Synthisophy 527 – Course Overview

Each Lesson assumes meeting once a week for 3 hours

      Lesson 1:

        Synthisophy and Mission
              
Watch video: http://www.synthisophy.com/synthisophy-mission.html
                      · Definition and Roots
                      · Depolarize the Nation

        Introduction
              
Watch video: http://www.synthisophy.com/introduction.html
                      · Bell curve
                      · Ideological consistency – Take the Survey
                      · Hot and Cold Water Experiment
                      · Relate to overcompensation of far left and far right viewpoints

       Listening Skills
             
Develop in preparation for group discussions
                      · Become aware of primitive brain - amygdala/hindbrain/medulla
                      · Become aware of modern brain – neocortex
                      · Model listening skills and emotions – sympathy, empathy
                      · Students in pairs practice listening skills –  model for the class

       Socratic Method
             
Discuss Socrates and Socratic Method
                      · Mention in future lessons we will be having political discussions keeping listening and the Socratic
                        method in mind.

 

     Lesson 2:

       Chapter 1 – The United States in a Democratic Republic

              Watch the video: http://www.synthisophy.com/1-democratic-republic.html
                      · Discuss Classical Period in Greece
             
US Constitution
                     
· Review Federalist Papers Quotes
                      · Review 3 branches of federal government
              Media Outlets
                      · Click on each one on the list, see what the latest news is, see Left and Right, ask students what other    
                       
news sources they use.
              The Fairness Doctrine
                      · Discuss the Fairness Doctrine, it’s removal 1987, and the impact that had on media

              Last portion of class for group political discussion. Break the class down into groups of 4. Use the listening
              skills we discussed last week. Students may discuss topics covered in the lecture for better understanding or 
              greater depth, and/or discuss any political topics that are of interest to the group. Suggest for future classes
              that students come with 1 or 2 political topics that they’d like to discuss with their group.

              Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

              Paper #1: Describe our Democratic Republic and the structure of our federal government, and about our news   
              media outlets. Due next week.


     Lesson 3:

       Chapter 2 - Evolution and Human Evolution

             Watch the Human Evolution video: http://www.synthisophy.com/2-human-evolution.html
                      · Australopithecus, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo sapiens
                      · Agricultural Revolution, Advent of Ciivilization, Scientific Revolution, Industrial Revolution, Digital Revolution

             Walk through evolution of life on Earth:
                      · http://www.synthisophy.com/beginning-evol-of-life.html

             Break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any
             political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

             Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

             Homework: Confirmation Bias: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
             Review this information and come to class prepared to share aspects of confirmation bias presented here that you
             found significant or interesting.


     Lesson 4:

       Chapters 3, 4, 5: Cognitive Bias, Confirmation Bias, Argumentative Theory

              Watch the Cognitive Bias video: http://www.synthisophy.com/3-cognitive-bias.html
                      · Then zoom in on each quadrant, read the larger summary statements , ask for situations when these
                        summary statements might be used.  Have students choose one topic in each Quadrant and look up
                        on-line on their phones to find out what that topic is and means. Ask if there is anyone who would like
                        to share.

              Watch the Confirmation bias video: http://www.synthisophy.com/4-confirmation-bias.html
                      · Have students go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias - The homework was to review this
                        information.  Ask students what areas they thought were significant or interesting, share, discuss, and
                        provide input.
                      · Do the Wason 2-4-6 task and the Four-Card task
                      · Do the THOG Problem with the class
                      · Do the Four Card Task with the class

              Watch the Argumentative Theory video: http://www.synthisophy.com/5-argument-theory.html
                      · Charles Lord: Biased Assimilation and Attitude Polarization
                      · Irving Janis: Group Confirmation Bias

              Break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any
              political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

              Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

 

      Lesson 5:

      Chapters 6, 7, 8: Brain Function, Neuroreality, Bloom’s Taxonomy

             Watch the Brain Function video: http://www.synthisophy.com/6-brain-function.html
                      · Watch the 4 videos at bottom of webpage for more detailed description

             Watch the Neuroreality video: http://www.synthisophy.com/7-neuroreality.html                    
                      · Restate, ask if any questions, clarify if needed

             Watch the Bloom’s Taxonomy video: http://www.synthisophy.com/8-bloom-s-taxonomy.html
                      · Give example of the pyramid: Health/Diet/Exercise

             Break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any
             political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

             Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

             Paper #2: Describe evolution and human evolution, cognitive and confirmation bias, and argumentative theory
             as they refer to neuroreality. Due next week.

