Notebook entry, February 29, 2004
Happy Leap Year!
Some new works on the horizon. I'll be changing the overall presentation of the web site by dropping the cartoons introductions to the major sections and will attempt to go with photos from free clip art or video inserts. Also, I will begin to develop my concepts on evolutionary feminism, which has been building for close to a year. I have started a separate sub-section on the web site, but it is "not open to the public" as of yet.
On other theme:
An excellent and very important piece concerning brain activity and human behavior has appeared in the April 2004 issue of Discover magazine, p. 60. It's title: Whose Life Would You Save? (the word Save is in bright red). Secondary intro: Scientists say morality may be hardwired into our brains by evolution. It is written by Carl Zimmer with illustrations by Jeff West. Mr. Zimmer, if you remember, is the author of the printed version of the very important PBS television show: EVOLUTION
I am not going to go into great detail because I want you to read and study the article, but the piece is illustrated with four large semi-cartoon illustrated framing four morality questions -- which are: 1) You are checking in for a flight when the person at the counter accidentally gives you a boarding pass for a first-class seat. Your ticket is for coach. Do you point out the mistake? 2) You are running down a crowded corridor in the airport, trying to catch a flight that's about to leave. Suddenly, an old woman in from of you slips and falls hard. Do you stop to help, knowing that you'll miss your plane? 3) Your plane has been taken over by a terrorist. He has taken a passenger's baby hostage and is holding a knife to his throat. Do you rush the terrorist to subdue him, knowing that they baby will die before you get there? 4) Your plane has made an emergency landing on the ocean. All but one lifeboat has been destroyed, and it's so full it's beginning to sink. Should you throw people overboard, beginning with the elderly who are too weak to resist, to save yourself and the others? Of course, I won't give you the answers because those are the bait to get you to the magazine, but what is important here is the evolutionary perspective of the evolving nature of behavior. I will quote one paragraph. "The evolutionary origins of morality are easy to imagine in a social species. A sense of fairness would have helped early primates cooperate.A sense of disgust and anger at cheaters would have helped them avoid falling into squabbling. As our ancestors became more self-aware and acquired language, they would transform those feelings into moral codes that they have taught their children." p. 62
Notebook entry, February 26, 2004
As promised, here is the email exchange between myself and my daughter-in-law Emily.As I mentioned in previous notebook entries, the move will be unsettled.
From: Emily [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 7:45 PM
To: William A. Spriggs
Subject: Re: Msg from Father-in-law Bill
Thank you for putting this all into wording and giving it such thought. I want to let you know that Craig and I will look at all of your needs very carefully and do our utmost to fill them all to your satisfaction.
One note I did want to make is about the sudden "urgency" of our desire to buy. We did indeed look into renting for another six months and two things have altered that intended course. One: Craig refuses to move into another "apartment complex" due to the terrible experiences we are currently having with our neighbors. He feels completely harassed by them and thinks that living in another complex would provide just as many neighbors with just as many issues. Two: we looked into renting a house or a town home and found that the monthly cost would be stretching our budget, and would actually cost more than most house payments. We decided that that cost coupled with the general expense of moving twice within a year, was such a strain as to make it truly prohibitive. Thus we came to the conclusion that buying a home would be our best option. Since we had seriously discussed the option of purchasing a duplex with you and my Mom, I did not want to start a serious search for a home of our own without considering you both and your needs. I did not want to leave you "out in the cold," so to speak.
As I said in the beginning of this response, we will do our utmost to find a place that will suit all of our needs, while remaining inside our budgets. I can make no promises on that score, since I have no idea what is really out there and how it compares with what we all want. I appreciate you and my Mom considering us as possible partners in a purchase like this. If we cannot find something mutually agreeable in a reasonable amount of time (let us say 6 months, about September) then Craig and I will once again look into purchasing our own home.
We will look this over in more detail over the next few days. Thanks again. And we love you.
