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Related Words, Beliefs, Background for Choice #12

        Worldview Theme #15: Group Think Imperative          

Worldview Theme #30: Imagination, Curiosity, Intellectual Freedom

for a summary read these 5 entries in order: social influence, peer pressure, suggestibility,  right /left brain, bicameral mentality

for a summary read these 5 entries in order given: intellectual curiosity, discovery learning, learning domains, academic freedom, freedom of press / speech

academic freedom-- the freedom of students, teachers, researchers, educational institutions, etc. to pursue knowledge, wherever it may lead, without interference.  

authoritarian personality--describes one who rigidly conforms, is intolerant,  prefers living in an authoritarian system, and seeks servile acceptance of that authority and obedience.  Note that those actually in the positions of authority may not possess this type of personality.     

automatism -- an act or series of actions performed by a person without conscious thought or reflection that conceivably could be performed by someone or something functioning “on automatic” -- like a robot lacking human consciousness programmed and directed by someone else. 

bicameral mentality--supposedly the mentality that existed long ago before modern human consciousness fully emerged, an idea proposed by Princeton psychology professor Julian Jaynes. Those possessing this mentality, were unable to introspect and heard voices just as some schizophrenics do today. The voices told them what to do when new circumstances were encountered, or in times of stress. These inner voices, heard as actual real voices and believed to be voices of gods, had their origin in the once heard real voices of parents, long dead relatives, leaders, kings, or other authority figures. It has been suggested that originally all humans possessed a “right brain” mentality, but that in response to the development of language, beginning tens of thousands of years ago, the left brain gradually became specialized. Supposedly the bicameral mind was slowly replaced by modern consciousness--the transition being largely completed by the first millennium BC.   Nevertheless, it has been suggested that modern humans, to some degree, still possess remnants of this ancient mentality. 

bicameral ancient mentality according to Julian Jaynes--Julian Jaynes' theory can be broken down into four main hypotheses: #1: Consciousness, as he carefully defines it, is a learned process based on metaphorical language.  #2: That preceding the development of consciousness there was a different mentality based on verbal hallucinations called the bicameral ('two-chambered') mind. #3: Dating the development of consciousness to around the end of the 2nd millennium BCE in Greece and Mesopotamia.  The transition occurred at different times in other parts of the world .#4: That the bicameral mind is based on a double-brain neurological model

brainwashing -- a forcible indoctrination to persuade someone to give up certain beliefs, attitudes and practices in favor of those espoused by whomever is behind the brainwashing.

charisma--an extraordinary power or personal magic. Max Weber described charisma as the power in an individual supposedly from a supernatural source--something to be thought of as spiritual gift, grace, genius, or power of personality

censorship–the practice of restricting communication (written, oral, in creative expression, etc) and access to information by altering, deleting, or suppressing it.  While political or moral concerns are often cited as rationale for censorship, it can result  if someone in a position of authority finds something objectionable for whatever reason

censure--harsh criticism, disapproval, or rebuke sometimes imposed by group on by member in official act

cognizant--to have knowledge of, be aware of

conceptual framework (or conceptual map)–an idealized way of making sense out of a complicated world which begins in early childhood with recognizing similarities and differences between objects and building concepts.  The process continues with fitting certain concepts that belong together into conceptual schemes for understanding, then fitting many conceptual schemes together to make a conceptual framework one that gets constantly torn down, rebuilt, and refined over many years–a whole lifetime for some

conscience--a sense of 1) what is morally / ethically right or wrong, and 2) which actions a) will produce more pleasure and happiness vs. more pain and suffering, b) will be praised vs. blamed, c)  potentially promise benefits vs. involve risks and potential liabilities.  When conscientious behavior and actual behavior diverge, guilt and feelings of remorse can result.  H.L. Mencken referred to it as "the inner voice that tells us that somebody might be watching."Some connect conscience with religion: it has been termed "God's voice."  Others make no such connection.    

