Month: January 2014

Weekly choice: of hormonal contraceptive, comedians and inventions

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Current hormonal contraceptive use predicts female extra-pair and dyadic sexual behavior: Evidence based on Czech national survey data

“The overall incidence of having had an extra-pair partner or one-night stand in the previous year was not related to current OC use (the majority of the sample had not). However, among the women who had engaged in extra-pair sexual behavior, OC users had fewer one-night stands than non-users, and tended to have fewer partners, than non-users. OC users also had more frequent dyadic intercourse than non-users, potentially indicating higher commitment to their current relationship. These results suggest that suppression of fertility through OC use may alter important aspects of female sexual behavior, with potential implications for relationship functioning and stability.”

http://www.epjournal.net/articles/current-hormonal-contraceptive-use-predicts-female-extra-pair-and-dyadic-sexual-behavior-evidence-based-on-czech-national-survey-data/

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Comedians Have Psychotic Personality Traits

Comedians find it unusually difficult to feel pleasure and have a strange relationship with their audiences.

comedian

“To find out a new study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry examined the personalities of comedians from the US, Britain and Australia (Ando et al., 2014). The authors approached comedy societies and asked their members to anonymously fill in the Oxford–Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE)–a scale that measures both bipolar and schizophrenic factors. These personality structures were compared with a group of actors they also recruited, and with previously collected data on normal (!) people. When the two groups were compared, what they found was that, compared with normal people, comedians had the following characteristics:

  • They found it unusually difficult to feel physical and social pleasure–psychologists call this anhedonia.
  • They were antisocial and nonconformist.
  • They were prone to magical thinking, like believing in telepathy or paranormal phenomena.
  • They were easily distracted and found it difficult to focus.

Actors, meanwhile, shared many of these personality traits with comedians, except they were close to the norm in feeling pleasure. Unlike the comedians, as a group, actors did not experience anhedonia.”

One of the study’s authors, Gordon Claridge, explained:

“The creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis–both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Although schizophrenic psychosis itself can be detrimental to humor, in its lesser form it can increase people’s ability to associate odd or unusual things or to think ‘outside the box’.”

http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/01/comedians-have-psychotic-personality-traits.php

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How Cooking Can Change Your Life: A Short Animated Film Featuring the Wisdom of Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan, the bestselling author who describes himself jokingly as a “liberal foodie intellectual,” published Food Rules in 2009, a handbook that offers “straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely.” The one I remember best is Rule #2. “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” That’s because it’s likely processed and “designed to get us to buy and eat more by pushing our evolutionary buttons, our inborn preferences for sweetness and fat and salt.” A few other noteworthy suggestions and assertions include:

Rule #6: “Avoid foods that contain more than five ingredients.”

Rule #20: “It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.”

Rule #37: “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.”

Rule #17: “Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans.”

http://www.openculture.com/2014/01/how-cooking-can-change-your-life.html

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The Greatest Invention Of All Time

“The greatest invention of all time isn’t, as is sometimes argued, penicillin. Nor is it the computer. Nor is it running water, electricity, the automobile, or the airplane. Rather, it’s the thing that has made all of these things—and so many more—possible: the scientific method itself. Many people don’t realize that the scientific method is a relatively recent development, something not inborn but something that was invented, originating sometime around the 17th century. Prior to that, people explained the world around them with stories that they’d either learned from the previous generation or that they invented themselves. It wasn’t until the 17th century that anyone began trying to figure out how ideas could be rigorously tested. Which is really what it means to think scientifically: to accept something as true only if it is supported by evidence. This, of course, isn’t the only method by which people evaluate the veracity of ideas. But it turns out to be the best way. In fact, the only way.”

http://www.happinessinthisworld.com/2013/12/22/the-greatest-invention-of-all-time/#.UuLVPBA1jIU

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Artists Of the week! The Beatles!

The Beatles were an English rock band that formed in Liverpool, in 1960. With John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the greatest and most influential act of the rock era. Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several genres, ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical elements in innovative ways. In the early 1960s, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania“, but as their songwriting grew in sophistication they came to be perceived as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era’s sociocultural revolutions.

