Sometimes I’m bemused at the question, sometimes a little exasperated: Can people really change?

I suspect the reason that anyone would ask the question has to more to do with the nature of consciousness than anything else. Consciousness appears to be the paragon of immediacy. “We” may have trouble staying in the here and now, but consciousness doesn’t. It is either here, or not here. (There’s a school of thought that suggests consciousness is gone as much as it is away, even when we are awake and neurologically whole and competent and thinking our consciousness is here. These theorists think consciousness is as hole-y as Swiss cheese, online one instant, off-line an instant later, and then back again, and yet we never miss it when it’s gone.)

Because consciousness is so “now” centered, at least when it is here, it’s apparently easy for us to forget how much we ourselves change over time. Or how much others we know have changed.

Yesterday, I took my consciousness (or it took me) off to see one of my professional venders. I’m sitting there, and he’s behind me. Because of my congenital hearing losses, I must read lips a great deal of the time to know what others are saying. I picked up on part of one of his comments while his back was turned, but asked him to face me and repeat it.

“I was married for 32 years, “ he repeated, then shrugged. “She changed.” And that why in his late 50s, he was suggesting, he was now living alone.

Here’s another example. A couple of days ago, I received an e-mail from one of our BTC associates in a land and culture far, far away. For the first time in more than a year, she had taken BTC’s BrainMap® instrument. To her surprise, her new results indicated a pronounced shift toward the top and left of the instrument and away from the center and right compared to the previous time she took it.

What did it mean, she asked?

Before attempting to answer her, I suggested she self-test with another of BTC’s tools, MindMaker6®. If the BrainMap score is not an aberration, I told her, then she was likely to see changes in her MindMaker6 scores, too. The scores should show a shift of personal values emphasis out of the Alpha worldviews and into the new Beta worldview. She did, and it did.

“What caused this?” she asked.

Knowing a good deal about the circumstances of her life for the past many months, I replied:

“Oh, probably a number of things. You’ve burned some bridges to parts of your past. You’ve made some decisions to allow parts of you that have been held back to enjoy more freedom. You’ve made some important decisions about your future. You are more sure that you know your purpose and are committed to staying on purpose. You are probably getting more encouragement now from people important to you. Those kinds of things.”

Within moments, she e-mailed back, “So TRUE!”

Thinking we know how to change people is one kind of issue. Knowing whether people can change is another kind.

Of course people can change!

We do it all the time.


Email comments to dudley@braintechnologies.com

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My all-time favorite description of what time is comes not from a scientist but from a writer of pulp science fiction, the late Ray Cumming. In 1922, he observed that time is “what keeps everything from happening at once.”

This is more than a not-half-way-bad way of describing time. In fact, it’s such a doggone-good way that even some very reputable scientists say it is hard to beat.

Today, professionals in a variety of fields are recognizing the importance of “keeping everything from happening at once.” Or if you can’t keep the time crunch out of unfolding events, the importance of understanding how the brain seeks to cope when everything seems to be happening at once and making allowances for all-too-brief tick-tocks in time.

In California not too long ago, Sergeant Steve “Pappy” Papenfuhs, a police training expert, took up this subject with 275 lawyers who defend cops and their municipalities in lawsuits. The plaintiffs in these suits are often alleging wrongful deaths from police bullets.

When a mole hill looks like a mountain

Papenfuhs is a great fan of Dr. Matthew J. Sharps, a psychology professor at California State University, Fresno, who has made a career of studying the actions of people who must make split-second, life-and-death-affecting decisions. Sharps has even gone so far as to do cognitive and psychological post-mortems of events like Custer’s last stand, the Battle of Mogadishu and the Battle of the Bulge.

He learned that cavalry soldiers at Little Big Horn tried to take cover behind small piles of soft soil, where they died. Because they were stupid? No, Sharp concluded, because when everything is happening at once, the brain has a tendency to grab at the first apparent possibility. There isn’t a lot of natural cover on the American Great Plains. And Custer’s men hadn’t been trained to think about beating a zigzag retreat until they could reach an arroyo or a big rock or something else more solid to duck behind than a prairie dog mound.