consciousness  -- one of those difficult to define terms. Here are four definitions: 1) generally thought of as a process not a thing, held by religious tradition to reside in the soul or spirit, and identified with self awareness; 2) an inward sensibility of something -- knowledge of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, etc -- and comprising the sum total of mental processes occurring at any moment; 3) according to Roger Penrose, the non-algorithmic, judgment-forming ability to separate truth from falsity, beauty from ugliness, etc; 4) according to some in the artificial intelligence community, it merely passively accompanies a sufficiently elaborate control system (based on algorithms) -- but doesn’t do anything. To some consciousness is linked to intelligence; linguist Ray Jackendoff and philosopher Ned Block have distinguished three more specialized meanings: 1) self knowledge (including the ability to recognize one’s self in a mirror), 2) sentience (knowing “what is it like” to be someone because you are that someone), and 3) access to information. 

conscious vs. unconscious behavior--distinguishes between behavior you were aware of and that which happened in such "automatic response to environmental stimuli" fashion that your conscious mind was unaware of it. This can be related to Freud’s distinction between the conscious and unconscious mind. If someone asks about what you are thinking / feeling or exactly how you did something, you have access to some information or details and can give them a report. But much involving bodily processes or mundane routines happens automatically. Information or details regarding these are unavailable to you--you certainly couldn't provide them in a report! 

conversion--refers to a relatively sudden and drastic change in attitude or beliefs, especially religious beliefs.

creative problem-solving brainstorming—of course distilling this into some recipe is not what this is sought—in fact just the opposite. So, recognizing that often times the insight that allows making progress or even solving some problem may very well be unique to the particular problem, the context, the people involved, etc. is important.  Nonetheless, approaching this with generic problem-solving in mind,  here is a list of possible routes to making progress / behaviors to engage in / bases to make sure are touched:   creative imagining, dreaming;  generating a number of new ideas, creations, products for consideration; searching diverse realms for new ideas, solutions, products; probing, questioning curiosity to gain new insights;  elaborating on, adding to existing ideas, creations; taking intellectual risks, being bold, daring; adding new levels of complexity to conceptual framework; original thinking, generating unique insights. (contrast this with systematic problem solving approaches)

cult -- those who believe in the dogma and practice the rituals set forth by a charismatic founder or promulgator of something that is supposedly worth believing in

delusion-- a fixed belief that is not amenable to change in light of conflicting evidence. One dictionary definition went a bit further in identifying it as "An insanely fixed notion of (belief in) something false."  Examples include a person mistakenly thinking one or she has special powers or extraordinarily talented, or believing someone else is targeting them / out to get them. Some delusions are widely held: such as belief in astrology. Many newspapers continue to publish horoscopes despite scientific consensus that astrological predictions are nonsense. Asserting that some widely held beliefs are delusions can be controversial. Example: evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, in his book The God Delusion, argues that belief in a personal god is a delusion. A delusion is  to be distinguished from an hallucination, in that the latter, while also associated with believing something is real, has a sensory origin. Science has extensively documented how easily the human senses can be fooled. 

discovery learning--involves teachers designing learning environments that maximize the chances for students learning by discovering facts, relationships, etc. themselves.  Such an inquiry-based educational approach can be exciting and maximize chances for students remembering / retaining what they learn, but it can be both inefficient in terms of what is learned per time invested and frustrating for those students who don't make the intended discoveries!  

ego death theory--According to Michael Hoffman, this asserts "that the essence and origin of religion is the use of visionary plants to routinely trigger the intense mystic altered state, producing loose cognitive association binding, which then produces an experience of being controlled by frozen block-universe determinism with a single, pre-existing, ever-existing future. Experiencing this model of control and time initially destabilizes self-control power, and amounts to the death of the self that was conceived of as an autonomous control-agent."     

empiricism -- the belief that all knowledge comes from experience. As part of the foundation of science it stresses that scientific knowledge ultimately should be based on observation and experiment.

emotional intelligence--a term first described by Mayer and Salovey in 1990, and popularized by Daniel Goleman in a 1995 book. Of interest to both psychological researchers, and the general public, its meaning is still evolving. According to Mayer, etal in a 2008 Annual Review of Psychology article, emotional intelligence concerns the ability to carry out accurate reasoning about emotions and the ability to use emotions and emotional knowledge to enhance thought."  Goleman's latest conception of emotional intelligence sees four abilities as contributing to it: the ability to 1) be aware of one's own emotions, 2) control those emotions, 3) sense, comprehend, and respond to other's emotions, and 4) help other's emotions develop in the context of a relationship.  Some feel that EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) is as important as IQ in predicting a student's future success.  The last decade has seen many schools mount efforts to help students build emotional intelligence. 

epistemology -- the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge, its nature, where it comes from, the methods used to obtain it, and the limits faced by humans as they attempt to broaden knowledge.

explicit knowledge -- knowledge that can be expressed in words or with symbols (perhaps mathematical symbols) or otherwise abstracted from an actual individual experience. If the reality experienced is like the terrain, explicit statements describing it are like a map of the terrain. As science extends its map of reality, the scientific conceptual framework is steadily refined and becomes a better guide to the underlying terrain. But one must recognize that a limitation of science is that -- as good as the map is -- it can not replace the terrain itself, the actual experience of reality.

freedom of the press & speech–something a government can grant its citizens and news / media organizations–believed to be a prerequisite for democracy.  Thomas Jefferson underscored the importance of a free press by saying, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."  More recently the United Nations enshrined this–along with freedom of speech–as a basic human right, proclaiming, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers."  This language, from The UN Universal Declaration  of Human Rights, has been amended to include that exercising this right carries “special duties and responsibilities” and “may therefore be subject to certain restrictions…[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others…or the protection of national security or of public order…or of public health or morals.” Thus making a false statement such as yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theatre solely to create a disruption is not permitted speech. 

hallucination--a human senses related mental condition in which imaginary objects or events having no concrete basis in Reality seem real and are accordingly believed in. See also delusion.  

hypnosis -- a state of mind, somewhat similar to being asleep, induced by a person (a doctor, researcher, or some figure accepted as an authority or trusted by the subject) in a subject who readily accepts this person’s suggestions. There is debate as to whether a true hypnotic state exists -- those who dispute it argue that the seemingly special state of mind seen in subjects under hypnosis merely represents an extreme in the continuum of human receptiveness to suggestion. Some believers in reincarnation claim that, under hypnosis, some people can remember their past lives.

imperative--pressing, seemingly obligatory

indigenous people–in 2004, the United Nations provided the following definition: "Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them.  They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system." By 2020, the World Bank estimated there were 476 million indigenous people worldwide in over 90 countries.


intellectual commons movement–involves many people contributing to solving a problem or creating a software based product without concern for intellectual ownership or financial gain.  The fruit of such efforts is typically made freely available to others in open source fashion.  Examples include free software (including web browsers) and Wikipedia.

intellectual curiosity--involves the desire to use one's intellectual / reasoning abilities in investigating, exploring, and learning more about a particular part of intellectual terrain. Put another way, it is the desire to extend one's conceptual map of Reality.   

intellectual property / cultural rights--refer to an individual claiming ownership and associated exclusive benefits for works / products he or she has created or a whole culture making similar claims when outsiders seek to benefit from their cultural heritage.

introspection -- the process of looking inside one’s mind, recalling events, memories, sensory experiences, etc, and after this mental examination, perhaps reflecting on the experience, and formulating action. This only gives an illusion of free will, behaviorists and determinists would argue.

judgment -- the process and / or result of forming an opinion or drawing a conclusion based on consideration of the available evidence or knowledge

justification of belief -- This involves 1) believing that according to some standard or by some criterion a statement is actually true, 2) having evidence or data to support the above conclusion, and 3) evaluating the certainty with which the belief is established. In this latter regard, if the evidence or data is complete and fully applicable or relevant to the standard or criterion, the belief can be accepted with certainty; if the evidence is only partially complete and / or not fully applicable or relevant, some doubt should accompany accepting the belief, if it is accepted at all. And, of course, the standard or criterion used should be subjected to similar scrutiny, or at least identified when promoting the belief.

