January 14th, 2021


Self-Awareness Question: Strangest Thing

Folks have mentioned an interest in questions and conversations that make them think. So I've decided to offer more of those. This is the current list on self-awareness.

65. What’s the strangest thing you’ve experienced?

Well, that's hard to pin down, because weird things happen around me all the time, and often I don't realize they're considered weird -- because they're normal to me -- until someone else flips out about it.  But I can give you some examples.

* I am a throne of birds.  One planting day I was walking outside, and a wren landed on my braid.  It sang a song.  Then it flew up to my hat and sang another  song.  Finally it fluttered to a bush a few feet away and sang yet a third song.  Sometimes, wildlife doesn't seem to distinguish me from the rest of the environment.

* I think I was about 8 when I realized that, when other people say "Well it didn't just grow legs and walk away," that is an accurate description of the universe as they experience it.  That's because around me, inanimate objects frequently do  move.  On one memorable trip, something -- probably the fairies -- caused our coin purse of toll coins to disappear.  We scrabbled around, taking everything out of the central containers where it had been stored, but it was't there. So we put the other stuff back and went searching down the cracks and on the floor, while I demanded, "Give it back!"  There was a hollow clang.  Following the sound, I checked the central containers again.  The coin purse had been returned -- evidently in midair, as it had hit the empty pop can on the way down to its original resting place.

"Welcome to my world, lady."

Did early humans hibernate?

An archaeological find of Neanderthal bones with interrupted growth suggests that they may have hibernated.  This raises a couple of interesting points:

* As modern Homo sapiens have remnant genes from several  relative branches, including Neanderthals, some people may have the genes that enabled ancestors to hibernate or otherwise reduce activity in winter.

* I would love to look for genetic similarities among people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, and possibly also seasonal overeating, to see if there are overlaps between them -- and what their percentage of Neanderthal genes is.  Possibly we're not looking at disorders, but rather at vestigial features that are bothersome at low levels.

* If the hibernation genes remain in some portion of the population, then perhaps we could learn to control those genes, which would be great for SAD sufferers ... and for spaceflight.  However, it could create awkward jealousies if only some people had the latent ability to hibernate on long spaceflights and others did not.  That's a war and/or speciation waiting to happen.  I don't think I've seen anyone write it, though.

Skills Heroes Need: Introduction

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-- Robert A. Heinlein

I keep looking for a list of heroic skills, and the ones I find online just aren't all that helpful. They're too limited and/or too biased. So I'm going to explore some skills that contribute to saving the day. The more of these you acquire, the better equipped you'll be when things go wrong.

Understand that heroism isn't about superpowers or even the kind of first responder jobs that save the day every day. It's about heroic imagination. It is about noticing something is wrong, caring enough to do something about it, and having the resources to address it. Heroes bring out the best in themselves and in other people. These are things that anyone can do, each individual based on their unique set of knowledge and abilities. So the first thing you need to consider is...

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