We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

This post is a first review of a book by David Brooks called the Social Animal. It delves into the basic nature of man. David Brooks is a writer for the New Work Times and is a weekly regular of The PBS Newshour so I have a regular exposure to him. He is the conservative voice that I most admire in these current crazy times. Here are some selected words  from a forward of the book:

What makes The Social Animal the most satisfying and important book I’ve read in a very long time is that Brooks so brilliantly and evocatively explains why we’ve gone so far off course in this country, attributing it not to bad policies but to human failings we haven’t begun to recognize, much less acknowledge.

2017-02-05_11-13-38.png“The unconscious parts of the mind are most of the mind,” Brooks writes. “[They have] a processing capacity 200,000 times greater than the conscious mind.” Tragically, this interior domain remains largely terra incognita, a vast unexplored territory full of resources and potentials we haven’t begun to tame or to tap.

Instead of drawing on our rational faculties to more deeply understand our interior impulses and motivations, we too often use our prefrontal cortex to rationalize, justify, minimize and explain away the unconsciously driven actions we’ve already taken. “A man hears what he wants to hear,” Paul Simon sings in The Boxer, “and disregards the rest.”…

Source: We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

I found this a pretty interesting book about a little known topic. There is a revolution currently going on in trying to further understand the human psyche.  The main thing discovered is that we are not for the most part the product of thinking but primarily what happens below the surface in our subconscious. This statement is kind of like Galileo who dared to tell us that the earth is not the center of the universe. Our conscious minds  are not the center of human behavior. How dare he claim that!! 🙂

Here is an important quote about that from the book:

Wisdom doesn’t consist of knowing specific facts or possessing knowledge of a field. It consists of knowing how to treat knowledge: being confident but not too confident; adventurous but grounded. It is a willingness to confront counterevidence and to have a feel for the vast spaces beyond what’s known. Harrison did not rate highly on any of these character traits.

In other words wisdom is about being able to look outside your current box and to be able to objectively look at things you don’t necessarily agree with.  It is about being able to change your view of life. Much of our thinking comes from what we have been taught to believe whether it is true or not. Some of what we think we know is simply a fabrication of non-facts.  As David mentioned the human mind is an overconfidence machine. We give ourselves credit for things that we didn’t do. We simply don’t know what we don’t know…

That is enough of a teaser for today. There will be several other post coming about this interesting topic….



Part 3 The Narcissist Project: Red flags for identifying a narcissist..

For the most part narcissists with NPD are pretty easy to spot. If they only talk about themselves and their needs that is a sure sign. But there are many other signs that might not be as obvious.  The list below is from one of my sources.  The author makes it clear that all NPD narcissists do not exhibit all of these signs. Some are more hidden than others:

Much of the following may be hidden, to prevent others from rejecting the narcissist:

  • Lack of empathy and genuine concern for others Everything is “about them”
  • Critical and judgmental behavior
  • Wants to be obeyed, or pitied, or admired. Can become annoyed or angry when this does not happen
  • Marked attachment to roles involving praise/ credit/ power
  • Usually serves others only because of underlying or hidden ulterior motives
  • Fragile ego – cannot tolerate being questioned
  • Disdainful, rejecting, resentful, snobbish
  • Believes they are more physically attractive or more intelligent than others, often even if not
  • Phoniness and lying to make themselves look better
  • Misuse of power, can be highly disempowering of others
  • Inability to simply be one of the crowd, a beginner, or just play a small role — needs to immediately stand out as superior/ special
  • Vindictiveness and smear campaigns against people who disagree with them
  • Preoccupation (often hidden) with whether or not others form a favorable impression of them, as opposed to caring more about the quality of the relationship

Keys, Drew (2012-04-21). Narcissists Exposed – 75 Things Narcissists Don’t Want You to Know (pp. 8-10). Light’s House Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Many of the traits above that are pretty evident in our current Oval Office Occupant (CO3 ) even in his first few weeks in office. He is attached to power, has a fragile ego and obviously cannot stand to be questioned in any way.  He has fits of Twitter rages and lashs out at anyone who he sees not admiring him.

Now on to a personal story related to these symptoms:

As I said in a previous post everything HAD to be about my narcissist mother.  It became very tiring to even be around her but since she was my mother I tried to maintain a loving relationship with her for most of her life but that proved to be very difficult at times. She just didn’t have any room for anyone else in her life but herself.  Because she abandoned me I was was separated from her from for almost 20 years.  In some ways that was a good thing. I was only minimally exposed to her between mid-grade school and my college graduation. Of course those are the years that create who you are going to be going forward so I am thankful for that lack of exposure.

Mother was a bridge burner, she easily walked away from things in her life never to look back. She was pregnant at 15 and had her first child at 16. I never knew the circumstances behind those years other than my older brother’s father was killed in a submarine during WWII. Except for a few very brief encounters I never knew any of her birth family. I did meet a brother, the person I was named after, one time in my mid-thirties. I really don’t know if she had any other siblings because she never talked about it. It had to be all about her and she burned the family bridge a long time ago…

I Think I Need A New Religion

It was surprising to me to see Garrison Keillor was the author of the article below.

587fd8467f738-imageAnd so the Boy President heads for Washington to be sworn into office, pumping his fist, mooning the media, giving the stinky finger to whomever irks him, doing his end zone dance, promising to build the wall, cut taxes, create jobs, provide great health insurance for EVERYONE, send his son-in-law to the Middle East to solve that little problem, and the rest of us will sit in a barn and keep ourselves warm and hide our heads under our wings, poor things. Discouraging.

So I’ve been shopping around for a new religion to see me through the next four years.

Too many of my fellow Christians voted for selfishness and for degradation of the beautiful world God created. I guess they figured that by the time the planet is a smoky wasteland, they’d be nice and comfy in heaven, so wotthehell. Anyhow, I’m looking around for other options….

Islam is great and so is Judaism but they’re so complicated! You can’t just walk into a temple and listen to a holy person and burst into tears and throw yourself down on the floor, as you can with Christianity, and say, “I believe!” and get dunked in water and, shazam, you’re in….

 My parents were Bible-believing Christians, but I don’t get the parable where the latecomers get the same pay as the early birds and also the part about lust in your heart being the same as committing adultery itself: Where did that come from? A Christian who believes in those things is not going to be a happy person….

Source: Garrison Keillor: I think I need a new religion | Column | host.madison.com

This post is a far reach from the “Lake Wobegon Days” and his many other books. I know some in the Evangelical community will hit him as not being a “real Christian” but that is another story.

I just want people to understand that the 81% of the Evangelicals who proudly announce that they voted for the current Oval Office occupant do not represent all of Christianity. There are many of us who take a quite different view of the world.  We think that if you were to pen the opposite words of Jesus they would look an awfully like the current administration’s planned policies but I guess the 81% just consider those policies of exclusion as “alternative facts”.

I do take some comfort that there are many who are seeking an alternatives within the Christian community.  I just hope that Mr. Keillor and many other seekers realize that not all Christians follow the Evangelical logic of alternative facts about the teachings of Jesus.

Don’t pin the past election on all of  who claim to be Christians.  We hate it as much as you do. In its purest form, i.e. the words of Jesus, Christianity is a religion of “love your neighbors” and not of exclusion. But I do sadly admit that in my opinion many current denominations  have fallen very far away from those holy words…

Everyone Deserves a Hand Up…

crayon-banner  As I have grown older and wiser I have learned some important lessons in life. One of them is that everyone deserves a hand up when they come across hard times in their lives. The words of Jesus taught me that early on but I guess I just wasn’t ready to hear that message. It would be years and many personal relationships before I took it to heart.

I think I have had my share of troubles during my life.