knowledge, two kinds of -- Bertrand Russell distinguished between 1) Knowledge by acquaintance, that is knowledge gained by direct experience involving a) sensory experience, b) objects of memory, c) internal states, d) ourselves, and 2) Knowledge by description, that is thought-out or mediated knowledge of a) other selves , and b) physical objects (our conceptualization of them, not direct sensory experience ) The distinction he makes is what others (most notably Michael Polanyi in Tacit Knowledge, and Graham Martin in Shadows in the Cave ) have elaborated on in distinguishing between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge.

learning domains–traditionally educational activities and associated objectives are sometimes categorized using three domains: 1) cognitive –relating to comprehending and intellectual processing of information and knowledge in forming concepts, having ideas, and having beliefs, 2) affective–relating to the emotions associated with learning experiences, and   3) psychomotor–relating to the physical activity and motor skills component of learning.  Some include also include 4) social—relating to communication, teamwork, management, leadership, etc. Very loosely these four learning domains can be related to Project Worldview’s thinking, feeling, doing, and joining.    

liberal education--the Association of American Colleges and Universities describes this as "a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a stronger sense of values, ethics, and civic engagement ... characterized by challenging encounters with important issues, and more a way of studying than a specific course or field of study"

liberalism–a rational, tolerant, generous, hopeful orientation that emphasizes individual freedom from restraint. Liberalism is often associated with progressive social change.     A July 2020 oped in The Economist summarized it as follows: “Liberalism thrives on a marketplace of ideas, so diversity has a vital role. Liberalism does not fight power with power, which risks replacing one abusive regime with another. Instead it uses facts and evidence, tested in debate, to help the weak take on the strong. Liberalism is all about progress, including putting right its mistakes—and there have been many, especially over race , including finding reasons to accommodate imperialism and slavery. That is one reason why, in the 250 years in which it has been influential, humanity has seen unprecedented material, scientific, and political gains, as well as extension of social and political rights.”

loyalty--most generally this is devotion and faithfulness to a nation, cause, philosophy, country, group, or person.  There is disagreement as to whether  loyalty is strictly interpersonal--with some arguing  only another human being can be the object of loyalty. Extreme loyalty to a person can be sustained without any consideration or analysis of whether that person is worthy or deserving of such devotion. 

nonconformist --a person who does not think or behave in generally accepted fashion like other people.   

ontology--most generally this refers to the nature of existence or Reality; more specifically it can refer to the details in a description of Reality--say the concepts, categories, and connections between them as part of a framework to describe Reality   

peer pressure—the force applied by a group on an individual to adopt their habits, beliefs, and attitudes. This is resisted by the individual’s own desire to retain his or her individuality either within or apart from the group.

powerlessness, feeling of --   a combination of various feelings including  feeling:  small and unable to exert any social influence; being swept up in a tide of powerful events; inability to do anything other than conform or obey a distasteful command;  lacking in having any personal control over the world; for parents  inability to protect / nurture their children, etc.   

prisoners, of consumerism -- a derogatory term referring to those who have unthinkingly succumbed to the all pervasive advertising messages of multinational corporations and adopted a consumerist lifestyle based on wanting, valuing, and continually spending money on things that they don’t really need.

propaganda -- broadly speaking, information that is designed and disseminated as part of a concerted effort to influence what individuals believe or want, and manipulate public opinion and desires.

prophet--an inspired person who supposedly speaks the word of God or communicates divine revelation.

pseudoscience -- something that seemingly has a scientific basis, but, upon closer investigation, does not. Examples of pseudoscience include beliefs in 1) horoscopes, astrology and that human personalities are shaped by stars in the zodiac, etc. 2) magical powers of crystals, 3) an ancient technically advanced civilization of Atlantis, and 4) extra-terrestrial beings in flying saucers are visiting Earth. Each of these -- and many other similar beliefs -- have been investigated using scientific methods and thoroughly debunked as lacking in truth, in useful application or both. Many pseudoscientific beliefs persist because 1) people uncritically believe in them without doing their own analysis of their merits; 2) many promoting such beliefs profit from doing so.

pusher -- a derogatory term referring to someone who consciously makes an effort to hook someone on an addictive product or behavior -- including a consumerist lifestyle. With respect to this latter possibility, one can argue that the most massive pusher effort in history involves the nearly impossible to escape advertising messages of multinational corporations trying to hook individuals on wanting and continually spending money on things that they don’t really need.

