Topic: About... Serendip
Serendip has forum areas for each of its existing major sections which can be reached through a forum directory. This "About ... Serendip" forum is intended for general discussion of Serendip itself, things that don't fit into any of the other forum areas, and suggestions as to new areas into which Serendip ought to move. Messages here will be automatically posted for general discussion. More specific comments and questions should be sent by Serendip.
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Serendip's forums sometimes get longer than what can conveniently be accessed and displayed. They are, at the same time, in their entirety an important part of what Serendip has become at any given time (and, of course, particular contributions may well be of lasting significance). To try and balance needs for easy display and those of continuous and permanent record, only this year's forum comments are displayed on this page with earlier comments being preserved elsewhere. To go to the forum for prior years, click on the year below.
- Current postings - 2000/2002 - 1998/1999 - 1997 - 1996
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: Fri Oct 29 11:50:09 EDT 1999
To all visitors:
Serendip was born in 1994, and developed forums in 1996. The forums have been and continue to be a place where everyone is invited to make comments, ask questions, and carry on conversations about anything and everything that comes to mind when exploring Serendip. As such, they have been and continue to be an essential part of Serendip's development. At the same time, any developing organism needs periodically to refresh itself. The past remains but is put in boxes to clear the mind for the next part of the future. So have we done, as of today, with Serendip's forums. All past material is still available, by clicking on highlighted years above to access forum archives. And we have, as of today, a blank slate for the next phase of Serendip's development. If you have been here in the past, you're already a part of what Serendip has become so far. Please leave your thoughts as part of the next phase of Serendip's life. And if you're new, please join in as well.
Date: Thu Jan 27 20:51:07 EST 2000
I was diognosed with et 8 years ago. I took the drug hydrea for 7 of those years until my doctor prescribed agrylin. I was wondering if this disease ever goes away or if I will have it the rest of my life? I have read some medical books that say the medicine should control the problem and you should be able to go off the medicine. I have been having alot of numbness in my hands and feet and was wondering if this can have anything to do with the disease or the medicine. I am always wondering where this disease is going.
Subject: simple experiment:genes vs. environment
Date: Mon Apr 3 02:00:09 EDT 2000
When I was a teenager, I did a simple experiment( quite by accident ) that convinced me that genes have more influence over behavior than environment. I had a domestic mouse who had 4 newborn pinkies in a nest in an aquarium set up for mice. A neighbor found a nest of four newborn pinky house mice in her rag box in a closet. The neighbor was unable to "throw" these mice out, but certainly did not want the mice in her house. She asked me if I would take them which I did (she knew I had pet mice). The baby house mice were then added to the nest of my domestic mouse ( I tricked her with smell by waiting until she left the nest to eat allowing the additions to crawl and move with the domestic baby mice). My believe was that since the two species were really subspecies ( like wolf and dog are related), I would eventually have fresh genes to mix with my domestic mice.
To my suprise, the house mice could not tamed. As they grew, they darted back and forth across the aquarium when I approached with lighting speed and disregard, bouncing into the side of the glass. The domestic mice grew more accustomed to my approach and were eventually removed to a different cage. The house mice were given a box to hide in but I couldn't change the cage because their fear was so intense, I was forced to release the three remaining. One killed himself trying to "get away" when I added their daily food and water.
Subject: Can You Explain God?
Date: Sat Apr 29 00:59:02 EDT 2000
I just found the Serendip site on the net and thought many of the discussions were intriging. I have been searching for many years for an explanation of Christianity that doesn't somehow contradict itself, and I'm still searching. I thought that perhaps some of the great minds that frequent this site could provide me with one.
I am an athiest, have completed my bachelor's degree in psychology, (except for my senior project--which is an argument against the existance of free will and God from a behaviorist and deterministic standpoint) and I'm about two quarters away from having a bechelors in Philosophy as well.
The reason that I'm searching is not to ridicule nor to convert Christians to atheism. I am simply searching for a consistant argument for Christianity that will seem logically possible or equally valid as my beliefs in determinism. Please E-mail me if you can help. I'd love to chat.
Name: Jacob Ghitis, MD
Subject: FOR LAURA on GOD
Date: Thu Jun 22 17:43:10 EDT 2000
You can find several short essays on the subject at www.geocities.com/~ghitis/
Subject: Brain and Behavior
Date: Tue Jul 11 15:43:10 EDT 2000
Tuesday,07-11-00 We have received mail with graphics, photographs and pictures which intrigued us as well as motivated us to learn this process.
