BOOKS YOU SHOULD READ
Economics in One Lesson, Abridged
During the destruction of the Roman city Pompeii in 79AD, the neighboring city of Herculaneum was destroyed by lava, but by superheated ash. This ash was over 500 degrees Celcius and coated everything in a superfine coat of carbon. Rather than destroying the city, it supercooked buildings, food, leather, and people into nearly perfectly preserved charcoal covered forms.
The clouds that engulfed the city traveled at 65mph, and so most people of the town died.
Phineas Gage suffered an injury to his ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is to say the front middle portion of his skull (Carlson, 2014). Rather than dying, Mr. Gage survived and made a physical recovery, save for the use of his left eye. However, the injuries to his brain resulted in a massive shift in personality, one which ruined him financially and socially. For the sake of clarity, I will abbreviate the ventromedial prefrontal cortex to the initials VM, as was done in the research document written by Bechara, Tranel, and Damasio (2010).
This paper will examine the medical condition known as anterograde amnesia from the physiological perspective. Anterograde amnesia is the condition wherein an individual becomes physically incapable of forming new memories, normally immediately after an injury occurs. Beginning with the psychological phenomenon, covering the general emotional response to the condition and the role which personality plays in establishing variance and emotional compensation. This paper will then discuss four neurogical aspects of anterograde amnesia broken including the functions, the origin of the condition, the brain structures involved, and animal models. Anterograde amnesia affects explicit memory and spatial memory. Anterograde amnesia is a physically derived condition, occurring from injury sustained during medical procedures, physical injury, or diseases which damage the hippocampus or the surrounding neural pathways.. The hippocampus is a key component of anterograde amnesia. Animal models allow for testing the surviving structures of the brain. Possible treatments for anterograde memory loss involve utilizing the surviving learning mechanisms to compensate for memory loss. Continue reading Anterograde Amnesia and the Human Mind
This paper examines the situational influence of social norms and their role in directing people’s behavior and perceived expectations of other’s beliefs and actions. The paper analyzes two academic journal articles covering social norms and conformity behavior. The first study is of Norwegian Air Force cadets and their conformity to the social expectations of the situation and the influence of precedence set by confederates in regards to jumping off an ocean pier while blindfolded. Confederate behavior dramatically influenced cadet behavior by doubling the amount of refusals to jump. The second study is of a modified Dictator’s Game wherein participant behavior is modified by providing different true statements of past Dictator’s Games. The results from this study indicate that people are influenced primarily by social behavioral norms than social belief norms. A comparison of the two papers indicates that social norms set by peers wield a tremendous influence over people’s behavior. Continue reading Social Norms and Conformity
This paper critically assesses Dr. Thomas Szasz’s article “The Case Against Suicide Prevention” which addresses the issue of coercive suicide prevention and how it undermines individuals, family, and society. Dr. Szasz’s view is that the psychiatric practice of declaring a person insane and in need of coercive suicide prevention is both impractical and immoral in a free society that values freedom, self-responsibility, and choice. Dr. Szasz argues that coercive suicide prevention is impractical because no one can truly take complete responsibility and authority over another person, and immoral as the act pits the general consensus of society at large against the will of the individual. Szasz’s view is that the mainstream society uses scientific authority to judge unhealthy or undesirable behavior as just cause to circumvent an individual’s right to make their own choices and accept responsibility for their actions. Szasz uses biblical, legal, historical, and modern comparisons to argue his point against coercive treatment and instead argues that counselors and clients must agree on treatment in order to respect their personhood. Continue reading Suicide and the Right to Choose versus Coercion
Christianity and Psychology
My current perspective on Christianity and psychology is that the two are distinct yet complementary because they differ in approach and nature. I believe that the Bible is infallible while Christianity is subject to man’s flaws. The Bible is specific revelation and psychology is a manmade science. The field of psychology fits within my Christian worldview because I do not accept psychology uncritically and understand that Christianity is not infallible.
Nature of Truth
To begin with, both Christianity and psychology are manmade, which means that neither can be said to be the sole source of truth. Truth is essentially the unchanging, objective reality that persists regardless of our perceptions. Human beings are subject to the physical senses and therefore incapable of truly knowing reality on its own terms. In the words of Paul,
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (I Corinthians 13:12, New Living Translation).
As human beings are incapable of directly perceiving reality, it is necessary to use rationality, deduction, logic, and testing to determine truth. Because humans are subject to their senses, no single field can claim to be the sole source of information or truth. Therefore both Christianity and psychology must back up their authority with reasonable arguments and methods for determining truth.