In Icons of Rock: An Encyclopedia of the Legends Who Changed Music Forever, Scott Schinder and Andy Schwartz describe the Beatles’ musical evolution:

“In their initial incarnation as cheerful, wisecracking moptops, the Fab Four revolutionized the sound, style, and attitude of popular music and opened rock and roll’s doors to a tidal wave of British rock acts. Their initial impact would have been enough to establish the Beatles as one of their era’s most influential cultural forces, but they didn’t stop there. Although their initial style was a highly original, irresistibly catchy synthesis of early American rock and roll and R&B, the Beatles spent the rest of the 1960s expanding rock’s stylistic frontiers, consistently staking out new musical territory on each release. The band’s increasingly sophisticated experimentation encompassed a variety of genres, including folk-rock, country, psychedelia, and baroque pop, without sacrificing the effortless mass appeal of their early work.”

In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr Members of the Order of the British Empire.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIPayAV7_eQ

Weekly choice: about honesty, memory and many many kisses

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The Right Way to Answer “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?”

David Reese from Harvard Business Review shares his concerns about the new generation of young inspired business men and women who just finished career school programs. In this interesting and amusing post he demonstrate what how a business interview should be more than how it is being taught.

interview-tips

“Thomas Jefferson once said that “honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom”. Though truth-telling abounds in grade school platitudes, it seems scarcer the older we get. But this decline in honesty — let’s call it dishonesty — isn’t necessarily innate. Dishonesty can be taught. In my experience, I’ve noticed that, of all culprits, college career centers are exceptional traffickers of such miseducation. In the process, they’re hurting their brightest students’ chances of making it in the world of startups by convincing them to give dishonest answers to tough interview questions.

What is your greatest weakness? Even if you’ve only had just one professional interview in your life, then you’ve probably still been asked some version of this question. Do you remember how you answered? Did you say that you work too hard? That you have perfectionist tendencies? Or that you’re too passionate? Be honest. “

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/01/the-right-way-to-answer-whats-your-greatest-weakness/

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RSA Animate – The Power of Networks

The animated series of RSA is simply sublime. It is an amusing and active way to learn about important concepts in our society. “In this RSA Animate, Manuel Lima, senior UX design lead at Microsoft Bing, explores the power of network visualization to help navigate our complex modern world. This link is taken from a lecture given by Manuel Lima as part of the RSA’s free public events program.”

http://www.thersa.org/events/rsaanimate/animate/rsa-animate-the-power-of-networks

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It’s Okay To Be Smart!

Sometimes students get the wrong message from their classmates: that it is not cool to be smart in science. But biologist Joe Hanson has a more positive signal that he likes to send to kids – in fact the name of his popular science show on YouTube (via PBS Digital Studios) says it all: “It’s Okay to Be Smart.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mD-ia6ng0A

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TED of the week!

“Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn’t happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It’s more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics, and raises some important ethical questions we should all remember to consider.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_loftus_the_fiction_of_memory.html

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Song Of The Week! Bésame Mucho…

Besame_Mucho“Bésame Mucho” (Kiss me a lot) is a song written in 1940 by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velázquez. It is one of the most famous boleros, and was recognized in 1999 as the most sung and recorded Mexican song in the world. According to Velázquez herself, she wrote this song even though she had never been kissed before at the time, and kissing as she heard was considered a sin.

She was inspired by the piano piece “Quejas, o la Maja y el Ruiseñor” from the 1911 suite Goyescas by Spanish composer Enrique Granados. It is incredible how so many people around the world are attracted to this song. Probably one of the reasons is exactly that, the innocence it portrays. The listener is facing pure and natural first desire of a kiss, of a touch, of emotion, taking you back to your first tender kiss.

There are slight differences in the wording at the end of the chorus, regarding the words perderte después (to lose you afterwards). Considering that Velázquez may have been fifteen years old when she wrote the lyrics, this sentence reflects inexperience and innocence. Indeed, a video from “TV Mexicana”shows Consuelo Velázquez playing the piano while the singer sings perderte después. Many interpretations use perderte otra vez (lose you once again) instead of the original. Emilio Tuero was the first to record the song, but the Lucho Gatica version made the song famous. Covered by the Beatles both on stage and in the studio, they included the song in their setlist during the band’s audition for Decca Records, their first EMI recording session and the Get Back sessions. A performance from the Get Back sessions was included in the documentary film Let It Be, while one from the EMI audition appeared on the Anthology 1 compilation. They sang their rendition of the song with English lyrics that do not correspond to the original Spanish ones. As for the land of pizza and love, the song was recorded in 2006, by the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli for his album Amore (watch below).