NOW WE ARE STRUGGLING TO USE text layout with graphics. We are optimistic that we will master this process.
"All humans' brains are the same but, different in detail. This statement leads to lots of discussion. We are waiting for more discussion.
Date: Mon Oct 23 15:18:45 EDT 2000
Name: Geoff Leonard
Date: Mon Aug 6 14:47:47 EDT 2001
Along with William James, Gerald Edeleman has credited Arthur Schopenhauer
with profound insights in way of Being and Consciousness ( World Knot).
For those willing to admitt that Hegel, Schelling, Fitche, etal are becoming increasingly passe, one needs only to refer to The World as Will and Representation to appreciate
the sages understanding of the science of his times, particularly the brain. It is now time that this great man be given his due in presenting a
systematic and all embracing Philosophy which embraced science, art, mathematics, physics, physiology, and biology.
First published around 1814, WWR is an awesome and ambitious masterpeice
in speculative philosophy.
Name: Omar Hernández Lavié
Subject: Help to find Lorenzos Oil for my mom
Date: Fri Aug 24 09:14:34 EDT 2001
I wonder if anybody could tell me How can we get the Lorenzos Oil. My mother has Multiple Esclerosis and I understand, that it could be helpful.Please advice. Thanks a lot.
Date: Wed Nov 14 14:31:38 EST 2001
I found this to be a fascinating book. The way that Toni Morrison works
backwards makes the reading interesting and challenging. Her exploration of
the dark forces of life and the weakness caused by guilt is thorough and
Beloved, the baby, has the mind development of a child. She is
fascinated by her mother, and only her mother, Sethe. All of her thoughts
and actions are based upon those of Sethe. One may theorize that Beloved
hasn't achieved a certain level of understanding, for her mind is still that
of a child, simple yet ruled by emotions. Her emotions are not that of
adults, wrestling with complicated problems each day, but those of a child,
innocent yet intense. Beloved needs affection, as does a child, and her
entire purpose in the novel is to acquire that affection through attention.
Once she has Sethe's attention, she is in charge, for Sethe is weakened by
Oftentimes Beloved sits mute and lost in a world of her own. She has no
direct memory of her origin, all she can remember is the bridge, and the fact
that Sethe left her. The absence of a smile from Sethe is vital in Beloved's
emotional frets, for it is the cause of her despair. There is no reasoning
in Beloved's actions for it is all based around emotions. Beloved lives on
emotions, and analytical thought and reasoning had never developed in her
mind. With this ideology, may theorize that tacit knowledge is developed
with age. Beloved was not able to understand Sethe's reasoning and pleas for
forgiveness because she couldn't grasp its meaning. Words and explanations
were like the air, empty. Empty of emotions, and because of this an
understanding could not be reached between the two characters.
Name: mel schottenstein
Subject: Beloved and storytelling
Date: Wed Nov 14 20:33:05 EST 2001
November 12, 2001
The Importance of Storytelling in Beloved
Based on a real “story” of an African American mother but originally “told” by a white-controlled nineteenth-century press, Beloved is a novel about the power of storytelling. Featuring a slave who makes ink for a master who uses it to record his “story” of her and her fellow slaves, Beloved is a novel about the power of storytelling. Written in an experimental style that, in its three middle chapters, strangely fuses together the voices of three of its primary female characters, Beloved is a novel about the power of storytelling. Can a story so concerned with the power of storytelling have any “story” to “tell” Polanyi, Vygotsky, Bettleheim, Foucault, and the fictions of Flatlands and Life of Galileo? In my estimation, the answer is “yes.”
Polanyi’s “tacit dimension” gives us one way to describe the power of Morrison’s language in Beloved. In the three middle “experimental” chapters, the ones that mention the provocative but elusive concept of “the hot thing,” readers are faced with familiar words, arranged using an unfamiliar syntax. Under ordinary circumstances, such words would be read and understood immediately, without thinking. Here, however, the reader’s tacit knowledge of the words is disrupted. Because of the stream-of-conscious syntax, she tries harder to make meaning out of the words, concentrating on them more than she ordinarily would. By disrupting her “tacit understanding”—the act of reading—Morrison draws an unusual amount of attention to these words and their meanings. (Or, some might say, their meaninglessness.)
