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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

26 September 2006

Tuesday's Word: discreet

Main Entry: dis·creet
Pronunciation: di-'skrEt
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French discret, from Medieval Latin discretus, from Latin, past participle of discernere to separate, distinguish between -- more at DISCERN
1 : having or showing discernment or good judgment in conduct and especially in speech : PRUDENT; especially : capable of preserving prudent silence
- dis·creet·ly adverb
- dis·creet·ness noun

Merriam-Webster Online

Bloggers, a discreet young lady suggested this week's Word. Regular contributors are not forgotten so please continue requests.

This blog practices discretion and protects its friends.* To illustrate the emphasis placed upon integrity, next week's Word will be "candor."

*Elaboration will be made on 01 OCT 2006.

24 September 2006

Cheers for Elizabeth McClung!

Bloggers, our own novelist par excellence, Elizabeth McClung, will compete today in her first epee match at the 2006 Leon Auriol Open! Lots of cheering for our lady! She is an epee fencer and must be ranked.

Elizabeth, pretend your opponent is Gerald and thrust!

Go, Elizabeth!!!

22 September 2006

Friday Food Blogging!*

More than you ever needed to know about...

When the fireside chitchat runs dry, humor the troops with these fascinating factoids about the South's most peculiar animal.

>>Armadillos rarely grow larger than a housecat-they weigh up to 17 pounds-but fossils of 5-foot giants have been found in South America.
>>It's illegal to own an armadillo in Maine, and Montana classifies them as livestock.
>>Armadillos sink when they swim unless they gulp air into their intestines, which helps them float and stay underwater as long as 5 minutes.
>>Some scientists predict that as a result of global warming, armadillos will migrate as far north as Virginia in the next 50 years.
>>Most armadillos grunt. The exception is Chaetophractus vellerosus, the screaming hairy armadillo native to Bolivia and Argentina.
>>An adult will eat up to 40,000 ants in one meal and 200 pounds of bugs in a year. In the United States alone, that equates to more than 6 billion pounds of bugs annually.
>>The name originated with Spanish conquistadors, meaning "little armored thing." The Aztec called it Azotochtli, for "turtle-rabbit."
>>It always gives birth to identical quadruplets, though in times of stress, mothers can delay implantation of a fertilized egg by up to 2 years.
*>>Armadillo meat, which is a common dinner item in South America, is said to taste like fine pork. Cook it thoroughly, though, as these animals have been known to carry the bacteria that causes leprosy.

Gina DeMillo
February 2004

Once again, we have Barbie to thank for a grand idea! She went to Texas! 'dillos should be served with cerveza or Margaritas!

19 September 2006

Tuesday's Word: inspiration


Inhalation is the movement of air from the external environment, through the airways, into the alveoli during breathing.
Inhalation begins with the onset of contraction of the diaphragm, which results in expansion of the intrapleural space and an increase in negative pressure according to Boyle's Law. This negative pressure generates airflow because of the pressure difference between the atmosphere and alveolus. Air enters, inflating the lung through either the nose or the mouth into the pharynx (throat) and trachea before entering the alveoli.

