The Bright Side of Globalization
I’m an amateur jazz drummer.
Last night, as I was surfing my favorite drumming site, drummerworld.com, I came upon the most astounding video. Four very young Japanese women all dressed in punk-chic attire playing the most powerfully virtuosic and soulful jazz I’d heard in a long time:
Seeing this video really got me thinking about how much the world is really changing. Let me see . . .
The most popular rapper in the world right now is South Korean superstar PSY, whose hit “Gangnam Style” has had more YouTube views than any other video in history.
Soulmate, a north Indian blues band, gained widespread recognition after becoming the ancient land’s sole representative at the 23rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.
A friend of mine, Paul Grant—a former rock drummer from California—has become a highly respected master of Indian classical music and tours the world playing the santoor. This formerly blond-haired and still blue-eyed American also plays the Kashmiri sehtar, Afghan tambur, the bass sitar, and other instruments. Another friend of mine, the renowned Danish bassoonist Peter Bastian, has also become a recognized master of traditional Gypsy folk music in both Bulgaria and Turkey.
Before his retirement in 2012, one of the most loved professional basketball stars in the world was China’s Yao Ming. Because of his enormous popularity, particularly in Asia, he is considered to be responsible for expanding the NBA's reach to embrace the entire globe. In the 2012 London Olympics, the Gold Medal match in Women’s Soccer was the most watched event in the history of the NBC Sports Network as 4.35 million viewers tuned in to see the USA beat Japan 2-1.
This past January, an African American was inaugurated for a second term as the President of the United States, not even 150 years after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated for passing the 13th Amendment. The next President of Afghanistan just might turn out to be a woman. The heroic Fawzia Koofi bravely faces death threats every day as she defies the Taliban and its attempts to keep Afghanistan in the middle ages.
There is serious speculation around the world that the next Pope could be an African. Both Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana and Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo of the Democratic Republic of Congo are rumored to be under consideration for the challenging task of leading the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
Tibetan Buddhism has produced female Western masters of great renown. London-native Tenzin Palmo was one of the first westerners to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist nun and after spending twelve years in a Himalayan retreat, started the first nunnery for westerners in Italy. Pema Chodron, a disciple of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, may be one of the most respected teachers of Tibetan Buddhism in the west.
The fact that the world is in such an extraordinary state of flux and change is definitely being felt very strongly in my own life. My day job is being a spiritual teacher. I’m American, but I travel constantly and teach all over the world. In fact, I’m just about to embark on my third teaching trip to India in the last twelve months.
This one will be a short trip—only twelve days—to Bangalore, New Delhi, and Rishikesh (that Holy pilgrimage town on the banks of the Ganges river made famous when the Beatles went there on retreat with their Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968 and introduced Eastern mysticism to the world.)
Like many Baby Boomers, I went to India in my twenties looking for Enlightenment and now, over a quarter of a century later, I’m returning to the Motherland—a westerner—to share with modern India the ancient gift that she gave to me.
Yes, the world really is changing.
Download a free chapter from Andrew Cohen's book, Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening. Click here to download now.
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Join Radiolab's Latif Nasser at 1pm ET on Monday as he chats with Malcolm Gladwell live on Big Think.
University of Utah research finds that men are especially well suited for fisticuffs.
- With males having more upper-body mass than women, a study looks to find the reason.
- The study is based on the assumption that men have been fighters for so long that evolution has selected those best-equipped for the task.
- If men fought other men, winners would have survived and reproduced, losers not so much.
