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Archive for the ‘Evolutionary Spirituality’ Category

Canterbury: Sr Ilia Delio OSF to speak on Evolution and Primacy of Christ

Posted: May 28, 2014 at 9:55 am


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The doctrine of the Primacy of Christ was given explicit expression by the medieval theologian Duns Scotus and incorporated into a cosmic worldview by the Jesuit scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Sr Ilia Delio OSF will discuss the Primacy of Christ in the light of Big Bang cosmology, biological evolution and the globalisation of humankind in a lecture at the Franciscan International Study Centre, in Canterbury next Tuesday, 3 June, as part of their Ex Corde lecture series.

Sr Ilia Delio holds a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and a PhD in Historical Theology from Fordham University. Prior to joining Woodstock full-time as a Senior Research Fellow, she served as Chair and Professor in the Department of Spirituality Studies at the Washington Theological Union, where she also served as Director of Franciscan Studies. Her current research interests in the field of science & religion include divine action, emergence, evolutionary theory, and artificial intelligence.

She has served on the Board of Directors of Metanexus, the Advisory Board of AAAS-DoSER (Dialogue on Sciences Ethics and Religion), and the editorial board of New Theology Review. Her books include Christ in Evolution; Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth; Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love; and Franciscan Prayer. Her articles include "Christ and Extraterrestrial Life" (in Theology and Science), "Theology, Metaphysics and the Centrality of Christ" (in Theological Studies), and "Brain Science and the Biology of Belief: A Theological Response" (in Zygon).

In 2000, she received the Templeton Course Award in Science and Religion.

There is a suggested donation 7 or whatever you can afford (no charge for students) For more information, call 01227 769349 or email info@franciscans.ac.uk Tea and coffee will be available in the Common Room from 7pm

This lecture is part of the Ex Corde Programme. An annual series of lectures by respected scholars who share a love of their subject and speak from the heart.

For more information visit:http://www.franciscans.ac.uk/

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Canterbury: Sr Ilia Delio OSF to speak on Evolution and Primacy of Christ

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May 28th, 2014 at 9:55 am

Heal Yourself By Harnessing Your Mind

Posted: May 23, 2014 at 10:46 pm


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We tend to think of medicine as being all about pills and potions recommended to us by another persona doctor. But science is starting to reveal that for many conditions another ingredient could be critical to the success of these drugs, or perhaps even replace them. That ingredient is nothing more than your own mind.

Here are six ways to raid your built-in medicine cabinet.

I talk to my pills, says Dan Moerman, an anthropologist at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I say, Hey guys, I know youre going to do a terrific job.

That might sound eccentric, but based on what weve learned about the placebo effect, there is good reason to think that talking to your pills really can make them do a terrific job. The way we think and feel about medical treatments can dramatically influence how our bodies respond.

Simply believing that a treatment will work may trigger the desired effect even if the treatment is inerta sugar pill, say, or a saline injection. For a wide range of conditions, from depression to Parkinsons, osteoarthritis and multiple sclerosis, it is clear that the placebo response is far from imaginary. Trials have shown measurable changes such as the release of natural painkillers, altered neuronal firing patterns, lowered blood pressure or heart rate and boosted immune response, all depending on the beliefs of the patient.

It has always been assumed that the placebo effect only works if people are conned into believing that they are getting an actual active drug. But now it seems this may not be true. Belief in the placebo effect itselfrather than a particular drugmight be enough to encourage our bodies to heal.

In a recent study, Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard Medical School in Boston and his colleagues gave people with irritable bowel syndrome an inert pill. They told them that the pills were made of an inert substance, like sugar pills, that have been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes, which is perfectly true. Despite knowing the pills were inert, on average the volunteers rated their symptoms as moderately improved after taking them, whereas those given no pills said there was only a slight change.

Everybody thought it wouldnt happen, says the studys co-author Irving Kirsch, a psychologist at the University of Hull. He thinks that the key was giving patients something to believe in. We didnt just say heres a sugar pill. We explained to the patients why it should work, in a way that was convincing to them.

