Happiness Linked to Valuing Personal Time Over Money

Valuing your time more than the pursuit of money is linked to greater happiness, according to new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

In six studies with more than 4,600 participants, researchers found an almost even split between people who tended to value their time or money, and that choice was a fairly consistent trait both for daily interactions and major life events.

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Helping Others Dampens Effects of Everyday Stress

Providing help to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers can mitigate the impact of daily stressors on our emotions and our mental health, according to new research published in Clinical Psychological Science.

“Our research shows that when we help others we can also help ourselves,” explains study author Emily Ansell of the Yale University School of Medicine. “Stressful days usually lead us to have a worse mood and poorer mental health, but our findings suggest that if we do small things for others, such as holding a door open for someone, we won’t feel as poorly on stressful days.”

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Loneliness a greater public health hazard than obesity

As more people opt to live alone, delay or forego marriage, and recede into their smartphones, rates of loneliness are skyrocketing in the United States, according to new research. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, presented the findings from two huge meta-analyses at this year’s Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Holt-Lunstad’s research shows loneliness could pose an even greater threat to public health than obesity, and other research has found it even rivals the risks of smoking.

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The Viable System Model as a Framework for Understanding Organizations

The Viable System Model (VSM) is not a new idea. Created by Stafford Beer over twenty years ago, it has been used extensively as a conceptual tool for understanding organizations, redesigning them (where appropriate) and supporting the management of change. Despite its successful application within numerous private and public sector organizations, however, the VSM is not yet widely known among the general management population. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the ideas behind the model are not intuitively easy to grasp; secondly, they run counter to the great legacy of thinking about organizations dating from the Industrial Revolution – a legacy that is only now starting to be questioned. To deal with the second point in more detail, organizations have been viewed traditionally as hierarchical institutions that operate according to a top-down command structure: strategic plans are formulated at the top and implemented by a cascade of instructions through the tiered ranks. It is now widely acknowledged that this modus operandi is too slow and inflexible to cope with the increasing rate of change and complexity surrounding most organizations.

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Posted in Autopoiesis, Autopoietic organization, Autopoietic systems, Organizations, Viable System Model | Tagged , , , ,

Autopoietic Viable System Model

This article considers the Viable System Model (VSM) from the viewpoint of autopoiesis. Looking at the lowest recursion level, a VSM prototype can be found; namely, people’s interactivities are the source of viability and produce the system. I call the provisional family unit the social autopoietic unit. People’s autopoietic activities are essential for organizing; for that, I view VSM as the organization of necessary functions, and as a result, a foundation for autopoietic VSM is obtained.

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The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent—and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed—leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn. Teaching people to have a “growth mind-set,” which encourages a focus on “process” rather than on intelligence or talent, produces high achievers in school and in life. Parents and teachers can engender a growth mind-set in children by praising them for their persistence or strategies (rather than for their intelligence), by telling success stories that emphasize hard work and love of learning, and by teaching them about the brain as a learning machine.

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The Tree of Knowledge is not an apple or an oak but a banyan

In European societies, knowledge is often pictured as a tree: a single trunk – the core – with branches splaying outwards towards distant peripheries. The imagery of this tree is so deeply embedded in European thought-patterns that every form of institution has been marshaled into a ‘centre-periphery’ pattern.

Knowledge should indeed be thought of as a tree – just not this kind of tree. Rather than the European fruiter with its single trunk, knowledge should be pictured as a banyan tree, in which a multiplicity of aerial roots sustains a centreless organic system. The tree of knowledge has a plurality of roots, and structures of knowledge are multiple grounded in the earth: the body of knowledge is a single organic whole, no part of which is more or less dispensable than any other. ‘Stands an undying banyan tree,’ says Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gītā, ‘with roots above and boughs beneath. Its leaves are the Vedic hymns: one who knows this tree knows the Vedas. Below, above, its well-nourished branches struggle out; sense objects are the twigs. Below its roots proliferate inseparably linked with works in the world of men.’

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When is Stress good for you?

The subtle flows and toxic hits of stress get under the skin, making and breaking the body and brain over a lifetime. Stress pervades our lives. We become anxious when we hear of violence, chaos or discord. And, in our relatively secure world, the pace of life and its demands often lead us to feel that there is too much to do in too little time. This disrupts our natural biological rhythms and encourages unhealthy behaviors, such as eating too much of the wrong things, neglecting exercise and missing out on sleep.

Racial and ethnic discrimination, along with lack of educational opportunities and economic advancement take their toll on a large segment of the population in the United States. Incarceration is the rule rather than the exception for some of the most vulnerable. Adverse experiences in infancy and childhood, including poverty, leave a lifelong imprint on the brain and body and undermine long-term health, increasing the incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, substance abuse, anti-social behavior, and dementia. How does all of this stress ‘get under our skin’? What does it do to our brains and our bodies? What can we do about it? And is stress so multifaceted and pervasive that we could have trouble controlling it at all?

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Growing Rhizomes and Collapsing Walls: Postmodern Paradigms for Design Education

The system and structure of architectural education is a resultant of two sets of forces. On one side, we have the inherent characteristics and peculiarities of architectural profession that drive its academic component and remain the same at any given point of time. I will call these factors intrinsic factors. On the other side, we have numerous contextual and environmental (cultural, technological, sociopolitical) factors whose essence is change. I will call these the extrinsic factors. Technology, and in particular digital technology, is one of those extrinsic factors that I will specifically address in this paper. My effort here is to bring a theoretical basis to understand how digital technology impacts the organization, transmission, dissemination, and composition of knowledge that could, in turn, affect architectural education. My proposition in this paper, which is based on Deleuze and Guattariís notions of rhizome and Jean-FranÁois Lyotardís ideas on postmodern pedagogy, is for a curricular direction that opens the walls of the schools of architecture and particularly the design studios. I call for a move toward ìwall-less studiosî that fuel a ìrhizomatic pedagogy.

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Posted in Rhizomatic learning, Rhizomatic pedagogy, Rhizomes | Tagged , ,

Beyond Urban Subcultures: Urban Subversions as Rhizomatic Social Formations

The article discusses what we term urban social formations and expands on prior work that predominantly examines urban ‘subcultures’ as opposed to the world city paradigm and homogeneous cityscapes. We describe the process of ‘subculturalization’ through which urban social formations after they have been marginalized and illegalized, become formalized as subcultures and incorporated into the fabric of consumption and profit making. The article proposes that these ossified moments of crystallized practice are only part of wider rhizomatic territories that remain open fields for urban engagement, inviting fluid urban identities and creative states of becoming. The article concludes by exploring the challenges and opportunities of conceptualizing urban social formations as rhizomes.

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