Built for mayhem<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjY2NDIyMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMzk4NTQ2OX0.my6nML12F3fEQu3H4G0BScdqgaMZkRQHxgyj-Cmjmzk/img.jpg?width=980" id="906fc" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dd77af7a881631355ed8972437846394" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Ollyy/Shutterstock<p>The researchers are, of course, talking averages here, not stating a rule: There are plenty of accomplished female pugilists, as well as lots of males who have no idea how to throw a punch.</p><p>Even so, says co-author <a href="https://www.wofford.edu/academics/majors-and-programs/biology/faculty-and-staff" target="_blank">Jeremy Morris</a> says, "The general approach to understanding why sexual dimorphism evolves is to measure the actual differences in the muscles or the skeletons of males and females of a given species, and then look at the behaviors that might be driving those differences."</p><p>Carrier has been interested in the idea that millennia of male fighting has shaped certain structures in male bodies. Previous research has reinforced his hunch:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://jeb.biologists.org/content/216/2/236" target="_blank">When a hand is formed into a fist, its structure is self-protective</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://unews.utah.edu/flat-footed-fighters/" target="_blank">Heels planted firmly on the ground augment upper-body power</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24909544" target="_blank">A study examined facial bone structure as being especially well-suited for taking a punch</a>.</li> </ul> <p>(That last one is our favorite. Do you know the German word "<a href="https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Backpfeifengesicht" target="_blank">backpfeifengesicht</a>?" It's an adjective describing "a face that badly needs a punching.")</p><p>"One of the predictions that comes out of those," asserts Carrier, "is if we are specialized for punching, you might expect males to be particularly strong in the muscles that are associated with throwing a punch."</p>
Testing the theory<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjY2NDIzMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzMxMTE2MH0.UXJICMy57UPYUWskhK98alctOrPidJL9yxMkz3HDQrM/img.jpg?width=980" id="98718" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b12287684ac3e740b70392e6433a6b8f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Ollyy/Shutterstock<p>The researchers measured the punching — and spear-throwing — force of 20 men and 19 women. The assumption was that early humans were punchers <em>and</em> spear-throwers.</p><p>Prior to testing, each participant had filled out an activity questionnaire so that "we weren't getting couch potatoes, we were getting people that were very fit and active," says Morris.</p><p>For punching, participants operated a hand crank that required movement similar to throwing a haymaker. The purpose of the hand crank was to spare participants any damage that might be inflicted on their fists by throwing actual punches. Subjects were also measured pulling a line forward over their heads to assess their strength at throwing a spear.</p><p>Even though all of the participants, male and female, were routinely fit, the average power of males was assessed as being 162% greater than females. There were no gender differences in throwing strength recorded. Other untested, though presumably likely, hand-to-hand combat activities come to mind including tackling, clubbing, running, kicking, scratching, and biting.</p><p>Carrier's takeaway: "This is a dramatic example of sexual dimorphism that's consistent with males becoming more specialized for fighting, and males fighting in a particular way, which is throwing punches."</p>
Boys will be boys<p>It, er, strikes us as odd that, even in science fiction — hi-tech weaponry notwithstanding — the hero <em>is</em> going to wind up duking it out with some bad guy, or alien, in the climactic battle. What is it about men punching, anyway? Are they more sexually attractive? The study suggests so:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>The results of this study add to a set of recently identified characters indicating that sexual selection on male aggressive performance has played a role in the evolution of the human musculoskeletal system and the evolution of sexual dimorphism in hominins.</em></p><p>It's tough to contribute to the gene pool after being killed in battle.</p><p>Also, while the authors aren't <em>quite</em> saying that males' historical fighting role is mandated by biology and not by social expectations, neither are they quite <em>not</em> saying it.</p><p>As Carrier explain to <a href="https://attheu.utah.edu/facultystaff/carrier-punch/" target="_blank">theU</a>: "Human nature is also characterized by avoiding violence and finding ways to be cooperative and work together, to have empathy, to care for each other, right? There are two sides to who we are as a species. If our goal is to minimize all forms of violence in the future, then understanding our tendencies and what our nature really is, is going to help."</p>
Innovators don't ignore risk; they are just better able to analyze it in uncertain situations.
The Labour Economics study suggests two potential reasons for the increase: corruption and increased capacity.
Cool hand rebuke<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQyMTIyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NjY1NTYyOH0.0MCPKN3If94mYCNf3mMNrnTvJXjXN_bKLhgk9203EXk/img.jpg?width=917&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=453" id="1627b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6d76421ba1ea0de4b09956b97e80c384" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
A chart showing prison population rates (per 100,000 people) in 2018. The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.