As well as having implications for the medical profession, the study raises the possibility that we could all use the placebo effect to convince ourselves that sucking on a sweet or downing a glass of water, for example, will banish a headache, clear up a skin condition or boost the effectiveness of any drugs that we take. Our study suggests that might indeed help, says Kirsch. While Moerman talks to his pills, Kirsch recommends visualizing the desired improvement and telling yourself that something is going to get better.

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Heal Yourself By Harnessing Your Mind

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May 23rd, 2014 at 10:46 pm

6 signs you could be a highly sensitive person

Posted: May 21, 2014 at 3:50 pm


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This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

PsychologistElaine Arons research on a temperament category she describes as the highly sensitive person (HSP) has been gaining increased attention in recent years, and giving many people a big aha moment. Could you be among the 15-20 percent of the population she believes make up this group? Ive learned that I am, and finding this out has changed the way I look ateverything.

When I was a kid, the taste of many foods was unbearably intense, and certain sounds were, too. I had a vivid imagination and experienced acute awareness of emotions both my own and those of others. Yet I was not shy. Somtimes I would get so overstimulated I would find myself talking constantly, a tendency that earned me the nickname Loquacious Lynn from my mother and demerit points in school. I was transfixed by odd things: once, at summer camp, I stood paralyzed by the side of a stream, knowing that when I reached the other side I would be older and could never reverse the flow of time. I felt and saw things that enchanted and sometimes frightened me.

I grew up thinking I was most definitely weird, if not a tad crazy, and tried to send these peculiarities underground so Id appear normal. The effort was exhausting.

According to Aron, a lot of kids grow up feeling flawed (and perhaps medicated on that assumption) when they are not really flawed at all they are just expressing a trait well within the normal human range: high sensitivity. In some cultures, such as Japan, the trait is highly valued, though sadly, this is often not the case in Western society, and such children can experience negative or confused reactions from peers and adults. In the 2011 documentary Bully, a child who commits suicide in repsonse to bullying shows his first signs of being different as high sensitivity to loud noises, a fact no one comments upon as linked to his distressing experiences at school.

An HSPs temperament appears to be largely inherited (revealed through twin studies and other research), though environment plays a key role in how it develops. If the child is either overprotected or chastised for expressing what is for him or her perfectly normal, problems develop. Researchers who study the brain find that HSPs are aroused by stimuli that may not be detected by others and their difference has to do with how the brain processes information. They cant change what they are, though they can learn how to cope and monitor themselves.

High sensitivity can be seen in other higher animals, too. From an evolutionary standpoint, the trait is valuable in a group. While you dont want everyone, or even most members to have it, heightened sensitivity in some individuals is beneficial: They can warn of potential danger, make acute observations of the behavior of other animals, and share the wisdom of their tendency toward greater reflection. In history, HSPs would be the priest-advisors in the community. Today they are often the artists, teachers, researchers, and judges.

In the modern world, the trait has both positive and negative aspects. On the good side, you may be better able to spot errors and process information to deeper levels in your brain. On the bad side, you can react to false alarms and become rattled by loud noises and other stimuli. Caffeine and medicines may cause you to react more than most. Aron has also observed in her work that HSPs who had difficult childhoods are particularly prone to anxiety as adults.

According to Aron, this trait is not a new discovery, but it is something that has often been misunderstood and culturally devalued, making life challenging for people who live with it. Here are some things that tend to be associated with HSPs. (You can also take aself-testonline.)

1. You were described as sensitive or shy as a child.You were the kid who knew what somebody was about to say before they said it. You reacted strongly to changes in your environment. Maybe you were the one who paused to watch before jumping into the game. Aron emphasizes that while most HSPs have been labeled shy, a full 30 percent have not and would be described as extroverted. She notes that some observers, like Susan Cain in her best-selling bookQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Cant Stop Talking, may really be talking about sensitivity when they discuss introversion. Being highly reactive to stimuli does not necessarily mean you dont seek out crowds or new acquaintances, although it often does. The key underlying trait is sensitivity, not inhibition. Some HSPs are actually sensation-seekers stimuli can bring them intense pleasure as well as discomfort.

