(I) Tune Out Old Beliefs that no longer pertain
(A) Free Will Do we really have freewill? The question of the ages. If we are influenced by the environment and every little trace of influence is accounted for are we predictable? A professor's assistant once said we should not punish criminals, because they could not help what they did, because the environment determined all. I immediately said then we could not stop punishing them as our action are also controlled by the environment.
Are we predictable? Perhaps not totally because in nature is a chaos, a random factor, yes chaos may have a pattern but it may not be repetitive in all its moves. I suggest that in this random factor is a window that allows for off the wall responses, not easily predictable if at all, chaotic. We, our consciousness, is able to pick and choose which of these off the wall responses to follow accordingly to our beliefs of what we need for survival, of self, or survival of the group, which can in turn affect self. In turn, we could now ask if our beliefs are random or conditioned. Both. We have to choose between the random beliefs to fit our environment for survival, of self and therefore of others. We have to perceive, feel, think, and do. All with a random factor that allows for adjustments. In that sense the criminal has missed the mark of survival, he got caught. Unless, of course, he unconsciously got caught to survive in a better environment, a more flexible or nurturing environment with more options, in short, a larger world of jail and then freedom to change direction.
It becomes an old problem of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Which comes first the choice or the environment that influenced the choice. It will go on, but it is that choice, or the choice to look at other choices, that give us more freedom. The choice to look at a wider array of choices, a choice to change our conditioned responses for more or better responses, the choice to have more freewill. It may not be god like absolute freewill but it certainly results in a wider and better range of beliefs and actions to choose from when we decide to challenge our already conditioned choices that are not satisfactory to our environment or perhaps to a changing environment. This chaotic cloud of steam that turns and twists like the clouds in the wind, or the waters in the oceans, this chaos of never changing options that we can experiment with and see what works to take us in the direction we want to go. If we do not like the direction we can choose to try something else and see where it leads. We do have sails, rudders, maps, and paddles and if we choose to use them, well, you decide what we can and can not do.
(B) Risk To continue from the tip above, to expand your world, to try out new directions, to discover new resources, to grow you need at times to risk new ways of seeing and hearing the world, of feeling new feelings toward things, to think new concepts and beliefs, and to try new skills and tasks. But use all your widgets and tips to sniff out if something is safe and profitable. Study things with ethnographic scrutiny, look for dangers and benefits, compare ideas and concepts looking for common and different aspects, look at the common sense utility of things. Check to make sure that others who suggest you try things are not deceiving you, are not greedy, are not pushing weirdo ideas that may be traps, and that they are not aggressive or destructive to you or others. Test the waters, try a bit, analyze as you go, try some more, analyze again and again. But do try more. Read, go to school, experiment a bit, but only after observing for patterns and scripts so you are forming a map of events, of consequences, etc. And never, never, turn off empathy for others.
(II) Improve Widgets
(A) UPPER NATURE
(1) Ant and Bee: Improve the Senses/Cause and Effect and Affect In Biological Personality (II)(A)(1) I went over Ethnography, the art of observation. Basically you look at things and try and see how many factors are involved, look for how they change over time and space, take count how the changes are the same or different, and then categorize them and look for patterns. Lets say we are studying the play of an elementary school. The factors of people are ages, boys or girls, men or woman, grades, and positions they hold such as teachers, secretaries, principals etc. The factors of space are the classrooms, bathrooms, cafeteria, playground, etc. The time factors are morning, noon, monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, Fall, Winter, Spring, etc. The main factor you are looking at, to define better, is the different games the kids and or adults play in conjunction with the other factors. You can add different factors as you see them. So you will take count of what games are played in the morning versus afternoon, in Spiring versus Winter games, played by boys versus girls, first graders versus second, third, fourth, fifth, and or sixth graders. If we take count and put them together in patterns we may find that young boys in the afternoon chase girls as a game, as they get older they play more sports, especially in winter when the principal organizes certain games during different sports seasons, but without adult prompting they will play gangster games. The patterns will emerge as you combine factors and take count.
As you look at personality types you can add that as a factor. Which boys with which personalities will play which games under which conditions but other boys with other personalities will play different games under all the same factors. Once you have some patterns you can keep them all the same but the one you want to study, such as beliefs.
