Donnerstag, 19. April 2018

Motive und Ziele:

"Motive entwickeln sich unbewusst oder zumindest sind sie in ihrer primären Entstehung nicht erinnerungsfähig. Ziele dagegen entwickeln sich bewusst oder werden uns bewusst vermittelt. Es kann nun zwischen Motiven und Zielen kleinere und größere Diskrepanzen geben, die unterschiedliche Ursachen haben können."

Gerhard Roth


"Es kommt also bei der Motivation immer auf Kongruenz der unbewussten Motive und der bewussten Ziele an, dann sind wir zufrieden und leistungsfähig. Wir machen dann (neben der Liebe) die wichtigste Erfahrung in unserem Leben, nämlich dass das Verfolgen selbstbestimmter Ziele, das Meistern einer Herausforderung, eine Belohnung in sich trägt und keine Belohnung von außen nötig hat."
"Was uns Menschen wirklich vom Tier unterscheidet, ist, gegen unseren eigenen 'Bauch' handeln zu können."

Thomas Bergner


"Wille ist ein entscheidender Faktor des Menschseins: Mit ihm können wir tätig werden trotz Unlust, Müdigkeit, Ängsten oder Langeweile."


Wille brauchen wir immer dann, wenn:

- die Motivation fehlt oder nicht ausreicht, eine Handlung auszuführen oder
- die Handlungsdurchführung schwierig ist oder
- innerlich oder äußerlich konkurrierende Ziele existieren.


"Der Wille wird häufig der Motivation zugeordnet, was angezweifelt werden kann. Es ist das Gegenteil der Fall: Wenn wir keine Motivation verspüren, brauchen wir Willen. Wenn wir Motivation verspüren, brauchen wir keinen oder wenig Willen."


"Der Wille hat eine mindernde bis auslöschende Wirkung auf die Begeisterung. Sobald wir Willen brauchen, um voranzukommen, hat unsere Begeisterung für das Thema bereits nachgelassen. Begeisterung gegen den Bauch gibt es nicht. Sie entwickelt sich, wenn man seine inneren Stimmen wahrnimmt und ihnen folgt."


[Z.B. beim Einlesen in ein Themengebiet macht es einen Unterschied, ob man seinem "Bauch" folgt, d.h. gerade die Dinge liest, die einen am meisten interessieren, sich der Lektüre widmet, die einen am meisten Freude bereitet, oder ob man sich den Lernstoff mittels einer gewissen Willensakrobatik erarbeitet.]


[Siehe auch: John Cleese on English Education]

Mittwoch, 18. April 2018


Indem wir aufmerksam sind, wenden wir uns einem kleinen Ausschnitt der Wirklichkeit zu, und versuchen, diesen hochdetailliert wahrzunehmen.
Charles Murray - Human Accomplishment

Ennui, anomie, alienation, and other forms of belief that life is futile and purposeless are at odds with the zest and life-affirming energy needed to produce great art or great science.
Charles Murray - Human Accomplishment

When we want something we can go back to again and again, we choose the same giants that the experts choose. 
Charles Murray - Human Accomplishment

Realized capacities are pleasing not only when they are exercised, but also when they are seen to be exercised. Or to recast the first two-thirds of the Aristotelian principle: Human beings enjoy watching the exercise of the realized capacities of their species, and this enjoyment increases the more the capacity is realized. 
To be in the presence of greatness is exciting, even when we are not capable of appreciating all the nuances of the achievement. The best has a magic about it, whether we are eating a meal cooked by a great chef, watching a great athlete perform under pressure, or witnessing anything done superbly well, far beyond our own reach. 
Now comes the last clause of the Aristotelian principle: “. . . or the greater its complexity.” The depth of gratification we get from watching people perform at the pinnacle increases as the difficulty and importance of what they are doing increases. 
Charles Murray - Human Accomplishment

Some specific propositions about the roles of the shapers of accomplishment:

In the arts, the richness of the structure has most of its effect on the amount of work that is produced within a field; access to transcendental goods has most of its effect on the enduring quality of that work.

Where artists do not have coherent ideals of beauty, the work tends to be sterile. Where they do not have coherent ideals of the good, the work tends to be vulgar. Lacking access to either beauty or the good, the work tends to be shallow.

In the sciences (and humanities and the social sciences): Where scholars do not have allegiance to ideals of truth, the work tends to be false.

Accomplishment in the arts and sciences that is sterile, vulgar, shallow, or false does not endure.

Dienstag, 17. April 2018

Calhoun's mouse experiments:

The last thousand animals born never learned to develop the social behaviors. They never learned to be aggressive, which is necessary in defense of home sites. They never learned to court; there was no mating. Being no mating, there were no progeny and the older animals, whose behavior is already becoming disrupted, they eventually reach to, an age too old to reproduce. And so it was all left up to these last thousand or so, who we call the beautiful ones, because, not engaging in any stressful activity and only paying attention to themselves, they groomed themselves well so they look uh, very fine specimen. But from that point on, which was about the time that you were here two and a half years ago, this reproduction totally ceased and the animals have just aged and died.


Real mice, that is mice who are in the social sphere. All the others have been rejected in one way or another.

What’s happened…

…reproductive behavior's completely inhibited. It's inhibited because the last few hundred maintained them as juveniles and although they are now adults uh they no longer engage in aggressive behavior or in reproductive behavior. And we call them the beautiful ones because they are so excellent physically, they are unstressed. Now I see one down here. Most of these live in the apartment houses and rarely come out, but I see one who's taken temporary refuge in one of the nesting material supply cans. I’ll go over and pull him out, so that you can see what a beautiful specimen this animal is. 

But as far as the mouse is concerned he’s a nothing?

He’s a total nothing.
Here he is lying in the can. It’s a place of temporary retreat. He’s colored very few, practically no wounds, he’s in excellent physical shape. He has two or three nicks but compared to most of the animals, he’s in excellent shape. And these animals from previous study shows that they are, are unstressed. They’re just not here insofar as involvement.


Have you noticed any changes in tissue?

Well the major thing...

The stress.

The major thing, well certain classes of these for instance, comparing these males on the floor here who are withdrawn. They are highly stressed animals but the stress comes from each other because of the peculiar violence that they exhibit. Which leaves them as this animal, with his tail all chewed up, but they do it to each other. He's a highly stressed individual. On the other hand, the beautiful one which I just showed you, are very, extremely unstressed. Dr. Julius Axelrod has run the assay of the enzyme which converts noradrenaline to adrenaline as the basis for this. On the other hand, we’ve been removing females from other populations just terminated and looking at their uteri, and for animals up to a year of age who’ve come up in the latter history of the colonies there’s essentially no evidence of conceiving. So they’ve, at this stage, this is part of the over-living phenomenon. And it's these individuals who are not conceiving are the ones which are not stressed. They’re the beautiful ones who lack involvement.


"'Socially active' for this simple species implies roles in the contention for, acquisition of, or maintenance of a territory. Some young males who enter the social milieu may succeed in replacing a territorial male. Other young males contend for a time before total rejection from the social flux of status striving. All such replaced dominants or rejected contestors became recruits in a socially pathological category of withdrawn males. No longer having access to the sheltered living spaces, these males aggregated in compact pools in exposed public space. The withdrawn males restricted their motor activity to the minimum required to obtain food and water. They exhibit a marked lowering of the threshold of tolerance to disturbance; very minor dislocations of their usual sedentary relations precipitate violent episodes of aggression that culminate in severe mutual wounding without any attempt to escape." 

"Both males and females fail to mature socially. Behaviorally, they continue into adult life as juveniles, without the capacity for either mating or aggression; their normal adult roles never emerge. Females move into adulthood with rare, if any, pregnancies. Males return to the nesting boxes where they associate with their nonreproducing sisters, with males like themselves, or with the few remaining reproducing females. We term these males the “Beautiful Ones” because they are physically perfect specimens, free of the wounds characteristic of behaviorally more adequate males, who moved out into the social scene."

