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trial by photograph..paradigm shift. Fotografia para un juicio. Un cambio de paradigma.

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posted by alias tio tom tomlinson on Tuesday 31st of January 2012 10:11:51 PM

please read. Statistics predict that only 3% of the population have sufficient attention level to read the following, thus those who do not shall be left to view the above image with all their stereo types and prejudices fully intact...C'est la vie.... A TRIAL BY PHOTOGRAPH. Please join me in this exercise to test your propensity for confirmation bias, to examine the entrenchment of your preconceived ideas and test your objectivity to the world. Can you be an “individual” and separate yourself from the social pressures and prejudices which manoeuvre you to accept the popular opinion. The image above appears very black and negative, but, the message here is not as is immediately perceived. My challenge is for you to read the following and view the picture in a different light. At an airport somewhere in South America, a man sits in the departures lounge awaiting his flight. A departure echoes around the room, unintelligible fuzz, compliant passengers hustle to form a cue that extends to the seated area in front of him. The man becomes aware of an attractive young lady standing nearby in short skirt and airy blouse. His eyes linger on her long luxurious legs with their flattering silken tan. Becoming aware that he has allowed his eyes to linger to long, he raises them to find an overly large plump man seated in front of her with his eyes glued to those same gorgeous legs. The face of this shabby dressed lower class man does not speak of casual admiration but of concentration and something else indefinable. The observer lifts his eyes away to scan the room only for them to return to the horrible fat man again. That man’s gaze is now fixed in utter concentration on those gorgeous legs, his lips move apart as his fat body tenses. He's obviously some kind of sexual pervert. It's only to be expected from his social class. His type is unable to exert the minimum of social decorum. It’s a bloody disgrace. The fat man’s gnarled hand moves furtively in the direction of the woman’s legs and moves upwards under her skirt. The first man’s temper rises at the thought of such an act of perversion about to occur in a public domain. He raises himself ready to assault the dirty lust filled pervert. How can the world support this kind of behaviour, he prepares to strike the pervert with all his rage and might. In a swift deft lunge the seated pervert grabs at the girls skirt raising it with a shaking motion and a fatally poisonous spider falls to the ground where he stamps on it. Our observer has now to undergo a reappraisal of the situation he has born witness too. If his logic and rational now leads him to the conclusion that the man is a good man and has acted in a heroic and responsible manner, then it can said, “He has undergone a “paradigm shift”. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for the majority of people to achieve a thorough reappraisal of events and general life vision since our paradigm is often filled with prejudices and stereo types. Values become entrenched. The norm is that this is the unfortunate reality. Confirmation bias, one of our egos sentinels, waits in the depths of our mind in silence, ready to be triggered into action, much as a modern day computer virus waits for a corrupted file to be opened by an unsuspecting recipient. Psychiatrist Howard Cutler collaborated with the Dalai Lama in the book, …......... “The Art of Happiness”. The book explores training the human outlook that alters perception. Towards the end of the book, Howard Cutler asks if he can change his own paradigm. The Dalai Lama replies, quipping....... “Very difficult”. We can use the analogy of the computer to understand why it is difficult to change our paradigm Consider the “On board System” O.S. of a computer, it’s already loaded when you buy one. After you load your computer with different applications they interact with the O.S. This allows them access to the microchips in different ways so as to perform calculations for the program you are running. The O.S. system is used by all applications and cannot normally be changed. In effect all future programs will use it by interacting with it. From birth we start to load programs in our mind by interpreting information from our senses and build a world view from our experience of interactions with it. By the age of five this O.S. system is in place we call it, “mind or personality”. Everything we do or experience in the future will be referenced to it So as to understand the picture above we must take a quick look at the crow and his family to be able to understand why he has gained negative connotations for us. Crows are from the genus Corvus of the family Corvidae. I shall refer to them as the collective “corvids”, the 40 or so members of the genus range in size from the relatively small pigeon-size jackdaws to the largest the Common Raven. Crows are a gregarious communal territorial bird and have second to the macaw the largest brain mass in relation to body weight of all birds. Some of its family have recorded the largest E.Q. (Emotional Intelligence, which