Inspiration in artistic composition refers to an irrational and unconscious burst of creativity. Literally, the word means "breathed upon," and it has its origins in both Hellenism and Hebraism in the west. In the earliest discussions of inspiration (in the works of Homer and Hesiod), the ritualistic and divine origins of the breath of a god are important. The oracle of Delphi, for example, as with other sibyls, received divine steam and fumes from a cave sacred to Apollo before she would prophecy. In Odyssey, 22. 347-8, a poet says that his songs were placed within his heart by the gods.
In Greek thought, inspiration meant that the poet or artist would go into ecstacy or furor poeticus, the divine frenzy or poetic madness. He or she would be transported beyond his own mind and given the gods' own thoughts to embody. Plato, in Symposium 197a, Phaedrus 244, as well as Theocritus, Pindar, and Aristotle (in Poetics) argue that the poet breaks through to the world of divine truth or divine apprehension temporarily and is compelled by that vision to create. Therefore, the invocations of the muses and the various poetic gods (Apollo and Dionysus, in particular) are earnest prayers for inspiration, for the breath of the god. The only substantially different model for inspiration offered in the Classical world is in the Problemata (of unknown authorship, but from the peripatetic school), which suggests that imbalances in the four humours are the origin of inspiration. Otherwise, Virgil, Ovid, and especially Cicero insist, like the Greek theorists before them, that artistic inspiration is a bestowed gift of the gods. Cicero, in fact, was apparently dissatisfied with the figurativeness "inspiration" had taken and used the term afflatus instead.
Inspiration is prior to consciousness and outside of skill (ingenium in Latin). Technique and performance are independent of inspiration, and therefore it is possible for the non-poet to be inspired and for a poet or painter's skill to be insufficient to the inspiration.
In Hebrew poetics, inspiration is similarly a divine matter. In the Book of Amos, 3:8 the prophet speaks of being overwhelmed by God's voice and compelled to speak. However, inspiration is also a matter of revelation for the prophets, and the two concepts are intermixed to some degree. Revelation is a conscious process, where the writer or painter is aware and interactive with the vision, while inspiration is involuntary and received without any complete understanding. In Christianity, inspiration is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul said that all of the Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy), and the account of Pentecost records the Holy Spirit descending with the sound of a mighty wind. For church fathers like Saint Jerome, David was the perfect poet, for he best negotiated between the divine impulse and the human consciousness.
In northern societies, such as Old Norse, inspiration was likewise associated with a gift of the gods. As with the Greek, Latin, and Romance literatures, Norse bards were inspired by a magical and divine state and then shaped the words with their conscious minds. Their training was an attempt to learn to shape forces beyond the human. In the Venerable Bede's account of Caedmon, the Christian and later Germanic traditions combine. Caedmon was a herder with no training or skill at verse. One night, he had a dream where Jesus asked him to sing. He then composed Caedmon's Hymn, and from then on was a great poet. Inspiration in the story is the product of grace: it is unsought (though desired), uncontrolled, and irresistable, and the poet's performance involves his whole mind and body, but it is fundamentally a gift.

A parody of protestant inspiration from Jonathan Swift's A Tale of a Tub.
In the 18th century in England, nascent psychology competed with a renascent celebration of the mystical nature of inspiration. John Locke's model of the human mind suggested that ideas associate with one another and that a string in the mind can be struck by a resonant idea. Therefore, inspiration was a somewhat random but wholly natural association of ideas and sudden unison of thought. This musical model was satirized, along with the afflatus model of inspiration, by Jonathan Swift in A Tale of a Tub. Swift's narrator suggests that madness is contagious because it is a ringing note that strikes "chords" in the minds of followers and that the difference between an inmate of Bedlam and an emporer was what pitch the insane idea was. At the same time, he satirized "inspired" radical protestant ministers who preached through "direct inspiration." In his prefatory materials, he describes the ideal dissenter's pulpit as a barrel with a tube running from the minister's posterior to a set of bellows at the bottom, whereby the minister could be inflated to such an extent that he could shout out his inspiration to the congregation.
The divergent theories of inspiration that Swift satirized would continue, side by side, though the 18th and 19th centuries. Edward Young's Conjectures on Original Composition was pivotal in the formulation of Romantic notions of inspiration. He said that genius is "the god within" the poet who provides the inspiration. Thus, Young agreed with psychologists who were locating inspiration within the personal mind (and significantly away from the realm either of the divine or demonic) and yet still positing a supernatural quality. Genius was an inexplicable, possibly spiritual and possibly external, font of inspiration. In Young's scheme, the genius was still somewhat external in its origin, but Romantic poets would soon locate its origin wholly within the poet. Romantic writers such as Edgar Allen Poe (The Poetic Principle), Ralph Waldo Emerson (The Poet), and Percy Bysshe Shelly saw inspiration in terms similar to the Greeks: it was a matter of madness and irrationality. Inspiration came because the poet tuned himself to the (divine or mystical) "winds" and because he was made in such a way as to receive such visions. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's accounts of inspiration were the most dramatic. The story he told about the composition of Kubla Khan has the poet reduced to the level of scribe. William Butler Yeats would later experiment and value automatic writing. Inspiration was evidence of genius, and genius was a thing that the poet could take pride in, even though he could not claim to have created it himself.
Sigmund Freud and other later psychologists located inspiration in the inner psyche of the artist. The artist's inspiration came out of unresolved psychological conflict or childhood trauma. Further, inspiration could come directly from the subconscious. Because Freud situated inspiration in the subconscious mind, Surrealist artists sought out this form of inspiration by turning to dream diaries and automatic writing, the use of Ouija boards and found poetry to try to tap into what they saw as the true source of art. Carl Jung's theory of inspiration reiterated the other side of the Romantic notion of inspiration indirectly by suggesting that an artist is one who was attuned to racial memory and best able to feel and express the conflict between the "shadow" primitive and the civilized ego. Thus, again, inspiration came from a kind of genius, as these memories were present in all persons (thereby accounting for recognition of the archetypes and memories when viewing artwork), but only the artistic genius could get inspiration/memory. Those artists who followed Jung's thought put an emphasis on primitivism and the study of pre-literate art and myth.
Materialist theories of inspiration again diverge between purely internal and purely external sources. Marx did not treat the subject directly, but the Marxist theory of art sees it as the expression of the friction between economic base and economic superstructural positions, or as an unaware dialog of competing ideologies, or as an exploitation of a "fissure" in the ruling class's ideology. However, in each of these cases, inspiration comes from the artist being particularly attuned to receive the signals from an external crisis. In modern psychology, inspiration is not frequently studied, but it is generally seen as an entirely internal process. In each view, however, whether empiricist or mystical, inspiration is, by its nature, beyond control.