 

      Lesson 6

      Chapters 9 + 10: Science, Science and Religion, Side Light 1

              Watch the Side Light 1 video: http://www.synthisophy.com/side-light-1.html
                      · Question your perception

              Watch the Science video: http://www.synthisophy.com/9-science.html                     
                     
· Mention 2 other Natural Experiments, Hispaniola and North Korea
                      · Walk through the History of Science link: http://www.synthisophy.com/history-of-science.html. Students
                        choose a scientist listed or one of their own, research such and share information about that scientists
                        with the class.

              Watch the Science and Realigion video: http://www.synthisophy.com/10-science-and-realigion.html
                      · Restate, emphasize “Perhaps God is Truth.”
                      · Ask students what they think of the idea of Realigion.

              Break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any
              political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

              Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

 

      Lesson 7

      Chapters 11, 12, 13, 14: Tribe and Society, Modern Crises, Warrior Ethos, Return From Combat

              Watch the Tribe and Modern Society video: http://www.synthisophy.com/11-the-tribe-and-society.html
                      · Discuss the native American Indian
                      · Restate how completely detribalized we and our society have become

              Watch the Modern Crises and Tribal instinct video: http://www.synthisophy.com/12-modern-crises.html
                      · Restate how Self-interest gets subsumed into group interest because here is no survival outside of
                        group survival, and that genetically evolved and chemically existent tribal instinct is revealed.

              Watch the Warrior Ethos video: http://www.synthisophy.com/13-the-warrior-ethos.html
                      · Restate conclusion: perhaps this Warrior Ethos had evolved into the dominant genetically selected trait
                        that led to an exit of Homo sapiens from Africa and for them to overcome all other hominid species and    
                        become the only human species on the planet.

              Watch Soldiers Returning From Combat video: http://www.synthisophy.com/14-return-from-combat.html
                      · With this last story from John Musgrave, can you understand what the warrior ethos is? Can you see 
                        where  it’s possible, evolutionarily speaking, why this ethos may have been the reason why homo
                        sapiens became the dominant and only human species left on earth?  Can you see where now in
                        modern society we might be very far from our genetic roots?

              Break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any
              political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

              Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

              Paper #3: Express your opinion on each of the following topics: science and religion, the tribe and modern
              society, the Warrior ethos and soldiers returning from combat. Due next week.

 

      Lesson 8:

      Chapters 15, 16, 17: Theses 1, 2 and 3, Skinwalkers, Modern Skinwalkers, Side Light 2

              Watch Side Light 2 video: http://www.synthisophy.com/side-light-2.html
                      · Question your perception

              Watch Theses 1, 2 and 3 video: http://www.synthisophy.com/side-light-2.html
                      · Then ask class what students think of each thesis….….keeping in mind the idea is to question the
                        hypothesis, consider all angles, run each thesis through the mill, and see what comes out the other end

              Watch the Skinwalkers video: http://www.synthisophy.com/16-skinwalkers.html
                      · What do you think of this skinwalker hypothesis?  Are we far from our genetic roots?

              Watch Modern Skinwalkers video: http://www.synthisophy.com/17-modern-skinwalkers.html
                      · What do you think of these skinwalkers:
                              1. Defense Industry
                              2. Unemployment, Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid
                              3. Insurance Industry
                              4. Pharmaceutical Industry
                              5. Tobacco Industry

              Break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any
              political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

              Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

              Paper #4: What do you think of Theses 1, 2 and 3?  What do you think of the modern skinwalker analogies?
              Due next week.