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6 signs you could be a highly sensitive person

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May 21st, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Marin supporters to stage fundraiser for New Age guru in San Rafael

Posted: May 2, 2014 at 9:49 am


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By Richard Halstead Marin Independent Journal

Marianne Williamson (Courtesy Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance)

Marin supporters of Marianne Williamson, the popular New Age, self-help guru running for Congress in California's 33rd Congressional District, want to make sure she feels the love when she comes to San Rafael Wednesday for a fundraising event.

"She is our voice. She is the voice of reason. She is such a powerful advocate against all the things that are wrong with the government today," said Yamini Redewill of Novato, a semi-retired photographer, who is organizing the fundraiser.

Williamson, a former cabaret singer who has published 10 best-selling books, first rose to prominence in 1992 as the author of "A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles." The book, one of the first to be endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, was Williamson's reprocessing of, "A Course in Miracles," which was written by psychologist Helen Schucman. Schucman claimed Jesus dictated the books to her.

Williamson is one of 18 candidates seeking to represent the 33rd District, which includes the cities of Beverly Hills, Malibu and Bel-Air. Williamson's politics are liberal; nevertheless she declared her candidacy prior to the decision of the incumbent, Rep. Henry Waxman, a popular liberal Democrat, to retire.

On her website, Williamson writes, "While many seekers have turned away from politics, viewing spiritual and political pursuits as mutually exclusive, I agree with Mahatma Gandhi that "Anyone who thinks religion doesn't have anything to do with politics doesn't understand religion."'

Two Marin residents Cynthia Cornell of Mill Valley, a psychotherapist and spiritual teacher and Craig Hamilton of San Rafael, founder of Integral Enlightenment have contributed the maximum amount allowable, $2,600, to Williamson's campaign. The campaign has already raised more than $1 million, including $100,000 from Williamson. Stephen Dinan of San Rafael, chief executive officer of The Shift Network, and his wife, Haley Mitchell, a seminar producer with The Shift Network, have each donated $1,000.

Mill Valley author John Gray, author of "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus," will be the keynote speaker at Wednesday's fundraiser.

Cornell said, "I have never given much money to political candidates before. That's how much I believe in her."

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Marin supporters to stage fundraiser for New Age guru in San Rafael

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May 2nd, 2014 at 9:49 am

Losing my religion: Clergy who no longer believe gather online

Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:49 am


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Catherine Dunphy came to seminary in her mid-20s, full of passion to work in the service of the Catholic church. By the time she left, for many reasons, she had lost her faith.

"I had this struggle where I thought, 'I don't believe this anymore,' " said Dunphy, now 40 and living in Toronto. "I felt I had no space to move or breathe. I felt like an outcast."

Now, 10 years later, she is part of a new online project aimed at helping others like herself who are isolated by doubt in a sea of believers. Called Rational Doubt: The Clergy Project Blog, it debuts this week on Patheos, an online host of religion and spirituality blogs.

Rational Doubt is an extension of The Clergy Project, a private online community of clergy who, for a range of reasons, no longer believe in God. Started three years ago, the initiative has grown from just a handful of anonymous members who supported each other on online forums and discussions to a current roster of more than 550 priests, ministers, nuns, rabbis and even a few imams.

The blog's goal is lofty: to engage and support clergy and laypeople who are not members of The Clergy Project but who doubt or reject religion and feel they cannot confide in friends, family and colleagues. Clergy Project members -- all former clergy who no longer believe in God -- will write posts, answer questions and engage in discussions about religion, nonbelief and the journey between the two.

"There are a lot of nonbelieving clergy, and the fact that they can't come out is having a negative effect on their lives," said Linda LaScola, a founder of The Clergy Project and editor of Rational Doubt.

"People should not have to suffer that way."

And they do seem to suffer. LaScola, a qualitative researcher, studied nonbelieving clergy with Daniel Dennett, a Tufts University professor. The two researchers found signs of depression, stress and debilitating anxiety.