Emily and Craig
----- Original Message -----
From: William A. Sprigs
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 6:45 PM
Subject: Msg from Father-in-law Bill
February 17th, 2004
I felt that it would be best to write my misgivings and requirements in writing and not verbally. It is my best medium. I am also doing this to make sure that misunderstandings are kept to a minimum.
Since you are the strong, future matriarch of the combined future family, I felt that it best to address this letter primarily to you.
As for the move to a new location co-joining our two families, I do see some positives – the possibilities of more room, shared expenses, and the feel of a unified family – but, there are some negatives.
In particular, I speak of your “forgetful” nature. The last phone conversation that I remember we had with you and your mother on the other end was you telling us that you were going to find a new apartment to live in and that the primary importance was that your mom needed to heal after her operation; that the search for a new place could wait until the summer be at our leisure. Now, this past weekend, comes the “urgency” of moving, and the pressing request of a commitment from your mother and me. That is the reason for these written requirements.
I want more than anything to make your mom happy, and it see seems that she is swept up in this quick and sudden move scenario.
The other joy in my life is my studies. It gives me great a great sense of self-esteem because the response from members of the academia has been very good. I hope some day my work will make the world a better place. I refuse to give it up.
But to do this creation, I need space where I can develop my need for deep concentration. The introduction of your Aunt into my living space has created an upheaval that has been very disturbing to that creation – as a result:
I want my own study that I can call my own. I will require at least 300 square
feet of this private space.
I will not participle in any expenses to “fix-up” the new residence before or after moving in. This includes any major appliances.
Since Bet tina causes “disruptions” by her mere presence that affects my studies – through no fault of her own -- I do not want her in that space when I awaken in the morning (my primary study and writing time). Since your mother has informed me that she has made a commitment to never to abandon her “baby sister” I am willing to accept that decision as long as this request is honored.
Since condo living is “sweat-free,” and does not take any valuable time away from my studies, I will not participate, nor be expected to perform any manual work on the house to improve it.
If the interest on the mortgage can not be split between the two families, then your mother and I will get the tax relief until we both retire.
I expect to have garage space for my car. A car port is not a garage.
In exchange, I will sign an agreement that later transfers any property rights. For starters, I will put into the pot: $750 a month. I also will not request to see any financial statements, food bills, etc.
William A. Sprigs
Notebook entry, February 23, 2004
Just a quick note to let you know that I and the whole family will be moving from our residence in Lakewood Colorado to an unknown location soon -- most likely within the next 5 months. I will be entering a email communicate between my daughter in law and myself in this notebook soon. Any move is disruptive to study and writing. Stay tuned.
Notebook entry, February 15, 2004
Two important articles have appeared in the popular press revolving around biology and human behavior. Since it is Valentine's Day here in America (a time when male and females make an effort to appreciate our respective mates with an outward expression of our affection -- by giving chocolates, flowers, dinners out, etc.), The Economist, Feb.., 14, 2004, p.73, had a nice and rather lengthy article under the SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY section, with a title of "The Science of Love." It has an intro lead: "Scientists are finding that after all, love really is down to a chemical addiction between people." I didn't really get to read the whole article, but it was a balanced piece with several scientists contributing -- including Helen Fisher -- and as far as I am concerned, that puts the piece into a very important category.
The second piece has to do with the biological underpinnings in the upcoming American elections to be held in November of this year. This is a cover story and I consider it to be an extremely important indicator that evolutionary psychology is spreading -- and spreading rapidly. The magazine, THE WEEK, Feb.., 20th, 2004, cp. 18, (I don't have circulation figures, but it does appear to be gaining in popularity here in America) has two large cartoon characterizations of John Kerry and G. W. Bush on it's cover. Kerry is dressed in a "RAMBO" military attire, while Bush is made up in his flight suit to associate him with his orchestrated aircraft carrier landing stunt on the aircraft carrier, Lincoln. Both are holding, what appears to be, a long, narrow sword. The large font under the two characters states: A MEASURE OF MANHOOD. The subtext: "The Macho Subtext to the Presidential Race."