But it wasn’t what happened at Little Big Horn but in one of Sharps’ experiments that, according to Papenfuhs, caused gasps of disbelief from the lawyers present at his recent lecture. Rather, it was evidence of what the brain may decide when there’s very little time—and often very little information.

Sharps’ discoveries that most dumbfounded the cop-defending lawyers were these: (A) Ordinary people have an overwhelming tendency to shoot people they believe are threatening them with a gun. (B) They will do so even if the perpetrator is holding a power screwdriver that they have mistaken for a weapon. (C) But only about one in 10 people believes it is appropriate for a police officer to fire under the same circumstances.

All these cops saw was the hair

In his book, Processing Under Pressure: Stress, Memory and Decision-Making in Law Enforcement, Sharps offers his G/FI (Gestalt/Feature Intensive) Processing Theory. Boiled to a few words, it says that when everything is happening at once, the brain defaults to what it feels is most right (that’s the “gestalt” part). It really doesn’t even have to think about it; in fact, it usually doesn’t. If you want it to do something else—in cop talk, make good tactical decisions—then you better spend a lot of time upfront explicitly teaching the brain about what to look for and what to do when it finds it (that’s the “feature intensive” part).

Rapid cognition—or the lack of it—was, of course, the subject matter that The New Yorker magazine’s curiosity hog, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Interestingly, he got the idea for the book from—who else?—a bunch of cops. It happened when, on a whelm, he let his hair grow wild like it had been as a teenager and suddenly started getting stopped a lot by the fuzz. One time he was grilled for twenty minutes as a rape suspect when his skin color, age, height and weight were all wrong. “All we [he and the actual rapist] had in common was a large head of curly hair,” he notes.

That tweaked Gladwell’s interest. “Something about the first impression created by my hair derailed every other consideration in the hunt for the rapist, and the impression formed in those first two seconds exerted a powerful hold over the officers’ thinking over the next twenty minutes,” he says. “That episode on the street got me thinking about the weird power of first impressions.”

Like Professor Sharps, Gladwell was often riveted by how the brain responds—and sometimes how good it is when it does—to situations where everything is happening at once. Nor by any means are those two the first to pursue this. For years, research psychologist Gary Klein has been studying how people make decisions when pressured for time. When he first started, he assumed that people thought rationally even when time was being sliced thin. But then he met a fire commander who demurred when asked how he made difficult decisions. “I don’t remember when I’ve ever made a decision,” the firefighter said. So what does he do? He replied that he just does what is obviously the right thing to do.

On thin ice, it’s good to do thin slicing

This was the beginning of Klein’s years-long inquiry into what he ended up calling “Recognition-Primed Decision-Making.” It’s not a cut-and-dried process, since the decision-maker can change his or her mind from moment to moment and often needs to.

Say a fire commander goes into a burning house, believing it to be a regular kitchen fire. But as he’s scouting around he realizes that things are too quiet and too hot. He’s uncomfortable, so he orders his team out—just before the floor collapses. The big fire was in the basement. The guy didn’t even know the house had a basement; he just knew this fire was not behaving like other fires in his experience. Klein calls this “seeing the invisible.” In Blink, Gladwell borrowed a phrase from psychologists: “the power of thin slicing.” Like Klein, he marvels at how capable the human brain can be at making sense of situations based on the thinnest slice of experience.

There is growing evidence that in situations where there is incessantly too much information incoming and not nearly enough time to come to a decision in classic laboratory (“non-garbage-in, non-garbage-out”) fashion, it behooves someone needing a favorable decision from the decider to appeal to the brain’s “powers of thin slicing.”

Literary agent Jillian Manus offers such advice at writers’ conferences to wannabe authors who are battling uphill odds that their ideas for books will ever get the full attention of a reputable agent, much less get an offer of representation. The really good (“successful”) agents get hundreds of snail mail and/or e-mail queries weekly, if not daily. This is another of those “everything is happening at once” realities. So it is critical that a writer do everything possible to instantly engage an agent’s powers of thin-slicing.

Who knows what cagier blinks will turn up?

One of Manus’s suggestions is to give an agent a comparative pitch in the very first words of a query letter. That is, tell the agent that the work is “somewhat like a this and a this.” Jane Smiley’s 1992 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, A Thousand Acres? It’s King Lear in a corn field. Clueless, the movie? Emma meets Beverly Hills 90210. The war drama, Cold Mountain? Gone With the Wind meets Faulkner. The science fiction novel, The Last Day? Manus successfully pitched it to a publisher as Michael Crichton meets the Celestine Prophecy.

