Wednesday, 26 December 2007

And so...the sales are upon us. The ritualised duping of millions of people, not necessarily by the sales themselves but as part of the pre-Xmas/ post-Xmas gullibility system as a whole. The Sales won't work without the pre-Xmas hype.

On the run-in we are subjected to the full raft of advertising techniques carefully designed to appeal to our core needs of food, happiness, safety, belonging and nooky. We are then given a fabricated deadline...the 25th December...miss this and you are simply uncaring, irresponsible, lacking in Xmas cheer, miserable, and mean. To avoid the stigma you will willingly pay the asking price of course.

Then we are then lured back into the shops by appealling to our sense of competition and advantage over others. On your marks, get set...sales!

To complete the trick, the money something costs us is conveniently presented to us a 'none money' - you know, 'this sofa is only five nine nine' and the discount of the decade is offered to you by the 'oh so generous retailers' as real money saving you an amazing 'three hundred pounds/ dollars'

What is astounding is that we are told that we can have these amazing discounts as 'savings'. No they aren't they are an invention! The price is the price regardless of the notional drop in price. You and I are buying products we need not 'savings'

Waky waky everybody!!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

'Tis The Season To Be Gullible

Happy Gullibleness Everyone!

So Christmas is actually a the mirror of a pagan new year festival, created by the Romans to woo people to the new christian religion. Happy Mithras Tide folks!, Santa should be dressed in green and white not Coke's red and white, and Retailers and Manufacturers have colluded in exploiting the power of social influence through public commitment by creating Nintendo DS scarcity to smooth out retail sales knowing I'll have to fulfill the promise I made in January now.

Not only that I've just seen to learn that the 3 Kings were the stars in Orions Belt!!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Global Resorts Network (GRN) Gullibility Report.

There never was such a thing as a 'free lunch' Some thoughts on SEO, building blog and site traffic, buying leads and using google ad words.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Gullible about Work / Blog Balance

Well, being late out of the starting blocks on this one just goes to show that I'm struggling to manage work/ blog balance. It was a few days ago that I got tagged by Saboma for this meme.

She'll be 'muffawwwwwing' loud and hearty at me scratting around getting my act together...

And so the deal is 8 random facts about yourself. Blimey it's a bit like exploring the Johari Window you can give it a go yourself with this onlineversion, and if you have the bottle you might even try the Nohari Window too...

Talk about self disclosure city! So here goes...

1. I was born in Carlisle in the UK at the opposite end of Hadrian's Wall to Newcastle. The Romans called it Lugavallum.

2. I won a piano competition when I was 9 years old

3. I didn't like lemon meringue pie when I was younger

4. I owned a rare Bridgestone 175 cc motorbike. The 350 cc was apparently banned in the USA because the dual mode gear box wasn't fool proof and in the 'rotary mode' you could down change from 4th to 1st in one 70 mph that would = ouch!

5. I dated my first girlfriend for 11 years

6. I was in Prague in 1968 on a school trip the night the Russians invaded

7. I worked with a girl who knew one of the SAS men in the Iranian Embassy siege

8. I served Gary Glitter's Glitter Band petrol when I used to work in petrol station in the 1970s

9. I used to work in the gambling industry helping people let go of their money, I now work in academia helping people let go of their assumptions

10. I speak quite good German, a little French and just done 10 weeks learning some Mandarin - Ni Hao!

I'm going tag the following people and hope they play!

the rules are:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. List EIGHT random facts about yourself.
3. Tag EIGHT people at the end of your post and list their names.
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

Simone at Outfit Inspirations

Luis at Elusa

Scott at McArthurs Rant

Daddy P at Daddy Papersurfer

Gurushabad at Gurushabad

Mike at The Absent Mind

Ilkeryodas at The Thinking Blog

Harleyblues at Sir Paul Mcartney

Monday, 10 December 2007

Was I Gullible Expecting Macbook to Work With Netgear?

Two very important aspects for the avoidance of Gullibility have just been brought home to me through the experience of buying a Macbook.

What a great piece of kit, good looking etc, 'it just works' was the claim to fame.

Well it didn't...or rather 'we' didn't. Firstly I didn't do the required amount of due diligence (i.e. establish the facts)because the mac discussion boards are full of how Air Port doesn't hook up to the Netgear DG834G, and lots of lively discussion about fixes and tricks to make it happen too, some do some don't. Secondly I reached the limits of my ability and got involved in something (wireless networking) that was more complicated than I could handle.

OK I understand WEP keys and all that, but when you've done the obvious and it 'just doesn't work' your left thinking the apple logo should be a wallet with a bite taken out of it!

So time to tap up some tekkie friends, you know, the cyber equivalent of plumbers. They 'll come in, take a look at the system, take in a sharp breath through the teeth and say something like 'Which amateur did this for you?, they should have disconglomerated your WPA and WEP enablement in order to co-transfix the authority status on the security modulations'It's looking like a complete system review and perhaps dobbing in for an Airport router too. Anyone know if PCs work with it though?

It's looking like I might be contender for the Gullibility Canoe Award 2007!

Friday, 7 December 2007

The Darwin's - Evolutionary Evidence for the Gullibility Gene

You will no doubt be familiar with this very evocative shot of gullible Ann, wife of gullible John the forgetful canoeist.

If ever an image summed up the essence of Gullibility then this must be it. The moment when any one of us is confronted with the realisation that whatever mental map we were carrying of the world suddenly no longer represents how we thought it was.

As with so many stories in our lives they give the chance to learn and understand more about facets of human nature, and in this case the nature of gullibility.

Parking the whole pile of ethical questions that we can ask. The question of gullibility can be looked at from two sides. Firstly the expectations that John and Anne Gullible had of the gullibility of others, and secondly their own gullibility.

They have given us all a wonderful example of a fully integrated 'system of gullibility' at work, in which their own beliefs of the gullibility of others are born out of the gullibility they have themselves. This propensity to double loop gullibility must surely be prima facae evidence of the gullibility gene at work!

A thread that runs through this whole saga seems to be a complete lack of Critical Thinking.

The plan wasn't thought through to search for unintended side effects such as the estate agents photo being taken and shows a complete underestimation of the inter-connected world we live in.

Gullible Anne didn't sanity check the idea when it was first suggested. Clearly she choose to omit, delete and distort factors that showed up flaws in the plan, which meant she was living in an impoverished version of reality. She now blames this on 'marrying the the wrong husband!' So it was his fault that she got into this mess she claims. Well Anne, we all have a part to play in our own gullibility.

This claim is utterly staggering, and evidence of a complete state of denial. Even in the midst of the realisation of her gullibility she is still able to perform an act of extrinsic motivation and still ultimately blame everything on the failings of her husband.

The Gullible Canoeist himself, must think that world and his dog are stupid. As if we were going to take on face value he'd forgotten everything! Which part of 'I wonder what scientific and clinical skills will be used to check my story' did he forget to check...oh I forgot...he's got amnesia, so he will have forgotten to check!

