Satyāgraha (Sanskrit: सत्याग्रह) is a composite lexeme composed of the word satya (meaning “truth”) and agraha (“holding firmly to”). It also refers to a virtue in Indian philosophy, referring to being truthful and pure in thought, word and action. In Yoga philosophy, satya is one of five yamas (Sanskrit: यम).

Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence
Satya (सत्य): Truthfulness
Asteya (अस्तेय): Not stealing
Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): Chastity, marital fidelity, sexual restraint
Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): Non-avarice, non-possessiveness


“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance.
Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time

Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time is a work of history written by Carroll Quigley. The book covers the period of roughly 1880 to 1963 and is multidisciplinary in nature though perhaps focusing on the economic problems brought about by the First World War and the impact these had on subsequent events. While global in scope, the book focusses on Western civilization, because Quigley has more familiarity with the West.

The book has attracted the attention of those interested in geopolitics due to Quigley’s assertion that a secret society initially led by Cecil Rhodes, Alfred Milner and others had considerable influence over British and American foreign policy in the first half of the twentieth century. From 1909 to 1913, Milner organized the outer ring of this society as the semi-secret Round Table groups.

H.G. Wells – The new world order

Originally published in 1940 – republished in 2007 under ISBN 1-59986-727-3.

The opportunistic marketable/salable character

Excerpt from Prof. Erich Fromm, Psychoanalysis and Religion (1950).

(Op.cit. p.99):
“The attitude common to the teachings of the founders of all great Eastern and Western religions is one in which the supreme aim of living is a concern with man’s soul and the unfolding of his powers of love and reason. Psychoanalysis, far from being a threat to this aim, can on the contrary contribute a great deal to its realization.”

(Op.cit. pp.100-102):
“The marketing orientation has established its dominant role as a character pattern only in the modern era. In the personality market all professions, occupations, and statuses appear. Employer, employee, and free-lance—each must depend for material success on personal acceptance by those who would use his services. Here, as in the commodity market, use value is not sufficient to determine exchange value. The “personality factor” takes precedence over skills in the assessment of market value and most frequently plays the deciding role. While it is true that the most winning personality cannot make up for a total lack of skill indeed, our economic system could not function on such a basis—it is seldom that skill and integrity alone account for success.
Success formulae are expressed in such terms as “selling oneself,” “getting one’s personality across,” and “soundness,” “ambition,” “cheerfulness,” “aggressiveness,” and so forth, which are stamped on the prize-winning personality package. Such other intangibles as family background, clubs, connections, and influence are also important desiderata and will be advertised however subtly as basic ingredients of the commodity offered. To belong to a religion and to practice it is also widely regarded as one of the requirements for success. Every profession, every field has its successful personality type.
The salesman, the banker, the foreman, and the headwaiter have met the requirements, each in a different way and to a different degree, but their roles are identifiable, they have measured up to the
essential condition: to be in demand. Inevitably man’s attitude toward himself is conditioned by these standards for success. His feeling of self-esteem is not based primarily on the value of his powers and the use he makes of them in a given society. It depends on his salability on the market, or the opinion others have about his “attractiveness.” He experiences himself as a commodity designed to attract on the most favorable, the most expensive terms.
The higher the offered price the greater the affirmation of his value. Commodity man hopefully displays his label, tries to stand out from the assortment on the counter and to be worthy of the highest price tag, but if he is passed by while others are snapped up he is convicted of inferiority and worthlessness. However high he may be rated in terms of both human qualities and utility, he may have the ill-luck—and must bear the blame—of being out of fashion. From early childhood he has learned that to be in fashion is to be in demand and that he too must adapt to the personality mart. But the virtues he is taught ambition, sensitivity, and adaptibility to the demands of others—are qualities too general to provide the patterns for success.
He turns to popular fiction, the newspapers, and the movies for more specific pictures of the success story and finds the smartest, the newest models on the market to emulate. It is hardly surprising that under these circumstances man’s sense of his value must suffer severely.
The conditions for his self-esteem are beyond his control. He is dependent on others for approval and in constant need of it; helplessness and insecurity are the inevitable results. Man loses his own identity in the marketing orientation ; he becomes alienated from himself. If man’s highest value is success, if love, truth, justice, tenderness, mercy are of no use to him, he may profess these ideals but he does not strive for them. He may think that he worships the god of love but he actually worships an idol which is the idealization of his real goals, those rooted in the marketing orientation.”

Cf. The chapter on the marketing orientation in “Man for Himself” (Fromm, 1947).

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Change blindness

Change blindness is a perceptual phenomenon that occurs when a change in a visual stimulus is introduced and the observer does not notice it. For example, observers often fail to notice major differences introduced into an image while it flickers off and on again.

