Saturday, April 15, 2017

Satin bowerbird

Meanwhile, back at home, view from bedroom early morning, of a newly arrived dance-ground of a Satin Bowerbird. This is an amazing development for a suburban garden. Not everyone in the street approved of my filling the front garden with fruit and vegetables and trees. But clearly the Satin Bowerbird does. This garden, with deep shrubbery at the street, open space before the bedroom window, now provides a private seduction place for SB.

 This is a modest quality movie through glass with some reflections, made yesterday and today, from bedroom.

This is someone else's Hollywood version!

There is interesting information about bowerbird behaviour in this academic paper.  It is as noted an academic paper and the causal reader may finish up rolling on the floor by such passages as this:
Variation in male copulation success was primarily described by whether a male copulated or not.

This 2005 paper mentions that a variable in the appeal of male birds is the extent of their painting of the bower with saliva and other substances (not serving structural purposes). The authors do not know why this is so. I had a conversation perhaps a little more recently with a neuroscientist (I can find no academic reference) who said that the salivary painting of the bowers was at electromagnetic frequencies not seen by humans but seen by bowerbirds and bright shining iridescent. So when you look at those dead sticks and wonder why they are sexy, know that they are not just dead sticks at all for those who can see.

This point brings us back (of course) to international politics and the need for understanding that other people see things differently, should not be thought stupid or wrong because different. I realise that I have met only a moderate number of people, in my whole life, who know they are wrong, who did not believe what they did was sensible; just about everyone everywhere is right, in their own mind. If we can all step back a bit we can be wiser.

But I still have difficulty treating these scenes as mainstream. Although, recognising the extent of people's weird-seeming beliefs and behaviours, it's easy to see why Trump thinks he's right and others also think he's right. 

The term 'gaslighting' has crept into popular culture recently, with the rising tide of concern about domestic and other abuse. From wikipedia, on gaslighting:
Sociopaths and narcissists frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but typically also are convincing liars, sometimes charming ones, who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their own perceptions. 
That's from Wikipedia. But is there not a broader sense in which the whole of societies are gaslit, not just the DPRK, but also huge chunks of the USA or Australia (speak not of Brexit).

The link to bowerbirds? We comprehend but a few percent of the minds of bowerbirds. People make fun of them, think them weird. Just like North Koreans, for example. And then those savvy people go to church and utter strange utterances, and some do more strange things at Easter.

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