SCHOLARS NOTEBOOK - January 2014

Scholars   Notebook

 

 

SDIS  GENERAL  MEETING

SATURDAY, JANUARY 18TH   1:30 - 3:30PM

Free and Open to the Public 

UCSD CHANCELLORS COMPLEX #111A 

Parking in the Gilman Parking Structure

 

 

WHEN TIME DOES NOT HEAL:

The Relation Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Health

 

Vincent Felitti, MD, will describe the major research study that links current adult health status to childhood experiences decades earlier. The study is being carried out in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Kaiser Permanente San Diego, in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

With information from 17,421 cooperating adult Kaiser Health Plan members, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study provides retrospective and prospective analysis of the effect of early traumatic experiences on adolescent and adult medical and psychiatric disease, sexual behavior, healthcare costs and life expectancy.

Dr. Felitti, co-principal investigator of the study with Dr. Robert F. Anda of the CDC, created and headed, for its first 25 years, the Department of Preventive Medicine at San Diego’s Kaiser Permanente. An internist, he is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and founder of the California Institutes of Preventive Medicine.

Research findings indicate that many of our most intractable public health problems are the result of compensatory behaviors such as smoking, overeating, and alcohol and drug use, which provide immediate partial relief from the emotional problems caused by childhood trauma. Cardiovascular disease, depression and other forms of mental illness are among the ongoing medical and/or pathological effects. The chronic life stress caused by adverse developmental events is generally unrecognized, as these experiences are often concealed by shame, secrecy and social taboo, buried in time.

As always, a question/discussion period will follow the presentation. 

A book for general readership by journalist Jane Stevens is planned for release in 2014.  You may track future publications or read abstracts by using the free National Library of Medicine web site,  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi and entering Anda or Felitti under ‘author name’.  Using Google Scholar also works very well, using ACE Study.  Information of interest may be found at the web sites www.ACEsConnection.com and at the CDC web site:http://www.cdc.gov/ACE.  At the latter site, abstracts may be read by clicking on titles.

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT  

All good wishes to SDIS, our over-30-year-old organization which continues to grow and change with the times. May three cheers be sounded as we welcome it to 2014!

But what about 2013? What stands out as the signal learning experience for you in the year just ended? Was it some sudden insight for you, a moment of recognition that your mind had been captured by a new thought? An Aha experience perhaps? Such is the way of the life of the mind that these can be immensely joyful moments. Memorable, actually.

I recorded one such moment in my most recent From the President column. I invited and received sufficient response to encourage this additional commentary. The key issue I raised about independent scholarship was its usefulness, and the key question was, "USEFUL TO WHOM?" Here's an edited second version which I write as a follow-on to my earlier column. 

USEFULNESS

I know l bias my valuation of what I do and learn not just by the pleasure of it but also by considering its usefulness. I sense that this is a belief commonly held in American culture. As a researcher, the concept of "usefulness" runs deep, even invading the farthest realms of basic study. Often unspoken is the understanding that usefulness is not limited to the immediate. Basic knowledge and understanding of the world underpin future usefulness. 

EXO-USEFUL KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge is often the parent of insights considered useful in today's world — useful to someone for some purpose, not necessarily beneficial for all. Stated differently, knowledge can trigger development of something (whatever it may be) perceived as useful. It is that "something," not the knowledge per se, which is useful. This kind of knowledge is a stepping stone to usefulness. This can be called EXO-useful knowledge. Relationships between this kind of knowledge and usefulness pervade the physical and biological sciences, and arguably the social sciences too — but a comparable assertion of usefulness for knowledge in the humanities is hardly obvious and, I suggest, fails to reveal its central importance.

ENDO-USEFUL KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge itself can also be useful as a framework for the knowledgeable person's own purposes. Its usefulness is internal to the individual and can reasonably be called ENDO-useful knowledge. In ancient Greece knowledge of aspects of what today is called the humanities was viewed as part of the ideal knowledge base (paideia) of a citizen. This was knowledge directly and personally useful to the citizen. 

In today's world I would call such people "Independent scholars." Their knowledge informs them; their thoughts and behaviors in the world are underpinned by enhanced understanding. This underpinning may even occasionally take the form of a treasure called wisdom, valuable beyond measure.

WAYS OF USEFULNESS

What I have described here are two separate pathways to usefulness of knowledge: the exo-useful pathway by which one beneficially communicates what one knows to others, and the endo-useful pathway through which one's personal intellectual knowledge may usefully inform one's own life. The former (the exo-useful pathway) informs by communication to others. The latter (the endo-useful direct pathway) informs personal practice. It guides the lives and behaviors of intellectually inclined people across broad swaths of society.

Let's open our minds to the obvious. Independent scholarship is not at all bound to the norms and professional practices of academic institutions. The independent scholar may focus on endo- or exo- type goals, one as valid as the other. As I wrote my From the President column toward the end of 2013 I did experience a kind of "aha" moment:" I had a sense of having suddenly identified two different scholarly motivations — endo- and exo- — and learned that they fit together as parts of a greater whole. I can state what I learned simply and clearly. "Endo- and exo- pathways are both valid. Both! Different sides of the same coin. Neither more valid than the other." 

We each have our own motivations and in SDIS we come together to share our thoughts and insights, our lives of the mind — in other words, our independent scholarship.

 THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW YEAR

Joy and happiness for all. 

Ongoing vitality for SDIS. 

And, within SDIS, a heterogeneous mix of independent scholars each motivated in scholarly intent, endo- or exo-, by individual choice — a fine measure of what it means to be independent.

Sam Gusman

 

 

SCIENCE LEGACY OF WW II

 

NEXT MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2014, 2PM

IN THE CABRILLO ROOM OF VI AT LA JOLLA VILLAGE

8515 COSTA VERDE BLVD 

 

SAM GUSMAN 
will review

"SILENT WARFARE  -  UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD OF INTELLIGENCE"

by

A. SHULSKY and G. SCHMITT

 

TO BE FOLLOWED BY A DISTINGUISHED PANEL

 

ADMIRAL LARRY BURKHARDT 

DAVID KLEIN
KEN WATSON

  

           DISCUSSING THEIR PERSPECTIVES AND

      EXPERIENCES. WITH AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Valet Parking available and complementary  

 

 

 

 

STUDY GROUPS:

 

Colloquy Cafe

 

The 12/18/13 topic of the Colloquy Café was "awareness."  Our discussion ranged from self-awareness to "cognizance" as a synonym, to "unconditional awareness" or "pure receptivity", to our awareness of pain and situational changes that can alter that, to the misleading mental images that can arise from hallucinations.  Ultimately, we agreed that it's impossible for us to be aware of everything in our environment and how the conditions around us can require us to immediately switch from one level of awareness to another.  To no one's surprise, we did not conclude with a single solid definition.  

We will meet again on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 1:30 PM to discuss “myth.”  For further information contact M.E. Stratthaus at strattme@san.rr.com 

 

Culture One

 

CULTURE ONE starts the New Year, 2014, by meeting Wednesday, January 22nd, 2:00 - 4:00 PM, in Sonia Rosenberg's apartment, #1459 Vi, 8515 Costa Verde Blvd. Having finished discussing Nisbett's book (“The Geography of Thought") at our last meeting, we considered topics for future study, such as focusing on the components of “Cultural Differences". Thus, we will devote the next meeting to brainstorming on how we wish to proceed in studying the intriguing topic "Culture" from another perspective. For more information, contact Sue Rosner, rosnersue@rosnersue@gmail.com

 

Culture Two

 

The Culture Two Study Group is now focusing on global strategic issues as seen by Zbigniew Brzezinski and described in his book Strategic Vision. The next meeting on Friday, January 10 at 1:30 PM will continue the group’s focus on Part 3 of this book, “The World After America: By 2025, not Chinese but Chaotic.” For further information about attending this meeting please contact Sam Gusman at sagus@sbcglobal.net.

 


Film Study Group

 

The Film Group will meet Wednesday, January 8, at 10:00 a.m. at the home of Barbara Heckler to view Indochine, a 1992 French film set in French Indochina.  The movie won an award for Best Foreign Language Film and a nomination for Best Actress (Catherine Deneuve).  Contact Barbara at bheckler@san.rr.com for information about attending. 

 

December’s film was The Scent of Green Papaya. A 1993 film set in Vietnam between 1950 and the early 1960s, it was a 1993 nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.  The beautiful photography includes lingering shots of nature:  a drop of water slowly moving down a leaf, a bevy of busy ants, a green papaya hanging from a tree.  Add that to the music (both classical and Vietnamese) and the loving presentations of food, and the film becomes a visual poem. 

 

 

Literature Study Group

 

The literary group will meet in the Fairway Boardroom at La Costa Glen, hosted by Betty Cortus, on Monday January 20th, 2014. Marla Jensen will be leading a discussion of Alice Munro's collection of short stories that won the Booker prize in 2009: Too Much Happiness.  Munro takes on some sensational subjects: violence, adultery, cruelty, duplicity, theft, suicide, murder, but her perspective sees subtle, often ironic, reverberations.  For directions, please call or email Betty Cortus at bcortus@hardy-L.com.

 

 

Science Study Group

 

The NeuroScience Group meeting is scheduled to meet on Jan 13, 2014 at 3 pm in Bea Roses's apartment.  Our reading assignment is the first three chapters in David Eagleman's book, Incognito. Visitors welcome but should call first to ensure seating room: Bea Rose at (858) 458-9263 or beabe@me.com.

 

 

MEMBER NEWS:

 

Mary Stroll, a founding member and former president of SDIS, and still an active scholar, has written a review which appears in the October 2013 issue of Speculum, the journal of the Medieval Academy of America.  Mary sent us the title of what she reviewed, and the issue and page #s of the journal in which it appears:

Förster, Thomas, Bonizo von Sutri als gregorianischer Geschichtsschreiber.  (Monumenta Germania Historica, Studien und Texte, 53).  Hannover, 2011; pp. xxvi, 276, Speculum, Volume 88 (2013), pp. 1194-1195.

 

Last fall, Diane Withee had the opportunity to see The Conjurer, down in the archives in Saint-Germaine-en-Laye, with the curator of the collection, Agnes Virole, and Laurent Texier, who owns a Bosch & arranged this meeting. Thanks to all SDIS which made this possible!

Diane Withee with Agnes Virole and Laurent Texier