Friday, 30 November 2007

Are The Dynamics for Gillian Gibbons Spiralling Out Of Control?

Need we see or hear any more? It is quite clear that for Gillian Gibbons the belief system of a significant number of Sudanese people can in no way be described as 'forgiving'. To say that we are witnessing a clash of opinion is an obvious understatement. Whilst we may exist in on the same planet and in the same time we live in two entirely separate worlds.

The concept of Spiral Dynamics offers an explanation of why I feel bemused and despairing of this 'unforgiving mind-set'. If you check out the link you will see that people and groups have their world views explained as a value meme These vMEMEs are what we use to 'make sense' of our world and to 'select our our solutions to the social challenges we face'. As we grow we transcend and include the early developmental memes. In summary these are:

Beige - animalistic survival

Purple - myth and magic

Red - express myself at all costs

Blue - Ritual order and fundamental rules. Belief in the metaphysical

Orange - Exploit and manage resources. Rational & Scientific

Green - community matters, everyone has a right. Relativism.

Yellow - systems, ambiguity and complexity are normal.

Turquoise - holons and harmonics

With the Gillian Gibbons situation we are witnessing a dysfunctional variant of the Blue vMEME in Sudan. Simplistic fundamentalism which believes that there is 'right' which is 'our belief' and 'wrong ' which is 'your belief', is a strong blue meme and is tinged with the pre-ceeding red and purple vMEMES which explains the rampant hostility and simplistic association of religious conviction with a cuddly toy.

Thousands of people baying for the death of another human being whose aim in life was simply to help others is utterly reprehensible and hopefully the individuals concerned will live long to evolve to a higher state of consciousness.

They are, of course, welcome to their 'model' of the world - and so why don't they just stop the proselytising and making selective use of the social benefits of the western world they so obviously dislike?

They could simply hand in their medicines, educational advances, vehicles, guns, TVs, radios, mobile phones, entertainment systems and so on to their nearest warehouse and get on with enjoying the aggressive, bullying medieval world they want around themselves.

This post is certainly not a denegration of the Blue vMEME, as we all have this within us, and the other vMEMEs too. What concerns me is its extreme manifestation. This week, for example, I attended the funeral of a young friend of mine who died suddenly and tragically. I attended the service complete with its metaphsyical aspects and its ritual, and I drew upon these things to help me at the time. It's not Blue per se I am troubled by.

Does rigid/dark Blue bother me? Yes it does, because it seems to offer absolutely no glint of compassion, understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation, humanity, prospect for change, or acceptance of other views. If we were describing someone we knew of in these terms what single word would come to mind to describe them I wonder?

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Gullible Designers and Gullible Customers

I don't know who is more gullible, the designers or the purchasers. Check out this fascinating list of The Top Ten Terrible Tech Products Innovating is of course a good thing, but which Muppet allowed these products to pass through the concept and market testing phases of the NPD process?

Most technically led businesses think that business is all about 'make' and 'sell' and overlook the risk reduction processes that can save huge personal, brand, and financial embarrassment.

As for customers, well...don't you ever check before you buy? being an early adopter means what you gain in ego you can loose in the wallet, by paying the Skimming Price and the wasted purchase cost. Usually its the middle men who lack either technical or marketing literacy and rely on hype to shift products. These guys should move into the boomerang business as the crap is bound to return in some form. Remember - putting lipstick on a pig is only evidence of Gullibility.

Monday, 26 November 2007

3 Ingredients. The Recipe for English Soccer Success

I say don't have a 'system' at all.

The players have three assets a) knowledge of the rules of the game, b) knowledge of the opposition c) their experience. They should use these in a dynamic, flexible manner in the context of the match as it unfolds.

There are some deep seated and taken for granted managerial assumptions that determine current approaches to soccer management that are mainly founded on 'modernist' /rational scientific beliefs. These assumptions are so taken for granted that they go largely un-recognised by the people that have them.

These beliefs pre-dispose people to think in terms of systems for the prediction and control of future outcomes. i.e. predicting and controlling the outcome of the match. This is clear evidence of people being deluded by the illusion of control and the expectation that they can control a complex and chaotic a social phenomenon such as a soccer match.

If it is accepted that sometimes we all have problems understanding and predicting the future behaviour of friends, relatives, and co-workers, and we realise that controlling future outcomes in nigh on short of impossible short of physical coercion. Why then do we continue to expect that soccer management is exempt in some way? If somebody we knew kept sticking their hand in a fire after they got burned, wouldn't we question their mental faculties? The cynic in me says perhaps nobody wants to really 'solve' the problem, because this would de-mystify the profession, and remove the self-fulfilling need for the post match pundit and the media agonising that we so seem to enjoy.

The players have a simple objective to score more goals than the opposition. Managerial job done.

Finally, I wonder, does the fact that the CEO of the FA has simply a degree in Economics suggest anything about his likely managerial assumptions?

Sunday, 25 November 2007

How Gullible is the English Football Association?

photo Brian Barwick Chief Executive of the English FA November 2007

In order for organisations to adapt and change they need to flexible and open systems. There seems to be some indication that the English FA is incapable of re-shaping itself to suit expectations and circumstances.

A couple of notions that might throw some light on why this might be the case can be found with the Law of Requisite Variety and the idea of vMEMES from the Spiral Dynamics approach to Leadership and Change.

It seems to me that the organisation of English Football represents a classic case of 'recruiting in ones own likeness' The ideal role and the ideal person are assumed to be a particular and familiar type and that unless someone fits the type they are not on the radar. The problem with that is that you end up with what I call French Teacher syndrome. This is where French Teachers teach French to students who learn French to become Teachers of French who...etc etc. Any organisation will stagnate if its thinking becomes homogenous and there is not sufficient redundancy (sorry Mr McClaren I'm talking about a different of redundancy here) in the system to allow for adaptation. What hope does the organisation have if it is locked in a highly modernist mind-set?

A key notion of the Spiral Dynamics approach is that the vMEME (value meme) we possess both determines how we make sense of the world and determines the solutions we believe are appropriate for challenges and problems we face. Each vMEME is colour coded and symbolises a particular world view. In the case of the FA it seems that it is what Beck and Cowan call a first tier combination of red,BLUE,orange vMEMES. With Blue being the dominant meme. This memetic view celebrates hierarchy, rules, order, and codices and seeks to implement 'systems' and ranks that manage the 'good' and the 'bad'. Just take a look at their their website through the eyes of Spiral Dynamics and you'll see what I mean. Sections of Structure, sections of Organisation etc etc loom large.

So what would I do you ask? Well I would seek out some second tier yellow vMEME thinking. Then I would make sure that the managing agenda was about developing thinking skills. This would transcend and include the obsession with technical and systems skills.