Some of the more daring minds in our midst think that the universe itself has taken steps to avoid being taxed with unmanageable demands on its processing power. Science fiction writer/astrophysicist David Brin speculates that the 186,000-miles-per-second limit on how fast light can travel may be an artifact “introduced in order not to have to deal with the software loads of modeling a cosmos that is infinitely observable.” Or at the level of the quantum, “the division of reality into ‘quanta’ that are fundamentally indivisible, like the submicroscopic Planck length, below which no questions may be asked.”

Though he doesn’t talk about it exactly in these terms, Brin even wonders if our growing powers of thin slicing have us on the verge of figuring out or at least strongly suspecting that we are all reconstituted virtual people living out our lives in a reconstituted virtual reality. A simulation created by greater-intelligences-than-are-we operating way out in front of us, time-wise.

On his blog, Brin once wrote: “Take the coincidence of names that keep cropping up, almost as if the ‘author’ of our cosmic simulation were having a little joke. Like the almost unlimited amount of fun you can have with Barack Obama’s name. Or the fact that World War II featured a battle in which Adolf the Wolf attacked the Church on the Hill, who begged help from the Field of Roses, which asked its Marshall to send an Iron-hewer to fight in the Old World and a Man of Arthur to fight across the greatest lake (the Pacific) … does the Designer really think we don’t notice stuff like this? Or maybe this designer just doesn’t care.”

As we get better and better at deciphering what goes on in our minds in a blink in time, maybe we’ll begin to notice all kinds of things that have been eluding our powers of thin slicing. Meanwhile, our interest in what we are already noticing can only grow.

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Quote of the day from James Scott’s new book, Information Warfare: The Meme is the Embryo of the Narrative Illusion:

“The meme is the embryo of the narrative. Therefore, controlling the meme renders control of the ideas; control the ideas and you control the belief system; control the belief system and you control the narrative; control the narrative and you control the population without firing a single bullet.”

Those are exactly the points we’ve been making for more than 40 years at Brain Technologies Corporation with assessment tools like The BrainMap® and MindMaker6® and our books, beginning with Your High-Performance Business Brain and Strategy of the Dolphin: Scoring a Win in a Chaotic World.

Welcome aboard, Mr. Scott. Good to have you helping spread the message.

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In today’s high-speed-change world, surprise is a permanent growth industry. The authors (the writer of this blog and long-time Colorado businessman David Neenan) of Evergreen: Playing a Continuous Comeback Business Game call it “thrownness”—as in “being tossed in the middle of, without warning or preparation.”

With all the thrownness, probably everyone realizes they need to act, think and feel differently because the world is different. But different how? And how do you keep growing, changing—becoming? How do you develop all-important “staying power,” personally and organizationally?

The authors of this book see themselves as two of the Indiana Joneses of this new era and of this new domain. And Evergreen is their scouting report on how to handle the ever-growing thrownness of the new century and new millennium.

evergreen-bookTheir desire for their reader is to become “more probable” in the face of change. More probable than opposing forces, opposing odds, opposing processes of confusion and resistance. They believe cutting-edge business players are more effective as “enzymes” (promoting change by fully and strategically participating in it) than “catalysts” (promoting change without bothering to change much themselves). The strategies they describe for improving both “the odds of thrownness” and enzymatic leadership abilities stress a Responsible Adventurer’s approach: be smart, be bold, be fair.

The Evergreen forest is their “new science” metaphor for “the edge of chaos,” where Responsible Adventurers are most effective. Where disequilibrium and stability do their paradoxically innovative dance. Where powerful tomorrows are made.

The 15 “staying power” principles (below) of Evergreen are designed to help the reader safeguard original gains and yet constantly change and revitalize, just like the namesake forest itself. In the Evergreen:

✓ If you know your personal purpose (”what you are alive to do”), you make it possible for the future to influence your present.
✓ You quickly learn that the Universe favors abundance-based ideas and actions over scarcity-based ones.
✓ You lead best if you always “make yourself the project”—whatever the assignment.
✓ You “grow” yourself most reliably by making potent requests—the most powerful single act available to businesspeople.
✓ You understand that nothing is independent of you and thus everything can be influenced to a certain degree by how you observe it.

