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EPICURUS CIRCLE: A CULTUREPLACES SALON

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Rather than try to tackle complex national and international issues and institutions that affect the entire U.S. , we concentrate on place based trends and academic research that more directly reflect our everyday experiences in our own neighborhoods, workplaces, and other closer connections. We seek to grapple with ideas that stem from and have immediate implications for our personal ties and intellectual enjoyment. We deal with those grassroots issues not to influence public policy or resolve differences but to gain an understanding of the way of the world-- in order to sort out the chaos and thereby increase our pleasure as identified by Epicurus.
We start from the premise that changing the body politic at the state and national level is becoming increasingly difficult for citizens of the 21st century in the way that the power structure was able to do at the start of the 20th century, when American Progressivism was imbued with a strong reformist optimism.  “I propose that we lead”…

The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter

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by Joseph Henrich(Author)Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild, often failing to overcome even basic challenges, like obtaining food, building shelters, or avoiding predators. On the other hand, human groups have produced ingenious technologies, sophisticated languages, and complex institutions that have permitted us to successfully expand into a vast range of diverse environments. What has enabled us to dominate the globe, more than any other species, while remaining virtually helpless as lone individuals? This book shows that the secret of our success lies not in our innate intelligence, but in our collective brains―on the ability of human groups to socially interconnect and learn from one another over generations.
Drawing insights from lost European explorers, clever chimpanzees, mobile hunter-gatherers, neuroscientific findings, ancient bones, and the human genome, Joseph Henrich demonstrates how our collective brains have pr…

Robert Plomin on his book Blueprint (click on Read More)

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Consent Isn’t Everything and Sex Is Not Like Tea

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Published in Quillette on October 19, 2018written by R. P. Reed and Megan Fritts https://quillette.com/2018/10/19/consent-isnt-everything-and-sex-is-not-like-tea/ 
“Whether it’s tea or sex, consent is everything.” This we learn from the closing statement of a video entitled “Tea and Consent,” created by the Thames Valley Police. Over the last few years, this short and clever educational video has made its way around the internet, and Baylor University even began showing it to incoming freshmen.
The video analogises an offer of tea with seduction. You only make someone tea if that person explicitly expresses a desire for tea and—the video tells us—sex is no different. While the video aims to educate men on the importance of receiving explicit verbal consent for sexual activity, it does so via a clumsy and unhelpful characterization of sex as a simple transaction. The video’s conclusion, “Consent is everything,” and the subtitle, “Consent, it’s simple as tea,” are both false: the complex …

Should We Screen Kids’ Brains and Genes To ID Future Criminals?

Intervention might help save troubled kids. But the label could doom them. By GARY MARCHANT OCT 17, 201211:19 AM
A toddler feeding a stuffed toy Photograph by David De Lossy/Photodisc/Thinkstock.
If you read judicial opinions in serious crime cases, which always seem to describe every gruesome and salacious detail, you will almost surely reach two conclusions. First, no “normal” person could ever commit many of the horrific acts described in those cases. Second, everyone involved would be so much better off if we could have somehow anticipated and prevented those crimes from occurring in the first place. The perpetrators themselves might be leading normal lives if their violent tendencies were identified and treated before they committed their crimes. Even more importantly, the innocent victims, as well as their loved ones, would, it goes without saying, greatly benefit from not having been murdered or assaulted. The idea that we could prevent crime by identifying and treating minors …

The Personality Trait That Is Ripping America (and the World) Apart

ByScott Barry KaufmanonOctober 26, 2018

There are many divides in the world right now. But there's one divide, deeply embedded into the core of human nature, that helps explain many other divides. What I'm referring to is a source of human personality variation that is built right into our DNA: antagonism. By really zooming in on this trait, and understanding how antagonism interacts with environmental conditioning and messaging, we can gain a greater understanding of one of the most prominent divides in the world today: populism. First, let's dive in to the latest science of antagonism. The Science of Antagonism The antagonism-agreeableness dimension of personality is one of thefive main dimensions of personality. Like the other major dimensions of personality, this trait is normally distributed in the population. The more two people differ on this fundamental dimension, the more incomprehensible the other person's behavior may seem, especially when it comes to adherin…