Saturday, February 20, 2016

Impromptu; The Last Fast Art of Words

I suppose it'll be a poem I'll choose, right now, off the top of my head
As I put forth a favorable vote for impromptu which is anything but dead
Humans who can think fast with no editorial desire or need
Are quick and resourceful and impress me with speed.

Ten minutes is usually what I allot myself to fire something off,
Ten minutes to turn a blank page into the tangible, if soft.
I'm on three minutes now so should probably pick up the pace
Even if my previous record is my only opponent in the race.

Do you like impromptu?  Like they do on "Whose Line?"
Do you like public speakers who speak without time
I find certain purity and truth, even through irksome styles
In the non-prepared statements of the verbally versatile.

You should test yourself sometime.  No need for a poem.
Just try to write something in which ideas conjoin.
Anything.  A love letter.  An e-mail or a text.
Do it fast, don't hold back, and watch what happens next.

(Finished in 7mins).

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Terrifying Truth; We Are Figuring Out Humans

I was reading a psych. study not long ago on my favorite topic (the human brain and how and why it works) and I came to a realization that would scare the average person.

Long story short, they figured out that psychopaths in prison, when talking with interviewers, were far more likely than non-psychopaths to mention things such as food, water, and shelter--the lowest level of basics.  They also were able to tell you exactly how the people they had hurt/murdered did them wrong/offended them/committed some injustice against them more than the average non-psychopath serving time for assault or a similar charge was able to describe his victim's infractions.

We had no idea.  And since this study is a preliminary finding, the critical thinkers among you know a few things right away; sensational headlines make news, and science, which psychology is (no matter how many insist it is not), insists that these studies be repeatable with control groups, blinded, representative, etc.

I suspect, though, based on some combination of my gut feeling and the early results that this one will pan out.  I don't think it'll turn out to be a false study, or have unfair controls, or anything of that nature, but while we're on that, let's do a fun little Kev sidebar.
Kev's fun little sidebar: Think of all the things you could ask about the above study that were not asked.  For example; we know the sample size was pretty large, but did it spread out over different prisons and cultures?  If it was a geographically tight sample, what if it's just normal for, say, alpha males to talk about basics and also for alpha males to be the most likely to become psychopaths (correlation v. causation arises, but is not important, yet) in that specific region?  Did we check for diversity?  Black, white, old, young, educated, uneducated, treated, untreated, or even short/ tall or skinny/fat differences?  Was any of that accounted for?  If we go on, we could ask a hundred meaningful questions, and our final conclusion might come out looking like this; A collection of respectable studies suggest that most psychopaths who are in prison across the world for murder enjoy talking about food and lodging, and are more likely to be white, short, skinny, educated, untreated males than any other combination  NOW we're getting specific, aren't we?  Sure, there will be exceptions, but as I recently heard a neurologist say (and a philosopher shortly after him also repeated the sentiment), science is not only self-correcting (and it is) but it takes a finding or findings and digs deeper and deeper until the answers become more and more subtle (in other words, as we keep digging, we can start splitting hairs).  

Anyway, the truth is that we're figuring people out, and we're doing it in a variety of ways, and some of them are solid, and new solid ways are coming.  There is software being tested now that will detect lies in the subtle harmonics of the human voice; the FBI is already in testing phases with it.  One day it will be in courtrooms; I wish it had been during my divorce proceedings and custody battle.  We are learning about people dead and alive what categories they may fit in, from pedophile to rapist, from murderer to money-launderer, from assassin to mafia enforcer.  In other words, while you lived a life that seemed normal enough to you and those around you, we're now picking up ways to identify other tendencies that go along with your patterns of behavior, and you might just find yourself exposed or even unfairly targeted.  Are we ready for this?  In my experience with humans, people love pointing fingers in every direction except in a mirror.  The ego must be cuddled and stroked; the fault placed outside.