Or we can go deeper and say which boys of a certain personality but of different beliefs will play different games. So bully boys will usually have a different belief system then non bully boys, or only under certain conditions as in the presence of adults or out of the presents of adults. You then change the beliefs of the kids and see what happens. It can be a simple belief such as there will be no vacation this year. In schools the beliefs that are damaging are usually 'you are not acceptable.' It will change the play patterns. The basic value of taking count is that your memory is better, you see more if it is written down, and you are observing more than your present beliefs say to look for.
(2) Macho: Control Fears
(a) Know Your Scary Thoughts Fear is your friend and your worse enemy. Without fear you do not see potential dangers to self and others. With too much fear you are frozen to act. Do not let fear totally control you nor should you totally control fear. It is a signal to take note and activate the brain to look and listen, plan what to do, and to act or not act.
Now for the scary thoughts. Know where they came from, their importance or lack of importance in any situation, so you know better how to sooth or feed the fire they cause, and what may help to do that. If they come from childhood, do they no longer pertain, or do they still pertain? If we do not decide how they pertain the fears may make us defensive and counter productive because fear tends to shut down our thinking. If we were afraid of our father as children, because he was mean, we may be afraid of our boss, who looks and acts a lot like him. But our boss may be a sweetheart and help us more if we are not timid or angry at him, or should I say at the ghost of the dad of the past. When you encounter such irrational fears stop and close your eyes (if its safe to do so) and let the fear remind you where it came from. What in the past is similar to the present people or situations. Then put the fear in perspective, is it warning you or just plaguing you.
(b) Not trapping yourself You know, I have done just that, trapped myself. I have forgotten why I put this heading in. But let me improvise. It could mean to remain open minded. If we are too cock sure about everything, we are sure to be challenged and then too afraid to back out. How do you like how I brought in the word fear. After all it is under the heading of fear, cognitive fear. More likely I must have meant to not think too much about fear to the point of being afraid of fear. Fear is a friend, it warns us of impending or possible danger. If we see it as the culprit itself we can get into a snowball of fear, fearing fear, adding the fear of fear to our fear over and over again. See, I have not been afraid to tell you I was, or is, trapped. It is no big deal, right? Hay, come on now, give me a break. So I used is instead of am. Hay, I am only human, right? Who said I am afraid of feeling irrelevant? I know for a fact that I should never feel I know for a fact that, ok, ok, lets just proceed to the next topic.
(3) Cuddles: Learn to love learning When I talk to people one of the biggest limitations I hear them say is that they do not like to read. They watch the history channel and love it but they are limited to it. The world without reading is very small in comparison to what it can be. Some are not good readers and other just do not want to, and still others feel they have no time. Reading just fifteen minutes at bed time or on awakening can open up the world. Practicing reading makes for better reading, we will always get better. For those who do not want to read I have the following advice, passion, play, and a variety of cognitive models to work on that will increase brain involvement and therefore in turn help motivation and interest.
(a) Passions There can be nothing worse then trying to read a boring book. Start reading where your passion is. If that is cars get tons of books on cars, all angles of looking at cars; motors, models, history, car novels, repair, future, foreign, fixing, etc. When you go to the library to find books on any subject go to the shelf that has the most and start pulling off books and open them to see how the author writes. If you do not like their style toss the book aside. Don't put it back, the library hires people to do that, I use to put them back for a university library. I enjoyed it and did a better job. It is a lot more work to find a book someone miss filed. So just pile those puppies next to you or behind you. When an author catches your eye and style that is the book for you. Down the road a ways you may want to get other books and subjects by the same author you liked. Now you are on your way to finding more and more books to read. Read 30 books on one subject and you will pretty much be an expert on the subject. And you will begin to see concepts and ideas that none of the 30 books seen because they did not read the same ones you did. You may be ready to write your own book, or blog. Others will enjoy your insights.
(b) Play The mind was meant to play, to have fun, so make learning fun. Get zany, exaggerate, add humor, share with your best friends, put on music, have a treat while your learn, just do what you got to do to make it fun and easy. Break it down into simple steps and enjoy each step. Don't let anxiety build up. Take as many breaks as you want, just keep going back to that lesson or book. Make breaks as short as possible, just enough time to get rid of the anxiety. Built up anxiety can keep you away for days, weeks, months, years. Doodle, draw, make a game out of it. Fun is a natural motivator.