Weekly choice: of primates, TED, focus and Charlie

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Apes with big brains: what makes us human?

Superficially we humans have much in common with other species – but no other species makes cars, computers, and combine harvesters.

Ape“We have big brains. Other species are marked out by other qualities. Swifts and albatrosses are spectacularly good at flying, dogs and rhinoceroses at smelling, bats at hearing, moles, aardvarks and wombats at digging. Human beings are not good at any of those things. But we do have very big brains; we are good at thinking, remembering, calculating, imagining, speaking. Other species can communicate, but no other species has true language with open-ended grammar. No other species has literature, music, art, mathematics or science. No other species makes books, or complicated machines such as cars, computers and combine harvesters. No other species devotes substantial lengths of time to pursuits that don’t contribute directly to survival or reproduction.”

http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2014/1/6/apes-with-big-brains-what-makes-us-human-newstatesman

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Benjamin Bratton Explains “What’s Wrong with TED Talks?” and Why They’re a “Recipe for Civilizational Disaster”

“TED Talks — they give your “discovery-seeking brain a little hit of dopamine;” make you “feel part of a curious, engaged, enlightened, and tech-savvy tribe;” almost giving you the sensation that you’re attending a “new Harvard.” That was the hype around TED Talks a few years ago. Since then, the buzz around TED has mercifully died down, and the organization has gone on, staging its conferences around the globe. It’s been a while since we’ve featured a TED Talk whose ideas seem worth spreading. But today we have one for you. Intriguingly, it’s called “What’s Wrong with TED Talks?” It was presented by Benjamin Bratton, Associate Professor of Visual Arts at UCSD, at none other than TEDxSanDiego 2013. Bratton makes his case (above) in 11 minutes — well within the 18 allotted minutes — by arguing that TED doesn’t just help popularize ideas. Instead, it changes and cheapens the agenda for science, philosophy and technology in America. “

http://www.openculture.com/2014/01/benjamin-bratton-explains-whats-wrong-with-ted-talks.html

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Change Your Intention to Focus Your Attention

“With busy schedules and to-do lists that carry us from hour to hour without much time to breathe, it’s rare that we stop to reflect on our motivations. But when we take the briefest of moments to set clear, positive intentions for what we’re doing, the payback is enormous. We can make a remarkable shift in how any assignment, conversation, or meeting feels just by considering where we want to place our attention. (…) At work, this means we may fail to perceive the good things a colleague does if we’ve already formed a belief that they’re annoying. And if we’re in a bad mood starting a task, we can easily end up paying attention to problems more than solutions.”

Check in with yourself. Ask yourself what’s top of mind for you right now. What are your expectations, about the situation and the people you’re working with? What needs or concerns do you have? What’s your mood?

Recognize your filters. Given what’s top of mind for you, make two quick lists.  What information or behavior will you be paying most attention to, because it fits with what’s top of mind for you? What information and behavior could you potentially miss, because it goes against your current state of mind? If this feels difficult, think about the opposites of the first list.

Decide on a positive intention. Identify what matters most to you. If you’re coming up with anything a little snarky or righteous, try to reframe more generously. For example, perhaps it’s really most important to improve your connection with a colleague rather than making sure the colleague understands they did something wrong. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t raise challenging topics. But you’ll notice quite different things in your conversation with them if you set a more positive intention.

Direct your attention. Given your positive intention and your lists, what do you now want to pay more attention to — in others, in yourself, or in the task at hand?

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/01/change-your-intention-to-focus-your-attention/

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Why Men and Women Can’t be friends

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Art of the week! “When I started loving myself”

A poem by Charlie Chaplin written on his 70th birthday on April 16, 1959.

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When I started loving myself

I understood that I’m always and at any given opportunity

in the right place at the right time.

And I understood that all that happens is right –

from then on I could be calm.

Today I know: It’s called TRUST.

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When I started to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody

When I tried to force my desires on this person,

even though I knew the time is not right and the person was not ready for it,

and even though this person was me.