As you know, I push rather hard for critical thinking.  It's a process.  The dedicated among us do not tell you what to think; we try to teach you human thinking weaknesses and strengths, as well as signs and symptoms of different kinds of logical paths and fallacies so that you can choose your path of interest that runs closest to the truth about those interests.  You cannot have truth without critical thinking, and you cannot be an honestly solid critical thinker without pointing your spotlight upon your own mind and examining, harshly, where you've gone wrong before, where you're going wrong now, and where you might go wrong in the future.  You cannot feel "elevated" because you're a critical thinker or you've come into it for the wrong reasons; you CAN feel "elevated" that you insist on employing the process of thinking well before you commit to any cause or belief; a process which includes routinely admitting that you are or may be wrong, a process in which you are forever willing to take in new evidence in order to stay nearest to the truth.  You cannot let one news agency, one political party, one religion, one race, one country, one family or one organization of any type tell you exactly how it is.  You must learn to think well and then find out exactly how it is, slamming shut that emotional side of yourself that is your ego in favor of lighting the fire of knowledge and learning in a way that will cause it to burn forever.  If you must give your ego some cookies, let the cookies be that you employ critical thinking all the time, that you are willing to admit when you are wrong (which most of us routinely are) and that you will listen to perfect strangers and ideological opposition and keep an open mind.  Nobody gains from holding their position for no good reason, and many lose. 

It's just an opinion, but since we are going to figure you out in very subtle ways, you should start really using and practicing critical thinking.  I'm no expert in it yet, but I aim to be, and I'm getting better, and for reasons I don't fully understand, critical thinking is hugely important to me.  If life were a book, the Table of Contents would be invisible without critical thinking.  It needs to be in place and sharp before you go any further.  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Demeanor Chasms

Picture yourself at work and how you act.  Now picture yourself at home and how you act.  Finally, picture yourself at a grocery store and how you act there, and how that changes when you meet a friend in the store.

Do you lose your essence in any of those situations?  If you do, you're killing your identity.  The strongest and greatest people to ever make their way into our history books were describable.  Are you describable, or do you change so much between one role and the next that you're a different person?

I believe the words "spirit" and "soul" are too flimsy and imprecise--too open to interpretation.  But you have an essence; a thing that most of your casual friends think about right away when they think of you.  You're super-nice, or intelligent, or giving, or demanding, or commanding, or sneaky, or unpredictable, or extreme.  People think some thing about you.  If the people at work and the people at home and your friends are all thinking different things, then you don't know who you are.  I could write 10,000 cliches here to help define this: misery loves company, familiarity breeds contempt, distance maketh the heart grow fond... Hell, even Superman was Clark Kent.  But if you ask me, that person was only his true self when he was Superman.  Fiction aside, many can relate.

The most enduring names in human history have belonged to humans who are describable, and in terms that people from different of their social circles could agree upon.  I say you have to have one or two or three big things.  I only hope for your own happiness and a little less sorrow in the world that people won't mark you as hateful, angry, or lacking critical thinking skills (or lacking the willingness to use those skills).

Chances are, you have two challenges ahead of you if you want to beat this conundrum.  First, crack the nut that is you and have a good, hard look at it and employ changes where necessary to get to who you want to be.  Secondly, be that person 'round the clock. I've cracked the nut and remain in inventory stages right now; slow process if you're careful.  But the push is on.  Good luck.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Death as the Predator

Always on the hunt is death for one more dance partner
Since the beginning of life it has had no problem finding one
And its cold bones reach out to grab unwilling shoulders
That it will dance to a place that cannot be undone.

It sneaks around now, no ego to serve
Pointing and planning, waiting for the next call
Just willing and waiting but not hesitating
To toss whole groups over that shallow, life-harboring wall.

It's behind you right now, having a peek at your vitals
Checking your car, and your heart, and your careless style
Not rushing you, just checking, to see if your time's up
Or if you'll keep rolling for one more of life's miles.

No other threat is more calm and prepared
And not rude but not caring, reliably moving
Toward one or more partners for the fast or slow dance
The guarantee of an end is all that it's proving.

You can't fight it, it ducks and it bobs and it weaves
Not interested in winning some spiritual fight
It has work to do, some days more than others
It has work to do, pulling life into the night.