Categories
Uncategorized

What is Emergence

First defined by George Henry Lewes in "The Problems of Life and Mind". According to Lewes: "Although each effect is resulting from its components, the product of its factors, we cannot always plot the process steps, to the point of seeing in the product the mode of operation of each factor. In this case I propose to call this emerging effect. It arises from combined agents but in a way that does not expose the agents in action."

The mind, for example, is considered by many to be an emerging phenomenon as it arises from the interaction distributed between various neural processes (including also some of the body and environment) without being able to reduce itself to any of the components that participate in the process (none of the neurons separately are conscious).

The concept of emergency is hotly debated in science and philosophy because of its importance for the foundation of the sciences and the possibilities of reduction among them. It is equally crucial given the consequences and implications for the very perception of the human being and its place in nature (the concepts of free will, responsibility or consciousness depend, to a large extent, on the possibility of the emergency) . The concept of emergency has gained renewed strength in the wake of the rise of the sciences of complexity and plays a fundamental role in the philosophy of the mind and the philosophy of biology.

Categories
Uncategorized

The Gorilla

Gorillas (genus Gorilla) are herbivorous primates that inhabit the forests of Central Africa. It is the greatest of the living primates. Its DNA is 97%–98% equal to humans, the closest after two species of chimpanzee.

American physicist and missionary Thomas Staughton Savage was the first to study the Western gorilla, which he named Troglodytes gorilla, in 1847 from specimens obtained in Liberia. The name is derived from the Carthaginian navigator Hanno († 440 BC) who returned with the skins of three "wild women," he acquired them on his trip to Africa, which the African interpreters called "gorillaiz". But it is unclear exactly where Hanno killed the poor creatures and it is open to debate if they were in fact gorillas, regardless whether they were gorillas, chimpanzees or even members of a pygmy people (which is not entirely unlikely) they were passed down as such through ancient historians. All of the options are feasable as his course likely took him as far as the Gulf of Guinea where he opened up new trade routes. We know this because his travelogue (Periplus) has been handed down in a Greek translation.

Gorillas usually move on all fours as the forelimbs are more elongated than the hind limbs and resemble arms, although they are also used as a foothold. Males are between 4 ft 7 in to 5 ft 11 in tall, and weigh between 300 to 430 lbs. Females weigh about half as much as males (150–250 lbs). The gorilla's facial structure is known as a bulging jaw, as the jaw is much larger than the jaw.

Pregnancy lasts 8 and a half months and usually females will not have another for three to four years as the young live with their mothers during this time. Females mature when they are between 10 and 12 years old (in captivity, usually before); males mature between the ages of 11 and 13. Life expectancy is 30 to 50 years. Massa, of the Philadelphia Zoo, holds the record for longevity: he died at 54.

Gorillas are mostly vegetarian, and eat mainly fruits, leaves, shoots, etc., although they may consume some insects, which represents only one to two percent of their diet.

In addition, all gorillas share the same blood type (B) and, like humans, each gorilla has unique fingerprints that identify it.

The gorilla species are endangered, albeit to varying degrees. One reason for the danger is the destruction of their habitat by deforestation. In addition, there are civil war-like conditions in parts of their range, which make the necessary protection measures difficult and make effective surveillance of protected areas almost impossible. Another reason is the hunting for their meat ("bushmeat") which is still carried out in much of their habitat. Diseases also continue to affect the already endangered populations, especially Ebola. The total population of gorillas is estimated at around 100,000 animals, but they vary widely between populations.

Categories
Uncategorized

A Word on Humanism

What is humanism? It is a perspective from which you see the world, rather than a school of thought or a collection of beliefs.

Humanism gives man unique capacities with respect to other living beings who are cultivated and celebrated for their own good. It is established between the vision that subjects man to the divine and the one that treats him like any other animal. The form of humanist thought developed (although it comes from the classical era) and extended during the eighteenth century with thinkers such as Voltaire, Rosseau, Deiderot, Bentham, Hume, Lessing, Kant, Franklin or Jefferson. This set of thinkers had in common support for values such as freedom, equality, secularism and cosmopolitanism, and the exaltation of creative active life versus contemplative life. They also believed in the capacity for perfection of human nature, moral sense, responsibility and the possibility of progress.