Here are the 15 Evergreen principles (and chapters) for dealing with today’s unrelenting conditions of thrownness:

1. If your passion (for being in business) hasn’t ignited, explore new ways to be (in life).
2. Determine your life purpose, so you can receive assistance directly from the future.
3. Make a habit of exploring “small niches.”
4. Benefit from nature’s own energy patterns by doing more, not less; more with less. Think abundance, not scarcity.
5. To lead, make yourself the project—whatever the assignment.
6. Protect your ability to trust.
7. The Language of Business (1): To build personal power, declare your uncertainty in no uncertain terms, then act on it.
8. The Language of Business (2): To make your requests more effective, put more “body” into your “language.”
9. The Language of Business (3): Explain your actions with significant stories.
10. The Language of Business (4) View your client as a partner—and a friend.
11. The Language of Business (5): Expect “some things against your nature.”
12. Showcase your strengths, not your weaknesses.
13. Boost morale and productivity by modifying people’s moods.
14. Use continuous learning to move out when life breaks free.
15. Invent worlds where your troubles don’t reappear.

To acquire a copy of Evergreen, go here.

Send comments to dudley@braintechnologies.com

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You can find details on Chief Brunacini’s life, career and now his funeral arrangements in Phoenix, Arizona, from Fire Engineering’s website.

Nearly two years ago, I wrote about my personal encounters with Chief Brunacini and what I’d learned from his management style and pure love of his job, the people he managed and the citizens he served as a firefighter and fire leader with the Phoenix Fire Department.

As I noted then in LEAP!psych, he was one of the personalities I featured in my book, LEAP! How to Think Like a Dolphin & Do the Next Right, Smart Thing Come Hell or High Water. Details on the book are available here.

Requiescat in pace, Chief.

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Thanks greatly for your emails and texts!

You did a fine, fine job of wrapping us in your thoughts and prayers. The headquarters of Brain Technologies Corporation and the personal living quarters of its owners came through Irma unscathed. Our neighborhood, our city and our state did not. Gainesville is cleaning up today from numerous trees blocking its streets (some fell on houses but no one killed or injured that we know about), repairing its power delivery system, raking up debris from battered trees and bushes. And, hoping that the waters in our flooded creeks, ponds and streets recede rapidly. Our sandy soils are saturated, so it will be a slow process.

Our Publix supermarkets are either closed or out of most things we’d like to purchase–such as bread, garbage bags, many perishable foods, etc.

But our winds here were in the 50-60 mph range and not 100-plus mph as was first forecast. The rain was not quite as heavy as was feared (though heavy enough). So we saw the bullet, but it missed us. That makes us card-carrying members of the “We Dodged a Bullet Club,” doesn’t it?

Our hearts go out to the 15 million Floridians who didn’t, including more than a few who live within walking distance of where this is being written.

And, as said above, our thanks go to all who have inquired about our well-being. So good to know you!

Dudley and Sherry

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Suspicions, Hunches and Conjectures about Where Things May Be Headed Next.

GOOD PREDICTIONS LET THE COWS COME HOME . . . photo courtesy of diggerfortruth.wordpress.com

GOOD PREDICTIONS LET THE COWS COME HOME . . . photo courtesy of diggerfortruth.wordpress.com

Surely, you’ve noticed. The world has been busy with flip-flops. What was on top has taken an abrupt nosedive. Or it could be just the opposite—suddenly, a heretofore little noticed item or person is everywhere you look. (Examples: POTUSes who are no longer dignified, sightings of ‘55 Chevrolet Bel Airs in Cuba, Ivanka brand products at Nordstrom or the Galaxy Note 7. And don’t forget all those titles or product names using the words “50 Shades of” followed by any color but grey.) This makes it an exciting time to be a prognosticator! So, in the spirit of the hour, here are ten developments that could be just over the horizon . . .

Confirmation that we aren’t the only intelligent life in the Universe. (Of course, thanks to the size of the place, the odds that E.T. will ever need to call home, or vice versa, remain, well, pretty astronomical.)