"At the maximum attained density, about 18 times the optimum, all of the more recently born males are Beautiful Ones; no new contenders emerge. The socially active males senesce and die, as do the large aggregates of withdrawn males living in public space. A few of the older, aggressive, male-like females exhibit territorial defense, but the bulk of surviving adults have lost their potentiality for engaging in the normal reproductive and aggressive roles."


Matthew Alexandar Sarraf and Michael A. Woodley:

>It is also interesting to note that Calhoun (1973) observed that the decline of the mouse utopia colonies was accompanied by an increase in the prevalence of behaviorally abnormal mice—termed “beautiful ones.” Calhoun described these mice as “autistic-like creatures” (Calhoun, 1973, p. 86)<

Der Mensch als Gatekeeper:

Zum einen wird in unserem Gehirn durch implizite Entscheidungsprozesse entschieden, welche Sinnesinformation ins Bewusstsein gelangt, und welche Sinnesinformation nicht dorthin gelangt. Das geschieht durch eine vorbewusste Abschätzung von Sinnesinformation auf Neuigkeit und Wichtigkeit. Zum anderen sind wir auch selbst "Gatekeeper unseres Bewusstseins", da wir auch bewusst und explizit darüber entscheiden, welche Gesprächspartner wir wählen, welche Bücher wir lesen, welche Filme wir schauen, et cetera, et cetera.

Der Filter:

Bloß lose zusammenhängend:


Filtern ist schließlich ein zweischneidiges Schwert. Wie, wenn man die Fähigkeit besäße, den Filter vorübergehend abzustellen, um einen Teil der Wirklichkeit, für eine bestimmte Dauer, hochgradig ungefiltert mit quasi "autistischem Mindset" wahrzunehmen? (Es geht somit darum, einen Ausschnitt der Wirklichkeit über eine bestimmte Zeitspanne "maximal" detailliert wahrzunehmen.)


Der Filter sorgt gegebenenfalls auch dafür, dass wichtige und hochgradig relevante Inhalte nicht in den Kopf gelangen. Es besteht ja keineswegs die Garantie, dass von Natur aus eine optimale Filtereinstellung vorliegt.


Z.B.: Eine Person liest sich über mehrere Stunden in ein Telefonbuch ein. Sie kann danach eine volle Stunde lang aus dem Inhalt des Telefonbuchs erzählen. Ist jemand mit normaler Filterfunktion gezwungen, der Telefonbucherzählung zuzuhören, so wird er während dem Zuhören vermutlich Langeweile oder Unruhe empfinden.



Wir treten in die Welt, zwar nicht unwissend, doch aber, bloß mit einem diffusen Wissen über unsere physikalische, organische oder soziale Umwelt. Indem wir eintreffende Signale verarbeiten, und indem wir gegebenenfalls bewusst Signalquellen aufsuchen, sind wir in der Lage, Ungewissheit bezüglich physikalischen, organischen oder sozialen Phänomenen zu reduzieren. D.h. wir lehnen im Rahmen unseres Erkenntnisprozesses mehr und mehr Hypothesen ab. Dadurch stellen wir fest, wie sich Dinge nicht verhalten, und auch, wie sich Dinge verhalten. Bis wir schließlich Teile unseres diffusen, impliziten Wissens durch präzises, explizites Wissen ersetzen können.

[Siehe auch: Informationsverarbeitung]
>In their best work, the giants transcend the excellent and rise to a level of achievement that is, to the rest of us, inexplicable. The quality that sets them apart from the rest can be labeled by the reactions their masterpieces evoke among experts and layman alike - "How can a human being have done that?"<

Charles Murray - Human Accomplishment


In welchen Fällen ist ein starker Filter von Vorteil? In welchen Fällen ein schwacher Filter?
"Positive emotions, such as love and joy, seem useful while negative emotions, such as anger and anxiety, seem maladaptive. This is an illusion, the same "clinician's illusion" that makes it hard to see the utility of bodily defensive responses such as fever and pain. The high costs of negative emotions and body defenses demonstrate not that they are useless, but the opposite: their high costs confirm that they offer substantial benefits in certain situations. They will sometimes be expressed in situations where they are maladaptive, and the systems that regulate defenses make mistakes (Nesse, 200lb; Nesse, 2005), but overall they give an advantage.

Although it is harder to see the utility of negative emotions, most people readily recognize the utility of anxiety. In the face of a potential danger, protective responses prevent damage or loss. Sadness, however, typically occurs after a loss. The horse is already out of the bam, as it were, so how can any kind of response be helpful now? However, an evolutionary view highlights different questions: Is the loss of a valuable resource an event of adaptive significance? To put it more specifically, are there things an organism can do after a loss that might increase its fitness? There are many, including attempting to undo the loss, trying to prevent future losses and warning others."

An Evolutionary Framework for Understanding Grief, Randolph M. Nesse, 2005


"Sadness differs from low mood and depression. A discrete loss that does not block long-term goals will arouse sadness that soon fades. If, however, the loss makes it impossible to reach important goals, continued striving toward an unreachable goal gives rise to low mood, that is, mild depression. Klinger describes how low mood can be useful in disengaging effort from unachievable goals and how persistence in pursuit of such goals could escalate ordinary low mood into full-fledged depression (Klinger, 1975). This paradigm has now developed so it is widely recognized that mood is influenced by events that indicate a change in expected rate of progress towards crucial goals (Carver&: Scheier, 1990, 1998) although recognition of the relevance of these discoveries for psychiatry is still nascent (Nesse, 2000a)." 


"What separates the Western and Asian philosophy inventories is represented by Kant[.] In China the great figures after Confucius and Laozi were their exegetes and reinterpreters. The same was true in India of the great figures after the Upanishads and Buddha - even Sankara was an interpreter of an existing tradition. The West followed that pattern through 17C, with all the great figures drawing substantially from the Platonic or Aristotelian traditions. But then came Kant, whose contributions amounted to an expansion of philosophic thought after the founders that is unique among the three great philosophic traditions. He was followed by innovative and influential 19C contributions of Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche."

Charles Murray - Human Accomplishment
"For individual countries and time periods, the difference between the actual and expected number of significant figures is often substantial."

Charles Murray
Alles geben die Götter, die unendlichen,
Ihren Lieblingen ganz,
Alle Freuden, die unendlichen,
Alle Schmerzen, die unendlichen, ganz.

J. W. Goethe - 1777

Montag, 16. April 2018

Good Models:

"Every good model in science needs to be able to make lots of predictions. This is the hallmark of a sort of progressive research program."

Michael A. Woodley

Extraversion (II):

"In a dangerous social environment it's not obvious that being an extroverted person is a good idea. Because extroverted people, they stand out. Especially if they are extroverted and creative. Because not only are they noisy and dominant and assertive, they are also colorful and flamboyant and provocative. Well that's great if your are in a society that rewards that sort of thing, but if you are ruled by an authoritarian king, who wants absolutely no threat whatsoever to his stability ever, then dressing in grey and shutting the hell up is a really good survival tactic."

Sonntag, 15. April 2018


In welchem Ausmaß, stellt sich die Frage, wird es vorbewusst entschieden, was uns interessiert und was uns nicht interessiert, und in welchem Ausmaß sind wir in den Entscheidungsprozess bewusst mitinvolviert?

Samstag, 14. April 2018

Latent Inhibition:

"When individuals are repeatedly exposed to a stimulus without consequence or reinforcement, they learn future associations to that stimulus more slowly. This phenomenon, known as latent inhibition (LI), has been extensively studied and appears robust across a variety of mammalian species, including mice, rabbits, cats, and humans (Lubow & Gewirtz, 1995). There are several explanations for the latent inhibition effect (Schmajuk, Lam & Gray, 1996). Weiner, Shadach, Tarrach and Kidron (1996) suggested that repeated pre-exposure to a non-reinforced stimulus allows the individual to process that stimulus at a preconscious level and to categorize it as currently irrelevant so that it may be consciously ignored. Pre-exposure without reinforcement reduces the novelty of the stimulus and its associated capacity to attract attention (Gray & McNaughton, 1996). This ability to ignore a non-reinforced stimulus is a biologically adaptive function of implicit attention (Lubow & Gewirtz, 1995) which allows an individual to 'gate', or keep out of conscious awareness stimuli irrelevant to survival or to present goal attainment."