some scientist believe is more important than I.Q.), of all Avian. It lives up to the recorded record of thirty years, 20 years is not exceptional. They are able to mimic the human voice. They make their own tools and employ them to garner their food. They are capable of reasoning and problem solving. They mate for life. Before the global proliferation of man, the crow survived by feeding on everything available, non-vertebrates, nuts, berries, carrion or the odd young rabbit. He evolved to be an efficient scavenger caching his food over huge areas and able to relocate them in the future even under terrain changing deep snow. He has a prodigious memory. In their group relationships, they are known for their variety of calls. They have three distinct dialects which they employ for intimate family groups, clan and in swarming situations. They act communally to stamp out their territories and care for their young. One of the parents will stay with and teach the young for up to two or more years. This aspect, more than any other is extremely important as the elder birds have a large amount of time to impart skills to their young, ensuring their survival. The close roosting of the birds also shows strong bonds are built between family members especially mates where grooming is part of daily life. They employ sentinels to watch over the feeding communes much as other mammals do, with warning cries to alert them to threats. The warning calls differentiate between humans, hawks and other threats. Their face recognition skills and memory of them are formidable, being able to associate positive or negative experiences to those faces and maintaining the memory for years, this skill is applied to crows and humans alike. If a crow suffers a fatal accident the flock will abandon the area. In one case of vermin control where hundreds of crows were massacred they did not return to the area for three years. This Imply s sophisticated communication skills and memory. Studies show that they will protect an individual under threat from adversaries, acting together as a formidable unit in some cases. A social peer structure exists within communes, their placing within is decided by a form of aerial combat not unlike the children’s game “chicken”. When an individual discovers carrion, in some cases he will return to the flock to advise them and lead them to the carrion. This benefits the individual by safety in numbers principle. In some cases they lead wolves to the carcase so as to allow easier access to the meat therein. In areas with high food resources, his population grew and so did the competition for the food, the caching of food for future recovery took on complicated strategies. We are reminded of Game Theories famous “Prisoners Dilemma”. Crows need to hide their cache of food for future use, but only for its personal future use. The chance of stealing another’s cache is an option only taken by some birds, since it is not without risk. The hiding of a cache in a highly populous zone where the bird is observable may result in a cache being stolen. If a bird perceives he has been observed he will rebury it at a later time when he is sure that he is not under observation, assuring the caches security. Importantly this reburial procedure is only carried out by birds who are thieves themselves. Not all birds are “dishonest”! In the case of the thieves, this stratagem insinuates theory of mind. Observance of other bird’s caches is remembered and attempts will be made to steal their caches in the future when the owner is not present. Risk assessment is made as of “benefit” verses “danger”. So here we have the game hide your cache whilst keeping an eye out to ensure you are not observed. At the same time observing other members of the community to see where they are hiding their cache. Stealth, camouflage, patience, risk assessment, ability to project to the future and good observation are all stratagems employed. Developing strategies of these types ensures success in garnering more food and hence increases the chance of survival. The system of caching, the ability to recall the time of caching, its longevity, in the case of cached non vertebrates and location raises many issues and is seen as a precursor for brain growth. These types of brain activities until recently were believed to be distinct to humans. Let’s look at his contemporary behaviour and current research which is revealing new startling revelations that are rocking the scientific community. The New Caledonia crow has sophisticated tool orientated behaviour; it sets it apart from other bird species and even most primates. They employ four distinct tool types to forage for invertebrates. (Hunt 1996, 2002, 2004a) These tools are produced in a series of manufacturing steps and have complex shapes. They are the most sophisticated animal tools yet discovered. (Hunt 2000, 2004B) In one experiment two pairs of birds in a controlled study both exhibited the use of tools at the age of 80 days, whilst only one pair of birds were trained in this behaviour by its parents. This shows the tool use is a product of their memes. They are natural born tool makers. (Kenward et al. 2005) Crows can also design new tools when they need to. In the wild crows have been observed crafting tools such as hooked implements for the