  • I grew up in poverty although I didn’t really realize it at the time.
  • I had a very narcissist mother who just didn’t pay much attention to me and then she abruptly abandoned me at the age of 10.
  • I was a kid of small stature and kind of clumsy in my growing up years.
  • I was just never any good when it came to personal interactions. I had few real friends as I just couldn’t figure out how to make that happen. Years later I found that this was primarily caused by my having Asperger’s Syndrome.
  • I went deaf at the age of forty and was hard of hearing many years before that happened.

2017-01-27_10-49-48.pngI had some tough times but not nearly as tough as many others. At least I didn’t get arrested for some of the dumb things I did in my youth. I was addicted to cigarettes for  25 years but never tried anything more severe that might have caused me to do other stupid and illegal things. I had a pretty good job which was well paying but not terribly rewarding for 30 years that allowed me to save for my retirement years. I didn’t have to struggle to find where my next meal came from as so many do today. I had tough times but I also had a pretty good life in spite of them.

I spent eleven years volunteering in a soup kitchen so I met many others who have a much harder life than I did.  Many who came there over the years depended on the kitchen for a substantial part of their daily food. The soup kitchen is also where I met one of my closer friends today. He got hooked on meth in his early years and as a result spent a number of years in prison. He turned himself around several years ago but due to an injury  from his drug dealer and his felony record has been unable to find any full time employment.  Once you have a prison record it hangs with you your entire life creating unnecessary obstacles.

This brings me back to the point of this post. Everyone deserves a hand up sometime in their lives. I know that many people with less empathy than me don’t really understand my message here. To them there are simply unredeemables among us. I try not to put qualifications on who deserves help and who doesn’t. I have now come to fully realize the words of Jesus about being your brother’s keeper.  That is a valuable lesson that I  wished I has learned earlier and I wish others would learn it too.



Free-Range Kids..

2017-02-01_06-09-05.pngI know that free-range chickens are now quite a fad especially when you hear stories about the other method of raising them. I don’t know but I guess people tend to think that they taste better because they have a variety of weeds, stones, and such to eat. Myself I prefer the $4.88 roasted chickens from Sam’s Club. 🙂

This post is not really about chickens but a story about my youth. I was definitely a free-range kid.  I roamed the neighborhood, at least a couple blocks of it.  As long as I was home for supper I usually didn’t get into any trouble.

Well I admit that I did get into some trouble . Me and Johnny Gallagher liked to visit the mushroom factory a couple of blocks away. It really wasn’t a factory as such but more like a couple of metal building and a giant pile of cow manure out back. We especially liked to climb the trees out front. That’s where I got into trouble. While climbing one day I grabbed hold a a dead limb and fell out of the tree. Unfortunately I fell onto a old metal picket type fence and drove it into my back. That meant a trip to the ER with a nearly pierced lung. But in the end everything turned out OK.

While we were still a family, me and my two brothers walked to school each day. It was about 4 blocks from the house and we only had to cross one busy street so my parents thought that was ok to do.

One of my neighborhood adventures during those years was to visit a small lumber yard about four blocks from the house. The owner there would allow us to go through his scrap pile of loose ends from cutting boards to size. Over time I got quite a bit of wood from that pile but don’t really remember making anything with it.

2017-02-01_06-02-20.pngAnother memorable route was to the drug store on Pendleton Pike. It was about eight blocks from the house so that was usually the outer bounds of my travels.  They had a soda fountain there that for 15 cents you could get a “Suicide” which as a soda with a bunch of different flavors squirts. We didn’t go there often since my 35 cent weekly allowance was usually spent of a Saturday movie and with popcorn it took all that money.

I was a free range kid and except for the fall it didn’t harm me. In fact it taught me how to be adventurous. Even if I didn’t take that lesson to heart enough in my adult years.  I see that the statistics show that you are no more likely to be abducted now than you were in my adventurous days sixty years ago so I guess most parents are just much more cautious now. But I do wonder if kids were more free-range now would they get out from behind their video games and out into the neighborhood and maybe even grow up to be better adults?