Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Sweden’s lagom: The single word that sums up the Swedish psyche.   Leave a comment

Can we learn something from the Swedes psyche ? :

Sweden’s lagom: The single word that sums up the Swedish psyche..

….”I had heard of this unspoken custom before moving to Sweden a couple of years ago. This untranslatable ethos is called lagom (pronounced: law-gum) and it permeates all facets of the Swedish psyche. Often misconstrued as indifference, or the stereotypical Scandinavian “coldness,” lagom is loosely translated from Swedish as “just the right amount,” “in moderation,” “appropriate,” and other such synonyms……

The word lagom itself comes from a shortening of the phrase “laget om,” which literally means “around the team” and dates back to the Viking era between the eighth and 11th centuries. Communal horns filled with mjöd (fermented honey wine) would be passed around and everyone had to sip their own share and not a bit more. Sweden today might be known for cutting-edge design and fierce modernism, yet this Viking code of conduct remains ingrained in their mindset.”…..

 

Posted October 5, 2013 by arnoneumann in Culture, Society, Sweden

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Study: The Bigger Your Brain, the More Friendships You Can Manage – Forbes   1 comment

“Professor Robin Dunbar is best known for his work related to how many stable social relationships the human brain can manage. In earlier research, he argued that the optimal number of active relationships is 150 — now famously known as the “Dunbar Number.”

Dunbar is once again delving into the brain’s social capacity, but this time he’s focused on the size of the orbital prefrontal cortex (aka, the frontal lobe), the part of the brain involved in high-level thinking that sits just above our eyes.  Dunbar and collegues have found that the size of this brain area correlates with the number of friendships a person is capable of managing.

The study suggests that we need to employ a set of cognitive skills to maintain a large number of friends, known in psychology circles as “mentalizing” or “mind-reading”– an ability to understand what another person is thinking, which is crucial to our ability to handle our complex social world, including the ability to hold conversations with one another.

According to Professor Dunbar, as reported by Science Daily,’”Mentalizing” is where one individual is able to follow a natural hierarchy involving other individuals’ mind states. For example, in the play ‘Othello’, Shakespeare manages to keep track of five separate mental states: he intended that his audience believes that Iago wants Othello to suppose that Desdemona loves Cassio. Being able to maintain five separate individuals’ mental states is the natural upper limit for most adults.”

The researchers took brain scans of 40 volunteers to measure the size of the prefrontal cortex. Participants were then asked to make a list of everyone they had had social (not professional) contact with over the previous seven days. They also took a test to determine their competency in mentalizing.

Dunbar adds, “We found that individuals who had more friends did better on mentalizing tasks and had more neural volume in the orbital frontal cortex. Understanding this link between an individual’s brain size and the number of friends they have helps us understand the mechanisms that have led to humans developing bigger brains than other primate species. The frontal lobes of the brain, in particular, have enlarged dramatically in humans over the last half million years.” ”

The study was published in The Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Biological Sciences.

 

http://www.daviddisalvo.org

via Study: The Bigger Your Brain, the More Friendships You Can Manage – Forbes.

For Some With Autism, Jobs to Match Their Talents – NYTimes.com   Leave a comment

What a thrilling story of real import and impact. “Sonne calls it the “dandelion philosophy.” Depending on your point of view, a dandelion is either a valuable herb — a source of iron and vitamin A, with many medicinal qualities — or a weed that invades your garden. “A weed is a beautiful plant in an unwanted place,” he says. “An herb is the same plant where it is wanted. Who decides if something is a weed or an herb? Society does.” “

“Specialisterne was founded by Thorkil Sonne. Eleven years ago, Sonne was a successful executive at TDC when his youngest child, Lars, then 3, was diagnosed with autism. “I had the perfect career and the perfect family,” he recalled. “It was so shocking to realize that one of our family members had a lifelong disability. As parents we wanted to make the best possible future for all of our children, not just the two who were non-disabled. So we had to come up with a new plan for our family’s future.”

“Sonne and his wife thought about what would be best for their son. “What will make Lars a happy man when we are not there anymore?” they asked themselves. “We thought,” Sonne said, “If others could appreciate his skills and respect his special personality in a meaningful and productive job, then we could go to the grave with a good conscience.”

With Specialisterne, Sonne has created something that has gone beyond giving a helping hand to his son. To date, the company has hired 35 people with autism to work as consultants for other companies, and is now training 46 others. Perhaps more important, its model is gaining momentum. Sonne has been contacted by people from 60 countries who want to adapt the work locally. He has expanded to Iceland and Scotland and is planning to spread to a half dozen additional countries within the next few years, including Poland, Germany, Ireland and the United States. Specialisterne has also inspired a similar Chicago-based non-profit called Aspiritech.” ”

 

via For Some With Autism, Jobs to Match Their Talents – NYTimes.com.

RAND, Cold Warriors and the Failure of ‘Rational Choice Philosophy’ – NYTimes.com   Leave a comment

You may have to read the complete article several times to understand the full impact of its tenets . Rational choice  theory and rational choice philosophy , its origins and manifestations  can help us to discern elements in the approach that our Governments and Countries are making in economic and societal governance fronts….even the thrust for democracy in the ” Arab Spring ” Middle East.

 

“But the real significance of rational choice philosophy lay in ethics. Rational choice theory, being a branch of economics, does not question people’s preferences; it simply studies how they seek to maximize them. Rational choice philosophy seems to maintain this ethical neutrality (see Hans Reichenbach’s 1951 “The Rise of Scientific Philosophy,” an unwitting masterpiece of the genre); but it does not. Whatever my preferences are, I have a better chance of realizing them if I possess wealth and power. Rational choice philosophy thus promulgates a clear and compelling moral imperative: increase your wealth and power!

Today, institutions which help individuals do that (corporations, lobbyists) are flourishing; the others (public hospitals, schools) are basically left to rot. Business and law schools prosper; philosophy departments are threatened with closure.”

via RAND, Cold Warriors and the Failure of ‘Rational Choice Philosophy’ – NYTimes.com.

Posted June 19, 2011 by arnoneumann in Middle East, Philosophy, Society

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