What are you reading?

Worldly and otherworldly topics
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MoneyJungle
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by MoneyJungle » Mon Dec 20, 2021 7:16 am

Image

I’ve seen this 1974 book in used bookstores for years and I finally picked it. It’s wonderful! That some of the science is dated only adds to the charm. It’s a series of essays that are both dense and short with the overall theme of the interplay between the microscopic world and meatspace. The author was dean of Yale Medical school and has a pretty broad list of achievements. He’s quite funny in a dry old Yankee kind of way. He’s really down to earth no matter how far he gets into the weeds of microbiology to illustrate his points. And, I reiterate, the essays are short. It seems like everyone who writes essays about science/philosophy just goes on and on until you’re bored to death. You could read one of these essays on a short bus trip and really get some food for thought.

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elfsprin
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by elfsprin » Mon Dec 20, 2021 10:26 pm

MoneyJungle wrote:
Mon Dec 20, 2021 7:16 am
And, I reiterate, the essays are short. It seems like everyone who writes essays about science/philosophy just goes on and on until you’re bored to death. You could read one of these essays on a short bus trip and really get some food for thought.
Have you ever tried any Mary Roach? She’s excellent and can be consumed in short bursts as well.

I recommend starting with Bonk or Stiff.

https://maryroach.net/bonk.html

https://maryroach.net/stiff.html
Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity - Simone Weil

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puerile_polyp
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by puerile_polyp » Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:34 pm

I just finished Ordinary Men. I've been really interested in genocide and other forms of organized mass murder. The motivations behind it, how people can grow accustomed to murder, but mostly what goes on in the individual heads involved.

People were driven from their homes, forced to strip naked, march out into the woods, file into ditches full of the corpses of their friends and family, lie down on top of them face down, and wait to be shot. That's hard for me to understand. Were people so afraid of being tortured individually? Were they just conditioned that much that complying is the only hope, just as Germans were conditioned into enjoying murder? How could that illusion not be shattered when you see plainly what is happening? How did people keep climbing up onto the pile of corpses and lying down?

In this one village that they were sent to clear out, it talks of how one young man attacked a nazi, and that nazi turned out to be a boxing champion and beat the crap out of him. Why was that young man the only one, and nobody rushed in to help when they saw him go for it?

In that same village, people were first separated by gender and fitness. They were told of course that they were being deported. Idk how much people really believed that, they always tried that ruse and usually expected to get only a portion of people to believe that and report for deportation. But in this case, some time after the first group was led off to march into the woods, the sounds of the shots as that group was murdered was clearly audible to the remaining Poles in the village. ""When the first salvo was heard from the
woods, a terrible cry swept the marketplace as the collected Jews
realized their fate.42 Thereafter, however, a quiet composure indeed, in the words of German witnesses, an "unbelievable"
and "astonishing" composure-settled over the Jews. 4""

I want to know more about that quiet composure. I want to experience it. I want to know why they didn't fight, if it was just fear or something else. They remained composed while submitting to a humiliating death.

It's always so hard to figure out what the right thing is to do, when I see so much horrifying shit around me and it doesn't seem that I have any power to change it. Do I commit myself to suffering unto death in a fight for what's right? Do I just try to bring joy and comfort to those around me similarly condemned? Do I "sneak off into the woods" like so many Jews did, just fend for myself and look for any chance of survival and freedom?

Yesterday
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Yesterday » Fri Jan 07, 2022 2:46 am

I respect MoneyJungle because he's a strong and silent type. A fella, I know you know I'm a man of faith in the Bible. Today I read a verse that says, "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" -1 Corinthians 16:13

Just reminded me of you is all. In fact several of you.

Hope you're doing alright brotha. BTW I thought of you when you were on the other day and posted an O'Jays classic.

:thumbsup:
ENTP

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elfsprin
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by elfsprin » Fri Jan 07, 2022 6:55 pm

puerile_polyp wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:34 pm

People were driven from their homes, forced to strip naked, march out into the woods, file into ditches full of the corpses of their friends and family, lie down on top of them face down, and wait to be shot. That's hard for me to understand. Were people so afraid of being tortured individually? Were they just conditioned that much that complying is the only hope, just as Germans were conditioned into enjoying murder? How could that illusion not be shattered when you see plainly what is happening? How did people keep climbing up onto the pile of corpses and lying down?
I don’t know, of course, but this reminded me of a passage from The Idiot where Dostoyevsky is clearly reliving his own moments of being sentenced to death through the eyes of the eponymous character.

