About cbt0

Philosopher, inventor, writer, student of behavior, aficionado of physics, very amateur astronomy, terrible poet, businessman. Also enjoy eating, traveling, and flying.

Feminine Foundations

Women think about relationships more than men.

From playing with dolls, pondering who is flirting with whom, personal hygiene, dress and makeup and adornments, in all areas women outperform men.

Why?

There are two main reasons.

First, we are all genetically programmed to want to be in a relationship (see yesterday’s post).  This is hard to fight, and it could be argued that the need for companionship is greater in a woman than a typical man, but I’m not going to do that here.

Second, women are smarter than men, for the most part.  As a result, they know that being in a relationship is better for them, and for the man (or other woman as the case may be, but for now we’ll stick with men).

Women, being smarter, recognize that they will bear the brunt of a long term relationship in terms of making children, managing a home, and foregoing earnings from not working.  As a result, we consider them “unemployed” while they know they are performing the most important job on the planet – creating the next generation.

Typically, men don’t get this.  Which means women have to work even harder to get men to realize the importance of being in a long term relationship.  So they invest heavily in clothes, makeup, jewelry, and emotions.

The flip side is that a woman also needs to know that the man is invested.  Which is why successful courtship SHOULD see the man making an equivalent investment on his part.

He should be the one traveling to see the woman, not the other way around.

He should be the one planning the dates and paying her way.  Why?  Because she has already paid in long term investment, such as dress and makeup.  He is only paying cash for the immediate expense.

And once she is in that relationship, what is she willing to do?  She is willing to bend more than he.  My husband wants me to cut all my hair so I’m not attractive to other men?  So be it.  My husband wants me to cover my entire body with a black cloth and nothing but a slit for my eyes?  So be it.  My husband wants me to stay at home and make babies?  So be it.

If a relationship fails, what are some women willing to do?  They take the blame.  They become outcasts, or worse, they make the ultimate sacrifice.  Women still set themselves alight in some places.

The romantic in me would like to see men step up their game, and learn to appreciate both the work and investment women make to create relationships.  I wish men would also be better taught to appreciate the value of relationships, after all it helps them live longer.

Finally, society needs to work on creating some of those old-fashioned rules we all used to abide, rules like treating people with respect, opening doors, and understanding the meaning of “no.”

 

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Imaginary Loneliness

Hello Gentle Reader,

Have you ever felt lonely?

As babies we hug our parents, and we crave that.

If we have siblings they may hug us.  Sometimes they also hit.  Ouch.  Then we go back to hugging our parents.

Some of us grow up with dolls that we hug a lot.  The doll may be nothing more than a stuffed sock (my wife’s grandmother) or even a doll made of grass.

The point is that there is something within us making us want to be with someone else.  Finding someone is difficult.  Many times it doesn’t work out, ending badly.  If it’s bad enough, it makes the headlines.

This need for coupling is built into our biology, our deep biology.  As an intellectually liberated being, it would be nice to rise above that biology.  Let’s face it, rising above anything is tough, and fighting a billion years of biology is tougher yet.

At the very least we can better understand it by acknowledging its deep roots.  And if we accept those roots, then we can have fun with some of the following questions:

  • Why isn’t everyone multi-sexual?
    • After all, it increases your chances of finding someone.
  • Why aren’t there more homosexual relationships?
    • It makes sense, because someone of your gender is far more likely to share many of your same problems.
  • Why do women invest so much more into forming relationships than men?
    • Clothing, makeup, accessories, emotional and mental investment, all of these are many times greater than what men invest.  What’s going on there?

I’m going to try and tackle the last one for now.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

I Leggo My Ego

Everyone studies behavior, whether we like it or not.  We’ve been doing it since we were babies, watching parents and siblings very closely.

Today we watch our co-workers, our boss, our employees.  We watch those who feed us, and those we feed.

To truly get a deep understanding of what makes us tick, we have to open our minds to infinite possibilities.  The very way we are raised, and the haphazard methods we normally use to learn about behavior introduce bias into our understanding.

The only way to get rid of bias is to recognize it within ourselves and let it go.  Only then can we get a deep understanding of what makes others do what they do.

Getting rid of bias isn’t easy.  The first step is to get rid of our own sense of self-importance, our ego.  If we accept all others as being of value equal to our own, in a world that contains no judgments, then our ego is no longer a factor.

Without an ego there is no longer right or wrong, good from bad, and moral from immoral.  There is only, behavior.

Without an ego, we can begin to get a better idea as to what may be going on within someone else’s mind, even if that someone else is a wild animal or sports team.

So, let go of your ego.  Don’t throw it away, keep it close because it comes in handy at times.  But when you’re going to get serious about understanding behavior, put it aside; it only gets in the way.

 

Selective Hearing

Can you hear me?

Seriously, this old ad joke is relevant in the study of behavior.

