I’m in the New England area for the next few weeks and have been spending a bit of time around the Harvard campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s a beautiful campus, with large, dark red brick buildings set in between some old New England neighborhoods with much greenery that are perfect for evening strolls. The picture above was taken on the second-to-last floor of their psychology building. Being a casual observer, I have noted a couple of things that struck out as different from where I’m coming from (the South).
Compared to Texas and Florida, the first thing I noticed is the near-complete absence of soft drink vending machines. Almost every business and building on campus at my university and my undergraduate institution have at least one
Continue reading “Boston’s Brains, Bicycles, and Behaviors: Casual Observations in Cambridge”
I was recently given the opportunity by the kind folks at Areo Magazine to publish a few opinions of mine on the nature of human cooperation titled, “The Selfish Nature of Human Cooperation,” which you can find in a link at the bottom of this post.
The article, which is about a 9 minute read, argues that most of the time when anthropologists et al align cooperation with some sort of moral good, we fail to take into account the mechanisms by which cooperation is maintained and what the purpose of cooperation is. Since I decided to soft-dox myself by publishing it under my real name, I don’t want to get into too many polemics on who this piece though.
Target audience aside, the article had some good feedback, but I wanted to address a point made by Siberian Fox (@SilverVVulpes on Twitter).
Continue reading ““The Selfish Nature of Human Cooperation” Re: Punishment Games”
technology changes structures in ways completely unanticipated and unwanted
“Man becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine world, as the bee of the plant world, enabling it to fecundate and to evolve ever new forms. The machine world reciprocates man’s love by expediting his wishes and desires, namely, in providing him with wealth.” – Marshall McLuhan, 1964
“The technology is the independent variable, the social system the dependent variable. Social systems are therefore determined by systems of technology; as the latter change, so do the former.” – Leslie White, 1949
The role between the structure of cultural systems and the agency of the actors within them has received a great deal of attention in the anthropological literature since the 1990s. Although we know that most people are constrained by the structure imposed upon them, it is true that from time to time people do manage to change the structure they are in Continue reading “Structure, Agency, and..Energy?!”