The reason that I consider this to be extremely important is because it close to my own arguments that I have stressed in my essays, in particular, my last essay, The Men From Mars: Correctly Identifying NASCAR Dads, Blue-collar workers, Overseers, etc., as Beta Males as Seen From the Evolutionary Perspective and Their Importance in American Politics from the 1970s to Present that I finished in August of 2003 and mailed out to several active political writers, TV personalities, and pundits -- including Mr. Goldstein, of the Village Voice -- see Notebook entry, January 20th, 2004. In the essay, I gave distinct suggestions to progressive about the subtext meaning to the "manliness" issue and basically stated that the Republicans get there appeal by "appearing tough and masculine." And guess what? the THE WEEK article quotes Mr. Goldstein, with some new words of wisdom: "...ever since Ronald Reagan stole the NASCAR vote from the Democrats, Republicans have been portraying the Democrats as wimps and sissies.& their candidates as Clint Eastwood." The article continues.." It's a smart strategy. Polls may not measure a candidate's "butchrating," but in times of stress, men and women alike are drawn to father figures who exude a certain comforting "virility."
Mr. Goldstein was sent my essay, The Men From Mars, on September 10th, 2003.
Notebook entry, February 9, 2004
Great piece about homosexuality amongst animals with the Feb 7th online edition of The New York Times. It's title is: "Love That Dare Not Squeak Its Name," by Dinitia Smith. The article starts with a short story about two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo caring for a fertile egg and then moves on to Frans de Waal's book about the highly-sexed species, the bonobos. From there the article goes directly to Bruce Bagemihl's 1999 book, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity. Here's two important quotes from the piece: "This growing body of science has been increasingly drawn into charged debates about homosexuality in American society, on subjects from gay marriage to sodomy laws, despite reluctance from experts in the field to extrapolate from animals to humans. "....and one more..."Last summer [Bagemihl's book] was cited by the American Psychiatric Association and other groups in a "friend of the court" brief submitted to the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, a case challenging a Texas anti-sodomy law. The court struck down the law."
Once again, we are seeing the continuing influx of the evolutionary perspective being drawn into discussions and practice within the larger intellectual cultural community. Presenting citations in an appeals court is an extremely important event. It is only a matter of time before the knowledge spreads to the common person. When it does, prepare the way for the Renaissance.
Here is the link to the article below. You
will be asked to register with the NYT, but as of this date, it is still free
Notebook entries, Feb. 2004
Notebook entry, February 2, 2004
Lights, camera, action! Your independent scholar has taken the first step in new direction of the web site by taking a one day seminar on January 31, at Denver Free University on the subject of "How to make a short film." I had a great time, got to meet some new people, and learned a lot of material in a short time. Foremost was the creation of the story board where each scene is planned in advance. It is much more difficult than one could imagine. I also learned that moving the camera and the lights is the most time consuming part of making a movie, and I have a much greater appreciation for the craft. As for me, the most fascinating part was to see the meeting, formation of collations, and the creation of a common goal amongst complete strangers thrown together for a common purpose. One gets to see dominate personalities and submissive personalities emerge and "clash" and see the formation of a hierarchy. There were 11 in the class who met for the first time. My mind was sent back to the EEA, some 100,000 years ago and attempted to imagine what it must have been like for a complete group of strangers to come together. (of course, we were under the leadership of a "dominate" instructor") and there for a purpose, but it did not need a great stretch of the imagination to see that cooperation was the key to survival in the jungle and not brute force.
As for my plans, I still have a vision of of putting short educational film clips on Evolution's Voyage or putting them on someone else's server, depending on the storage capacity, or whatever -- I still don't even have a video camera yet, so all my plans for video productions are still in my head at this point.
The idea for putting short films on the site is still a possibility, but are still a long way off from production, screen writing, and actual filming. I still believe very strongly that putting evolutionary themes into fictional film is a great way to introduce the subject to the common person who does not take well to academic writings. That thread of thought is guiding my path.