Crucially I would give the players total responsibility for the competitive shape of the team not just the responsibility for enacting the tactics on the day. At the moment they have a 'get-out' in that they are excused responsibility for the tactical assessment and countering of the competition. Talented musicians operate beyond the technical; our footballers should be allowed to do the same. The Coach should become a facilitator of the teams competitive sense-making, and the support resources to enable them to do their job. Yellow vMeme thinking would also avoid being gullible and having misplaced expectations on managerialist tools to deliver results. Flex and Flow would become the dominant conversation in the locker room, NOT the mechanised and bureaucratised, talk of marking zones, channels, systems, and units. Significantly a move to second tier thinking would see a breaking free from the obsession with details and the belief that the more senior the game the more complex the game becomes, through to the 'simplicity beyond the complexity'. In other words re-discovering that the game is simply about scoring more goals than the opposition.

Essentially I would facilitate a move beyond the dominant BLUE mindset that encourages and in its darker form demands undue deference to authority and tool the players up to articulate against the failings of prevailing management mind-set. Competence should take precedence over Position.

Friday, 23 November 2007

England's Gullibility

Photo credit BBC - Steven Gerrard picks up the whiff of decay from the dead body of management capability in the English Football Association

Am I missing something? I've looked out of the office window and life seems to be going as normal here in Olde Englande, even though David Beckham claims that England is in mourning Maybe I've got it wrong and he was referring to mourning the death of English soccer management capability.

Beckham's claim is surely the perfect example of what is wrong with the principles that drive the world-views and management of the National (should that be Notional?, or even No Show Null!)game. Yes, we lost a match and yes, it's not nice to fail to qualify for a major competition, however Mr Perspective's claim hints as something far more profound.

Self-absorbed, self-referencing. A Sport that is 'managerialised' by managers who lack deep management capability. A sport that has been 'rationalised' into techniques,systems and accompanying jargon. A Sport that is deluded in it's belief that the outcomes of a chaotic and complex process can be controlled and conditioned. Rational, Logical, Scientific, and guess what in a supreme irony of method...the empirical evidence shows it hasn't worked!!

Alan Hanson said something profound as a throw away line on Wednesday's post game dissection and that was "England and McClaren were out-thought". How right he was, and how even more right if this applies to beyond mere match tactics. Gullible people reside in a world of so called 'single loop thinking' where they can only understand the problems they have, and the solutions they believe are possible, within the limits of their thinking and the 'system' as they see it.

Double Loop Thinkers step outside and see problems and solutions in a new light. The FA would be gullible not to!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

10 Ways to Keep an Open Mind

The previous post got me thinking about how we humans seem to love having lists of instructions to guide the 'dos' and 'don'ts' in our lives. One of biggies of course is (are?) the Ten Commandments

Naturally I related to number one in this alternative version

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Don't Be Gullible

Surjit, author of Gurushabad seems to be offering some helpful life tips in this recent post.

However he might be underestimating the sub-conscious impact of his list of suggestions. As an example, just pay attention to your instant reaction to the following statements:

Don't believe Ron Paul

Don't criticise Britney Spears

Don't buy an i-phone

You may have noticed something deep seated within us that rails against authority (our critical voice if you like) Kevin Hogan describes the effect of such statements in Covert Hypnosis where he claims that we sub-sconsciously delete the 'don't' element of the instruction and take it as an instruction to do exactly the opposite of the intended advice!

And all because we have heard the 'don't' instruction since our early childhood.

So, remember...don't come back late, don't leave your shoes in the hall, don't use bad language, don't answer me back, don't leave food on your plate, don't leave the light on, don't cry its only a scratch, don't see the boy from the other street, don't drive fast, don't dis-respect your elders, don't eat burgers, don't waste your here's a strange thing..........don't don't

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Sneeme - Bless You! What A Great Idea!

image credit

This has to be the ultimate expression of self pity going! The argument goes that men exaggerate the suffering they experience when they get a Cold.

Well, what better to garner a bit of tea and sympathy than to tell everyone on the world wide web that yes! RR has gone and picked up a cold.

Now, I only wish that my posts were as contagious as the 'snuffle' I've just acquired, (and you'd better believe it that no one ever has had a cold as bad as this one;)

Just imagine...posts that were simply 'sneezed' across the blogosphere. What Technorati YUK ranking would you get? Forget Memes, try Sneemes for the ultimate in social connectivity!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

When Will I, Will I, Be Famous?

In the words of the Bros song, I've had my Gullibometer out to test the present 'State of The Union' in my blog world.

A particular post Self Promotion -When Blogs Go Bad got me thinking along these lines and I commented:

"This is a really fascinating post, and captures a significant theme that seems to be emerging about the nature of 'blogging', social media and social influence. There seems to be a split developing between those who are 'into' blogging, and those that are 'about' blogging.

I have found the blogging experience to be a mix of 'intrigue', high expectations and utter banality (especially in the areas you describe) of either claims to 'WOW' insights, 'WOW' money making schemes, 'WOW' products, and 'WOW' blogging tips. Even the stuff I post sometimes leaves me having an inner voice saying 'so what!'...and I wonder if it's the realisation that we ain't as clever interesting, knowledgeable, funny, or smart as we probably first thought that opens a very personal window onto ourselves. That is one of the key things I feel I have learned from participating in the blog phenomenon.

As a form of social interaction it is very much in it's infancy and I'm sure many
of us will revisit it over time and come to new ways of making sense of it as we go."

The spirit of this idea is wonderfully captured by T.S.Elliot in his poem Little Gidding

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Is Using Big Words Taking Advantage of the Gullible?

As you might know from reading my posts, one of the things I believe to be important for the avoidance of gullibility (note small 'g' otherwise you won't come back!) is the idea that we could all do well by sprucing up and maintaining our 'critical thinking' skills.

In particular I have urged caution about taking things for granted and trying to identify the message in the message of any communication. So, as you know anybody that parades large words and jargon in a deliberate attempt to show off their knowledge or to 'close someone out' of the conversation should be treated with the utmost skepticism.

So...when I did this blog readability test I was surprised at it's assessment of the reading level needed to make sense of what I was writing. The widget says you are at Genius level if you read Gullibility - WOW!. Just a note, I would have posted the icon but it comes with an un-announced advertising link. The other thing that comes to mind is whether that means the Gullibility readership are Genii or Geniuses...but what the heck, being a Genius you'll know anyway!

More worrying was the fact that I've probably put some readers off. On the other hand I might be targeting my audience very accurately! I guess if I were a expert blogger and I covered basic SEO for example I wouldn't be appealing to the more experienced bloggers out there.

For those of you still with me...I suppose we can bask in the glory that somebody out there judges us to be smart! for believing that to be that's another matter!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

This Paradigm is no has ceased to be...

Many of us will be familiar with the Monty Python sketch about the dead parrot

You will have no doubt also used the word paradigm on several occasions in every day affairs...'the price of petrol has gone past £1 a litre - now that's a paradigm shift'. Quite often we use the term to mean our awareness of some new information.