(c) Models of Thought Your models of thought should integrate everything into one huge project. That model or project should be 'what life is all about.' If you want to understand yourself and others you need such a model to begin to see the differences and similarities in others and how they pertain to life itself, or lets say survival of the human species. Then you can begin to make a judgement about what is of value to you and others. There are many models such as science, religion, philosophy, literature, art, games, and sports. What ever you read or experience you should then try and integrate the new things into your model. In so doing you will change the model and the model will change your thoughts and experiences to a more workable model.
Your brain does this on its own, but it has many built in biases. I will go over some of them in the next sections. By making the process more conscious you can work on eliminating those biases. You can work on being more open minded. This does not mean you have to give up science or religion. But you can validate religion and see it from a more scientific reality or you can see science from it's own religious and political perspective and melt out a truer and more realistic view of it.
This process of seeing how it all fits logically into the bigger scheme of what life is about and how it is related to survival of the human race can eliminate narrow points of view and help religion and science be more personable and universally relevant, to tease out the truths from both, or say from our own biases. Our understandings are after all a human product and as such subject to our own perspectives, they all reflect our human ways of perception, feelings, thinking patterns, and experiences. We need to more aware of these to improve and broaden them, which in turn helps us to again see, feel, think, and act in new ways, which again broadens us and we again in turn see, feel, think, and act in new ways, which again... You get the picture. I look at each widget in our Upper Nature and how some religions, science, or other minor models help us beef up our own ways of thinking and help us see the humanity in all the human productivity that is of value for the survival of self and others.
1. Ant and Bee, Improve Perception,
a. Zen Buddhism teaches you to stop, clear your mind of clutter, and to observe the environment around you, to be aware of the moment. If you stop and clear your mind of what you think you should be looking for, you will see more. You listen, look, smell, taste, and feel the breeze or anything else touching you. Your mind will also begin to put things together in a way you may not have thought of before. I like the illustration of the zen cat. In cat races they run around a track after a stuffed rabbit that spins around the track just ahead of them extended from an electronic ran arm from a barrier in the middle of the cat's track. Off they all run mindlessly after the object never able to catch it. But zen cat stopped and took in the whole situation. Then zen cat darted over the middle barrier to where the rabbit was about to be and caught it. You too will perceive more if you stop, clear your mind, and only take in the moment's experiences around you. Practice doing so.
b. Ethnography Ethnography is the science of observation and hypothesis making. I have talked about it in the Biological Personality (II)(A)(1) and Emotional Personality (II)(A)(1)(a) tips. Please refer to them for basic concepts. We need to apply these basic concepts, of categorizing factors we observe in the environment and looking for patterns, to our thoughts also. How are our thoughts similar or different over time and situations, or when we are with different people, or have a different state of health? Look for biases or irrationalities. Especially look for resentments and building cases against those we do not like or against different philosophies. We often want to prove our point and so we disagree with or discredit other's points but do not do the same for our own. We need to look for inconsistencies in our own thinking as we tear down other points of view to see our own biases. Or we see why we think or do things and so we disregard the thought process and forgive ourselves for making mistakes, but we can not see other's motivations and assumptions and so we quickly blame them for being rude or irrational and do not give them the benefit of the doubt or even ask them for clarification. Ethnographic disciplines help us avoid these blinding errors in our thinking. Instead we try and clear our minds and just observe and listen to what is around us and what's being said or read. Look for factors that cause change in our thinking. Those factors can be biases.
We should also look for new combinations of thoughts. Listen to others no matter how bizarre they may sound. Then look for patterns of thoughts you have to what they say. Look for their patterns of thought. Where is the truths in what they say, a bizarre myth may be fiction but may have a lesson of truth in it. The grasshopper and the ant story is bizarre but tells a truth. A crazy person's brain still talks truths about how people think and feel. Try and prove their point, even if it seems ridiculous. Only then will you begin to melt out what they are trying to say, the nugget of truth they are trying to express. You can then try and clarify and suggest different ways of saying it, or thinking about it. Then they can modify your words and thought. Together you will build an understanding and mutual language. Someone asked me once how I could counsel people if they were lying. I said even in lies they are expressing who they are, how they believe, and how they see the world. And then I can help them modify those basic beliefs, hidden in their lies, to better adjust to life and others. Our thought are expressions of our observations and feeling.
c. The Bell Curve The brain does not easily think in statistical terms. It tends to be more of a at the moment opportunist then a stop and think about others and the state of the union type creature. But a simple thing like the bell curve can be a real boost to our thinking about others and the state of any group of ideally 44 or more who are selected proportionately to the general population. Who might that be you ask? Most schools, general offices, and any group selected that tend to meet the general population parameters. The bell curve is a pile of sand, it is a model of predictability. Lets say the average IQ is 100 or the height of the average oak tree is 100. In general the bulk of the pile, 85% of the pile of people or trees, will be between 90 and 110 IQ or feet. On either side of the bulk will be 7 and 1/2% of people or trees that either vary from 89 to 0 IQ/feet or 111 to 200 or more IQ/feet. The more extreme IQ or feet, that is the closer to 0 or 200+ the fewer people or trees that will fit that number. So say one in 10,000 will be 0 or 200+ but one in 100 will be either 89 or 111 IQ/feet.
