You cannot be great and ungrateful

Your choice.

Choose wisely.



What the Anti-Trump haters are telling you; and what you can do about it.

It looks like the Trump haters have been out in force for months now.

I really was trying to avoid this type of post, but it’s difficult to dodge the issue if one wants to be truly honest.

The fear and anger campaign that has been spewed out by these folks has been really quite a spectacle.  It looks like a very organized campaign.  Pretty impressive I must say.  But some people have been caught up in it; and  this post is really for them more than anyone else.

First a quick caveat.  I’m not a Trump “fan” per-se.  I’m really just a free thinking citizen who has some observations to share*.

To rational, evidence based, peaceful and clear thinkers, it’s seems me that they have some points that they are telling us that we should not ignore.  Digging deep into the hidden messages of their posts and comments, they are almost yelling it at us with a loud voice.  I think it’s useful to pay attention to what they are saying

A. “The mainstream media has programmed me to the point where I’m struggling with independent rational thought”.

Fear and/or anger are very powerful tools.  They are common tools used to manipulate us into thinking they way that they wish.  It’s so easy to get caught up in it that I will admit that, years ago, I once thought that CNN was a moderating force between MSNBC and FOX.  Stuck in this type of bubble, we don’t allow ourselves the ability to think freely to be able to get us to a real conversation on how to move ourselves forward.  I’m not sure we need the mainstream media to allow us to talk directly with each other and figure these things out.

B. “I’m struggling with evaluating positives and negatives of the two mainstream candidates.”

An honest, clear thinker who isn’t manipulated would come to a very quick conclusion.  Listing a positive and negative for each of the two mainstream candidates would clearly demonstrate the lesser of two evils.   Yet, this seems to be a struggle for many.  Do we support someone who has pretty indisputable evidence and a track record of corruption and violence?  Or do we support one who wants to have a discussion on how to move our society in  a different better direction? (with flaws admittedly).

D. “While I have some good intentions, I really am not ready to make real sacrifices to do what is needed to be done to move our community forward.”

It’s so easy to want to do good.   But the real challenge is to have the fortitude to make the sacrifices needed.  This involves deferral of gratitude today in order to do the right thing for our future generations.  The reality  seems to be that we are just not ready at this time to make these choices.  The time will come.  Mathematics and the laws of economics will see to that.  But make no mistake, these are ethical choices we as a community are making.  When the time comes, it should not surprise us when we have to deal with the aftermath of our current decisions.

So what do we do about this?  How do we “respond”?

First, I think it’s important to understand that in addition to having a  mental health issue in our country;  we have a principles based rational thought problem that will confront us ultimately, if we don’t confront it.  Once we recognize this, the healing can begin.

As you know, I’m not one to advise you on specifics on what to do.  With that in mind, here are some things that I would consider

1. Avoid the conversion temptation

Have you ever tried to change someones mind?  I know your pain.  So have I.

Still, if you really want to try, go ahead and put out feelers.  Invite them to think differently and see if they are open.

Understand that most are not open and some will even act with open hostility.

If you have taken this step, feel good about the fact that you tried and soldier on. It may be worth trying, but understand that it will, most likely, not work out.

2. Local community

We seem so focused on trying to change the entire country that we miss the idea of focusing on our community first.  By channeling so much energy on the presidential race, do we even understand that our influence on the town, county & state issue have exponentially more influence?  I suspect not.  If we want to change the world, I suggest focusing on your local world first, then expand from there.

3. Look inward

Speaking of local world, let’s get down to it.  The struggle to me, is really with ourselves.

My first priority is addressing the issues in my own local community, starting with me.

Do I have a clear focus on my own issues? Do I have a plan to address them?

How about my near and dear relationships?  My family/friends?  Are they in good shape?  If not, this is my first priority.  After I address these, I can then take time to focus on town, county, state, national and international issues.

If I want to change the world, maybe I should focus first on my world.  Then the world will be a better place.

Do I want Trump to win?  No necessarily.  That, in and of itself, won’t move us forward.  What I’d like is for all of us to do is to start having a rational, peaceful conversation with less anger and fear.

That’s a good starting point.

Take care and be well.

*   I’m open to all views.  So if you feel like you have a rational, evidence based case to make, I’m wide open to suggestions.

Politics- How does your brain work?

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 04 07.24

As we enter the closing phases of this presidential election cycle, A question kept popping into my head that I’ve been trying to understand.

Why is it that people cling to certain political views even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

During some recent research on child abuse, I stumbled across something that may have shed some light on the topic.

This study was conducted during the 2004 presidential election cycle.  The group which contained people who identified themselves either as committed Democrats or committed Republicans.  They showed these subjects contradictory statements from both ends of the political spectrum.

As I would have expected, those that identified themselves as Republicans were quick to point out the contradictions of the Democrats and glossed over or diminished the contractions of the Republicans.  Similar results were found with the Democrat subjects.

What I found very interesting was the imaging results, which revealed that the part of the brain most associating with reasoning was dormant.  The most active areas were involved in processing emotions, conflict resolution and making judgments about moral accountability.

Most fascinating to me was the fact that once subjects had arrived at the conclusion that made them emotionally comfortable the part of the brain which is related to reward and pleasure was stimulated.

Not only did people fail to use reason, they suppressed contradictory information and then actively sought a resolution to the information that created pleasure.

This explains a lot!

It’s amazing how insights to certain questions can be found right in front of us at times.

I will work hard to fight off the urge to process information based on emotions and will strive to use reason and evidence.  Better insights and better decisions can almost certainly be the result.

As a society, I wonder when we will be able to come to a point where we can use reason in how we can discuss and think through difficult issues?

The sooner the better.

Be well.

Study – Neural basis of motivated reasoning







Principles… a much easier way


Long drives can be tedious;

but then they can suddenly explode into in-depth conversations that are stunningly insightful.

That’s how it went yesterday during my ride home with my son.

The discussion was around some the best rules to follow to help guide us through life.

We concluded that rules-based approaches can be laborious, difficult to remember and conflicting.

Principles can be a much easier way to provide the dim light of vision that can be used to provide direction and allow for clear and reasoned decision making.

We discovered that only two general principles were needed.

Only two.

These two provided enough general direction to assure that our thinking, decisions and rules were grounded soundly.

Much, much easier to remember.

Now, following these principles in daily practice… that’s a very different challenge.

Take care.



A sincere “Thank you”

As the holiday season nears it’s peak and we finish out the year, i can’t help but express my gratitude.

To my friends, family and colleagues, your successes are impressive and enthusiasm for life is inspiring.

Regarding your trials and tribulations, I hope we will learn and grow from them.  However I can assist, it will be my pleasure.

To those who I haven’t been in touch with recently, I haven’t forgotten about you and hope to reconnect soon.  When we do, it will be like old times.

To all those who have engaged, discussed and sparred with me, I appreciate your candor, honesty and civility. I try to do the same.

I consider myself honored and privileged.

Together, let’s make 2015 extraordinary!

Take care.