My TEDx Paradox!

TED Talks is one of the innovative inventions in last twenty manage to enter the top entrepreneurial mission one can define as success. It is the essence of what good Internet use is all about. Briefly said, it is sharing good and creative ideas while inspiring and promoting the feeling of joy for the progress of men and women. That being said, no great invention can, and should, exist without some criticism. I personally heard comments that had implied the conferences as elitists, others that say it´s a waste of time of serious men and women, scientists and person of culture, and some speakers even complained about censuring their talks. Taking into account this criticism, one cannot argue with the hundreds of thousands of view for every recently-uploaded Talk or with the smile and awe most people immediately get when discussing the last TED Talk.

1656319_10205408741838721_1313697782321493374_nSo, to celebrate the release of my TEDx Talk video I thought of scribing some words about this memorable and wonderful experience. As it seems, about three months ago I had the chance to participate in a TEDx event. I was one of eight speakers, all of us excited and nervous, no matter what was our background and experiences we lived.

The title of my talk is Trip to Awareness and New Trispective about Life. In it I shared experiences, as well as wonderful, exuberance, life filling events that made my life rich and interesting. Many adventures, of the kind that for years were left unspoken, were revealed on this TEDx stage, mentioning some travels I did and the subsequent thoughts I had. As it seems, after many travels and adventures in different countries experiencing and learning about cultures, languages and some of the similar preoccupations we share, I might have managed to reach few exciting conclusions. The Talk was an exciting event, and although I was asked for more journey anecdotes as well as experiences I acquired, I think I succeeded inserting some of the mindful conclusions I had and the unique and pragmatic theory about life (some of which can be found in my books).

I did not say it during the Talk but without any doubt, it is inspired from a book I published in 2012 called Trispectivism (from which part of the title and this very blog are derived). In it I elaborate the method of thought process that I used to arrive to that theory and, as mentioned, was pondering about the wonderful experiences I had in the many countries I have traveled and lived.

When I think about this TEDx experience, one particular thought comes to mind: The TEDx Paradox. It is the constant effort to balance between what one might see as egocentric blabber and a necessary explanation about oneself. How does one choose wisely what to say about the things he or she did, what is great, what is mediocre and what is common and might seem as over-reacting self consumed person? As an academic, I participate in conferences regularly for the last 5 years but this experience is quite different. Presenting your work in front of experts in the matter that will judge your academic or professional ability turned out to be quite different from presenting yourself in front of a large variety of curious people with different backgrounds that will judge you according to how you present yourself in public.

“Just look above the audience”, was the first of few good advices I received and gladly assimilated. Another one was to engage with the audience, this one I failed to follow. Yet my learning experience was more than those advices and seeing my limitations but also about fear, responsibility and doubts before, and while, the Talk.

But maybe the important conclusion for me is that the Talk initiated one of the most significant contemplation I did in recent years and that is the realization that in spite of my amazing experiences, I began to acknowledge how little I have actually done to make the world a better place. This introspective reasoning rearranged my priorities and now, at the age of 36 it´s time to try and give back no matter how little we might think any contribution one can make.

And to end this, nothing better than the words of TED founder in person:

And to end this, nothing better than the words of TED founder in person:

