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.”

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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.

Canopy

Tabebuia chrysantha is a native tree of intertropical broadleaf deciduous forests above the Tropic of Capricorn. It is know as Canaguate in Northern Colombia, as Tajibo in Bolivia, as Ipe Amarelo in Brazil, and as Araguaney in Venezuela.

It is widely used as ornamental tree in the tropics for landscaping gardens, public squares, and boulevards due to its impressive and colorful flowering. Many flowers appear on the leafless stems at the end of the dry season, making the floral display more conspicuous.

The deep yellow tubular flowers are up to three inches in length and are produced in dense clusters, covering the entire canopy of the tree. The sweetly fragrant flowers last for a month or more, and when they fall the ground beneath is decorated with a yellow carpet.

Since flowering and fruiting take place in dry season, from February to April, the seeds can take advantage of early rains. If rain season is delayed, the tree may flower and fruit a second time. They are useful as honey plants for bees, and are popular with certain hummingbirds.

Nerolidol

Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly known as Niaouli or Broad-leaved Paperbark or the Paper Bark Tea Tree, is a medium sized tree of the allspice family, Myrtaceae. The plant is native to coastal Eastern Australia, in New South Wales and Queensland. It has become naturalized in the Everglades in Florida, where it is considered a serious weed by the USDA.

Melaleuca is used traditionally by indigenous Australians. A brew is made from the bruised young aromatic leaves to treat colds, headaches and general sickness. The steam distilled leaf oil of the cineole chemotype is also used externally for coughs, colds, neuralgia, and rheumatism. A nerolidol and linalool chemotype is also cultivated and distilled on a small scale for use in perfumery.

The flowers serve as a rich source of nectar for other organisms, including fruit bats, a wide range of insect and bird species such as the Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus), the Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) and the Little Red Flying-fox (P. scapulatus), which all consume the nectar and flowers.

Melaleuca is known for its capability to withstand floods and droughts. If there is a canopy gap created by a flood or some other disturbance Melaleuca will establish to make use of the extra light. In physically disturbed sites, flourishing invaders have high colonization abilities. Melaleuca is constantly thinning itself of small branches and twigs and this causes many seeds to fall all the time, along with the detrius.

Chamber

In Jewish mysticism, the Chamber of Guf, also called the Otzar, is the Hall of Souls located in the Seventh Heaven. Every human soul is held to emanate from the Guf. The Talmud teaches that the Messiah will not come until the Guf is emptied of all its souls.

In keeping with other Jewish legends that envision souls as bird-like, the Guf is sometimes described as a columbarium, or birdhouse. Folklore says sparrows can see the soul’s descent and this explains their joyous chirping.

The mystic significance of the Guf is that each person is important and has a unique role which only each person, with their unique soul, can fulfill. Even a newborn baby brings the Messiah closer simply by being born.

The peculiar idiom of describing the treasury of souls may be connected to the mythic tradition of Adam Kadmon, the primordial man. Adam Kadmon was a supernal being, androgynous and equal in size with the universe. According to Kabbalah, every human soul is a fragment cycling out of the great world soul of Adam Kadmon. Hence, every human soul comes from the Chamber of Guf.

Blooming

The Royal Poinciana is a species of flowering tree from the legume family, noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. The tree’s vivid red flowers and bright green foliage make it an exceptionally striking sight.

It is endemic to Madagascar, where it is found in the dry deciduous forests. In addition to its ornamental value, it is also a useful shade tree in tropical conditions, because it usually grows to a modest height but spreads widely, and its dense foliage provides full shade. In areas with a marked dry season, it sheds its leaves during the drought, but in other areas it is virtually evergreen.

The Royal Poinciana requires a tropical or near-tropical climate, but can tolerate drought and salty conditions. In the United States, it grows only in South Florida, Southern California, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is much loved in the Caribbean, and many Puerto Rican paintings feature Royal Poinciana. It is also the national flower of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Its flowering season is April through June, which coincides with the end of the school year in northern tropical climates. Because of this timing, the flower of Poinciana often generates strong emotions among graduating students, as the Poinciana bloom when they are about to leave their school and their childhood behind.