Teaching and health: a biological view | Professor Nelson M. Vaz (1999)

Abstract Living systems are structure determined systems. Teaching is never feasible, but learning is inevitable, a comment by an observer about some aspect of the constant changes occurring while life goes on. Teachers are all those who open up spaces for conviviality and allow congruent changes to take place. There are no instructive interactions in nature. Health and the biology of living systems are phenomena studied in different domains. What is healthy or unhealthy for humans, is defined by human culture. As biological phenomena, health and disease are relational configurations of the organism and its medium. From this perspective, individual health is a social phenomenon.

Key words Health Education; Epistemology; Education; Health

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Why Grandmothers May Hold The Key To Human Evolution | Kristen Hawkes | The Grandmother Hypothesis

Consider the hypothesis that increased longevity is a key to the evolution of human life history and other features that distinguish us from the great apes. The Grandmother Hypothesis implies novel challenges for ancestral mothers and infants that favored the evolution of the distinctly human preferences for joint attention that underpin our cultural lives. Anthropologist Kristen Hawkes explores the connections that link our grandmothering life history to men’s status competition, which propels so much in human affairs, including the economic productivity that is a hallmark of our lineage.

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Homo Donans | Genevieve Vaughan | gift-economy.com

The subject matter of this book – at the intersection between feminism and linguistics, economics, semiotics, and sociology – is a fundamental part of our humanity that we have not seen before, or named as such. Not that people have not studied what they call ‘gift exchange’, but they have not given it that fundamental interdisciplinary place that should occupy. Indeed many have believed that unilateral gift giving does not exist. I consider it both fundamental and commonplace.

The gift has been obscured for many reasons, which we will be discussing. It is strange that anything this important could have been invisible, but perhaps this also gives a measure of the importance of revealing it, not only for academic investigation but for politics. Why are we motivated to harm and egocentrism and why is our compassion dwindling? The answer may be found in the struggle between the parasite and the host, the exchange paradigm and the gift paradigm.

Another way of saying this is that gift giving has been deprived of its meta level. That is why we do not name this important aspect of life. Unilateral gift giving is not the same as unconditional love or gift giving. There are conditions – such as the identification of a need. The other person should not be hostile – in fact the hostility may mean that there is a need – for independence perhaps? – that is greater, and is not being seen by the prospective giver.

The identification of needs and agency for their satisfaction creates meaning, in language and life.

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La noción del Tao constituye una invitación a un vivir en el bien-estar psíquico y corporal, a un vivir sin esfuerzo en la unidad de toda la existencia en el hacer que surge del ver el presente cuando no hay prejuicio o expectativa. Como tal, la noción del Tao ha llevado a muchas personas a la reflexión y a la acción que busca encontrar o revelar la naturaleza de ese vivir en los ámbitos de la filosofía, la mística, y la religión. ¿Con qué nos conecta ese vivir?, ¿con lo divino o lo biológico? Pensamos que el vivir al que la noción del Tao nos invita es el vivir fundamental del vivir del ser vivo en su naturaleza biológica que se da en el existir en un presente cambiante continuo. En nosotros, los seres humanos, ese vivir ocurre como un vivir en el lenguajear sin enajenarse en el explicar, vivir que surge cuando se vive en la ampliación del ver en el desapego que es la biología del amar. Por esto el camino del Tao es el camino del amar, y el camino del amar es la biología del Tao.

Palabras clave: Biología, tao, amar, ser y hacer.


The notion of Tao constitutes an invitation to live in the psychic and bodily well-being, a living without effort in the unity of all existence that arises as the manner of living in the present with the expansion of vision that occurs when one lives without attachment and expectations. As such the notion of Tao has lead many people to the reflections and actions that attempt to find or to reveal that manner of living in the domains of philosophy, mysticism and religion. Where that manner of living leads us?, to the divine or to the biological? We think that the manner of living to which we are invited by the notion of the Tao, is the basic living of livings systems in their biological nature as this takes place in a continuously changing present. In us human beings that manner of living occurs as we do not become alienated in explanations as we live in the detachment and absence of expectations of the biology of love. This is why the path of Tao is the path of the biology of love.

