In this fun, lively, and informative podcast interview with The Cultural Hall, I introduce Book of Mormon Central and situate it into what I call The Modern-Day Tyndale Moment.
In her TED Talk: Your body language shapes who you are, Amy Cuddy advocates enacting body power positions (such as arms outstretched in victory) to increase your confidence and your capabilities. Research demonstrates that such actions may lead to positive outcomes and perceptions.
In her TED Talk Why Are These 32 Symbols Found in Caves All Over Europe, Genevieve von Petzinger argues that there are only 32 symbols found in pre-historic caves in Europe. Furthermore, because early language/writing systems were pictographic (i.e., Sumerian, Egyptian), there may be a cognitive connection between symbols in ancient caves and the development of written languages.
In summary, these 32 symbols may represent the first form of written language the world has known.
Personally, I’ve wondered for some time: why do we only see pictographs and cave art in full flowering? I’ve been to Utah’s Nine Mile canyon that has the largest concentration of petroglyphs anywhere in North America. These petroglyphs are simultaneously beautiful and mysterious. But they definitely are not childish. When I observe the writing and drawing of my 8 and 5 year old, it looks childish, typical for their age group. In contrast, my observation of petroglyphs and cave art is that such executions are mature, thought-through, practiced, deliberate, and capable (even if they do not fulfill modern aesthetic expectations).
Why do we not find evidence of ancient petroglyph practice? Even ancient Mesoptamian cuneiform tablets bear the tell-tale signs of scribe-in-training sloppiness (sorry I couldn’t find an image to share). I’ve held such a tablet in my hand at the Yale Babylonian Collection in the Sterling Memorial Library.
Why does there not seem to be evidence in the most ancient forms of pre-historic art, of artistic growth and development as we see from childhood to adulthood ?
In his TED Talk Everything you know about addiction is wrong, Johann Hari argues that addiction rates would radically drop if as individuals and societies we practiced love and social connectivity. To make his case he reviews addictive drug research from the early 20th centuries. In this research rats were placed in cages and given the option to drink from two water bottles, one that is laced with heroin. Primarily, the rats preferred the heroin laced water, and often they’d die from overdose.
Later researchers realized that rats were self-medicating because they were stressed by their non-social, sterile, non-normal environment. If you left rats in their typical environments, especially surrounded by their social network, they would nearly entirely avoid heroin laced water for regular water when presented the choice.
Hari argues that modern western society is the most socially unconnected society in the world and that drug use is a symptom of broken social relations. If we loved and connected more, addiction rates of all types (drugs, food, pornography) would all precipitously drop. Hari appeals to the case of Portugal which, since 2001, has decriminalized all drugs, with some interesting and potentially significantly positive results. See more here and here.
In his TED Talk How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed, Daniel Levitin encourages people to practice a pre-mortem instead of a post-mortem. Post-mortems (which literally means after death) are investigations to discover and understand the cause of something after it has happened. Pre-mortems are about planning in advance to avoid foreseeable problems. This is especially useful because in stressful situations our cortisol hormone levels increase, potentially compromising clear thinking.
Caveat for the talk: The numbers and stats Levitin shares about medical practice seem to be incorrect or misinterpreted (I haven’t done further study to verify).
In his TED Talk How to speak so that people want to listen, Julian Treasure identifies at least 7 things to avoid:
How to speak so that people want to listen? Treasure suggests the HAIL: