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.

Exaggeration

A supernormal stimulus is an exaggerated version of a stimulus to which there is an existing response tendency, or any stimulus that elicits a response more strongly than the stimulus from which it evolved.

The Dutch ethologist and ornithologist Niko Tinbergen constructed an artificial stimulus consisting of a red knitting needle with three white bands painted around it. This elicited a stronger food-begging response among chicks than an accurate three-dimensional model of the Herring Gull’s white head and yellow bill with a red spot. Tinbergen and his students studied other variations of this effect, experimenting with dummy plaster eggs of various sizes and markings, finding that most birds preferred eggs with more exaggerated markings than their own, more saturated versions of their color, and a larger size than their own.

Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett argues that supernormal stimulation governs the behavior of humans as powerfully as that of animals. In her 2010 book, Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose, she examines the impact of supernormal stimuli on the diversion of impulses for nurturing, sexuality, romance, territoriality, defense, and the entertainment industry’s hijacking of our social instincts. In her earlier book, Waistland, she explains junk food as an exaggerated stimulus to cravings for salt, sugar, and fats and television as an exaggeration of social cues of laughter, smiling faces and attention-grabbing action.

An episode of the PBS science show NOVA showed an Australian beetle species whose males were sexually attracted to large and orange females, the larger and more orange the better. This became a problem when the males started to attempt to mate with certain beer bottles that were just the right color. The males were more attracted to the bottles than actual females.

Scaling

Allometry is the study of the relationship between size and shape. It is a well-known study in biology for practical applications to the differential growth rates of the parts of a living organism’s body. One application is in the study of various insect species where a small change in overall body size can lead to an enormous and disproportionate increase in the dimensions of appendages such as legs, antennae, or horns.

It often studies shape differences in terms of ratios of the objects’ dimensions. Two objects of different size but common shape will have their dimensions in the same ratio. Take, for example, a biological object that grows as it matures. Its size changes with age but the shapes are similar.

In addition to studies that focus on growth, allometry also examines shape variation among individuals of a given age, which is referred to as static allometry. Comparisons of species are used to examine interspecific or evolutionary allometry. An example is found in frogs – aside from a brief period during the few weeks after metamorphosis, frogs grow isometrically. Therefore, a frog whose legs are as long as its body will retain that relationship throughout its life, even if the frog itself increases in size tremendously.

Framework

Biosemiotics investigates the role that sign use plays in life processes. All processes in organisms obey physical laws, the difference from inanimate processes lying in their organisation and being subject to control by coded information.

It uses concepts from semiotics and the study of dynamic sign action in humans as well as elsewhere in nature to answer questions about the biological emergence of meaning, intentionality and a psychic world; questions that are hard to answer within a purely mechanist and physicalist framework.

To define biosemiotics as biology interpreted as sign systems study is to emphasize not only the close relation between biology as we know it and the study of signs, but primarily the profound change of perspective implied when life is considered not just from the perspectives of molecules and chemistry, but as signs conveyed and interpreted by other living signs in a variety of ways, including by means of molecules.

In this sense, biosemiotics takes for granted and respects the complexity of living processes as revealed by the existing fields of biology – from molecular biology to brain science and behavioural studies – however, biosemiotics attempts to bring together separate findings of the various disciplines of biology, including evolutionary biology, into a new and more unified perspective on the central phenomena of the living world, including the generation of function and signification in living systems, from the ribosome to the ecosystem and from the beginnings of life to its ultimate meanings.

Predisposition

In psychology, preparedness is a concept developed to explain why certain associations are learned more readily than others. For example, phobias related to survival, such as snakes, spiders, and heights, are much more common and much easier to induce in the laboratory than other kinds of fears.

This is a result of our evolutionary history. Organisms which learned to fear environmental threats faster had a survival and reproductive advantage. Consequently, the innate predisposition to fear became an adaptive human trait. Because early humans that were quick to fear dangerous situations were more likely to survive and reproduce, preparedness is theorized to be a genetic effect that is the result of natural selection.

Fear can sometimes create the condition we commonly call disease. Realistically, mammals all develop disease throughout their lifetimes but they remain unaware of this fact because the immune system recognizes the threat and eliminates it. The long term effect of chronic fear on the immune system can be extremely damaging.

For some, becoming aware of fear and changing the response to it has brought about a lessening of disease. By taking a deep breath, pausing and reflecting, one can identify a negative belief system and replace it with a positive, loving belief system that can remedy problems before they escalate.

Quality

Charisma is a trait found in persons whose are characterized by a personal charm and magnetism, along with innate and powerfully sophisticated abilities of interpersonal communication. One who is charismatic is said to be capable of using their personal being to interface with other human beings in a direct manner to effectively communicate.

The term was introduced in scholarly usage by German sociologist Max Weber as charismatic authority. He defined it as one of three forms of authority, the other two being traditional authority and rational authority. According to Weber, charisma is defined as a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which one is set apart from ordinary people and endowed with specifically exceptional powers or qualities.

Charisma almost always evolves in the context of boundaries set by traditional or rational authority, but by its nature tends to challenge this authority and is thus often seen as revolutionary. However, the constant challenge that charismatic authority presents to a particular society will eventually subside as it is incorporated into that society. The way in which this happens is called routinization.

Routinization is the process by which charismatic authority is succeeded by a bureaucracy controlled rationally established authority or by a combination of traditional and bureaucratic authority. For example, Muhammad, who had charismatic authority as The Prophet among his followers, was succeeded by the traditional authority and structure of Islam, a clear example of routinization.

