|Persona Digital Books|
Persona Books, an integrated collection
The first book in this series, Human Nature, presents essential knowledge of human nature, a 21st century description of anthropology, neuroscience, sociology and psychology - disciplines that need to be integrated as they are in this book. The topics are essential to understanding human nature, its origins and its problems. You could treat each topic as module of a larger system that develops emergent properties as the modules interact. Each reader discovers the features of human nature in himself or herself and then discovers similar features in others. After you understand more about the dynamics of close relationships, you can look at larger groups. You can continue by applying your insights into human dynamics to governments, countries and international affairs. All the Persona Digital books describe the same dynamics but emphasize different vantage points, contributions from different disciplines and the needs of different readers. Taken together, the books provide a comprehensive understanding of human nature.
Human Nature represents essential knowledge of human nature, a 21st century description of anthropology, neuroscience, sociology and psychology - disciplines that need to be integrated as they are in this book. The topics are essential to understanding human nature, its origins and its problems. You could treat each topic as module of a larger system that develops emergent properties as the modules interact. Each reader discovers the features of human nature in himself or herself and then discovers similar features in others. After you understand more about the dynamics of close relationships, you can look at larger groups. You can continue by applying your insights into human dynamics to governments, countries and international affairs. All the Persona Digital books describe the same dynamics but emphasize different vantage points. Contributions from different disciplines serves the needs of different readers. Taken together, the books provide a comprehensive understanding of human nature.
Surviving Human Nature focuses on the contradictions, paradoxes and destructive tendencies inherent in human nature. Dr. G wrote:" In Surviving Human Nature, I review the most urgent problems that all humans share. I suggest solutions based on a current and detailed understanding of human nature. I realize that all the issues I discuss are complex. I am examining the negative features of humans without relinquishing hope. I am naturally optimistic and I have enjoyed a privileged life. At the same time, I am well informed and not afraid to confront the negative aspects of my nature and human nature in general.
The 20th Century was the century of domination of planet earth by a single species. Human activities have become all pervasive and clusters of human constructions have replaced the natural world in all habitable regions of the planet. Human events are deeply troubling overall but at the same time, much has been accomplished in reaching for a sustainable, good life for some but not all humans. At least one billion humans live in poverty, vulnerable to disease, famine, natural disasters, injury and death inflicted by other humans. The 20th century will be remembered as the century of waking up to the universe as it is. We woke up to our own nature and responsibility and can no longer plead ignorance Humans changed the face of planet, driven animals and plants into extinction, invented hydrogen bombs and other sophisticated killing machinery. Humans fought wars, experimented with different social, political and economic models of society. We survived two world wars and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Some of us now enjoy unprecedented security and prosperity. Of all human folly, the American-Russian military competition was the winner in the insane game category, mutually assured destruction with hydrogen bombs. A reprieve was achieved with the collapse of the Soviet Union; however, the bombs have not gone away and the threat of destruction will recur unless a new international government is successful in creating a more rational and compassionate world with enforceable laws against killing and habitat destruction. We have experimented with international coalitions and dreamed of a benevolent world government but the negative features of human nature prohibit the realization of the dream. We understood that persistent and unreasonable conflict is characteristic of humans. Humans have proliferated beyond reasonable numbers and despite amazing advances in science and technology; we have not achieved sustainable levels of population. Climate, breathable air, food, water and energy are finite resources that will limit the success of expanding populations. Our infrastructures are temporary and vulnerable. Most reasonable people now know that we can no longer rely on our instincts and let nature take its course. Nor can we carry on with outdated social, religious and economic ideologies based on misunderstandings of human nature and planet ecology. We have to become better informed and more deliberate. We have to think ourselves out of some dangerous predicaments and we need new ideas of social organization.
The book, I and Thou, focuses on intimate relationships. Innate
tendencies are hard at work when people meet, become lovers and end with
arguments and fighting. The same tendencies determine how family members
interact and explain why so many families are “dysfunctional.” When lovers form
an enduring pair bond, they often become parents and everything changes. Humans seek bonding with others are distressed when they become isolated.
Humans bond to each other in several ways. The most enduring bonds are
kin-related, based on closely shared genes. The deepest bonding occurs when
mother and infant are together continuously from birth and mother breast-feeds
the infant. Bonds among family members are the most enduring. Bonds to friends,
lovers and spouses are the next most significant. Bonds to colleagues, neighbors
and even strangers that are admired from a distance are next. Friendships are
often temporary bonds, based on the need to affiliate with others for
protection, social status, feeding, sex and fun. Success in business and
professions is dependent on affiliations with others. Success depends on what
you know, on who you know and how well you are regarded. Affiliations are
ephemeral and must be maintained by regular contact, grooming, food sharing,
expressions of conformity and concern, and exchange of gifts and favors.