If ETs are discovered, the Asian religious faiths (Hinduism and Buddhism, for example) will have little difficulty absorbing this development. On the other hand, the event will be sobering news to evangelical and fundamental Christians.

If aliens appear, this is what they will find most surprising about us chickens:

  • Our slightly alkaline blood
  • No armor plating
  • The human fetus matures inside the female instead of an egg
  • Inadequate senses of smell, taste and sight
  • Our offspring take years rather than days to mature
  • No genetic material from wildlife incorporated into subsequent generations to
    increase survival rates
  • Extremely slow when hunting
  • Cannot run on roof or wall due to weak vestigial claws
  • Surprisingly tasty
  • (Okay, I stole that list from a brainy guy named Brent Williams.)

    We are about to discover why the prime number 137 repeatedly crops up in quantum physics. Oh, you didn’t know it does? Then you need to read the late Richard Feynman’s reasons for calling 137 (actually, it’s a fraction, 1/137) a “magic number” and “one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics.”

    If the polar ice caps melt from global warming, the safest place in the U.S. will be Lebanon, Kansas. (It’s the exact geographical center of the lower 48 states.) Miami Beach should be avoided.

    Donald Trump will soon appoint an “Under Secretary for Ties”). Applicants will be required to try out in a TV reality show called “The Valet—Not Your Usual Car Parker.”

    New MBAs will need to learn this emerging management skill: how to integrate your pet into boardroom activities when you need comforting.

    One of the best-read websites in 2021 will be called The Last Newspaper. (Oops, never mind. It’s already here.)

    Emer McLysaght will some day be elected to the U.S. Congress. This young millennial’s sense of what needs fixing is uncanny.

    We’ll start requiring people who think they can foretell the future to post product warnings. (Go here for a vivid reminder of why this matters.)

    Here are my warnings:



    Send comments to info@braintechnologies.com

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    How to handle the ‘Oops’ in Mr. Trump’s Triumph

    I’ve received a lot of “Oops!” dispatches lately.

    For a few weeks after Mr. Trump’s triumph, that’s pretty much all more than a few of my colleagues could manage to say. “Oops.”

    Photo courtesy of http://thedcgazette.com/

    Photo courtesy of http://thedcgazette.com/

    They were clearly not expecting this outcome in the U.S. presidential election. Once they said “Oops,” they more or less went silent. In reply, I tried humor. Irony, too. Even history. (“Remember what happened when Alexander the Great overran his supply lines!”) Sometimes, I got no reply at all. Or I received empty words when a humorous retort to my humorous effort would have been a friend’s reasonable response to a friend’s reaching out.

    So, okay,

    Mr. Trump’s election is unbelievable. Mr. Trump is unbelievable! What’s a dolphinthinker to do?

    Five thoughts about dealing with all the “Oops!”:

    (1) Be eternally Socratic in discussing the president-elect with people who admire him. Remember that the jowly faced Greek’s “elenchus” method of disagreeing with people was a form of “cooperative argumentative dialogue” (as Wikipedia puts it). In the days and weeks ahead, don’t waste an ounce of your brain power goaded on by something Mr. Trump says or does. Or something that someone says he said or has done or plans to do. Always be thinking: “What would Socrates think or say next?” Do this even when you are talking only to yourself.

    (2) Assume you know as much as anyone else about what’s happening. “The experts” didn’t see this (whatever it is) coming. So they should be considered equally clueless about where it (whatever it turns out to be) is going.

    (3) Use all your abilities to (a) discard what’s spurious and (b) adjudge what’s likely to be real. For my money, these are the truest things I’ve learned so far about Mr. Trump’s personality: First, something he himself said: “I’m smart.” (I think he really does have a solid IQ.) And then this observation from wife Melania: “I have two boys at home.” Yes, the soon-to-be leader of the free world is best understood as a shrewd adolescent. That explains a lot, doesn’t it?

    (4) Understand why political explanations of his behavior have often fallen so short. Because he’s not a politician. He’s a businessman. An unmitigated capitalist. It has been suggested that he wants to take us back to the 1980s. That’s wrong. He wants to take us back to the 1920s. We need to remember how that ended.