The beauty of such a statistical tool is it gives us a more realistic view of the world and its composition. If you have a good idea what the average person is like in any trait, such as IQ, emotions, fear, anxiety etc., you can pretty much figure that half the people are less then that and half are more, seven and a half percent are at one of the extremes, and one out of ten thousand are near zero or more than 200 on a test for the trait. If you know what the average teenager is like then you know that half are less, half are better, and only five or less percentage are really bad or extremely brilliant and mature. But if you live in a sheltered environment or a really bad neighborhood you may have a mistaken idea of what the average teen is like. Time to do a bit of research on the statistics of teens and find out what the average is like. Then you may be more realistic in your assessment. If you are in a bad neighborhood and a teen is better then most in that area you can see him as better then the average for that neighborhood and give him credit even though he may be less then the average teen in the nation. You can see where he has beaten the odds for his environment. He has potential to be better then the average adult if he gets out in the real world and away from the crime. But, don't forget about doing research on the statistics of any problem you are looking at. Google your question with stats added.
2. Cuddles, Christianity, Poetry, and Family Religions like Christianity center around family values and the Bible in the original is poetry. You can say that psychology comes from Christianity; improving yourself to have more Christ like values such as humility, kindness, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, and love of others. A christian conversion, much like a psychological transformation or Gestalt experience, helps to dispel the ghosts of the past and restore self esteem and purpose in life. But it much more encompassing and usually much longer lasting, for some a life time. This is because it is a whole life style that meets individual and community needs when practiced daily and the Bible has unlimited lessons that teach truths at many levels and over time reveling more and more in depth as the individual grows in his or her understanding. It was also a document written by scholars over time that had the time to observe society and has been polished over time. To dismiss such resources is a lose. Our society has many life styles around rap, music groups, Mickey Mouse, Star Wars, Star Trek, books or comic book series and plaster them all over their shirts but tend to disregard the more helpful manuscripts. I guess it is not politically acceptable even though different political parties do not accept each others symbols. When we drop great bodies of literature and philosophies we drop our ability to think in depth and we tend to stick to the shallow. We are a society of many people of different heritage and beliefs. To disregard all of them and stick to sports and trivia does not help us improve our abilities to interact at a meaningful level with others. Our cognitive personalities become limited. We need to learn as much about each others unique religions and philosophies as we can to be able to better connect at a heart felt level.
3. Geru, Read, Read, Read sociology, philosophy, literature, poetry, world politics, world history, economics, the list goes on. Reading to the brain is like swimming to the body, It is not the number of brain cells that defines you, you had more at birth then you will ever have again. It is the number of connections between them, and reading builds those connections. Reading is to the brain what pumping iron is to the body. It also gives you the tools to think with. The more tools the easier it is to think. It will help you begin to understand people and yourself better. It will build those models of human nature I discussed above and will do so without much work on your conscious part. The important thing is that you enjoy what you are reading. As I said above, it is not the subjects that are boring but the authors that do not speak your language as you like it. So go to the libray and scan through those books on a particular subject until you find the stlyle of writing that keeps your interest. You try on shoes and clothes until you see what fits. Do so with books. It is important you read a variety of subjects. Read all the philosophies. You do not have to believe they are the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth any more then you think fiction is the truth. But as you read think about why someone may think this way, what is it about human nauture that wants to think this way, where is the truths that will help you understand human nature, what works. There is one golden rule as you read, do not build a case to belittle or descredit yourself or others but to help you understand and have compassion for yourself and others. Life is about living and not dying.
