Paradox

The paradox of hedonism, also called the pleasure paradox, is the idea in the study of ethics which points out that pleasure and happiness are phenomena that do not obey normal principles. First explicitly noted by the philosopher Henry Sidgwick in The Methods of Ethics, the paradox of hedonism points out that pleasure cannot be acquired directly, it can only be acquired indirectly.

As an example, suppose John likes to collect stamps. According to most models of behavior, it is believed that John likes collecting stamps because he gets pleasure from collecting stamps. Stamp collecting is an avenue towards acquiring pleasure. However, if you tell John this, he will likely disagree. He does get pleasure from collecting stamps, but this is not the process that explains why he collects stamps. It is not as though he says, “I must collect stamps so I can obtain pleasure”. Collecting stamps is not just a means toward pleasure. He just likes collecting stamps.

This paradox is often spun around backwards, to illustrate that pleasure and happiness cannot be reverse-engineered. If for example you heard that collecting stamps was very pleasurable, and began a stamp collection as a means towards this happiness, it would inevitably be in vain. To achieve happiness, you must not seek happiness directly, you must motivate yourself towards things unrelated to happiness, like the collection of stamps. The hedonistic paradox would mean that if one sets the goal to please oneself too highly then the mechanism would in fact jam itself.

Politician William Bennett has stated, “Happiness is like a cat, If you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you; it will never come. But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you’ll find it rubbing against your legs and jumping into your lap.”

Specialty

The Quince is a small deciduous tree native to warm-temperate southwest Asia. It is related to apples and pears, and has a fruit which is bright golden yellow when mature. The fruit can be eaten cooked or raw and is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Cultivation of quince preceded apple culture. Among the ancient Greeks, the quince was a ritual offering at weddings, for it had come from the Levant with Aphrodite and remained sacred to her. Plutarch reports that a Greek bride would nibble a quince to perfume her kiss before entering the bridal chamber.

Quince was later introduced to the New World, but has become rare in North America due to its susceptibility to fireblight disease caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora. Almost all of the quinces in North American specialty markets come from Argentina. In Latin America the gel-like, somewhat adhesive substance surrounding the seeds was used to shape and style hair.

In South America, the membrillo, as the quince is called in Spanish, is cooked into a reddish jello-like block or firm reddish paste known as dulce de membrillo. It is then eaten in sandwiches and with cheese, traditionally manchego cheese, or accompanying fresh curds. The sweet and floral notes of quince contrast nicely with the tanginess of the cheese.

In the Canary Islands and some places in South America a quince is used to play an informal beach toss-and-swim game, usually among young teens. When mixed with salt water a mature quince will turn its sour taste to sweet. The game is played by throwing a quince into the sea. All players race to catch the quince and whoever catches it takes one bite and tosses the quince again, then the whole process gets repeated until the quince is fully eaten.

Condensation

An interobject is a phenomenon of dreams, in which there is a perception of something that is “between” two objects. Interobjects differ from typical dream manifestations in which two objects are fused into one. Instead, the object is incomplete. An example from the literature on dreams includes “something between a record player and a balance scale.” Interobjects are new creations derived from partially-fused blends of other objects.

Interobjects, like disjunctive cognitions, would sound bizarre or psychotic as perceptions in waking life, but are accepted by most people as commonplace in dreams. They have implications for both the theory of dreaming and the theory of categorization. Interobjects show the dreaming mind grouping items together whose connection may not be apparent to the waking mind. “Something between an aqueduct or a swimming-pool” reveals the category of “large man-made architectural objects that contain water.” “Something between a cellphone and a baby” reveals a category combining a relatively new piece of technology and a live infant: both make noise when you don’t expect it, both are held close to your body, and both can give you a feeling of connectedness.

Most adults tend to regularize interobjects when discussing them in waking life. Children are better able to sustain interobjects in their original form. A child told his father a dream in which he was in trouble at sea and a seal swam up to them. They thought it was just a seal, but then they looked and under the water it was a whole boat, it was huge, so they climbed onto the seal/boat, and it brought them to the shore of the mainland. When the boy told his father the dream in the morning, the father, speaking like an adult who cannot tolerate contradictions, said to him: “So really, it was a boat, a big, safe boat.” The child, holding fast to the integrity of his dream, said, “It was a boat, but it was still a big, friendly seal.” This child had not yet learned to regularize his perceptions to fit the way the world works. Adults may learn to reject interobjects in waking life, but still retain them in their dreams.

Interobjects may have an elementary function in human thought. By transgressing the normal mental categories described by Eleanor Rosch, interobjects may be the origin of new ideas that would be harder to come by using only fully-formed, secondary process formations. They may be one example of “Oneiric Darwinism” in which new thought-mutations are created during dream-life and rejected or retained in waking life depending on their usefulness.

