“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world—to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.” ~ Ayn Rand

Kensington, Brooklyn Graffiti From Truth and Rocket Science

  

“I want to build a ship and write novels. I want a stack of books tied to my name, and poetry, too, collections of it. I write slow. I think long. And I want to last longer in people’s minds than their last meal or movie. So I keep writing and building, word by word, an ark maybe, as I can, in every spare space.” ~ Terresa Wellborn
A Secret Place: Old Barn, by renejo (1951), via dreaminginthedeepsouth

Since I haven’t had my computer, I’ve been spending more time on my tumblr site, and I have to say that I’ve really come to like it. Going on tumblr doesn’t require me to post in the same way as this site. Instead, I can sift through what has been posted by the people who I follow, and decide whether or not to repost, or reblog as it were. It’s so effortless that a part of me feels as if I am doing something wrong. 

I mean, having access to all of this beautiful images, literary quotes, factoids—the researcher in me feels as if I am cheating by not working harder.  I suppose that it’s a fairly normal response to people who are new to tumblr as I am, but in less than two months, I already have 1,024 posts (each individual item is counted as a post), and I am following 29 people (with 13 people following me). Posts are categorized as follows: text, photo, quote, audio, chat, video. 

Having people follow me on my tumblr site is nice, but what I actually get more satisfaction from is finding new people to follow. Let me explain: tumblr is many things to many people; there are sites devoted to music, cars, book deals, gaming, news, food . . . whatever. The sites that I follow tend to deal with one of five things: literature (poetry, quotes by authors, passages from books, book covers), the ocean (pictures of ocean life, waves, islands, etc.), geographic photography (pictures from around the world of architecture, landscapes), vintage things (postcards, typewriters, jewelry), and then a bit of pop culture (Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, videos, shoes). 

Of course, there are the odd bits and pieces, but as a whole, that is what I am searching for when I go on the dashboard. 

“Camus said there is only really one serious philosophical question, which is whether or not to commit suicide. I think there are four or five serious philosophical questions:
The first one is: Who started it?
The second is: Are we going to make it?
The third is: Where are we going to put it?
The fourth is: Who’s going to clean up?
And the fifth: Is it serious?” ~ Alan Watts
My Secret Place by a tamer, via dreaminginthedeepsouth

There is one thing about tumblr that bothers me: copyright. One of the key things that our professors in the publishing program hammered into us repeatedly was the importance of copyright; hence, my sensitivity about usage. This is why always try to use images from Wikimedia Commons or Flckr Creative Commons, or those works that I know exist in the public domain. 

I try to reblog those things that do not appear to be under copyright or are under a creative commons license. A creative commons license means that the item in question can be used, but that certain rules apply. Currently, four license conditions exist, and these licenses allow writers, photographers, software creators, designers, etc.  to specify which rights they reserve and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. 

According to the cc site, the four conditions are: Attribution (BY), requiring attribution to the original author; Share Alike (SA), allowing derivative (changed) works under the same or a similar license (later or jurisdiction version); Non-Commercial (NC), requiring the work is not used for commercial purposes; and No Derivative Works (ND), allowing only the original work, without derivatives. 

However, not everyone is attuned to the nuances and obligations of copyright, and sometimes a picture will be posted without any title, or link, or name. This is where I have a hard time: I  love the image and want to reblog it, but I don’t think that it’s adhering to the rules. Having said that, I get the sense that copyright rules on tumblr are more relaxed, but I could be wrong. Some people are real sticklers regarding copyright, and early in this blog I used an image by a contemporary artist and was called on it. I had assumed that using the image was all right since it was for non-commercial use; however, I in no way wanted to infringe on the artist’s copyright. On the flip side, I have attached a copyright to my tumblr’s name, Slow Dancing in Quicksand (which some of you may recognize as the title of a post) because I want to preserve that phrase as a possible book title. 

I suppose that I may have to be of two minds, depending on which blog I’m on: With this blog, I hold fast to the rules; on tumblr, I try to maintain the rules, and if I am going to import an image from tumblr to this site, I’m going to give the link provided. 

The other issue, of course, is determining which link to provide. You see, with reblogging, image X may have started out on A’s blog, but by the time it appear on my dashboard, it’s been reblogged five times. I’m seeing the image from G’s blog. When possible, I click on the image to try to find the original source, but if I cannot, then I have to attribute the image to the blog on which I found it. 

Somehow, this all seems much harder than it should be. Oh. I get it. There’s the hard part about tumblr, and it’s only as hard as the individual makes it. 

“We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation-rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Fade to White by Stephen K. Willi, via dreaminginthedeepsouth

Anyway, the whole point of this voyage around my elbow was to say that I’m finding some great quotes and things on tumblr, many of which I plan to use here. 

In addition to Crashingly Beautiful, the tumblr that I have been following the longest, I wanted to list a few of the sites that I follow on tumblr, just in case you want to do some journeying of your own: 

Go exploring. You’d be amazed at the things you can find. 