There’s a popular understanding that women are ignored by men in meetings, especially in a corporate setting.

As a semi-retired manager, and having run a firm that had more than the average number of women, it’s true.  In meetings, men DO ignore women.  In those meetings, I took extra care to listen for their contribution, and if necessary, stop others from talking over those women so that their words could be heard.

Why does this happen?  All sorts of new-age reasons have been given, including machismo, sexism, aggression, and even our sex-hungry culture.  But there may be another reason.

I’ve also been in meetings where I am the only male.  Yes, me all alone.  And not necessarily the leader of the meeting.  And this is where it gets weird.  Because I’m not a shy guy.  I’m not afraid to make a point if I have one.  Heck, sometimes I make a point even if I don’t have one.

When I’m the only guy, and I start saying something, it’s like I don’t exist!  Another woman might start talking, and all the women immediately turn towards her.  When I started talking, they don’t quite hear me at first.  I found that I have to make quite a ruckus to get noticed.

What could be going on?

Rather than getting all conspiracy theory on myself, I think the simplest solution is the best.  Basically, as men and women, our brains are tuned to listen to those of our own gender.  Men lean towards the low end of the vocal spectrum, women are on the high end.

So, I conclude, it’s not sexism, it’s not even trying to keep people from climbing into the C-suite.  It’s basic biology.  It’s a million years of survival keeping our brains tuned to the noises that make the most sense.  Women listen to women, and men listen to men.

So the next time your main squeeze isn’t listening to you, don’t fret.  It’s not being done intentionally.  That’s biology!  Solution?

Yell louder.

 

Earth Stands Still Day 3

There were several elements in the classic sci-fi movie that were made due to censorship.  The movie is The Day the Earth Stood Still, and it’s from 1951.

One of those elements was the fact that the great robot servant of Klaatu brought him back to life.  Klaatu tells the young woman that the ability to create life is limited to the Almighty Creator – God of course.  Censors of the time were sensitive to the fact that most Americans are God oriented, and suggesting that something else could create life itself would be blasphemy.

SPOILER ALERT!

If you haven’t read the original story, do it now.  Because here comes the punch.

Klaatu was the servant.  The “robot” Gort was the master.  Creating life was just another thing that Gort could do.  In fact, he was able to create life using a voice print.  And if that seems far-fetched, think about the fact that today’s forensic investigators can finger a perp using a drop of bodily fluid or a shadow on a video camera.

The original story is great science fiction because it pushes up against our envelope of understanding.  Why do we think life is so special, so unique that it can’t be created in a lab?  In fact, that’s exactly what Gort does on his space ship.  He builds a lab so that he can recreate the murdered Klaatu.

The insights of this fictional story are far deeper than this.  As behavioral scientists, we must first wrestle with the fundamental question of where humanity sits within the natural universe.  If we are somehow distinct from the universe, imbued with supernatural qualities that no current understanding can ever penetrate, then all our attempts to better our nature will fail.

On the other hand, if we admit that our lives as humans are fundamentally the same as all other life on this planet, and that being of nature, we are also confined to the same natural laws, then there is a chance we can use the tools of science to create laws and theories of behavior that will improve our chances of survival into the far future.

I love the original story because it forces us to face that question.  I’m frustrated by the censors, and by the movie producers, because Harry Bates’s original insights have been suppressed.  If I am successful enough, and live long enough, I’m going to correct that omission.

Thanks for reading.

 

Earth Stands Still Day 2

Here’s the deal.  A great movie from 1951 was based on a story from 1940.

I greatly encourage you to read the original.  You can find it here.

For those of you who don’t want to read it, no worries, I’ll talk about it here for a bit without ruining it.  And tomorrow’s post will talk about what it’s really about, spoiling the ending for those who might read it.

So, first.  The story was far ahead of its time in many ways.  The space ship wasn’t just a space ship, it was a time traveling instantaneous space traveling vehicle.

The setting isn’t post-WW 2 Washington, but a future Washington where there are robot servants and all sorts of ray guns and other great future-leaning insights.

The alien is hurt by accident, so that’s not the issue.  And the hero of the story isn’t a little boy and his mother and an absent-minded professor, but an intrepid investigative spunky reporter who refuses to give up until he understands what’s going on.

So many of these story elements are lacking in the 1951 classic, obviously designed for current audiences.  I can’t critique Robert Wise (Director) in any way for these decisions because the man was a genius.  There were certainly good reasons for all his choices, one of which may have been unintentionally ironic.  It’s the scene where doctors are discussing Klaatu’s great health and healing abilities even as they light up their cigarettes.  There are others, but I’ll let you enjoy finding them.

So please go read the story.  It’s worth it.  And this next post will also make a whole lot more sense.

 

 

 

 

 

Earth Stands Still Day 1

There’s a movie called “The day the Earth stood still” that is classic science fiction.  It’s not heavy on special effects, there’s a strong story line, darn good acting, and it’s all anchored within the day’s great political tensions of the time.