All about the money

In the past few years I’ve been living in Spain, where for the last 4 years you will find a large scale economic crisis. I don’t want to prolong about this unsettling issue (a theme for a future post), now I simply want to reflect about the choices and decision-making that led people abuse the system so badly that left tens if not hundreds of thousands of people penniless.
Here’s an example for I mean. Yesterday I needed to change currency from Euros to pounds, something I have done many times in the past. This time it ended up being not only different but also illuminating (after being humiliating). The thing is that I got ripped off. From all the countries I’ve visited (developing world included), the first to rip me off in exchange shop is in Oxford, UK.
2014-03-29 17.22.11As I was saying, I was looking for a place to exchange money and came across this center shop with many signs that shows the currency rate and written in large letters 0% commission. I entered, said hello, asked if it possible to change from Euros to sterling and gave 100 Euros to the teller. The amount she gave me back was lacking little more than 10 pounds. I told her she made a mistake and she said no. I insisted that there should be ten more pounds (according to the 1.27 written all over). She said that it is the commission. Confused I looked at the sign and pointed on where it was written for blind that there is no commission. Little I knew how wrong I was. In small small prints it said on the bottom to ask about the 13.6% commission. Yes, to “ask” about the commission.
I immediately understood and asked to cancel the exchange. Calmly she said there is no refund, pointing to a little plat sign hidden behind the neighboring teller booth.
To be honest it is the last place I expected to be deceived in such a way (perhaps it is the exact reason why they chose that location). I felt cheated and helpless. So this is how people do business. I asked her why she didn’t say there is such a commission and she said she cannot or she will lose her job. The reply to my next question was interesting, I asked how she can do that if she knows the person will be deceived, and she replied that she doesn’t have the luxury not to work. I have to admit that after all the weird jobs I did, this answer was not surprising yet annoying. So that was self reasoning for daily deceiving people, as if it is either deceiving or drinking alcohol watching in a sinking sofa.
Fortunately for me, I´ve been taking a Mooc class of prof. Dan Ariely from Duke University about Behavior Economics and this was a real life application of the course. Ariely talks about how the Default option actually change our way of dealing and negotiating decisions. Having that in mind I couldn´t forget those small prints saying “Please ask about our 13.6% commission”. I began thinking that if someone asks, the teller will tell him there is no commission (or less, depending on how she looks), and it they simply assume they read well the large letters saying 0% commission (without venturing to the unseen letters), she will charge them without saying anything. I went back to the shop and asked. “well – she said – it is negotiable!”. “This is wrong – I said – who can I contact?”. She gave me an email address.

chequepoint
I have to admit that doing Ariely’s Mooc I learned quite a lot but I never really understood the use of it until yesterday. Ariely talks about it in doing good things (as setting the default to donate organs etc.) but now I understood how it is done to legally cheat, to be dishonest in a way that all you think about in the end of the day is how much money you made. Many people choose to blame Capitalism and free market with that, I wouldn´t go that far; I think it is simply people who decide to fraud and cheat, not the tool.
For any of you who arrive to the UK, beware of this company:
Chequepoint
28 Cornmarket Street, Oxford OX1 3EY

shop in Oxford

 

Weekly choice: about honesty, memory and many many kisses

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, by peers

10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science

A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercise feel better about their bodies, even when they saw no physical changes.

brain

Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 × 40 mins exercise and 6 × 40 mins reading. Over both conditions, body weight and shape did not change. Various aspects of body image, however, improved after exercise compared to before.

http://xposethereal.com/science/10-simple-things-you-can-do-today-that-will-make-you-happier-backed-by-science.html

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 TED’s Best of The Week:

Jackson Katz: Violence against women—it’s a men’s issue

domesticviolence1Domestic violence and sexual abuse are often called “women’s issues.” But in this bold, blunt talk, Jackson Katz points out that these are intrinsically men’s issues — and shows how these violent behaviors are tied to definitions of manhood. A clarion call for us all — women and men — to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change.

Jackson Katz asks a very important question that gets at the root of why sexual abuse, rape and domestic abuse remain a problem: What’s going on with men?

http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue.html?-

“We need more men with guts, with the courage, with the strength, with the moral integrity to break our complicit silence and challenge each other and stand with women and not against them.”

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Fearful ‘Memories’ Passed Between Generations Through Genetic Code

“A frankly mind-blowing new study suggests traumatic events that happen to a parent could be passed down through their genes onto their children. The research, published in Nature Neuroscience, was carried out on mice, which were conditioned to become afraid of a particular smell: in fact a smell not unlike cherry blossom (Dias & Ressler, 2013). Even the grandchildren showed the fearful response. So the fearful response towards this smell was passed down two generations. The mechanism for the transmission of this response across generations appears to be through the mice’s sperm.