The guy most associated with the term is Thomas Kuhn who wrote about the notion in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which was an explanation of how science progresses. His explanation that advances occur due to 'mind-set' changes of groups of scientists was a counter explanation to that put forward by Karl Popper (bloody hell I nearly wrote Pooper there)who explained scientific advances as a continual process of testing and rejecting of hypotheses. This resulted in a big row amongst philosophical types in the 1960s and they're still at it.

Paradigm (probably because it is an impressive word to dropped out in a night club) has massive memetic properties, and in fact you could say a Paradigm is a Meta-Meme, a big idea that catches on... It is also a word that is used in error.

Kuhn suggested that Paradigms are 'total re-thinks of your world view' not just a different way of the doing the same thing. So much so that people who hold the prevailing paradigm simply can't let go of it because for them 'this is how the world is'... and anyone who thinks diffrently is an ass. It takes a heretic to start a new paradigm e.g. The Earth is the centre of the its not the Earth goes around the Sun, and even the Solar System is on the edge of one of many many galaxies.

And so, this is where I have problem with Professor Artur Ekert who commented in Future Directions of Computing that computer processing by "by caged atoms known as quantum bits or Qubits... is a new paradigm for computation," might be a new method, but it can't be a new paradigm because it isn't altering the fundamental way that information is processed. i.e. 1+0+101+1011 is an arithmetic constant, even though the properties might change (as far as we know)

If there was something other than addition, subtraction, division and multiplication for the management of number then that would require a paradigm shift!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Peer Approval - Simply The Best!

Thanks a million to the illustrious Saboma the inventive creator of the superb maryannaville and this unexpected award.

Check and blogroll for a continual stream of thought provoking, whacky and mindful stuff from one of the best. Make sure you think about circular reasoning after you visit.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Meddling Council of Great Britain?

The head of the Muslim Council of Great Britain Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari looks like he is making some interesting claims in a Daily Telegraph interview that are summarised by the BBC website today.

Making a very valid point about the demonising of the Jews in Nazi Germany, he infers through this example that a similar thing is happening in the UK! How conveniently he overlooks the demonising of British society by voices from within his own faith community continually suggesting that overall British Society is decadent, and lacking in moral and spiritual guidance. Where is the evidence for such a sweeping generalisation?

To believe that you are claiming some sort of morally privileged position Dr M is complete bollockology, and you are undermining the credibility of your Doctoral qualification by demonstrating a clear lack of critical thinking. Do you sincerely believe that the general British public are that gullible!

Casting a critical eye over the summary claims reported by the BBC, the following things seem interesting:

Can you explain why you feel The British who actually fought and died ending NAZI tyranny need reminding of the onerous and dangerous implications of persecuting minorities? Please post a letter in the Times indicating which members of your family took part in the defeat of Hitler and his cronies Dr M., and which contributions to British society entitle you to claim '...of Great Britain' in your organisations' title? 'in Great Britain' might be more appropriate.

Please indicate examples of systemic and government endorsed savagery against your faith community? I notice no restrictions or laws on individual movement, business ownership, faith practice, access to education and so on! So why are you demonising the very society that sustains you? You might like to study Eric Fromm's psycho-analysis of Adolf Hitler where he describes his self-destructive narcissistic personality tendancies, in which Fromm suggests that this personality type pursues the very destruction of the things that sustain them Ring any bells Dr M?

Why do you presume that your faith community is the only community concerned with the reckless and bad behaviour of British youth? For goodness sake this is nothing new, and even writers in ancient Rome wrote about how 'terrible is the youth of today' You are not pointing out something that hasn't been noticed the rest of us!

Why do you feel that what is a 'norm' from your perspective, is desirable from someone else's perspective. You declare your authoritarian principles in these statements, can you justify your claims to authority. (Maybe you have a high Technorati ranking?)

Can you explain or demonstrate any correlation between sexual crime and sales of bikinis since their inception in the 1950s. Have you considered or even admitted the impact that your evidently repressed sexuality might have on your world view and how you act in the world? What negative consequences do you think this might have for you and others?

Dr M, you are making some sweeping generalisations and cultural oversights. You are underestimating the existence of the deeply embedded cultural principles held by the majority of Briton's for justice, fair play and moral rectitude. You underestimate the general knowledge and sense of history of many in this country. You seem to be presuming that general British society should be deferential to your qualification and must therefore accept your point of view unquestioningly and gratefully because you are SO clever. Please be aware that you are not speaking to your usual audience of partially educated, unduly deferential, critically prohibited individuals with their quasi- medieval mindset.

Stop mischief making and start making a positive contribution to society!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Borrowing Money? Do it Sensibly Don't be Gullible

One of the great things about a loan is that it allows you to have today what you would normally have to wait for. Imagine...that new car, that new kitchen, that new home extension. It's only natural to want things that make us feel happier. As you will know of course, a loan is a loan, and not a free gift. That's why it should be seen as a financial strategy rather than a gift or a social service. This means understanding what you can afford rather than focussing entirely on what you want. That way you wont fall into the trap of negative cash flow. Undertaking a loan should be seen as entering into a business agreement that offers a benefical cash flow. A cash flow that you pay for nonetheless. So, just like any business partnership you should check out the offers and negotiate the deal that suits you the best such as checking out...

unsecured loans

home owner loans

Loan Borrow sensibly to get what you need and make sure you don't go into un-manageable debt

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Check the Job Specification George

So President Bush has phoned up Musharraf and told him that he can't be President and head of the armed forces at the same time. OOPS!

Check out the job specification US President Mr Bush didn't you know that the president is at the head of the executive branch of the federal government, whose role is to enforce national law as given in the Constitution and written by Congress. Article Two of the Constitution establishes the president as commander-in-chief of the armed forces

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Tulips from Pakistan

Whose truth will prevail in Pakistan? Is the social world one where there is a correspondence between the 'thing' out there, the situation being metaphorically like the photograph of a tulip that corresponds to the real tulip? Or perhaps it will be whose interpretation of the real world that prevails, like the artists version of a tulip.

The facts for Musharraf are that Pakistan's integrity is under threat, the facts for Khan are that the People's freedom is under threat. Which is true?

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Musharraf ado about Nothing?

image credit :

So Pakistan is in a crisis according to President Musharraf which naturally demands the introduction of strictures due to the exceptional circumstances.

Do we have someone else who has been to the Mandy Rice Davies School of Management? As the interviewer claims "Mr Musharraf says there is a crisis"...and she replies..."He would wouldn't he"

Here we have, bang on cue a classic example of what Keith Grint describes in Arts of Leadership as the social construction of a Crisis to fit in with the preferred management style of the leader. Could we guess that the M Way is, top down, strict hierarchy, punishment for non-compliance, my way or the highway, dialogue is weakness, only decisive action matters.

Of course all of this will be beautifully wrapped up in Rhetoric Paper, with the words "I didn't want to do this but as you know, I must", printed on the label.