In the twentieth century, in the face of totalitarianism and wars humanists oppose values of nobility, resistance, intelligence, moderation, flexibility, sympathy, love and seek the beauty of mankind and the landscape.

Humanists attach crucial importance to education by enceiving it as the full development of the creative personality, linking science with politics and culture with democracy. Humanists attach paramount importance to freedom of thought and opinion, the use of intelligence and pragmatic research in science and technology, political systems governed by representative institutions. Believing that one can live without metaphysical or religious certainties and that all opinions are open to review and correction, they see the human flourish through open communication, discussion, criticism, and unforced consensus.

Humanism is, in short, a component of a wide variety of more specific philosophical systems and various schools of religious thought. Long before being widely employed in political terms, humanism is a concept of the history of philosophy, renewed with the Renaissance, associated in particular with the movement represented by Erasmo, Michel de Montaigne or even Guillaume Budé, to whom it is the honor of having been interested in both Greek-Latin literature and personal reflection.

Categories
Uncategorized

Saying Happy Birthday

Rome wasn't built in a day. It took a long time for the seven Lazio villages to form a greater whole that we recognize as Rome. As people we are never complete, there isn't a moment when you stop and realize things have reached the finishing line. For me birthdays are those milestones that make up the path that leads into the road of my life.

So you can say that I enjoy my husband's birthday, my kids' birthdays, and yes even my birthday. All of these are little reminders that we are alive, developing, maturing, and learning. I look forward to these moments. Each year we choose different themes for our birthday party. Usually it is something that means something to the one celebrating. For example my youngest decided that over the course of the last year she loves horses. So of course the theme was easy to guess. While this isn't always a given, that party was easy to decorate. We've used the same site for a couple of parties, if you notice they specialize in just about any type of party you can imagine. This brought up the question for us; "Do people actually need all of these options?"

Even though we have a theme for the parties they are more akin to the celebrations that my husband and I had growing up. They are traditional small celebrations with either friends and/or family.

There was an interesting article on psychologytoday.com that highlighted the current trend towards bigger is better.

I think that it is interesting on a number of levels. To quote the article:

Rarely do we stop to consider why we have birthday parties in the first place. Or perhaps more importantly, what do our children think about all this? Do they even understand what is being celebrated? What do young children understand about birthdays and birthday parties?

When our children were able to cognitively understand what, well, the big deal was about they looked forward to the idea, but never expected more than what was being planned. In the same article the author gave an example of a boy who was turning six year olds, he and his family flew on "the day of his birthday, he and his family were out of the country, so instead of a full-fledged party they simply had a cake, he blew out the candles, and they promised him a party when they returned home." This in and of itself is enough to confuse most children that are in the position to understand the basic concept of what the day represents. For the child, it was an abstract thought, that was not based on a standardized concept, rather abstract and arbitrarily assigned. As he was preparing for the promised party he was insistent that he was now turning seven, "this child clearly seemed to believe that birthday parties play a causal role in the aging process. Two cognitive developmental studies support this possibility."

How is it that we have taken one of the most exciting days in a child's life, one filled with laughter, silly games, and lots of cake and ice cream and shifted it into the realm of international travel and unsustainable consumerism?

As parent's we want to give our children as many possibilities of happiness as we are in a position to give. We want to make them happy, thus it is an understandable jump for some to make it a day they will never forget (until next year rolls around) and while is is admirable it places both the parents and child in a position that quickly allows things to get out of focus.

My husband told me a story once when we were dating. He related the happiest birthday he could recall. His grandmother made him a cake that had Superman on it. She didn't buy the cake, she made it from scratch. This was long before the day of super heró themed parties (my son just attended one last month, he was Ironman). He showed me a picture taken of him that day and there are only a few instances when I have seen him beam more (notably on the day our children were born).

I will close with four words. Bigger isn't always better.