Trust is established over time by regular and reliable maintenance of
affiliation. The strongest connections are maintained by grooming, eating and
sleeping together. Social conventions rely on bonding. Descriptions such as
“love, affection, friendship, loyalty, duty, faith, and obligation” refer to
affiliation and bonding. Humans groups employ bonding strategies intentionally –
initiating new members into the group with rituals, secrets, symbols, costumes
and codes that distinguish members from non-members. Groups emphasize special
privileges given to members and resist attempts of outsiders to enjoy these
privileges. The most celebrated bonding is described as "falling in love" and
occurs between individuals who are not related. The experience of falling in
love is a complex of feelings, emotions, perceptions and cognitions designed to
bring to two people together in a tight, exclusive bond that supports
reproduction. The essential feature of falling in love is a fascination with
another person coupled with a drive to be with them and to protect them. Men
often idealize their loved one and suspend business as usual in favor of serving
the needs of their potential spouses. Women are overwhelmed with maternal
feelings and fantasies of home, the family, and enduring devotion and support of
the male. The female task to choose the right male, motivate and train him to
devote all his resources to her and her children.
The book, Language and Thinking, focuses on the innate features of language and identify the uses and abuses of language in the creation of social truths and lies. Language is an important tool and determinant of social interactions. From the introduction. "Humans resemble other animals in their ability to communicate. Communications involve chemical senses, sounds, body language, and visual signals. Communication is all about community, sharing information, sending warning signals and fulfilling the needs of the group. Human languages combine many different expressions of communication in a complex manner. Ideas about written language tend to dominate scholarly investigations, but sounds and gestures have been more important in the evolution of communication systems. Speaking is a spontaneous feature of the brain, and all normal children will speak if they hear a language spoken; any language will do. Older infants imitate words they hear spoken and if adults engage them in conversation, will expand their vocabularies and start to make meaningful statements."
Intelligence and Learning describes the origins and features
of intelligence. Learning is discussed in terms of neuroscience. Education is
reviewed with a view to needed reformations for the 21st century. The challenge
is to become intelligent about intelligence. Humans have a great interest and
ability to create nonsense. You could argue that many of the features of
intelligence are deployed in the cause of nonsense but nonsense is not
intelligent. Intelligence is really about survival in a threatening world.
Humans survive because of the genius abilities such as vision, hearing, skilled
movement and speech; abilities that are built into their brain, innate gifts
from nature. Humans do not learn how to see or how to hear what is going on out
there, but they do have to learn what it means to them today. This is an
interactive process. Speech is a form of sound interaction. Although modern
humans tend to emphasize individual thought and expression, most “thinking” is
talking in groups. The value of speech is to connect individuals in “thinking”
groups. Books and other publications link large numbers of humans in common
patterns of language-dependent thinking. The newest human abilities are more
dependent on learning and are the least reliable. Reasoning, planning and
learning to tolerate other humans in a friendly constructive manner require the
most sustained practice. The term, “nice,’ refers to these characteristics and
therefore nice people require sustained learning to remain reasonable, to
tolerate others and to behave in a friendly, constructive manner. To become nice
and to remain rational and skilled, a human must belong to and work within a
supportive group that shares these characteristics. Human groups often have the
opposite effect, supporting intolerant and irrational thinking and behavior.
The book, Children and Family, examines the intense interactions of
parents and children. From Dr. G's preface:" Parents receive a lot of advice
from many people. Popular magazines and books offer a continuous stream of
conflicting advice. Professionals have a variety of opinions about child-rearing
that range from helpful suggestions to misleading and even bizarre ideas. Child
psychology is an eclectic assembly of ideas, miscellaneous observations,
opinions, fears and irrational beliefs. Confusion prevails in education about
what children should learn and how they should learn it. Parents receive a lot
of advice from many people. Popular magazines and books offer a continuous
stream of conflicting advice. Professionals have a variety of opinions about
child-rearing that range from helpful suggestions to misleading and even bizarre
ideas. Child psychology is an eclectic assembly of ideas, miscellaneous
observation, opinions, fears and irrational beliefs. Confusion prevails in
education about what children should learn, when and how they should learn it.
If psychologists, physicians, and educators are confused, what about parents?