The reason this study is so potentially exciting is that evolution is thought to occur mostly through random genetic mutations across many generations.”

http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/12/fearful-memories-passed-between-generations-through-genetic-code.php

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Top 10 Reasons why Diversity is Good for the Boardroom

  1. It reflects the real world – something every company should be sensitive to.

  2. Healthy debate can lead to better decisions.

  3. Divergent backgrounds mean tackling the same idea in differing ways.

  4. Great ideas come from disruption of the status quo.

  5. Your clients and customers are diverse.

Read the rest at:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2013/11/18/top-10-reasons-diversity-is-good-for-the-boardroom/

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Person of the week! Alfred Hitchcock, Master Of Suspense

alfred_hitchcock_master_of_suspense_two_headedHitchcock’s strength and reputation as a filmmaker was that he was able to visualize his subconscious fears and desires and turn them into waking nightmares on the silver screen. Many viewers share those feelings and emotions, which is why he will remain in the public consciousness for many years to come.

Hitchcock (1899–1980) was nominated for six Oscars throughout his career, receiving best director mentions for Rebecca (1940), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945) Rear Window (1954) and Psycho (1960). Over three decades after his death, at the age of 81, Psycho, adapted for the big screen from a novel based on the life of American serial killer Ed Gein, remains Hitchcock’s greatest-ever film. Psycho is regarded as the world’s first ‘slasher’ movie, terrifying and shocking the public when it opened in 1960. It contained unprecedented levels of violence and sexuality, and its infamous ‘shower scene’ was later named the ‘Best Death’ in modern cinematography.

But Alfred Hitchcock, in a newly-unearthed interview, says he was ‘horrified’ when spectators took his subversive classic Psycho seriously.

Watch the 1964 sit-down uncovered found in the BBC archives, where the master of suspense says he intended the film to be a dark comedy made ‘rather tongue-in-cheek’.

“I never carry more than I can afford to lose” (Psycho)

Inspirational task of the week

Recently I decided to take a course in one of the many MOOCs available. Being a fan of writing I chose a course titled The Future of Storytelling. Today we are at the six week and I have to admit this is a great experience. Every week they offer weekly video material, lessons, interviews and tasks on the following topics (not necessarily in this order):
– Storytelling basics.
– Serial formats (on the TV, web and beyond) – Theoretical lesson, extremely interesting.
– Storytelling in role-playing games.
– Interactive storytelling in video games.
– Transmedia storytelling.
– Alternate-reality gaming.
– Augmented reality and location-based storytelling.
– The role of tools, interfaces and information architectures in current storytelling.

storytelling

The first Storytelling-MOOC will focus on fictional formats. The goal is to inspire and help understand as well as broaden our horizon of what is and might be possible and what has already been attempted, and what has succeeded or even failed – and why.

And yes, for all of you who are wandering if there are some of those pesky assignments we all loved so much in out toddler years, yes, the task (homework) of the week is indeed given. However, taking under consideration we are all somewhat busy adult.

I have to admit that I didn´t do all of my homework but here’s one for the last week. The task was to take a camera, be it you mobile phone, a webcam… , and introduce oneself to the other StoryMOOCers, telling the viewers which works inspired your interest in storytelling most up to know. In the task you should pick out 1-3 works of art, literature, film, TV, game, a website or else and tell what’s so special about it that you think it might help inspire somebody else anywhere on this planet.

This is my video (which I promise to improve in future posts):

*If you would like to post your personal advice of the books and inspiration and share it with us please send it to me to sicohenmail@gmail.com and I´ll upload it. If you don’t want to be in the video, you can simply make it just about your piece of inspiration.

Weekly choice: on being productive, altruist and feminist

RSA Animate – Re-Imagining Work

How can we get people more engaged, more productive, and happier at work? Is technology part of the problem – and could it also be part of the solution? Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, imagines what might be possible if more organization embraced the full, empowering potential of technology and encouraged a truly open, collaborative and flexible working culture.

http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/2013/09/25/rsa-animate-reimagining-work/

“Work is no longer a Destination!”

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An Analysis of Altruism

Neel Burton is a psychiatrist, philosopher and writer who lives and teaches in Oxford.  In this interesting article he proposes a different perspective of altruism.

http://outre-monde.com/2013/09/01/an-analysis-of-altruism/

“Altruistic acts are self-interested, if not because they relieve anxiety, then perhaps because they lead to pleasant feelings of pride and satisfaction; the expectation of honor or reciprocation; or the greater likelihood of a place in heaven; and even if neither of the above, then at least because they relieve unpleasant feelings such as the guilt or shame of not having acted at all.”

animal-altruism

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Ted’s best for the week

In this creative talk Ben Saunders (an explorer of limits) urges the audiences to consider carefully how to spend the “tiny amount of time we each have on this planet.”