Consumption

When Europeans first encountered wild turkey in the Americas they incorrectly identified them as a type of guineafowl, also known as Turkey fowl from their importation to Central Europe through Turkey, and that name, shortened to just the name of the country, stuck as the name of the creature. The domesticated turkey is attributed to Aztec agriculture, which addressed one subspecies local to the present day states of Jalisco and Guerrero.

The use of the turkey in the USA for Thanksgiving precedes Lincoln’s nationalization of the holiday in 1863. Alexander Hamilton proclaimed that “no citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day,” but turkey was uncommon as Thanksgiving fare until after 1800. By 1857 turkey had become part of the traditional dinner in New England.

Because turkey is the most common main dish of a Thanksgiving dinner, Thanksgiving is sometimes colloquially called “turkey day″. In 2006, American turkey growers were expected to raise 270 million turkeys, to be processed into five billion pounds of turkey meat valued at almost $8 billion, with one third of all turkey consumption occurring in the Thanksgiving-Christmas season, and a per capita consumption of almost 18 pounds.

The range and numbers of the wild turkey had decreased at the beginning of the 20th century due to hunting and loss of habitat. Game managers estimate that the entire populations of wild turkeys in the United States was as low as 30,000 in the early 1900s. Game officials made efforts to protect and encourage the breeding of the surviving wild population. In 1973 the total U.S. population was estimated to be 1.3 million, and current estimates place the entire wild turkey population at 7 million individuals.

The name given to a group of turkeys is a rafter, although they are sometimes incorrectly referred to as a gobble or flock.

Accumulation

The Loch Ness Monster is alleged to be a creature inhabiting Loch Ness in Scotland. Popular interest and belief in the animal has fluctuated since it was brought to the world’s attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is largely anecdotal, with minimal and much disputed photographic material and sonar readings. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a modern day myth, and explains sightings as a mix of hoaxes and wishful thinking. Despite this, it remains one of the most famous examples of cryptozoology. The legendary monster has been affectionately referred to as Nessie since the 1950s.

One of the most iconic images of Nessie is known as the Surgeon’s Photograph, which many formerly considered to be good evidence of the monster. Its importance lies in the fact that it was the only photographic evidence of a head and neck, as all the other photographs are humps or disturbances. The image was revealed as a hoax in 1994.

In 1979 the image was claimed to be a picture of an elephant. Other sceptics in the 1980s argued the photo was that of an otter or a diving bird, but after the photographer’s confession most agree it was what he claimed: a toy submarine with a sculpted head attached. Essentially, it was a toy submarine with a head and neck made of plastic wood. One of the researchers who uncovered the hoax argues the Loch Ness Monster is real, and that the hoaxed Surgeon’s Photograph is not cause enough to dismiss eyewitness reports and other evidence.

On a recent expedition to find evidence of Nessie, U.S. research teams came across something quite unexpected, not a prehistoric creature of the deep but thousands of plastic covered golf balls. Mike O’Brien of SeaTrepid explains: “At first we thought they were mushrooms, there were so many. But when we lowered the camera, we were surprised to see that they were in fact, golf balls.” The smattering of balls were found roughly 300 yards from the beach and 100 yards from the shore where it is thought locals and visitors have been using the loch to practice their driving skills for quite some time.

Power

Cave paintings are paintings on cave walls and ceilings, and the term is used especially for those dating to prehistoric times. The earliest known European cave paintings date to Aurignacian, some 32,000 years ago. The purpose of the paleolithic cave paintings is not known. The evidence suggests that they were not merely decorations of living areas, since the caves in which they have been found do not have signs of ongoing habitation. Also, they are often in areas of caves that are not easily accessed. Some theories hold that they may have been a way of communicating with others, while other theories ascribe them a religious or ceremonial purpose.

The most common themes in cave paintings are large wild animals, such as bison, horses, aurochs, and deer, and tracings of human hands as well as abstract patterns, called finger flutings. Drawings of humans were rare and are usually schematic rather than the more naturalistic animal subjects. One explanation for this is that realistically painting the human form was forbidden by a powerful religious taboo. Many of the paintings were drawn with red and yellow ochre, hematite, manganese oxide and charcoal. Sometimes the silhouette of the animal was incised in the rock first.

Henri Breuil interpreted the paintings as being hunting magic, meant to increase the number of animals. As there are some clay sculptures that seem to have been the targets of spears, this may partly be true, but does not explain the pictures of predators such as the lion or the bear.

An alternative theory based on ethnographic studies of contemporary hunter-gatherer societies, is that the paintings were made by Cro-Magnon shamans. The shaman would retreat into the darkness of the caves, enter into a trance state and then paint images of their visions, perhaps with some notion of drawing power out of the cave walls themselves. This goes some way toward explaining the remoteness of some of the paintings, which often occur in deep or small caves, and the variety of subject matter, from prey animals to predators and human hand-prints.