Jordan B. Peterson, Shelley Carson


Swerdlow NR et al.:

"Latent inhibition (LI) refers to the retarded acquisition of a conditioned response that occurs if the subject being tested is first preexposed to the to-be-conditioned stimulus (CS) without the paired unconditioned stimulus (UCS). Because the 'irrelevance' of the to-be-conditioned stimulus is established during non-contingent preexposure, the slowed acquisition of the CS-UCS association is thought to reflect the process of overcoming this learned irrelevance."


Hans Eysenck:

"Latent inhibition is defined by an experimental paradigm which requires, as a minimum, a two-stage procedure. The first stage involves stimulus pre-exposure, i.e. the to-be-CS (conditioned stimulus) is exhibited without being followed by any unconditioned stimulus (UCS); this leads theoretically to the CS acquiring a negative salience, i.e. it signals a lack of consequences, and thus acquires inhibitory properties."

"The cognitive elements in latent inhibition theory are emphasized by Lubow (1989) in terms of his conditioned attention theory. According to this theory, non-reinforced pre-exposure to a stimulus retards subsequent conditioning to that stimulus because during such pre-exposure the subject learns not to attend to it."


Webcache -

"Latent inhibition is a term used to explain how our observation of a familiar stimulus (e.g. something we see, hear, smell, feel or taste that we’ve had before) takes longer to acquire meaning than a new stimulus. It’s essentially a mental tool you develop in order to experience the world in a manageable way."

"For example, consider how you experience a doorknob. You are familiar with door handles and how they work, what the purpose of them is and in most cases a door handle wouldn’t interest you enough for you to pay it any notice. Why should you? You know how they work already and have seen them before."

"With low latent inhibition, an individual almost treats familiar stimuli in the same manner as they would new stimuli. Think of the details you notice when you see something new for the first time and how it grabs your attention."


Colin DeYoung:

"Latent inhibition is an automatic pre-conscious process that blocks stimuli previously categorized as irrelevant from entering awareness. Dopamine appears to be the primary neuromodulator of latent inhibition, with increased dopaminergic activity producing reduced latent inhibition (Kumari et al., 1999)."

"latent inhibition, an automatic process by which stimuli previously categorized as irrelevant are blocked from entering consciousness."


S. H. Carson et al.:

"Creative individuals appear characterized in part by the ability to perceive and describe what remains hidden from the view of others. Individual variation in latent inhibition (LI), a cognitive inhibitory mechanism discovered by animal experimentalists in the late 1950s, may account for the apparent revelation to the creative mind of what appears “clos’d by the senses five” to others. LI refers to the varying capacity of the brain to screen from current attentional focus stimuli previously experienced as irrelevant (Lubow, 1989)."

"Many researchers (e.g., Simonton, 1988, 1999) have proposed that the cognitive processes of individuals capable of creating the highest achievements in their fields are both qualitatively and quantitatively different from those of normal thinkers (although some, like Weisberg, 1993, dispute the “qualitative” distinction). If qualitative differences do exist, however, one potential source of difference in the cognitive processes between eminent creative achievers and other intelligent thinkers may be in the relative attenuation of LI."

Freitag, 13. April 2018

Low Latent Inhibition, IQ and Creativity:

"It looks like in order to handle the excess sensory input of low latent inhibition it's really useful to have very high IQ and high working memory[.] It seems probable that if you are prone to be overwhelmed by sensory information that you need the cognitive capacity to handle that and also perhaps ... the personality/ability to sort through that critically. So you don't end up overwhelmed."

Jordan Peterson

Personality and Self-Deception:

"In order to figure out what characteristic adaptations must be changed or added to produce a well-integrated personality, one must be willing to explore anomalies, as they arise (Peterson, 1999). This means avoiding self-deception, which we have defined as ignoring subjective evidence that one’s current plans and beliefs might be in error (Peterson, Driver-Linn, & DeYoung, 2002; Peterson et al., 2003)."


"Now, one of the things we started to contemplate, this was back twenty years ago ..., was the role that artists play in revivifying perception. So if you look at [certain paintings it is] as if the artist makes you recall how those remarkable phenomena manifest themselves. As if you are seeing them again for the first time. What we thought was that perhaps what the artist was doing was stripping away your latent inhibition, so that you can see things the way you saw them the first time."

Jordan Peterson

Creativity & Neoteny:

"I suspect it's probably a process of neoteny. I think that the creative people stay immature. ... It looks to me like the creative types are sustaining that plasticity they have as really early children. Maybe they are permanently locked to some degree into that pretend play mode that is so characteristic of children between the age of four and maybe eleven."

Donnerstag, 12. April 2018

The process of correction:

"[The] process of correction is experienced subjectively ... as something unexpected or startling happening to us."

"There is then a sense of shock or surprise, and the projected model may subsequently be reiternalized in a corrected form whereby its prediction is likely to be more accurate in the next occasion. Unless something interferes with this corrective process, the models are normally subject to continuous revision ...."

Dienstag, 10. April 2018

Openness and Schizotypy:

"What Openness and positive schizotypy share is an elevated tendency to perceive patterns and meaning in loosely related stimuli. In positive schizotypy this tendency is taken to an extreme in which patterns may be identified as objectively real even when they are not (a phenomenon also known as “apophenia”). Intelligence may play a key role in determining whether identification of patterns by people high in Openness leads to adaptive cognitive abilities—such as creativity, which is strongly linked to Openness (DeYoung, 2015; Kaufman et al., 2016)— or to the apophenia that characterizes positive schizotypy."

Grazioplene RG et al. - White matter correlates of psychosis-linked traits support continuity between personality and psychopathology, 2016


"Broadly speaking, neurostructural and neurofunctional findings indicate that psychotic-spectrum diseases are linked to disrupted or aberrant patterns of neural connectivity. This body of evidence has led to the dysconnectivity theory of psychosis, which states that the core symptoms of psychosis are the result of altered connectivity between brain regions, particularly between specific thalamocortical and frontotemporal regions (Pettersson-Yeo, Allen, Benetti, McGuire, & Mechelli, 2011). Connectivity is typically observed as aberrantly low between these regions (hypoconnectivity), although some specific interconnections may be aberrantly high (hyperconnectivity; e.g., Filippi et al., 2014). Such altered connectivity patterns are thought to lead to abnormal sensory and cognitive integration (Pettersson-Yeo et al., 2011)."

Colin DeYoung on Cybernetics and the Science of Personality:

David C. Geary on Sex Differences

Erkennen und Wirken:

Der Mensch versucht:
(1) Festgelegtheit aufzudecken
(2) festzulegen


Denken lässt sich als ein Versuch verstehen, die Festgelegtheit von Phänomenen aufzudecken.

Montag, 9. April 2018

The copy is the original

[via hbd chick]

he Chinese have two different concepts of a copy. Fangzhipin (仿製品) are imitations where the difference from the original is obvious. These are small models or copies that can be purchased in a museum shop, for example. The second concept for a copy is fuzhipin (複製品). They are exact reproductions of the original, which, for the Chinese, are of equal value to the original. It has absolutely no negative connotations."


"From the start, the production of replicas of the terracotta warriors proceeded in parallel with the excavations. A replica workshop was set up on the excavation site itself. But they were not producing ‘forgeries’. Rather, we might say that the Chinese were trying to restart production, as it were – production that from the beginning was not creation but already reproduction. Indeed, the originals themselves were manufactured through serial mass-production[.]"


"The Ise Grand Shrine, the supreme Shinto sanctuary located on Honshu island, is 1,300 years old for the millions of Japanese people who go there on pilgrimage every year. But in reality this temple complex is completely rebuilt from scratch every 20 years. This religious practice is so alien to Western art historians that, after heated debates, UNESCO removed this Shinto temple from the list of World Heritage sites. For the experts at UNESCO, the shrine is 20 years old at most."