College Courses - Now Garbage! - The Kryptonite Factor

Digg reports that In the hallowed halls of some of America's most elite — and expensive — educational institutions, students are taking classes in subjects like garbage, superpowers and zombies.

Now,before we all express a socially networked 'tut' and swing our electronic 'net-curtains' in dismay, you might consider what YOUR assumptions are about the purpose and methods of adult education

Instinctively we tend to react to such stories with incredulity and dismay...what possible use to man or beast are such courses we all ask. The prevailing assumption is that the 'content' of course has to be vocational. i.e. I can fix things, people, businesses, better after I have learned more stuff in more detail.

What seems to get lost in the wash however is, that ANY form of higher education regardless of the content changes the way a person thinks about their world and how they operate (the vocational bit) in it. School education is about being taught, undergraduate education is about learning how to learn. This means that by going through the process of education your ability to identify sources of information, analyse it, synthesise it (look for patterns that connect themes and issues) and critically evaluate it is the same for any subject. Fundamentally higher education makes you aware of your prior assumptions and the prior assumptions of others, it sensitises you other peoples 'hidden agendas' and inoculates you against dogma.

So what if Supermancould be used a metaphor here? What if the Man of Steel represents hard and fast beliefs that are believed to be invincible and that the rebels amongst us are the Green or Red Kryptonite, imagine...never being duped again.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Tagging a Favourite - Technorati Pastime For The Gullible?

What if, Frank Rich, Ron Paul and Kristina Dimitrova held an open social, where Lula Pelada and Britney Spears did a fashion parade that would appear in My Space and Facebook, to show up Galilea Montejo's big brother.

Maybe Google would get so hot that the Huckabee hurricane would have to call Dean on the iphone giving Melayu Bogel the fright of her life so she'd turn the music down, and change her pantyhose before Paris Hilton brought the photos round.

Sylar might claim to have designed the new Skype phone which would have to be seen on You Tube and make a huge difference to Web 2.0 and social networking.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

The Social De-Construction of Heather Mills

As many of us might know from personal experience the collapse of a relationship is not a pleasant experience, and certainly divorce can be a nasty and bitter process. It is quite clear that Heather has been through the mill on this one.

What intrigues me is the 'self importance' of someone who wishes to parade their distress and anger on daytime television. What exactly is it like in 'Heather World'? She clearly plays a prominent 'role' in her particular Life World and it has attained a form of reality for her in which she seems to presume that we are all avidly interested and concerned. Her part in the play as 'victim' means that she is enacting her Life Script on the surreal media stage that is entirely fabricated and self -serving. Pluck somebody from the superficial world of fashion, salivate over their connection to a 'name' and then generate more steam for the media engine out of the destruction of the marriage.

If the media world were a natural rather than a social phenomenon then we would have discovered perpetual motion, and you;d have to be gullible to have believed in that!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Halloween ID Parade

Ben Schott has created a list of the usual suspects in a fascinating review of British Superstitious Beliefs (a full pdf can be down loaded from this link)

As you will already know, 58% or Brits believe in premonition, and 38% of us believe in Ghosts, but I bet many of you will see through that.

Lucy Bannerman also covers a Halloween theme in her Times 31/10/07 article - Why the British Believe they still have a reason to thank their lucky stars.

She says "Scepticism is perhaps not as prevalent as we thought" would of course be batty if you believed that!

Wafa Sultan criticises fellow Muslims on Al Jazeera

A secular Muslim woman, called Wafa Sultan, a psychologist by profession, stands up for her own rights and the rights of religious and secular people around the world.

Video or Digg Video

The body language of the cleric is most interesting. Beck and Cowan in Spiral Dynamics (p46) characterise what is taking place in this video as a clash between what they call the Blue valueMeme and the Orange+ vMeme.

The Blue vMeme sees a world where you... Sacrifice oneself to the transcendent Cause,Truth, Right Path, The order enforces code of conduct based on eternal absolute principals, Righteous living produces stability now and guarantees future reward. Impulsivity is controlled through guilt , everybody has their proper place, Law regulations and discipline build character and moral fibre.The challenge facing a Blue vMeme is that it cannot conceive / understand vMemes beyond itself.

The Orange vMeme believes that change and advancement are inherent, progress comes from learning natures secrets, manipulate the resources of the eart for common good, optimistic, societies prosper through strategy, technology and competitiveness.

Beyond Orange are Green vMeme, feeling sensitivity, spread earth's resources, reconciliation, refresh spirituality, Yellow vMeme, life is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies sytems and forms, flexibility, spontaneity, knowledge and competency supersede rank, power and status, differences can be integrated, Turquosie vMeme holistic intuitive thinking, everything connects to everything else, the world is a single dynamic organism...and then comes the Coral vMeme.

On page 235 of Sprial Dynamics Beck and Cowan suggest that the Blue Motto is 'who goes there, friend or foe' going on to say "people respond judgementally, not compassionately, when their BLUE is engaged understanding and tolerance are limited.And on p238 offers an explanation for what happens when blue exits to orange "The truth for BLUE/orange is what one hears from one's own respected proper authority. there is no latitude for deviation from this interpretation.." p243 exiting this phase can be turbulent and strife ridden.

So, it looks like I'm a person of the book!, I've read the text, selected some interesting passages and presented them to you, if I was BLUE I'd say you would have to read and believe, however I prefer that you make up your own mind.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Mcanns - Mis-fortunes of a Managerial Middle Class?

The tragedy of the Mcann case seems relentless, and I'm sure that there are many thousands of parents who in their quiet moments think 'there but for the grace of God go I', or in a less religious way feel 'thank goodness this isn't happening to our family'

As social animals however, we learn from the misfortune of others, and the full diversity of 'blamers', 'dis-believers', cynics and supporters are all part of the social aspects of learning process as we all try to make sense of what has happened and how we should operate in the world in future. Just 50 years ago the reach and power of the Mcann family's social network would have been much less than it is today, and so less people would have known of the incident and less of us could take any lessons from it.

One lesson in particular seems deeply profound for me. It concerns the deep rooted assumptions that the 'well-educated' and professional are trained to believe about their ability to understand, measure and control events. This almost sub-conscious approach to life pervades most of western society and education, and sets up a well educated middle class individual to believe that they are schooled in the ways of the world, to the extent that the can take 'managed' risks that will protect them from the unexpected and unforseen, and that even should things go wrong they can deploy rational, dispassionate, analytical technques to regain 'normality'. A sort of pan of society. Gerry and Kate as qualified professionals are publicly demonstrating this 'life strategy' on every public appearance.

The trouble is...the world is massively unpredictable, there are people that 'smell' opportunities that the noses of the managerial middle class are dulled to. A world where 'you'll be hearing from my solicitor' doesn't count. There is a thing called Fortune and yes it might be a meta-physical notion. Nevertheless one thing it did was sensitise people to the fact that unwanted and unexpected happen. There are some things we can't throw our qualifications and our professional standing at to put it right when it goes wrong.