    (5) Don’t expect wisdom from our soon-to-be president that he can’t conjure. He can learn quickly on the job, yes. Do the right thing? It’s going to happen from time to time. Make America work for the better? In some aspects, it likely will. But don’t ever mistake Mr. Trump’s propensity for doing things differently for emerging dolphin thinking and behavior. Before he could begin “doing the next right, smart thing, come hell or high water,” he’d have to develop mastery and understanding of two thoroughly “sacrificial” worldviews that lie beyond the “expressive” ones he’s used throughout his adult life.

    At age 70, from the 66th floor, with a bank balance at least in the many millions, with an ego indivisible by only one and with a near-zero capacity for the Socratic “elenchus” method of disagreeing, it ain’t going to happen. So we need to get used to more “Oops!” than usual. We’ve done it before. And we can get through it.

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    It’s clear that Donald Trump has come up against his Quanah Parker moment. Whether Mr. Trump can lead the world’s most powerful nation as adeptly and imaginatively as the great Indian chief led his people, first in war and then in captivity, is still to be seen. For all our sakes, The Donald is advised to give it his best shot.

    Quanah ParkerSuch a thought would never have occurred to me had I not been reading about the wily, physically magnificent, charismatically spirited chief of the Comanches as I watched presidential election returns come in last week. The work is titled Empire of the Summer Moon. It is written by S. C. Gwynne, a former top editor of Texas Monthly. I recommend the book be placed on Trump’s nightstand—and yours, too. (Or, since Trump professes not to read books, perhaps someone could just read him a few excerpts, if not from the book, from this blog item.)

    Donald_Trump photoFor me, the initial attraction of Gwynne’s masterpiece of historical storytelling was mostly the setting. The region once covered by the flat, endless, grass-carpeted expanses of “the Comancheria” provided the focus for the first third of my life. When a friend told me this book was the best ever written about the history of West Texas, I was intrigued. Then as I began to see how skilled this half-breed warrior was at switching back and forth between our Brain Technologies’ “Metanoics Circle” decision strategies, I was beguiled. And when it became apparent how closely Trump’s persona, appearance and behaviors mirror Quanah’s, I was riveted.

    A few examples:

    Their looks. An 1880s-era writer said of Quanah: “He is tall, muscular, as straight as an arrow; look-you-straight-through eyes . . . perfect teeth, raven-black hair—the envy of feminine hearts.”

    Their women. Quanah had eight “strikingly attractive” wives. Gwynne notes: “[He] somehow managed to keep them even though he infuriated existing wives by constantly courting new ones.”

    Their houses. On his reservation land, Quanah built himself an extraordinary house: a ten-room, two story affair, with a wide, two-story colonnaded porch and enormous white stars painted on the roof.

    Their employees. Quanah hired white women to teach his wives how to cook and for then years, employed a Russian immigrant named Ann Gomez as his servant.

    Their skill at negotiating. Says Gwynne, “[Quanah] was always a step ahead of everyone else. . . . [He] was as good as most white men at playing the game.”

    And yet, there are differences, and this is where Mr. Trump would do well to pay close attention to Mr. Parker’s example (Quanah insisted on adding “Parker” to his Indian name because his mother was a white captive, Cynthia Ann Parker).

    Quanah’s curiosity about the future. Says Gwynne, “[This] man who once rode free on the high and windy plains had also lived long enough to witness . . . astonishing technological advances. . . . He found it all fascinating. He wanted to try everything.” He was one of the first in his part of Oklahoma to have a telephone. He had a car. And he tried to found a viable railroad to the Pacific and loved riding in the locomotive.

    Quanah’s boundless optimism. Says Gwynne, “In hard times he looked resolutely forward toward something better.”

    Quanah’s natural leadership qualities. One admiring Indian agent wrote, “If ever nature stamped a man with the seal of headship she did it in his case . . . . [It] is in his blood.”

    Quanah’s high regard for others. Said an Oklahoma storekeeper who knew him well: “He was always kind, never speaking ill of anyone.”

    Quanah’s spirit of caring. One of his adopted white sons noted, “He had a great herd of cattle and horses in 1890 and when he died in 1911 he did not have many left because he was so generous. When a person became hungry he fed them.” His “bodyguard” and occasional driver of the old ambulance he used for a motor car was a Comanche named George Washington who was both deaf and unable to speak.