"[The] difference between original and copy vanishes altogether. Instead of a difference between original and copy, there appears a difference between old and new. We could even say that the copy is more original than the original, or the copy is closer to the original than the original, for the older the building becomes, the further it is from its original state. A reproduction would restore it, as it were, to its ‘original state’, especially since it is not linked to a particular artist."


"In the West, when monuments are restored, old traces are often particularly highlighted. Original elements are treated like relics. The Far East is not familiar with this cult of the original."



Sind bei einem bestimmten Prozess oder Experiment sämtliche Ausgänge gleichwahrscheinlich, dann gilt: je mehr Ausgänge möglich sind, umso weniger Festgelegtheit oder Determiniertheit besteht. Festgelegtheit in dem Sinne, in welchem Ausmaß wir, unter den uns bekannten Bedingungen, ein Einzelereignis vorhersagen können. Angenommen, wir wissen, eine perfekt symmetrische Münze, ein perfekt symmetrischer sechsseitiger Wüfel, und ein perfekt symmetrischer zwölfseitiger Würfel werden geworfen. Wir haben aber keinerlei Informationen darüber, unter welchen spezifischen Bedingungen, d.h. mit welchen Handbewegungen, usw., der Einzelwurf stattfinden wird. Diese Bedingungen, obwohl vorhanden, messen wir nicht und lassen wir nicht in unsere Berechnung einfließen. Somit, bei Unkenntnis der Einzelbedingungen, kommen den Ausgängen der Ereignisse Informationgehalte von 1 bit (log2(2)), 2.58 bit (log2(6)) und 3.58 bit (log2(12)) zu. D.h. unter den uns bekannten Bedingungen ist der Ausgang des einzelnen Wurfs mit dem zwölfseitigen Würfel weniger festgelegt als der Ausgang des einzelnen Wurfs mit dem sechsseitigen Würfels, und dieser Ausgang ist wiederum weniger festgelegt als der Ausgang eines einzelnen Münzwurfs. Je weniger festgelegt nun Prozesse sind, oder je weniger festgelegt wir Prozesse wahrnehmen, umso informationshaltiger und umso weniger vorhersagbar sind sie für uns. Umso größere Ungewissheit besteht darüber, wie sie ausgehen werden.

Sonntag, 8. April 2018

"Wichtig und Wesentlich"

"Gauger unterscheidet im erwähnten Büchlein >Angina temporis< scharf zwischen >wichtig< und >wesentlich<. >Wichtig< ist nach ihm alles, was man mit Geld kaufen, was man mit technischen oder organisatorischen Maßnahmen bewirken kann, was zum äußeren Erfolg oder zur Hebung des Lebensstandards beiträgt. >Wesentlich< dagegen ist, was man für Geld nicht kaufen kann, was mit dem Wesen des Menschen zu tun hat, mit seiner Haltung, und der Atmosphäre, die er verbreitet. >Der Eisschrank, der Staubsauger und die Küchenmaschinen ... sind >wichtig<; sie könnten es wenigstens sein. Aber >wesentlich< sind sie nicht! >Wesentlich< ist die innere Wärme eines Hauses, nicht die Zentralheizung, obschon eine Zentralheizung, wenn sie funktioniert, angenehmer, sauberer und zeitsparender ist als z.B. ein Kanonenöfchen. Aber die >innere Wärme< eines Hauses und Heimes, die so wesentlich vor allem auch für Kinder ist, hängt von der menschlichen >Haltung< ab ...; hängt davon ab, wie der Mann und die Frau zu den wesentlichen Inhalten des Lebens, ihres Lebens stehen<.
Von da aus gesehen ist es also wesentlich, dass das Innerste und Persönlichste unseres Lebens zum Ausdruck komme, in unserer unmittelbaren Umgebung sicht- und fühlbar werde[.] Dazu braucht es aber >freie< Zeit, das heißt solche, die von innen, vom Wesen aus gesteuert wird und nicht von vornherein durch äußere, unpersönliche Anliegen in Beschlag genommen ist."

Theodor Bovet

Das Ausmaß an Vorherbestimmtheit:

"The idols of the tribe are common to mankind and derive from the mind's tendency to assume more order and regularity in nature than there really is."

Francis Bacon

Eine wichtige Funktion des menschlichen Denkens besteht in der Abschätzung von Regelmäßigkeiten. Ein abergläubiger Mensch begeht nun tendenziell den Fehler, in bestimmten, mit seinen Aberglauben in Verbindung stehenden, Situationen, die Anzahl möglicher Ausgänge zu unterschätzen, und somit die Bedeutung des Zufalls zu ignorieren. Personen, die an Filterstörung leiden, dementgegen, tendieren dazu, auch ein Ereignis, das aus einer deutlich erkennbarern Regelmäßigkeit heraus resultiert, als zufälliges Ereignis, als einen Ausgang unter unzähligen möglichen Ausgängen, zu interpretieren.

Sich selbst im Wege stehen:

Für viele Menschen gilt wohl: Sie stehen sich selbst am meisten im Wege. So, um ein harmloseres Beispiel zu nennen, z.B. der chronisch überkonsumierende Kaffeetrinker, der an Dauernervosität leidet, sich allerdings dennoch diese tagtäglich aufs Neue erzeugt. (Es würde nicht allzu viel Aufwand erfordern, hundert weitere Beispiele aufzuzählen.) Was, wenn ein Mensch beschließt, sich nicht mehr selbst im Wege zu stehen?


"[For] the mastery of skills of even modest complexity [practice is necessary]. A person cannot learn a skill by first listening to a verbal description of how the task is to be done, and then perform it in a competent manner the very first time. If this were possible, driving schools would soon go out of business, because teaching a novice to drive a car would take 15 minutes."

Deep Learning, Stellan Ohlsson

Samstag, 7. April 2018


"Although errors can be disastrous and we do what we can to eliminate them, they are informative. Every action is a probe that bounces off the environment like a sonar signal, returning with the outlines of otherwise unseen causes, objects and processes. Deviations between expected and observed returns tell us that the world is not as we assumed and hence provide an opportunity to correct our assumptions."

Deep Learning, Stellan Ohlsson
"As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover'd and establish'd as Principles, and by them explaining the Phenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations."

Isaac Newton [via Cristopher Chabris]

Alan Watts on Creativity:

"You have to have an essential sense of li, but there is no way of prescribing it. This is very difficult for teachers, because in all of our modern schools and universities we are attempting to teach creativity. The trouble is that if we found a method whereby we could teach creativity, and everybody could explain just how it was done, it would no longer be of interest. The mysterious, the dark black of lacquer, the impenetrable and profound depth out of which glorious things come, is always an essential element in creativity."

Alan Watts (audio)

[Although there is an esoteric component in Alan Watt's thinking, I think his ideas make a lot more sense than the statements of David Lynch, that everybody can become super-happy and super-creative through transcendental meditation (e.g.: a, b).]

Donnerstag, 5. April 2018

hbd chick on witch hunts:

"we’ve learned that by experience, and now on reading about witch-hunts, we can see that there is nothing rational about them — and they’re not meant to be rational affairs. they are ritual events that serve to clarify social norms and boundaries of acceptable behavior."

[Picture: Ferdinand Piloty]


Konrad Lorenz, Die Rückseite des Spiegels:

Es gibt Wertempfindungen des Menschen, die zu dem großen Werden der Organismenwelt in einem unverkennbaren Verhältnis der Entsprechung stehen. Die evolutionistische Erklärung dieser Entsprechung aber klingt wenig überzeugend und gekünstelt. Die Entsprechung besteht darin, dass jeder normale Mensch das als höchsten Wert empfindet, was das organische Werden seit eh und je tut, indem es aus Ungeordneterem, Wahrscheinlicherem, Geordneteres und Unwahrscheinlicheres macht. Diesen Vorgang empfinden wir als die Erschaffung von Werten. ... Die Übereinstimmung zwischen unserer Wertempfindung und dem in allem Lebendigen sich vollziehenden schöpferischen Geschehen könnte darauf beruhen, dass bestimmte Vorgänge, die in der gesamten Organismenwelt am Werke sind, im Menschen als reflektierendem Wesen zum Bewusstsein erwachen.