Vygotsky’s notions of how human beings associate meanings with words, and how those associations change over time, are useful when examining Morrison’s use of metaphor. In chapter one, readers learn that the scars on Sethe’s back form the image of a tree, thus challenging all of a reader’s preconceptions of a tree’s benevolence—shade-giving, nurturing, strong, sheltering—with a cruel symbol of slavery. Morrison goes on to include other images of trees in some of the novel’s most important scenes, multiplying the number of possible symbolic associations for readers.
On one hand, there do not seem to be ways to apply Bettelheim’s theories, concerning the importance of fairy tales, to Beloved. But in his article, he discusses how important it is to keep grim and gruesome elements in fairy tales, so that children are not sheltered from such scenes. Instead, he argues that children should be exposed to existential questions such as death. Beloved, no fairy tale, certainly poses a fair share of grim and gruesome scenes. Morrison uses Sethe’s murderous act not only as a way to expose the extreme conditions that slaves were subjected to; she also includes it to highlight a moral dilemma—a situation without right and wrong answers for readers, young and old, to wrestle with.
Foucault? Foucault does attempt to discover new classification systems, and a similar quest can be found in Beloved. Morrison utilizes two different classification systems in describing slavery. The evil master, Schoolteacher, takes a systematic approach to classification. Believing that the slaves are forms of “animals,” he tries to identify and classify slaves based on their “animal characteristics.” Of course, the greater outline of Morrison’s novel, because it tells the story of Margaret Garner through reorganized (and fictionalized) evidence, its arguably a new form of classification.
Beloved, like Life of Galileo and Flatlands, calls attention to the dangers of storytelling. Just as Galileo and A Square face punishment for telling their side of the story, Morrison ran huge risks in re-telling the Garner story. Certainly, Morrison risked a large portion of her audience not accepting her novel. She further risked losing her audience by including many aspects of African oral tradition, folklore, and the supernatural within the novel. In addition to her risks as an author, Morrison created characters who ran risks to tell their stories. In one incident, Sethe loses Paul D because of her retelling of Beloved’s murder. In another incident, Denver is temporarily choked by Beloved for telling stories about her own birth and not Beloved’s.
Morrison effectively creates a story for readers to not only gain a better understanding of slavery, but also to understand the power of storytelling as well. Was Morrison conscious of how much her novel dealt with the act of storytelling? Or is this feature a coincidence, a byproduct of Morrison’s entering the “tacit dimension” of fiction writing? Whatever the case, the power of Morrison’s own storytelling provided me with the highlight of this course thus far.
Name: Chelsea Phillips
Subject: Bryn Mawr History
Date: Thu Dec 6 13:50:07 EST 2001
The very best Radical Revolutionary Feminist there was
The history of Bryn Mawr is surprisingly full of conflict. The unending struggle between radical feminist president, M. Carey Thomas and the conservative Quaker board litter the pages of the college’s history. Yet, despite this, the college is and always has been exactly what it was meant to be. The generously wooded campus with its fanciful architecture lends irresistible mystery and charm, felt by all who live and work within its confines. Bryn Mawr is what it is today without a doubt because its second president had to work so hard to shape into “the very best women’s college there is.”
Most interesting to me was the way the architecture reflects the history of this institution. Merion and Taylor, the only remnants of the original Quaker design, still leave a lingering formidable air with sharp angles and dark stone. However, these fade quickly into the periphery when seen beside the grand designs of Denbigh, Rockefeller, the Pems, and, most of all, the Great Hall. These buildings reflect at once the pride and respect M. Carey Thomas demanded, but also the realization of her childhood dreams.
Modeled after the dining hall in Wadham College, Oxford, Thomas Great Hall is the epitome of all that M. Carey Thomas was. Imperious, lavish, yet dignified and inviting-a floating fairytale castle from her early childhood dreams. In this project, Thomas found her greatest obsession and most difficult challenge. However, like everything on the campus, it became perfect- everything exactly as it was meant to be. No one but M. Carey Thomas could have made Bryn Mawr.
In addition to the remarkable secrets the architecture holds, the college holds the secret of Summer College for Women Workers. An amazing feat, conceived and born almost entirely of M. Carey Thomas and Hilda Worthington-Smith, the summer school gave lower to middle class working women the opportunity to learn and grow in a way they had never been able to before. I believe that this school was exactly in the tradition of Thomas’ leadership, and so it surprised me a great deal to learn that she at first reluctant. Even more surprising, that she advised against the 1926 class’ inclusion of five African-American women. From other readings, I felt that this behavior was much more in the vein of the original Quaker founders than this remarkable feminist.
