Archive for February 5th, 2013

February 5, 2013

Magical Thinking

Magical thinking is thinking that one’s thoughts by themselves can bring about effects in the world or that thinking something corresponds with doing it. It is a type of causal reasoning or causal fallacy that looks for meaningful relationships of grouped phenomena between acts and events. In religion, folk religion, and superstition, the correlation posited is between religious ritual, such as prayer, sacrifice, or the observance of a taboo, and an expected benefit or recompense.

In clinical psychology, magical thinking is a condition that causes the patient to experience irrational fear of performing certain acts or having certain thoughts because they assume a correlation with their acts and threatening calamities. ‘Quasi-magical thinking’ describes ‘cases in which people act as if they erroneously believe that their action influences the outcome, even though they do not really hold that belief.’

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February 5, 2013

Flaming Carrot Comics

Flaming Carrot Comics is a comic book series by cartoonist Bob Burden. The title character first appeared in ‘Visions’ #1, a magazine published by the Atlanta Fantasy Fair in 1979. ‘Flaming Carrot’ can be seen as a parody of various aspects of the superhero genre (though his origin story is much the same as that of Don Quixote).

‘The Flaming Carrot’ origin states that ‘having read 5,000 comics in a single sitting to win a bet, this poor man suffered brain damage and appeared directly thereafter as — the Flaming Carrot!’ Carrot, who lives in Palookaville, a neighborhood of Iron City, has staved off at least three alien invasions, a Communist take over, flying dead dogs, the Man in the Moon, Death itself, and a cloned horde of evil marching Hitler’s boots. Possessing no real super powers, the Carrot wins the day through sheer grit, raw determination, blinding stupidity, and bizarre luck.

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February 5, 2013

Democratic Peace Theory

Democratic peace theory posits that democracies are hesitant to engage in armed conflict with other identified democracies. In contrast to theories explaining war engagement, it is a ‘Theory Of Peace’ outlining motives that dissuade state-sponsored violence. Some theorists prefer terms such as ‘mutual democratic pacifism’ or ‘inter-democracy nonaggression hypothesis’ so as to clarify that a state of peace is not singular to democracies, but rather that it is easily sustained between democratic nations. Several factors are held as motivating peace between liberal states:

Democratic leaders are forced to accept culpability for war losses to a voting public; Publicly accountable statesmen are more inclined to establish diplomatic institutions for resolving international tensions; Democracies are less inclined to view countries with adjacent policy and governing doctrine as hostile; and Democracies tend to possess greater public wealth than other states, and therefore eschew war to preserve infrastructure and resources. 

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February 5, 2013

Pax Americana

Pax Americana (Latin: ‘American Peace’) is a term applied to the historical concept of relative peace in the Western Hemisphere and later the Western world resulting from the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States beginning around the start of the 20th century. Although the term finds its primary utility in the later half of the 20th century, it has been used in various places and eras, such as the post-Civil War era in North America and globally during the time between the World Wars.

Pax Americana is primarily used in its modern connotations to refer to the peace established after the end of World War II in 1945. In this modern sense, it has come to indicate the military and economic position of the United States in relation to other nations. The term derives from and is inspired by the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire, the Pax Britannica of the British Empire, and the Pax Mongolica of the Mongol Empire.

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February 5, 2013

Social Cycle Theory

Social cycle theories are among the earliest social theories in sociology. Unlike the theory of social evolutionism, which views the evolution of society and human history as progressing in some new, unique direction(s), sociological cycle theory argues that events and stages of society and history are generally repeating themselves in cycles. Such a theory does not necessarily imply that there cannot be any social progress. In the early theory of ancient Chinese historian Sima Qian and the more recent theories of long-term (‘secular’) political-demographic cycles as well as in the Varnic theory of 20th century Indian philosopher P.R. Sarkar an explicit accounting is made of social progress.

The interpretation of history as repeating cycles of Dark and Golden Ages was a common belief among ancient cultures. The more limited cyclical view of history defined as repeating cycles of events was put forward in the academic world in the 19th century in historiosophy (a branch of historiography) and is a concept that falls under the category of sociology. However, Polybius, Ibn Khaldun, and Giambattista Vico can be seen as precursors of this analysis. The Saeculum (a length of time roughly equal to the potential lifetime of a person or the equivalent of the complete renewal of a human population) was identified in Roman times.

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February 5, 2013

The 48 Laws of Power

48 laws

The 48 Laws of Power‘ (2000) is the first book by American author Robert Greene. The book, an international bestseller, is a practical guide for anyone who wants power, observes power, or wants to arm himself against power, and is popular with famous rappers, entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes and actors including 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Dov Charney, Brian Grazer, Chris Bosh, and Will Smith. ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ is taught in business management classes and is one of the most requested books in American prison libraries.

The 48 Laws of Power are a distillation of 3,000 years of the history of power, drawing on the lives of strategists and historical figures like Niccolò Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, and P.T. Barnum. The book is intended to show people how to gain power, preserve it, and defend themselves against power manipulators.

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