Part of it may have been that if one chooses to fight, death via shooting might seem inevitable. Whereas, complying and laying down might have seemed to have more uncertainty as to whether you’d for sure die or not.

That would be perverse if true, but still might have been the case: complying felt like the more hopeful option, the option with the ‘maybe maybe maybe…’ of surviving, and so folks chose that option as they recoiled in internal horror from a different option where death seemed starkly certain.
Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity - Simone Weil

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elfsprin
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by elfsprin » Fri Jan 07, 2022 7:02 pm

An interesting excerpt:

“ Certain death is the worst kind of death since one is forced to know it; in contrast, uncertain death is better:

‘To be killed by legal sentence is immeasurably more terrible than to be killed by robbers, stabbed at night, in the forest or however, certainly he hopes he’ll be saved til the very last minute. There have been examples when a man’s throat has already been cut, and he still hopes, or flees, or pleads.’ (23)”

-from https://schlemielintheory.com/2014/11/2 ... idiot/amp/
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Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity - Simone Weil

Yesterday
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Yesterday » Sat Jan 08, 2022 1:18 am

Excellent conversation. You've entered my favorite territory. I enjoy it when similar interests converge. I downloaded some Primo Levi.

Oh and here's another Russian oldy but goody adjacent to this genocide/evil topic.

"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Madrigal
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Madrigal » Sun Jan 16, 2022 5:43 pm

Annoyingly, I have started several books instead of finishing one before starting another.

Reading Gabor Mate's 'When the Body Says No: The Stress Disease Connection" which is really good and talks about the profiles of people with certain diseases, in terms of how they cope with stress, how they were raised.

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Catoptric
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Catoptric » Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:07 pm

Dysfunctional frontal lobe activity during inhibitory tasks in individuals with childhood trauma: An event-related potential study
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5842757/



I've wondered to some extent if low-latent inhibition (LLI) is a byproduct of feeling isolated or neglected from early on, which can reaffirm trust in the wrong kinds of people; as most life experience you've learned to shun away from people out of little shared interest, as LLI traits could appear to connect dots to seemingly disparate situations, and the amount of information someone could process and go through will seem very "alien" to most people, that every conversation will seem less satisfying than slamming ones own head against a brick wall.

I tend to think modern society has trauma bonded with tribalistic identity, where people latch onto cults of personality so to differ blame from having avoided situational awareness, and having thrown themselves prostrate before greed and materialistic--egoic--identity, society is in a perpetual state of external gratification, whereas someone with LLI will have turned more inward focus to the exclusion of frustration with mundane and ephemeral circle-jerks with the illusion of progress (that society is largely a pile of steaming waste that panders to social conformity and being agreeable; so if you have somehow managed to realize you've been screwed over in society, the powers that be will believe you must "let it happen" gracefully while they continue to conform and take advantage of the privileges that doing such a thing entails.)


**************************

When discussing Low-Latent Inhibitions: supposedly some have termed different genetics as factoring in, such as 'Hunter Gatherer' traits which have more MAO inhibitor genetics ("Warrior Genes") which could cause higher cortical arousal (though this could be wrong as they also refer to MAO-A as the "psychopath gene" which suggest the opposite though I'm pretty sure inhibited hormone breakdown doesn't prevent emotional response entirely.) I tend to think this is more epigenetic in nature, so if someone no longer had to adapt such traits and came from more agrarian genetics, their behavior might be more recalcitrant and not develop anxiety related to survival as it was more about waiting for the crops to grow.

A household that might be "normal" though not particularly nurturing (or perhaps such that the conditions of their upbringing was where they in-turn became the "adult" in a child's body) could cause someone to distrust caregiver reliability and thus authority figures in general, and perhaps in order to cope would not befriend people if they were not given validation, or were invalidated due to various intergenerational behavior traits (such as the Great-Great Grandfather chasing their son off the farm with a bullwhip when they weren't yet an adult, which instills a mistrust into the succeeding generations) and various coping mechanisms (such as blunting emotional affect--thus developing more schizoid behavior traits--could develop as a way to cope with perceived trauma situations.)

I've believed it's possible that people develop more 'Thinker' MBTI temperaments as a result of environment, as a way to cope with unreliable caregiver situations, but I suspect a higher proportion of aspie traits are really just this LLI behavior developed from emotional trauma (such as a parent not responding to a kid crying in a crib, or locking them in a closet so that they can continue staring at themselves in a makeup mirror for hours on end.) What is perceived as a proliferation of aspie traits could just be a result of modern society encroaching on what would have been very different development trajectories, had society not developed an insular system that compels external gratification.