    Empire of the Summer Moon book coverThe story in Gwynne’s book that I like best appears close to the end. It tells how Quanah came to Dallas to speak at the 1910 Texas State Fair. He omitted any remarks about his career as a raider and killer of white people but otherwise regaled his usual standing-room-only audience (another similitude he and Trump share) with much of his fascinating life story. Then he added:

    “Just one more minute, here is one more say. My ways call for money every time they send me to the fair. Two men came to me about a year ago to go to New York City. ‘I give you $5,000 for tour six months, to take your family over there.’ I say ‘No, you put me in little pen. I no monkey.’ That is all, gentlemen.”

    That, too, is a powerful lesson that our new president-to-be can learn from Chief Quanah Parker of the Comanches. None of us are monkeys.

    (Email comments or questions to dudley@braintechnologies.com.)

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    Here Is Our Predicament:
    No Dolphins Are Running for President
    of the United States

    Leaving aside a critique of the personal morals and psychological health of a certain U.S. presidential candidate, this timely question remains: What the horsefeathers is going on in American life?

    I’d suggest this: After cavorting in one of the universe’s “pastures at the end of the rainbow” for the first several years of the new millennium, the 21st Century has decided to flex its extraordinary muscles of change. Resultantly, it’s threatening to kick over the traces in multiple public and private arenas, all at the same time.

    In some ways, this is encouraging, both for America and much of the rest of the world. It indicates that American influence is pretty much as hale, hearty and far-reaching as ever in places where it matters. Practical economics. Military dominion. Birthing and rapid propagation of new ideas and new technologies. Not to mention, the continuing absorption into our daily lives and commerce of relative newcomers to our shores. (More than a few of these folks are making their way up the American socioeconomic ladder with surprising nimbleness.)

    I know it still looks like the Chewbacca Mom is dominating many major mirrors. But we should get used to it. This condition is likely to spread in this idol-breaking new era to numerous localities, cultures and socioeconomic systems in our world. So it’s probably best that these all-hell-breaks-loose times have developed so demonstrably first in America.

    This nation still has the best overall track record for absorbing cultural, social and marketplace chaos and playing the good aspects of the turmoil forward. Despite a lot of rough patches, unfairness and pain, the American experiment has generally been best in history at putting responsive new systems and movements in place and successfully enrolling the largest number of its citizens in what emerges.

    Can we do it again? Well, that’s the question.

    As we contemplate the answer, here are some things to consider about America’s current turbulence, especially in our politics:

    The epic gaps in continuity created by monumental change usually bring suffering to sizable segments of society.

    Most of these unfortunates have never enjoyed much of a launch pad to begin with. But the toll often includes a goodly number of folks who didn’t realize how vulnerable they were until their worlds collapsed. What is happening now is no different.

    As is always the case with turbulent changes, a core circumstance to monitor is what is happening with people’s worldviews—with their beliefs.

    Humans convinced that they are being ignored, manhandled or dishonored tend to look backwards belief-wise. They grow nostalgic. They want “good times” and “old tribes” to return, believing this will make most of their troubles disappear. (At Brain Technologies, we’ve often referred to users of this worldview as “Carps.” As you’ll see in a moment, there is profound illustrative value behind our naming of this and other worldviews in this way.)

    Humans strongly resistant to being shamed tend to reinforce their beliefs by turning to their symbols, tools and MOs of ruthlessness and bullying. They talk tough. And they look for opportunities to cow others, especially the weak and less powerful. (Unrefined Sharks.)

    Humans not in the above categories usually fall into three additional categories of belief that are considerably removed from the ones just mentioned. First, there are those who see personal advantage in other people’s fears, unhappiness, confusion and powerlessness and seek to benefit by manipulating them. (Self-interested Sharks.) Second, there are those who go merrily and blithely on their way, rejoicing “at all the diversity and freedom of choice” and largely ignoring the need for society to do something different. (Pseudo-Enlightened Carps.) Third, there are those who can lead effectively in complex times but tend to do so selectively. They prefer to act with other competent persons only in situations with a strong chance of delivering value. (Dolphins.)