Some leaders may employ various tools to create and extend their charismatic authority by utilizing the science of public relations, for example. As in the example of Christianity, a religion which evolves its own priesthood and establishes a set of laws and rules is likely to lose its charismatic character and move towards another type of authority upon the removal of that leader.

Disposition

Agapism professes that love  should be the sole ultimate value and that all other values are derived from it, or that the sole moral imperative is to love. Theological agapism holds that our love of God is expressed by loving our fellow man. As the ethics of love, agapism indicates that we should do the most loving thing in each situation, letting love determine our obligation rather than rules. Alternatively, given a set of rules, agapism indicates to follow those rules which produce the most love.

The American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce used the word agapism for the view that creative love is operative in the cosmos. Drawing from the Swedenborgian ideas of Henry James, Peirce held that it involves a love which expresses itself in a devotion to cherishing and tending to people or things other than oneself, as a parent may do for offspring, and as God does especially for the unloving, whereby the loved ones may learn.

Peirce regarded this process as a mode of evolution of the cosmos and its parts, and he called it agapism, wherein: “The good result is here brought to pass, first, by the bestowal of spontaneous energy by the parent upon the offspring, and, second, by the disposition of the latter to catch the general idea of those about it and thus to subserve the general purpose.”

Future

Questioning the parameters of being human and its relationship with nature has been of philosophical interest before and since Socrates. Questioning the future of the human brings to light moral, religious and philosophical belief systems and, especially, ethical concerns regarding tampering with human nature and what is considered by many, especially in Western culture, to be natural.

The etymology of the term Transhuman goes back to futurist FM-2030 (born Fereidoun M. Esfandiary) who, while teaching new concepts of the human at The New School university in 1966, introduced it as shorthand for “transitory human”. Calling Transhumans the “earliest manifestation of new evolutionary beings,” FM-2030 argued that signs of Transhumanism included physical and mental augmentations including prostheses, reconstructive surgery, intensive use of telecommunications, a cosmopolitan outlook and a globetrotting lifestyle, androgyny, absence of religious beliefs, and a rejection of traditional family values.

Many thinkers today do not consider FM-2030’s characteristics to be essential attributes of a Transhuman. However, analyzing the possible transitional nature of the human species has been and continues to be of primary interest to anthropologists and philosophers within and outside the intellectual movement of Transhumanism.

Jeffrey McKee of the Ohio State University said the new findings of accelerated evolution bear out predictions he made in a 2000 book The Riddled Chain. Based on computer models, he argued that evolution should speed up as a population grows because population growth creates more opportunities for new mutations; and the expanded population occupies new environmental niches, which would drive evolution in new directions. Whatever the implications of the recent findings, McKee concludes that they highlight a ubiquitous point about evolution: every species is a transitional species.

Properties

Philosophy of mind is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body. The mind-body problem, or the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as the central issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body.

Dualism and monism are the two major schools of thought that attempt to resolve the mind-body problem. Dualism is the position that mind and body are in some way separate from each other. It can be traced back to Plato, Aristotle, and the Samkhya and Yoga schools of Hindu philosophy, but it was most precisely formulated by René Descartes in the 17th century. Substance dualists argue that the mind is an independently existing substance, whereas Property dualists maintain that the mind is a group of independent properties that emerge from and cannot be reduced to the brain, but that it is not a distinct substance.

Many modern philosophers of mind adopt either a reductive or non-reductive physicalist position, maintaining in their different ways that the mind is not something separate from the body. These approaches have been particularly influential in the sciences, particularly in the fields of sociobiology, computer science, evolutionary psychology and the various neurosciences. Other philosophers, however, adopt a non-physicalist position which challenges the notion that the mind is a purely physical construct.

Reductive physicalists assert that all mental states and properties will eventually be explained by scientific accounts of physiological processes and states. Non-reductive physicalists argue that although the brain is all there is to the mind, the predicates and vocabulary used in mental descriptions and explanations are indispensable, and cannot be reduced to the language and lower-level explanations of physical science. Continued neuroscientific progress has helped to clarify some of these issues. However, they are far from having been resolved, and modern philosophers of mind continue to ask how the subjective qualities and the intentionality of mental states and properties can be explained in naturalistic terms.

Roots

Zydeco, from the French le zaricot or “snap beans” is a popular form of American folk music. It evolved in southwest Louisiana in the early 19th century from forms of Louisiana Creole music. Usually fast tempo and dominated by the button or piano accordion and a form of a washboard known as a vest frottoir, zydeco music was originally created at house dances, where families and friends gathered for socializing.

For 150 years, Louisiana Creoles enjoyed an insular lifestyle, prospering, educating themselves without the American government and building their invisible communities under the Code Noir. The French created the Code Noir in 1724 to establish rules for treatment of slaves, as well as restrictions and rights for gens de couleur libres, a growing class of free people of color who had the right to own land, something few blacks in the American South had at that time.

The music arose as a synthesis of traditional Creole music, some Cajun music influences, and African-American traditions, including blues and gospel. It was also often just called French music. Zydeco’s rural beginnings and the prevailing economic conditions at its inception are reflected in many of the song titles and lyrics.

It moved to rural dance halls and nightclubs. As a result, the music integrated waltzes, shuffles, two-steps, and most dance music forms of the era. Today, the tradition of change and evolution in the music continues. It stays current while integrating even more genres such as hip-hop, ska, rock, and other styles, in addition to the traditional zydeco forms.

An instrument used in Zydeco music is the vest frottoir. It is usually made from pressed, corrugated aluminium and is worn over the shoulders. Other instruments common in zydeco include the old world accordion which is found in folk and roots music globally.

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