Friday, September 01, 2006

Neurogenesis and Joy

Danielle is trying a trial subscription to Seed magazine, and she showed me an article she thought fit into Ecojoy: The Reinvention of the Self. Its about Dr. Elizabeth Gould's work with marmoset monkeys, and about her discovery of neurogenesis. Prior to Dr. Gould's work, scientific and medical knowledge about brains was that they didn't grow new cells (neurons). Dr. Gould discovered that the conditions under which the animals are kept affect growth of new neurons. Animals kept in supportive, non-stressful conditions can grow new neurons.

We didn't have previous evidence of this because researchers didn't think the conditions under which animals were kept were related to neurogenesis. And Dr. Gould has a tangible, medical way to measure stress. I highly recommend the article and Dr. Gould's papers.

From this work, it is becoming clear that there is a medical, scientific foundation to the theory that joy is a more powerful motivator than fear.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


This from my site The Ecology of Joy:

The Ecology of Joy is a philosophy, a way of understanding the world around us, a way to stop the violence, a way to approach peace.

On this site, we'll explore the parts of this philosophy, and put them together.

  • There are three parts to ecojoy
  1. What motivates people.
  2. The way people connect together to make culture
  3. The way media and technology affect people.
  • Things are changing, and we need to understand the reasons for the change and the effects on our world.
  1. Joy (or pleasure, love or passion) is the most powerful human
    motivator. That is not to discount the effects of fear, but
    people achieve their best when motivated by joy. For example,
    look at the achievements of Susan B. Anthony,
    Lance Armstrong or Michael Jordan . These people made their achievements not because of the promise of a high salary or the fear of failure, but because of the
    joy of achievement or a passion for justice. However, fear has
    been used effectively throughout history as a means to control behavior
    (see books on Fear)
  2. People come together for many reasons. The way that
    links form between people influence the nature of the resulting
    culture. One way to look at these links uses the concepts of heterarchy
    and hierarchy
    . Another way to explore different forms of
    culture is found in the explorations of Partnership by Riane
    Eisler. In her work, Riane talks about dominator thinking, and
    partnership thinking.
  3. Marshall McLuhan proposed that media have a great effect on culture, due
    more to the way that information is represented and interpreted than to
    the content itself. For example, whether the programming is news,
    talk or country music, all forms of radio have a unique effect on
    culture, an effect that is different that the effect of newspapers or
  • The motivations of joy and fear foster cultural links based on heterarchy and heirarchy.
  • Some media foster heterarchical linking, and and some favor heirarchical linking.
  • Some of the attributes of partnership thinking.
    • dominator thinking exhibits an external locus of control, partnership thinking exhibits an internal locus of control.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I've begun writing Ecojoy several times since about 1996 (for example, see Ecojoy). It never came out well. So I got the idea to try it as a blog, hoping I could chip around the edges and start to reveal the joy that is within.