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

“To try, to experience, to engage, to endeavor rather than to watch and to wonder, that’s where the real meat of life is to be found. It’s the juice that we can suck out of our hours and days,” says Saunders. “If I’ve learned anything from 12 years now of dragging heavy things around cold places, it’s that true, real inspiration and growth only comes from adversity and challenge, from stepping away from what’s comfortable and familiar and stepping out into the unknown.”

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Person of the week, Simone de Beauvoir, the mother of modern feminism and a symbol of sexual freedom!

simone

The one who upheld the issue of freedom for women, as the most desirable human condition, especially freedom of choice.

Women have reproductive role and the role of upbringing, said Beauvoir, and this is in part why women find it difficult to be free. However, the woman does not need to be defined by her uterus, it is possible to have a life outside of her reproductive functions.

One of her best-known books, The Second Sex, deals with the treatment of women throughout history and is often regarded as a major work of feminist philosophy and the starting point of second-wave feminism.

simonsartreHer life is also known with her relationship with the famous philosopher and Nobel laureate Jean- Paul Sartre. They were one of the most celebrated intellectual unconventional couples. They met in 1929 and never got married or even lived together, but they dedicated themselves to each other agreeing to retain the freedom to be sexually and emotionally with others and up to sharing the details to each of these connections.

http://www.openculture.com/2013/06/philosophys_power_couple_jean-paul_sartre_and_simone_de_beauvoir_featured_in_1967_tv_interview_.html

second sexIn  her novel, ‘’The Second Sex’’ she explores the biological, psychoanalytic and Marxian explanations of women’s fate, understanding women in terms of “the other”, or what is not the self, which is secondary, inessential, and inferior.  De Beauvoir assesses the history of relations between the poles from the time of the primitive society to modern era and looks at women’s sexuality and her relationship with a female “otherness”.

She observes the myths related to women, especially those who are attached to motherhood; examines representations of women in the novels of male authors and evaluates the evolution of the contemporary status of women from girl to womanhood as wives and mothers. She considers the special position of lesbians, independent woman and a career woman, and extensively analyzes the role of prostitutes, a role which she saw as one where women can, under certain conditions, use the “otherness” in order to take advantage of men.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/books/review/Gray-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

« L’intellectuel est ainsi fait, il se mêle toujours de ce qu’il ne regard pas. » (Sartre sur pourquoi il se mêle dans les affaires d’autre)

Farewell classroom, hello classMOOC

In the past few months we witness an impressive amount of bloggers, articles (both academic and newspaper) and general conversation that are writing about and discussing the recent education revolution. I´m referring to the Massive Open Online Course, commonly known by the acronym MOOC. The MOOCs are the free virtual university classroom and it is the symbol of this new and exciting era where accessibility to knowledge was never simpler and more accessible.

MOOCbetterwordbubble

You are probably thinking what the majority were saying in the first couple of years since 2008 (and what some still do today): ‘we don´t have time for that’ or ‘I already got a job’. Well, while this certainly is true, still, the MOOCs provide opportunity that before people can only dream of. Some, unfortunately, are working in places they do not really want to be (whether choosing it for practical reasons or extrinsic pressure) hence, now they can easily study what you always dreamed of. Then, whether or not you´ll be able to take it to the next level and actually making a profession of it, maybe, but you´ll never know unless you´d try. As always, the best thing about trying is not the success (a great motivation) but the experience and the skills we acquire while learning and evolving (the best motivation).

In today’s hyperactive world, as in practically anything we do, we will not pay too much attention if it has no utility to us -Probably some of you will stop reading after seeing this word “utility” but let’s face it, even though there is no romance in a phrase like this, it is still quite true.- Thus, MOOC is very successful exactly because it offers all the utility we need: desired knowledge and in a convenient time.

This is why I decided to make it easier to all of you that are knowledge addicts and put together a list of useful links to some of the many resources.