The reason I’m writing this review today is that I had a sudden urge to see what kind of special effects had been used in the more recent adaptation of this classic.  I was able to easily see everything I wanted, including the caliber of acting and the alteration of the story line.

After seeing as much as I could stand, I decided that the original stood so far above and beyond the remake that I needed to say something, and here it is.  Please watch the original, it’s worth it.

But wait.  There’s more.

One of the things you should always be doing, whether it’s differentiating between fake news and real news, or understanding the true meaning of words, is digging until you find the source.

Turns out the source of this great classic movie is rooted within a short story.  And that short story deserves far more than a quick mention in the credits of the 1951 film.  So that’s my next post, a review of that story.  Stay tuned.

 

John Quincy Adams by Traub

This is a good book.

JQA was born and raised to be a leader and public servant.  He was tolerable as a leader, but was zealous as a public servant.  His actions helped our republic in so many ways, yet are underappreciated because most of his work was in groups or behind the scenes.

More fundamentally for me, this book helped me appreciate two things.

First, politics.  Because JQA was meticulous in recording his life and thoughts, we know more about what happened behind closed doors than even in today’s White House.  As a result of his recording and Traub’s writing, I now appreciate the fact that politicians today are easily equal to the politicians of yesterday.

What do I mean by equal?  Equal in duplicity, equal in malevolence, equal in their ability to spout high-minded principles to get elected, but quickly able to sacrifice even their dearest in exchange for power.

The great evil of JQA’s time was slavery.  The slave holding states had the republic by the balls due to a constitutional slip-up called the 3/5ths compromise.  Adams came to fight it tooth and nail, but it took a Civil War to finally fix it.  The great surprise here?  That everyone knew war was coming, 20 years before it truly did.

The second thing I learned is that things may have been worse for us during the Jackson administration than they are today during Herr Drumpfs (Trump, or Don John).   The things Jackson and his cronies did were astounding even by the standards of yesterday, let alone today.  Yes, I now feel a little bit better about all the interesting things going on in today’s Washington.

In closing, I recommend this book.  Whether you are interested in history, founding fathers (he’s considered the last remnant of that important force), or politics in general, you’re going to enjoy this tome.

 

Crazy Driver Tales

Does anyone else out there feel that drivers of today are way worse than of yesteryear?

I can remember when my mother got a ticket for not using her turn signal.  Today it doesn’t surprise me when I see a police car make a turn without using a signal.  Normal civilians only use them about half the time.

So, if you, my Gentle Readers, are interested, I’m going to start compiling a list of crazy driver types that I have cataloged over the years.

Today’s driver is the “Wide Body.”  A wide body driver is someone who drives like their car is verrrrrry wide.

I saw this happen while walking past the library.  There’s an admittedly sharp turn for cars to make there, but this gentleman driving a compact car made the turn as if he were a 48 foot semi.  He took his sweet time, he went very wide of his own lane, and drove in the opposite lane for about 50 feet before finally merging into his own lane.

If I hadn’t seen it I would have thought it was a joke.  If he had been driving a truck it would have been a sweet turn.  Perhaps he is a truck driver.  I’d like to think a professional could maneuver a vehicle in the right way, no matter what.

So keep an eye out.  I’m sure you’ll meet your own wide body soon.

 

 

 

 

Shag the Flag while Kneeling

While eating with another couple the other night, both of them expressed anger at football players who kneel during the national anthem.

Why did they kneel?  To protest violence against certain groups.

Why were my friends angry?  Because it was disrespectful to the flag and the nation.

Disrespect?  I said it sounded more like making a statement, something protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the US of A.

No, they said, it’s disrespectful to not stand and salute the flag.

Ah, the flag, I said.  I asked them if they knew that there were official government protocols for displaying and treating the flag?  (None of which are binding, by the way.)

They said they did.

I told them my neighbors like displaying their flags all day and night, through any kind of weather, any season.  The guidelines say you should display it only from sunrise to sunset, among other things.  Keep it out longer and you’ve got a decoration, not a flag.

Treating it like a decoration is just as disrespectful as kneeling during the anthem.  At least kneeling in order to make a statement serves a purpose.  What purpose does a house decoration serve?

They didn’t like that.  He said “I keep my flag out all the time.”

I didn’t comment.  But it’s a free country.  That’s what makes us great.  Flags can be decoration in all sorts of ways.  You can get your flag in terms of swimwear, or for your ultra patriotic house.

But unless you treat it will full respect, and truly understand what it means, you’re also just making it a decoration, and your statement is rather superficial.  Kneeling during the anthem is showing both respect, and objecting to what your government may be doing.  Yet another right guaranteed to all of us under the constitution.

So, before you get all angry over football players who have a political conscience, think about your own actions first.  You know what they say about throwing stones in glass houses.