retrieval of non-vertebrates in holes and crevices. These tools are made in up to three stages and are transported to different locations to extract food from holes. This is the first case of crafting of tools by non-humans known. A great source of bird behaviour is Japanese crows have learnt to place walnuts in front of car tyres on roads to break the nuts. This behaviour started by dropping the nuts on the roads or rocks which was their traditional means of breaking them. Over a 20 year period the crows recognised that pedestrian crossings were advantageous locations for their endeavours as the vehicles slowed and stopped there offering a safe placement of the nut and it's recovery after being broken. When pedestrian traffic lights turn green, they swoop down and place the nuts in front of the wheels of vehicles. When the lights turn red they take up position on the side walk waiting for the green light whence they walk out on to the road and recover the broken walnut. If it is not broken they manoeuvre the walnut to a better location in front of the cars wheels. Watch this video on this site In another example of their versatility to problem solve, crows in Israel have learnt that in parks where people come to feed ducks, that uneaten bread crumbs, whilst being a source of food, are better employed by casting them on to the water where they are used as bait to catch fish. Watch these amazing videos . The cementing of our relationship with the crow came with the advent of agriculture whence man became settled relying on his crops to sustain him, the crops also sustained the crow. Competition for those resources has been a 10,000 year battle between the two. The competition for food resources is one of the most powerful motivators for discord within all the animal kingdom. Over the ages different strategies have been employed by the two opponents. This co evolution is well documented. The crow enjoys similar social groups to our own; its close relationship with us has resulted in co-evolutionary memic growth. The memic response to one groups strategies provokes a memic response to the others strategies and so on. For example children in small communities were employed at the time of sowing of crops and before harvest to chase the crows away. It is proposed that this game selected crows that developed patience and deviousness thus circumventing the vigilance of the children. This type of selection ensured the memic behavioural transmission to future generations. As man began to settle in villages, the crow moved in to take advantage of his wastefulness. There grew up a near symbiotic relationship with the crow adapting himself to man's ever increasing urbanisation, the crow efficiently disposed of all waste food stuffs that would have putrefied and been a hazard to the health of the commune. In communal environments, survival rely s on the understanding of the complicated social peer structures, competition for mates and assuring food resources. The understanding of planed actions and their resultant reactions is not a simple exercise for a brain. The specialization of survival within complex social groups is generally recognised as being one of the pressures that drove the development of our own brain size and subsequently E.Q. The same is proposed for the corvids. Now we must imagine small human societies where social time was spent exchanging fables and anecdotes to pass the time. In such societies the crow had established himself, but not in the same clandestine furtive manner as is the case of rats, mice or other vermin rather the crow has a high profile, it's big and black against the sky line, obvious, it's noisy and not easy ignored. If we were to play the psychoanalytic game of “free association” with the word “crow”, most people in the west would come up with the word “death” or another negative related association. This is not by chance of course; our religions, legends, mythology and folk lore are steeped in paradoxical references to the crow. In western culture, the majority of which, are negative. This is much more so in modernity. What are the roots of these associations? Can these connections be justified? The answers to these questions cannot be resolved briefly as they go back to the earliest of times, centred on the crow and his relationship with human beings. We must start in pre historic times when our survival was linked unequivocally to our observance of nature. Our understanding of nature, the necessity to predict its actions and reactions were fundamental to our survival. It was the same for the crow. So we observed him and he observed us. The darkness of the night presented us with survival challenges and quite early in our history night was related to black and was given ominous negative values. These negative values were associated with objects and enter-ties coloured black. Later in history these black associations were assimilated into myth legend and religions. The corvids are black. Our hearing developed first as a defence system to guard against attack by building a catalogue of sounds and there interpretations. Different sounds are associated with different risks or pleasure feelings. Alarm sounds from animals and birds alert us to danger. They act as early warning signals for us. The raucous cackle of a group of crows disturbs and