After publishing their work, they helped found The Clergy Project with Richard Dawkins, the atheist and evolutionary biologist, and Dan Barker, a former minister who is now a secular activist.

"I hope the blog will provide encouragement and support to people who are in the same predicament as the people in The Clergy Project," Dennett said. "I think there are a lot of them out there."

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Losing my religion: Clergy who no longer believe gather online

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April 25th, 2014 at 11:49 am

News in brief

Posted: April 11, 2014 at 11:52 pm


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Egg hunt set for April 12 at Clearwater Farm

The Clearwater Farm Foundation and the Onalaska Jaycees will host their annual Easter egg hunt on Saturday, April 12, at the farm, which is at 760 Green Coulee Road.

Registration starts at 9:30 a.m., and the egg hunt will run from 11 a.m. to noon. Participants will be divided into three age groups: 3 and younger, 4-6 and 7-10.

People are encouraged to come early and spend some time with Clearwater Farms animals. The sheep will be sheared that morning, and kids can feed the other animals, which include donkeys, llamas, goats, chickens and other barnyard favorites. There also will be face painting for the kids.

Cost for participants is $2, $1 for children from families with Clearwater Farm Foundation memberships. There is no charge for adults.

Clearwater Farm and the Onalaska Jaycees are nonprofit organizations. All proceeds from the event go to Clearwater Farm to keep the property maintained and feed the animals.

Area Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will take over the Valley View Mall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 12, to show off their skills and promote Scouting.

Scout units will set up booths with various displays and activities. Among the interactive displays will be electronics, a bird feeder activity, Adventures in Scouting and an outdoors setup, and a balance beam made of logs.

Cub Scouts will race in the district Pinewood Derby championship from 10 a.m. to noon. There are three racing divisions: pack champions, open division and LEGO racing. Anyone with an old Pinewood Derby car is welcome to come and race. There is a $4 per car entry fee.

LEGO racing is free, and the La Crosse Public Library will run the LEGO car building activity, which is open to the public.

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News in brief

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April 11th, 2014 at 11:52 pm

With little warning, bishop changes leadership, direction of Berkeley campus ministry

Posted: March 31, 2014 at 10:49 am


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Berkeley, Calif.

Oakland Bishop Michael Barber's decision to change both the leadership and direction of ministry at Newman Hall Holy Spirit Parish here has left the community angry and mystified.

The decision, parish leaders told NCR, came without consultation with the pastor, campus minister, parish council, or the broader parish and student community.

Newman Hall Holy Spirit is a 1,300-member parish that serves as Catholic campus ministry at the University of California, Berkeley. It's been led by Paulist priests for more than a century.

A March 7 letter from Barber to parishioners -- three weeks after they learned their pastor and campus minister were being removed -- did little to clarify the situation. Barber wrote: "I believe we need to do more, to totally reinvigorate our evangelization efforts for the University Community at Cal Berkeley." In a parish with 26 specific ministries for the Berkeley student community and another 44 ministries for students and other parishioners, the statement has caused great puzzlement.

"He does not know the community. He has spent no time with us," said Jean Molesky-Poz, an active Newman Holy Spirit parishioner for 24 years who teaches in the religious studies department at Santa Clara University.

Parishioners first learned of the bishop's decision during Masses the weekend of Feb. 15-16. The following evening, more than 200 assembled in the chapel for a parishioner-led meeting to pray, hear the facts and discuss possible responses.

Gina Hens-Piazza, professor of biblical studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, told the group that in November, the bishop asked Paulist leaders to withdraw the community from the parish, which they've served since 1907. Hens-Piazza was one of several parishioners the pastor, Paulist Fr. Bernard Campbell, consulted after he first heard the news.

The order reached a compromise with the bishop wherein two Paulists would be presented for the bishop's approval as replacements for Campbell, who's been pastor for the past seven years, and Paulist Fr. Bill Edens, student minister for the last five years. Neither had known that the bishop wanted them dismissed and a new direction taken in the parish.