18 September 2006

Crunch 1000

This morning your energetic blog author completed a goal of 1000 abdominal crunches in lieu of regular exercise on a 45 degree board. Yay!

16 September 2006

Friday Five...stolen from Barbie!

1. Do you drink enough water? Yes!

2. Where's the nearest swimmable body of water? Approximately one mile west, a strip mine.

3. When did you learn to swim? I didn't learn to swim well until 1992. Now it's my favored aerobic exercise.

4. How do you feel about rain? It's a necessary evil.

5. What are your thoughts on bottled water? It's a lifesaver!

14 September 2006

Lessons from the Towers

Bloggers, here is a comment re history and observations from cousin, Laurel Piippo. She is now retired and taking classes at WSU for personal enrichment.

9/11 My history teacher asked what I've learned since 9/11. Here are her comments and mine with no pussyfooting tactful diplomacy (surprise, surprise):

Comments from one of my history professors on 9/11 for our consideration: "Be sure to brace yourself for the 9-11anniversary Monday. There will be a lot of mendacious nonsense emanating from our chief executive. I already heard him say Osama Bin is Hitler, Lenin and Stalin all rolled into one, and the current campaign is just like World War II. If you wrote b.s. like that in freshman history, you would get an F for FLUNK, and I would revoke the history degree of any WSU grad caught echoing that stupid rhetoric, but somehow it's acceptable, even stirring, at the national level."


"The question today is, what have you learned from 9-11, five years later? I'm trying to downplay the anniversary, because I see the attacks as part of a continuum (the latest attempt by fanatics to impose a utopian ideology, old, old news) and because I don't want to contribute to elevating the death-loving cavemen any more than they already have been by the President and others, who keep trumpeting their connection to Hitler, Lenin and all the other legendary baddies. Those guys must just love the free publicity. I say, let the police and intelligence agencies pursue them to the ends of the earth, and let's all of us go on with our lives, concentrate on the key domestic problems facing the country,and forward-looking public diplomacy abroad -- in other words, long-term, substantive measures, not endless war and "democratizing" people down the barrel of a gun."

What I personally learned: We are vulnerable and hated. I learned that Bush should have been and should be as zealous in pursuing Osama Bin Laden as he has Saddam Hussein, who is still alive and well, by the way, and who did NOT conspire to blow up the World Trade Center. I learned that in the misdirected aftermath, American forces killed more people in Bush's Iraqui war than Saddam Hussein during his evil dictatorship. I leaned that Middle-Eastern Muslim countries are NOT going to joyfully embrace democracy because they have no clue how to do so and would rather kill anyone who doesn't agree with their religion, morals, whatever, than build a healthy society. I learned NOT to trust the US Government, especially the current administration, and God help us when people equate patriotism with supporting Bush and his Evil Triumverate. I learned that a lot of American soldiers are being sacrificed to someone else's mania. I learned that Bush is determined to bankrupt the country with his war and his tax cuts, and in the process he won't improve life for people in the Middle East or in the United States. I learned to be totally disillusioned with the American people when they RETURNED BUSH TO OFFICE instead of throwing him out.

Laurel Piippo

12 September 2006

Tuesday's Word: venison

Venison is the term for the meat of deer, moose, elk, caribou, and antelope. Venison may be eaten as steaks, roasts, sausages and ground meat. Organ meats are sometimes eaten, but would not be called venison; rather, they are called humble, as in the phrase "humble pie." Venison is lower in calories, cholesterol and fat than most cuts of beef, pork, or lamb.

Venison has enjoyed a rise in popularity in recent years, owing to the meat's lower fat content. In many areas this increased demand has led to a rise in the number of deer farms. What was once considered a meat for unsophisticated rural dwellers has become as exotic as ostrich meat to urbanites. Venison jerky can be purchased in such grocery stores as Trader Joe's, ordered online, and is served on some inflights of Alaska Airlines in first class. Venison burgers are typically so lean as to require the addition of fat in the form of bacon, olive oil or cheese, or blending with beef, to achieve parity with hamburger cooking time, mouth-feel, and taste. Some deer breeders have expressed an interest in breeding for a fatter animal that displays more marbling in the meat.

Since it is unknown whether Chronic Wasting Disease, a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy among deer (similar to Mad Cow Disease), can pass from deer to humans through the consumption of venison, there have been some fears of contamination of the food supply [1]. No known cases of the disease have occurred in deer farms in the United States or Canada, but European farms in Scandinavia may have had several cases. Farmers now have had tests developed especially for the particular species they raise to obtain better results than those used on cattle.


05 September 2006

Tuesday's Word: morality

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Morality refers to the concept of human ethics which pertains to matters of good and evil —also referred to as "right or wrong", used within three contexts: individual conscience, systems of principles and judgments — sometimes called moral values —shared within a cultural, religious, secular, Humanist, or philosophical community; and codes of behavior or conduct derived from these systems.

Personal morality defines and distinguishes among right and wrong intentions, motivations or actions, as these have been learned, engendered, or otherwise developed within each individual.

1 Conscience, belief, and code
2 Development of morality
3 Morality in judicial systems
4 Comparative morality among cultures
5 Moral codes
6 Moral core
7 See also
8 Book sources
9 External links

Conscience, belief, and code

The neutrality of this article or section may be compromised by "weasel words".Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page.

Human conscience is widely acknowledged to encourage individuals to do right; its origins and role are the subject of much discussion. Belief in an effective system of divine judgment often helps with personal motivation, as classically seen in the success of Medieval codes of knighthood and the spread of Islam. The desire to conform to the behavior of a group to which an individual belongs or aspires to belong is also a powerful force, though it may generally apply to more general cultural norms and customs, where the dichotomy is between proper and improper behavior.

Group morality develops from shared concepts and beliefs and is often codified to regulate behavior within a culture or community. Various defined actions come to be called moral or immoral. Individuals who choose moral action are popularly held to possess "moral fibre", whereas those who indulge in immoral behavior may be labelled as socially degenerate. The continued existence of a group may depend on widespread conformity to codes of morality; an inability to adjust moral codes in response to new challenges is sometimes credited with the demise of a community (a positive example would be the function of Cistercian reform in reviving monasticism; a negative example would be the role of the Dowager Empress in the subjugation of China to European interests). Within nationalist movements, there has been some tendency to feel that a nation will not survive or prosper without acknowledging one, common morality.

Codified morality is generally distinguished from custom, another way for a community to define appropriate activity, by the former's derivation from natural or universal principles. In certain religious communities, the Divine is said to provide these principles through revelation, sometimes in great detail. Such codes may be called laws, as in the Law of Moses, or community morality may be defined through commentary on the texts of revelation, as in Islamic law. Such codes are distinguished from legal or judicial right, including civil rights, which are based on the accumulated traditions, decrees and legislation of a political authority, though these latter often invoke the authority of the moral law.

Morality can also be seen as the collection of beliefs as to what constitutes a good life. Since throughout most of human history, religions have provided both visions and regulations for an ideal life (through such beliefs characterized by 'the god(s) know what's best for us') morality is often confused with religious precepts. In secular communities, lifestyle choices, which represent an individual's conception of the good life, are often discussed in terms of "morality". Individuals sometimes feel that making an appropriate lifestyle choice invokes a true morality, and that accepted codes of conduct within their chosen community are fundamentally moral, even when such codes deviate from more general social principles.

The systematic study of morality is a branch of philosophy called ethics. Ethics seeks to address questions such as how one ought to behave in a specific situation (applied ethics), how one can justify a moral position (normative ethics), how one should understand the fundamental nature of ethics or morality itself, including whether it has any objective justification (meta-ethics), and the nature and explanation of moral capacity or the ontogenetic development of moral agency (moral psychology).

For example, in applied ethics, three issues that revolve around interpretations of the moral ban on murder — capital punishment, abortion and wars of invasion — are under contentious discussion in United States society and politics. In normative ethics, a common question is how one would justify a lie given for the sake of protecting someone from harm. A common meta-ethical question is of what is meant by the terms right or wrong. Moral realism would hold that the individual is attempting to elucidate some objective moral fact, whereas the various branches of moral non-realism would hold that morality is derived from either the norms of the prevalent society (cultural relativism), the edicts of a God (Divine Command Theory), is merely an expression of the speakers sentiments (emotivism), is an implied imperative (prescriptivism) or is literally nonsense (Error Theory).

Development of morality

While some philosophers and biologists hold that morality is a thin crust hiding egoism, amorality, and anti-social tendencies, others see morality as a product of evolutionary forces and as evidence for continuity with other group-living organisms. Proponents of what could be called "Natural Outgrowth Theory" see no conflict between evolutionary biology and morality since moral codes generally prescribe behavior that enhances individual fitness and group well-being. For example, the taboo against inbreeding encourages individuals to avoid producing defective offspring that would depress their reproductive fitness. Compliance with and internalization of social conventions leads to a sense of regularity that makes group living more predictable and hence, less stressful, for its members. Reciprocity ensures a reliable supply of essential resources, especially for animals living in a habitat where food quantity or quality fluctuates unpredictably. On any given night for vampire bats, some individuals fail to feed on prey while others consume a surplus of blood. Bats that have successfully fed then regurgitate part of their blood meal to save a conspecific from starvation. Since these animals live in close-knit groups over many years, an individual can count on other group members to return the favor on nights when it goes hungry (Wilkinson, 1984).

Christopher Boehm (1982) has advanced a possible mechanism where natural selection pressures drove the incremental development of moral complexity throughout hominid evolution. In primate societies, a fight between high-ranking individuals raises the anxiety level of the entire troupe, so that third parties sometimes intervene to bring the quarreling parties to reconcile. A despotic dominance style like that observed in many macaque species also causes more stress for subordinates. As early hominids moved from arboreal to terrestrial habitats, anxiety-induced dispersal behavior would have exposed individuals to predation, forcing our ancestors to develop more efficient conflict management strategies if they were to enjoy the benefits of group living. The invention of stone tools around 2.5 million years ago made fights potentially more injurious, which further increased selection pressure for conflict interference and group controls on dominance behavior. In summary, living in close quarters on the open savanna with ready access to dangerous weapons compelled early hominids to develop strict codes of acceptable behavior.

