Strength

Courage, also known as bravery and fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Its accompanying animal is the lion. Often, Fortitude is depicted as having tamed the ferocious lion, as in the Tarot trump called Strength. It also is a symbol in some cultures as a savior of the people who live in a community with sin and a corrupt church or religious body.

The Tao Te Ching states that courage is derived from love and explains: “One of courage, with audacity, will kill. One of courage, but gentle, spares life. From these two kinds of courage arise harm and benefit.” In Roman Catholicism, courage is referred to as Fortitude, one of the four cardinal virtues along with prudence, justice, and temperance. In both Catholicism and Anglicanism, courage is also one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

As a virtue, courage is discussed extensively in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, where its vice of deficiency is cowardice and its vice of excess is recklessness. Soren Kierkegaard opposed courage to angst, while Paul Tillich opposed an existential courage to be to non-being, fundamentally equating it with religion.

Courage is the self-affirmation of being in spite of the fact of non-being. It is the act of the individual self in taking the anxiety of non-being upon itself by affirming itself in the anxiety of guilt and condemnation. Every courage to be has openly or covertly a religious root, for religion is the state of being grasped by the power of being itself.

Courage appears as the first of ten characteristics of religion the Hindu scripture, with the remaining characteristics being forgiveness, tolerance, not to steal, control of senses, cleanliness, intelligence, knowledge, truth, and not to get angry. In Islam, courage is seen as an important attribute to combat evil like the Prophet and to make the sacrifice required, to stand up to evil like the Prophet said and defend the brothers and sisters.

Civil courage, sometimes also referred to as social courage, is defined by many different standards. In general, the term is usually referred to when civilians stand up against something that is deemed unjust and evil, knowing that the consequences of their action might lead to injury or some other form of significant harm.

In some countries civil courage is enforced by law. This means that if a crime is committed in public, the public is obliged to act either by alerting the authorities or by intervening in the conflict. If the crime is committed in a private environment, those who witness the crime must either report it to the authorities or attempt to stop it.

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Judgement

Wisdom is an ideal that has been celebrated since antiquity as the knowledge needed to live a good life. What this means exactly depends on the various wisdom schools and traditions claiming to help foster wisdom. In general, these schools have emphasized various combinations of knowledge, understanding, experience, discretion, and intuitive understanding, along with a capacity to apply these qualities well towards finding solutions to problems.

In many traditions, the terms wisdom and intelligence have somewhat overlapping meanings. In others they are arranged hierarchically, with intelligence being necessary but not sufficient for wisdom. Holists believe that wise people sense, work with and align themselves and others to life. In this view, wise people help others appreciate the fundamental interconnectedness of life.

Psychologists have gathered data on commonly held beliefs or folk theories about wisdom. These analyses indicate that although there is an overlap of the implicit theory of wisdom with intelligence, perceptiveness, spirituality and shrewdness, it is evident that wisdom is a distinct term and not a composite of other terms.

A standard philosophical definition says that wisdom consists of making the best use of available knowledge. As with any decision, a wise decision may be made with incomplete information. The technical philosophical term for the opposite of wisdom is folly. In addition to experience there are a variety of other avenues to gaining wisdom. For example, Freethinkers and others believe that wisdom may come from pure reason and perhaps experience, while others believe that it comes from intuition or spirituality.

Two wisdom traditions can be identified in the Renaissance, contemplative and prudential. Contemplative traditions, such as monastic traditions, emphasized meditation on one’s own experience as a pathway to the divine. Augustine was an early and influential figure in the Christian lineage of this tradition. The status of wisdom or prudence as a virtue is recognized in cultural, philosophical and religious sources as the judicious and purposeful application of knowledge that is valued in society.

In his Metaphysics, Aristotle defines wisdom as knowledge of causes, or why things exist in a particular fashion. In Mesopotamian religion and mythology, Enki, also known as Ea, was the God of wisdom and intelligence. Wisdom was achieved by restoring balance.

In Norse mythology, the god Odin hanged himself for nine nights from Yggdrasil, the World Tree that unites all the realms of existence, suffering from hunger and thirst and finally wounding himself with a spear until he gained the knowledge of runes for use in casting powerful magic. He was also able to acquire the mead of poetry from the giants, a drink of which could grant the power of a scholar or poet, for the benefit of gods and mortals alike.

Analysis

Albert Einstein was a famous theoretical physicist. His brain was removed within seven hours of his death and has attracted attention because of his reputation for being one of the foremost geniuses of the 20th century. Apparent regularities or irregularities in the brain have been used to support various ideas about correlations in neuroanatomy with exceptional intelligence. Scientific studies have suggested that regions involved in speech and language are smaller, while regions involved with numerical and spatial processing are larger.