Today I know: It’s called LETTING GO

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When I started loving myself

I could recognize that emotional pain and grief

are just warnings for me to not live against my own truth.

Today I know: It’s called AUTHENTICALLY BEING.

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When I started loving myself

I stopped longing for another life

and could see that everything around me was a request to grow.

Today I know: It’s called MATURITY.

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When I started loving myself

I stopped depriving myself of my free time

and stopped sketching further magnificent projects for the future.

Today I only do what’s fun and joy for me,

what I love and what makes my heart laugh,

in my own way and in my tempo.

Today I know: it’s called HONESTY.

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The rest of the poem you can find on:

http://www.citehr.com/299788-when-i-started-loving-myself-poem-charlie.html

Chaplin

Monarchy in crisis, a sudden drop of rating!

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In a recent survey conducted by Sigma dos for EL MUNDO, one of the biggest newspapers in Spain, it was shown beyond any doubt that the support in the monarchy is an all time low (click here). For the first time, the vote for the favor of the old system dropped under the 50% bar (though in only one decimal). The current king Don Juan Carlos I, is, according to the Spanish people, in bad shape (both physically and metaphorically). With an approval rate that went down from 52.5% to a mere 35%, his weakness is displayed on his expressionless face. Many are the reasons that can be noted for such an event, one can blame, for instance, his choice of destinations for vacation trips (a scandal was revealed with the publication of a photo of him hunting elephants in Africa in plain crisis), or his refusal to abdicate to his beloved son prince Felipe. Apparently, abdication might just be the last rescue line this European monarchy has before raising the call for the cancellation of this system. Although, while 56.6% are positive that the handsome Prince of Asturias will improve the prestige of his household, 32.6% still believe that even this formal act will not help the dire situation.

elefante rey

So what is the Monarchy, if not exactly that, a piece of news in the newspaper? Actually, there are two main, very repetitive, themes that decorate the headlines on a daily basis: the corrupt renegade of the royal house, the husband of the Infanta Cristina, el señor Iñaki Urdangarin and the daily fashion of the beautiful (and reconstructed) Princess of Asturias, Doña Letizia. The first, for stealing from public funds hundreds of thousands of euros and the other for wearing the same outfit/dress/haircut from 8 months, 3 weeks and 5 days ago.

letizia1

However, it is not surprising that some western countries are still clinging to their royalty. Dreaming was always been a great virtue of men, and what better than dreaming of tales of fairies actually coming to life. I mean, is it really such an impossible dream? Gad Elmaleh will tell you that no. He will proudly say that even a French Jewish, son of immigrants from northern Africa, can father the son of a real princess.

What, then, can we learn about our society, about ourselves while witnessing such a traditional system operating for the sake of tradition? In this great dance between reality and fantasy there is no room for the minor individualization of the effects and consequences of such an arrangement. The universality of dreamy aura that surrounds their majestic being is much more important than the vagueness of their normality. There is a loud cry in the taciturnity of a symbol. It is the cry for thoughtless admiration, for pointless criticism and the obesity of our ignorance. Hannah Arendt voiced the banality of evil not to acquit the Individual but to denounce the disguise in the Universal.

GOYA Saturn_devouring%20wikimediaHowever, one should refrain from being so hasty as to write a eulogy to the moral valor and majestic emblem of a culture but become aware of the interaction that is more real and alive than we want to admit. Thus, one should probably remember next time she meets a king that while “storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it”, as Arendt puts it, it is the definition of it that will wake us from the latent inhibit state of thoughtlessness. Thus, as for the question, is it the end of the Spanish Monarchic sovereignty? I will dare say probably not.

Weekly choice, by peers

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10 Most Popular Psychology Articles from 2013

It’s been another fascinating year for the science of the mind.

http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/08/what-caffeine-really-does-to-your-brain.php

http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/07/10-easy-activities-science-has-proven-will-make-you-happier-today.php

http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/05/the-anchoring-effect-how-the-mind-is-biased-by-first-impressions.php

For the rest, we invite you to check:

http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/12/10-most-popular-psychology-articles-from-2013.php

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5 Tips to Help You Stop Limiting Your Potential

“His story was amazing. He spoke many times of taking risks and breaking barriers. He fought his inner demons as he struggled his way to a new life. He also had to resist negativity from some family members about starting his own business. (…) I learned from him that it is actually we who sometimes stop ourselves from reaching our full potential by not challenging ourselves. I was no exception; I realized that I too had been stopping myself from growing because of my own inhibitions.(…) I would like to share with you a few things I learned when I met my new friend; these may help you unleash your own potential.”

