March, 2009 Scientific American "Saving New Brain Cells" by Tracy J. Shors. New neurons form in the hippocampus, the brain nucleus for the functions of learning and long-term memory, but if not challenged by new learning experience, they die off. Experiments with rats involving various types of learning tasks suggest that not all training prevents new neurons from dying off, but new neurons are preserved by learning that requires a concerted effort to remember and integrate into the brain for use.
Read more research on Adult Neurogenesis
A report on All Things Considered broadcast on NPR, Dec. 13, 2008, interviewed PD patients in a Brooklynn dance studio. They described themselves coming into the studio "doing the Parkinson shuffle" and observing the moment when they slipped into dancing to their favorite music.
at the Academy for Lifelong Learning, USF Sarasota campus Thursday 1:30 p.m., beginning March 10, 2011.
This is an on-going seminar series on gene-culture co-evolution, an interdisciplinary study of human nature combining neuroscience, genetics, psychology, cultural and political history, and economics. Each of the first three seminars offers specific aspects of our global cultural transformation and may be taken without having taken the preceding seminars; the fourth, "The March of Folly" is however only open to those who've taken one of the other three seminars. For your information, the last syllabus follows the week-by-week syllabus of the 2007 twelve-week session of "Science and Meaning." All are based on the following hypothesis:
Globalization is a planetary initiation for our species to make a qualitative leap in evolutionary consciousness. Persecuted underground by the Inquisition, Western esoteric tradition nonetheless can be understood as the symbolic language of a mutation that the brain acquired 100,000 years ago -- the neocortex. To make this leap to truly human values, we must integrate the meaning of Science with that of our traditions thus using both cognitive modes of our bicameral brain to comprehend this new stage in human evolution.
The five-or-so generations alive today are living through a passage between two worlds. We see the change in the environment, we know the difference in our culture, we understand the clash between terrorism and globalization, but how do we take the opportunity and the risk to do what needs to be done -- as well as what we were born to do? Today's "Senior generation" is pioneering a new form of retirement in which we create the work of our life purpose -- to address this 21st-century reality.
The "extraverted" or "objective" view of Globalization:
The Stillpoint of the Global Cultural Cyclone
was offered at the Pierian Spring Academy winter session 2004, and the fall session 2002, of the Senior Academy, New College.
Nobel Laureate Physicist, Murray Gell Mann, believes that what is needed now is "Global Thinking," to understand the interactions of our social systems that are spontaneously forming a new global culture. We will use this kind of thinking to sweep the horizon to synthesize meaning and values from the clash of two cultural fronts: Science/Technology and Humanities/Tradition.
We are the generations pioneering the global culture that will be affecting many generations to come. As C. G. Jung said: "What we do not integrate from the Unconscious casts itself outward as our fate."
the transition between two world-views in Western Civilization, at the time of the founding of the United States, between agrarian and industrial economies that expressed violently in this country as a Civil War
the parallel in the deep division within our country preceding the National Tragedy, between the fundamentalist world-view and the world-view representing Science, Humanism, and Liberal socio-economic policy
the present shift to Information Technology and its economic and psychological impact upon populations, policy, culture, and environment.
Global Thinking for meaning, values, purpose, and creative fulfillment in a world-view that has been narrowly focused on the economic function of society
the slow death in the last generation of our great Western tradition as education has become apprenticeship to the economy and the responsibility of all citizens to claim this heritage as the foundation of democracy
the vision of American democracy as community action for a single economic class of normal "bell-shaped curve" distribution of income instead of the present two-class, "hourglass-shaped curves" distribution, which creates aristocracy from oligarchy.
Wisdom and Technology
Weeks 1 & 2 -- March 10, 17, 2011:
E. M. W. Tillyard, The Great Chain of Being (this is a very short but essential book)
Any writings of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and of the Founding Mothers' letters to them
Please order Andrew Kimbrell's tape on "Technology and the Sacred." No reading is actually required, only suggested, but please watch Bill Moyers' Now on PBS Friday evening to discuss globalization topics.
Goal 1: To examine deeply the transition between two world-views in Western Civilization at the time of the founding of the United States, the transition between agrarian and industrial economies, expressed violently in this country as a Civil War
Goal 2: To draw the parallel between the deep division in our country preceding the National Tragedy, between the fundamentalist world-view and the world-view representing Science, Humanism, and Liberal socio-economic policy
Discussion Topic: Like the Founding Parents at the time of the birth of the United States, we are living during a new technological revolution. The country, however, is a mature society. What is a mature society and what does this mean for the impact of this second technological revolution on our lives, culture, social and economic policy, and on the environment?
Are we reinventing philosophical arguments of the Founding Parents that were more eloquently expressed in their letters and documents and more deeply embedded in the long tradition of Western Civilization? Have we thrown the baby out with the bathwater in embracing a new technology and abandoning the Wisdom of Western Civilization?
Goal 3: To assess the present shift to Information Technology. and its economic and psychological impact upon populations, policy, culture and environment.
To evaluate the effects of economically reallocated "human resources" for culture shock.and to know the differences and the boundary between the two work functions:
for community and civilized way-of-life as opposed to abundance of consumer goods
Discussion Topic: Our scientific knowledge of the Universe has changed our former image of God as a man extrapolated into infinite power. And so we are turning toward our own creations and abdicating our place in the Great Chain of Being. Perhaps we are in love with the artificial intelligence of computers because it is a human creation and we are incapable of pondering the deep questions of the mystery of life and death. We ponder instead the new mythology of our creative artists, like Spielberg and Kubrick, which poses the questions we cannot answer for ourselves concerning the essence of our being projected onto the artificial intelligence we have created.
Weeks 5 & 6 -- April 6, 14, 2011:
Peter de Rosa, Sex and Death: the Crisis in Christian Ethics
Goal 3 (cont.): To assess the present shift to Information Technology. and its economic and psychological impact upon populations, policy, culture and environment. To evaluate the effects of economically reallocated "human resources" for culture shock.and to know the differences and the boundary between the two work functions for community and civilized way-of-life and for abundance of consumer goods
Goal 4: To develop the capacity to understand complex issues and theoretical constructs in this Age of Confusion
Discussion Topic: The reason we have no answers is that we have abandoned the cognitive function of the bicameral brain, which is the formal inner knowing the Greeks called gnosis, to pursue the cognitive function of measurement in science and technology. The language of Western wisdom is atrophying and we are instead using the new language of our machines to express the two-dimensional language of the non-conceptual and material world of products.
Bringing them to the Generations following us
Weeks 7 & 8 -- April 21, 28, 2011:
Gerald Heard, Pain, Sex, and Time
Goal 5: To become aware of the slow death in the last generation of our great Western tradition as education has become apprenticeship to the economy and to pursue the question of responsibility of all citizens to claim this heritage as the foundation of democracy
Discussion Topic: We know the love affair that our country has with technology has caused us to jilt the great tradition of Western Civilization. The first historian to record facts without psychological myth as parable to transmit meaning, Thucydides, warned future generations that the great civilization of Ancient Greece declined and fell in the short space of three generations because education became apprenticeship to the power structure of society.
By now we should be having "free-for-all" open discussion!