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Archive for the ‘cognition’ Category

Ouroboros catch’em post

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — attempting to keep the self-eating serpents in one pen, so they don’t get tangled in your hair and eyes ]
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From Aneurism, a brilliant long-form essay by neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, from his book Do No Harm, and presented in Slightly More Than 100 Exceptional Works of Journalism:

Are the thoughts that I am thinking as I look at this solid lump of fatty protein covered in blood vessels really made out of the same stuff? And the answer always comes back–they are–and the thought itself is too crazy, too incomprehensible, and I get on with the operation.

From Political Tracts of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Shelley via PR Beckman:

The purpose of the historian, to Coleridge, is the same as that of the poet : to convert a series of events, which constitute the straight-line of real or imagined history, into a whole, so that the series shall assume to our understanding “a circular motion — the snake with its tail in its mouth.”

Here’s one more:

And this I can’t resist — there’s hope for humankind!

There will no doubt be others, which I’ll drop into the comment section. So you don’t need to be troubled by a new post every time I see one.

Hearts and minds connected

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — shd be obvious, but useful to know in the battle for hearts and minds, buddhism! ]
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Hearts and minds, hearts and brains — tell me, heart, are minds and brains the same?

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Sources:

  • The National, Pat Kane: To stop terror we must look into the hearts of Jihadis
  • Lion’s Roar, Buddhist researchers find actual link between heart, mind
  • Annunciation, framed

    Monday, April 10th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — the war of content and context, Coptic / ISIS version ]
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    You are in a museum of the fine arts. You may recognize the painting is of the Annunciation.

    You are in a church. The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear a son, and call his name Jesus:

    He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

    You are in a war zone: see, as much as you can see.

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    The photographer is in the war zone, catches a glimpse of the art, and takes the photo.

    The returning devotee, I’d suggest, grieves the impact of war, pierces through and beyond it with his or her devotional gaze.

    There’s nothing I can see, so I can’t perceive it..

    Monday, April 10th, 2017

    [ Charles Cameron — on what may yet remain invisible ]
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    It is, surely, a matter of both culure and disposition:

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    The Dale McKinnon quote is from In the Light of reverence, a documentary presenting native spirituality in conflict with western land uses in Lakota, Hopi and Wintu sacred areas (the Devil’s Tower, Colorado Plateau, and Mt Shasta, respectively):

    Highly recommended.

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    Saint-Exupery‘s quote, from The Little Prince, offers a possible explanation and response.

    Paul Klee on the role of the artist:

    Art does not reproduce the visible; it makes visible

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    Rwanda cognition – and a *key* question

    Sunday, March 19th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron –the key question arises from the final quote ]
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    [source page unavailable ]

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    Mark Gilchrist, the Australian serving officer who brought us Why Thucydides Still Matters, has a new post — the first of three — up at Strategy Bridge in which he explores The Twilight Between Knowing and Not Knowing — an appropriately liminal title — specifically, the difficulties involved in recognizing genocide. It’s a fascinating if harrowing article, and I’m going to cherry-pick some quotes for your attention..

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    the world’s diplomats were accustomed to dealing with wars – they were not, and did not try to become, accustomed to the requirements of dealing with genocide.

    So, between politics and (its continuation) war, at least ne liminal condiciton: genocide.

    You’ve got to sow the seeds of hysteria in the population, and that takes time…

    How far back can we date the current wave of hysteria in the population — from a liberal and from a conservative perspective, or other?

    Dallaire deployed without knowledge of the history and culture of Rwanda or relevant intelligence about the stakeholders, agendas or general situation on the ground. This inhibited his ability to understand the massacres that occurred

    Ooh, anthropology, and — dare we say it — (dark) religion.

    it failed to recognise the importance of the rise in anti-Tutsi rhetoric in the Rwandan media, which was instrumental in furthering the extremists’ genocidal aims through the psychological preparation of the Hutu population.

    Are we monitoring the rise of anti-x rhetoric (foreign and domestic)? How’s it going?

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    Here’s the stunning cognitive takeaway!!

    The scale of the barbarity was almost incomprehensible to Western observers – UNAMIR troops included – which resulted in eyewitnesses often finding themselves in denial about what was unfolding around them. The troops made themselves believe that high-pitched screams were gusts of wind, that the rabid packs of dogs were feeding on animal remains and not human carcasses, that the smells enveloping them emanated from spoiled food and not decomposing bodies. Barnett argues that this fantasy is reminiscent of Primo Levi’s observation about the Holocaust that ‘things whose existence is not morally comprehensible cannot exist.’ This is particularly so for Western troops who are trained to think and act within the bounds of a moral and ethical behavioural framework that can obscure their ability to recognise the evil that others may be capable of.

    Blindness, denial. The grand question raised by this article and by the Rwandan experience goes way beyon Rwanda to our cognitive incapacities and their potentially disastrous repercussions in general.

    No worries, ma — it’s only a gust of wind.


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