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Old 15-11-2010, 04:36 PM   #1
boneill
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Default Robert Sapolsky-NY Times

Very interesting article.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...s/?ref=opinion


Enjoy
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Old 15-11-2010, 04:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
What are the consequences of the fact that evolution is a tinkerer and not an inventor, and has duct-taped metaphors and symbols to whichever pre-existing brain areas provided the closest fit?
Quote:
Hope for true peace...for South Africans, it came not with successful negotiations about land reapportionment, but when black South Africa embraced rugby and Afrikaans rugby jocks sang the A.N.C. national anthem.
He must have seen Clint Eastwood's movie, Invictus.
Robert Sapolsky is a fabulous human primate.
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"Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

“Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

"In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

"Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire
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Old 16-11-2010, 05:33 PM   #3
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There is a place to go and comment on the article: http://onthehuman.org/2010/11/your-brain-on-metaphors/
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"Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

“Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

"In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

"Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire
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Old 17-11-2010, 11:48 PM   #4
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Just came across this article today. Pretty neat stuff.

Robert Sapolsky working on finding "stress vaccine"
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:51 PM   #5
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Here is Robert Sapolsky again, a video about 1 hour 16 minutes, Are Humans Just Another Primate? .

It's brilliant. As always.

In it, Sapolsky talks about our human ability to conceptualize everything (not only actions) as "objects", talks extensively about metaphors, a uniquely human capacity to kill each other over a perceived difference of ideas (political, religious, etc.), and mentions this book, The Book of Qualities, by J Ruth Gender.

What a great little book. See inside.

Each human foible is examined, clarified, brought into focus and given a human identity. For example, Fear (excerpt):
Quote:
Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is quite small. He has a vivid imagination... Two dragons guard Fear's mansion... If you make it past the dragons and speak to him close up, it is amazing to see how fragile he is... Speak out boldly, look him in the eye, startle him. Don't give up. Win his respect, and he will never bother you with small matters."
These are full-fleshed metaphors, if you like. It makes the "qualities" knowable and human and understandable instead of their being rushes of biochemistry at which we are at the mercy. It moves being in a nervous system, in a body, in a huge scary human primate troop, into dealable-with perspective. I should think this would be a great book to give to a child soon after it has learned to read, as these will be qualities everyone has to live with and deal with daily or nearly so. Sort of a road map for managing one's own affective-arousal system.
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"Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

“Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

"In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

"Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:29 PM   #6
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In the Sapolsky video, the question at the end (and his answer) is the best question of all, and the pinnacle of his whole talk IMO. Someone asks him about the difference between the human genome and the chimp genome.

There is no difference in the genes that govern the brain, whatsoever, other than in a couple genes that govern fetal cell division. He says that if these genes were manipulated in a chimp fetus such that 2 or 3 more divisions could occur, the chimp brain would end up the same size. With probably the same kinds of abilities. That the only differences are in quantity (humans have three times as many neurons) not quality (chimps are capable of all the stuff formerly considered to be uniquely human, e.g., aggression, tool use, planning).

We are human primates, and our brains are constantly confusing us with their human capacity to think that symbolic things and abstract things are "real" just because they so effectively push our buttons, provoke our insular and anterior cingulate cortices, our internal regulation systems.
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"Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

“Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

"In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

"Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire
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Old 24-03-2011, 03:25 AM   #7
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Great stuff Robert Sapolsky on TED Talks: The Uniqueness of Humans

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