It’s only Day 1, but the President’s Barackets is ahead of 98.2% of entries in ESPN’s March Madness Tournament Challenge! President Obama only got two games wrong, though one was Ohio State that he also picked to on to the Sweet 16 so he won’t be getting that game right. He picked some sweet upsets, though, like North Dakota State over Oklahoma that was the first true upset of this tournament given the other “upsets” were teams known to have fairly competitive squads. Someone said North Dakota State was the “best team nobody knows about”, and they at least proved that in one game. We’ll see how well they do the rest of the way.
The POTUS is beating me for now, but for now is the key part of that phrase. I am a mere one game behind, but still ahead of 90.4% of the entries. I also have one team picked to go to the Sweet 16 that’s not going, Oklahoma. Obama has been analyzed to pick well in the first round, especially for upsets, but a little more suspect in the latter rounds, though not that suspect given he usually does pretty well to still beat the majority of entries.
I created these tagging challenges for fans of North American hockey, or people who know lots of those fans. The tagging challenges can be done on Facebook, MySpace, LiveJournal or other platforms where you can tag people on pictures.
The idea is to see how diverse is the group of hockey fans you know, and how does that compare to your fellow hockey loving friends. It’s no fun if everybody supported the team you supported, you know!
Pick a Facebook tagging meme of your choice based on the leagues below:
Tar Heel basketball fans, now that our boys have won the NCAA March Madness tournament this year and are national champs, I ask you to be civilized towards who didn’t believe who may have wronged you in the past. As sweat stinks less when you win, it is also easier to forgive when you win. So do NOT do anything in return to those people who wronged you without their permission. Instead, show both empathy and courtesy by giving them the chance to give you that permission.
Introducing coupons you can give to non-believers in North Carolina Tar Heels basketball, with which they can request you for some UNC showboatin’, struttin, tongue wagging and victory dance! Perfect for everything from stocking stuffers to being hoeartfelt presents in birthday cards to those you really don’t want to buy gifts for (possibly because they don’t believe in UNC), these coupons will not only make you feel good about giving them, but also in delivering their content!
Click on the link below to get the PDF that prints the coupons in the picture below.
My basic paraphrasing of the concept is this. All the songs in the world could be fit into at least one of six categories providing an evolutionary benefit to humanity, often ultimately tied to our social nature.
The book and website offer far more detailed interpretations, of course, but I will expand on my paraphrasing with each post and the associated topic.
In a series of posts, I will describe each of the six categories in brief, one at a time:
I will describe what the categories are about because they are not as limited in scope as the category names suggest. I will then supply one of my choices and ask all readers to do the same if they so wish. In the seventh post of the series, I will offer the chance to put the song choices all together so readers can read the entire set on one post. I do this because it would be a long post to describe all six categories at once, but to have all the answers in one place might be nice.
This post focuses on Songs of Religion
July 30th add-on in italics, from Dan Levitin in a summary article
Religious ceremonies and ritual go hand in hand, with music frequently accompanying a ritual. Music acts as a retrieval mechanism to guide the movements and words of a particular ritual, and ritual can allow people to stop worrying and focus on the task at hand. Music is also tied to religious ceremonies such as weddings and funerals where acts can be performed as a community, providing social bonding.
Songs of religion are not simply songs about religion. In fact, the songs of knowledge post showed how the Oral Torah was really a song of knowledge, not religion, even if its lyrics were all about religion. Songs of religion are really ritual songs intended to give meaning to something greater than just the subject itself. Furthermore, this meaning is attached to a belief system that establishes some sort of “social” order, both, less and more than us. It is this search for meaning, a self-conscious act of awareness on our part, for our place in this order which truly separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. However, it is what we embrace in this search, in turn, that has benefited us in evolution.
In our search for something greater that is part of our religious beliefs, we embrace sets of rituals that exist in all religions. Religion gives meaning to these rituals that have little meaning on their own otherwise. Just look at rituals in religions foreign to you and see how you feel about them compared to those in your own. However, those not familiar with your religion would have no different overall reactions to rituals in your religion. Pages 194-195 has a great list of 11 rituals universal to all religions, though, which is an absolutely fascinating read!
Now, the rituals of religion come in two flavours: self-rituals and group rituals. Self-rituals tend to be of the type which promotes survival, like not murdering others or coveting their mates which could cause conflict among us that is not good for survival. Rituals also mean the actions get repeated, which helps survival if all the actions were good for survival. As for religion’s role, religion gives self-ritual self-meaning, like what it could mean for someone in their current and/or afterlife. Religion also monitors external and internal states for danger in guiding rituals to be done at various times throughout life.