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Forces

In the metaphysical or conceptual sense, balance is used to mean a point between two opposite forces that is desirable over purely one state or the other, such as a balance between the metaphysical Law and Chaos – law by itself being overly controlling, chaos being overly unmanageable, balance being the point that minimizes the negatives of both.

More recently, the term balance has come to refer to a balance of power between multiple opposing forces. Lack of balance is generally considered to cause aggression by stronger forces towards weaker forces less capable of defending themselves. In the real world, unbalanced stronger forces tend to portray themselves as balanced, and use media controls to downplay this, as well as prevent weaker forces from coming together to achieve a new balance of power.

In constructed worlds, such as in video gaming, where nearly all-powerful corporate interests strive to maintain a balance of power among players, players tend to be extremely vocal about what they see as unbalanced mechanics, providing the unbalance negatively affects them. And though the strong and unbalanced or overpowered players are commonly vigorous in denial of any lack of balance, the comparative media equality among all player brings change quickly, to further a sense of balance.

The twentieth century saw the development of both law and chaos in art to the point that the end product became unintelligible at an instinctive or emotional level. Many composers saw one or other of these controlling trends as superior to the other. The truth may lie in a fundamental acceptance of balance as the controlling force in art. In time, we may even come to accept balance between structural and emotional as the essence of beauty.

Appetite

Shallots probably originated in Asia, traveling from there to India and the eastern Mediterranean. The name “shallot” comes from Ashkelon, presently a city in Israel, where people in classical Greek times believed shallots originated. It is a relative of the onion, and tastes a bit like an onion, but has a sweeter, milder flavor. Finely sliced deep-fried shallots are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine.

Like garlic, shallots are formed in clusters of offsets with a head composed of multiple cloves. Their skin color can vary from golden brown to gray to rose red, and their off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta. Shallots are much favored by chefs because of their firm texture and sweet, aromatic yet pungent flavor.

Shallots are propagated by offsets, which, in the Northern Hemisphere, are often planted in September or October, but the principal crop should not be planted earlier than February or the beginning of March. In planting, the tops of the bulbs should be kept a little above ground, and it is a commendable plan to draw away the soil surrounding the bulbs when their roots have taken hold. They come to maturity about July or August, although in cooler climates they can be harvested later.

The shallot in Iran is often crushed into yogurt. Iranians enjoy yogurt in this way, especially in restaurants and Kebab-Saras where kebabs are served. Most shallots are grown wild, harvested, sliced, dried, and sold at markets. Buyers will often soak the shallots for a number of days then boil them to get a milder flavor. Crispy shallot chips are also used in Southern Chinese cuisine. In Indonesia, sometimes it is made into pickle which is usually added in variable kinds of traditional food. Its sourness increases one’s appetite.

Narrative

Mythopoeia is a narrative genre in modern literature and film where a fictional mythology is created by the writer of prose or other fiction. This meaning of the word mythopoeia follows its use by J. R. R. Tolkien in the 1930s. The authors in this genre integrate traditional mythological themes and archetypes into fiction.

Mythopoeia is also the act of making and creating mythologies. Notable mythopoeic authors include Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, William Blake and H. P. Lovecraft. While many literary works carry mythic themes, only a few approach the dense self-referentiality and purpose of mythopoeia. It is invented mythology that, rather than arising out of centuries of oral tradition, are penned over a short period of time by a single author or small group of collaborators.

Tolkien’s now famous work of mythopoeia includes the The Lord of the Rings. His Middle-earth is perhaps the best-known of contemporary invented mythology. In his fictional works, Tolkien invented not only origin myths, creation myths and an epic poetry cycle, but also fictive linguistics, geology and geography.

Works of mythopoeia are often categorized as fantasy or science fiction but fill a niche for mythology in the modern world, according to Joseph Campbell, a famous student of world mythology. He claimed that new myths must be created, but he believed that present culture is changing too rapidly for society to be completely described by any such mythological framework until a later age. Without relevant mythology, Campbell claimed, society cannot function.

Archetype

The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail and forming a circle. It often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end.

It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. The ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations, where it symbolizes the circular nature of the alchemist’s opus.

Carl Jung interpreted the Ouroboros as having an archetypal significance to the human psyche. The Jungian psychologist Erich Neumann writes of it as a representation of the pre-ego dawn state, depicting the undifferentiated infancy experience of both mankind and the individual child.

Snakes are sacred animals in many West African religions. The demi-god Aidophedo uses the image of a serpent biting its own tail. The Ouroboros is also seen in Fon or dahomean iconography as well as in Yoruba imagery as Oshunmare. The god Quetzalcoatl is sometimes portrayed biting its tail on Aztec and Toltec ruins.

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