Though Michael Brown, diocesan director of communication, told NCR the bishop had "a number of discussions with the Newman Holy Spirit parish priests" prior to the decision, Campbell called the statement "blatantly false."

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With little warning, bishop changes leadership, direction of Berkeley campus ministry

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March 31st, 2014 at 10:49 am

To reach the top, just go with the flow

Posted: March 27, 2014 at 6:53 pm


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To reach the top, just go with the flow

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Youve heard it.

By Michael Moynihan

You clock it and you move on. Good for them.

But what if you could reach that level of excellence on a regular basis? Steven Kotler believes you can. He says achieving flow, operating at that maximum level, neednt be something that happens once or twice in a sporting career: it can happen all the time.

Kotler started off as a novelist, and fell into magazine journalism as a way to pay the bills in the early 90s. He could ski, snowboard and surf, and given action sports were a hot topic, there was plenty of work for him. Skiing was his forte, and at Chamonix he had the epiphany that led, ultimately, to this book.

Some of the early extreme skiers were there, and in the middle of a 50-degree slope, I was hanging on for my life, and ground to a halt, he says.

One of the worlds best extreme skiers was right behind me when that happened, and instead of smashing into me and killing us both, he jumped to my right, sailed off a 30-foot cliff, landed on a tiny patch of snow and got back onto the slope and just kept going as if nothing had happened.

It was one of the most insane things Id ever seen. It just didnt look possible. It defied the laws of physics, but over that weekend I saw more and more events like that, a step beyond anything Id seen in skiing before.

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To reach the top, just go with the flow

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March 27th, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Great Lessons from Dr. Yaw Nyarkos Work (ll)

Posted: March 23, 2014 at 6:49 am


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Feature Article of Sunday, 23 March 2014

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis

In principle, Marxian materialism essentially elevated the material world above spiritualism, thereby rendering the collectivized products of human mind, in other words, human thought, a mirror image of the material world. The roots of these ideas arose from the embers of Greek material culture. Importantly, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels uprooted this concept from its European historical silt then extended its materialistic interpretation, based on European society, to the European condition, proposing it as an alternative model to the internal structural contradictions occasioned by two powerful forces, the Industrial Revolution and capitalism. However, unlike Nkrumah and Nyerere, two hardworking individuals, Karl Marx came across as extraordinarily lazy, failing to apply his revolutionary ideas to neutralize the entrenched forces of dialectical materialism, internal contradictions, so-called, in his own personal life.

Ironically, Marx hated work and relied on the extensive wealth of Friedrich Engels capitalist family for sustenance, while, he and Engel, literally, and, even theoretically, plotted to destroy the same capitalism which fed them both. Then again, it was the synthesized ideas in Capital: Critique of Political Economy, by Marx, and The Communist Manifesto, by both Engels and Marx, which crucially came to underline the ideological basis of African socialism. In other words, Nkrumah, Nyerere, and all the other major proponents of African socialism imposed this utopian world of a foreign culture, excavated via the intellectual archeology of Marx and Engels, on Africa, without probably taking cognizance of the enormous historical, cultural, epistemological, developmental, material, and spiritual discrepancies inhering between the two worlds, Africa and Europe, granted, that its partially, if not mostly, the internal dynamics of a societys natural evolution which drives as well as resolves, admittedly, into its anamorphic temperament. Of course, dialectical materialism induces change but, more importantly, the factors, natural and social, undergirding societal evolution and outcomes of the evolutionary process itself may not necessarily inhabit the same space of epistemological mutuality.