In the 1980s, University of California professor Marian Diamond persuaded Thomas Harvey to give her samples of Einstein’s brain. She compared the ratio of glial cells in Einstein’s brain with that in the preserved brains of 11 men. Glial cells provide support and nutrition in the brain, form myelin, and participate in signal transmission. Diamond and Joseph Altman had already both discovered that rats with enriched environments developed more glial cells for each neuron. Rats in impoverished environments had fewer glial cells relative for each neuron.

Dr. Diamond’s laboratory made thin sections of Einstein’s brain, each 6 micrometers thick. They then used a microscope to count the cells. Einstein’s brain had more glial cells relative to neurons in all areas studied, but only in the left inferior parietal area was the difference statistically significant. This area is part of the association cortex, regions of the brain responsible for incorporating and synthesizing information from multiple other brain regions.

In 1999, analysis by a team at McMaster University revealed that Einstein’s parietal operculum region in the frontal lobe of the brain was vacant. One notable part of the operculum is Broca’s area, which plays a key role in conversation or speech production, reading and writing. To compensate, the inferior parietal lobe was 15 percent wider than normal. The inferior parietal region is responsible for mathematical thought, visuospatial cognition, and imagery of movement.

Also absent was part of a bordering region called the lateral sulcus. Researchers speculated that the vacancy may have enabled neurons in this part of his brain to communicate better. This unusual brain anatomy may explain why Einstein thought the way he did.

It should be noted that this study was based on photographs of Einstein’s brain made in 1955 by Dr. Harvey, and not direct examination of the brain. Einstein himself claimed that he thought through images rather than verbally. Professor Laurie Hall of Cambridge University commenting on the study, said, “So far the case isn’t proven, but magnetic resonance and other new technologies are allowing us to start to probe those very questions”.

Einstein was speculated to have Asperger’s Syndrome. The condition is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language. Intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one sided verbosity, restricted prosody, and physical clumsiness are typical of the condition.

Serendipity

Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts. An alternative conception of creativness is that it is simply the act of making something new. From a scientific point of view, the products of creative thought, sometimes referred to as divergent thought, are usually considered to have both originality and appropriateness.

Creativity has been attributed variously to divine intervention, cognitive processes, the social environment, personality traits, chance, accident and serendipity. It has been associated with genius, mental illness and humour. Some say it is a trait we are born with. Others say it can be taught with the application of simple techniques.

Although intuitively a simple phenomenon, it is in fact quite complex. It has been studied from the perspectives of behavioural psychology, social psychology, psychometrics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, philosophy, history, economics, design research, business, and management, among others. The studies have covered everyday creativity, exceptional creativity and even artificial creativity. Unlike many phenomena in science, there is no single, authoritative perspective or definition of creativity. And unlike many phenomena in psychology, there is no standardized measurement technique.

Although popularly associated with art and literature, it is also an essential part of innovation and invention and is important in professions such as business, economics, architecture, industrial design, science and engineering. Despite, or perhaps because of, the ambiguity and multi-dimensional nature of creativity, entire industries have been spawned from the pursuit of creative ideas and the development of creativity techniques.

Some researchers believe that creativity is the outcome of the same cognitive processes as intelligence, and is only judged as creativity in terms of its consequences, such as when the outcome of cognitive processes happens to produce something novel, a view which Perkins has termed the “nothing special” hypothesis.

A very popular model proposed by Ellis Paul Torrance holds that a high degree of intelligence appears to be a necessary but not sufficient condition for high creativity. This means that, in a general sample, there will be a positive correlation between creativity and intelligence, but this correlation will not be found if only a sample of the most highly intelligent people are assessed. Research into the threshold hypothesis, however, has produced mixed results ranging from enthusiastic support to refutation and rejection.

Some students of creativity have emphasized an element of chance in the creative process. Linus Pauling, asked at a public lecture how one creates scientific theories, replied that one must endeavor to come up with many ideas, then discard the useless ones.

Another adequate definition of creativity is that it is an assumptions-breaking process. Creative ideas are often generated when one discards preconceived assumptions and attempts a new approach or method that might seem to others unthinkable.

Creativity has been associated with right or forehead brain activity or even specifically with lateral thinking. According to some researchers, positive emotions increase the number of cognitive elements available for association and the number of elements that are relevant to the problem.

In 2005, Alice Flaherty presented a three factor model of the creative drive. Drawing from evidence in brain imaging, drug studies and lesion analysis, she described the creative drive as resulting from an interaction of the frontal lobes, the temporal lobes, and dopamine from the limbic system. The frontal lobes can be seen as responsible for idea generation, and the temporal lobes for idea editing and evaluation. Abnormalities in the frontal lobe, such as depression or anxiety, generally decrease creativity, while abnormalities in the temporal lobe often increase creativity. High activity in the temporal lobe typically inhibits activity in the frontal lobe, and vice versa. High dopamine levels increase general arousal and goal directed behaviors and reduce latent inhibition, and all three effects increase the drive to generate ideas.

