Sunday, July 10, 2016

Study Notes: June 26-July 9, 2016

What I've been watching and reading in this time: 
Also check out: 
  • DoubleBlinded, "a new service for self-discovery and crowdsourced clinical trials." 
Homework for the future:
  • Read the posts linked to by "Responses to the Anti-Reactionary FAQ.". Eventually. 
  • Still on the to-do list: studying the Austrian School of Economics.
  • Also on the to-do list: All of those themes that I decide I want to play with, and cool bits that attract me, and things like that? Let's get systematic about that, put them into a single document (might be public, might not) and work with at least one of them every week. Systematic. Systematic. I do it best when I do it systematically. 
  • Also, don't forget to flesh this section out a bit more with goals in general, and maybe include a section on which of those goals were accomplished since the last update.
"A Partial History of Afterlife Beliefs"
  • "Nicholas Wade makes a strong case that these early [hunter-gatherer] tribes were egalitarian[...]. In the early stages of human civilization, power sharing appears to have been a key to survival and individuals who attempted to impose their will on the group were likely to be banished or executed." 
  • "Modern street gangs have something in common with tribes that roamed the savannas. They don't like each other and battles are common. The same was the case with roaming gangs on the savannas." Um... Kind of doubting the validity of the comparison, but whatever, it'd make for a good thing for somebody to say in a fic.
  • "In some societies, they [dead ancestors] could be called upon for advice about how to treat tribespersons who violated the norms of egalitarianism or who were not carrying their share of the burden. In this and other ways, ancestors were used to preserve the existing social order."
  • "The Hadza of northern Tanzania take death as a matter of due course. People are born, they live for however long they live, they die, and that's it. Burial rites are simple, and beliefs in an afterlife don't seem to exist. J. Woodburn studied the Hadza during four years of fieldwork and his observations are summarized by Bond. They are described as operating in an 'immediate-return' system; meaning that stress is placed on the present-day activities of gaining food for immediate consumption with minimal attention giving to planning for the future." 
  • "The Pirahas constitute another example of a hunting and gathering tribe that lives in the 'now' and gives little or no thought about life after today, let along [sic] life after death." 
    • "There are no chiefs or appointed leaders. Every member treats all other members as equals. All items of value like canoes, bows and arrows, and food are shared. [...] There is no interest in collecting material wealth or bringing attention to oneself by constructing a 'better' hut or weaving an extraordinary basket. When someone offers an opinion, it is stated as the opinion of the group." 
    • "There is a striking lack of concern about the future among the Piraha. For instance, little attention is given to preserving food. When fish are caught at 3:00AM, members of the tribe are awakened and eat the fish."
    • "History is of no interest. All reports of things that are said to have occurred in the near or distant past are ignored. No attention is paid to hearsay assertions. Only eyewitness reports are accepted as facts." 
    • "Children are raised to be self-sufficient [and] are permitted to play with potentially dangerous objects like knifes and arrowheads and spears. They are only punished when they injure themselves. In the event of death of a village member, the only acceptable explanation of the death is the person was not strong enough to survive." 
  • "Bonding within small groups in a large community devoted to growing crops, caring for livestock, and trading goods with other communities became increasingly dysfunctional and other ways had to be found to maintain the social order. A layered social structure was a common solution to governing large numbers of people."
  • "By necessity, agricultural commmunities became future oriented." 
  • "Herding is also a seasonal activity. What is the size of a manageable herd? Where are the best pastures, and what time of year is most appropriate to visit or leave them?" 
  • "The point here is the more one engages in future thinking, particularly the kind of future thinking that includes projecting images of oneself into the future, the more likely one is to wonder about the fate of that projected image of the self after the body dies." 
  • "Some solutions to the problem of death were parlayed into powerful mechanisms for social management." 
[regarding techno-shamanism]
  • Erich Schneider: "The shaman employs a mode of operation known as 'bricolage' (from the French 'bricoleur', 'handyman'). Unlike the engineer, who has some idea of 'theoritical [sic] principles' which underly a given 'practical implementation', the bricoleur has a set of techniques from which they pick and choose the appropriate 'tool' to be used in the situation at hand. It is not necessary to understand why something works, only that it does work."