Emphatically, change itself is a variable and societal physis may enjoy a mutual legroom of inverse or direct relationship. Against this background, the uncritical transplantation of Marxian utopia into Africa may have necessarily, if partially, stifled her internalized natural evolution. Meanwhile, the problem is further exacerbated by the knowledge that neither Marx nor Engels harbored any deep or intimate intellectual familiarity with African societies, much less close familiarity with her vastly rich historical and intellectual traditions as well as with her cultural psychology and time-tested cultural institutions. Regrettably, the little they knew about and of Africa, if we may put it at that, mostly derived from the ideational ejaculations of dislocated, misinformed, splintered psychologies, of which European intellectuals like Friedrich Hegel led the way. Yet, though we are quick to fault Nkrumah and other African socialists for transplanting classical Marxian thought to Africa, we are also equally quick to add that Nkrumahs consciencism philosophy, African Personality, intellectual cosmopolitanism, and Afrocentric thinking more than theoretically compensated for the intellectual deficiencies of Hegelian epistemology vis--vis historical Africa.

In fact, George Orwells Animal Farm, which one commentator, a reviewer of the book, possibly, aptly characterized as a more powerful critique than the atomic bomb, and Nineteen Eighty-Four, both depict the humiliating failure of communism as an alternative creative response to capitalist totalitarianism. However, we may have to grudgingly accept the fact that Nkrumahs African socialism did not blossom into full-blown politico-economic adolescence prior to the CIA-inspired putschism that toppled his progressive government. Admittedly, his brand of economic system was more appropriately a smorgasbord of socialism, African communalism, and liberal market capitalism, particularly democratic capitalism. Nkrumah insisted there was no discrepancy between socialism and private enterprise, notes Ama Biney (p. 107). Thus, he surrounded himself with men and women whose expertise traversed capitalism, socialism, communism, and African communalism. As well, its probably in the public domain that he openly dismissed communists in the CPP to assure the British of his intentions not to countenance communism or to allow his government to be manipulated by the exploitative prehensility of Soviet communism. In fact, Nkrumah publicly denied being a communist to his audience when his alma mater Lincoln University conferred an honorary doctorate on him.

Ama Biney writes: With these economic achievements behind him, Nkrumah presented to parliament on March 4, 1959, the CPPs Second Five Year Development Plan. While the plan was ambitious, it was by no means a departure from the laissez-faire policies of Professor Arthur Lewis nor was it what scholars have described as the shopping list approach of former colonial development plans (Ama Biney, The Political and Social Thought of Kwame Nkrumah, p. 100). Elsewhere Ama Biney maintains: There are Marxist scholars, such as Mohan and Fitch and Oppenheimer, who dismiss Nkrumahs economic developments in the post-1960 period as having little to do with socialism(Ibid: p. 106). Its important to recall that socialism and communism are not the same. Ironically, that is because many ideological opponents of Nkrumah have no clear understanding of these basic concepts and, therefore, miss the philosophical differences between them. On the other hand, the British needed this assurance to deactivate their suspicions of Nkrumah to sink Ghanas public assets in a political ocean of nationalization.

Understandably, nationalizing South Africas industries, corporations, and mineral wealth had represented Nelson Mandelas and the ANCs restorative projective, a moral political formula to address pressing issues of social injustice, prior to the eventual demise of Apartheid, only for him to turn around and accommodate free market economics at the expense of Black South Africa. Julius Malema has since demanded a re-excavation of nationalization to address South Africas racial disparities. That said, how exactly did Marxian thought help the world? How many people did Pol Pot, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Nicolae Ceau?escu, Josef Stalin, Kim ll Sung, and Leon Trotsky put to death because of communism? Again, lets state here for historical emphasis that Kwame Nkrumah did not kill any individual political opponent or a group of political opponents, this, according to the political scientist Prof. Irving Markovitz (See Ghana Without Nkrumah: The Winter of Discontent). Having said that, the alternative questions is, how many people have had their lives snuffed out thus far since capitalisms formalized institutionalization? Is egalitarianism the answer to class conflict? Is classism the answer to egalitarianism? What did the moral philosopher Adam Smith had to say about these questions?

