Words that reveal seminal ideas.

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altruistic, motivated by an interest in improving the condition of others, selfless actions on behalf of some greater good.

anachronistic, the attribution of a costume, design, or instrument to an improper period in history, such as a wristwatch or mechanical clock in the Roman Republic, or the use of gunpowder by the Greeks in the Peloponesian war. These items were not invented until after the Greco-Roman periods.

atavistic,   the reappearance in the distant offspring of diseases or of peculiarities found in a distant ancestor, a reversion to ancestral behavior or conditions in an existing descendant.

avatar,   the reincarnation of a sacred personage in Hindu mysticism where the deity is manifest in another person altogether, the reappearance of the soul.

banal, a quality of being commonplace or drearily predictable to the point of being trite,trivial to the point of being so obvious that one may be bored by the experience or encounter.

Hannah Arendt wrote in the 1930s about the "banality of evil" with respect to the power of fascism to so trivialize terror as to render any opposition to torture and mass executions ineffective since the use of coercion was so widespread and propaganda became a common substitute for knowing what was really going on in German prisons and detention camps.

biological diversity: or biodiversity, the measure of variety in the living world.

brainwash,   to have one's beliefs and views altered by undue persuasive force. Noam Chomsky says manufacturing consent is old style propaganda in a guise of  objectivity, reductionism, certainty, & fragmentation. Some call this overt & covert aspects of thought control. Chomsky feels that we are isolated --atomized victims of modern  imagery, language, & media-- and thus are unable to act as free agents. We are robbed of our imaginations, stripped of our inner identities, and provoked to pursue the commercial values and accumulate commodities of mass consumption without thinking. Ideas and material products become indistinguishable in a world dominated by commercial values and personal self interest.

See Chomsky's book the Manufacture of Consent.

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commodification , commercialization, or the selling of things;   The notion that any item, person, or place can be interchangeably valued, exchanged, or purchased for some price. These beliefs are enhanced due to mass production which has fed the growth of advertising, marketing, and public relations. The debasement of humane behavior in favor of what is marketable, or what appeals to the senses.

conspicuous consumption  is the ostentatious display of wealth in order to gain recognition, increase one's status, intimidate others, or dispel the reality of poverty, poor taste or vulgarity. A term used by Thorstein Veblen to describe the rationale of spending for the sake of defining one's status.

corvee, labor or work extracted --often in lieu of taxes-- a mandatory service of serfs in Medieval times to accomplish manorial, or local public tasks such as road, bridge, canal or levee repairs. An unpaid work day.

culture, from the Latin word cultus, to cultivate (raise crops) or to form a cult, refers to the inherited ethnic identity of all peoples derived from language, nutrition, surroundings, religious beliefs, social institutions, and material artifacts. As such, any culture disturbs, reinforces, and often refabricates new views about nature, the world and the universe, because ideas embodied in all cultures shape the way we choose to live.

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delusional  intelligence, refers to some distortion inherent in technology is enhanced by our ignorance of aesthetic judgment, moral certitude, and decency -- but it is further and needlessly mystified if we do not understand the rationale, synergy, timing, or varied aspects of technology.

economy  is  derived from the GREEK words for household and order, or law:

Oikos -- household, hence the residence of the family:

oikumene -- structures & buildings,

oikios topos --  the nest or place that best suits a specific plant.

Nomos is the ordering of a body of laws -- as expressed in particular phrases and documents that comprise the language & viewpoint of normative discourse as opposed to prescribed behavior. Economy studies what does occur -- not what ought to occur. The order arises from what is as opposed to what may be.

Gnomon, from which nomos is derived is that part of a sundial that casts the shadow and thus reveals the time of day from the sun's position overhead.

editing  can be an example of a manufactured view point by leaving out significant details and including tangential details that crowd out the focus of an issue, event, or problem.

entail, limitations relating to inheriting property, see Cultural landscape.

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fabricating consensus  is based on our widespread ignorance of media uses, the influence of technology in shaping our reality, and the illusion that every new product is a signal of progress.

fictions are accepted explanations for otherwise complicated events or even unreal circumstances. Fictions refer to unexamined descriptions or meaningless metaphors;

for example:

"jump start the economy," "national security," "friendly fire," "necessity is the mother of invention,"  "perpetual motion," downsized, side effects, passed away, or  "the common good."

human ecology  a systematic study of people's anthropological, biological, demographic, social, psychological and economic relations with their surroundings over time.

"Human ecology cannot be limited strictly to  biological concepts, but it cannot  ignore them. It cannot even transcend them. It emerges from the fact of interconnection as a general principal of life. It must take a long view of human life and nature as they form a mesh or pattern going beyond historical time and beyond the conceptual bounds of other humane disciplines." Or "man is in the world & his ecology is the nature of that 'inness' " according to ecologist, Paul Shepard, 1969.

See human genome discussion

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imagery revolution,   [1850 - 1998] Since the purpose of much advertising is to deceive the motive of much entertainment, broadcasting, and even news coverage, or commentary is to dull peoples' brains and sell them a perspective of the sponsors,  producers, writers, or anchor persons. The institutions that partake in this complete revision in what we know are advertising, mass media, newspapers & magazines, photography, movies, radio, television, computers, internet, marketing & political advertising.

