History of Humankind: Social Constructs as Imagining Minds

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind -  Yuval Harari   Big History; Social Evolution; Future Intelligence

A world best-seller, Harari’s Sapiens belongs to the genre that has become known as Big History, a sub-discipline which focuses on the biological, geological, archaeological, ethnographic and ecological evidence that has accumulated over the last 60 years as a result of improved carbon-dating and the discovery of DNA. Sapiens is a must-read – challenging, exciting and well-written. … Continue reading History of Humankind: Social Constructs as Imagining Minds

Share this:

Brain Plasticity – tricking the brain to heal the body

The Brain's Way of Healing: stories of remarkable recoveries and discoveries -  Norman Doidge   The Brain, Neuropsychology, Medicine,

“Neurons that fire together, wire together – those that fire apart, wire apart” is the formula Doidge  uses to describe how brain plasticity works. It seems that the physical relationship between the senses and the brain is not something that is fixed from birth, but it is instead something that follows pathways that electrochemically interact and … Continue reading Brain Plasticity – tricking the brain to heal the body

Share this:

The East versus the West – Development, Hubris and Catch-up

Why the West Rules - For Now -  Ian Morris   Big History, Civilisation Development, USA v. China

Ian Morris is a historian with an interest in archaeology who goes beyond a traditional historical method that relies on written records. He uses carbon dating techniques, DNA and chemical samples from a range of archaeological sites in tandem with statistical records from the more recent past to construct an intriguing index of social development … Continue reading The East versus the West – Development, Hubris and Catch-up

Share this:

How Energy and Geography Shape Human Values

Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve -  Ian Morris   Long-Term History, Sociology, Ethics, Culture

These four confronting lectures by Ian Morris are based on his book, Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve. Morris argues that fundamental long-term values are driven by the interaction of geography and energy extraction. Morris confronts us not only with the politically unacceptable view that democracy and equality are far from universal … Continue reading How Energy and Geography Shape Human Values

Share this:

The Two-Track Brain – Rationality and Bias

Thinking Fast and Slow -  Daniel Kahneman   Decision Making, Finance, Medicine, Political Economy

A simple maths problem: If a bat and a ball cost $1.10 and the bat is $1.00 more expensive than the ball, how much does the ball cost? Half a Harvard class got the wrong answer in a written test!!! Economics Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman argues that we have two systems of thinking. … Continue reading The Two-Track Brain – Rationality and Bias

Share this:

The Decline of Violence: A Long View

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined -  Steven Pinker   History; Psychology; Cultural Development

The world is getting more violent!” …….WRONG. It has become less violent. “The Twentieth Century was the most violent century in history!….NO! There have been worse. “Our societies are falling apart!” Nobody can predict the future, but I suspect that every generation has thought both that things were better in the past and the peace … Continue reading The Decline of Violence: A Long View

Share this: