Articles (General)

So, You Want to Change the World?

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November 2017 Ivan Obolensky Why do certain aspects of our lives stay the same when we want to change them? We find it difficult to lose weight, step outside our comfort zones, or even change our schedules. Individuals are not the only ones who find change difficult. Corporations, economies, markets, and even governments encounter these issues. Legitimate concerns are often …

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Governance and the Rise of Networks

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August 2017 Ivan Obolensky What is the role of government, and who does it really represent? What is its purpose, and what are its functions? Where does the domain of government end, and that of the individual begin? Much of the difficulty in answering these questions has to do with the changing landscapes with which governments and people have had …

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Cognition, Part I

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June 2017 Ivan Obolensky Critical thinking is the ability to distinguish between effective and ineffective methods of inference in making a logical argument.1 By inference is meant arriving at a conclusion that is based on evidence, reasoning, and logic rather than speculation, opinion, or emotional preference.2 By critical is meant the ability to judge.3 Why might this be important? Suppose …

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Aging

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April 2017 Ivan Obolensky One of the byproducts of living is aging. Paradoxically, in spite of the hard evidence we see in the mirror each morning, age seems to have a positive effect on how we view the world. Older adults are less depressed and less affected by negative information than the young. Whether that is the result of experience …

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The Motivation of Genius, Part III

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March 2017 Ivan Obolensky Civilization is considered to be emergent and complex in that structures created by the interaction of millions of elements bear little resemblance to the parts that make them up. One has only to consider the Internet to have some familiarity with the concept. Who could have predicted what the Internet has become? Higher, more complex structures …

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The Motivation of Genius, Part II

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February 2017 Ivan Obolensky The last article asked how induced behavior (instinct) plays a part in the motivation of genius. This article will examine instinct more closely. There are differences between learned and instinctual behavior. Instincts are hardwired into us and are programmed through our genetic makeup. Genetic adaptations take about 25,000 years to emerge as traits in the human …

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The Motivation of Genius, Part I

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January 2017 Ivan Obolensky What drives us to excel? What motivates our thoughts and why does discovery move in certain directions, while not in others? How much of what we do is the result of what we think we decide, and how much is instinctual? Put in another context, how much of our behavior is hardwired and how much is …

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Long-Term Friends

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December 2016 Ivan Obolensky If you feel sick with cold-like symptoms, the question asked most often is, do I have a viral or bacterial infection? If it is a viral infection, you know you’re out of luck in terms of antibiotics, and unless the illness is caught early, there is nothing to be done other than persevere and hope that …

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The Parable of the Bus

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November 2016 Ivan Obolensky Imagine you are on a bus. You are a passenger and the bus travels over a mountain range. You have a window seat a few rows back from the driver. The bus is full of other passengers. You look out the window and marvel at the shifting landscape. Fields give way to foothills. Foothills give way …

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Demographic Changes

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October 2016 Ivan Obolensky Shifting demographics are not just a modern phenomenon. The Roman Empire had a similar problem. Demographic change formed the backdrop against which the exile of one of Rome’s most scandalous and widely read poets played out. In the year 8 CE, Publius Ovidius Naso was exiled by the Emperor Augustus to Tomis, Romania. Tomis, modern Constanta, …

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