My own experience with online learning and virtual classroom started years ago when I first started viewing courses and podcasts through sites as Academ.org and LearnersTV and such. Later I upgraded to Google Academic Earth, with a large variety of courses from all subjects and a multitude of universities. While my passion is studies about Social Psychology and Social Science I also took listened and followed classes about Economics, Philosophy and Psychology (I even tried Mathematics but I admit that it wasn´t my cup of tea).

Today, thanks to innovators such as Andrew Ng (London, 1976), Daphne Koller (Jerusalem, 1968), Bestian Thrun (Solingen, 1967), Anant Argawal (Bombay, 1960) and many more we have platforms that not only provide us with the courses but also the framework for us to be able to take one step further towards making it an official diploma. Probably the biggest of all is Coursera with more than 17 million students from all over the world. The 400 classes are given in 83 different education centers all over the world in all the major languages.

The MIT open courseware, whether it is learning Italian language and home cooking simultaneously, psychology or the world of Finance, you have the opportunity to follow your passion into a more profound level. If you are more into language try Duolingo or maybe to learn computer code (in codeacademy), possibilities are endless.

Other important universities also began their own web of free and shared lectures. Some of the most known are: Cornell’s eCommons (like this interesting one about Quantum Theory made simple), Harvard’s edX (initiated with MIT), Stanford Online and many others (click here for a list of 775 free online courses from different universities).

moocOther centers and platforms that are just as good are: Udacity, Iversity (where I personally take a course this semester), Khan Academy, e-learning, Edmodo (highschool education), Open2Study, P2PU amongst others.

And so, as Koller tell us in the wonderful TED Talk, today education can travel over barriers as financial difficulties, distance to the closest education facility, and physical disability. With a click of a mouse and average internet connection (whether private or public), everyone can become a student and participate in this wonder we call universal knowledge.

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Short video on what is MOOC:

ps

I´ve been asked if all the people that enroll in these courses are academics. Well, the answer is certainly not. Just in my course there are about 5000 students, viewing their profile I found that the large majority are nothing but academics (commercials, shop owners, retired, artists, high-schoolers, unemployed and many more).

Weekly choice, by peers

What is Morality?

We speak about morality in many occasions. This time I want to present a link to a more scientific article. In «How does morality work in the brain? A functional and structural perspective of moral behavior»

moral

“Neural underpinnings of morality are not yet well understood. Researchers in moral neuroscience have tried to find specific structures and processes that shed light on how morality works. Here, we review the main brain areas that have been associated with morality at both structural and functional levels and speculate about how it can be studied. Orbital and ventromedial prefrontal cortices are implicated in emotionally-driven moral decisions, while dorsolateral prefrontal cortex appears to moderate its response.”

http://www.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fnint.2013.00065/full#

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Leadership crisis

While today’s column could focus solely on the government shutdown or various components thereof, a lack of leadership isn’t just a problem in the United States; it’s a global problem. It’s also much more than an indictment on global politics; it’s a systemic problem that pervades every level of society. I don’t think there’s much debate the world is ensnarled in a crisis of leadership. The question becomes what do we do about it?”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2013/10/10/a-crisis-of-leadership-whats-next/

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Motivation

Through his personal experience, Scott Smith goes through 4 concepts that tent to put an end to our motivations. His revision of those problematic discouraging points might help us recognize it in ourselves and contribute to another small progress of eliminating and overcoming them.

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/overcome-4-massive-motivation-killers/

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TED’s best for the week:

“What is jealousy? What drives it, and why do we secretly love it? No study has ever been able to capture its “loneliness, longevity, grim thrill” — that is, except for fiction, according to Parul Sehgal, an editor for “The New York Times Book Review”. In an eloquent meditation she scours pages from literature to show how jealousy is not so different from a quest for knowledge.”

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

jealousy.

Book of the week!