Like it does for self-rituals, religion gives group rituals group meaning and monitors internal and external states to the group. This is the more important benefit to evolution when compared to the self. This is because group rituals promote group activities, which not only protect us from ourselves but also from other factors of harm to us, and better than individuals could do alone. Group rituals are essential to religion because one cannot find a place within a greater social order if there were no one or nothing else around oneself to create this social order.
Finally, all rituals, with their meanings given by religion, are intended to reduce ambiguity in life by changing the state of the world into something more exacting. It also lets us move on with our lives with the direction given so we don’t subject ourselves to situations not beneficial to our survival.
At this point, I would like to insert a note to say that while the general big picture descriptions of religion described in the World in Six Songs are beneficial to evolution, when it comes to the main organized religions in human history, I’m not sure I would concur. I think modern organized religions have become so warped from the spirit of religion’s concept I would debate whether it has had net benefit on humanity or net hindrance. Ironically, this has been since we supposedly have become “civilized”. So much wrong has been done in the name of organized religion, or hidden by it, that I really do think we could do better without it. I think we’d be better off if we only embraced religion in its intent rather than its meanings that it often has no business giving. Organized religion is just a pretense to guide us as if those leading it knew what were happening when they have no idea.
Songs associated with rituals mean there is a time and a place for songs of religion, with consequences. Thus, funeral and wedding marches count, but not national anthems or Christmas carols. There are places and times for national anthems, football fight songs and Christmas carols when you could break out in one or the other, and there wouldn’t be much problem. Try the same with funeral or wedding marches, especially the former, and there might well be. Children’s songs where participants move parts of their body selectively also count as songs of religion because of their ritualistic nature. This practice to develop motor coordination through repetition when we are young and learning is also of benefit to us evolutionally. Finally, gospel songs are religious songs, and it was mentioned that Dan Dennett had suggested that atheists should have pro science gospel songs as atheism doesn’t have gospel religious songs — a thought I, both, like and found tremendously amusing.
Audio sample of songs from the Religion chapter in The World in Six Songs can be found on the website. No direct link was available, but click on the Songs menu option and appropriate page number range link carrying pages 189 to 228. Please note that not all songs are meant as samples of Religion songs. Some are just referenced material in the book text.
Overall, I found this chapter on songs of religion to be very profound and deep, as it should be considering the subject matter. Despite the long post, I have only touched upon the many things Daniel Levitin touched upon for which there is much to think about each.
It seems the current opinion is that only the first 8 bars were actually written by Mozart, with the rest under instruction for completion. However, listening to it, sounds like the instructions were pretty complete to me.
I have had the pleasure to sing this piece in choir and, well, let’s just say when you hear this piece with all the parts around you, singing one part, that’s when you really “get” the genius of Mozart.
I have also heard this version sung whereby the choir stopped at where it was thought Mozart stopped composing (I believed that version was about 8 bars into the vocal section), and they just stopped dead and walked off. It was so moving, the reminder that Fate doesn’t care for what we do and stops where it wants, that I cried in realizing the finality of it all.
I don’t know what to say about all the funeral music selections here. I LOVE classical funeral music for some reason. It gives me such peace and lets me focus incredibly well. I especially like writing anything I need to focus and be concise on to it. Obviously, I don’t blog to it.
What is your choice for Song of Religion?
Please leave your choice as a comment.
Lyrics and YouTube/audio link would greatly enhance your answer so readers can know more about your choice. They are not necessary, though, and not possible if no lyrics or version exist.
It’s March Madness time in the NCAA and also my favourite time of year! It’s go play or go home basketball time, when school pride is on the line and possibly the one shinging moment for some. Below are my picks, which, I am happy to say, agree with President Barack Obama’s choice for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels (UNC) to go all the way. The President, being a basketball fan, put it front and center on his Whitehouse.gov website (link is to article as it might no longer be front and center by the time you view it).
Of course, I’m a nobody so nobody cares about my picks, even if it’s my blog you’re reading it on, so immediately below are a video of how President Barack Obama came to decide his relatively safe picks with Andy Katz of ESPN, and his official 2009 March Madness brackets… or should I say Barack-ets. Add another term to the Obonics post. My brackets follow because it’s my blog! 😛
Who did you pick to win?
(or go to Final Four, Sweet Sixteen, upsets or whatever amount you care to share in the comments)
President Barack Obama’s March Madness 2009 Brackets (click to enlarge)