The Mcanns have paid their dues to Fortuna...I thinks it's time for some good Fortune to come their way!

Monday, 29 October 2007

Royal Blackmail? Saudi king chides UK on terrorism

HRH King Abdullah exercises his right to Freedom of Speech in this report from the BBC.

Is the implication that if you don't 'try harder' to defeat the terrorists we won't buy any more planes off you, or perhaps we might just hike the price of crude up a bit.

He will know, of course, that the deaths and injuring of my countrymen and women, and their brothers and sister in arms from other nations around the world has preserved this right to speak freely. I am delighted he has had the opportunity to make this observation publicly and without censorship.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Who Are The Real Halloween Pumpkin Heads?

So the little monsters are being demonised according to this article Halloween Kids Demonised!

Surely everyone is missing the point here, and no, I'm not banging on about connections with the Dark Arts or concerns over 'normalising' what would typically be described as harrasment, begging, extortion and blackmail as 'just childish fun'

I'm talking about the total lack of critical-thinking in the way that we are duped into participating in what is nothing less than a Retail Scam. The sole and only purpose of the modern Halloween trick or treat mentatlity is to generate retail sales of cheap plastic teeth, large orange vegetables, and green face paint.

What other 'celebrations' are likely to be targets as retailers strive to avoid the cyclical (should that be sicklical?) ups and downs of their business? I'm sure they are scanning Wikipedia
as we speak.

So who are the real pumpkin heads here? Why don't we simply spend 365 days celebrating the cheeky antics of the Wallet Imp who mysteriously sneeks into our bank accounts and nicks all of our money!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Is Your Mind like Your Garage?

photo credit howard french

They say owners look like their dogs, well I wonder if you agree that garages reflect the mind of the owner!

I moved house 8 years ago and there are boxes of things that I just 'had to save and remember from the past', something to keep 'for the kids'...and do I do any of these things ...of course not. The stuff from the past is not relevant, any lessons worth keeping have been absorbed and become part of me, the junk boxes of 'perhaps's and maybe's' aren't really needed, and as for the kids...why would they want any of my old stuff? they'll want to do things their way and rightly so!

My garage sure needs are sort out, I'd like to open the door and see everything orderly and tidied away. What I need is something like these:

garage storage cabinets

The people at Car Guy have got is sussed. They know that the physical spaces we create around us probably reflect the mental spaces we have.

Time to sort out the clutter!!

How do we know what's in Montegomery's mind?

The defence lawyer in the gruesome case of Lisa Montgomery has made a diminished responsibility plea based on the claim that she is mentally ill on account of a history of child abuse. The prosecutors claim that she is making it all up.

How do we know? If you lean towards a Logical Positivist outlook then only empirical evidence can be taken as a claim to truth. The arch exponent of this line of thinking was B.F.Skinner noted for his use of behavioursim as the only way to conduct psychology. In other words he claimed that psycho-analysis was pseudo-science as it speculated on the workings of the mind rather than restricting itself to the observable.

The prosectors will be taking this line...and, unpalatable as it might seem...what if the defence are correct?

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Path Away From or Towards Gullibility?

Well,I would believe this wouldn't I, Spooky!

Your Life Path Number is 11

Your purpose in life is to inspire others

Your amazing energy draws people to you, and you give them great insight in return.
You hold a great amount of power over others, without even trying.
You have the makings of an inventor, artist, religious leader, or prophet.

In love, you are sensitive and passionate. You connect with your partner on a very deep level.

You have great abilities, but you are often way too critical of yourself.
You don't fit in - and instead of celebrating your differences, you dwell on them.
You have high expectations of yourself. But sometimes you set them too high and don't achieve anything.

X Factor Audience Gullibility

Do me a favour! Just how gullible does the X Factor production team think we all are!
Do they really think that the 'drama' of Sharon's Walk Out was seen by the general public as nothing other than a carefully scripted event adding yet another fantasy theme to the 'meta-entertainment' exercise known as The X Factor. It's sole purpose is to offer the 'Celebophiliacs' who watch and participate in this weekly media circus a completely socially constructed world to participate in, dulled to the fact that they are all 'puppets' being danced around by the Master Puppeteer.The blurring of the imaginary and reality, the expectation and the experience is the over-arching strategy of this money making machine.

Fuse the views with the news and you get Is Sharon Back? At an entertainment level all of this is, of course, benign rollicking good fun, however everything has its dark side. When fantasy is smudged with reality the name of the game is exploitation and deliberate manipulation of the less knowing and less knowledgeable members of society.Bamby a nice cartoon? or a social meta-message about self-reliance.

Big Media and Big Money have the power and authority to shape our worlds...keep your Gullibility Helmet on and make sure they don't shape your mind as well!

WOW! another award

Another surprise in the e-mail today when Jackie who created The Painted Veil has given Gullibility a Silver Recommended Read. Judges Jackie and Zubli are fantastic community builders and faciltators and for me represent the good things about social-networking.

I find it amazing that there are still so many people that are unaware of the social-media/ networking phenomeon. I was facilitating a management development session yesterday and only 2 people out of 25 had any idea what MyBloglog, Digg, Delicious, Stumble, Technorati etc were. When we discussed the theme more the 'scales fell from their eyes' as they saw it a way to improve all sorts of information and knowledge management problems they were having that 'conevntional' methods and technologies couldn't sort out.

I'd point them to Jackie and Zubli every time as exemplars of how to create and develop vitual communities...Rock on Guys!!!!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Gullible Childhood Memories

I Stumbled across an interesting link today that leads to a critical conversation concerning Freud's psycho-analytic thinking conducted by Professor Frederick Crews and Online News Hour's Susan Dentzer a few years back.

This is a good example of the need for us all to keep the critical faculty alive regardless of the 'authority' and 'reputation' an individual might have, otherwise we might gullibly tumble into a state of blind faith. This 'state' might also leave us open to being in a condition of Reification where we accept people, facts things as 'givens' and unassailable.

The Wikipedia entry also lead to this fascinating list of Fallacies which do you use?

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

A Hilarious piece by Bill Maher on gullibility

Comedian Bill Maher has a distinct talent for cutting through nonsense. Check out his latest post on gullibility in America on the It's hilarious.

read more | digg story

Monday, 22 October 2007

Management Buyouts - Gullibility Personified?

I was looking through 'incoming' on Feedburner yesterday and noticed an interesting search that was asking about the advantages and disadvantages of management buyouts.

Having had hands on experience of such an adventure I'd like to share some of the insights and experiences I had. I certainly don't intend to offer any prescriptions i.e. 'you should' or 'your must' I simply want to place these experiences before you and you can take from them what you will.

You probably know that a Management Buyout is a route by which the existing management team can buy a 'business sub-division' off a group partner or owner who has decided that the business no longer fits with it's commercial ambitions.

