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Archive for 'culture'

Kindle Daily Deal for Tues. 7/15 – $1.99 for ‘Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2000 Years’ by Tom Standage

July 15, 2014

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new book – ‘Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness’ by Joel & Ian Gold

July 9, 2014

Suspicious Minds

Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madnessby Joel Gold and Ian Gold (Free Press, 2014)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk)

Book description from the publisher:

Combining extraordinary true stories with the latest research, Joel and Ian Gold take us on a wild journey through the delusional brain to explore the intersection of neuroscience, biology, and culture.

Mr. A. was admitted to Dr. Joel Gold’s inpatient unit at Bellevue Hospital in 2002. He was, he said, being filmed constantly, and his life was being broadcast around the world “like The Truman Show”—the 1998 film depicting a man who is unknowingly living out his life as the star of a popular soap opera. Over the next few years, Gold saw a number of patients suffering from what he and his brother, Dr. Ian Gold, began calling the “Truman Show Delusion,” launching them on a quest to understand the nature of this particular phenomenon, of delusions more generally, and the nature of madness itself.

The current view of delusions is that they are the result of biology gone awry, of neurons in the brain misfiring. In contrast, the Golds argue, delusions are in fact the result of the interaction between the brain and the social world. By exploring the major categories of delusion via fascinating case studies and marshaling the latest research in schizophrenia, the brothers reveal the role of culture and the social world in the development of psychosis, notably delusions. The result is a groundbreaking new direction for thinking about the interaction of the brain and the world around us.

Sure to appeal to those who admire the work of Oliver Sacks, Steven Pinker, and Antonio Damasio, Suspicious Minds presents a fascinating study about just how dramatically our surroundings can influence our brains.

Google Books preview:

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new book – ‘Colliding Worlds: How Cutting-Edge Science Is Redefining Contemporary Art’ by Arthur I. Miller

June 15, 2014

Colliding Worlds

Colliding Worlds: How Cutting-Edge Science Is Redefining Contemporary Art by Arthur I. Miller (W.W. Norton, 2014)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

A dazzling look at the artists working on the frontiers of science.

In recent decades, an exciting new art movement has emerged in which artists utilize and illuminate the latest advances in science. Some of their provocative creations—a live rabbit implanted with the fluorescent gene of a jellyfish, a gigantic glass-and-chrome sculpture of the Big Bang (pictured on the cover)—can be seen in traditional art museums and magazines, while others are being made by leading designers at Pixar, Google’s Creative Lab, and the MIT Media Lab. In Colliding Worlds, Arthur I. Miller takes readers on a wild journey to explore this new frontier.

Miller, the author of Einstein, Picasso and other celebrated books on science and creativity, traces the movement from its seeds a century ago—when Einstein’s theory of relativity helped shape the thinking of the Cubists—to its flowering today. Through interviews with innovative thinkers and artists across disciplines, Miller shows with verve and clarity how discoveries in biotechnology, cosmology, quantum physics, and beyond are animating the work of designers like Neri Oxman, musicians like David Toop, and the artists-in-residence at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

From NanoArt to Big Data, Miller reveals the extraordinary possibilities when art and science collide.

Google Books preview:

See also: Author’s website

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new book – ‘The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning’ by Marcelo Gleiser

June 6, 2014

The Island of Knowledge

The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning by Marcelo Gleiser (Basic Books, 2014)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

Do all questions have answers? How much can we know about the world? Is there such a thing as an ultimate truth?

To be human is to want to know, but what we are able to observe is only a tiny portion of what’s “out there.” In The Island of Knowledge, physicist Marcelo Gleiser traces our search for answers to the most fundamental questions of existence. In so doing, he reaches a provocative conclusion: science, the main tool we use to find answers, is fundamentally limited.

These limits to our knowledge arise both from our tools of exploration and from the nature of physical reality: the speed of light, the uncertainty principle, the impossibility of seeing beyond the cosmic horizon, the incompleteness theorem, and our own limitations as an intelligent species. Recognizing limits in this way, Gleiser argues, is not a deterrent to progress or a surrendering to religion. Rather, it frees us to question the meaning and nature of the universe while affirming the central role of life and ourselves in it. Science can and must go on, but recognizing its limits reveals its true mission: to know the universe is to know ourselves.

Telling the dramatic story of our quest for understanding, The Island of Knowledge offers a highly original exploration of the ideas of some of the greatest thinkers in history, from Plato to Einstein, and how they affect us today. An authoritative, broad-ranging intellectual history of our search for knowledge and meaning, The Island of Knowledge is a unique view of what it means to be human in a universe filled with mystery.

Google Books preview:

See also: Author’s website

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new book – ‘Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience’ by Erin Manning and Brian Massumi

May 4, 2014

Thought in the Act

Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience by Erin Manning and Brian Massumi (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

“Every practice is a mode of thought, already in the act. To dance: a thinking in movement. To paint: a thinking through color. To perceive in the everyday: a thinking of the world’s varied ways of affording itself.” —from Thought in the Act

Combining philosophy and aesthetics, Thought in the Act is a unique exploration of creative practice as a form of thinking. Challenging the common opposition between the conceptual and the aesthetic, Erin Manning and Brian Massumi “think through” a wide range of creative practices in the process of their making, revealing how thinking and artfulness are intimately, creatively, and inseparably intertwined. They rediscover this intertwining at the heart of everyday perception and investigate its potential for new forms of activism at the crossroads of politics and art.

Emerging from active collaborations, the book analyzes the experiential work of the architects and conceptual artists Arakawa and Gins, the improvisational choreographic techniques of William Forsythe, the recent painting practice of Bracha Ettinger, as well as autistic writers’ self-descriptions of their perceptual world and the experimental event making of the SenseLab collective. Drawing from the idiosyncratic vocabularies of each creative practice, and building on the vocabulary of process philosophy, the book reactivates rather than merely describes the artistic processes it examines. The result is a thinking-with and a writing-in-collaboration-with these processes and a demonstration of how philosophy co-composes with the act in the making. Thought in the Act enacts a collaborative mode of thinking in the act at the intersection of art, philosophy, and politics.

See also: Manning’s website, Massumi’s website

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