SCHOLARS NOTEBOOK - March 2014

Scholars Notebook

 MONTHLY MEETING

SATURDAY, MARCH 15, 2014  1:30 - 3:30PM
Free and Open to the Public
UCSD CHANCELLORS COMPLEX #111A
Free Parking in the Gilman Parking Structure 

INVESTIGATING AND EXPANDING THE CREATIVE MIND


"Cultivating the Creative Mind," an innovative course which explores the interconnectivity of theatre and neuroscience, will be described by the two members of the UCSD Theatre and Dance faculty who conceived it.  The undergraduate course uses theatrical context to integrate scientific research about creativity, group dynamics and related topics.

The two are Lisa Porter, professor of Theatre and Dance, and head of stage management at UCSD since 2005; and Kim Rubinstein, professor of Acting and Directing, and head of undergraduate acting for the Department.

Porter is also a freelance stage manager, both internationally and regionally. She has toured extensively, with Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project; with TheatreWorks Singapore to Australia, Brazil and Japan; and with the Silk Road Ensemble. She has worked on Broadway productions of "The Lion King" and "Les Miserables," and at Yale Repertory. Local credits include productions at the La Jolla Playhouse and Old Globe.

Rubinstein came to UCSD in 2006 from New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre where she directed such works as "Private Lives," "Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Guys and Dolls." She was both Tour Director and associate director of the National Tour of "Angels in America" and taught acting at Northwestern University for ten years. In 2009 a collaboration between Rubinstein and choreographer Yolande Snaith resulted in an original melding of dance and theatre, "Sexual Selection: Darwin and Shakespeare Ponder Love," presented at La Jolla's Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre.

Their presentation will be followed by the usual audience participation period.

FROM THE PRESIDENT

SUPPER WITH SCHOLARS

David and Dorothy Parker recently sent all SDIS members email notices of a new SDIS activity, Supper With Scholars. The name is a give-away: it is a dinner-time food and conversation event. It complements another recently introduced SDIS activity of the same sort but held mid-morning, the SDIS Breakfast Roundtable.  

Breakfast Roundtable events, held monthly, have been well attended by members, an obvious sign that SDIS members enjoy conversation with each other. The Roundtable discussions start with a selected topic but are unstructured. This encourages attendees to introduce their own perspectives. Issues get elaborated; interesting points of view are frequently interwoven. I've attended. It is good intellectual fun.

But the Roundtables are morning events and some people prefer evening socializing, perhaps because they have daytime jobs or, like me, they are inherently attuned to relaxing into good conversation and socializing during dinner hours.

In any event, we who attend Supper With Scholars events are the "scholars." Together we will shape the topics and the flow of conversation. It will be as light or deep as we choose it to be. Participation brings the enjoyment of intellectual conversation with interesting people - such intangibles are what this is intended to be all about, as is also the goal for the Breakfast Roundtable meetings. Do let David and Dorothy know of your interest in attending meetings of this new dinner-time SDIS kind of event. 

SDIS PROJECTS

The SDIS Scientific Heritage of World War II project has now completed its scheduled six meetings. Bea Rose, who organized and led this project is now investigating how best to create a permanent record of its many fascinating verbal reports and panel discussions.

"The Frontier" is the title of a second project; it is well underway and most likely will be completed this year. 

SDIS projects differ from study groups. The former are intended to be of finite duration in contrast with study groups which often are ongoing for many years. Please let me know by email if you have in mind a project which you would like to initiate in collaboration with other SDIS members. I'll be glad to offer commentary and brainstorm with you how best to proceed.

NEW MEMBERS

The various SDIS activities continue apace. I continue to feel it would be helpful for me and other SDIS "old-timers" to do more by way of facilitating entry of new SDIS members to study groups and other activities. We recently held a "new member mixer." That was a start, but the goal is ongoing. I hope new members will feel free to reach out to me and other long-time members of SDIS - in other words, to use us as sources of information about the aspects of SDIS which each would find of greatest interest. 