The best parents are pragmatic and not theorists. They stay involved with their
children, follow some basic guidelines they learned and tend to do whatever
works. Good parents improvise childcare with a combination of innate generosity,
common sense, love and concessions to the demands of modern life.
The author states:" This book emerged from notes I have kept for several decades. Over many years, I have learned more about music theory, electronics applied to sound reproduction and to performance skills. Music descriptions often are often complicated and the use of terms can be inconsistent and confusing. As with other subjects I have tackled, I assumed that with a little extra effort more precise descriptions would be welcomed by readers seeking a practical understanding of music. We begin with a consideration of what sound is and how animals use sounds to communicate. Music is not a human invention, but we do elaborate sound communication more than other animals in our production of both speech and musical performances. The discussion continues with noise, an important topic that is poorly understood. A well informed musician will refrain from making noise and understand Ambrose Bierce when he stated: Of all noise, music is the least offensive." I include both acoustic and electronic instruments in my discussions of music creation. In my world, electronics dominate every aspect of work and play and most music I create and listen to was created, stored and distributed electronically. The art and science of recording is an important study for all 21st century musicians. Increased sophistication about the nature of sound, the art of combining musical sounds, and the effect on the listener's brain are all required for music to advance beyond noise toward a more effective means of human communication."
Neuroscience Notes places the human brain at the center of the universe. Everyone needs to know something about neuroscience. The brain has become a popular topic in all media, but confusions arise when the brain becomes an abstract fantasy in the minds of journalists and product promoters. While it is true that brain is the organ of the mind, our language makes it difficult to speak correctly at different levels of meaning. Neuroscience notes will give the intelligent reader and understanding of how the brain actually works.
Neuroscience views minds as manifestations of the living processes found in
brains. Brain science does not "explain" mind, or consciousness, but does give
us strategies for understanding the properties of mind. Neuroscientists have
made rapid progress in the past few decades and some of them are asking the same
sorts of questions that only philosophers used to ask. The difference is that
neuroscientists are sometimes able to ask more specific questions that may lead
to more insight into the basic principles of the human experience.
Neuroscientists are motivated and equipped to find real and practical answers to
philosophical questions, leaving philosophers behind in an anachronistic
philological niche, repeating discussions of what philosophers said hundreds to
thousands of years ago. This is not to argue that all neuroscientists are
philosophers or that all neuroscientists understand the human mind, since many
are focused on highly specialized tasks that reveal little or nothing about how
the whole system works. Neuroscience is the broad inquiry into the structure and
function of animal nervous systems. Neuroscience begins with the consideration
of how the simplest animals on the planet interact with their environments. The
deep sense that develops in humans who study and understand life is that every
creature that lives on planet earth shares common properties. Nervous systems
allow organisms to sense, decide, act and remember. These properties begin as
simple devices and evolve into sensing strategies that are increasingly
complicated, more accurate and more effective. A complex device such as the
human eye is easier to understand if you already understand a simple device such
as light detecting pigment spot in a snail. Thus, it makes sense for a
neuroscientist to study all animals and to assume that principles learned about
older, simpler animals can be applied to newer, more complex animals such as
humans. Bodybrainmind is an open-ended, self-regulating system, highly
responsive to the molecular determinants impinging on it through food and the
environment. Life is an expression of cells, tiny containers of molecular codes
and metabolic processes. In system terms, a living cell is a self-regenerating,
recursive system that can reproduce itself through cell division.
The book, Religion for the 21st Century, examines how innate tendencies are expressed as religions and how religions in the past have created conflicts that threaten human survival or, at least, hinder progress toward solutions. New religions and variations on old religions continue to emerge. The book examines the best paths for religious renewal in the 21st century.
Any discussion of religion invites misunderstanding and conflict. No
discussion of religion will make sense until the importance of group identity is
understood. Humans may sometimes look like individuals, but the truth is that
all humans are members of local groups that determine what they know, how they
communicate and how they treat other humans. Each local group develops stories,
beliefs and rules. Collections of local groups with special beliefs into larger
organizations are often described as “religion.” Members of local groups are
described as “religious” if they recite group slogans, attend meetings and
celebrations. Religions often claim special privileges for their members so that
the term “religious” is used to claim advantages and superior moral authority
where none actually exists. The idea of large multinational organizations called
“religions” is misleading. At best, the idea of religion is a fuzzy category
that implies more coherence than can be found in the real world. Religion is a
Persona Digital publishes a series of books on current topics in psychology, neuroscience, music and philosophy. eBooks and can be downloaded to any destination on the planet. Alpha Online supplies detailed book information with selected topics from each book. Download orders are completed at Alpha Online.
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