Archive for the ‘thoughts’ category

Author’s Note

April 20, 2010

To save the author any further embarrassment, the stories of a sexually explicit nature that had been previously posted in the “sex” catagory have been removed from the author’s blog and placed in private storage until the author has the balls to post them again, along with all the other sex stories he obsessively writes yet will never post.

Hardwired for a Reason – 2

April 4, 2010

We have, on the Internet, access to instantaneous global communications. Let’s communicate: human empathy has a unifying purpose. Internet communities are mimicing our hardwired empathy. People are better able, and more willing, to empathize with others who are similar to themselves. In general, empathy increases with similarities in culture and living conditions. Plus, empathy is more likely to occur between individuals who frequently interact. Even if the basic capacity to recognize emotions is innate, and may be achieved to a certain degree unconsciously, the ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated process which must be nurtured through training to achieve accuracy and intensity.

Empathy does not guarantee benevolence. Psychopathic personalities are sometimes adept at reading emotions, mimicing, and building a convincing friendship while in the process of exploiting others. Yet they do not experience reciprocal emotions or sympathy. Research indicates that components of their neural circuits involved in empathy may be dysfunctional.

The presumption that others have a mind is termed theory of mind; because each human can only prove the existence of his or her own mind through introspection. We have no direct access to another person’s mind. So we must be able to use our mind as a generator of representations to attribute mental states to others and to understanding them as causes of their behavior. If a person does not have a complete theory of mind it may be a sign of cognitive or developmental impairment.

Even though theory of mind appears to be an innate potential ability in humans, it requires social and other forms of experience to develope. Therefore, people with different backgrounds develop different, yet effective, theories of mind.

If we’re so hardwired for understanding and empathy, shouldn’t we be better at getting along?

Hardwired for a Reason

April 2, 2010

I’m a writer by inclination, my lack of education and talent notwithstanding. I write for several reasons, primarily because it helps me formulate and conceptualize ideas. Having been taught at an early age mostly through the written word, before television and computers were prevalent in society, written words remain a primary conceptual instrument in my life. Words in general, including spoken language, constitute a major part of my reality. And, it’s probably safe for me to assume, many others are similarly constituted. In fact, we are all hardwired for thought, language, and verbal communications according to recent research: which seems almost self-evident.

Hardwired? We have built-in capabilities to see, to hear, to modulate sounds, to process and analyze information. Therefore I can accept the concept of being hardwired for language. Research has also recently concluded, we are hardwired for empathy. Now that’s not quite as self-evident.

Who, or what, hardwired us? Evolution? Creation? Are there other ways of looking at it? Whatever we may conclude on that subject, we must continue to communicate and to cooperate on a basic, commonsense, humanistic level. Of course, that’s just an opinion. And I’m not holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

Empathy? The ability to imagine oneself as another person, to not only recognize their pain and pleasure but to experience it directly? That seems more like a sophisticated imaginative process than a hardwired automatic reaction. Perhaps our hardwired language system has reprogrammed our hardwired empathetic system. How? And why? I can only speculate. Yet one major clue could be the growth of mass media electronic technology which, in effect, has reprogrammed our conceptual continuum of self and other, while supplying us with corporate managed media content that has become a major source of our information and culture.

Corporations have turned consumption into an inner compulsion by manipulating the human subconscious, applying principles and techniques supplied to them by a well paid staff of opportunistic scientists, MBA’s, and lawyers. The very slogans of advertising and mass culture have become the idiom of common expression in our daily language. Corporate commodity culture dominates American culture. Corporate power dominates American politics: corporations have been using mass media organs of communication to empower conservative movements, while demonizing movements of social change.

What a strange corps of corporate experts we have running the show today! Homeland Security has been promoting broad use of radio frequency identification chips even though its own advisory committee on data integrity and privacy issued warnings.

The Bush administration increased the strangeness factor by several magnitudes but they are a blip on the radar screen in comparison to the potential for future abuse of advanced technology: like long range tracking of people on a large scale using radio frequency identification, RFID, chips linked with other identification methods, including biometric technologies, such as facial recognition, giving corporate led governments the means to identify, monitor, and track citizens anywhere in the world in real time, effectively creating a global surveillance network. Ironically, it will also enable criminals and terrorists to commit crimes against victims who won’t even know they’re being victimized until it’s too late to do anything about it.

Hello world!

March 19, 2010

Introibo ad altare dei, I will go to the altar of God, those are Buck Mulligan’s first spoken words in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Some critics say Joyce is mocking the Mass as that opening scene unfolds and the invocation of God is a mocking reminder that epics traditionally began with an invocation to a deity or a muse. There are many other ways to read it, of course. Perhaps Joyce is mocking his characters, or the critics, or himself. Or perhaps it isn’t mockery at all but a much more complicated mixture of psychological motivations.

Speaking of psychological motiotivations, why am I writing? I could sit here thinking about that, or I could move on to the next question: what am I writing about? Maybe I shouldn’t even ask such questions, just do it. Okay, here goes: Introibo ad altare dei . . .

I do not presume God’s inspirational blessing. In fact, I don’t take anything for granted when it comes to God. Yet neither do I despair. Not often, anyway.