Keywords: Biology, tao, to love, to be, to do.

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Gift Economy – Discussion | wiki.p2pfoundation.net

“Exchange creates and requires scarcity. If everyone were giving to everyone else, there would be no need to exchange. The market needs scarcity to maintain the level of prices. In fact when there is an abundance of products scarcity is often created on purpose. An example of this is the plowing under of ‘overabundant’ crops (which may happen even when people are standing by who are hungry). On a larger scale scarcity is created 1. by the channeling of wealth into the hands of the few who then have power over the many; 2. by spending on armaments and monuments which have no nurturing value but only serve for destruction and display of power; and 3. by privatizing or depleting the environment so that the gifts of nature are unavailable to the many. The exchange paradigm is a belief system which validates this kind of behavior. Individuals who espouse it are functional to the economic system of which they are a part. Exchange is adversarial, each person tries to give less and get more, an attitude which creates antagonism and distance among the players. Gift giving creates and requires abundance. In fact, in scarcity gift giving is difficult and even self sacrificial while in abundance it is satisfying and even delightful.”

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Maternal Gift Economy: Breaking Through

Drawing on Maternal Gift Economy theory, the suppressed wisdom of women, and the traditions and ethics of Indigenous societies, this integrated programme of presentations sponsored by the International Feminists for a Gift Economy Network will offer new insights, perspectives, and challenges to the underlying market-based mentality of the dominant world order.

In this time of crisis and systemic upheaval, the model of the Maternal Gift Economy on which our survival depends at the beginning of life, is being revealed and celebrated. The interdependence of all living beings can now be made visible and honored.

Mother Earth provides the model of an economy based on gifting that we receive as young children from our nurturers—before we are alienated into market exchange. We must make the transition from the exploitive Euro-American patriarchal/dominating and capitalistic ideology to a gift-based economy and culture grounded in the values of nurturing and care rather than competition and greed.

We invite you to join us in exploring the possibilities in this series of presentations and dialogues that bring together those who have been laboring to articulate the principles of the Maternal Gift Economy, protect Indigenous values, and practice peaceful and just community building. The time is now for all humans to cooperate rather than compete. Please join us!

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New project for a scientific psychology: General scheme | Mark Solms (2020) | Neuropsychoanalysis

This is a revision of Freud’s “Project for a Scientific Psychology: General Scheme.” It updates the original, sentence for sentence where possible, in light of contemporary neuroscientific knowledge. The principle revisions are as follows. (1) Freud’s conception of “quantity” (the precursor of “drive energy”) is replaced by the concept of “free energy.” This is the energy within a system that is not currently performing useful work. (2) Shannon’s conception of “information” is introduced, where information is equivalent to unpredictability, and is formally equivalent to “entropy” in physics. (3) In biology, the fundamental purpose of “homeostasis” is to resist entropy – i.e., to increase predictability. Homeostasis turns out to be the underlying mechanism of what Freud called the “principle of neuronal inertia.” (4) Freud’s conception of “contact barriers” (the physical vehicles of memory) is linked with the modern concepts of consolidation/reconsolidation, whereby more deeply consolidated predictions are less plastic (more resistant to change) than freshly consolidated ones. (5) Freud’s notion of sensory “excitation” is replaced with the concept of “prediction error,” where only that portion of sensory input which is not explained by outgoing predictions is propagated inwards for cognitive processing. (6) Freud’s conception of “bound” (inhibited) cathexis, the main vehicle of his “secondary process” and voluntary action is equated with the buffering function of “working memory”; and “freely mobile” cathexis (the vehicle of Freud’s “primary process”) is equated with the automatized response modes of the nondeclarative memory systems. (7) Freud’s notion of ω (the system “consciousness”) is replaced by the concept of “precision” modulation, also known as “arousal” and “postsynaptic gain.”

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