4. Rabbit, Sports, Jobs, Hobbies The brain needs to be occupied and working or processing all the time or it looses connections. It operates the body, social interactions, and creativity. Sports has rules, you have to know them to play correctly and not get expelled from the game. So do jobs. In sports if you excel at the tasks you become a star. But at work that may not be true. In fact at times the better you are at your job the less likely you will be promoted. After all how can they afford to promote you if you are doing the job of two, they would have to hire two people to replace you. But doing a rotten job probably will not promote you either. So what are the rules, the rules are not written down. If they were you could take them to task and demand your rights. To find the rules you have to befriend usually an older wiser worker who has been there for years and figured out the politics. If they are accurate and not setting you up that is the easiest way to go. But if you can not trust them you will need to do an ethnographic study of your job. See my comments on Ethnography above, but better yet, get a book, a Field Manual of Ethnography and follow the directions. You will be amazed at what you learn, even if you thought you knew everything about the politics already. Politics can change and a lot of times to understand what is happening in your shop you need to follow the politics to the national or international level and even down to the least of the workers and the customers. A job is only one point in a circular process that goes from the customer to international economics and back to the customer, or individuals.
(4) Geru: Learn to Learn, it is an invaluable tool. I have been talking about how all along. I will summarize and add a few steps. The first step should be curiosity. If you think about what life is all about and you are trying to make a model of life and human behavior you will begin to ask questions and seek answers. Also when you see something you do not like or do like or something different try and fit it into you scheme of things. This should beef up your curiosity. Remember, make it fun, play with the ideas. So the first step is really Ant and Bee, perception of the facts and looking for patterns. You can always do research to add up facts.
Second is Macho the scardy cat and Cuddles the loving dog, how do you respond to new information, with fear or love. Try playing with new ideas with out any serious fretting of thinking you are being disloyal to what you already know or believe, playing is safe and enjoyable. If you have a model of what its all about new ideas are not going to shake that but your model will incorporate the new idea into its scheme and put it in its place. Write it all down, take notes as they help the brain process.
Third is Geru the bird who sees the world from the ground up or from the air down, from facts up or from a model down to the facts. By now you have seen patterns. How do they fit in to your other observations. Look at your assumptions about life and what ever subject you are examining and see how they still fit the new facts, do you need to tweak your assumptions, broaden them, change them. Try new assumptions, new ideas, before unheard of ideas, zany ideas, play with it, see where it leads. Sit back with little thought but to let your imagination go wild, your brain will make new ideas without you working at it. Then decide if the new ideas have merit or are too zany. Play, play, play.
Now to apply the new ideas, how? Play, play out the roles and parts, either in your mind or in roll playing. Dramatize it to your self and to your friends. Let them put in their impute. Laugh and joke about it, twist it with what ever humor you have. Act out what can be acted out. Feel it, dance it, draw it, put it into different forms. Test it with friends, family, and then if they feel your ideas and actions are sound then try it with strangers.
In evaluating any idea or course of action always check it out that you are not lying to yourself or others, you are not being selfish and cruel, that you are not blaming others and discrediting them, and that you are not a bully or thief. Play is not play if it hurts others, humor is not really funny if it has victims, you may laugh but it may be sinister and cruel. When you are judgmental you are not looking for truths but looking for excuses or prof of biases that come from hurts or ghosts of the past. Time to look at such biases and dispel them. Remember that all people do what they think is right for the time and the moment and are sincere about it. It they are not doing what works for the good of self and others they are ignorant. Life is about survival of all, not of a few, give self and others dignity even if their beliefs and actions are non productive or even harmful and they need to be stopped.
(a) ABC's and Should(s) Using the ABC model above, A the act that someone does is not the C cause of your anger, but B your belief of what others should or should not do causes your anger as you D demand they meet your E expectations, your should(s) and should not(s), with anger and the F fight is on. So we must challenge our thoughts and remember that others do what they think is right for the time and the moment and if they do not do what works they are just ignorant, anyone who is not ignorant would do what works for self and others to be happy, they would not let the ghosts of the past control them with evil thoughts and actions. In short, we are ignorant, and therefor we need to challenge our assumptions and concepts in order to make sense of what self and others are doing or thinking. If we can see the underlying causes for their perceptions, feelings, thoughts and actions we can predict better what will happen just as in a physical science. We can then help them rearrange those thought for the betterment of them and those around them. We are not challenging religions or philosophies, we are looking at the human mind to comprehend the moment. Because we do not understand a physical phenomenon we do not disregard science nor throw out our data. We keep examining and trying new things to help our understanding. So it is with thought, religions, and philosophies they are as real as physical nature and they have functions. If you are a good chemist of the mind you come up with good arrangements and combinations that do wonders for self and others now and in the long run and understand and contain the harmful ones. Not an easy job.