Some evolutionary psychologists have argued that human morality originated from evolutionary processes. An innate tendency to develop a sense of right and wrong helps an individual to survive and reproduce in a species with complex social interactions. Selected behaviors, seen in abstraction as moral codes, are seen to be common to all human cultures, and reflect, in their development, similarities to natural selection and these aspects of morality can be seen in as the basis of some religious doctrine. From this, some also argue that there may be a simple Darwinian explanation for the existence of religion: that, regardless of the truth of religious beliefs, religion tends to encourage behavior beneficial to the species, as a code of morality tends to encourage communality, and communality tends to assist survival.

These explanations for the existence of morality do not, however, necessarily assist in deciding what is truly right for future actions. Should an individual's own morality really be determined by what is best for their genetic offspring (colloquially, but inaccurately, "the good of the species" [see group selection])? Viewholders counter that evolutionary psychology extends millions of years of empirical justification for our moral sense, provided that sense is indeed innate — more than recorded history could demonstrate. They claim sensible people would behave with morality knowing subconsciously that it has succeeded in the past. Still, an explanation of why and how humans could have a moral basis does not imply that they ought to hold these views.

Some observers hold that individuals have distinct sets of moral rules that they apply to different groups of people. There is the "ingroup," which includes the individual and those they believe to be of the same culture or race, and there is the "outgroup," whose members are not entitled to be treated according to the same rules. Some biologists, anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists believe this ingroup/outgroup difference is an evolutionary mechanism, one which evolved due to its enhanced survival aspects. Gary R. Johnson and V.S. Falger have argued that nationalism and patriotism are forms of this ingroup/outgroup boundary.

The evolutionary critique points to the radical ways which morality differs across times and cultures among human beings. Very few activities are always morally wrong across all human societies. For example, some groups still practice forms of infanticide or incest, activities that would be condemned harshly in most Western societies. It has been argued that morality is simply whatever norms are present within a given society at a given time, while the other argument lies in the existence of morality.

Morality in judicial systems

The law considers itself independent of morality, even if the law happens to reflect or intends to reflect morality. (Of course, it is not difficult toems, the word morality concretely means a requirement for the access to certain charges or careers, or for the obtaining of certain licenses or concessions, and generally consists of the absence of previous records on (e.g.) crimes, bankruptcy, political or commercial irregularities.

In some systems, the lack of morality of the individual can also be a sufficient cause for punishment, or can be an element for the grading of the punishment.

Especially in the systems where modesty (i.e., with reference to sexual crimes) is legally protected or otherwise regulated, the definition of morality as a legal element and in order to determine the cases of infringement, is usually left to the vision and appreciation of the single judge and hardly ever precisely specified. In such cases, it is common to verify an application of the prevalent common morality of the interested community, that consequently becomes enforced by the law for further reference.

The government of South Africa is attempting to create a Moral Regeneration movement. Part of this is a proposed Bill of Morals, which will bring a biblical-based "moral code" into the realm of law. This move by a nominally secular democracy has attracted relatively little criticism.

Comparative morality among cultures

There has been considerable work done in studying comparative morality among cultures. To such researchers, morality is not seen as a constant essential "truth" but as a series of values that is influenced by (and influences) the cultural context. This is often called moral relativism. [citation needed]

One well known commentator is Fons Trompenaars, author of Did the Pedestrian Die?, which tested various moral propositions. One of these was whether the driver of a car would have his friend, a passenger riding in the car, lie in order to protect the driver from the consequences of driving too fast and hitting a pedestrian. Trompenaars found that different cultures had quite different expectations (from none to almost certain).

Moral codes

Moral codes are often complex definitions of right and wrong that are based upon well-defined value systems. They dictate proper personal conduct. Although some people might think that a moral code is simple, rarely is there anything simple about one's values, ethics, etc. or, for that matter, the judgment of those of others. The difficulty lies in the fact that morals are often part of a religion and more often than not about culture codes. Sometimes, moral codes give way to legal codes, which couple penalties or corrective actions with particular practices. Note that while many legal codes are merely built on a foundation of religious and/or cultural moral codes, ofttimes they are one and the same.