More later. Peace

Music by Dashboard Confessional, “Stolen” (acoustic) 

Supersense: A Review (of sorts)

Supersense US cover

Supersense: U.S. Cover

 

“Reading SuperSense is like having lunch with your favorite professor—the conversation spans religion, biology, psychology, philosophy, and early childhood development. One thing is for sure, you’ll never see the world in the same way again.” ~ Ori Brafman, New York Times bestselling author of Sway

I have a confession to make: I actually feel a little intimidated about writing a review of Supersense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable, the book written by one of my favorite bloggers, Bruce M. Hood. Obviously, I should explain.

I finished reading Bruce’s book a couple of months ago. My first inclination was, “Wow, that was even better than I thought that it would be.” My second inclination was that I should post a review of  the book on my blog. My third inclination was, “I’m not worthy.”

I found Supersense to be one of those books that crosses many lines: Well-written and entertaining, the book’s premise is intellectual. It appeals to a very broad spectrum of people, and it’s a great read. That in mind, when I tried to write a review, I kept feeling that I just wasn’t doing the book justice. Don’t ask me why I felt this way; it’s irrational, I know.

Hence, my usual reaction to such situations kicked in: I procrastinated until I finally became embarrassed enough in the delay that I did something about it.

A Little Background

Bruce is the Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol. His CV is mightily impressive: research fellow at Cambridge University and University College London, a visiting scientist at MIT , and a faculty professor at Harvard. But with the publication of Supersense, Bruce’s media recognition has grown exponentially. His book tour has taken him to several countries, and he has appeared on numerous radio shows, as well as on the BBC, and he has delivered several lectures on the concept of Supersense.

Let me regress here. I came upon Bruce M. Hood’s blog almost a year ago. I was immediately hooked. The posts ranged from mummified sea monsters to ideas about phrenology (studying bumps on the head), cremation and ashes, goat gonads, sitings of Jesus on a Cheetoh, and my personal favorite, saucy codpiece. It’s a wild and wonderful world at Bruce’s blog.

Would You Wear A Killer’s Cardigan?

Supersense UK cover
Supersense: UK Cover

As defined by the author, an individual’s supersense is the inclination or sense that supernatural experiences may be real, even though they are not supported by facts or substantiated by reliable evidence (paraphrased from page x in the book). Essentially, Bruce contends that as humans, we are born with this hard-wiring to try to make sense of the world in which we live, even if it means having beliefs that aren’t exactly explainable, or being superstitious, or seeing patterns. 

For example: Do you knock on wood? Have you ever thrown salt over your shoulder? Do you have a lucky suit or a certain pair of shoes that you wear to job interviews? Have you ever felt as if someone is staring at you? Supersense.

In addition to fleshing out the definition of supersense and how it “shapes our intuitions and superstitions and is essential to the way we learn to understand the world and in binding us together as a society,” the book elaborates on this premise through numerous relatable incidents such as those mentioned previously.

Bruce explores why some people would wear the cardigan (sweater for Americans) belonging to a killer while others would not, why an individual needing an organ transplant might reject an organ donated by a killer, why athletes have rituals that they repeat before beginning any game, and why the concept of security blankets and other attachment objects are so pervasive in society.

The Science and the Psychology

Of course, Supersense is foremost an exposition of a scientific premise that humans are born with this heightened, or super sense, and the author cites several studies of babies and children to support this thesis. The scholarship works companionably with the author’s use of observations and anecdotes.

Among many of the book’s reviews from authors, researchers, journals, and magazines, I read a wonderful review of Bruce’s book in Psychology Today. Written by Dave Sobel, this review delves a bit more into the child development aspects of the book in a way that I could not do justice. Sobel discusses the author’s work with Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology a Yale University. Together, the men created a “copy machine,” a machine that could supposedly make an exact duplicate of an object, when in fact, the machine was a mere magic trick.

What was interesting about this “machine,” was how children reacted to it: As Sobel explains,

“Hood and Bloom found that children were willing to accept duplicates of many kinds of familiar objects, except one specific kind—attachment objects like their security blanket or a special stuffed animal (actually, they almost never would allow these objects to be duplicated in the first place). Children recognize that an object’s experience is as critical to its identity as its physical appearance.”

“Hood’s marvelous book is an important contribution to the psychological literature that is revealing the actuality of our very irrational human nature.” ~ From Review in Science

Essentially, Supersense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable is appealing to both the layperson and the professional. Bruce’s use of first person makes the writing extremely approachable, and his balance of humor and scientific observation work together well in keeping his audience engaged. Ultimately, the book challenges the reader to think about why it is we humans rationalize the irrational, believe in the unbelievable, and avoid walking under ladders after breaking mirrors on Friday the 13th.

You can purchase your copy of Supersense at most bookstores, or online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and several other sources. Something to keep in mind: This book would be the perfect gift for the skeptical reader in your life.

More later. Peace.