Probability

The concept of other universes has been proposed to explain why our universe seems to be fine-tuned for conscious life as we experience it. If there were a infinite number of different physical laws in as many universes, some of these would have laws that were suitable for stars, planets and life to exist.

The weak anthropic principle could then be applied to conclude that we would only consciously exist in those universes which were finely tuned for our conscious existence. Thus, while the probability might be extremely small that there is life in most of the universes, this scarcity of life-supporting universes does not imply intelligent design as the only explanation of our existence.

We must be prepared to take account of the fact that our location in time as well as space is necessarily privileged to the extent of being compatible with our existence as observers. The observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve.

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Shift

The Slow Movement advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace. The principal perspective is to experience life in a fundamentally different way. For millennia, sages have taught that the experience of being present leads to richer experiences.

It is not organized and controlled by a singular organization. A fundamental characteristic of the Slow Movement is that it is propounded, and its momentum maintained, by individuals that constitute the expanding global community. Although it has existed in some form since the Industrial Revolution, its popularity has grown considerably greater each year.

The International Institute of Not Doing Much is an approach to workaholism, incivility, and time poverty through humor and storytelling. The Institute’s fictional presence promotes counter-urgency. First created in 2005, it is a continually evolving work of art and humor.

Devotion

The Indian Palm Squirrel is a species of rodent in the Sciuridae family that can be easily domesticated and kept as pets. It is found naturally in India. In the late 19th century, the Palm Squirrel was accidentally introduced into Western Australia where it has since become a minor pest.

The squirrels eat mainly nuts and fruits. They are opportunists in urban areas, and can be easily domesticated and trained to accept food from humans. Naturally active, their activity reaches levels of frenzy during the mating season. They tend to be very protective over their food sources, often guarding and defending them from birds and other squirrels.

The stripes on the Palm Squirrel’s back are described in a Hindu legend. The bridge at Rameswaram was being constructed by Lord Rama and the Vanara Sena, and the squirrel played its part by rolling in beach sand then running to the bridge to shake the sand from its back, all the time chanting Lord Rama’s name.

Lord Rama was pleased by the creature’s dedication and, in stroking the squirrel’s back, the mark of Rama’s fingers was left on the squirrel ever since. This association with Lord Rama explains why squirrels are considered sacred in India.

Hiking

Swampman is the subject of a philosophical thought experiment introduced by Donald Davidson, in his 1987 paper “Knowing One’s Own Mind”. The experiment runs as follows:

Suppose Davidson goes hiking in the swamp and is struck and killed by a lightning bolt. At the same time, nearby in the swamp another lightning bolt spontaneously rearranges a bunch of molecules such that, entirely by coincidence, they take on exactly the same form that Davidson’s body had at the moment of his untimely death.

This being, whom Davidson terms ‘Swampman’, has, of course, a brain which is structurally identical to that which Davidson had, and will thus, presumably, behave exactly as Davidson would have. He will walk out of the swamp, return to Davidson’s office, and write the same essays he would have written. He will interact like an amicable person with all of Davidson’s friends and family, and so forth.

Davidson holds that there would nevertheless be a difference, though no one would notice it. Swampman will appear to recognize Davidson’s friends, but it is impossible for him to actually recognize them, as he has never seen them before. As Davidson puts it, “it can’t recognize anything, because it never cognized anything in the first place.”

Intoxication

Tetraodontidae is a family of marine and estuarine fish which includes many familiar species such as pufferfish, balloonfish, blowfish, bubblefish, globefish, swellfish, toadfish, toadies, honey toads, sugar toads, and sea squab.

They are morphologically similar to the closely related porcupinefish, which have large external spines. The scientific name refers to the four large teeth, fused into an upper and lower plate, which are used for crushing the shells of crustaceans and mollusks, their natural prey.

Puffer fish are generally believed to be the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world, after the Golden Poison Frog. Certain internal organs, such as liver, and sometimes their skin are highly toxic to most animals when eaten, but nevertheless the meat of some species is considered a delicacy in Japan when prepared by chefs who know which part is safe to eat and in what quantity.

Puffer poisoning usually results from consumption of incorrectly prepared puffer soup, fugu chiri, or occasionally from raw puffer meat, sashimi fugu. While chiri is much more likely to cause death, sashimi fugu often causes intoxication, light-headedness, and numbness of the lips, and is often eaten for this reason.

Articulation

A philosophical zombie is a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except in that it lacks conscious experience. When a zombie is poked with a sharp object, for example, it does not feel any pain though it behaves exactly as if it does.