In the late 1980's I was part of a team of 5 who raised £32m to buy our business off its owner. We all thought this was a wonderful opportunity to make money and, following extensive due diligence, grounded strategy making, detailed commercial planning , and faith in our track record...we signed on the dotted line at 4.00a.m. at a posh solicitors in London.

Management buyouts are seen by the 'buyers' as an opportunity to fulfill their destiny, put the things right that were wrong with business, and .......crucially make an exit (trade sale or flotation) for a profit.

Having a viable 'exit' strategy is the first thing on the plan...and like the rest of plan it has to be realistic and achievable.

In our case the 'next year we'll all be millionaires' scenario didn't work out as we envisaged, and after 8 (instead of the typical 4 year) lending horizon, the lending banks got fed up and did a 'fire sale' of the business--- despite the turn over averaging £25m and net profits of £3.5m. How did this happen?

a) We overpaid for the business, desire to own the company we loved coloured our judgement. This meant that the financial covenants were always going to be demanding.

b) We got hit by 'uncontrollable, unexpected external factors (N.Rock eat your heart out). Interest rates soared to 15% and 25% of our turnover was lost as a key overseas market declared our products 'illegal'!!

c) Unable to meet covenants we re-financed which handed the banks effective control of the business, and although we were lucky they were supportive they eventually had to make commercial decision to suit themselves

d) We couldn't float as we were too no exit there

e) we weren't able to make a trade sale... our asking price was too high...and there was board disharmony regarding 'how' we should sell ourselves (deep and dark that one!) have to ask why do parents/ partners want to divest? is it because of some honourable sense that business doesn't fit the portfolio?...of course not! it's for one of two reasons...the business is a strategic problem...either unprofitable or in a strategic cul-de sac...or there is no prospect of making a trade sale other than to the management (a potentially gullible management team at that)Keep your eyes on Virgin Stores over coming months.

The allure of a management buyout, the kudos down the golf club are all tempting reasons. However I would urge caution. Often the price you pay is for the 'good-will' but think...where does this come from...if the senior team have created it and manage it then why not simply start on your own??? OK you might want the plant and I.P assets, but buy these prudently - remember you are in a negotiation not a sweet shop! What do you 'really ' need?

Another case I'm familiar with is in the Sports industry - badminton shuttlecocks - to be precise. The management team (proud of their technical capability) bought out their manufacturing business to compete in a globally competitive market place. They believed that their technical and manufacturing skill would win them business. Regrettably their cost base would never compete globally and they 'missed the point' in terms of 'need' when it came to quality. The exacting standards they produced were simply not needed by the mass market and so they priced themselves out.

The parent company had 'seen' these difficulties for the business, and decided to 'get-rid' to a willing and naive management team.

So, to contradict myself, my advice would be...take off the rose coloured spectacles, turn the chess board around and look at the position form the sellers point of view, buy cheap, and don't gullibly believe that your passion, innovativeness and dedication will win the day. There are some big hairy monsters out there!

And might do no worse than considering the following
Common Money Mistakes before you cough up the dosh for that buyout!

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Through Which Lens Do You See the World?

Do like to see structure and hierarchy, order and neat systems? Is the world out there simply mirrored in your mind as it is 'out there'?

In which case you probably like to make sense of the world through a Modernist gaze

On the other hand, things might appear as they seem, we might not be able to trust our senses to report an accurate view of the world. We might even play a part in constructing the reality we perceive.

In which case a Post -Modern gaze might be for you.

Whatever the case, unless we learn that all of our theories of causal explanation and all of our theories for success are encoded with our philosophical assumptions we stand a chance of becoming very very good at being gullible.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

War on Terror - Phone In Votes Uncounted Shock!

Picking up on a post by The Consumerist about Senate approval for phone tapping got me thinking about an article I read recently by Keith Grint in the Sage Publications journal Human relations, which I'm afraid you will have to subscribe to to read in full called Problems, Problems Problems: the social construction of 'leadership'

This is a fascinating article in which Grint discusses the whole concept of The War on Terror. Significantly for The Consumerists post Grint offers an explanation for how such things as 'phone tapping' become justified.

Extending the work of Rittel and Webber, Grint suggests that leaders characterise situations for the consumption of those they wish to influence as:

Tame Problems - where the situation and solutions for dealing with them are 'tried and tested'

Wicked Problems - where the situation is ambiguous and complex and requires imaginative, non-routine solutions

Crises - where the situation is depicted as a clear and present danger that warrants sacrifices to be made in terms of due process, and legal obligations

An example of tame interpretation of the Cuban Missile affair is given in which the military saw it as a confrontation that could be solved by 'bombing the hell out of the enemy' with tried and tested means; a known problem with a known solution. The Kennedys however saw it as a wicked problem, more complex and uncertain and sought a solution outside conventional lines through a sophisticated and tough negotiation.

As for The War on Terror, Grint suggests this has been painted as a Crisis to justify the favoured course of action of the administration. Whereas, that the annual global death rates from road traffic accidents,HIV/AIDS, breathing problems, diarrhoea and smoking are 'hugely more significant than terrorist incidents (Grint 2005 quoting WHO stats)

In 2000 one million (yes one million!) people committed suicide, and such it is strange that we don't have as Grint says a Global War on Suicide, or a Global War on Diarrhoea where there are 4 billion cases per annum. (How about John tapping?)

The 'Crisis' status simply serves to endorse the reality that terrorism is an assymetric endevour in favour of the terrorist and that the political significance outweighs the empirical evidence. A 'command' style of governing is justified by this approach and any other attempt to characterise the problem as 'Wicked' requiring debate and questioning of the methods can easily be dismissed as 'weakness that won't happen on my watch'

What I'm wondering is...if the administration have got it taped (sic) as a Crisis why do they care what people might saying on the phone to each other because 'talking' about the subject is a sign of weakness!?

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

To develop critcial thinking ...first develop critical thinking

image credit
Orange Papers

An interesting post by Ben Goldacre discusses the activities of Mind Gym and the reaction he has received following a critical review that he posted.

I find it exteremely worrying that some people who have responsibility for educating young minds lack the critical thinking capability needed in themselves that is needed to develop the critical minds of others, and worse still use students as 'guinea pigs' whilst they tinker around socially experimenting with the latest 'gee whizz' idea. It seems that some educators are as gullible as some business people who fall for the charms of 'Marketing Mystics' claiming to be the sole path to powerful consumer insight.

This is simply evidence of a total lack of imagination and capability in the eduators who abdicate responsibility for their role to others, in the same way that marketing managers abdicate their role to adverstising and research agencies. These people can 'manage' a given system but lack any capability of inventing a system in the first place.

As Florence Nightingale wrote on 28th January 1856 to Colonel Lefroy about the incompetent Dr Hall who was in charge of the General Hospital in Crimea...