Yet we may also want to pose this question: Is capitalism any better? At least, not if we look at history and contemporary events through a critical lens! Argumentatively, the institution of slavery itself had all the hallmarks of incipient capitalism, though the theoretical formalization of capitalism materialized after thinkers such as David Ricardo, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Thomas Malthus, to name a few, had appeared on the scene. Further, Aparthied, racism, colonialism, ozone depletion, wars, imperialism, environmental pollution, and neocolonialism are arguably reflective appurtenance of capitalism. As an illustration, Mazowers Dark Continent: Europes Twentieth Century has more to say about some of these moral and political questions. In fact, Africa still reels from the ideological stupefaction of the Cold War, a war of which a tangential Africa has become a well-known collateral victim as well as a casualty of philosophical foreigness. Thus, both systems, capitalism and communism, are exploitative paradigms.

Any reasons? Pointedly, in Chapter Two, otherwise titled Laws Governing the Evolution of Societies: Motor of History in Societies of AMP and the Greek City-State, of Cheikh Anta Diops influential work, Barbarism or Civilization: An Authentic Anthropology, we are exposed to a panorama of scientific, historical, and sociological reasons explaining why societies are the way they are based on how and why they evolve the way they do. Simply put, the cultural temperament or philosophical complexion of a given society, African or non-African, is a creative product of a scatter-gun collision among a system of evolutionary factors, a prior acknowledged fact. However, this fact may not be so obvious at the crown of a given society or polity in question. This therefore calls for a close evaluation of the political demography of a nation-state, city-state, etc. To put it more succinctly, the cultural charaterology of a social, ethnic, racial, political, religious, and economic collectivity determines the normative sociality of a polity. In another sense, proponents of African socialism should have seen Diops critical analysis on the evolution of human societies before considering whether or not to have imposed socialism on Africa in the first place.

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March 23rd, 2014 at 6:49 am

Kyoto laureates visit San Diego

Posted: March 19, 2014 at 11:54 am


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Three men received the Kyoto Prize in November, 2013. From left are Robert Dennard, Masatoshi Nei and Cecil Taylor.

From laptops to GPS trackers, Robert Dennards invention is everywhere these days.

While working at IBM in 1968 the electrical engineer invented dynamic random access memory, a better, simpler, way for computers to store the ever-growing flow of 1s and 0s that have gradually led to a global digital revolution. Dennard is one of three accomplished awardees who came to San Diego this week to participate in the 13th annual Kyoto Prize Symposium. The event brings last years Kyoto winners to local universities where each gives a talk about their career and major contributions to their field.

This year Dennard, who won in the advanced technology category, delivered his speech at San Diego State Universitys Montezuma Hall. He was followed by evolutionary biologist Masatoshi Nei who won in the basic sciences category and took the stage Tuesday afternoon at UC San Diego. A third winner in the arts and philosophy category, jazz musician and poet Cecil Taylor, is scheduled to deliver a presentation in the University of San Diegos Shiley Theatre Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

Created in 1984 by philanthropist and entrepreneur Kazuo Inamori, founder of Kyocera Corporation, the prize recognizes the creativity of dedicated but unsung researchers and pioneers who have made extraordinary contributions to science, civilization and spirituality.

Nei is recognized for his theory of genetic distance, a way of comparing genes to determine when different species split off from a common genetic ancestor. Nei used this distance technique to discover evidence that humanity as we know it today originated on the African continent about 115,000 years ago.

Taylor is known for his pioneering work in free jazz an improvisational style that uses percussive piano keystrokes and less rigid chord structures and rhythms to take popular music in new directions.

Dennard is credited with bringing simplicity to computer memory. His elegant design allows to computers to store a single bit of information, an individual one or zero, with only a single transistor, compared to a total of six used

to store the that same bit by the state-of-the-art machines in use when he entered the field in the early 1960s.

This technique allowed much more information to be stored in a given physical space and at a much lower cost. Dennard also proposed computer design guidelines known as scaling theory that showed that transistors could be made ever smaller by shrinking their individual components, and the amount of voltage they use, by consistent amounts. That observation has been key in the massive increases in computer memory density that have delivered todays modern systems, some of which are small enough to fit inside a smartphone.

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Kyoto laureates visit San Diego

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March 19th, 2014 at 11:54 am


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