Benito Cereno – Herman Melville

The question of interculturality is a constant theme in many books. Whenever there is an encounter between characters from different origin, the reader witness a way of unveiling the notion of the otherness in our fellow human kin. However, there are very little books that present this interaction in such an overwhelming way. Melville’s Benito Cereno is certainly one of them. While Herman Melville is known for his literary canon Moby Dick, the novella Benito Cereno is an incredible story that not only teaches us about the painful truth of the slave trade but also shows us a reality of three cultures. This encounter between the African, the European and the American is a mastery of a constant change of roles of the Hegelian Master & Slave. As we see in the selected quotes below:

Famous Quotes from the book:

  • “In fact, like most men of a good, blithe heart, Captain Delano took to Negroes, not philanthropically, but genially, just as other men to Newfoundland dogs.”
  • “All this, with what preceded, and what followed, occurred with such involutions of rapidity, that past, present, and future seems one.”
  • Forget it. See, yon bright sun has forgotten it all, and the blue sea, and the blue sky; these have turned over new leaves.”
    “Because they have no memory,” he dejectedly replied; “because they are not human.”
    […]
    “You are saved, Don Benito,” cried Captain Delano, more and more astonished and pained; “you are saved; what has cast such a shadow upon you?”
    “The Negro.”
  • “Benito Cereno, borne on the bier, did, indeed, follow his leader!”

Benito Cereno, Melville (pdf / audio book).

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Person of the week!

Antoni_Gaudi_1878For whoever visited the great city of Barcelona in Spain must have visited one or more of the sites designed and constructed by Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (25 June 1852 – 10 June 1926). The world known architect designed some of the most fascinating buildings and parks in the world. Gaudí, a prominent Catalan cultural figure studies, worked and lived in Barcelona. With his work he developed a particular architectural language of the highest esteem. The same esteem this great man had for nature, his great inspiration, as he once said: “There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature. Therefore, buildings must have no straight lines or sharp corners.”

In Homage to Catalonia, (1938) George Orwell wrote on the Sagrada Familia: “For the first time since I had been in Barcelona I went to have a look at the cathedral–a modern cathedral, and one of the most hideous buildings in the world. It has four crenellated spires exactly the shape of hock bottles. Unlike most of the churches in Barcelona it was not damaged during the revolution–it was spared because of its ‘artistic value’, people said. I think the Anarchists showed bad taste in not blowing it up when they had the chance, though they did hang a red and black banner between its spires.”

La Sagrada Familiahttp://www.gaudisagradafamilia.com/. For a Short clip on its magnificence, Click here. Moreover, Gaudí was so responsible for its work that he made instructions for the continuance of the construction postmortem.  The magnum opus that began in 1883 is destined to end on 2026. Here is how it will look:

Park Güellhttp://www.gaudidesigner.com/uk/parc-guell-visite-parc.html

Casa Batlló  – http://www.casabatllo.es/

Weekly choice, by peers

Glad to announce this new category of post that will be uploaded on a weekly basis and will have a selection of articles, videos, inspirational quotes and ideas and what ever constructive and creative link you have in mind.  It is open for any participation, recommendation from any of information you wish to share. It is a wonderful opportunity to interact and share our, as well as your, interesting cybernetic discoveries.

Thank you for your interest and don´t forget to add your link of the week.

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path to happinessMost everybody has heard that money doesn’t make you happy, other people don’t make you happy, and that you have to make yourself happy. Very few people will tell you how. (…) Happiness and fulfillment obtained solely from focusing on your external reality is fleeting and may leave you wondering, “Is this all there is?” To discover a greater and more lasting happiness you will have to follow a path of dismantling the virtual reality of the mind.”

http://www.pathwaytohappiness.com/happiness/2007/09/27/mind-affects-happiness/

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About communication style. “Your amygdala is probably saying to you and to me, “I don’t want to do either of those things. These people are obnoxious and unreasonable. Why should I kowtow to them?” Here are several reasons…”

http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/10/how-to-listen-when-your-communication-styles-dont-match/

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TeaIf you want to make some tea, first learn how to make tea. Next gather all the ingredients you need. And then make tea. Don’t worry about whether it will come out right. Don’t worry if anyone will like it. Don’t worry about whether you are worthy of making tea. Don’t worry about coffee drinkers. Don’t worry if you will ever get to make tea again. Don’t worry about what you will do after you make tea. Just. make. tea. And when you are done, move on.”

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/6-simple-personal-commitments-to-overcome-low-self-esteem/

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TED’s best for the week:

If you want people to perform better, you reward them, right? Bonuses, commissions, their own reality show. Incentivize them… But that’s not happening here. You’ve got an incentive designed to sharpen thinking and accelerate creativity, and it does just the opposite. It dulls thinking and blocks creativity.”