"Dr hall is indefatigable in detailed work, and wants only a governing system to work under. But, he is wholly incapable of orginating one" see Goldie S.M. Florence Nightingale: Letters From The Crimea

Ken Wilber talks about 'flatland' where the subjective is downplayed in favour of the objective in his four quadrants model. Sheffield Academic John Darwin has coined the phrase 'fad-land' to characterise gullible obession with supposedly rational and objective tools and techniques.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Climate Change Makes You Overweight!

CDC Foundation

Lucky readers will have picked up a free pair of 'bull-shit' deflectors and a pair of 'sanity goggles' with the last edition of Gullibility. ...just in time to save them from being duped by this latest story from the BBC entitled Obesity As Bad as Climate Change

Now, notwithstanding the personal challenges obesity might bring, and the burden on medi-care etc. I fail to see the comparison, between a situation that affects the whole planet and mankind's future existence and the potential closure of Macdonalds and Burger King.

The gravity (sic) of the problem can in no way be associated with the end of civilisation as we know it. Furthermore the systemic influence of climate change will in effect solve the problem naturally...things will get so hot that people will sweat more, and crops will die so there will be less to eat.

A classic case of the social construction of an issue into crisis. Next month burgeritis will be positioned as a terrorist threat no doubt!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Dogma, Questions and Gullibility

I had a thought this morning as I was writing a comment on a blog called Thirst For Freedom which got me thinking about the rants and rows that occur when people 'take positions' on matters of social truth. Now this might have been self-evident to you for ages, however the penny has just dropped with me!

Here's what I think:

If we are all about 'questions' we find no answers

If we are all about 'answers' we deny all questions

If anyone knows of other versions of this line of thinking from another source let me know. Why?...because I said so!

Friday, 12 October 2007

Who said the Truth is Black and White

Eight men are accused of tricking victims that chemicals could turn paper into money.

I have to admit that listening to this story initially brought a smile, and then I thought, hold on, who's to say that I wouldn't have been duped in the same way.

BBC News Money Scam

The ususal suspects of a)lack of critical thinking, b)unwarranted expectation of significant benefit, c)not probing for details, d) the slick confidence of the perpetrators, all left the victims in a state of gullibility.

And it looks like it is world wide too Nigerian Marked Currency Scam

Thursday, 11 October 2007

For the avoidance of doubt

Intrigued by the comment to the previous post, a little 'desk research' uncovered the following.

Since the start of 2007, eight young people have lost their lives in shootings - six in London, one in Manchester and now the killing of 11-year-old Rhys (J) in Liverpool.

A Times survey found that a firearms offence was committed once every five hours in Great Britain in the six days after Danielle Beccan's death.

For full details please see UK Gun Crime

One can only assume that anyone who interprets the above as a 'low frequency' of deaths from firearms is on a sales commission from the ammunition suppliers!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

SuccessTech Shootings how gullible do we have to be?

Hot on the heels of the Wisconsin shooting we have a 14 year old going on the rampage, and guess what, the 'explanation machines' are going to swing into action and the usual suspects will take up their predictable positions on the issue of whether it's guns or people that take the lives of human beings.

We could even try and get 'really' sophisticated and argue that it might even be the 'bullet' or the ammuniton manufacturer executives. We have to have our cause and our reason to blame.

What if a less obvious explanation gave an insight as to the cause? This is hinted at in a post that can be found at Blogging To Blame that suggests that the cause behind the behaviour of the perpetrator is due to the social construction of their world. In other words the cause lies in the mind of the perpetrator and the choice he took based on the 'sense' he made of his situation. What on earth do you mean by that, you might say? Surely it's as simple as guns/no guns, something wrong in his genetic make-up, or the way he was brought up. Good old nurture versus nature, NRA versus the rest of us, individual freedom versus big government.

Adolescent gun-crime keeps happening time and time again (it's even becoming frequent in the UK where guns are illegal) and none of those reasons seem to offer any real prospect of prevention. So, maybe it's time for an unconventional slant that breaks with the traditionally presented arguments. (Just as William Webb Ellis decided to stop playing by the rules of soccer to create the new sport of rugby, this explanation is breaking with traditional rules too. The elements of the argument are straightforward...

a) Contemporary society and its obsession with celebrity sets the tone for young people to take themsleves too seriously. Their behaviour is continually 'drip-fed' into the minds of adolescents through the media and entertainment industries, which in turn is reinforced by associative individual and product imagery put out by advertisers.

b) Their role models are seen to be rebels and rule breakers and celebrate an excessive right to individual expression in community settings. This 'talk to the hand' attitude whilst at one level is a natural state of rebelliousnes in the growth of a person, becomes destructive to society when it develops into 'whatever' as this reveals a total disregard for personal and community responsibility.

c)Layered onto this, SuccessTech has inadvertently created a situation wherebye the identity stakes for people who are 'excluded' clashes with a socially constructed expectation of 'high esteem', by institute reputation, and through pedadgogic philosophy of high achiever, hot-house-esque emphasis.

d)The combination of general society messages (I am free to do what I please), with micro society messages (You are an utter failure if you are excluded) creates a powder keg in the immature mind.

e)By thinking about the incident at SuccesTech in 'standard' explanatory terms alternative explanations are not 'seen' and therefore not addressed in the daily community affairs of the institution. SuccesTech has been unsuccessful in developing the non-academic context in which it's students participate.

Stop adolescent gun crime? Simple!

Start developing adolescent minds beyond academic disciplines, vocational necessities, and as proxies to show 'sucess' (sic) in the local education ratings war. This means going beyond any traditional educationalist and managerialist 'quick fixes'such as citizenship and cultural studies to the heart of their philosophical make up of their 'life-worlds'.

Monday, 8 October 2007

The Formula for Truth?

I was intrigued by a recent Stumble I made that introduced a mathematical formula that was totally beyond my comprehension. You can check it out at
Eulers Identity

Now this got me thinking...because this is a mathematical formula I'm quite happy to accept that if the people that 'know' can prove it to be true, then I'll go along with that, as I certainly can't argue either way. Does this mean that I am expressing 'faith' in science?

However, when it comes to the 'truth' of anything that happens between people (social truth) then I am reluctant to accept claims without evidence and understanding, otherwise I leave myself open to being gullible. Not only that, even if I lack expertise (will the creationists in the room, please stand, please stand up) concerning a complex explanation that I don't understand, I feel can disagree with it, simply because I have the ability to express and opinion.

This is where the fluffy weakness of post-modernism lies. In allowing the 'equi-validity' of any views that are expressed, they allow space for claims that 'science' is simply another of any number of 'expressed explanations' for how things are in the world. The reality is, some explanations are better than others, and science is one of them.

Carbon dating is not a 'point of view' it gives a time period(between parameters). Now I don't understand the details of the physics behind the process, but I'm more prepared to believe that opinion than the random pap of someone who trusts to guesswork.

Maybe 'life-events' correspond to a 'formula' that we haven't the skill to understand at the moment, and that's why the outcome of events often seem 'strange but true'