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Compersion is an important concept for non-monogamous people. Often described as jealousy's opposite, compersion labels positive feelings toward the intimacy of a beloved with other people. Since many people think jealousy is ordinary, intransigent, and even appropriate, compersion can seem psychologically and ethically dubious. I make the case for compersion, arguing it focuses on the flourishing of others and is thus not akin to pride, vicarious enjoyment, or masochistic pleasure. People cultivate compersion by softening their propensity to be jealous and by attending to the flourishing of others, which requires them to tackle entitlement and temper vulnerability. I argue that jealousy is not a valuable emotional disposition; its instrumental benefits are minor, unstable, and have to be traded against the harms of aggression. Arguments that conclude that jealousy is a virtue rest on contentious premises and overlook the practical question as to whether jealousy and compersion could be cultivated together.
A large class of diseases is dependent on juvenile hosts for transmission because younger hosts are typically more susceptible to disease. Studies have investigated the epidemiological consequences of juvenile susceptibility, but why species retain such high susceptibility in the juvenile stage remains a puzzle. Life-history theory predicts that hosts should evolve to be more resistant as juveniles than as adults because early infection is costlier. Studies of anther-smut on wild carnations show that disease persistence is strongly dependent on the presence of a highly susceptible juvenile class. While there is evidence of genetic variation in juvenile resistance, the majority of plant families are highly susceptible at this stage, so juvenile resistance may be less beneficial than assumed. To understand how the costs and benefits of resistance and life-history traits affect the evolution of age-specific resistance, we developed a general analytical model of age-specific resistance, which shows that if there is genetic variation for the onset of resistance, selection and numerical feedbacks often drive the evolution of adult resistance but maintain juvenile susceptibility. The implications of these results are discussed.
How can communities, associations, governments, and other organizations work better together? This chapter looks at putting polycentricity into practice for improving governance, focusing on collective action among autonomous decision centres in contexts of cooperation, competition, conflict resolution, and social learning. Practising polycentric governance may involve assessing and appreciating the ways in which a situation is already polycentric and might be improved; applying principles and mechanisms to craft specific institutional arrangements for polycentric governance; and facilitating the emergence of polycentric governance, including co-creation of more inclusive networks, common knowledge, and 'power with'.
Breakthrough technologies introduce a radically new capability or a drastic performance improvement. However, the existing engineering design literature does not specifically pay attention to them. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework for breakthrough technologies, aiming for a more detailed characterization of breakthrough technologies. First, based on a literature survey, we reflect on the relationship between breakthrough technology and innovation. In addition, we explore the relationship between breakthrough technologies at the component and system level. Next, we propose a conceptual framework with dimensions in which breakthroughs may occur and the corresponding expansion of concepts and knowledge, drawing from C-K theory. We subsequently apply the framework to the case of a laser sail-propelled interstellar probe. We conclude that the relationship between component and system-level breakthrough technologies requires further exploration. Furthermore, the coupling between the breakthrough technology and market breakthrough in the form of a new business model seems interesting for future work.
Despite the increasing demand to develop cross-disciplinary research projects, designing collaborative research still prove to be difficult due to both scientific specialization and organizational issues. In this paper, we explore how innovative design dynamics can be developed between researchers to collectively build research projects that could become common purposes for collaboration. This work relies on a case study led with the newly formed Eco&Phy research team, who applied an innovative design process to initiate collaboration and design its scientific agenda for the next 5 years. This process was built based on both KCP and matching-building methodologies: it included an initialization phase, during which the team strategically chose topics to be explored, and exploration phases, during which researchers collectively developed new knowledge and concepts to build cross-disciplinary projects. At the end of the design process, the team had developed two new research lines that were integrated in its official agenda. In conclusion, the article discusses the relevance of design approaches to develop original collaborative research through dedicated innovation processes.
Hundreds of images of swords survive from Anglo-Saxon England. They adorn metalwork, stone sculpture, carvings, manuscripts, embroideries and coins, in both secular and religious contexts. They are valuable not only as contemporary illustrations of these weapons but also as informants on their social and cultural significance. For early medieval audiences immersed in this imagery, it functioned actively by conveying, creating and influencing ideas while also provoking physical and emotional responses. Modern viewers, however, are so removed from the social, cognitive and visual contexts in which these images were made that their spectrum of meanings can be hard to reach. Experts in visual culture have risen to the challenge by developing approaches to recover some of those meanings. One is iconography, the study of the content and meaning of representational (as opposed to ornamental) art – making it ideal for analysing depictions of artefacts. This chapter adopts a broadly iconographic approach to sword imagery, alongside a careful eye on context and contemporary artistic conventions. It uses a body of Anglo-Saxon and comparative Scandinavian images drawn from published and publicly accessible resources which, while not exhaustive, is large and diverse enough in medium, provenance and date to support meaningful analysis.