(b) Model of All Man Kind I have mentioned above that it helps us to be working on a model of what man kind and life is all about. It helps us to focus on self and others and the relationship between us all. It gives us more purpose if our ultimate mission is to make life better for self and others and helps us develop a better working model of life. To do this we need to have faith in others, we need a positive attitude, and we need to have love and respect for everyone. The golden rule for dealing with others is to remember all people do what they think is right for the time and moment, and if they do not do what works for good of self and all others they are ignorant. Our basic instincts are for survival of self and others. We are not totally selfish. We have an altruistic streak that is for survival of the species, the group, we can not survive without others, the species can not survive without the group. Too many people have pushed the idea that we are totally selfish and close to evil. That is not true. Ants live in colonies and work toward the good of the colony, so do we. We are not as controlled and robotic as an ant, we have more freedom of expression and action, but ultimately we keep our colonies going or the species will perish with the natural death of the last member. Your model of life should keep this in mind. Ignorance, ghosts of the past that were mean to us, closed minds, and bad behaviors that harm self and others are the enemy and we need to work to dispel them.
(5) Turtle: Patience for Research Living life is research, each day we observe and think about things, read stuff, have interesting conversations, and think about it. Formal research is doing the same, just more of it. No matter what pace you take it at be patient. It is a life time endeavor. The great thing is if you consciously focus on developing a model of society, of people, or purpose and meaning in nature, your mind will automatically start to categorize experiences and the relationship between your data. If you journal each night and write down your thoughts and feelings of the day and the significance of it all to you, your mind will begin to jump with new ideas. Underline the theme of each entry so you can look back and integrate past and present thoughts and those underlinings may be your next book you write. Just organize the themes in a chronological order or any other logical order and you got your book half done.
The best little trick your brain will do that unleashes your creativity is the easiest of all. Lets say you have your list, just read down it with no thoughts in particular. Your brain will begin to put it in logical order, just keep reading down the list until the order is where you want it. And best of all, if you want to relate your thought to another subject or concept you want to expand, such as, how do my experiences relate to a fictional character you want to make up, all you do is sit there with an empty mind and concentrate only on nothing, nothing at all. You can't really have a totally blank mind, the brain does not work that way, so it will make the connections between your data and your fictional character and Bingo, there it is. If you are not yet satisfied with the new concept just repeat the process. Bingo, bingo, bingo until you got it. It can be quite entertaining, quite enlightening, and right down fun. Best of all it is unique to you. If you start out the process trying to make your data fit other's views it can be quit a chore, frustrating, you feel you have failed and others will laugh. But if you really do want it to fit other's view then make it effortless by wiping your mind clean of fears etc. and read down your data and let your brain do the work for you.
(6) Rabbit: Acting On It There comes a time when you need to act on your beliefs. Or you need to keep expanding your knowledge. As we act on things we need to reassess and revaluate our models of behavior with the new information. Then test your hypotheses. Lets say you think that all women would want to see a particular movie, after all everyone of your buddies liked the movie. You could take several woman to the movies, or a cheaper solution is to ask lots of female relatives, friends, or coworkers what they think of the movie. You would be doing a short survey. It is not touching all the different categories of women, not all types of women are included but it will begin to give you a clue. If you were able to make realistic category of all the women you asked, say they were all the same age, education, marriage status, and cultural background and you had at least 44 subjects you would get a pretty realistic view of what percentage of women in that category like that type of movie. If you again categorize a group with a different age, education level, marriage status, and cultural background then the first group but all the same within your second group and have at least 44 of them in the group you would get a realistic view of what percentage of woman in that category like the movie. If you keep all the traits, such as age, the same in both groups, and only vary one trait, say, marriage status, then you could compare the two groups and you have at least 44 groups you would get a realistic view of how marriage status affects what percentage of women in that type of group.
Seems complicated or hard work? It is but our brains love to do such things. So you get a kick out of reading statistics without doing the work. But see if they controlled all the traits but the one you are interested in, say only single women your age if you are a single guy looking to take someone to that movie. Educated women may not like the movie so you may want to ask women who are less educated if you want faster success at asking and getting takes. If you took 44 women from the same type of group but who had not seen the movie and asked them if they did indeed like the movie you would be doing empirical research. If you take the time to go to that movie and look around and take note of the ages of the women in that movie you would be doing ethnographic research, esp if you interviewed all the women and asked them if they liked the movie, or perhaps even counted how many times they laughed or smiled during the movie and compared it to their age, and the other traits or factors you can think of.
