At the bottom of the trendiest trends of cognitive science today is something very interesting indeed. A man named Francisco Varela and his efforts to model the structural dynamics of contemplative traditions.
Full article at bottom of email
Varela's gestures are a simple, almost trite, model of the crowning achievement of human thought---insight. At first it might appear to simple. Here, we take a survey of the sciences of the mind, and we find that in fact, despite all the technology at our disposal, the complex methods and methodologies, the summary of the sciences is strikingly similar.
In many things, humans are no more insightful than the other animals. For all our attempts at prediction, it’s not the weather report that warns us of the approaching thunderstorm, it’s the silence of the birds. People are not special in the way we fall down. We are special only in the way we get up again. Unlike the birds, we can turn to each other and marvel at the squall. If one quality could be said to characterise the human condition, it would be this. Like petrichor, after the storm, we make ourselves known again.
Highlights from the scholia:
The deterministic view of free will always seems to cause such furore, forgetting that whether free will exists or not, this world is so intractably complex that for almost all practical purposes, it doesn't matter.
Anthropological case study for the lockdown as a 'spiritual and economic reset' from an Indonesian community who would voluntarily retreat every couple of years. Similar ideas to this more modern-focused take.
Updates to On Emotion.
The site is finally arranged around what it has always been exploring: project petrichor, which is finally published in it's final form. Article collections and links have been shuffled around to match.
Grouse new font and colour palette to celebrate.
You can find links to all my previous emails to you here.
That's all from me! Enjoy.
This week's article selection: Varela's Gestures
You're reading this on the site, so you can just go to the article.
Turning scholarship into wisdom we can use at The Armchair Collective.