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Related Words, Beliefs, Background for Choice #15
charisma–an extraordinary power or personal magic. Max Weber described charisma as power in an individual supposedly from a supernatural source–to be thought of as spiritual gift, grace, genius, or power of personality
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
economic efficiency–may refer to either minimizing costs while maximizing production or wisely allocating consumption related expenditures to maximize consumer satisfaction.
emotions and the brain–stimuli are registered most immediately by the amygdala–part of the brain's limbic system, which is sometimes referred to as our reptilean brain since (in evolutionary terms) it is older than the frontal cortex it is connected to. This "alarm system" part of the brain can instantly prepare the body for a basic fight, flight, or (less dramatic) appeasement response. A quarter second or so later–if time permits–the cortex can evaluate the alarm it receives, put it in context with other information, and more rationally decide to activate a full blown survival type response, or to put the damper on those preparations. Conscious emotion thus involves this direct connection between cortex and amydgala, and indirect connection / feedback between these, the hypothalamus–which produces and releases brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) and hormones–and the rest of the body. Those chemicals can produce physical effects like increasing blood pressure and heart rate. It is this feedback which fundamentally distinguishes our emotions from our thoughts.
energy–a difficult to define term, sometimes concisely described as the ability to do work (done when a force acts to move something over some distance in the direction that force acts). Energy cannot be created or destroyed–only changed from one form to another. Forms that energy takes include mechanical, gravitational, electromagnetic (including ultraviolet, light, infrared, microwave, radio, etc), electrical, nuclear, heat, sound, etc.
energy efficiency–the energy going to perform a useful service divided by total energy input. For example, of every 100 units of electrical energy powering an old-fashioned incandescent light bulb, only four units show up as useful light energy--the efficiency of this conversion is 4%. What happens to the rest ? The remaining 96% is wasted (here as heat energy). In contrast, LED light bulbs are around 20% efficient–more energy goes for producing useful light, less is wasted. Improving vehicle miles per gallon is the energy efficiency measure that globally would save the most energy.
entropy and disorder —a technical term with a precise definition based on the science of thermodynamics. In ordinary language entropy can be thought of as related to disorder and a law of thermodynamics recast as something like, “left to themselves, systems tend naturally toward increasing disorder” (or entropy). Comedians might cite teenagers’ bedrooms, without parental supervision, as illustrating this!
ethics–the study of right and wrong in matters of conduct
focused vision vs. global vision, two metaphors--1) The Lens you View the World Through. Those with Focused Vision use one with a much narrower field of view. 2) How you Filter the Stream of Information. Everyone filters the stream of information coming at them—otherwise they'd be overwhelmed by all the stimuli. Those with Focused Vision use filters letting much less information through
goal oriented behavior—refers to the clear envisioning of some outcome, objective, or purpose, and then diligently working toward making this a reality. Debate centers on whether certain individuals make such repeated use / are so preoccupied with this behavior that it constitutes a character trait, or whether people occasionally go through states where they have an extreme focus on just one particular goal but are otherwise not so inclined.
hairsplitter--one who often makes unreasonably fine distinctions.
hope—the opinion that “Hope is the denial of reality” (from Margaret Weis in Dragons of Autumn Twilight) needs tweaking. More correctly, hope is dwelling on the possibility that your view of a certain aspect of reality—which you believe to be correct—is in fact too grim of an assessment.
introversion vs. extraversion–the contrast between looking within one's self / inner mental state and enjoying solitary pursuits vs. looking outside the self / to others for enjoyment / gratification
justice–implementing what is just, defined in various ways as being reasonable, proper, lawful, right, fair, deserved, merited, etc. For some, justice is intimately connected with fairness, a connection with three dimensions: equal treatment, the degree to which exercising freedom and liberty is to be allowed, and reward for contributing to the common good.
laughter and worldviews–laughter results when we find pleasure or amusement in something, or reason to scorn and deride it. Many have probed deeper into its origin. Freud viewed laughter as a release of psychic energy that had been mistakenly bound up by false expectations. There is general agreement that laughter can result when some incongruity or incompatibility–a gap between our expectations and the reality we actually encounter– suddenly becomes evident. Why? Discovering this gap suggests our worldview is lacking–a potentially disturbing realization that can make us feel that we don't understand the terrain and aren't in control like we thought. Our mental state has been perturbed, and in the worst case physically we may be in danger as well! Assuming the latter isn't the case, sometimes we can do something: make mental adjustments to restore our mental state to a more tranquil one. But other times our discovery is overwhelming: no mental adjustments are possible. Rather than accept the pain, we laugh!
lumpers vs. splitters–refers to people who classify or categorize information in different ways: Lumpers see similarities as more important than differences and take a more wholistic, global approach, whereas Splitters focus in on differences which they view as more important. They are more likely to reductionistically "split hairs" in classifying or categorizing–even to the point of creating new categories to emphasize uniqueness.
measured–refers to behavior that is deliberate and calculated, not rash and impulsive.
money–a token or object that is generally accepted (both legally and socially) as a medium of exchange in paying for goods provided, services rendered, or settling debts. It also provides a measure of value or standard for gauging relative worth / wealth. Most economic transactions directly or indirectly involve money–one exception being a barter economy where money is not needed.
micromanaging -- refers to the inability of a person in charge to delegate decision-making to others but instead to intervene with them in a way that involves controlling or directing in a detailed, sometimes nit-picking, usually meddlesome manner. On the plus side, such behavior lets subordinates know that "the boss" cares about how things are done and is there to help when needed, and such intervention can help in coaching or mentoring employees. On the downside, micromanaging can lead to unmotivated, discouraged employees who feel their abilities are not being respected, and can foster a climate of distrust. Perhaps more importantly, in attempting to do other people's jobs and paying too much attention to small details, "the boss" can spread himself or herself too thin and miss bigger, more important things elsewhere.
moral obligation–the feeling of being bound to act or behave in a certain way given one’s acceptance of some moral code or set of rules
nit pickersderived from nit picking, a term, coined in the middle of the last century, which refers to small and usually unjustified criticism. According to an early 1950s Colliers magazine article, nit pickers are "those who quarrel with the trivialities of expression and meaning, but who usually end up without making concrete or justified suggestions for improvement."
obsession–an idea, feeling or emotion that persistently haunts or disturbs one’s consciousness and leads to what becomes, either through its repetition or otherwise, inappropriate, unreasonable behavior. Many obsessions are beyond willful control, even with the recognition of their inappropriateness
orderly universe–the belief, which can be traced back to Greeks such as Thales in the sixth century BCE, that there is an order and organization to the universe due to its functioning in accordance with a small number of natural laws–laws which can conceivably be uncovered and understood by humans. Such a notion is diametrically opposed by the belief that the universe is unorganized, transient chaos whose workings can never be comprehended. Harvard historian of science Gerald Holton's term for the origin of belief in an orderly universe is "The Ionian Enchantment."
perfectionism -- in a big picture sense, the belief that anything short of something being perfect is unacceptable; in small tasks, making sure that every last detail has been attended to and that the final product is perfect.
personal responsibility, accepting–before an individual can overcome some personal difficulty or solve a personal problem, he or she needs to acknowledge that the difficulty or problem exists, by saying something like "This problem is mine and I must solve it." In this context, taking personal responsibility means that you don’t ignore difficulties or problems, expect others to solve them for you, or shift the blame to others. In a family or social context, taking personal responsibility can mean voluntarily limiting your choices or restraining yourself for the good of the family, tribe, village, community or whatever. Richard Critchfield calls this "the freedom to choose self responsibility."
personality—following Carver and Connor-Smith writing in the 2010 Annual Review of Psychology, we define personality as “the dynamic organization within the person of the psychological and physical systems that underlie that person’s patterns of actions, thoughts, and feelings.” And note that increasingly the academic psychology community uses a five factor model to facilitate discussion of individual personality differences. These factors are: 1) openness to experience, 2) conscientiousness, 3) neuroticism, 4) agreeableness, and 5) extraversion.
stewardship–responsible, caring management of something (perhaps natural resources, a piece of land, etc.) that is entrusted to a person, organization, or people
stress--technically defined as the force acting directed by the area (perpendicular to it) over which the stress is exerted. Thus the effects of large forces may be diluted by spreading this out over larger areas; or the effects of smaller forces magnified if they are concentrated to act over a small area. (Of course the effects of the resulting pressures depend on the magnitude of the resisting forces involved.) Common units of pressure are pounds per square inch.
stress hormone / cortisol—produced in the adrenal glands it is released during times of stress and low blood sugar / glucose concentrations. Elevated, prolonged level of cortisol can lead to immune system suppression, increased gastric acid secretion, protein breakdown, decrease in bone formation and muscle wasting. Inside the brain , in conjunction with adrenaline it can aid storing memories of painful / emotionally charged events—providing a way to avoid them in the future.
stress scale–a scale gauging the relative psychological stress of events occurring in one's life invented in 1967 by psychiatrists looking for a relationship between stress and illness in the medical records of thousands of patients. The death of a spouse–assigned a stress value of one hundred–defines the top of the scale; getting married is judged half as stressful and rates a fifty; changing schools is assigned a twenty, etc
task oriented -- used to describe a person who focuses attention and personal energy on completing a particular task. Often such a person is goal driven and may care more about the cognitive aspects and mechanics of completing tasks than about related emotional or esthetic concerns that others might find important.
thrifty (or frugal) orientation -- making do with less, saving money and resources by finding creative ways to solve practical problems and maintaining one’s current possessions, thereby improving their functional efficiency and extending their useful life.
tolerant–sympathetic to or at least able to allow another individual’s indulgence in beliefs, values, practices, and behaviors that differ from or conflict with one’s own
value judgment–comparing either something concrete (person, object, etc.) or something abstract (quality, principle, etc.) to some idealized standard. A value judgment is what bridges the gap between "what is" and "what ought to be." Closely related is the act of valuing, which can be thought of as choosing (from alternatives) and taking appropriate action to acquire something (concrete or abstract) or hold onto it.
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