Monthly Archives: February 2018

We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions — E.O.Wilson

excerpt 1:Very few species, however, have made the leap from merely social to eusocial, “eu-” meaning true. To qualify as eusocial, in Wilson’s definition, animals must live in multigenerational communities, practice division of labor and behave altruistically, ready to sacrifice “at least some of their personal interests to that of the group.” It’s tough to be a eusocialist. Wouldn’t you rather just grab, gulp and go? Yet the payoffs of sustained cooperation can be huge.

excerpt 2: Our hypersocial spirit is both a great blessing and a terrible curse. Experiments have shown that it is shockingly easy to elicit a sense of solidarity among a group of strangers. Just tell them they’ll be working together as a team, and they immediately start working together as a team, all the while attributing to each other a host of positive qualities like trustworthiness and competence—an instant five-star customer review.

Yet we are equally prepared to do battle against those who fall outside the fraternal frame. In experiments where psychologists divided people into groups of arbitrarily assigned traits—labeling one set the Blue team and another the Green, for example—the groups started sniping at each other and expressing strong prejudices toward their “opponents,” with the Greens insisting the Blues were untrustworthy and unfair. The “drive to form and take deep pleasure from in-group membership easily translates at a higher level into tribalism,” Wilson says, and can spark religious, ethnic and political conflicts of breathtaking brutality.

Wilson also traces what he considers the tragedy of the human condition to the private struggle of us versus me. He sees us as a kind of mixed economy, the complicated fruit of a sharply disputed process known as multilevel selection. By this reckoning, some of our impulses are the result of individual selection, the competition of you against everybody else for a share of life’s goodies. Other traits are under the sway of group selection, prompting us to behave altruistically for the sake of the team. It appears our individually selected traits are older and more primal, harder to constrain, the ones we traditionally label vices: greed, sloth and lust, the way we covet our neighbor’s life and paper over our failings with pride. Our eusocial inclinations are evolutionarily newer and more fragile and must be vociferously promoted by the group if the group is to survive. They are the stuff of religions and Ben Franklin homilies and represent the virtues we admire: to be generous, kind and levelheaded, to control our impulses, keep our promises and rise to the occasion even when we are scared or disheartened. “The human condition is an endemic turmoil rooted in the evolution processes that created us,” he writes. “The worst in our nature coexists with the best, and so it will ever be.”

E.O.Wilson’s New Take On Human Nature

rijksmuseum

rijksmuseum

Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
And you in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
And one who can’t move.
But where are the clowns?

Just when I’d stopped
Opening doors,
Finally knowing
The one that I wanted was yours,
Making my entrance again
With my usual flair,
Sure of my lines,
Nobody there.

Don’t you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you’d want what I want –
Sorry, my dear.
But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don’t bother, they’re here.

Send in the clowns – Stephen Sondheim

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Posted in cultural contradictions, current events, education, nature, psychological anthropology, psychology, science, social psychology, organizational development, sociology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dual Preoccupations

Bacchus from The Animation Workshop on Vimeo.

The coniunctio happens in the underworld, it happens in the dark when there is no light shining any more. When you are completely out and consciousness is gone, then something is born or generated; in the deepest depression, in the deepest desolation, the new personality is born. When you are at the end of your tether, that is the moment when the coniunctio, the coincidence of opposites, takes place (Mary-Louise von Franz).


Mary Halvorson and my friend Susan Alcorn, the latter among a handful of pedal steel guitarists playing experimental jazz.

A Brief Schema of the Reformation of the Contemporary Dark Egregore (2018) Stephen Calhoun 36x36a

A Brief Schema of the Reformation of the Contemporary Dark Egregore (2018) Stephen Calhoun 36x36a

A track was created and dedicated to Ms. Alcorn, in 2011, on the Kamelmauz (my) recording Poor City.

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Better Than the Bird’s Eye View

Google Maps ISS

Google Maps | Space

Bonus: “They are wild things.”

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Guitars vs Erasure

Henry Grimes-bass, Chad Taylor-drums


Trump’s great political insight was that Obama’s time in office inflicted a profound psychological wound upon many white Americans, one that he could remedy by adopting the false narrative that placed the first black president outside the bounds of American citizenship. He intuited that Obama’s presence in the White House decreased the value of what W. E. B. Du Bois described as the “psychological wage” of whiteness across all classes of white Americans, and that the path to their hearts lay in invoking a bygone past when this affront had not taken place, and could not take place.

That the legacy of the first black president could be erased by a birther, that the woman who could have been the first female president was foiled by a man who confessed to sexual assault on tape—these were not drawbacks to Trump’s candidacy, but central to understanding how he would wield power, and on whose behalf.

Americans act with the understanding that Trump’s nationalism promises to restore traditional boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality. THE NATIONALIST’S DELUSION, Adam Serwer, The Atlantic

Kurt Seligmann 1938

You cannot tale what you have not given, and you must give yourself. You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere. —Ursula LeGuin, The Dispossessed

h/t Desperado Pbilosophy’s writing on Ursula LeGuin, Words In Freedom .

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