    In the current U.S. presidential campaign, one candidate has boldly, brazenly and with remarkable success gathered supporters either who feel their beliefs and well-being are under grave threat (Carps) or who identify strongly with tough talk and ruthless solutions (Unrefined Sharks). He’s played relentlessly to both groups’ fears and brain biases.

    The other major candidate has sought to juggle her appeal to category one (Carps), to the first of the advanced categories (Self-interested Sharks) and to the second advanced category (Pseudo-Enlightened Carps). This splintered “focus” explains much of the criticism from potential voters, her opponent and the media over trust and consistency issues.

    No major political figure from the third advanced category of beliefs (Dolphins) has been visible in the 2016 campaign.

    The unavailability of a political leader whose beliefs are capable of handling the most momentous changes (thus far) of the 21st Century is a major reason why our American presidential campaign has been so ugly and unfulfilling.

    Is the absence of one or more such thinkers dangerous? Most likely, it is.

    Is there still time in the near future for such leaders to emerge? Let’s hope so.

    For certain, it’s brain-change time for the planet. In the USA, Nov. 8 will be a good time to fashion healthier, more mature beliefs to govern public and private behavior. You can start by choosing the presidential candidate less likely to damage our options.

    (Email comments or questions to dudley@braintechnologies.com.)


    From A Reader Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous:

    You write, “The other major candidate has sought to juggle her appeal to category one (Carps), to the first of the advanced categories (Self-interested Sharks) and to the second advanced category (Pseudo-Enlightened Carps). This splintered ‘focus’ explains much of the criticism from potential voters, her opponent and the media over trust and consistency issues.”

    I respectfully suggest that Hillary IS a Dolphin and that your assessment that no Dolphin is running in the election is wrong.

    I submit that the very fact that she is talking in so many different languages to multiple world views is a very good sign that she has crossed the great handover to second tier thinking and that she is operating as a Dolphin. . . . I think that both Clintons are Dolphins and that they will surround themselves with highly competent Dolphins in the new administration. I am very excited!!

    Reply: I admire any politician who seeks to communicate with multiple worldviews, including Hillary. But if a dolphin worldview is in the house (or the water!), I expect to see ample evidence that the person under the microscope has resolved the issues of the worldview(s) being addressed for herself or himself. If this were the reality for Hillary, I’d expect her to be much more strategic and effective with her message “juggling.” As for Bill, brilliant shark-thinker that he is, he’ll be forever seeking to atone for his stupidity and sexual shortcomings. What a different election this would have been if he had behaved differently.

    Assuming she wins (and we must hope she does), is Hillary astute enough to surround herself with dolphinthinkers? In my opinion, that’s a bit too much to hope for. First, there’s a real shortage of Dolphins who will want to deal with the “miasma of dysfunction” in Washington, D.C. Second, if there were, I still doubt that she would be able to appreciate their MOs and insights sufficiently to feel comfortable around them to make good use of their service. At least, this is the view from Florida. You may be able to see things with greater clarity from your non-U.S. location! Thanks for writing and for your assessment!

    P.S. Wish you could vote in this one!

    From Michael Roth, msr@nwresources.com

    In the early hours this morning while deep into active brainwave consciousness, I turned over and a wonderful image materialized before my eyes. LEAP!psych WELCOMES NEW EYEBALLS. A magnificent construction of words, color and images came into view in the form of a simple email made from the thought projections of several of my favorite writers and people, Dudley and Sherry Lynch, whom I have the honor and privilege to call friends and mentors.

    Thank you for being you for sharing your creativity and enthusiasm for nurturing a better world and offering resources to help make it so. I am writing to say that YOUR blog and article really made my day, and I thank you

    Reply: Michael, thanks for letting us know that we helped the sun rise in spectacular Portland.

    From Perry Flippin, pflippin@gmail.com

    I thought you might like this article on Slate: “The Problem Isn’t Donald Trump’s Mental Health. It’s Ours.”

    Reply: Thanks greatly for flagging that, Perry. As always, I’m as interested in assessing the beliefs of the author as in the usefulness of what he has to say. These seem to be the thoughts of a person holding what I’ve come to style “PEC” beliefs (those using a Pseudo-Enlightened Carp worldview). I’d argue that we are better served seeing our world as one struggling toward more maturity than as one that is overwhelmingly sick.

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