First some items:
This is simply stunning, if true. Miracle mouse' can grow back lost limbs ““We have experimented with amputating or damaging several different organs, such as the heart, toes, tail and ears, and just watched them regrow,” she said. “It is quite remarkable. The only organ that did not grow back was the brain.”
Next: Forwarded from fantasy author Jennifer Roberson:> "I'm spearheading a book drive for the hurricane evacuees now in the Astrodome. They have food, water, cots, plumbing, etc.; they now need things to fill the endless hours. I have contacted the local authorities and was given the following address for direct book donations: HURRICANE EVACUEES RELIANT ASTRODOME c/o RED CROSS 2700 Southwest Freeway Houston, TX 77098> Please mark the package as "BOOKS" or "READING MATERIALS" > It might be particularly helpful to include some childrens' books as well."
A caution: some folks question whether this is proper according to hierarchies of need. I am tempted to do this, but willing to listen to those with objections. CITOKATE.
More misc stuff: Drexler's Nanofactory Design Animation Now Available. "Productive Nanosystems: From Molecules to Superproducts," an animated video, is now available in streaming media format on KurzweilAI.net. The large 80 MB file previously took a long time to download.
And here’s an excellent article relevant to any thought of modernism continuing, under GW Bush Supreme Court nominees... (With thanks to Ray Kurzweil.)
Now... continuing with my rumination about some underlying aspects of human sanity, altruism and philanthropy...
HORIZONS OF INCLUSION- Part IV
All of this talk of Horizons of Inclusion has bounced against a related topic. It’s a word that I’ve mentioned in several recent postings, though it has almost vanished from the modern lexicon. Like “modernism” it was so abused and misused... and then abandoned for so long... that appears to be just lying there, ready for somebody to dust off, re-define and bring back into relevance for a new era.
The word is sanity. And yes, it has appeared useless in all of its old manifestations. Uselessly vague. Uselessly tendentious. Contradictory and yet so easily used by the mighty or bigoted to oppress harmless human eccentricity and honest dissent. It deserved exile...
...and yet, there is a root meaning that might be reclaimed, and used for good purposes. For example, suppose a new definition actually included a diversity of non-harmful, exploratory eccentricity and constructive disagreement, as core values?
Well, if you are tantalized, we can bring up and thrash around the topic of "what is sanity" another day! (There is one small page in EARTH that offers hints.) I only mention this because of the connection made earlier... between sanity and satiability.
Someone on the philanthropy discussion group raised an interesting question of “what does satiation mean?” Is it an end to ambitious desire and endeavor? Or merely a process by which the satisfaction of one goal allows a flexible human being to reprogram desire, and shift endeavor toward new goals?
Clearly, what needs inclusion is the notion of ambition as an essential human characteristic. In which case satiation would not mean an end to desire... at least not in a vigorous descendant of gregarious apes!
Here is an attempt to chart the process:
Satiability + extended surfeit => satiation
Satiation + extended horizons => fresh desires and worries that shift to other farther-ranging concerns.
In order to illustrate the point, here's one of my favorite metaphors. Go back in time, to the Neolithic Era, and ask our wisest ancestor what she would wish for her descendants. Her answer?
"No more fear of large predators, plus all the fats, sugars, salt, carbs and alcohol they could ever want."
Could she have imagined it coming as true as thoroughly most of us have it today? To her, it would seem we live in paradise, albeit a noisy and confusing one. Yet, we are troubled by insatiability for these ancient appetites, living at a time when fat and sugar etc are in surfeit! So... in order to stay healthy... many of us run for exercise... or for fun! Another unimaginable. Nobody said that satiation was easy.
Here's another, related connection. Empathy is NOT the same thing as sympathy.
Empathy is the power to understand the thoughts and feelings of others. It is a pragmatic tool that is needed by hunters, like tigers, who must try to think like their prey. Empathy is frightening when it is set in a fierce, zero sum game.
But in a surfeit? Amid positive-sum games? When appetites are satisfied and fear is low?
satiation + empathy => sympathy.
Your ancestors, upon hearing of dolphins stranded on a beach, would have run toward them. As YOU would, today, upon hearing the same news.
Only with very different intent. Think about that.
==See: Horizons and Hope: The Future of Philanthropy