The Big Questions
The Tree illustrates some of the contemplative practices currently in use in secular organizational and academic settings. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list. Below the Tree you will find links to descriptions of many of these practices as well as a more in-depth description of the Tree and image files for downloading. Some of the practices on the tree link to further information–either on our website, or on Wikipedia.
Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story is a portrait gallery of leading modern philosophers. He visited each of them in turn, warning them in advance that he was coming to discuss with them a single question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” He reports their reactions to this question, and embellishes their words with descriptions of their habits and personalities. Their answers give us vivid glimpses of the speakers but do not solve the riddle of existence. The philosophers are more interesting than the philosophy.
The “,” proposed almost 50 years ago to allow for consistency between theoretical predictions and experimental observations in elementary particle physics, appears to have been discovered — even as the detailed nature of the discovery allows room for even more exotic revelations that may be just around the corner. It is natural for those not deeply involved in the half-century quest for the Higgs to ask why they should care about this seemingly esoteric discovery. There are three reasons. First, it caps one of the most remarkable intellectual adventures in human history — one that anyone interested in the progress of knowledge should at least be aware of. Second, it makes even more remarkable the precarious accident that allowed our existence to form from nothing — further proof that the universe of our senses is just the tip of a vast, largely hidden cosmic iceberg.
Flickr:WhatMegSaid Allowing time for refleciton helps kids make meaning out of experiences and information they encounter. Parents and teachers expend a lot of energy getting kids to pay attention, concentrate, and focus on the task in front of them. What adults don’t do, according to University of Southern California education professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, is teach children the value of the more diffuse mental activity that characterizes our inner lives: daydreaming, remembering, reflecting. Yet this kind of introspection is crucial to our mental health, to our relationships, and to our emotional and moral development. And it promotes the skill parents and teachers care so much about: the capacity to focus on the world outside our heads.
The Century of the Self
By Jim Kavanagh , CNN People tend to become less religious as they become more educated, right? Not necessarily, according to a new study. After analyzing data from a large national survey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Philip Schwadel found that people actually tend to become more religious - by some definitions, at least - as they further their education.
The Hubble Space Telescope provided an image of a stellar jet in the Carina Nebula. Meg Urry: Astronomers found body of water 140 trillion times the volume of our oceans It orbits a black hole, she says, it's 12 billion light years away, and a boon to research Urry: Physics behind practical applications like electronics, computers, CAT scanners, MRIs Urry says it's crucial to pursue science for its own sake; it often solves practical problems Editor's note: Meg Urry is the Israel Munson professor of physics and astronomy and chair of the Department of Physics at Yale University.
“SuperCooperators” (written with Roger Highfield, editor of New Scientist magazine) is an absorbing, accessible book about the power of mathematics. Unlike Darwin with his brine bottles and pigeon coops, Nowak aims to tackle the mysteries of nature with paper, pencil and computer. By looking at phenomena as diverse as H.I.V. infection and English irregular verbs, he has formally defined five distinct mechanisms that have helped give rise to cooperative behavior, from the first molecules that joined to self-replicate, to the first cells that formed multicellular organisms, all the way to human societies, which exhibit a degree of cooperation unmatched in all creation. In Nowak’s view, figuring out how cooperation comes about and breaks down, as well as actively pursuing the “snuggle for existence,” is the key to our survival as a species. At the heart of Nowak’s ideas is the haunting game of Prisoner’s Dilemma.
Rules of Wandering by Steven Morgan Friedman firstname.lastname@example.org 28 Jan 2002 Introduction Last week I was wandering around Milan. After following interesting looking buildings and streets and people for many enjoyable hours, I happened upon a fantastic neighborhood called Porta Genova. My discovery of Porta Genova made me realize that I had been following, instinctually, certain patterns, looking for clues as to what I found interesting. The experiment was a success and I found a neighborhood of great cafes, interesting people, and even a vibrant outdoor market. But what are these patterns?
By Dan Gilgoff , CNN.com Religion Editor Houston, Texas (CNN) – In many ways, 29-year-old Rishi Bhutada is a traditional Hindu, not so different from his Indian-born parents. An officer at his dad’s pipefitting company, Texas-born Bhutada had an arranged marriage in India three years ago and then brought his wife back to his hometown, where they recently welcomed a son.