The notion of a philosophical zombie is used mainly in thought experiments intended to support arguments against forms of physicalism such as materialism and functionalism. Since a zombie is physiologically indistinguishable from human beings, its hypothetical possibility is an argument for a consciousness that is more than the sum of neurological pathways and brain states.

Though philosophical zombies are widely used in thought experiments, the detailed articulation of the concept is not always the same. Philosophical zombies were introduced primarily to argue against specific types of physicalism such as behaviorism, according to which mental states exist solely as behavior.

Belief, desire, thought, consciousness, and so on, are simply certain kinds of behavior or tendencies towards behaviors. A philosophical zombie that is behaviorally indistinguishable from a normal human being, but lacks conscious experiences, is therefore not logically possible according to the behaviorist.

Harmonization

Peak experience is a term used to describe certain transpersonal and ecstatic states, particularly ones tinged with themes of euphoria, harmonization and interconnectedness. Participants characterize these experiences, and the revelations imparted therein, as possessing an ineffably mystical quality or essence.

They usually come on suddenly and are often inspired by deep meditation, intense feelings of love, exposure to great art or music, or the overwhelming beauty of nature. Peak experiences are described as especially joyous and exciting moments in life, involving sudden feelings of intense happiness and well-being, wonder and awe, and possibly also involving an awareness of transcendental unity or knowledge of higher truth.

Peak experience tends to be uplifting and ego-transcending; it releases creative energies; it affirms the meaning and value of existence; it gives a sense of purpose to the individual; it gives a feeling of integration; it leaves a permanent mark on the individual, evidently changing them for the better.

Virtually everyone has a number of peak experiences in the course of their life, but often such experiences are taken for granted. In so-called “non-peakers”, peak experiences are somehow resisted and suppressed. Peak experiences should be studied and cultivated, so that they can be introduced to those who have never had them or who resist them, providing them a route to achieve personal growth, integration, and fulfillment.

Combination

The concerto grosso, Italian for big concerto, is a form of baroque music in which the musical material is passed between a small group of soloists (the concertino) and full orchestra (the ripieno).

The form developed in the late seventeenth century, although the name was not used at first. Alessandro Stradella seems to have written the first music in which two groups of different sizes are combined in this characteristic way. The first major composer to use the term concerto grosso was Arcangelo Corelli. After Corelli’s death, a collection of twelve of his concerti grossi was published; not long after, composers such as Francesco Geminiani and Giuseppe Torelli wrote concertos in the style of Corelli. He also had a strong influence on Antonio Vivaldi.

Two distinct forms of the concerto grosso exist: the concerto da chiesa (church concert) and the concerto da camera (chamber concert). The concerto da chiesa alternated slow and fast movements; the concerto da camera had the character of a suite, being introduced by a prelude and incorporating popular dance forms. These distinctions blurred over time.

Corelli’s concertino group was invariably two violins and a cello, with a string section as ripieno group. Both were accompanied by a basso continuo with some combination of harpsichord, organ or lute. Handel wrote several collections of concerti grossi, and several of the Brandenburg Concertos by Bach also loosely follow the concerto grosso form.

The concerto grosso form was superseded by the solo concerto and the sinfonia concertante in the late eighteenth century, and new examples of the form did not appear for more than a century. In the twentieth century, the concerto grosso has been used by composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Ernest Bloch, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Bohuslav Martinů, Malcolm Williamson, Henry Cowell, Alfred Schnittke, Krzysztof Penderecki and Philip Glass.

Vaisravana

Mongooses are a species of small carnivorans from southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. Mongooses are commonly terrestrial and many are active during the day. Some species lead predominantly solitary lives, seeking out food only for themselves, while others travel in groups, sharing food among group members.

The Meerkat is a species of Mongoose, a small, diurnal mammal that forages for invertebrates in open country. Its behavior and small size make it enticing to larger carnivores and birds of prey. However, it can capture and consume small migrating birds.

Sugar states were established in the Caribbean during the 1600s and 1700s to exploit profits from the high demand for sugar in Europe. The Europeans brought unintended new species such as rats in ships. Initially, the rats were rife and destroyed up to a quarter of the annual crop of sugarcane.

In 1872, a Jamaican sugar planter, Mr. W. B. Espeut, imported small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) and released them on his plantation. The rat populations were reduced, so other farmers brought them to release into other areas, including Puerto Rico, Barbados and Cuba.

The Buddhist god of wealth Vaisravana, or Dzambala for Tibetans, is frequently depicted holding a mongoose that is spitting jewels from its mouth.