Further References

Kentridge, R. W.. (2015). Change Blindness. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.51024-1
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Simons, D. J., & Rensink, R. A.. (2005). Change blindness: Past, present, and future. Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.11.006
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Masuda, T., & Nisbett, R. E.. (2006). Culture and change blindness. Cognitive Science

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1207/s15516709cog0000_63
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Simons, D. J.. (2000). Current approaches to change blindness. Visual Cognition

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/135062800394658
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Rensink, R. A.. (2010). Attention: Change Blindness and Inattentional Blindness. In Encyclopedia of Consciousness

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/B978-012373873-8.00006-2
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Beck, D. M., Rees, G., Frith, C. D., & Lavie, N.. (2001). Neural correlates of change detection and change blindness. Nature Neuroscience

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1038/88477
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Levin, D. T., Momen, N., Drivdahl, S. B., & Simons, D. J.. (2000). Change blindness blindness: The metacognitive error of overestimating change-detection ability. Visual Cognition

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/135062800394865
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Cavanaugh, J.. (2004). Subcortical Modulation of Attention Counters Change Blindness. Journal of Neuroscience

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3724-04.2004
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Simons, D. J., & Chabris, C. F.. (1999). Gorillas in our midst: Sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events. Perception

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1068/p281059
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Simons, D. J., & Ambinder, M. S.. (2005). Change blindness: Theory and consequences. Current Directions in Psychological Science

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00332.x
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Galpin, A., Underwood, G., & Crundall, D.. (2009). Change blindness in driving scenes. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2008.11.002
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Simons, D. J., Chabris, C. F., Schnur, T., & Levin, D. T.. (2002). Evidence for preserved representations in change blindness. Consciousness and Cognition

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1006/ccog.2001.0533
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Plain numerical DOI: 10.2117/psysoc.2008.142
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(WHO), W. H. O.. (1972). Change the Definition of Blindness. World Health Organization

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/s10803-013-1958-9
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O’Regan, J. K., Rensink, R. A., & Clark, J. J.. (1999). Change-blindness as a result of “mudsplashes”. Nature

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1038/17953
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Landman, R., Spekreijse, H., & Lamme, V. A. F.. (2003). Large capacity storage of integrated objects before change blindness. Vision Research

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/S0042-6989(02)00402-9
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Davies, G., & Hine, S.. (2007). Change blindness and eyewitness testimony. Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied

Plain numerical DOI: 10.3200/JRLP.141.4.423-434
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Sela, L., & Sobel, N.. (2010). Human olfaction: A constant state of change-blindness. Experimental Brain Research

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/s00221-010-2348-6
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Henderson, J. M., & Hollingworth, A.. (2003). Global transsaccadic change blindness during scene perception. Psychological Science

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/1467-9280.02459
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Fernandez-Duque, D., & Thornton, I. M.. (2000). Change detection without awareness: Do explicit reports underestimate the representation of change in the visual system?. Visual Cognition

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/135062800394838
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Nelson, K. J., Laney, C., Fowler, N. B., Knowles, E. D., Davis, D., & Loftus, E. F.. (2011). Change blindness can cause mistaken eyewitness identification. Legal and Criminological Psychology

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1348/135532509X482625
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Coup d’état

A coup d’état also known simply as a coup, a putsch, golpe, or an overthrow, is an illegal and overt seizure of a state by the military or other elites within the state apparatus.[1]

A 2003 review of the academic literature found that the following factors were associated with coups:

  • officers’ personal grievances
  • military organizational grievances
  • military popularity
  • military attitudinal cohesiveness
  • economic decline
  • domestic political crisis
  • contagion from other regional coups
  • external threat
  • participation in war
  • foreign veto power and military’s national security doctrine
  • officers’ political culture
  • noninclusive institutions
  • colonial legacy
  • economic development
  • undiversified exports
  • officers’ class composition
  • military size
  • strength of civil society
  • regime legitimacy and past coups.[18]

The structure of power

Vitali, S., Glattfelder, J. B., & Battiston, S.. (2011). The network of Global corporate control. PLoS ONE

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025995
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Heemskerk, E. M., & Takes, F. W.. (2016). The Corporate Elite Community Structure of Global Capitalism. New Political Economy

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2015.1041483
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Testing Theories of American Politics

When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.
(Gilens & Page, 2014, p.575)

Further References

Gilens, M., & Page, B. I.. (2014). Testing theories of American politics: Elites, interest groups, and average citizens. Perspectives on Politics

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1017/S1537592714001595
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Supernormal stimuli

A supernormal stimulus or superstimulus is an exaggerated version of a stimulus to which there is an existing response tendency, or any stimulus that elicits a response more strongly than the stimulus for which it evolved.