    • "Shamans traditionally are associated with a community[...]. The shaman also orchestrates the rituals which bind the community together." 
    • "The techno-shamanic worldview is an extension of this. It invovles [sic] a belief that humanity's technological infrastructure has become so complex and vast that it cannot be entirely understood through use of an engineering-type theoretical construct. [...] The techno-shaman serves the community by accessing the technological infrastructure, not as a tool-user ordering their machine to do something, but as one sentient being negotiating with another for the performance of a service." 
    • "Drug use, ecstatic dancing, and trance music are well-established in today's techno-shamanic subculture, as is their use in ritualistic events to bind communities together. One can easily see a mapping between computer networks and the spirit world, and between computers and the powerful entities the traditional shaman interacts with." 
  • Arthur Chandler: "A techno-shaman is one who: 1) Believes that the essential core of the universe is an Algorithm; 2) Holds that there is a morality that can be derived from this Algorithm, which can be briefly stated as: IF NEED, THEN HELP; 3) Acts to help others by applying the derivatives of the Algorithm to everyday human existence; 4) Develops the spirit of technology to serve as the means of carrying out the Algorithm."
  • Fraser Clark: "Since I coined the word (in 1987 I think) I suppose it's for me to define it. I first used tecnoshaman [sic] in that year to describe the DJ's role in the Rave. Harmonic navigator is a term we started using in megatripolis/London last year. Basically the DJ is in charge of the group mood/mind. He senses when it's time to lift the mood, take it down, etc just as the shaman did in the good ol' tribal days[...]"
    • "A shaman can't really opeate [sic] with more than say 20 people over a period. If you reckon that every raver today is responsible for getting 20 people into RC [rave culture] then their job is personal shaman. Technoshamanism is using the technology, media (despite what some think) to help spread the vibe, the meme, sketching out a rough map for the trek ahead of them." 
"11 things we learned from Benjamin Barber's talk on the future of the city"
  • Barber: "Cities are not a level of government. Cities are the original human community." 
  • "He's become a bit of an evangelist for the possibilities of city-led government."
  • "Barber noted that 'cities generate 80 per cent of the GDP in the world'--yet they're forced to hand their riches over to national governments[...]"
  • Barber believes that "national governments are failing" on many issues, but that cities could do a better job. 
  • "He also noted that national governments, in the US or Belgium for example, have periodically shut down--and nobody has really noticed." 
  • Barber: "Imagine we closed Liege. Or Amsterdam, or Louisville." 
  • He doesn't like the rural population, either, saying that it is "responsible for many of the problems we have today." 
  • "His solution [to national power over cities] is for 'a thousand cities' to implement one of these policies [ban on fracking, ban on assault rifles, etc] at the same time, and to dare opponents to take them to court. This is, to be fair, a refreshingly novel approach for an American to take to the country's constitution." 
  • "National interests are often a zero-sum game; urban interests aren't." 
  • He holds that campaigns on the city level are less ideological than campaigns on the national level. 
  • "One of the big problems facing cities is unfunded mandates--when they are handed the responsibility to fix a problem, but not the fiscal power to actually do so." 
  • "Barber traces many problems faced by cities to the fact that we draw the boundaries in the wrong place."
  • Barber: "The division between city, suburb, exurb and countryside are artificial. Medieval cities had it about right: the city was the market town for the surrounding rural area." 
  • "In other words, the thing we think of as the city is actually just the most visible part of a much wider economic system."
  • Continental Europe is working on this--the citta metropolitana in Italy and the metropoles of France. 
  • Labretify: (noun) The practice of wearing labrets, or an ornament worn through the upper or lower lip.
  • PKD: "A person's authentic nature is a series of shifting, variegated planes that establish themselves as he relates to different people; it is created by and appears within the framework of his interpersonal relationships." 
  • Hanna Yusuf: "There's nothing inherently liberating in covering up, just as there's nothing inherently liberating in wearing next to nothing. But the liberation lies in the choice." 
  • Dr. E. Obiri Addo: "Africa fed the world, but the world eats without Africa."

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