luni, 26 aprilie 2010

The Philosopher's Diet - How to Lose Weight and Change the World

I came across this book when I was feeling very sad and decided to buy it because it seemed like an interesting subject. Now that I have finished reading it I can only take a time and enjoy the great pleasure it has provided me.

Richard Watson takes on food and on the image people tend to make regarding their body. In a drastic move, he challenges beliefs about body image and what it means to be beautiful for each and every one of us. From this point everything starts to unfold.

We are presented with a new way of seeing life, which is basically to try and do what makes us feel good, without harming anyone. The point is to try to stick to a program(if we choose so) and to be in complete control over your life. It is worth being in control.

Although I don't have experience in life, and in life's matters, the arguments sounded convincing. After all I want to take my fate into my own hands and to put my mark on my life. I must confess, I do not want to lose 9 kilograms, like the author suggests in order to be sure that we are dedicated to ourselves and to our decisions,but I do feel like I could be in control of what I choose to eat, and by doing that to change the world.

Maybe you will find the book and the message convincing, maybe not, nonetheless it is a very stimulating reading.

Have a tasty meal!

marți, 20 aprilie 2010

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Two days ago I finished The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes/The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I enjoyed it very much, and although I have seen some of the oldest movies with Sherlock Holmes and the new one I found the book very intriguing.

It sets the character in a perspective from which you wished you could have known him better. Holmes is the prototype of the modern detective, with an eye for keen observations and the fine intellectual equipment for astounding deductions. I must admit that since I started reading this novel I tried to see more with my eyes and to understand the small clues all around me.

The elegance and the parsimony of actions really makes him unique. His energy and sense of action make him a great helper of those in need. Mycroft(his brother)could indeed say that Sherlock has inherited all the energy in the family, because Holmes not only makes hypothesis about the facts, he also tries to test them in various ways, often implying the art of metamorphosis and acting to make his impersonations plausible.

Although his archenemy only comes to light in his memoirs in the last adventure it only sets a comparison to the mind and intelligence of this brilliant character. Prof. Moriarty is the renown mathematician who runs the criminal world in London. It would only seem fair that they would find their end together in their last meeting. Two great minds, one in the service of good and the other one in the service of crime, two complementary parts that could only be reduced by one another. For this reason Holmes chooses to remain in the service of good and to sacrifice his life for it.

A great ending to a great man. It almost leaves me with a feeling of sadness and yet with a feeling of universal harmony in things. Maybe that was just Sir Conan Doyle's literary style, but nonetheless a truly enjoyable book.

joi, 8 aprilie 2010

The Selfish Gene

Last night I finished reading The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. It was very revealing and it changed a bit my perspective on life, only just a bit(one of the revolutionary moments was when I read On the origin of the species, by you know who: Ch. Darwin).

Ok, so the perspective that got changed was: I always expected that people were good in their nature, not stained by some primeval sin(as some religions might tell you ).

As I was reading it appeared that some of the strategies employed by people to live in this world might seem nice, and they are beautiful behaviors sometimes, but put in the perspective of a replicator which only tends to multiply in the gene pool and we can see ourselves only as vehicles. Now, all our behaviors are designed, and selected to maximize the replicators success in multiplying. So, in our time it might seem that being nice to one another gives us some advantages, but only think of the advantages it gives to the replicator. We all know the examples of altruism between kin or people sharing the same environment. Dawkins reintroduces the idea of an Evolutionary Stable Strategy(ESS- Maynard-Smith) to exemplify those strategies which are best adapted to the environment and give the more advantages to the replicator. After all, being nice is advantageous to us, because we can build trust to obtain benefits which in turn can be put as an opportunity to have better conditions for life, or at least to the point of the biggest importance to the replicator: our reproductive period when we pass on the replicator.

Of course human nature is more complex and sometimes it might seem a bit brutal to try to think of some altruistic behaviors only as a product of our selfish gene, but other times it might shed some understanding on other behaviors like, we do we sometimes not help those not around us. After all, it seems to me we do process some kind of discrimination regarding altruistic behavior between our in-group, kin, and the out-grup - “the others”.

In a more optimistic view I think if we only could use the information available to us to think, and view all the other people as some kind of relative with which we share a certain amount of genes we could see a lot more altruistic behaviors.

That’s only a hope for the nearest future. After all, although those who know me might not consider me an optimist I think optimistically about the future if we choose to use the knowledge and not let ourselves be used by it(as opposed to all the information of dubious provenience which circles around).

marți, 6 aprilie 2010

Questions regarding life

Well, as you all know we tend to live and not think of death in many of our days. It's a great thing because we are more aware of living than the terminus that expects us all.

These days I started thinking more about life and death, although it appears that not a day goes by without these sort of thought. Anyway in the life category of thoughts are some questions which I would like to address you.

1. Why do they say that when you have flatulence you weigh more? Isn't gas suppose to make you lighter?
I'm still trying to find this out so if you come by a relevant article or piece of information let me know.

2. Why do we all assume that we will live a long healthy life, and forget that we might have to endure a long death(for example suffering from a debilitating disease)?
A possible answer for this might be the optimism we have regarding life, that it won't happen to us, and I believe that the reasoning might use the same principle that we apply everyday: not thinking about our ephemera nature and instead we choose an illusion as if we are suppose to live indefinitely.

Other questions might arise and I will pose them then.

If you have theories, hypothesis or anything related to this topic let me know.

luni, 5 aprilie 2010

Tree of Life

If you happen to come across a nice poster with 2009's BBC Tree of Life please send me one. I've tried for so long to find a copy of it, being all interested in science and evolution.

Thank you!