Monday, September 26, 2016

Election 2016: The Silent Majority versus the Elites




NYT, 1/27/91
"Lower-middle-class culture, Mr. Lasch argues, reflects an emphasis on the family, the church and the neighborhood. A community's continuity is valued more highly than individual advancement, social solidarity is favored over social mobility and the maintenance of existing ways takes precedent over mainstream ideals of success. Parents want their children to succeed in life, but they also want them to be considerate of their elders, to willingly bear their responsibilities and to show courage under adversity. "More concerned with honor than with worldly ambition, they have less interest in the future than do upper-middle-class parents, who try to equip their children with the qualities required for competitive advancement."
Mr. Lasch acknowledges the provincialism and narrowness of lower-middle-class culture, and he does not deny that "it has produced racism, nativism, anti-intellectualism, and all the other evils so often cited by liberal critics." But, he maintains, in their zeal to condemn such objectionable traits, liberals have failed to see the valuable features of petty-bourgeois culture -- what he calls moral realism, skepticism about progress, respect for limits and understanding that everything has its price."




Sunday, September 25, 2016

California Poem -- Johnny Cash

Image result for Johnny Cash





There’s trouble on the mountainAnd the valley’s full of smokeThere’s crying on the mountainAnd again the same heart broke.
The lights are on past midniteThe curtains closed all dayThere’s trouble on the mountainThe valley people say.
—Johnny Cash (1932-2003)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Everywhere that I'm not -- Translator (1982)

Image result for Everywhere that I'm not -- Translator







I thought I saw you.
Out on the avenue.
But I guess, it was just someone
Who looked a lot like I remember you do.
'Cause, I thought I heard your voice.
In a bar, making a choice.
But, no. It was just someone
Who sounded a lot like I remember you do.

'Cause that's impossible, that's im...
That's impossible, that's imposs...
That's impossible, that's impossible.
'Cause you're in New York, but I'm not.

You're in Tokyo, but I'm not.
You're in Nova Scotia, but I'm not.
Yeah, you're Everywhere That I'm Not
Yeah, you're Everywhere That I'm Not
I'm Not, I'm Not, I'm Not.

I thought I felt your touch.
In my car on my clutch.
But I guess, it was just someone
Who felt a lot like I remember you do.

'Cause that's impossible, that's im...
That's impossible, that's imposs...
That's impossible, that's impossible.

'Cause you're in New York, but I'm not.
You're in Tokyo, but I'm not.
You're in Nova Scotia, but I'm not.
Yeah, you're Everywhere That I'm Not
Yeah, you're Everywhere That I'm Not
Yeah, you're Everywhere That I'm Not
I'm Not, I'm Not, I'm Not.

(Instrumental Break)

I thought I saw you.
Out on the avenue.
But I guess, it was just someone
Who looked a lot like I remember you do.
I thought I felt your touch.
In my car, bu no such luck.
No. I guess, it was just someone
Who felt a lot like I remember you do.

'Cause that's impossible, that's im...
That's impossible, that's imposs...
That's impossible, that's impossible.
'Cause you're in New York, but I'm not.
You're in Tokyo, but I'm not.
You're in Nova Scotia, but I'm not.
Yeah, you're Everywhere That I'm Not
Yeah, you're Everywhere That I'm Not
Yeah, you're Everywhere That I'm Not
Yeah, you're Everywhere That I'm Not
(Oh, Come On!)
(Oh, Yeah, Yeah!)
You're Everywhere That I'm Not
You're Everywhere That I'm Not
You're Everywhere That I'm Not
Yeah, you're Everywhere That I'm Not

Songwriters
S BARTON

Friday, September 23, 2016

Only the educated are free -- Epictetus, Discourses, Book II, Chapter 1


"What then is the fruit of these opinions? It is that which ought to he the most noble and the most becoming to those who are really educated, release from perturbation, release from fear, freedom. For in these matters we must not believe the many, who say that free persons only ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers, who say that the educated only are free. "How is this?" In this manner. Is freedom anything else than the power of living as we choose? "Nothing else." Tell me then, ye men, do you wish to live in error? "We do not." No one then who lives in error is free. Do you wish to live in fear? Do you wish to live in sorrow? Do you wish to live in perturbation? "By no means." No one, then, who is in a state of fear or sorrow or perturbation is free; but whoever is delivered from sorrows and fears and perturbations, he is at the same time also delivered from servitude. How then can we continue to believe you, most dear legislators, when you say, "We only allow free persons to be educated?" For philosophers say we allow none to be free except the educated; that is, God does not allow it."



Thursday, September 22, 2016

"The energetic and successful man is he who succeeds, by dint of labor, in transforming his wish fancies into reality" -- Freud

Image result for freud clark university
Not the greatest statue. And certainly not sufficient reason to visit Worcester, Mass. Interesting that Freud gave these lectures at Clark University in 1909 in German -- because all Ph.D. trained persons in the United States at that time could speak German -- how else could you read the scientific literature? But have no doubt, wars settle some things. After 1945, English was well on its way to becoming the global language of science and medicine (and aviation, etc.). What a difference 36 years can make.





Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis
"The deeper you penetrate into the pathogenic of neurotic diseases, the more the connection of neuroses with other products of human mentality, even the most valuable, will be revealed to you. You will be reminded that we men, with the high claims of our civilization and under the pressure of our repressions, find reality generally quite unsatisfactory and so keep up a life of fancy in which we love to compensate for what is lacking in the sphere of reality by the production of wish-fulfillments.  
In these phantasies is often contained very much of the particular constitutional essence of personality and of its tendencies, repressed in real life. The energetic and successful man is he who succeeds, by dint of labor, in transforming his wish fancies into reality. Where this is not successful in consequence of the resistance of the outer world and the weakness of the individual, there begins the turning away from reality. The individual takes refuge in his satisfying world of fancy.
Under certain conditions it still remains possible for him to find another connecting link between these fancies and reality, instead of permanently becoming a stranger to it through the regression into the infantile. If the individual who is displeased with reality is in possession of that artistic talent which is still a psychological riddle, he can transform his fancies into artistic creations. So he escapes the fate of a neurosis and wins back his connection with reality by this round-about way. Where this opposition to the real world exists, but this valuable talent fails or is insufficient, it is unavoidable that the libido, following the origin of the fancies, succeeds by means of regression in revivifying the infantile wishes and so producing a neurosis. The neurosis takes, in our time, the place of the cloister, in which were accustomed to take refuge all those whom life had undeceived or who felt themselves too weak for life."




Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Education is the last backwater of anti-genetic thinking" -- Robert Plomin


Image result for public education
"Yes, I have a question. Why I am the same classroom as my genetic inferiors?"






Marty Nemko, Psychology Today
"Robert Plomin is ranked among the most influential living psychologists (link is external). He has received lifetime achievement awards from the Behavior Genetics Association, American Psychological Society, and the International Society for Intelligence Research.
In Plomin's recent The Edge interview, (link is external)he reports that his lab at King's College, London has already identified a gene cluster that:
"explains almost 10 percent of the variance in tests of school performance. Those scores are about 60 percent heritable... Explaining 10 percent of the variance in the social and behavioral sciences is pretty good going…If you don't believe in genetics, you're going to have to argue with DNA. You can't just say, 'The twin study is no good,' or 'the adoption study is no good.' DNA is real…
For the first time, it will allow us to make genetic predictions for an individual…It's the difference between getting into university or not... 
It's better to make policy based on knowledge than on fiction. A lot of what I see in education is fiction…Education is the last backwater of anti-genetic thinking... I want to get people in education talking about genetics because the evidence for genetic influence is overwhelming. The things that interest them—learning abilities, cognitive abilities, behavior problems in childhood—are the most heritable things in the behavioral domain. Yet it's like Alice in Wonderland. You go to educational conferences and it's as if genetics does not exist."
It's understandable that educators put their fingers in their ears and sing "la-la-la-la" to drown out the word genetics. It can make teachers feel impotent. Of course, that’s not true, any more than a car’s performance can’t be improved by tuning it up. In nearly all traits in all of the animal and plant kingdoms, both genes and environment matter. [Environment does matter, of course, but mostly with regard to reducing intelligence, not increasing it.]
In fact, teachers might benefit from realizing that they don't deserve to be the whipping boy for American students floundering near the bottom of developed nations in international comparisons (link is external). Teachers are dispirited—and quitting. According to a National Education Association study, almost half of teachers quit within the first five years of teaching (link is external). Of course, there are many factors but it certainly can't help for teachers to feel they're the Bad Guys."














Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Violent video games don't increase aggression


Image result for violent video games






Does playing video games with violent content temporarily increase aggressive behavior? A pre-registered experimental study (McCarthy et al., 2015)

ArticleinJournal of Experimental Social Psychology 67 · January 2015


Abstract

The current study tested whether participants who played a violent video game (VVG) would exhibit increased aggressive inclinations relative to those who played a non-violent video game (NVG). Participants (N = 386) were randomly assigned to play a VVG or a NVG prior to presumably interacting with another (non-existent) participant. We then measured participants' aggressive inclinations: Participants reported how many pins they would like to stick into a “voodoo doll” representing their interaction partner, and participants reported how likely they would be to actually harm their interaction partner. We did not detect any differences between conditions for several outcomes: the amount of aggressive inclinations displayed during the interaction, the number of pins participants chose to stick into a representation of their interaction partner, and participants' self-reported likelihood they would harm their interaction partner. Thus, the hypothesis that playing a VVG would increase aggressive inclinations was not supported in this study. Exploratory analyses revealed associations between (1) participants' self-reported likelihood to aggress and perceptions of the game as frustrating or difficult, (2) gender and higher levels of pin selection, and (3) participants' self-identification as a gamer and lower levels of pin selection.