Sam Gusman


STUDY GROUPS

Colloquy Café

Our February meeting covered more aspects of "habit."  Charles Duhigg's book,The Power of Heat, says "we spend more than 40% of our waking hours engaged in habitual actions."  Much of our 2/19/14 discussion dealt with the difference between good and bad habits, with the bad habits getting the most attention in our meeting as in real life; e.g., to say someone "has a habit" isn't usually a compliment. Also, we discussed varying synonyms for the word, e.g., wont, inclination, addiction.   One description of a habit was "self-medication," psychologically or physically, e.g., a "runner's high."  Unfortunately, a bad habit indicates dependency: psychological, physical, or both.  Our March meeting will be at 1:30 on March 19 when we will discuss "prejudice."

Culture One

At its February 26th meeting, Culture One concluded its study of the predominate role of WEIRD (W/ealthy-E/ducated-I/ndustrialIzed-R/ich-D/emocratic) societies in research dealing with the behavioral sciences. Based on the results of a wide range of groups on a broad collection of behaviors, our reference article challenged the assumption that studies of WEIRD societies (i.e., Americans and Europeans) are indicative of the behaviors of societies around the globe.

At its next meeting, Wednesday, March 26th, Culture One will address a few peer comments on the WEIRD article before turning to individually chosen chapters in the "Handbook of Cultural Psychology", each dealing with a research topic. For further information, contact Sue R. Rosner.  Culture One is digging deeper into the predominate role of WEIRD (W/ealthy-E/ducated-I/ndustrialIzed-R/ich-D/emocratic) societies in research dealing with the behavioral sciences. 

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, March 21 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

Neuroscience Group

The next meeting of the Neuroscience Study Group is scheduled for March 17, 2014 at 3 pm in Bea Rose's home.  Chapter 5 is our reading assignment in David Eagleman's book Incognito.  Although this is a long chapter which may take us more than one meeting to discuss, the choice of our next reading adventure is on the horizon.   Suggestions are in order and members are encouraged to think of the direction we wish to study our subject: the brain.   

Visitors are welcome but a prior call to ensure sufficient space would be appreciated. Contact Bea at (858) 458-9263 or beabe@me.com.

Literature Group

The Literature Group will meet Monday, March 3, to discuss Shakespeare's delightful comedy "As You Like It."  At that meeting we will decide what to take up next.  
For more information contact Cathy Blecki:
 cblecki@pacbell.net.

Film Group

The Film Group will meet Wednesday, March 5, at 10:00 a.m.at the home of Barbara Heckler to view a documentary, Deceptive Practices: the Mysteries and Legends of Ricky Jay.  Jay is a renowned illusionist. This film was originally scheduled for February.    Contact Barbara at bheckler@san.rr.com for information about attending.


SDIS BREAKFAST ROUNDTABLE

We'll meet at Coco's on Monday, March 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. for breakfast and roundtable discussion.  Coco's is located in University City at the intersection of Genesee and Nobel Drive in the Costa Verde shopping center.  It's across the street from University Town Center.  To make a reservation, contact Barbara Heckler at bheckler@san.rr.com by Saturday, November 16.  Don't hesitate to call at the last minute - we'll make space!


HONORING AN OUTSTANDING SDIS MEMBER

Bea Rose
8515 Costa Verde Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92122 

Dear Bea,

I write this letter specifically to inform you of a motion duly made, seconded, and approved unanimously, indeed enthusiastically, by the Board of San Diego Independent Scholars at its February 14, 2014 meeting. It expresses the Board's thanks and appreciation for your initiative and work on the Science Heritage of World War II project. You were recognized as deserving high praise not only for work on this project but also because of your vision that this project may serve as case example template for possible future projects on different subjects. Indeed we are also well aware of your outstanding contributions to SDIS in many ways over the years.

That said, though the motion itself expressed "thanks and appreciation" the discussion of it became more informal and invoked words about you like "admiration," "impressive," and even more flowery praise. I admit to sharing these feelings about you and the way you live a rich and active intellectual life. As a youngster (relatively speaking of course) compared to you, I am especially impressed by your unstoppable sense of intellectual curiosity and willingness to dive into new kinds of learning. In a letter like this I would be permitted to overstate the case but in no way is what I say here an overstatement.

Thank you Bea for all that you do to make SDIS what it is. In so many ways you deserve appreciation as a leader whose work has indelibly left its positive mark on the organization and the course it takes today.

Sincerely yours,

Sam Gusman
President, SDIS