 

      Lesson 9:

      Chapters 18 + 19: Climate Change, Smoke and Hot Air

              Watch Climate Change video http://www.synthisophy.com/18-climate-change.html
                    · Any questions or comments on informaqtion presented in this video and global warming?
                    · What are your views on climate change?
                    · How will it affect the world?
                    · How will it affect the USA?
                    · Have we already passed the tipping point?
                    · What can be done to address climate change?
                    · What about those in political office that deny climate change?
                    · Has COVID-19 affected climate change?

              Watch Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air video: http://www.synthisophy.com/19-smoke-and-hot-air.html
                    · Any questions or comments on information presented in this video and the fossil fuel industry?
                    · What do you think of the fossil fuel industry?
                    · What can be done to address our dependence on fossil fuel?
                    · Has our dependence on fossil fuel already pushed us past the tipping in global warming and climate
                     
change?
                    · Has COVID-19 affected the fossil fuel industry?

              Break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any
              political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

              Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

              Paper #5: What do you think of the oil industry and climate change What can we do about climate change?
              Due next week.

 

      Lesson 10

      Chapters 20 + 21: Far From Our Roots and Sport, Gestalt and War

              Watch We Are Very Far From Our Genetic Roots video: http://www.synthisophy.com/20-far-from-our-roots.html
                    · Any questions or comments on information and the conclusion presented in this video?  Review 180
                      degrees  of change.
                    · Bring students outside around a flag pole, put an empty 3 ring binder down flat, wide end facing flag pole.
                      Walk with students 50 yards away, flagpole in sight, ask one or a few students to volunteer to stay there.
                      Walk with class halfway between, and walk outward from line between flagpole and students. The human
                      population has hugged the ground for the last 4 million years, and after the agricultural revolution and
                      civilization 10,000 years ago, the population started to increase (the notebook) and then 200 years ago
                      to the present the human has spiked exponentially - from 300 million in 1800 to nearly 8 billion today.

              Watch Sport, Gestalt and War video: http://www.synthisophy.com/21-sport-gestalt-and-war.html                    
                   
· What do you think of the conclusions drawn in this chapter: Sports, Gestalt, Warrior ethos gone wry,
                      politics, far right and far left, polarization?     

              Break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any
              political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

              Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

              Homework: In preparation for the next class, read all of Chapter 22, Fantasyland, and be prepared to share
              any interesting observations: http://www.synthisophy.com/22-fantasyland.html, and the 3 additional pages:
              http://www.synthisophy.com/22-fantasyland-2.html, http://www.synthisophy.com/22-fantasyland-3.html,
              http://www.synthisophy.com/22-fantasyland-4.html.



      Lesson 11

      Chapters 22 + 23: Fantasyland, Fantasy Becomes Reality, Side Light 3

              Watch the Side Light 3 video: http://www.synthisophy.com/side-light-3.html
                    · Question your perception

              Watch Part 1 of the Fantasyland video: http://www.synthisophy.com/22-fantasyland.html
                    · What do you think of these statements about the settlement of the new world?
                    · What do you think of early religion in the Northern colonies?
                    · Any interesting observations from http://www.synthisophy.com/22-fantasyland-2.html
                    · Any interesting observations from http://www.synthisophy.com/22-fantasyland-3.html

              Watch Part 2 of Fantasyland video: http://www.synthisophy.com/22-fantasyland.html
                    · Any interesting observations from http://www.synthisophy.com/22-fantasyland-4.html
                    · Questions, comments? Let's call 2000, the first year a majority of Americans were online, the unequivocal
                      first year of full Fantasyland.
                    · Fantasyland has been the norm for the run of humanity; the unusually rational and scientific centuries
                      here and there along the way, like the last few, are exceptions. Dominant cultures have had their
                      enlightenments and golden ages before, then returned to primitivism and murk.
                    · Where will go as a nation?