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/5-tips-help-you-stop-limiting-your-potential/

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Odd Facts About Kissing

“Mucus membranes inside the mouth are permeable to hormones such as testosterone. Through open-mouth kissing, men introduced testosterone into a woman’s mouth. Testosterone is absorbed through the mucus membranes in the woman’s mouth and increases arousal and the likelihood that she will engage in reproductive behavior.”

For more interesting facts:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/let-their-words-do-the-talking/201212/odd-facts-about-kissing

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Two Roads to Orgasm

There’s a reason couples therapy often doesn’t work for sexual problems.

“What’s often called for is some fearless questioning about really goes on during lovemaking. The actual who-does-what-to-whom, and how-does-it-really-make-you-feel.

orgasmThe reason all these couples found sex boring because it was boring.  And in each case, the most boring part by far was his dutiful attempt to give her an orgasm, despite the fact that neither of them was very turned on. (…) The intensity of orgasm is more or less dependent on the intensity of arousal that precedes it. Great arousal leads to great orgasms.  High arousal—the high road—doesn’t have orgasm as a goal at all. Approached from the high road, orgasm is just an afterthought, like dessert at the end of a memorable meal. (…) Sometimes orgasm can be a sort of giving up—“Well, I’m not going to get much more excited than I am right now, so let’s have an orgasm and get to sleep.” Most bad sex leads to low-road orgasms. Low-road orgasms can serve to relieve anxiety or get you to sleep, or momentarily quell unwanted sexual thoughts. But I encourage people not to take the low road too much. Better, if you can, just to skip dessert.

If it feels like you’re not even close to orgasm, then don’t push it. If it’s going to feel like work to get dessert, then don’t do it. Sex should never feel like work. Better just to skip dessert.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sexualitytoday/201401/two-roads-orgasm

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Person of the week!

Marina Abramovic, The Artist Is Present

Marina Abramovic , (born November 30, 1946.) is a New York based performance artist who began her career in the early 1970s.  Active for over four decades, she has recently begun to describe herself as the “grandmother of performance art.” Abramović’s work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind.

Both of her parents were Partisans during the Second World War: her father Vojo was a commander who was acclaimed as a national hero after the War; her mother Danica was a major in the army and, in the 1960s, Director of the Museum of the Revolution and Art in Belgrade.

artist-is-present-gallery-pic

Abramovic’s father left the family in 1964. In an interview published in 1998, Abramović described how her “mother took complete military-style control of me and my brother. I was not allowed to leave the house after 10 o’clock at night untill I was 29 years old. All the performances in Yugoslavia I did before 10 o’clock in the evening because I had to be home then. It’s completely insane, but all of my cutting myself, whipping myself, burning myself, almost losing my life in the firestar, everything was done before 10 in the evening.”

In 1976, after moving to Amsterdam, Abramović met the West German performance artist Uwe Laysiepen, who went by the single name Ulay. When Abramović and Ulay began their collaboration, the main concepts they explored were the ego and artistic identity.

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS0Tg0IjCp4

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Art of The Week! ”The Time clipping Cupid’s wings”

pierre mignard

This masterpiece named “The Time clipping Cupid’s wings”,  was born under sophisticated and artful painting brush of one of the  most successful painters of the reign of Louis XIV, Pierre Mignard (1612- 1695). He was a painter in the classical French Baroque manner, known primarily for his court portraits. Among his models were Turenne, Molière, Bossuet, Maintenon (in the Louvre), La Vallière, Sévigné, Montespan, Descartes (in Castle Howard).

Metaphors have descriptive, literal meaning.  We see old man covered with dark blue robe and hourglass on the ground, and like their “opponent”, Cupid, trapped in the destructive influence of Time, recognized in cutting his bird-like wings. He doesn’t seem afraid, more bitter and angry, and inner power is lighting from his eyes, knowing that Love that he is symbolizing cannot be harmed, Love like an eternal thing, mover of every human being, no matter towards whom or what we feel it.