For example, when it comes to eggs, a bird can be made to prefer the artificial versions to their own,[1] and humans can be similarly exploited by junk food.[2] The idea is that the elicited behaviours evolved for the “normal” stimuli of the ancestor’s natural environment, but the behaviours are now hijacked by the supernormal stimulus.

British academic Nigel Spivey demonstrates the effect in the first episode of the 2005 BBC documentary series How Art Made the World to illustrate neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran‘s speculation that this might be the reason for the grossly exaggerated body image demonstrated in works of art from the Venus of Willendorf right up to the present day.

In biology

In the 1950s, Konrad Lorenz observed that birds would select brooding eggs that resembled those of their own species but which were larger, and Niko Tinbergen, following his extensive analysis of the stimulus features that elicited food-begging in the chick of the herring gull, constructed an artificial stimulus consisting of a red knitting needle with three white bands painted around it; this elicited a stronger response than an accurate three-dimensional model of the parent’s head (white) and bill (yellow with a red spot).[3]

Tinbergen and his students studied other variations of this effect. He experimented with dummy plaster eggs of various sizes and markings finding that most birds preferred ones with more exaggerated markings than their own, more saturated versions of their color, and a larger size than their own. Small songbirds which laid light blue grey-dappled eggs preferred to sit on a bright blue black polka-dotted dummy so large they slid off repeatedly. Territorial male stickleback fish would attack wooden floats with red undersides—attacking them more vigorously than invading male sticklebacks if the underside were redder.[1]

Lorenz and Tinbergen accounted for the supernormal stimulus effect in terms of the concept of the innate releasing mechanism; however this concept is no longer widely used.[citation needed] The core observation that simple features of stimuli may be sufficient to trigger a complex response remains valid, however.

In 1979, the term supernormal stimulus was used by Richard Dawkins and John Krebs to refer to the exaggeration of pre-existing signs induced by social parasites, noting the manipulation of baby birds (hosts) from these, to illustrate the effectiveness of those signals.[4]

In 1983, entomologists Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz reported on the beetle Julodimorpha bakewelli attempting to copulate with discarded brown stubbies (a type of beer bottles) studded with tubercules (flattened glass beads).[5] This work won them the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize in biology.[6]

Another example of this is the study made by Mauck and colleagues, where they evaluated the effects of a plant pathogen named cucumber mosaic virus or CMV. This study showed that the aphids preferred the healthy plants but are still attracted by the infected plants, because of the manipulation of volatile compounds used by plants to attract them.[7]

Manipulation by parasites

In 2001, Holen et al., analyzed the evolutionary stability of hosts manipulation through exaggerated signals. Their model indicated that intensity of parasitic signals must be below a threshold to ensure acceptance from host. This threshold depends directly on the range of parasitism.[8]

For them, the only evolutionary stable strategy is when the host accepts all signs of the parasite with optimal intensity, which must be below the threshold; if this is not the case, the host can use these signals to identify the parasite.[8]

In psychology

Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett argues that supernormal stimulation govern the behavior of humans as powerfully as that of other animals. In her 2010 book, Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose,[9] she examines the impact of supernormal stimuli on the diversion of impulses for nurturing, sexuality, romance, territoriality, defense, and the entertainment industry’s hijacking of our social instincts. In the earlier book, Waistland,[2] she explains junk food as an exaggerated stimulus to cravings for salt, sugar, and fats and television as an exaggeration of social cues of laughter, smiling faces and attention-grabbing action. Modern artifacts may activate instinctive responses which evolved prior to the modern world, where breast development was a sign of health and fertility in a prospective mate, and fat was a rare and vital nutrient.

In a cross-cultural study, Doyle and Pazhoohi showed that surgically augmented breasts are supernormal stimuli, and they are more attractive than natural breasts, regardless of their size.[10] Also in a theoretical paper, Doyle proposed that how women walk creates supernormal stimuli through continuously alternating motion of the waist and hips causing peak shifts in perceptions of physical attractiveness involving women’s waist-to-hip ratio.[11]

In art

Costa and Corazza (2006),[12] examining 776 artistic portraits covering the whole history of art, showed that eye roundness, lip roundness, eye height, eye width, and lip height were significantly enhanced in artistic portraits compared to photographic ones matched for sex and age. In a second study, forty-two art academy students were requested to draw two self-portraits, one with a mirror and one without (from memory). Eye and lip size and roundness were greater in artistic self-portraits. These results show that the exaggeration and “supernormalization” of key features linked to attractiveness, such as eye and lip size, are frequently found in art.

See also

Further References

Antenucci, R. G., & Hayes, J. E.. (2015). Nonnutritive sweeteners are not supernormal stimuli. International Journal of Obesity

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2014.109
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Christy, J. H.. (2002). Mimicry, Mate Choice, and the Sensory Trap Hypothesis. The American Naturalist

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1086/285793
directSciHub download