Mittwoch, 4. April 2018


G. Roth, A. Ryba, 2016:

Bewusstsein ist nötig, wenn es darum geht,

1. vom Gehirn als >neu und wichtig< eingestufte Inhalte zu bearbeiten,

2. Geschehnisse in größeren Details zu verarbeiten, insbesondere was ihre komplexe Raum- und Zeitstruktur betrifft,

3. verschiedenartige Gedächtnisinhalte zusammenzufügen und sie in dieser Form langfristig im deklarativen Gedächtnis zu verankern,

4. Geschehnisse und Mitteilungen in bedeutungshafter Weise zu verarbeiten,

5. komplexe Handlungsplanung in neuartigen Situationen zu leisten und schnelle Vorraussagen zu machen, sowie

6. komplexe soziale Interaktionen durchzuführen, insbesondere im Bereich sprachlicher Kommunikation.

Wahrnehmungen sind stets selektiv und auf solche Umweltreize ausgerichtet, die für das biologische und soziale Leben und Überleben wichtig sind. Mit den Sinnesorganen nehmen wir nur winzige Ausschnitte der Umwelt wahr. In nachgeschalteten Zentren des Gehirns werden diese primären sensorischen Informationen weiter selektiert, und zwar zuerst nach den Kriterien >unbekannt - bekannt< und nach den Kriterien >unwichtig - wichtig<. ...

Neue Bucherscheinung: Persönlichkeit - was uns ausmacht und warum

Persönlichkeit: was uns ausmacht und warum
Jens B. Asendorpf (März 2018)

Passive Lebenshaltung:

Ein passives Abwarten, bis einen Impulse anwandeln.

Dienstag, 3. April 2018


Wieviel an Willensstärke beruht letztlich auf Flexibilität des Willens, d.h. darauf, wie leicht sich jemand "einen Ruck" geben kann?


Ein "starker Wille" würde sich demnach nicht als diffuse Hintergrundmacht äußern, sondern darüber, dass uns in Situationen, die Aktivität erfordern, ein großes Reservoir an Aktivitätsspitzen, zwecks Kursänderung und Ähnlichem, zur Verfügung stände.

Intuitives Problemlösen:

Gerhard Roth & Alica Ryba - Coaching, Beratung und Gehirn - 2016:

"Bei Intuition liegen Bewusstseinsinhalte nicht in einer detaillierten Form, sondern als diffuse Ahnung oder vages Wissen vor, z.B. hinsichtlich der Richtung eines Weges oder der Antwort auf eine Frage." 
[Siehe auch - Two kinds of science : "I never had any illusions that the new ideas I was putting forward, and the new theories I was elaborating, would be >correct< even in the rather limited sense which philosophy allows to apply to scientific theories. They were usually, if not always, in the right direction, part of what Imre Lakatos, a well-known philosopher of science, called >a progressive problem shift<."]

"Intuitives Problemlösen unterscheidet sich also qualitativ vom gedanklich konzentrierten Problemlösen dadurch, dass es nicht in rationalen Schritten geschieht, sondern in scheinbar verdeckter Weise[.]"

Montag, 2. April 2018


Beim Bücherkauf tendenziell solche Bücher kaufen, bei denen es sich auszahlen könnte, Löcher in die Seiten zu lesen.

Der Kauf von "Einweg-Büchern" zahlt sich in der Regel nicht sonderlich aus.

Sonntag, 1. April 2018

Kategorisierung von Kunstwerken:

Lassen sich Kunstwerke nach ihrer Erschöpfbarkeit kategorisieren? Je besser ein Kunstwerk, umso weniger leicht erschöpft es sich?


Lustig ist es doch immer wieder, wenn wir Schulfreunden, d.h. Freunden, mit denen wir in einer länger zurückliegenden, dennoch aber großen Zeitspanne, viel Zeit verbrachten, begegnen. Es ist dann immer so, als ob unser altes Selbst von damals wieder auftauchen würde, und wir in Erleben und Verhalten wieder dem alten Selbst mehr ähneln würden. Ein bisschen so, als ob ein altes Bewusstsein im Bewusstsein zum Vorschein käme. Corballis schreibt, dass eben diese Fähigkeit zur Rekursion, z.B. die Fähigkeit, ein Bewusstsein im Bewusstsein beherbergen zu können, als Schlüsselmerkmal die menschliche Bewusstheit kennzeichnet. 

Integration der Persönlichkeit:

Einen schwereren Fehler begeht der Mensch vermutlich dann, wenn er es verabsäumt, Elemente seiner tierischen Natur in seine Persönlichkeit zu integrieren. So lässt sich beobachten, dass Menschen des öfteren ganze Aspekte ihres tierischen bzw. emotionalen Erbes schlichtweg ablehnen. So hört man gelegentlich z.B. die Aussagen: "Hass ist generell schlecht." , "Hedonismus ist schlecht." usw. Diese Aussagen lassen sich so sicherlich nicht bejahen. Eine Person, der es gelingt, Antipathien zu kontrollieren und in die Persönlichkeit zu integrieren, ist tendenziell der Person überlegen, die solche Emotionen generell unter den Teppich kehrt oder leugnet. Eine Person, die Luststreben in ihre Persönlichkeit integriert, hat tendenziell mehr Selbstkontrolle, als eine Person, die glaubt, hedonistische Bestrebungen insgesamt unter den Teppich kehren zu können. Wir gewinnen keine Kontrolle über unser emotionales Erbe, indem wir es ignorieren oder mit dem Label "nicht-existent" versehen.


Families and how to survive them - Robin Skynner & John Cleese:

John: I've read that normal babies are programmed to smile at the mother's face from very early on, before they can have any idea what they're smiling at, and that the baby's smiling engages the mother's feelings so she enjoys and loves the baby more.

Robin: Correct. An abnormal baby may fail to switch on the mother, so her maternal instincts don't get the go-ahead. Then she has to do everything from her head, from books, whether she wants to or not.

John: So the problem can be on either side?

Robin: Yes. Some experts think it's always the baby, but all the evidence I've seen suggests that there's a range, from one extreme where the parents do seem to be very cut off from their feelings, to the other where it's very hard to understand how they could have ended up with such a turned-out, abnormal child.


"Noch mehrere Küsten sahen sie schwinden, als der Knabe Ikaros, durch den glücklichen Flug zuversichtlich gemacht, seinen väterlichen Führer verließ und in verwegenem Übermute mit seinem Flügelpaar einer höheren Zone zusteuerte. Aber die gedrohte Strafe blieb nicht aus. Die Nachbarschaft der Sonne erweichte mit allzukräftigen Strahlen das Wachs, das die Fittiche zusammenhielt, und ehe es Ikaros nur bemerkte, waren die Flügel aufgelöst und zu beiden Seiten den Schultern entsunken. Noch ruderte der unglückliche Jüngling und schwang seine nackten Arme; aber er bekam keine Luft zu fassen, und plötzlich stürzte er in die Tiefe. Er hatte den Namen seines Vaters als Hilferuf auf den Lippen; doch ehe er ihn aussprechen konnte, hatte ihn die blaue Meeresflut verschlungen."

[Draper Herbert James - Mourning for Icarus]


Floskeln kennzeichnen sich durch ihre Informationslosigkeit. Salopp gesagt, dadurch, dass sie nichts zur Ungewissheitsverringerung im Gesprächspartner beitragen.