(a) Practice If a famous athlete on his first or even tenth or even one hundredth try for a moment thought they should of hit their career goal they would be so discouraged they may never try again, they may say practice just does not work. Yet, that is what many of us do with tons of things. Thinking is no different then a sport, it is a sport, and can be as fun as any sport, but it too takes practice over many years. The body gets old and sport achievement will go down hill after a certain age, but the mind gets better, and better, and better. That is if you enjoy the sport of reading, observing, researching, and thinking about it all. People in their nineties, if they have no brain disease, and most do not, can be still writing books, better ones then ever, or write songs and music, etc. The best way to practice is read, even if only a half hour in the morning before getting out of bed, then think about what you read today, or in the past, during the day, at night journal your thoughts. Underline the themes so you can reread or review them. Sleep on it and repeat the routine in the coming days. You will be amazed at the rewards, your thought muscles will flex.
(b) Risk There comes a time when we have to risk. I am not talking about risking your life stuff, no, I am talking about scarier stuff. I am talking about opening up your mind to new ideas and concept, to tell other how you feel, asking how they feel, bearing your soul. I am talking about exploring their world before you pass judgement, or letting them explore your world, exposing yourself to their judgement. This can be life altering stuff, it can blow your cover, attack your pride, force you to adjust your world to include more people, force you to take more action. It could also save your relationship, increase your joy of others, make your family and children love you even more. But the price may be too high, you may have to think and change your whole way of thinking. You may have to change your whole life and be responsible. You may even have to look at the ghosts of the past, forgive them, and no longer respond to them. You know them well and are comfortable in your battle against them. Peace may have too high a price tag, you may have to risk being loved. Do you think you can keep up such a demanding act? It brings giants to their knees. Being the bad guy, or the wall flower is much easier. How can we learn all that stuff?
Now for the good side of it, the hopeful side. If you do not fight it that stuff comes natural, its instinct, it was there in the beginning. We were born with our Upper Nature and it's widgets. We learned to fear it from bad experiences, most of which will never occur again but haunts us as if it is still at work, as if nothing changed. We learned to be in our Lower Nature to combat others in their lower natures. We have been hiding, we feared change, feared trying again. Feared others would not accept us. We were little children when it happened, say to yourself, "I am no longer a child, and they are not the original people that scared me." And if they are the original people say to your self, "They can change too," you have.
(B) LOWER NATURE
(1) Spiedie: Be Honest unless your life is in danger. Some exceptions are if an other is so unaware of reality that telling them the truth will crush them and crushing them is not productive for them, self and others. We always sugar coat the truth for vulnerable people. We tend to protect ourselves that way too if we too are vulnerable, sugar coat the truth so they do not hurt us. Be sure to think out the whole scenario of possibilities and disasters before stretching the truth. We have rights not to be taken advantage of by others who are insensitive, or working against us and we can lie if the results of telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth will be unfair to self and others, perhaps even to them. But in general be as honest as possible as often as possible. Honesty gives others the right data to work on, lies mislead others and everyone gets off track, it is called vicious gossip. True gossip is a lifesaver, false gossip is messy. True gossip protects us and others from perpetrators who are lying to deceive and take advantage. False gossip makes you the perpetrator, unless it is necessary to protect the lives and rights of others from the real perpetrator. Be careful, know the difference.
(a) Monitoring Self The key to growing up is to monitor ourselves, what we are seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. Monitor our fears and heart desires. Monitor our thoughts and what we are reading, learning, and thinking about. And of course, monitoring our actions and or lack of patience. We become our own parents. Teenagers can be such drama kings and queens that they do not have a clue to monitoring themselves so their drama does not get out of hand and hurt others. Teenagers bodies are maturing faster then their brains, the frontal lobe which does this monitoring is still not well developed. So teens may exhibit irrational emotions and bad behaviors. But adults, no excuse, if they are doing the same as teens they are choosing to not monitor themselves or they are listening to the ghosts of the past and are caught in flashbacks of the past when they were teens or kids and begin to feel as helpless and clueless as when they were teens and act like they use to. They must stop and choose to monitor and put things in perspective, yes we may feel lousy as we did as kids but we can still choose to do the right thing, and even choose to feel better, to entertain positive thoughts. Start monitoring.