rationalism–a philosophical orientation that links finding ultimate truth to employing reasoning.                                                     

religion, definitions of--one of those difficult to define terms. In his classic, The World's Religions, Huston Smith defines it broadly as "a way of life woven around people's ultimate concerns" or more narrowly as "a concern to align humanity with the transcendental ground of its existence."  Synthesizing, and building on these, religion can be defined as involving beliefs, behaviors, feelings and devotion or obligation to faith in the divine or what is held to be of ultimate importance. Two narrower definitions are: 1) the worship of, and service to, God or the supernatural, and 2) a belief system associated with traditionally defined or formally institutionalized ceremonies or rituals.  

right brain / left brain--the two hemispheres of the brain are specialized for performing different functions. Understanding verbal communication, speaking, reading and writing, along with analytical reasoning, abstract and critical thinking are left brain centered. In contrast, the right brain is predominately at work during strenuous physical activity, non-verbal communications, dreams, and is called on for assessing spatial relationships, three dimensional vision, face / pattern recognition, and in making intuitive / wholistic leaps. It has been hypothesized that whereas the left brain processes information sequentially, “bit by bit“, in linear, ordered fashion, the right brain stores and retrieves whole patterns, in “all at once” fashion. Some associate different types of consciousness with each hemisphere--the analytical left brain’s being one very much aware of the passage of time, the mystical right brain is “in the moment” and “lost in space”. Emotionally, the left brain seems connected with positive feelings like love; the right brain with negative feelings.  It is important to realize that the human brain is incredibly complex, and that the above picture of right brain / left brain is too simplistic.  Thus it has been argued that only heterosexual, right-handed males exhibit the type and degree of specialized brain hemisphere function described above. In females, where the corpus callosum connection between the two hemispheres is typically thicker, signals travel more readily between the two halves of the brain and supposedly bring more “right brain” emotional responses!  

scientism -- an ideology that asserts that 1) the methods of the natural sciences should be used in all areas of investigation including philosophy, humanities, and the social sciences, and 2) only these methods can fruitfully be used in the quest for knowledge.

seekers vs. believers--In his book The Seekers, Daniel Boorstin makes the distinction as follows. "...we are all Seekers.  We all want to know why.  Man is the asking animal. And while the finding, the belief that we have found the Answer, can separate us and make us forget our humanity, it is the seeking that continues to bring us together..."    

social influenceis related the ways individuals change their behavior to better fit into their social environment and its demands

suggestibility--the quality of allowing one's beliefs and behavior to be easily influenced by the suggestions of others. A person possessing this will more readily accept what others urge him or her to believe or do. Such people are much more likely to be manipulated, recruited as followers / disciples, or brainwashed than others.  They are much more likely to "go along with the crowd" and conform than less suggestible, more self-reliant individuals. Those preying on highly suggestible people are often forceful, charismatic individuals and / or those in positions of authority--a group that can include cult leaders, politicians, salespeople, etc.

superstition -- a position or belief, often with roots in cultural or religious tradition, held despite what could be characterized (by someone not holding the belief) as lack of supporting justification or evidence

tabula rasa -- refers to the idea that, at birth, one’s mind is a tabula rasa or blank slate on which knowledge will be steadily recorded as one experiences and learns

trance -- a state in which consciousness and voluntary action seem to be suppressed or missing, and normal bodily functions reduced

tunnel vision -- the failure to see or consider other points of view or beliefs associated with someone one who has a very narrow worldview

wishful thinking--involves interpreting events / actions of others, decision-making and forming beliefs based on what one desires to be true (rather than what is true) or what is  pleasing to imagine (rather than facing the (perhaps grim?) reality behind a situation).   A related orientation-- involving deluding oneself and similarly lacking in rational analysis / real world grounding--is "wishing makes it so." This simplistic, fairy tale, magical, childhood fantasy way of dealing with problems is to be contrasted with the planning / hard work / repeated trials before success that adults solving real problems more typically are faced with.   



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