It is true that certain people who are qualitatively different from their environment would be perceived as mistrustful; often those with PTSD could also appear skittish and then become perceived as a threat because of how they might shift gaze across the room and appear "on guard" with their posture. Similarly, situations can develop even when a person never actually engaged in something like frontline combat, but where they believed that their lives could still be at threat as a target and just this "walking on eggshells" environment alone contributes to developing anxiety as a result. Even if such a person is entirely a victim or at the mercy of circumstances, people routinely are used as scapegoats for a war or situation in which they merely believed they should go along with assisting; and thus become the outsider in a society that quickly projects their own guilt and shame for not being able to change the situation. Similarly, someone like Joan of Arc was used as a tool by a monarchy that chose to take advantage of a power vacuum and was exploited and left at the mercy of a kangaroo court, and she was such an outsider that few came to her defense, and neither did many decide to even document the account.

A big issue is lack of trust or a feeling of being ostracized, which could create recidivistic tendencies (to develop anxiety) if certain situations might arise to exacerbate it. It's a bit why some of the greatest musicians often rebel against the establishment, or why some of the most gifted people rebel against the school system because it was out of step with who they are as individuals and what they understood intuitively about the subject matter. Often it's believed that the more sensitive people are to the environment the more attuned they are to realizing the futility in bothering with changing the "status quo," and it's similar to when someone is sufficiently outside the norms that they then cease to have any effect anyway because people are more distracted by primacy effect to their sensibilities and reward system.

Perhaps similarly it could be compared to Maslow's 'Hierarchy of Needs,' where he noted that the most creative types often bypassed more emotional requirements (as they turn to creative endeavors in their place.) This may be akin to when people from neglected environments turn to business ventures (Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and perhaps to some extent Elon Musk) had absent biological fathers which some have suggested was an "advantage" with their business enterprise.

To some extent being introverted and having somewhat rare temperaments can seem to isolate even with those that are thought to be more similar, and the more divergent aspects of personality can often create a negative feedback loop. Part of coping with emotions is in overcoming the sense of invalidation (such as realizing it's not wrong to believe in your own opinions about the world and how it functions even when the majority of people in society may likely go along with consensus beliefs; because surely if history has told us anything, consensus quite often is VERY WRONG,) much as feeling compelled to have to force yourself into a mold that is completely at odds with the need to not be deindividuated (a slave to capitalism and debt-slave to an establishment.) Even more so is not feeling compelled to perpetuate a system or an inherently unethical system that is designed to subjugate rather than resolve the issues a society knows is wrong fundamentally.

Perhaps it's the realization that what motivates people is the need to identify with motivations that are not antithetical to "goals," and too often society creates the illusion of "progress" which more generally are ego-driven. All the mansions from the gilded age hardly survived for more than a decade and yet were propped up on a system that only rewards those who exploit the attrition of labor and material resources while subjugating those who follow after the carrot on a stick and ultimately get "stuck" with it.

The only true solace is in realizing society probably won't ensure a system doesn't disenfranchise people when too often the fear of being alienated and a pariah are akin to the shunning of a lone wolf or creating a scapegoat to project upon a confirmation bias of group tribalism.
Societal egress and ennui
Hello / Goodbye / Just a moment / Nothing / Cosmic / Man / Dream / Civilization / Open / Contact / Tremble / Gas / Memory / Transcend / ^2

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Catoptric
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Catoptric » Tue Feb 01, 2022 5:52 am

The Kabbalistic Radla and Quantum Physics: Analogies and Differences
Raphael Afilalo, H. Schipper
http://download.yutorah.org/2013/1053/798331.pdf

Physics Hypertextbook (Standard Model)
https://physics.info/standard/

Why Do Matter Particles Come in Threes? A Physics Titan Weighs In.
https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-do-m ... -20200330/

MODERN SCIENTISTS ARE WRONG FAR MORE THAN YOU THINK
https://psmag.com/education/scientists-are-wrong-a-lot

Humans are hardwired to dismiss facts that don’t fit their worldview
https://theconversation.com/humans-are- ... iew-127168

Are We Hard-Wired to Dismiss Facts? (Semantics of argument and meaning of belief)
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... miss-facts


The cognitive miser’s perspective: Social comparisonas a heuristic in self-judgementsKatja Corcoran and Thomas Mussweiler
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... judgements
Societal egress and ennui
Hello / Goodbye / Just a moment / Nothing / Cosmic / Man / Dream / Civilization / Open / Contact / Tremble / Gas / Memory / Transcend / ^2

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