What A Week, Part 2

My last post with the title, “What a Week,” was about racial violence. Although it would be easy to write a new post on all the racial violence that has happened since, I will focus instead on the political mess we (those of us in the States) have created for ourselves. I’ve seen a lot of elections over the years, and I can’t recall any previous election when so many people disliked both candidates. Hold Your Nose and Choose provides a strategy for deciding between the lesser of two evils. One of the jokes making the rounds about the upcoming . . . → Read More: What A Week, Part 2


“Evolution” refers to change occurring over time, typically in a positive direction. As Darwin envisioned it, species changed (gradually) over time to enhance their ability to survive. These days the word is commonly used for any change that seems to be for the better. Not everyone, of course, agrees on what’s “better.” When President Obama says that his views of gay marriage are evolving, he means that he is becoming more tolerant and accepting. Not everyone, including members of the Westboro Baptist Church, however, would agree that’s a change for the better.

One of my favorite writers, Steven Pinker, . . . → Read More: Evolution

The Winter of Our Discontent

I owe the title of this blog entry to William Shakespeare, who put those words in the mouth of King Richard III. Richard’s words were a metaphor for difficult times under the previous king rather than commentary on a polar vortex of the sort we’ve been experiencing in much of the U.S. this winter. For many in the States, this has been the coldest winter with the most ice and snow that we’ve had for several years.

Meanwhile, Melbourne, Australia, has been so hot that those playing tennis in the Australian Open have been wilting in the heat, . . . → Read More: The Winter of Our Discontent

Resolutions Revolution

It’s that time of year. When we turn the page from December to January, most of us give at least a little thought to “New Year’s Resolutions.” It’s hard not to. Virtually every publication—both traditional and electronic—has at least one article on how to make and keep resolutions, what resolutions are being made by famous people, and how quickly resolutions can be broken. We tend to forget that we can leave old behaviors behind and/or begin new ones at any time, but birthdays and the start of a new year tend to amplify the sense of leaving the old behind . . . → Read More: Resolutions Revolution

Evidence Procedures

In NLP, one of the central Metamodel questions is, “How do you know?” An honest answer to the question provides information about a person’s “model of the world,” which is essentially a “reality strategy”—the way people decide what’s real. In most cases, what we think of as “real” is more accurately a “belief,” in some cases with very little in the way of supporting evidence. Most beliefs begin, of course, with some evidence in the external environment. Through the natural processes of deletion, distortion, and generalization, beliefs that have a logical beginning can become increasingly distorted over time. One of . . . → Read More: Evidence Procedures

Stubble, Etc.

You may be wondering what stubble’s got to do with it…. I had been wondering why so many men in current advertising, including the man deemed the “Sexiest Man Alive” by a popular magazine, are often photographed and filmed with three to five days of stubble. My curiosity got the better of me when I read an interview with a female actor who had just completed a movie about a same-sex relationship. When asked what she liked best about kissing another woman, she replied, “No stubble.”

It turns out that stubble is women’s Number-One complaint about kissing men. It . . . → Read More: Stubble, Etc.

Occupying Wall Street

I am finding the growing discontent represented by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement interesting in a couple of ways. First, unlike the “Tea Partiers,” who were reasonably well-focused in their demands for lower taxes and smaller government, the “Occupy Wall Street” group—groups at this point, as they are currently (as of 13 Oct 2011) in 103 cities in 37 States and a number of other locations around the world—do not have well-organized, uniform talking points. Our friends the media pundits don’t know how to respond to them because, other than their sheer numbers, it’s hard for them to find a . . . → Read More: Occupying Wall Street

What’s the Deal with Science?

If you’ve been paying attention for the past 20 or 30 years, you’ve probably noticed that “Science” keeps changing its mind about a lot of things. Also, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that Galileo’s “problems” with the Catholic Church have been a recurring theme. It seems to me that the conflict between “science” and “faith” is at the center of a number of what might be called “modern problems.” Problems of the sort that Galileo had with the Church have, of course, occurred in a variety of ways over the years. In general, . . . → Read More: What’s the Deal with Science?

The Secret of Hypnosis

Richard Bandler, who has often been called “the best hypnotist in the world,” is fond of saying, “Hypnosis isn’t the exception…. It’s the rule.” The fact is that people—you, me, and everyone—tend to be in one trance or another most of the time. It is more a matter of which trance you are in rather than whether you are in trance. What we think of as “normal consciousness” is just one kind of trance with a particular set of beliefs.

The more neuroscientists examine the way the human mind works, the more they discover that unconscious processes—processes operating below . . . → Read More: The Secret of Hypnosis

“What’s a Book, Daddy?”

As I am starting to write this electronic blog, one of the headlines for the day is that one of the principal bookstores in the U.S., Borders, is filing for bankruptcy. Electronic readers—e-readers—are gaining market share. In related stories, Amazon recently announced that Kindle e-book sales have surpassed sales of both hardcover and paperback books. For those of us who have spent a lifetime reading books, the move to “electronic literature” is a bit unsettling. I still have books on my shelves that I read as a college undergraduate. They have moved with me at least eight times and kept . . . → Read More: “What’s a Book, Daddy?”