Samstag, 31. März 2018


"Die zentrale Rolle des Selbsterlebens für die schizophrenen Psychosen war von Psychiatern bereits zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts betont worden. Kraepelin (1913, 668) charakterisierte die Schizophrenie als „eigenartige Zerstörung des inneren Zusammenhanges der psychischen Persönlichkeit“ und als „Zersplitterung des Bewusstseins“ („Orchester ohne Dirigent“). Bleuler, der der Krankheit den heutigen Namen gab, sah ihre „[…] elementarsten Störungen in einer mangelhaften Einheit, in einer Zersplitterung und Aufspaltung des Denkens, Fühlens und Wollens und des subjektiven Gefühles der Persönlichkeit“ (Bleuler 1983, 411). Die Krankheit sei durch eine Dissoziation psychischer Vorgänge bestimmt, die zu einer „Spaltung der Persönlichkeit“ führe und das Ich nie „ganz intakt“ lasse (Bleuler 1911, 58). Berze nahm wenig später eine „basale Veränderung des Selbstbewusstseins“ und eine „Hypotonie des Bewusstseins“ an (Berze 1916). Jaspers schließlich resümierte die von verschiedenen Autoren genannten Grundstörungen der Schizophrenie in den Begriffen von „Inkohärenz, Spaltungen, Zerfall des Bewusstseins, […] Schwäche der Apperzeption, Insuffizienz der psychischen Aktivität, Störung der Assoziationsspannung“ und fügte selbst das Erlebnis des von außen „Gemachten“ hinzu, das die Gedanken, Wahrnehmungen oder Handlungen der Kranken erfasse (Jaspers 1946/1973, 484, 486)."

Freitag, 30. März 2018

The movement from one search space to another:

"As mathematical derivations from a set of axioms cannot lead to a theorem that contradicts those axioms, so analytical thinking cannot find any solution that is not included in the search space in which it moves. To reach all possible solutions, the mind must be able to jump over its own axioms and move sideways from one search space to another."

Stellan Ohlsson

Why Are So Many Muses Women?

Scott Barry Kaufman:

>Many readers are probably wondering (rightly so) why there seems to be such a focus here on men being inspired by women. Indeed, Francine Prose notes in her book that all of the Muses in history and mythology are female. (In Greek mythology, nine godly muses --all women-- travelled the land, inspiring the creativity of mortal artists and scientists). Certainly, in the words of Prose, "there is no biological reason why a man can't provide the elements of inspiration." This is a very good point, and I'm sure there have been many real life cases of Muses who are men (and cases of men inspiring men and women inspiring women).

But why in both studies I reported (in this post and the last one) did the mating motive have a more powerful effect on men than women? Why are women in these studies so unaffected by the mating motive? There are many potential reasons for this ..., but Griskevicius's study offers some insight into this puzzle.

To dig deeper into this question, the researchers introduced additional conditions, varying the level of commitment of the potential romantic partner in the imagined romantic scenarios. They found that while men increased their creativity in every single condition, only women increased their creative output in one specific condition -- after imagining wanting to attract a clearly trustworthy and committed long-term mate. Women did not show a creative increase when primed to think about attracting a shorter-term mate or a potential long-term mate who had yet to prove his worth as good relationship material.

These results suggest that women do indeed respond to the mating motive, but just require a bit more assurance that the partner is a good partner before they invest in creativity. The researchers describe these findings within the context of differential parental investment. When pursuing a short-term mating strategy, women tend to be more guarded than men since they have a lot more at stake reproductively speaking (women risk getting pregnant, whereas men don't have this risk). But when pursuing a long-term mate, both men and women are a lot more similar than different in their mating goals and preferences -- both expect to invest significantly in the offspring and therefore want a partner that shows signs of dependability. According to the researchers, "In this light, it makes some sense that women require assurance that a prospective mate is really going to invest in offspring before investing the energy in creative displays." So according to this logic, there are more female Muses than male Muses simply because it is easier and faster to turn on a male's mating motive.<

Costly but worthless gifts facilitate courtship

Costly but worthless gifts facilitate courtship
Peter D. Sozou and Robert M. Seymour, 2005


What are the characteristics of a good courtship gift? We address this question by modelling courtship as a sequential game. This is structured as follows: the male offers a gift to a female; after observing the gift, the female decides whether or not to accept it; she then chooses whether or not to mate with the male. In one version of the game, based on human courtship, the female is uncertain about whether the male intends to stay or desert after mating. In a second version, there is no paternal care but the female is uncertain about the male's quality. The two versions of the game are shown to be mathematically equivalent. We find robust equilibrium solutions in which mating is predominantly facilitated by an ‘extravagant’ gift which is costly to the male but intrinsically worthless to the female. By being costly to the male, the gift acts as a credible signal of his intentions or quality. At the same time, its lack of intrinsic value to the female serves to deter a ‘gold-digger’, who has no intention of mating with the male, from accepting the gift. In this way, an economically inefficient gift enables mutually suitable partners to be matched.

Courtship Duration:

Duration of courtship effort as a costly signal
R. M. Seymour & P. D. Sozou, 2009

"Where long courtship involves a net cost to the female, this raises the question: why does she not avoid (or reduce) this cost by deciding immediately (or more quickly) whether or not to mate with the male? It may be that a female cannot perfectly assess the male’s quality because of random errors in the signal (Luttbeg, 1996); with more observation time or repeat observations these random errors are reduced. There is, however, another possibility: that the duration of a male’s courtship effort may in itself constitute a useful signal to the female."

"We assume that there is a variable which characterizes the male but which is not known a priori to the female. This can be regarded as the male’s type. In common with Sozou and Seymour (2005), for simplicity we will consider this to be a binary variable. The male’s type is either ‘‘good’’ (G) or ‘‘bad’’ (B). ... We assume that a female gets a positive payoff from mating with a good male, and a negative payoff from mating with a bad male. We assume that a male always gets a positive payoff from mating, but that the ratio of his gain from mating to his cost of courtship is higher for a good male: that is, courtship effort is, relatively speaking, more costly for a bad male. ... The most straightforward interpretation of a male’s type is that it is a measure of his condition: a good male is in good condition; a bad male is in poor condition. A female should prefer to mate with a male in good condition if male condition is positively correlated with genetic quality, or in species with paternal care, a female should prefer to mate with a male in good condition if such a male is a better provider of care. If a male in good condition additionally has a lower cost of producing a strong courtship signal relative to his gain from mating, then the signal can act as an honest indicator of his condition, and a female should prefer to mate with a male producing a strong courtship signal (Parker, 1982; Grafen, 1990a, b). In the model presented here, the duration of a male’s courtship effort constitutes the strength of his signal. An alternative interpretation of male type, proposed by Sozou and Seymour (2005), is modelled on species with facultative postmating paternal care, e.g. humans. It is assumed that the male makes a subjective assessment of the female’s attractiveness, and finds her either attractive, or unattractive. The female does not know for sure her own attractiveness to the male. The female’s attractiveness to the male is a noisy indicator of her quality. The male values the chance of mating with her more highly if she is attractive to him, and in this case he will stay after mating and help raise the offspring. If she is unattractive he will still mate with her if given the opportunity, but will then desert, resulting in a negative payoff to the female. In this interpretation, a male discriminates between females: from his perspective they are not all the same. A female should accordingly discriminate between males on the basis of their intentions towards her (Camerer, 1988)."

The Effort Paradox: Effort Is Both Costly and Valued


Prominent models in the cognitive sciences indicate that mental and physical effort is costly, and that we avoid it. Here, we suggest that this is only half of the story.

Humans and non-human animals alike tend to associate effort with reward and will sometimes select objects or activities precisely because they require effort (e.g., mountain climbing, ultra-marathons).

Effort adds value to the products of effort, but effort itself also has value.

Effort’s value can not only be accessed concurrently with or immediately following effort exertion, but also in anticipation of such expenditure, suggesting that we already have an intuitive understanding of effort’s potential positive value.

If effort is consistently rewarded, people might learn that effort is valuable and become more willing to exert it in general.


According to prominent models in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and economics, effort (be it physical or mental) is costly: when given a choice, humans and non-human animals alike tend to avoid effort. Here, we suggest that the opposite is also true and review extensive evidence that effort can also add value. Not only can the same outcomes be more rewarding if we apply more (not less) effort, sometimes we select options precisely because they require effort. Given the increasing recognition of effort’s role in motivation, cognitive control, and value-based decision-making, considering this neglected side of effort will not only improve formal computational models, but also provide clues about how to promote sustained mental effort across time.

[h/t Alles Evolution; See also: Effort]


Steve Stewart-Williams: "A simple principle that explains a large number of findings in social psychology: We value stuff more when we work harder for it."