(b) Denial is tricky. The problem is you believe yourself so what is there to tip you off? Others, others are telling you something needs to change. They may be saying you drink too much, or drug, or lie, or are rude. The big logic of all times that hides the truth from us is to say 'the times have changed, they are wrong, they are old fashioned.' Stop and think, does it matter if they are old fashioned or not? If they are being hurt by your actions then you need to change around them, if you are insulting them it needs to stop. So you accept that much, you stop around them, but what about when you are around your friends, cohorts in your addictions or they too have bad behavior. You all go out and steal hubcaps together, or some such action. This is where you need a model of society and realize society is made up of people that you may be hurting, irrespective of the fact that others are helping you hurt them. Empathy is your guide, you should not do anything you would not want your little sis or bro or daughter and son to do. What would be the ideal life and world for them. Then strive for it. Don't make exceptions for yourself just because you are bored or feeling hurt and lonely. Find an acceptable way to be happier.
(2) Raccoon: Caring for Others
(a) Greed is a growing concern for our society. It has been encouraged, it is almost a business motto for profit that justifies even illegal activities until caught. Greed is an instinct that was necessary for the survival of the group just as altruism was. It is not an evil thing unless it begins to threaten the survival of the species. Then by logical definition it is evil, meaning deadly. Altruism can be evil if it threatens the survival of the species, evil in that it is deadly. The question is not should we have greed or not or altruism or not but when and where and how much and for what end. We all hate preachy people if they are too simplified and trap us into thinking we are eternally bad unless we do things that could be potentially unrealistic. So when we look at greed we have to look at who it hurts, who it benefits beyond reasonable benefit, and what it does for the whole of humanity. Not an easy task. To be to simplistic and preachy is not helpful or to not care and go hog wild with greed is not helpful either. The purpose of our cognitive personality is to put off judgement and harsh behaviors until we have researched better and so can make wiser decisions. Yes, time will tell us if it was wise or not, so take ethnographic notes of as much as you can so you can become wiser and in the meanwhile be more civil allowing others and helping others do the same.
(b) Building Trust to Challenge To be honest, I can not remember what I was thinking of when I added this topic. It could of been to build your own trust of others so you can challenge their concepts. If we are greedy we may think others are too, or if we blame others we may be quick to blame them first and so act or react too quickly and miss the opportunity to gain their trust and support. Which leads to the other concept I may of wanted to talk about, building trust others have for you. As you can see, they are interrelated. Hay, I like the way this is playing out. If others know you are fair they are more likely to be fair back instead of defensive. How do you get such trust of others? That is what Psychotoons is about. How one should observe others systematically, so they do not fear but nurture them, to not harbor the wrong expectations but realistic ones, and to do the things that will help self, others, and society. How to observe, feel, think, and act in a natural way that gains the same from others. Ok, lets publish this.
(3) Crow: Get Rid of Guilt Time to get rid of guilt, yours and that which you put onto others. Guilt is legitimate if you are intentionally doing something you know you should not because you are harming self or others. It is your conscience correcting you. But if you are not hurting self or others, then guilt may not be appropriate. In fact taking on or giving out guilt can be a useless game of blame that only hurts self and others. Stop and ask for what purpose you are doing this. If it is only hurting self and others the only guilt should be to have guilt. The power of the Christian religion is to relieve guilt, to stop wrong acts and to be forgiven, and to be again lovable. And lovable means you are working for the good of self and others. So simple and powerful.
(4) Coyote: Being Assertive is using the upper nature to talk and not the lower nature that lies, manipulates for personal gain, that blames, and is aggressive, taking what it wants. It is talking without being defensive. Instead of saying you blankady blank, you made me angry you so and so, such and such, go to....." You state the situation as you see it objectively, as Ant and Bee, "When you said such and such or did this or that." Then you tell how you felt, as Macho or Cuddles, "I felt fear, ashamed." When you get really good at it you can add how you processed the situation, as Geru would, "Because I had a flashback to when my parents would shame me....." And finally what would Rabbit do, change the situation for the safety of self or others, "Lets change the way we........" Then it is their turn to do the same, "When you had said....., I felt attacked, because my childhood fears....., maybe we could ......" The idea is to give feedback that will help them see the situation, have empathy, know who you are, and resolve the situation with suggestions. Empathy is very important, it is your guide to what will work or what will only hurt. To have empathy we need to feel safe, so do they. Defensiveness reflects a sense of danger.