour of Disenchantment

"The fear that the man of today feels towards the enormous success of a science, that seems more suited to destroying the world than to helping humanity achieve a better life, is consistent with the Goethean critique." Kurt Goldstein (Concerning Goethe's approach to the theory of colour, Journal of Individual Psychology 15) "...a truly Nazified biology and psychology must be able to accommodate the values of discipline and order inherent to the fuhrer principle no less than it embraced the values of wholeness inherent to volkisch thinking. And here is where the concept of Gestalt stepped in as a seemingly ideal analogue: a form of natural order that, like the Fuhrer, had emerged out of … [Read more...]

I Want to be a Real Boy, part two (or I’m Not Who I Am).

“With the majority of mankind the mind is entirely under the control of the body; the mind is very little developed. The vast mass of humanity, if you will kindly excuse me, is very little removed from the animals. Not only that, but, in many instances, the power of control is very little higher than that of the lower animals. We have very little command of our minds. ” Vivekananda (Raji Yoga) “Dissociation is at its essence about both forgetting and remembering. It has the feeling of: “I can’t remember and I can’t not remember.” Margaret L. Hainer (The Ferenzi Paradox, from The Dissociative Mind in Psychoanalysis: Understanding and Working With Trauma.) "The parallel between … [Read more...]

I Want to be a Real Boy (Part one)

"If the teacher is only recording videotape, then there is no telepresence at all, and a great deal is surely lost. For example, if risk is important in the learning process, then when the teacher and the class are present together both assume a risk that is not there when they are not interacting – the student risks being called on to demonstrate his knowledge of the subject of the lecture, and the teacher risks being asked a question he cannot answer. If this is the case, then it may mean that distance teaching not only may produce poorer learning opportunities, but it may produce poorer teaching." Hubert Dreyfus (On the Internet) “We will show neurons firing in real-time on August … [Read more...]

Game (Theory) of Life

"For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." Romans 7:15 "I wish it were possible... to invent a method of embalming drowned persons, in such a manner that they might be recalled to life at any period, however distant; for having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence." Benjamin Franklin (Letter to M. Dubourg, 1792) "Kissing the picture of one’s beloved. That is obviously not based on the belief that it will have some specific effect on the object which the picture represents. It aims at satisfaction and achieves it. Or rather: it aims at nothing at all; we just behave this way and then we … [Read more...]

Social Contagion

"Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions. " Wassily Kandinsky (Concerning Art and the Spiritual) "Ancient Greek words for blue signified the sea. In Tertullian and Isadore of Seville, blue referred to both the sea and the sky, much as the Greek word (bathun) and the Latin (altus) connoted high and deep by one word. The vertical dimension as hierarchy continues in our speech as blue blood for nobility, blue ribbons, and the many mythological images of ‘blue Gods’: Kneph in Egypt and Odin’s blue wrappings, Jupiter and Juno, Krishna and Vishnu, Christ in his earthly ministry like that blue Christ-man seen by Hildegard of Binge." James … [Read more...]

The Cunning of Covid

"I think the question of whether the theatre should adapt itself to the masses, or the masses to the theatre, has been settled once and for all. The masses only understood, or pretended to understand, the tragedies and comedies of ancient Greece because their stories were known to everybody and were explained over and over again in every play anyway and, as often as not, set out by a character in the prologue." Alfred Jarry (On the Futility of the Theatrical in Theatre, Mercure de France, September 1896.) “The productive logic of film is the productive logic of the work of art in the twentieth century.” Peter Osborne (in conversation with Paul Willemen in Working Together: Notes on … [Read more...]