irritates us. The alarm call of a close unobserved crow can scare or surprise us. The alarm call of the crow alerts us to danger. Since the beginnings of time, man has looked to nature to draw on his artistic, mythological and religious inspiration. The crow’s high profile and integration within human communities made him a natural choice to draw on. Further and most importantly it was his similarities in social organization and interaction that would provide such a parallel of material for interpretation by humans. One factor more than any other mapped out their image for us. As human civilization grew so did confrontation and so inevitably to war. The corvids were first to appear after battles or outside medieval hospitals waiting for their spoils. Again their high profile and raucous behaviour seared their image as carrion eaters of the worst kind into the minds of humans. The gouging of eyes was there first angle of attack. Our language took in new phrases, “leave him to the crows” nautical “crow’s nest”, a place of punishment, “peck your eyes out”. Systems of law and punishments grew within society, hanging, strangulation etc. all designed to control the masses. So from early times the corpses were left on “gibbets” or “crosses” for public scrutiny to effect repulsion, disgust and to deter. What better than the crows and ravens picking the corpse clean to add more disgust and horror to the punishment. Eastern religions can treat this behaviour in different manners, sometimes seen as positive. These spectacles of horror brought religious connotations with them. Since the corpse would never be laid to rest. In the above case human beings actively took advantage of the corvids natural place in the food chain to enhance his power of control. Another big bad propaganda agent against the crow was his propensity to decimate crops. Humans reacted to defend their resource by killing the crows and hanging them around the fields of crops as a deterrent. This worked fine, but left a spectacle for humans to observe as the crows decomposed within their view. This is another demoniacal image, which became seared into our culture. In the mid-west of America in the 1800 s the idea of the scare crow was developed; the imagery became fabled and later used in books and films. The German settlers in America called them Bootzamon which was corrupted to bogeyman. I think as children we all had sleepless nights imagining scenarios of ourselves pitted against the dreaded bogeyman. It is proposed that the words, ravenous - extreme hunger and ravage - to plunder and destroy, take their roots from the observance of the strategies employed by ravens, a member of the same family “Corvids”. Although most people cannot tell them apart...the raven has a third more body weight. A murder of crows has become the collective for crows. People observed and misinterpreted territorial disputes between crows. Invaders of territories would be harried, killed and eaten. The crows were observed to sit in trees as a court sits in judgement of the accused prior to execution. A funeral of crows is another common phrase in our language, referring to a phenomenon which occurs upon the death of a crow within a community. The crows will gather around on perches in silence and pass sometime before to flying away. The parallel with human death rituals is one that brings obvious imagery to mind. From the advent of documented legend, mythology, pagan religions to mono theism the Corvid family has been abused in various ways within our culture. Represented as deities, entities, and characters symbolised to teach moral values, they have been used all over the world in all civilizations. Examples are too numerous to mention here. There is a general disparity between east and west in their values, the western value being predominately negative. If you Google crow and religion you will have your reading cut out for you. For this exercise it is enough to generalise and say their image is associated with thievery, trickery, deceit, the abominable and all associations with the diabolical. To further my cause of changing your view of the above picture it is necessary to explain briefly the major mechanism that has orchestrated this tarnishing of the crow’s image in our minds. Anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphic coming from the Greek – anthropos meaning - human and morphe meaning - form or shape. The Oxford dictionary definition of anthropomorphic – the attributing human form or personality to a god, animal etc. We will use the following definition in the discussion below. Anthropomorphism is any attributing of real or imagined non-human entities with human characteristics, motivations, intentions and emotions. I have been surprised that on researching the psychology of anthropomorphism that this subject has been all but ignored until recently. New research is being done that I have to admit is extremely complicated. The science involved is multidisciplinary fusion and as such an unresolved terminology minefield. The basic problem seems to be that to research this subject different scientific disciplines are required. Within these disciplines there are many unresolved issues, (philosophy, theory of mind, theory of theory and many more), which are the very tools necessary as instruments of analysis