Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Camille Paglia on Emily Dickinson

Camille Paglia on Emily Dickinson (Sexual Personae, Yale Univ. Press, 1990, p 638-9)

Changed formatting, changed continuity, split whenever & wherever I liked:

  • Dickinson’s nature has two faces, savage and serene.
  • heaven is stasis, a permafrost of nonbeing.
  • The bride poems are clever hoaxes that turn princesses into pumpkins, mere chunks of debris.
  • Corpses drop into the grave with a thud. A frequent finale is a slow fade, the voice fumbling for words, as consciousness gutters out.
  • The sadomasochistic poems are the tectonic, the slow brute contortions of the frigid mineral world. It is botany versus geology, spring destroyed by winter. 
  •  Speaking of the widespread “horror of reptiles,” G. Wilson Knight claims we would prefer death by tiger to death by boa constrictor or octopus: “From such cold life we have risen, and the evolutionary thrust has a corresponding backward disgust. … And since we do not know what to make of tentacles mindlessly groping and distrust the clammy sea-moistures of the body, we fear especially our sex-organs with multiform inhibitions, seeing in them shameful serpentine and salty relations. And yet this fear is one with a sort of fascination."

 


Remembering everyday events typically takes less time than the actual duration of the retrieved episodes, a phenomenon that has been referred to as the temporal compression of events in episodic memory

Slices of the past: how events are temporally compressed in episodic memory. Arnaud D’Argembeau, Olivier Jeunehomme & David Stawarczyk. Memory, Mar 9 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2021.1896737

Rolf Degen's take: Similar to the "life review" near death, where the whole life flashes before the inner eye at a time-lapse pace, our everyday memories also contain a compressed version of events, with a "lossy compression" mode, like MP3

Abstract: Remembering everyday events typically takes less time than the actual duration of the retrieved episodes, a phenomenon that has been referred to as the temporal compression of events in episodic memory. Here, we review recent studies that have shed light on how this compression mechanism operates. The evidence suggests that the continuous flow of experience is not represented as such in episodic memory. Instead, the unfolding of events is recalled as a succession of moments or slices of past experience that includes temporal discontinuities—portions of past experience are omitted when remembering. Consequently, the rate of event compression is not constant but depends on the density of recalled segments of past experience.

KEYWORDS: Episodic memoryevent segmentationcompressiontimeautobiographical memory


Trying to make someone else happy leads to greater subjective well-being than trying to make oneself happy; trying to make others happy is more personally beneficial than when others try to make us happy

Happiness comes from trying to make others feel good, rather than oneself. Liudmila Titova & Kennon M. Sheldon. The Journal of Positive Psychology, Mar 8 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2021.1897867

Abstract: Americans are guaranteed the right to ‘pursue happiness’ for themselves. But might they be better off if they pursued happiness for others? In five studies, we compared the two strategies, showing that, ironically, the second pursuit brings more personal happiness than the first. Retrospective study 1 (N = 123) and experimental studies 2 (N = 96) and 3 (N = 141) show that trying to make someone else happy leads to greater subjective well-being than trying to make oneself happy. In all three studies, relatedness need-satisfaction mediated the condition differences. Study 4 (N = 175) extended the findings by showing that trying to make others happy is more personally beneficial than when others try to make us happy. Study 5 (N = 198) found that feeding strangers’ parking meters produced the effect even though the participant did not interact with the targeted other.

KEYWORDS: Well-beinghappinessSDTrelatedness


Sociopolitical conservatism is extraordinarily heritable (74%) for the most informed fifth of the public, much more so than population-level results (57%), or 29% for the public’s bottom half

Kalmoe, N., & Johnson, M. (2021). Genes, Ideology, and Sophistication. Journal of Experimental Political Science, 1-12, Mar 2021. doi:10.1017/XPS.2021.4

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1369339571469684738

Abstract: Twin studies function as natural experiments that reveal political ideology’s substantial genetic roots, but how does that comport with research showing a largely nonideological public? This study integrates two important literatures and tests whether political sophistication – itself heritable – provides an “enriched environment” for genetic predispositions to actualize in political attitudes. Estimates from the Minnesota Twin Study show that sociopolitical conservatism is extraordinarily heritable (74%) for the most informed fifth of the public – much more so than population-level results (57%) – but with much lower heritability (29%) for the public’s bottom half. This heterogeneity is clearest in the Wilson–Patterson (W-P) index, with similar patterns for individual index items, an ideological constraint measure, and ideological identification. The results resolve tensions between two key fields by showing that political knowledge facilitates the expression of genetic predispositions in mass politics.