The corpus contains several biases. First, a fraction of the early medieval artistic record survives today. Countless images were made upon perishable materials that seldom endure the centuries. Literary references to narrative embroideries hint that the Bayeux Tapestry and fragments from Milan in Italy and Oseberg and Överhögdal in Scandinavia were less rare than they seem today (Nos. 1–4), while accounts of paintings suggest that some types of medium have failed to survive at all. Manuscripts exist in quantity but many have been lost over centuries of conflict and accident: the 1731 fire in the Cotton Library, which claimed a unique Life of King Alfred and singed the sole existing Beowulf manuscript, being a brutal example. Second, regional and temporal differences shape the image corpus. More depictions of swords survive from England than Scandinavia, on different media and at different times: stone sculpture was produced in England from the seventh century but in Scandinavia only on the Swedish island of Gotland before the tenth, while manuscripts were not made there at all during the period. Local variations exist too, with Sweden furnishing more images than anywhere else in Scandinavia.
In early medieval northern Europe, swords were not everyday artefacts. Not all families had one in their home, like a knife or a pottery vessel. Many probably never even saw one in real life. Swords were owned, experienced and encountered by a limited number of people, who themselves were members of limited social groups and participated in limited social activities. This exclusivity has helped to fuel the enduring scholarly view that the sword's primary symbolic meaning was as an emblem of elite status; but such a reading overlooks an issue that has emerged as a thematic touchstone in this book: while the physical ownership of swords was restricted, recognition of their purpose and significance was not. Tales of great swords, made by gods and wielded by heroes, were recited in communities throughout the early medieval North, from humble dwellings to soaring timber halls. The muted relics of these stories echo in the ‘Dancing Warriors’ on the Sutton Hoo helmet, the words of Beowulf and perhaps in ancient swords buried in furnished graves. One did not have to own a sword to understand something of its relevance and meaning in society: indeed, most inhabitants of modern northern Europe are not sword owners, but they know what Excalibur is. By exploring the thoughts of those whose views were shaped not only by ownership of swords, but also by stories and images of swords, this book has unveiled a more complex picture of these weapons’ place in the society and worldview of early medieval northern Europe.
One sign of this complexity is that while swords were relevant to various social groups – warrior and civilian, secular and ecclesiastical, male and female, and all shades of grey in between – their relevance was not homogeneous. Multiple conceptualisations of swords existed, reflected in the varying attention given to specific sword parts in imagery, poetry and funerary rituals; and for women, swords were attributes in exceptional circumstances only, their symbolism emphasising the weapon's protective rather than aggressive qualities. The sword's deepest significance, and most intense relationship, involved warriors, defined here as a social status rather than a function. Swords were a cornerstone of early medieval warrior identity, expressing and constructing it both in art and in life; and elevating sword-wielders above other warriors to the pinnacle of a perceived hierarchy of fighters.
A diverse array of texts survive from Anglo-Saxon England, encompassing histories, chronicles, poetry, inscriptions, letters, religious texts, laws, charters and wills, composed in Latin and vernacular languages and written in the runic and Roman alphabets. Surprisingly few contain detailed references to swords. The great exception is vernacular poetry. Old English verse bristles with swords, narrating not only their use in battle but also who made and owned them, how they circulated and even their names and temperaments. It is matched in this by Scandinavian vernacular poetry, composed in Old Norse. Accordingly, these sources form the natural focus for this chapter.
