Nonfiction 2020: Illuminating

Mama’s Last Hug, pp. 243 – 244

This has been a most interesting read. She’s almost to the end, she thought author Frans de Waal could say nothing more that would surprise her, but she was wrong.

  • Attraction to meat has shaped our social evolution. The gathering of fruits, which are small and dispersed, is mostly an individual job, but the hunting of large game demands teamwork. One man alone doesn’t bring home a giraffe or mammoth. Our ancestors deviated from the apes by hunting animals larger than themselves, which required the sort of camaraderie and mutual dependence that is at the root of complex societies. We owe our cooperative nature, our food-sharing tendencies, our sense of fairness, and even our morality to the subsistence hunting of our ancestors. Furthermore, since carnivores are on average larger-brained than herbivores and since brains require a great deal of energy to grow and operate, the consumption of animal protein along with effective food processing (such as fermentation and cooking) are seen as driving forces behind our ancestors’ neural expansion. Animal protein provided them with the optimal mix of calories, lipids, proteins, and essential B12 vitamins to grown large brains.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Melancholy

Perhaps it’s this damn covid-19, but self is feeling mighty melancholy today.

To match her mood, today’s excerpt from Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves is from a section called Finality and Grief:

  • It remains unknown how widespread the sense of finality is and how much it relies on a mental projection into the future. But members of at least some species, after assuring themselves by smell, touch, and revival attempts that a loved one is gone, seem to realize that their relationship has permanently moved from present to past . . . It also reminds us that all emotions are mixed with knowledge — they wouldn’t exist otherwise . . . Life goes on, as it should, but individuals are unique.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Starting MAMA’S LAST HUG: ANIMAL EMOTIONS AND WHAT THEY TELL US ABOUT OURSELVES

Self never thought she’d be as engrossed as she is. She’s just emerged from the fantastic space opera that is Leviathan Wakes, she didn’t think that her mind would be able to adjust easily to a subject like primates and their emotions. That would be quite a shwitcheroo. Surprisingly, however, self found it very easy to get ‘into’ this book.

From the Prologue:

Emotions may be slippery, but they are also by far the most salient aspect of our lives. They give meaning to everything. In experiments, people remember emotionally charged pictures and stories far better than neutral ones. We like to describe almost everything we have done or are about to do in emotional terms . . . That’s another thing about emotions: they make us take sides.

Back when Beto was still running for Presient, he gave an interview in which he said that Trump was a “master of emotional language.” That, said Beto, was how he won in 2016.

In light of the book self is currently reading, in light of the fact that the emotions, according to Frans de Waal, “make us take sides,” no wonder America is polarized to such a degree.

Everything Trump says is pitched to target his listeners’ emotions. He never uses reason or logic, but he sure can manipulate this one thing. Just to show you how well this strategy works: Americans actually called into poison control centers last weekend, wondering whether ordinary household bleach could kill the corona virus.

Self thinks it’s dangerous for a politician to appeal to the emotions. That makes the politician a demagogue. Or a fascist. Someone like Hitler.

A mob is ruled by emotions, not by rationality.

We’re not a mob country, are we? ARE WE?

But we’re all so much more emotional now, as a result of this pandemic. Does that make us ripe pickings for the Grifter?

Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 57: TAKING A BREAK

Self’s current book, Mihaly Czsikszentmihalyi’s FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE is a very, very interesting book.

Her son and daughter-in-law were Psychology majors at Claremont, the school where the author taught. In fact, she read about him in the Claremont Graduate University alumni magazine, The Flame.

She is trying to practice Flow thinking (see graph below). She is trying to achieve “complexity” in her consciousness. This will be her project for the rest of the summer.

She thinks this goal is very much tied in with the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: TAKING A BREAK.

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Today, she walked downtown, which she hadn’t done in two weeks. Courthouse Square was empty. Nevertheless, the trip was not in vain, for she saw a movie: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Is this a ‘Flow’ experience? Self thinks it is. Watching movies is one of self’s most enjoyable activities.

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Mid-Afternoon, Courthouse Square, Redwood City, CA

And, she spends A LOT of time in her garden, where her efforts are repaid with gorgeous blooms like this one, on her Sheila’s Perfume rose:

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Sheila’s Perfume, last week of July 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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