              Watch Fantasy Has Become Reality video: http://www.synthisophy.com/23-fantasy-to-reality.html
                    · In the extraordinarily complex society of today, the instinctive cognitive bias, the resulting confirmation bias,
                      that generated the argumentative theory and the tribal ethos, that then lead by extension to the warrior
                      ethos, may all very well be present in the 100 billion neurons in your brain helping to generate one’s
                      perception of reality, one’s neuroreality. And as proposed by Andersen in Fantasyland, that neuroreality
                      may not reflect true reality. It’s in our genes. Our perception of reality, our neuroreality, has been in our
                      genes since the advent of Australopithecus and cognitive bias 4 million years ago or perhaps much earlier,
                      to Homo habilis and confirmation bias 3 million years ago, to Homo erectus and the argumentative theory
                      2 million years ago, all the while from there generating the tribal ethos resulting in the warrior ethos that
                      led to Homo sapiens 300,000 years ago and their migration out of Africa 70,000 years ago, and to us today. 

                    · What do you think of the conclusion of Chapter 23: Fantasy Has Become Reality?

              If time, break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any  
              political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

              Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and iews expressed.

              Paper #6: What do you think about Andersen’s last statement?:
              Fantasyland has been the norm for the run of humanity; the unusually rational and scientific centuries here and
              there along the way, like the last few, are exceptions. Dominant cultures have had their enlightenments and
              golden ages before, then returned to primitivism and murk.
              Due next week.

 

      Lesson 12

      Chapter 24 + 25: The Previous President, Unneurealism on the Left

              Watch Our Current President and Neuroreality: http://www.synthisophy.com/24-the-previous-president.html
                    · Have discussion about the content of this video.  Does this conclusion have any merit?
                    · What do you think of the far Right, the alt-Right

              Watch The Same Unneurealism Exists on the Left video: http://www.synthisophy.com/25-unneurealism.html
                    · Have discussion about the content of this video.  Does this conclusion have any merit?
                    · What do you think of the far left, illiberal left?

              Break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any
              political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

              Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

              Paper #7:
              Do the conclusions of Chapter 24 and 25 have any merit? Why or why not? Respond to each Chapter
              individually. Due next week.

 

      Lesson 13

      Chapters 26, 27, 28: Yin and Yang, Upside-Down Bell Curve, Review + Thesis 4, Side Light 4,

              Watch Side Light 4 video: http://www.synthisophy.com/side-light-4.html
                    · Ask students what they think of the conclusions of this video

              Watch Yin and Yang video: http://www.synthisophy.com/26-yin-yang.html
                    · So let’s try and get away from alt-Left and alt-Right polarization, move towards the more rational Center,
                      integrating aspects of both Yin and Yang so our society resembles more the functional tribe from whence
                      we genetically and evolutionarily came.

              Watch Upside-down Bell curve video: http://www.synthisophy.com/27-upside-down-bell-curve.html
                    · Note in 1994 there is no split in the curve between the Left and the Right, in 2004 we can see a split
                      starting, by 2014 we can see an increase in polarization as the upside-down bell curve shows itself, and
                      by 2017 the upside-down bell curve becomes prominent. This shows us the polarization of the Left and
                      Right and the upside-down bell curve now present in the USA. If a bell curve is considered normal, why
                      do we as a society among the politically active and influential have an upside-down bell curve, is that
                      abnormal?  Why are we so polarized?  The answer lies in the human brain and neurological evolution.
                      It’s in our genes, it’s been in our genes for a very long time: cognitive bias probably developing over the  
                      course of late mammalian evolution and present in Australopithecus; to confirmation bias in Homo habilis;
                      to the tribe and argumentative theory, where truth doesn’t matter, winning the argument and gaining power 
                      does in Homo erectus; all the while generating the tribal ethos resulting in the warrior ethos that lead Homo
                      sapiens out of Africa 70,000 years ago to dominate the world. Our genetically evolved and present
                      cognitive, confirmation, tribal and argumentative biases shape our polarized perceptions of the world
                      around us, and our warrior ethos finds others of similar mind to battle the opposing party.  Do we have
                      to be this polarized?  Can individual human consciousness be aware of this predisposition and keep it in
                      check, putting value in moderation, reason and truth? Can your neuroreality be neureal and rather than
                      unneural? Ben Franklin addressed that question after the Constitutional Convention: “We’ve given you a
                      republic, can you keep it?” Perhaps if we depolarize, get back to the normal bell curve, become more
                      neureal, and become more centrist as a Nation, the answer will be yes.