and resolution of anthropomorphism. White papers abound that spend more time clearing the terminology and defining the language to be applied than arriving to any clear conclusions. As such there are limited resources available. It's clear that there is a relationship between human anthropomorphic psychology and its evolutionary benefits for human beings, but that relationship as yet is not clearly defined. The other problem appears to be the direction from which funding is coming. This is having a big influence since the majority of research which seems to be based around robotics, artificial intelligence or computer interfaces. This one can understand in our capitalist driven world. Let’s now examine the origins and implication of man’s necessity for anthropomorphizing the world he sees around him, since this will allow us to understand how and why the corvid family have been endued with such a negative image. The similarities between humans and corvids, reference our social and behavioural similarities (“personality”) are profound and numerous. By the act of recognition of our similarities we are more aware of our own behaviour by the mirror effect and can draw comparisons which allow us to look anew at ourselves. Our basic cognitive process follows the acquisition of knowledge, the activation of that knowledge and the application of it to a given target. The application of the knowledge to a given target may be modified by drawing on and integrating alternative knowledge structures that are co activated at the same time. Studies show that individuals with minimum social skills and ties or simply isolated are more prone to anthropomorphising the world around themselves. Hence, small groups of individuals will subscribe to the same stresses of isolation today and in antiquity. Studies have shown that we do not subject anthropomorphizing to all of our surroundings but generally focus on objects or animals that display behavioural similarities, conform to human stereo types, have activities similar to our own or are apt to display and insinuate mind The crow with its high profile for fills all the requisites to attract man’s attention to it as a prime target for anthropomorphism. Social interaction allows us to build models of ourselves and others by employing empathy; this type of interaction is not without cost in terms of time, attention level and mental effort. Its value lies in enabling interaction with the world that directly benefits the self. There is a clear benefit in rapidly activating anthropomorphic knowledge in times of stress where judgements cannot be made on readily accessible or limited knowledge. Rather than engaging valuable cognitive resources in analysis of complex situations where information is not readily accessible, judgements can be made by accessing anthropomorphic knowledge, (models) and modifying it with any other readily accessible information. Anthropomorphism is a valuable tool in the economical use of a valuable resource, “mind”. Hence by employing an anthropomorphic shift, which is the reduction, simplification of complex behavioural patterns of the nature viewed around us and interpreting those behaviours in readily assessable learnt behaviour, (human), we are able to more easily digest, manage and interpret the world with less cognitive resources being consumed. This is interpretable as amount of time used by our cognitive processes interpreting actions of animals, objects whilst that resource could be dedicated elsewhere. This results in our world view being reduced to a more manageable level. Allowing us to predict out comes of our interaction with it economically, allowing our minds to dedicate time to other problems. This implies that in certain life threatening scenarios, the employment of anthropomorphic models would hold evolutionary benefit to those employing them by rapidly deploying strategies to deal with the situations expeditiously. In Darwinism evolutionary terms, there always has to be a payoff attributable to adopted behavioural tendencies. The absence of research in this area is surprising. It has been proposed that anthropomorphic shift has produced benefits for us such as in the case of integration, exploitation of and domestication of animals to suit man’s needs. This makes perfect sense to me and enforces the payoff of the memic evolution of anthropomorphism. This process of giving mind to animals and inanimate objects allows us to interact with nature in a more finite way and therefore predict out comes of interaction within the world around us. There lies the advantage as a survival strategy. By applying human characteristics and motivation, (personality) to non-human objects we give ourselves a better chance of interpreting the actions of that agent faster. Anthropomorphism thus gives us a testable guide to predict actions of the agent and how we should react to it. By empowering corvids with mind, we are able to detach ourselves from him to see him as a self-determinate entity given a choice of altering his own course of interaction with the environment. Consequently we see his actions as deliberate and open to judgement and punishment. Thus we have monitored him and his actions, extracting and defining our own values, giving clearer meaning to our actions. The anthropomorphism of the corvids behaviour