Stuff That’s On My Mind

The original impetus for this article was the North Carolina Bathroom Bill. I am writing this from the perspective of a male who has been sharing bathrooms with women all my life—not always at the same time, of course, but most of the time, people use bathrooms one at a time. There are exceptions, of course. Public bathrooms (airports, highway rest stops, restaurants, and other public places). If you have ever flown anywhere with a woman, you know that when people exit the plane, men enter the men’s room, take care of business, and exit. In all likelihood, the female . . . → Read More: Stuff That’s On My Mind

Content of Character

When Martin Luther King said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” (in his I have a dream speech), he was, of course, referring specifically to racial disparities. Unfortunately, racial disparities haven’t disappeared, and perhaps even more unfortunately, our culture has added a variety of other disparities by which we judge people. Like skin color, they are all superficial in nature and say nothing about the content of their character.

The first thing that occurs to me is the bias many hold . . . → Read More: Content of Character

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Coronation

Although all presidential elections in the US are “historic,” our most recent election will probably go down in history as the most historic of all. As most of you already know, the election featured the first woman candidate to be nominated by a major political party, and the first major oligarch who pretended to be the candidate of the people. It also featured more—a lot more—of the usual yelling and screaming—and sometimes punching and shoving—than most US presidential contests.

One of the influencing factors was, of course, accomplishments of President Obama, many resented him because he was the first . . . → Read More: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Coronation

Selling Fear in the New Year

One of the things I’ve been paying increasing attention to (perhaps because of the ongoing political debate in the U.S.) is fear marketing. I find it amazing at how pervasive “fear appeals” are and the various ways they are used to sell “stuff,” including politicians and political “talking points.” The basic concept is that we really need to be afraid of X, and, if we want to be safe, we need to stock up on (or vote for) the anti-X.

The world has a lot of risky stuff in it, of course, and we are undoubtedly safer when we . . . → Read More: Selling Fear in the New Year

Perceptual Frames and Self-fulling Prophesy

In case you haven’t noticed, the United States is embroiled in a political and financial conflict that is influencing the stability of world financial markets. One of the headlines of a recent (9 August 2011) New York Times article states, “Wave of worry threatens to build on itself: Hesitation over the uncertainty of the economy can make things worse.” That led me to wonder the degree to which perception can actually determine reality. The term I associate with perception as a determiner of reality is self-fulling prophecy.

Although the concept of prophesies determining future events is ancient, its modern . . . → Read More: Perceptual Frames and Self-fulling Prophesy

Hate Speech

A few days ago in Tucson, Arizona, a young man named Jared Lee Loughner shot and killed six people and wounded 19 others, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who seems to have been his principal target. Since the shooting, much of the media coverage has focused on the possible influence of “hate speech,” which demonizes those who have certain opinions or otherwise belong to identifiable groups.

The event and the media coverage of it reminded me of three of the books that have influenced my own thinking about language and its relationship to thought and action: Science and Sanity . . . → Read More: Hate Speech

Understanding, Rapport, and a Better 2011

The three principal questions everyone has when encountering something or someone new are (a) What’s familiar or “like me,” (b) What’s not familiar or not “like me,” and (c) What’s important about…. When it comes to people, the cliché has been, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Whether we’re talking about cultures, philosophies, or people, the main question is, what constitutes being “of a feather.”

One of the metaprograms in NLP is usually referred to as “same/different” or “match/mismatch.” This metaprogram addresses whether someone’s first tendency is to look for things that match or are the same as what . . . → Read More: Understanding, Rapport, and a Better 2011