James Watson - My son Rufus, memory and IQ


"In the United States, all mentally ill people were called schizophrenic, whereas in the UK half were called bipolar. Now - so upon, you know, initial hospitalization for being ill for a sort of psychotic thing, you can't decide whether it's bipolar or schizophrenia by use of - insulin has no effect on schizophrenia. So - and when - and people who have schizophrenia are cognitively impaired generally. Their IQ is significantly lower than they would be if they didn't have the disease, and that often reflect a much impaired working memory. And so our son does not, at least now - never psychotic, but he has, he works with a diminished working memory, which leads to really an inability to plan for the next day or - he's just not future-oriented in the way you or I would be. "


"Very hard for things to get into his long-term memory, once there they can be recalled and - so long-term memory, if it get there, is good, but his ability to handle lots of facts coming simultaneously, certainly shown by - he doesn't get any pleasure from what gives me great pleasure, sort of Beethoven's sonatas, things which- or later Prokofiev or something, where they've very subtle and you hear lots of sounds coming at you fast. It's not clear the brain can actually handle it. It becomes blurred. It's certainly important to know, because it's how you try and compensate for these limitations. In Rufus's case, he didn't want to go to school 'cause he couldn't do the work. We thought, you know, it was something much more complicated - he didn't want to go to school 'cause he felt he'd be rejected, etc. No, he just didn't want to be in a situation where he couldn't perform. And as he got older, that became harder for him to see. So - so I've always, when I was young my IQ was not that of a genius or anything, so I thought I would never, you know, be a highly successful academic though I wanted to be one. I think I took sort of security in the fact that biologists seemed to be a lot dumber than theoretical physicists. And so I was going into a field where you didn't have to be as bright. With time, I think my teachers thought I was all bright, even though I didn't feel it. So I'm sure if I had to take an IQ test, I wouldn't do very well, but I wasn't very good in actual visual things, turning things upside down and seeing symmetry, which you could say, well, how did you ever get the DNA thing? Well, the answer is Francis. He had the, you know, thought symmetry, whereas my strengths lay in reading comprehension."

Donnerstag, 29. März 2018

Nase hoch beim Übersetzen:

>Meine Lehrerin hat immer gesagt: "Nase hoch beim Übersetzen." Das heißt, man übersetzt nicht von links nach rechts, wie die Sprache läuft, sondern nachdem man sich den Satz angeeignet hat. Er muss nach innen genommen, ans Herz gelegt werden.<

Swetlana Geier

Bis Seiten Löcher kriegen:

>"Man muss den Atem eines Textes erfassen", war Swetlana Geier überzeugt. "Ich lese das Buch, das ich übersetzen soll, so oft, bis die Seiten Löcher kriegen. Im Grunde kann ich es auswendig. Dann kommt ein Tag, an dem man plötzlich die Melodie des Textes hört. Wenn ich das Buch fast auswendig kann, dann bin ich bereit. Dann sage ich: So! Und jetzt fange ich an."<

[OE1, Swetalana Geier, Übersetzerin]

Mittwoch, 28. März 2018


Wir schätzen den Ordnungsgrad eines Systems ein, indem wir abschätzen, welches Maß an Redundanz, an Vorhersagbarkeit, an Regelmäßigkeit vorliegt.


Die Fähigkeit zur expliziten Bildung und Verknüpfung von Konzepten.

Schlüsselfunktion des Denkens:

Besteht die Schlüsselfunktion des menschlichen Denkvermögens in der Ereignisvorhersage?

[Quelle: Differentielle Psychologie, Kröner, 1971]

Jenseits rationaler Konzepte:

Bestimmte Worte in unserem Kopf, wie Gott, Freiheit, etc., repräsentieren schlichtweg keine rationalen Konzepte.

Dienstag, 27. März 2018

On Philosophies:

>In the preface to that admirable collection of essays of his called ‘Heretics,’ Mr. Chesterton writes these words: “There are some people — and I am one of them — who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. ...”

I think with Mr. Chesterton in this matter. ... For the philosophy which is so important in each of us is not a technical matter; it is our more or less dumb sense of what life honestly and deeply means. It is only partly got from books; it is our individual way of just seeing and feeling the total push and pressure of the cosmos.<

William James

Scientists - Foxes and Hedgehogs:

"Great scientists come in two varieties, which Isaiah Berlin, quoting the seventh-century-BC poet Archilochus, called foxes and hedgehogs. Foxes know many tricks, hedgehogs only one. Foxes are interested in everything, and move easily from one problem to another. Hedgehogs are interested only in a few problems which they consider fundamental, and stick with the same problems for years or decades. Most of the great discoveries are made by hedgehogs, most of the little discoveries by foxes. Science needs both hedgehogs and foxes for its healthy growth, hedgehogs to dig deep into the nature of things, foxes to explore the complicated details of our marvelous universe."

Freeman Dyson
"I seized every opportunity to listen to Feynman talk, to learn to swim in the deluge of his ideas. He loved to talk, and he welcomed me as a listener. So we became friends for life."

Freeman Dyson


"Like a warm rain, facts and ideas need time to sink in."


Time to forget (II):

"Early in 1982, I received an unexpected packet from London containing a letter from Harold Pinter and the manuscript of a new play, A Kind of Alaska, which, he said, had been inspired by a case history of mine in Awakenings. In his letter, Pinter said that he read my book when it originally came out in 1973 and had immediately wondered about the problems presented by a dramatic adaptation of this. But, seeing no ready solution to these problems, he had then forgotten about it. One morning eight years later, Pinter wrote, he had awoken with the first image and first words ("Something is happening") clear and pressing in his mind. The play had then "written itself" in the days and weeks that followed.
I could not help contrasting this with a play (inspired by same case history) which I had been sent four years earlier, where the author, in an accompanying letter, said that he had read Awakenings two months before and been so "influenced," so possessed, by it that he felt impelled to write a play straightaway. Whereas I loved Pinter's play - not least because it effected so profound a transformation, a "Pinterization" of my own themes - I felt the 1978 play to be grossly derivative, for it lifted, sometimes, whole sentences from my own book without transforming them in the least. It seemed to me less an original play than plagiarism or a parody (yet there was no doubting the author's "obsession" or good faith).
I was not sure what to make of this. Was the author too lazy, or too lacking in talent or originality, to make the needed transformation of my work? Or was the problem essentially one of incubation, that he had not allowed himself enough time for the experience of reading Awakenings to sink in? Nor had he allowed himself, as Pinter did, time to forget it, to let it fall into his unconscious, where it might link with other experiences and thoughts."

Oliver Sacks - The River of Consciousness


Eccentrics, David J. Weeks:

Montag, 26. März 2018


"What [society] has to dread is that each one of us, content with paying attention to what affects the essentials of life, will, so far as the rest is concerned, give way to the easy automatism of acquired habits. Another thing it must fear is that the members of whom it is made up, instead of aiming after an increasingly delicate adjustment of wills which will fit more and more perfectly into one another, will confine themselves to respecting simply the fundamental conditions of this adjustment: a cut-and-dried agreement among the persons will not satisfy it, it insists on a constant striving after reciprocal adaptation. Society will therefore be suspicious of all inelasticity of character, of mind and even of body, because it is the possible sign of a slumbering activity as well as of an activity with separatist tendencies, that inclines to swerve from the common centre round which society gravitates: in short, because it is the sign of an eccentricity. And yet, society cannot intervene at this stage by material repression, since it is not affected in a material fashion. It is confronted with something that makes it uneasy, but only as a symptom--scarcely a threat, at the very most a gesture. A gesture, therefore, will be its reply. Laughter must be something of this kind, a sort of social gesture. By the fear which it inspires, it restrains eccentricity, keeps constantly awake and in mutual contact certain activities of a secondary order which might retire into their shell and go to sleep, and, in short, softens down whatever the surface of the social body may retain of mechanical inelasticity. Laughter, then, does not belong to the province of esthetics alone, since unconsciously (and even immorally in many particular instances) it pursues a utilitarian aim of general improvement. And yet there is something esthetic about it, since the comic comes into being just when society and the individual, freed from the worry of self-preservation, begin to regard themselves as works of art. In a word, if a circle be drawn round those actions and dispositions--implied in individual or social life--to which their natural consequences bring their own penalties, there remains outside this sphere of emotion and struggle--and within a neutral zone in which man simply exposes himself to man's curiosity--a certain rigidity of body, mind and character, that society would still like to get rid of in order to obtain from its members the greatest possible degree of elasticity and sociability. This rigidity is the comic, and laughter is its corrective."