have been embellished and assimilated into myths, legends. Finally religious meanings are extracted and become moral instructions for society. My mission in this essay is to clear the name of the corvid from what could be seen as a conspiracy. Yes, what could be called a conspiracy of defamation of character? Obviously there is no such conspiracy, just layers co evolutionary interplay over thousands of years, that have, I believe inevitably lead to the Crows current image. Modernity has brought with it a saturation of anthropomorphic imagery, literature and poetry etc. Today’s animated cartoons characterisations, from Mickey Mouse to Bugs Bunny the list is endless are purely anthropomorphic extrapolations. The film industry has made use of “demonic Crow imagery”, from Hitchcock's “Birds” to the myriad of horror films. Together with past religions, today’s media have endued the Corvids with an image so negative and demoniacally black, that the whole propaganda campaign could not have been better designed and orchestrated if it had had Edward Bernays in collaboration with Joseph Goebbels as its perpetrators. The corvid family is not alone in man’s anthropomorphic negative imagery of wildlife. The sexier lions, panthers and tigers fare far better. Whilst they do hold some negative connotations, they get away with acting as animals do, namely surviving within the bounds set by nature. The killing and eating of live animals for their nourishment goes nearly unnoticed. They are admired and revered for their stealth speed and strength. Corvids do no more and no less, they follow the dictates of their genes. So there I rest the case for the defence of the corvid family. They have just been pursuing the dictates of their genes, the same as the above examples and the rest of nature. The jury may be out, but I for one will shout not guilty. In fact, there is a clear case for defamation of character. Some aspiring lawyer out there should get of his ass and sue humanity for Humanities crimes of defamation of character against the family of corvids. Now you may be asking, but what of the syringe? The syringe is another ball game. From early childhood we are terrorized by its imagery, the inoculation of the Diphtheria, tetanus and polio booster for most of us is our first encounter with it, waiting outside the nurse’s door trembling in dread of the needle breaking off or a bad reaction to the vaccine. Then we must consider the dentist, more fear, more dread. Later in life it's associated with drug users, over doses, needle sharing and A.I.D.S....death. The word JAB is part of our vocabulary carrying along with it the dark connotation of violence. The phobia of the needle is almost pandemic. Yes, it is uncomfortable and at times involves a short period of pain. But, hasn't the short discomfort been blown out of all proportions? If we stop now and rationalise, “be objective”, we can erase the fear the dread of the syringe. What is the syringe used for 99.9999999% of the time? To cure, to prevent illness, infection and control pain!!!! In effect there is no rational reason for its phobia. The syringe should be the icon of modern medicine, with its use, we save millions of lives each year. It has made the world a better place to live in. What more do I have to say here....the syringe should only endue us with connotations that are positive, positive, positive. Don't even try to imagine a world without it. So let’s see how many of you can embrace a paradigm shift with relation to this picture. Are you able to throw away your prejudices, lock away your confirmation bias, change your mind and view the picture above in a rational objective manner...see it in a new light....see it from the below perspective; The picture shows simply a dead bird, a Crow, which has full filled its natural life, passed on its genes to further the evolution of its species. There is no sadness in this, just celebration and wonder of the miracle of nature’s grand design. Since, upon its corruption it will provide sustenance to nurture new life and the tobacco plant around which it is wrapped will grow taller and stronger, fulfilling its life’s dictates to proliferate its genes. The miracle of life’s circular efficiency, new life from old is beautiful, only beautiful and hence there can be no other objective rational interpretation of this imagery. The syringe is a metaphor. It represents this trial by picture, a cure, a vaccine, redemption for man’s defamation of character of the Corvids. The metaphor is an inoculation against stereo typing. The metaphor is a vaccination against confirmation bias and preconceived prejudices. Can you get there????!!!!!........... I hope that you can!!!!! References; University of Oxford. Behavioural ecology research group … Please visit Gavin Hunt and Russel Gray, here you will find a clip by David Attenborough that is truly amazing Watch these amazing videos..... tool making crow …....................... The Mentality of Crows: Convergent Evolution of Intelligence in Corvids and Apes by Nathan J. Emery1 and Nicola S. Clayton Is an intriguing read If you watch anything watches this video all rights reserved copyright tio tom tomlinson. [email protected] 34 637755666 All rights reserved, copyright by tio tom tomlinson.

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