See Neil Postman, Technopoly , or

Daniel Boorstin's book, The Image.

imagination  requires that the images we see on film, videotape, or in print be "honest" portrayals since images and symbols have the capacity to distract us from the reality of the world. For example since most of the country's population is urban, media advertising emphasizes the rural and wild setting over urban scenes. Are these images honest portrayals of our experience? How is imagination manipulated?

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misplaced sentiment:   is the inability to distinguish true feelings from less sincere nostalgic yearnings for allegedly simpler times in the past. Sentiments that are  seriously inappropriate because they impede action on behalf of solving problems include childish fantasies & wish fulfillment instead of realistic feelings about our accomplishments and failures. The expression of feelings so as to hide from view the deeper complexities of human emotions.

See also:  fictions (above).

oikumene, oikumene, In the ancient Greek tradition oikoumene [oikoumene] is the concept of "the inhabited world," although it had six other meanings. Community or an occupied place. The collection of households, fields, orchards, improved landscapes."A peopled place known to sustain life."  Peoples in their surroundings or a habitation; landscape and architecture of places.

Oikos [Oikos] is the Greek root word for both economics and ecology.

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problem, the difference between an existing and a desired state of affairs. Solutions to problems can and often do employ instrumental solutions that rely on technology.

problem solving

politics of tools,   by failing to critically analyze the influence of our media (tools) on policies, laws, trials, and livelihoods we are prone to manipulation because deception is so widespread. Any technology exerts an influence on politics either overtly in the form of debates over censorship, abortion, and finance costs or covertly due to the shaping of our work, homes and past-times by gadgets, machines and equipment.

Real News, media in America is largely characterized by manufactured content in that even major newspapers do not cover the most important stories, nor continue to follow-up on critical details that would reveal a wide spectrum of ideas on how the commercialization of research and the sale of data biases information to create a consensus where none actually exists.

The print and electronic media, for example, failed to expose the Iraq war, follow-up on election fraud cases, or do anything more when covering elections than to discuss insubstantial issues such as who has raised the most money, or whose advertising is most impressive. The trivialization of serious matters from war dead to financing the federal debt is replaced for example by debates over gay people in the military, welfare cheats, or sexual affairs by prominent people.

reification  means treating anything fictional or abstract as though it were actually existing or real. Treating an abstraction or some ideal as substantially real. The mass production of images feeds the reification of misplaced sentiment because we do not critically examine the content of these symbols. Examples of this include: "the masses," "baby boomers," "the economy," "generation X," or the news.

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science is our word for knowledge and is derived from the Indo-European word to cut or divide SKEI {from scire: to cut} [GREEK] meaning to separate, divide (•/•), or split. The word has a general and specific meaning that  depends on the context in which the word is used. Science is the reliable information we amass about the physical universe's predictable periodicity. Although the definition of Science is altered from its original meaning, it is, today,really a method, or way of knowing about our existence.

A visual model.
Varieties of science related pages.


sybaritic, means -- wantonly indulgent, luxurious display of behavior to avoid work, a pleasure seeker. Eschewing good taste & ignoring moderation. An excessive reliance on pleasure to mold behavior. An extremely Epicurean perspective on life. ThomasHobbes (17th Century) argued we were motivated by the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain.

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technological autism  a form of technical virtuosity in media and transportation has encouraged us to become out of touch with the actual processes that living things depend on for their survival and emotional security. This self-indulgent behavior is somnambulistic, and encourages us to be contented consumers of superficial  messages designed to deaden our feelings. An extreme withdrawal from life based on emotional detachment.

technology is the systematic application of knowledge to practice, especially in the expressive,manufacturing, mechanical, industrial, or chemical arts.  The applied use of knowledge to enhance and accumulate efficient changes in the human use of tools, devices, instruments,  utensils, or artifacts in the creation of material culture to solve problems while assuring survival.

Technology refers to the related series of steps, procedures, tools, and artifacts to make a product that has a market or meets some demand from the population. It acts to speed up, influence, & accelerate power over time.

technical changes  refers to five related influences of the capacity of technology to change our milieu. This is because technology

1) alters or raises the carrying capacity of a place to house a greater density of population.

2) Technology compensates for human frailty.

3) It redefines reality and the boundaries of our knowledge.

4) Technical change accounts for the differences in people's material culture.

5) Technology conditions us to behave differently in the absence or presence of mechanical appliances.

trivialize,   the skillful ability to divert attention from serious or weighty issues and focus mass attention on so many inconsequential details that most observers lose track of the heart of an issue. The irreverent use or deliberate manipulation of meaningful ideas, beliefs, symbols, or customs in such a way as to diminish the importance of, or actually lose, the comprehensive narrative that gives coherence to a culture undergoing rapid social change.

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Utilitarian, the greatest good for the largest numbers of people. An Anglo-French ideology based on the ideas of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, popular in the early nineteenth century among British intellectuals and becoming widespread by the 1900s.


wealth,   the surplus remaining from the combination of land, labor, technology and skills; often commercial value derived from the extraction, production and finishing of human, animal or natural resources. Honey for instance is the food surplus of a beehive and it is a form of biological wealth available to animals and humans.

worldview, or weltanschaaung the German concept that distinguishes between prevailing ideas of reality compared to discoverable facets of actual, material existence. The word implies a tension between what is know and what is believed to be reliable.

See several related sites: brief overview,


lengthy discussion.

zeitgeist, laterally, the spirit of the times; any set of prevailing beliefs that characterize one period as opposed to an earlier or later period in history. German word for the dominant persuasions, ideas, or ethos of a particular era.


teal line

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