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

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images (1)Interested in being creative? See what they have to say about it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weIQIthC3Ks&feature=youtu.be

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lou_reeThere were rumors that his feelings for Luisa and his enormous desire to conquer her, inspired Nietzsche’s literary potential. The famous philosopher used to say that she was a person with a brilliant mind and superb way of thinking, more than he had never seen before. It is believed that he actually marked Lou Salomé’s character in one of his most known books “Thus spoke Zarathustra”.

“You know these things as thoughts, but your thoughts are not your experiences, they are an echo and after-effect of your experiences: as when your room trembles when a carriage goes past. I however am sitting in the carriage, and often I am the carriage itself.
In a man who thinks like this, the dichotomy between thinking and feeling, intellect and passion, has really disappeared. He feels his thoughts. He can fall in love with an idea. An idea can make him ill.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvn_1VvTOSE

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Person of the week!

“I know my limits. That’s why I’m beyond.”

Jane+Birkin++Serge+Gainsbourg+flower
Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin

http://www.europeandme.eu/17diaphragm/921-study-like-serge-gainsbourg

For a wonderful French documentary about his life, click here

Love, is it really the same for you and I?‎

Today, with modern technology, scientists have shown that the same feeling does not necessarily trigger the same synapses in our brain. For example fear will be experienced differently in people depending on how and where it is felt, in what context and what it triggers as response in the person experiencing it. This might seem obvious but still, why do we keep thinking that people that are supposed to experience the same emotion as us should also act and understand it like us?

demi moore and love

I guess the best example for this is with one of the strongest emotion, Love, so many times we hear a lovers quarrel where she is saying that he doesn´t love her (or vice versa). What they are really trying to say is that it doesn´t seem that they experience the emotion of love the same way. Thus, the logical conclusion is that if there is no actions a, b, and c as they do while they are in love, then that emotion doesn´t exist.

Thought, as we are just about to describe, the different in many of the cases (supposing love do exists in both) is in the personal intimate experience of the emotion, and later, the way it is being demonstrated. Different theorists have confronted this subject in different fronts, Patrick Colm Hogan from the interaction with literature, Scott Peck when it comes to Love as volitional and human interaction.

In a biological perspective, emotional reaction is a complex system of interconnection of regions activated in our brain usually with a repercussion that follows in our body.

When you ask someone why did she fall in love with her partner, the answer usually be of a spiritual nature or simply “I don´t know, I just did”. There is of course a more specific answer that can bring us closer to what really occurred in those decisive moments of falling in love. Some of it can be a chemical and visual reaction that triggered a set of chain of events relating different parts of synapses while evoking warm memories (probably the most important part is the DLPF, dorsolateral prefrontal). One memory, if we take an example with Freudian relation, is an image of how a girl remembers some gentle males in her family from younger age (which is why sometimes there is a resemblance between her partner to an uncle or her father in their younger age, and even to prior partners). The perceptual moment (or moments) of the encounter addresses many somatosensory modes as the visual and olfactory. Of course, this is only a small fragment of what we know with today’s science but it gets us some steps closer to understanding how we function.

True enough, in most cases, when you start discussing emotions in a more pragmatic, quasi-material manner, some thinks it dissipates the charm, mystery and awe. Yet to this I might respond that in many cases, such as with emotions, I believe that the awe and amazement toward nature only duplicate hundred times fold, for the understanding of this fracture in the system opens doors to new horizons and it´s magnificence only grows. Also, understanding of it helps us deal with some of the difficulties we can have with it (traumas, unexplained fears, phobias, repetitive problems in the relationship and many others).

Why then should we disregard such an amazing opportunity to know ourselves better?

love-inspirational-daily

«You just wait there, like a predator, feeling it in your guts swirling like an earthquake in the middle of the ocean. You let it rise from your belly until it hits a wall of millions of tones of water and explode inside of them, letting the atoms collide in one another in a hideous speed. And then the waves rise from the bottom of the sea, make their way upward to touch the sky, the want to reach higher, conquer the earth that enclose them into the paradigm they lean on for millenniums.» (anonymous)