Particularly strong links have been identified between creativity and mood disorders, particularly bipolar disorder and depressive disorder. In Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, Kay Redfield Jamison summarizes studies of mood disorder rates in writers, poets and artists. She also explores research that identifies mood disorders in such famous writers and artists as Ernest Hemingway (who shot himself after electroconvulsive treatment), Virginia Woolf (who drowned herself when she felt a depressive episode coming on), composer Robert Schumann (who died in a mental institution), and even the famed visual artist Michelangelo.

Intelligence

The American Crow is a distinctive bird with iridescent black feathers all over. Its legs, feet and bill are also black. They are 16-20 inches in length, of which the tail makes up about 40%. Each wing is around 7-8 inches long. The bill length is on average 2 inches, varying strongly according to location.

The most usual call is a loud, short, and rapid caah-caah-caah. Usually, the birds thrust their heads up and down as they utter this call. American Crows can also produce a wide variety of sounds and sometimes mimic noises made by other animals, including other birds.

American Crows are monogamous and cooperative. Mated pairs form large families of up to 15 individuals from several breeding seasons that remain together for many years. Offspring from a previous nesting season will usually remain with the family to assist in rearing new nestlings.

Outside of the few months of the breeding season, Crows are extremely gregarious. After the last young have fledged, the family group usually joins other groups of Crows, and these begin to form a large flock that divides up for feeding during the day, but gathers again each night to roost. The roost becomes an important focal point in the birds’ life outside the breeding season.

Each morning the roost breaks up into smaller flocks that disperse across the countryside to feed. Some flocks may fly up to fifty miles from the roost each day. In midafternoon these smaller flocks start back toward the communal roost. They fly along fixed flight lines used each day and are joined by other flocks as they go. Often there are preroosting sites, where flight lines coincide and Crows stop to feed before making the final trip to the roost.

At these spots there may be much chasing and often spectacular dives as the returning Crows join the others at the preroosting spot. Then just before dusk all the Crows in the area enter the roost site together. These last flights into the roost can be spectacular, for they may contain anywhere from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand birds. The largest roosts are where birds migrating from the north come together with local, year round residents.

Crows are smart and adaptable. For example, they drop nuts on streets so cars run over them, then wait for the traffic signal to change so they can pick up the food. Other crows who see this happen quickly learn how to do this for themselves.

Technology hacker Joshua Klein has been studying crows for over ten years and has learned that they are very intelligent. He has distributed a video of how a crow learned to use a tool to pull an object out of of a tube with a bendable wire.

Joshua built a vending machine that teaches crows to deposit coins they find into a special vending machine that dispenses peanuts. His machine uses Skinnerian training. He put coins and peanuts around the machine. The crows ate the peanuts on the feeder tray. Then Joshua took away the nuts and left coins in the feeder tray. The crows gathered the coins around with their beaks, looking for food. When a coin accidentally dropped into the slot, it dispensed a peanut. Next, Joshua took away the coins. The crows learned to find coins elsewhere and deposit them.

Anecdotes of crows birds snatching up shiny human valuables are plentiful, and many of them are undoubtedly true. Watches freshly removed in the outdoors are a favorite. They are certainly capable of detecting shiny and colorful items. But in all these cases, the items are probably perceived as potential food. It is likely that the shape of the object is more important than its color and brightness.

Detailed reports from people who have raised crows in captivity provide some telling clues. A classic 1927 report comes from Norman Criddle of Manitoba, Canada, who raised four young crows. He reported that they regularly collected a wide variety of objects together and then hid them. When they became older, they regularly hid food items for later eating, including shoving berries under a handkerchief in Criddle’s own front shirt pocket.

This tallies with modern observations that young birds aren’t sure of the food value of all the various items they see day to day, so they hide some to experiment with later. It is quite likely that many of shiny object theft reports are the work of young birds experimenting with possible food.

Bernd Heinrich, a University of Vermont biology professor, got even more detailed information in his work with young crows. He was intrigued when he gave them an egg and they immediately attempted to eat it, even though they had never seen one before. Presenting crows with objects, both edible and inedible, of various shapes, he found they would faithfully attempt to eat any smooth rounded object, including hickory nuts, a ping pong ball, film canisters and a red and white fishing float.

He also experimented by secretly burying a piece of roadkill they liked in different places under snow. He found they used visual cues in the disturbances of the snow rather than smell to find the roadkill again. This shows sight is critical to the birds’ food-finding. Our small valuables such as coins, rings, and watches tend to be smooth and rounded. It’s likely the birds simply consider them a meal, and dump them later when it’s clear they’re not.

American Crows are protected internationally by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Despite attempts by humans in some areas to drive away or eliminate these birds, they remain widespread and very common. The number of individual American Crows is estimated to be around 31,000,000. The large population, as well as its vast range, are the reasons why the American Crow is considered to be of least concern, meaning that the species is not threatened.