Old English poems are preserved in a group of mid-tenth- to eleventh- century manuscripts but contain elements of older tales and ideas transmitted orally over generations: part of Genesis has been attributed to the early eighth century while some experts place Beowulf's roots in the seventh century, predating the manuscript in which it survives by more than three hundred years. Poems recounting traditional tales could contain even older material, albeit subject to a degree of corruption, adaptation and reconstruction. Old Norse ‘skaldic’ poetry, named after the ‘skalds’ (poets) who composed it, is preserved in medieval Icelandic sagas but is widely attributed to the late tenth to eleventh centuries, with some poems thought to be older still. Skaldic poems are so intricate in form and metre that experts believe they were transmitted uncorrupted from the Viking period – it was too difficult to modify them. Their veracity is supported further by the fact that many can be linked to named, dated skalds and were composed and recited publicly to honour a named individual's deeds on a specific, dated occasion. This, together with its dense martial imagery, makes skaldic poetry an invaluable source for Scandinavian views about swords, and one rarely exploited beyond specialist studies due to its complexity. This chapter is based on analysis of all relevant Old English poems, and Old Norse poems by skalds dated to the ninth to eleventh centuries who are named in Konungasǫgur (‘Kings’ Sagas’), the type of sagas that experts believe are likeliest to be genuine early medieval compositions.
Every culture that has made and used swords has viewed them as extraordinary objects. They feature prominently in the history, cosmology and mythology of communities across the globe, from Africa to northern Europe, from East Asia to the Indian sub-continent. Their appeal is not solely attributable to humanity's timeless fascination with death. This is clear from the spectrum of meanings attached to swords across time and space, encompassing power, wisdom, joy, protection – and fear. The interest has not faded from the mind today, long after these weapons were in general use on the battlefield. Swords are everywhere in modern popular culture, serving the plots of books, graphic novels, computer games, television and films – including some of the most successful ever made. Countless websites and internet forums discuss them online. They have been the subject of museum exhibitions and galleries, and even have entire museums devoted to them.
In Britain, the significance of swords has ancient roots. Here, the earliest bladed artefacts interpretable as swords emerged in the Bronze Age during the second millennium BCE. Most derive from ritually-charged contexts: a pattern that continued into the Early Middle Ages when swords were placed in graves, bodies of water and hoards. In Anglo-Saxon England, swords are among the most complicated and decorative objects to survive, representing the union of many parts, materials, processes and craftspeople. That they were cherished and curated over time is plain not only from wear and repairs to their features, but also from their rarity as stray finds, suggesting that they were hardly ever lost, discarded or left behind. Despite these signs of social complexity, swords have been viewed primarily as elite status symbols. This is true of the early antiquarians who marvelled at the weapons they dug from graves, and it remains a feature of scholarship today. Only in recent years has research delved more deeply into the meanings of this particular weapon during this particular period, so that a more holistic understanding is finally nascent. One catalyst was the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard in 2009, an unprecedented assemblage of early Anglo-Saxon metalwork uniquely dominated by sword fittings.
Early medieval art, archaeology and texts communicate in different ways but many of their messages synchronise if compared mindfully within their context and limitations. This book has traced one message across the boundaries traditionally imposed between these sources: in Anglo-Saxon England, swords were the focus of deep and complex feelings, emotions and perceptions. Many they shared with their Scandinavian neighbours, first across the North Sea and then via settlements in Britain itself; others seem to have been culturally distinctive. The prevalence of certain ideas is difficult to reckon where they are confined to an individual source, or cannot be followed confidently from one source to another; but authentic attitudes are likely to exist where different types of evidence appear to sing from the same hymn-sheet.
Perceptions of Swords in the Early Medieval North
Early medieval perceptions of swords were diverse and intricate; but much like the individual strands of an elaborate tapestry, they weave together to form a single overall picture. The entire tapestry presents swords as dynamic, active, ‘living’ artefacts in early medieval minds. This notion divides into swords perceived as ‘person-like’ artefacts with an outer visual character and an inner personality or biography; and as active social beings performing roles in their communities that both encompassed and surpassed the purpose for which they were made.
Art, archaeology and texts all present swords as ‘person-like’ artefacts with external and internal qualities that echo those of human beings. To begin on the outside, an attribute that emerges with particular vibrancy is distinctive visual identity: swords had physical features that enabled onlookers to recognise them by sight, much as one recognises a human face by its unique features. Poetry and archaeological survivals agree that hilts were key to a weapon's individuality. Hence, in Beowulf the warrior provoked to violence by the sight of his father's sword, as well as the lingering report of the hilt from Grendel's mere, chime not only with genuine swords distinguished by the configuration and decoration of their hilts, but also with the likelihood, conveyed by asymmetrical wear and ornament, that owners wore their swords with the showier face outwards where viewers might recognise it.