Henri Bergson

The Comic Spirit:

"For the comic spirit has a logic of its own, even in its wildest eccentricities. It has a method in its madness."

Herni Bergson 

Regelmäßigkeit und Zufall:

Auch bei nicht-vorhandener Regelmäßigkeit, werden sich dennoch, rein zufällig, nicht-zusammenhängende Ereignisse in räumlich-zeitlicher Nähe zueinander ereignen. Räumlich-zeitliche Nähe, allein und für sich genommen, gewährt uns keinen sicheren Aufschluss über die Existenz einer Regelmäßigkeit.

Teaching Ramanujan ...

>Teaching Ramanujan, mathematician Laurence Young has written, "was like writing on a blackboard covered with excerpts from a more interesting lecture."<


"teaching him was like writing on a blackboard covered with excerpts from a more interesting lecture."

Sonntag, 25. März 2018

Disappointment & Regret:

"after failure, disappointment is more intense after an investment of higher levels of instrumental effort, whereas regret is more intense after an investment of less instrumental effort."

Wilco W. van Dijk et al., 1999


"The difference between disappointment and regret is the source of comparison from which they arise. Disappointment is assumed to originate from a comparison between the actual outcome and a prior expectation; regret is assumed to stem from a comparison between the actual outcome and one that might have been had another option been chosen."

Sammlung - Freies Nachdenken - Freie Beschäftigung:

Nach Möglichkeit tagtäglich demjenigen eine volle Stunde Aufmerksamkeit widmen, sich eine volle Stunde auf dasjenige konzentrieren, was einem persönlich als wahrhaft wesentlich, relevant und wichtig, was einem maximal relevant erscheint.

Task Complexity:

Linda Gottfredson:

"task complexity increases when tasks require more mental manipulation, for example, when the information to be processed is more voluminous, abstract, ambiguous, uncertain, incomplete, novel, or embedded in distracting material, and when the task requires spotting regularities, judging relevance, drawing inferences, integrating information, or otherwise evaluating and mentally transforming information to some end."


"the job descriptions of managerial, executive, and professional workers themselves suggest that high-IQ, self-trainable individuals are essential: that is, individuals who are better able to “learn much on their own” and from the “typical college format” (WPT 26-30, IQs over 110) and to “gather and synthesize information” and “infer information and conclusions from on-the-job situations” (WPT 28 and above, IQs over 116)."

Samstag, 24. März 2018

Two kinds of science:

"A well-known German chemist, W. Ostwald, once wrote a book on the two types of scientist he considered to be representative of alternate ways of doing science; he called them the ‘romantics’ and the ‘classics’. The romantics were the more extraverted, creative types of scientist, constantly producing new ideas, innovative and original; the classical type of scientist was more likely to be introverted, concentrating on single issues, and trying to achieve perfect closure. This theme was taken up by the German psychiatrist, E. Kretschmer, in his book on genius. Following his theories of personality and body build, he postulated two extreme types of genius, the cyclothyme (extraverted) and the schizothyme (introverted). His description of these two types is not too dissimilar to that given by Ostwald. Last but not least, we have the distinction made by the philosopher of science, Thomas S. Kuhn, whose theories postulate a clear-cut division between ordinary science and revolutionary science, with the former resembling Ostwald’s classical and Kretschmer’s schizothyme types, and the latter Oswald’s romantic and Kretschmer’s psychothyme types.
Clearly my own contribution has been of the romantic, cyclothyme, revolutionary variety, and this perhaps inevitably had led to a considerable amount of misunderstanding and controversy escalating in the manner described above to physical assaults and verbal misrepresentations."


"The fact that I am, as it were, on the ‘revolutionary’ side of science, rather than the ‘ordinary’ side, immediately suggests that while my contributions may be original in many ways, they are unlikely to be correct in every detail. It is, as Kuhn has pointed out, characteristic of revolutionary ideas that at the time they arise they have comparatively little support, they confront an established array of facts which have to be reinterpreted (not always to the delight of those who have worked with them along traditional lines!), and they are liable to change very quickly under the impact of the new facts that are being unearthed as a result of the presentation of the new theories. I never had any illusions that the new ideas I was putting forward, and the new theories I was elaborating, would be ‘correct’ even in the rather limited sense which philosophy allows to apply to scientific theories. They were usually, if not always, in the right direction, part of what Imre Lakatos, a well-known philosopher of science, called ‘a progressive problem shift’, as opposed to a ‘degenerative problem shift’, i.e., programmes of research that advance knowledge, rather than programmes of research that fight a rear-guard action by ad hoc explanations of anomalies which proved destructive to the programme."

Hans J. Eysenck

(Hans Eysenck: Consensus and Controversy)


"I think to be successful at almost anything, you have to do the tough stuff as well as the enjoyable stuff. You have to do the boring stuff as well as the non-boring stuff. And if you don’t do your chores, then bad things will happen. ... it’s more fun to cook the meal than to clean the dishes, but you need to clean the dishes."

Elon Musk

Erfahren und Nachdenken:

In welchem Ausmaß lernen wir bereits durch die bloße Akkumulation von Erfahrung, d.h. durch die Berührung mit Ereignissen, und in welchem Ausmaß sind wir bei Lernvorgängen auf die bewusste Analyse, auf das bewusste Durchdenken von Ereignissen angewiesen?

Freitag, 23. März 2018


"Does measurement of creativity throw some light on the rather nebu­lous concept of intuition? Can we measure intuition? Professor M. Westcott has shown that even elusive traits like intuition can be mea­sured. He argued that what we mean by intuition is essentially the ability to jump to conclusions on the basis of insufficient evidence; we literally take an intellectual leap instead of plodding along lines of logic to a predestined conclusion. This brief argument led to his experimental de­sign. Set your subject a problem that is insoluble as it stands. It can be solved logically if you are given a number of cues. But these are hidden, and you can ask for the first one to be disclosed, making solution a little easier. You can then ask for the second one, then the third, and so on until you feel you can guess the answer. Some people (the plodders) require to look at all or most of the cues; your intuitive person takes a leap at the solution after only receiving a few cues. This tendency can be measured reliably; in other words, a given person behaves in the same fashion time after time. And it has nothing much to do with intelligence; dull people can be intuitive, bright ones can be plodders.
But of course you can arrive at the wrong solution, whether you are intuitive or a plodder. Hence Westcott finished up with four groups: Intuitive-correct, Plodder-correct, Intuitive-wrong; Plodder-wrong. The personality characteristics showed that the intuitives were similar to creative people, the plodder to noncreative ones. Thus, this test of intu­ition could also be used to identify creativity. When we look at ge­niuses, do we find a similar distinction between those who get the answer right, and those who get it wrong? Newton and Einstein were hugely intuitive, and mostly right; Marx and Freud were hugely intuitive, and mostly wrong."

Intelligence - A New Look, Hans Eysenck

Work & Play:

"The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play."

Arnold Toynbee

Creative minorities:


"The basic idea of a creative minority ... seems sound."

Martin Hewson


"The creative minority is a small group of individuals that is part of the genesis of a civilization and that develops solutions to challenges presented to the civilization."

Stephen Blaha


"the nature of the breakdowns of civilizations can be summed up in three points: a failure of creative power in the minority, an answering withdrawal of mimesis on the part of the majority and a consequent loss of social unity in the society as a whole."

Arnold Toynbee


"schizophrenic thinking is typically overinclusive in the sense that associations very far removed from the original set of ideas are customarily included in their thinking. Similarly creative persons are often overinclusive in that sense; they report as relevant ideas that to other, more conservative and orthodox people seem quite out of line."

Hans Eysenck