Christianity and the Bible
Christianity refers to the human element of the relationship with God. This means that Christianity is not infallible and therefore cannot claim absolute wisdom or discernment. My Christian faith relies on the Bible for its core beliefs, which means that my Christian faith is tied to biblical interpretation. My Christian beliefs are formed by rational and reasonable, at least in my own estimation, interpretations of Scripture. If my Christian faith is incorrect or flawed, I believe that it is because of an error on my part rather than an error in the Bible itself. Therefore my view of Christianity is a humble yet critical view that is open to new insights and changes in opinion.
I prefer to place emphasis on the Bible as my intellectual bedrock and must therefore make a distinction between Christianity as Christians attempting to understand God and the Bible, God’s Word written through men to mankind. This in turn marks Christianity as fallible while keeping the Bible as the infallible Word of God. I believe that this distinction is what enables the Christian to be open to exploring alternative fields and sources of knowledge like psychology. Accepting that Christianity is separate from the Bible allows Christians to utilize other techniques and theories without compromising biblical truth.
Psychology and Christianity
Psychology represents a human study of the human mind through observation and experimentation whereas the Bible represents divinely inspired writings on the relationship between God and man. Psychology is essentially a scientific method for acquiring systematic knowledge; akin to a tool. Because of this, Christianity is able to incorporate psychological principles, techniques, and specific theories without compromising biblical truth.
Psychology can be divided into two parts, facts and the conjecture. Psychology produces demonstrable facts through direct observations, experiments and results, and proven therapeutic techniques. These facts are separate from psychologists’ overarching theories, hypothesis, worldviews, and explanations for the observed phenomena. Christians are able to use psychological theories and techniques without compromising Christian faith in the same way that a Christian can use a hammer made by a non-Christian. Using the tool does not require accepting all of the beliefs of the person that made the tool.
Christians are human beings and therefore not above error. When Christians keep proper perspective and distinguish between Christian thought and divine revelation, they are able to take in new insights. Because psychology is a scientific method, it can provide greater insight into God’s creation. With these observations in mind, I personally see God’s word as the primary unchanging element with psychological theories and techniques being used in biblically acceptable ways. In other words, the counselor ought to be a Christian first and a counselor second.
Christianity should not fear nor reject psychology because psychology is a field of science, which means it is fundamentally meant to be questioned, tried, and considered. Christians are to be salt and light to the world around them, which requires liberally applying Christian views to other fields and issues. Light illuminates and must not be hidden behind the doors of the church.
Bottlecaps, are they as good as any other form of currency? Does it even matter if the currency is considered intrinsically valuable, or is it enough that people think that their bottlecaps are worth food and services? Continue reading Bottlecaps for Cash?
Hi, if you’re here it’s because you’ve either misclicked or you’re interested in seeing me experiment on my website. I feel fairly confident that we will not accidentally open a wormhole or radically change the mass and dimensions of any people.
If you know of any cool things you can add to a website, please share it in the comments below!
This is an Architectural Article illustrating the popular architectural design styles of the 20th Century. The article offers a movie that showcases a particular style and then provides a brief description of the architecture’s history along with a few examples of the style.
The Art Nouveau style was quite interesting, although my personal favorites are still the Fascist and Brutalist styles. Including movies that typify the styles was a nice touch because it offers an engaging way to continue learning about the architecture.
Economics in most games are pretty basic and self-absorbed. Acquire 16,000 gold pressed latinum coins to buy the uber sword which does +14 damage against deathbeasts. No one bothers to ask why there are 16 thousand latinum coins when the largest city in the country seems to have less than 60 people living it, or why an adventurer who drops that much gold in one city does not immediately unbalance the entire nation’s currency and economy, but hey why should logic get in the way of glowing death swords?
For this reason, and many aside, I like to add a hint of real world principles into my campaign settings. Take for instance money. What is money and why does anyone care about it? If everyone died, would money still be valuable?
Picture this, you are rough and ready mercenaries in a zombie infested land and you’ve just saved a a small settlement of survivors. They repay your kindness in trade tokens that represent their settlement’s goods and services to the outside world (Same concept as banknotes). However, you and your group visits the aforementioned settlement a week later only to find that everyone is dead. Now, tears and laments aside, how much are those trade tokens they gave you worth?
If the people backing the money are dead and gone, their paper bills become just that, paper. The bills represent nothing because the people endorse the bills are all dead. So, what does a prudent merc do? He keeps the settlers alive and their settlements in a good state, if for no other reason to than keep his money from being reduced to scratchy toilet paper.
If we followed this economic concept through, we will see that keeping settlements in stable trade relationships with other towns is vital to maintaining the value of their currency with these other towns. Otherwise the settlement will no longer be relevant to other settlements and their money will die out yet again. Canadian pennies are not really in demand in the United States, why? Because no one trades in Canadian currency in the States.
Any good story needs a good hook to capture the player’s attention, and messing with their money is a surefire way to get them involved.
To learn more about economics in a post-apocalypse, click Here to read an article on bottlecaps as an ad-hoc currency.