Consciousness and how it got to be that way

Saturday, May 7, 2016


These splitter linguists have had their say for long enough. The Japanese are clearly just the island branch of Altaic peoples, and the anthropological data is enough. In Mongolia, you're not supposed to whistle inside a ger because it will bring a windstorm. In Korea, whistling at night will bring spirits and snakes too. In Japan, you're not supposed to whistle indoors because either a snake will come - or Tengu will kidnap you. What are Tengu? I'm so glad you asked. Tengu are the indigenous, pre-Buddhist spirits that can create strong winds. By the way, what was the Altaic sky-god's name? Tengri. SPLITTER LINGUISTS, IT'S OVER! IT'S ALL OVER!

Alright. That may be overstating the case, but one has to admit it's otherwise an odd superstition to share.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Self-Signalling as Ego Maintenance

Here's an apparent problem with a simple theory that might resolve it.

A lot of human social interaction functions primarily as signalling, even if we're not doing it intentionally. And yet people often seem to signal to themselves frequently. This tendency seems strongest in people with Cluster B character pathology, in particular narcissists, but also to an extent borderline. Could this be best explained as the behavior of a poorly integrated ego reinforcing itself?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Want a Maritime Culture? Live on an Inland Sea - It Doesn't Matter if It's Warm

It's been asked: (roughly) the same nutrition can be extracted from the ocean in Japan or in England. Why did the British Isles not develop a maritime diet and culture to the same degree that Japan did? Two answers come immediately to mind: the cultural center of Japan (southern Honshu and Kyushu) is warmer than Britain; and there is nothing like the sheltered inland sea in the UK. Even the Irish Sea or narrowest part of the Channel are often quite a rough go.

A new paper shows that fishing disappeared quickly after the development of dairy farming in the British Isles - but contrasts this against the cultures around the Baltic, where fishing and farming coexisted quite a bit more. The Baltic is colder than Britain but the water is more sheltered. So: cultures around a sheltered sea are more likely to develop a maritime culture, even if the water is colder.