                    · Does this argument have any merit?

 

              Watch Review and Thesis 4 video: http://www.synthisophy.com/28-review-thesis-4.html
                    · Review Chapters 20, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27
                    · Perhaps politics has taken the place of religion, particularly among the unneureal alt-Right and Illiberal-Left.
                      Recall the old adage, never talk about politics or religion?  Thesis 4: Perhaps politics on the alt-Right and   
                      illiberal-Left has become their religion.
                    · Discuss Zeynep Tufekci’s conclusion in her article: YouTube, the Great Radicalizer: It seems as if you are   
                      never “hard core” enough for YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. It promotes, recommends and
                      disseminates videos in a manner that appears to constantly up the stakes. Given its billion or so users,
                      YouTube may be one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century. This is not because
                      a cabal of YouTube engineers is plotting to drive the world off a cliff. A more likely explanation has to do
                      with the nexus of artificial intelligence and Google’s business model. (YouTube is owned by Google.)
                      For all its lofty rhetoric, Google is an advertising broker, selling our attention to companies that will pay
                      for it. The longer people stay on YouTube, the more money Google makes. What keeps people glued to    
                      YouTube? Its algorithm seems to have concluded that people are drawn to content that is more extreme
                      than what they started with — or to incendiary content in general.

              This section acts as an introduction to the next Lesson, Chapter 29 and What Can We Do to Depolarize the
              Nation.

              Break into groups of 4 for political discussion. Talk about what we covered here today, then talk about any
              political issues you think are important.  Use the listening skills we discussed.

              Have someone in each group provide a summary of what they discussed and views expressed.

              Homework: start thinking about political issues that you are interested in and would like to learn more about, in       
              preparation for your Final Paper.

 

      Lesson 14

      Chapter 29: What Can We Do to Depolarize the Nation?

              Watch the What Can We Do video: http://www.synthisophy.com/29-what-can-we-do.html
                      · Ask students if there are other areas where they think we should Take Action?

              Spend rest of Lesson thinking about what you would like to write  your Final Paper on, aka your Final Exam,
              which is due next week. You may work now in groups to brainstorm ideas, you may work by yourself if you’ve  
              already chosen a topic of interest, you can speak with me for input, etc…  Start working on that Final Paper.

              Here’s the directions for your Final Paper:

              Introduction
                    Provide a description of synthisophy, as in root meaning and it’s meaning in the context of science, history,
                    politics and society as applied to modern society today.

              Then choose an area you might pursue to address polarization in politics and society today and Take Action,
              as we covered in Chapter 29 and brainstormed today.  Describe what you could do, or what actions could be
              taken, to address that issue and try and solve that problem.

              Your Final Paper is due by our next lesson.  There I’ll go over Chapter 30, and then you can share with the
              class what you wrote about in your Final Paper.

 

      Lesson 15

      Chapter 30: Our Future, and share Final Papers with the class

              Watch the Our Future video: http://www.synthisophy.com/30-our-future.html
                    · What does this logarithmic similarity between evolutionary and societal change over the last 3.8 billion
                      years and the computer transistor count in the last 50 years mean? At this point in time this similarity may
                      mean that we are in the early stage of huge societal changes as a result of the digital revolution, and that it
                      may be in our best interest to become less polarized and more rational in order to best choose our destiny
                      as a society. We should heed Ben Franklin’s question: “We’ve given you a Republic, can you keep it?”
                      Yes, and to do so we need to be politically active, synthisophic and neureal. 

              Share Final Papers