Wednesday Round Up #46

The Re-Enchantment of Humanism: An Interview with Sylvia Wynter
PDF of an article/interview. Here is a description:
“Sylvia Wynter is a radical Jamaican theorist influenced, among others, by Frantz Fanon. This well known interview is often considered to be the best introduction to her thinking about the question of human in the aftermath of 1492 and the consequent racialisation of humanity.

Wynter rethinks dominant concepts of being human, arguing that they are based on a colonial and racialized model that divides the world into asymmetric categories such as “the selected and the dysselected”, center and periphery, or colonizers and colonized. Against this Wynter proposes a new humanism. According to Katherine McKittrick Wynter develops a “counterhumanism”, that breaks from the classification of humans in static, asymmetric categories.”

The Two Skill Acquisition Approaches: Key Differences

Information processing model vs Ecological/Constraint approach, with a focus on the implications the two approaches have for coaching and training.

Resisting Psychiatric Temporalities in “Post-Conflict” Colombia

Under these grim conditions and in response to their stigmatization by a large sector of society that continues to reduce them to remorseless criminals, many FARC ex-combatants have left the camps where they had initially planned to stay. Their relationship with other ex-combatants, which once constituted their primary support network throughout years of conflict, has now deteriorated. Additionally, they also face deep divisions within their political party that the FARC established in August 2017, leaving many without a political home. It is in this context that feelings of social isolation, frustration, fear, and hopelessness have become endemic among former guerrillas.

What has happened to the collective spirit that was supposed to facilitate ex-combatants’ transition and their political participation under democratic conditions? Psychiatric categories such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) do not adequately make sense of and address the mental life of former guerrillas, who now face an acute loss of social connections. More worryingly, these static medical categories are unable to capture the oscillating temporalities between war and peace that characterize Colombia’s present.

How the Human Brain Stays Young Even As We Age

Yes, dementia affects about 5.6% of the world’s population, a share that includes the devastating burden of Alzheimer’s disease. But in normal aging, even as parts of the brain shrink and neurons lose connection with each other, those changes only have a minor effect on our daily lives. It may be frustrating to forget where you put your keys, but you can still learn that you’re prone to forgetting them, and pick up the habit of writing notes for yourself.

For adults who remain neurologically healthy into their later years, the brain constantly adapts and even thrives under new conditions. But how it pulls it off is a mystery scientists are still trying to solve. The hope is that if researchers can understand how healthy brains stay resilient, they can identify what’s happening when these systems fail—often, leading to dementia. 

Capitalism is not nature

But if the contemporary capitalist market system is so inequitable and flawed, why is it the dominant global pattern? Partially because humanity has been fed a myth that contemporary economies emerged as a necessary reality of the world. And that myth is a lie.  

Much of what we think of as “economics” is really about exchange. The sociologist Marcel Mauss reminded us that the exchange of objects builds relationships between human groups. For most of human history such exchanges were not seen as ‘economic’ with values being assessed and monitored. Rather, reciprocal giving of gifts was a social act. The anthropologist David Graeber, reviewing huge amounts of ethnographic and historical evidence, shows that many (or even most) human exchanges are not seen as an economic relationships but as a way to connect, without specifically accounting the goods’ value or seeing the interaction as a transaction with costs and benefits. Sharing and the exchange of materials between individuals and groups is a central feature of human social life. In most cases of such exchange, strict reciprocity is not expected. For most of human history, exchange created relationships and enabled social trust and mutual entanglement.

Okay, I’ve got more stuff I could add, but I am frustrated with WordPress’ new block editor – taking me too long to create this post… So I’ve got to learn more how it works and see if I can get more efficient. Enjoy what I was able to get done, and I’ve got to get back to all the end of semester stuff.

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