Examples of moral codes include the Golden Rule; Wiccan Rede; the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism; the ten commandments of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; the yamas and niyama of the Hindu scriptures; the ten Indian commandments; and the principle of the Dessek.

A related and more intricate (some say more corrupt) concept is an ethical code, which establishes tradeoffs and rationale for making decisions for the greater good. Some of these resemble a moral code, most are less strict and make no special claim to actually distinguish 'right' from 'wrong' in any absolute sense. The ethical code is concerned with weighing all the negative and positive results of an action, and making a decision based upon the greater good for a greater number.

Another related concept is the moral core which is assumed to be innate in each individual, to those who accept that differences between individuals are more important than Creators or their rules. This, in some religious systems (e.g. Taoism and Gnosticism), is assumed to be the basis of all aesthetics and thus moral choice. Moral codes as such are therefore seen as coercive — part of human politics.

Moral core

To meet Wikipedia's quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup.Please discuss this issue on the talk page, or replace this tag with a more specific message. Editing help is available.This article has been tagged since January 2006.

The moral core of an individual is the extent to which that person will apply his or her notions of morality. It is centered on the individual and can be extended to include other people or groups. The individual sees these others within the moral core as deserving to be treated in the same way the individual personally wants to be treated.

The moral core is a principle that can determine how an individual applies particular moral values and beliefs. It is described in some theories of ethics as the limits to the rationality of ethics itself. From this perspective, morals are considered primarily aesthetic notions and not seen as directly sharable.

Persons who fall outside of an individual's moral core are not covered by that individual's notions of morality and do not enjoy its protections. Thus, the concept of a moral core can serve to explain apparent hypocrisy in people who claim to have particular ethical principles. For example, it might be used to explain why someone whose religion forbids murder can nevertheless support involvement in war or imposition of the death penalty for certain crimes. According to this theory, the people whose killing can be justified somehow fall outside the individual's moral core.

A moral core is presumed to be formed by experience, including especially parental moral examples, and the slow growth via cognition of a set of conditionings, inhibitions, and concepts of beauty through his or her entire lifetime. Although it may be demonstrated to train or inspire others, it cannot be shared in any way, and is constantly changing.

Some theories of morality, notably moral relativism, but also branches of theology, hold that there is little value in attempting to share moral cores or even to align moral choices except to the bare minimum needed to prevent conflict.

The opposite belief, imposing various degrees of standardization via a moral code and its enforcement, usually in a legal system, is that such cores either can be shared or are irrelevant to the process of social control and learning proper conduct.

This week's Word comes by suggestion of Catherine Belle. Merci, Mademoiselle! Bloggers, it was only upon preparation of this installment that it became evident how complex such a burdon could be; no wonder President Neanderthal is such a thug.

04 September 2006

Labor Day

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday that takes place on the first Monday of September. In 2006, Labor Day will be September 4.

The origins of the American Labor Day can be traced back to the Knights of Labor in the United States and a parade organized by them on September 5, 1882 in New York City. They were inspired by an annual labor parade held in Toronto, Canada. In 1884 another parade was held, and the Knights passed resolutions to make this an annual event. Other labor organizations (and there were many), but notably the affiliates of the International Workingmen's Association favored a May 1 holiday. With the event of Chicago's Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, president Grover Cleveland believed that a May 1 holiday could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots. Thus, fearing that it might strengthen the socialist movement, he quickly moved in 1887 to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day.

Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s. The September date has remained unchanged, even though the government was encouraged to adopt May 1 as Labor Day, the date celebrated by the majority of the world. Moving the holiday, in addition to breaking with tradition, could have been viewed as aligning the U.S. labor movements with internationalist sympathies.

Labor Day is generally regarded simply as a day of rest and, unlike May Day, political demonstrations are rare. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school. However, of late, schools have begun well before Labor Day, up to the 15th of August in many urban districts, including Nashville and Atlanta.

One of the largest modern traditions of Labor Day in the United States is the annual telethon of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, hosted by Jerry Lewis to fund research and patient support programs for the various diseases grouped as muscular dystrophy. The telethon raises tens of millions of dollars each year.


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