As Thomas grew in her views, though, she also began to see another side of the community than she had in past years. The students asked for self-government, and after initial objection, were given it. Also, Thomas experienced and recognized the phenomenal things possible in a community where the individuals care truly and deeply for each other. Particularly amongst the ‘women of summer’ a sense of family was established that has never left the college. It can be felt now just as strongly as ever, creating a unique environment that pulls you in and protects, ironically much like the home Thomas never planned for it to be.
Though the history of Bryn Mawr is sometimes surprising, one gets the distinct impression that it could never be what it is today without every single solitary disagreement and struggle. It is as if the history was laid out before it was begun, so there was only one path to follow. The Summer College is an extremely unique part of this history- the women there (radical revolutionary feminists?) foreshadowing what the student body would (inevitably) become. So that now, when we stand up to be counted, no one will ever forget M. Carey Thomas’ first battle cry “Behold, they are women!”
Name: Chelsea Phillips
Subject: Bake Sale
Date: Thu Dec 6 13:57:44 EST 2001
Hi, everyone! Just wanted to pass on the great news- the bake sale made $250!!! Thank you to everyone who helped out, you are amazing!! Liz, Sarah, Jenn, Cathy, Kate, Amanda, Stephanie (who baked us that yummy cheesecake:), Laura Silvius (who covered when no one was free) and of course, Professor Grobstein! You guys made it a wonderful two days for everyone, THANK YOU!!! The money will be donated to Children's Miracle Network anonymously.
Name: Ivan Lay
Subject: Neuroanatomic validation effort
Date: Wed Mar 20 21:24:26 EST 2002
I've a site called Neuro-Kinetik.com that outlines a program, to use medical brain imaging, to attempt to locate "psychic" systems in humans. (Then, to integrate this into everyday life.)
Name: Laura Silvius
Subject: Bake Sale/Charity Org.
Date: Sat Apr 13 14:53:44 EDT 2002
Hello everyone, I just saw Chelsea's comment and wanted to thank her for recognizing me - it was so sweet of her, and I was honored to be a part of the Bake Sale. In that spirit, I want to spread the news about a new project I'm working on now with Akudo Ejelonu. The two of us won tickets to listen to a speech being given by Harry Belafonte at Irvine Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania last week. The speech was so incredible, so moving, and inspiring. I already owned his CD 'Live at Carnegie Hall', which has a very eclectic repertoire, but his talk gave me insight into his actual life, things I never knew about him before. Did anyone know he was black-listed during the McCarthy witch hunt in the 1950's, or that he performed with Miles Davis and Tony Curtis, studied with Marlon Brando and knew Langston Hughes when he was living in Harlem? And unlike most celebrities, he has always been very involved in politics, raising bail money for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers during the Civil Rights Movement. Presently, he is the ambassador for UNICEF, and only the second American to ever hold that position. Akudo and I were inspired, and as we were walking to the train station, we came up with this idea for a charity organization called 'In Our World'. We're going to start out as a club on the Bryn Mawr College campus, with Akudo and I as the co-presidents. We are going to have an information session at the Campus Center main lounge on Wednesday, April 24th (the day after Lisa Cooper's birthday!) from 8pm to 9, and we'd be thrilled if everyone would show up, if only to learn what we want to accomplish through this club. Akudo and I are both very passionate about this, and we know that if you will just come for five minutes, we will do our best to convince you that this is an organization worth getting involved in. We will actually get the club in to full swing in the Fall 2002 Semester, at which point we plan to have a full Board of Directors, complete with a Vice Pres., a Treasurer, a Secretary, and maybe even - gasp - class representatives!! Until that time, we hope you will please lend us your support and please come to our info session on the 24th! Thank you to Chelsea for giving me the idea of posting these comments (hee hee), to Akudo for being the heart and soul behind this project, even if my time commitment sucks, to K.M., I love you, and happy birthday to my sister Elizabeth Silvius (I never say this, but I love you) and Lisa Cooper (who is not my sister, but if she wants to trade ...) and okay, I'm off to what the happy land we call Starbucks. Love, Laura
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