Thursday, February 10, 2022

Everyone Here Has Been Broken

If we could understand the nuances of empathy, often the missing link in ignorance and conflict, the world would truly be a better place for all.

We talk about personal space all the time. We commonly understand that invading one's personal space is a not-so-good thing to do. As with many things we say because we've always said them, I'm not sure we really understand what we're asking of ourselves when we commit to giving each other our 'space.' Perhaps we don't even understand what we're asking ourselves not to do. 

How well do we understand what we're referring to as our "space?" I'm not sure.

A thought experiment...

Let's say that in the context of human interactions we can identify C waves (connoting cognitive interactions,) E waves, (connoting emotional interactions,) and P waves, (connoting physical interactions.) To simplify cognitive waves can be described as any form of understanding, while E and P waves are variables that affect our ability to understand. In other words, how we feel about our learning, and the environment we learn within, are pivotal elements that determine largely how well we actually learn in the cognitive domain. Since Descartes we've generally accepted that C waves were the independent variable, but what if in fact E and P waves create authentic constraints; challenges to our ability to comprehend and fully understand the phenomenological realities, our environments, and the people we encounter within them?

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Bring Your own Argument

We have a pandemic problem with dialog.

People state opinions as absolute facts, and they argue facts emotionally as if they were opinions.

We need a new set of rules around dialog, a new paradigm.

Perhaps if both sides of a dialectic conversation where facts are questioned and opinions are conflicting were to step back from their side to critically analyze what is "right" about the other side's facts, and what of their opinions can be agreed upon, a newly articulated and stronger position could be assumed in the debate. It would also undoubtedly be one that would be more readily accepted by the "other side" owing to the fact that much of the newly assumed position would have originated there.

In my experience personally and professionally I have witnessed dialog turn completely toxic so many times owing to unsophisticated thinking regarding the other side. What, in nearly every case should have been a generative and collaborative discussion with a singular and purposeful agenda to "win" the issue as opposed to "win" the argument, turns into a complete deviation from that. The righteous agenda to discuss an issue purposefully with the intent to improve the reality of the issue being discussed is completely lost at that point.

We're living in a world that is advancing faster than our ability to keep up. We're forced to deal with complex problems revolving around evolution and progress a lot these days. Oftentimes when we come up with something brilliant, it appears to create a cascade of unforeseen challenges that we didn't anticipate. The inception of smart phones and how using them correlated with a sharp increase in mental health and social problems among users is a simple and obvious example.

 Look Both Directions Sign - R15-8, SKU: X-R15-8

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Get out of the box!

I read "Leadership and Self-Deception, Getting Outside of the Box" several years ago in graduate school and was delighted at the premise it supposed. An editorial note for the book states,
The "disease" of self-deception (acting in ways contrary to what one knows is right) underlies all leadership problems in today's organizations, according to the premise of this work. However well-intentioned they may be, leaders who deceive themselves always end up undermining their own performance. This straightforward book explains how leaders can discover their own self-deceptions and learn how to escape destructive patterns. The authors demonstrate that breaking out of these patterns leads to improved teamwork, commitment, trust, communication, motivation, and leadership.
When I read the book, my mind went to the idea of relativismRelativism can indicate that anything is righteous and good, as long as we simply say so after creating some form of rationalization for believing so. As a form of existentialism, a relativistic perspective in leadership often translates as the leader making decisions based on a compromised set of values and beliefs. Leadership relativism is particularly damaging simply because leaders lead... and those who follow will undoubtedly be affected by all decisions of the leader; good or bad. Existentialism is the opponent of an organizational values-driven decision-making paradigm. 
  1. a philosophical theory or approach which emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

The existential principle that people should have unilateral control over their choices and actions has become a troubling contemporary issue in society. On the surface the belief that society should not restrict an individual's life or actions owing to the tenet that these restrictions inhibit free will and the development of that person's potential can be perceived as a positive concept. Who wouldn't want to have total control over the feelings, actions, and words one chooses to share with the world?

However, herein lies the problem. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

HumanKIND... Mental Health Awareness Day Every Day

Let's be honest, mental health is a market. It drives an industry. There is big money in mental health. Thousands of people leverage their position within the market by providing a service designed to help people. They possess skills, they have the training, and they have experience and that's all great. We need many more of these mental health professionals, and there should be funding to support less advantaged people's access to them. However... 

There are real things that can be done every day by all of us to support our own, and each other's mental health. We don't need large corporate sponsors or big publicity t-shirt days to empower empathy, understanding, and unconditional care for each other. The moral and righteous path to improved mental health in our society is for people to be kinds to themselves, and each other EVERY DAY. We don't need a program, a campaign, a hashtag, or anything else other than the will to be human and cohabitate the planet peacefully doing our best to enjoy every moment we're blessed to have on this earth. 

It's cliche, (most things that have been completely true for a really long time are,) but we must once and for all learn how to go really hard on issues, solving problems, and creating better futures, and really, really soft on the people we share our life-spaces with. A more important reality doesn't exist. We need an empathy reboot.

HumanKIND depends on it.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Michael Josefowicz @toughloveforx - A Legend Passes Far Too Soon


The image above is a snapshot of my first Twitter DM interaction with Mr. Michael Josefowicz. Michael reached out to me in response to a post I had written here at KARE Givers in January 2010 entitled "Why Is It Always About The Funding?", one that he had already commented on in the comment stream. He joined Twitter in April 2009, and I joined shortly after in June of the same year. If memory serves, our first encounter in the Twittersphere began at the original #ecosys chat and would turn into a lasting friendship that I could never have anticipated. I wish I could tell him one more time how grateful I am for that. My dear friend and confidant passed away suddenly just a couple of days ago.

Our first match of "Twitter Tennis," as he liked to call it involved a deep dive into the issue of teacher preparation and professional development. At the time Michael's Twitter bio included something like "Retired Printer- now I want to blah blah about fixing high school." I can tell you he wasn't kidding. Michael had done some teaching at Parsons Design College in New York, and although he was without a shadow of a doubt, an exemplary publisher, I have always thought he missed his true calling. Michael was at his core an insightful and passionate teacher. His passion for sharing knowledge and insight with virtually anyone who would listen is legendary in social media circles and to anyone who knew him personally. I give him all the credit for providing me with more professional support to evolve my teaching than any other person or process I've encountered since becoming a teacher myself over 26 years ago.
Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog


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