Friday, 28 November 2008

Mubai Terrorists - An Anatomy of Human Destructiveness

image credit AP and BBC

Anthony Pratkanis author and editor of The Science of Social Influence suggests that people in themselves are not gullible.There is no 'gulliblity gene'. What matters is the situation that is created in which people are taken advantage of.

Given that point of view, the victims of the Mumabi terrorists nor the Indian authorities could ever be accused of taking their safety for granted. That they were some how gullible for simply living ordinary lives in ordinary ways is an unfair and unjust criticism. Ironically nor could the perpetrators be accused of gullibility in believing they could walk away 'scot free'. Mind you, the chances are they were mentally prepared for 'martyrdom'. The classic case of it being OK to choose to end their own lives, and it not being OK to make that choice on behalf of other people.

It might be easy for the Mumbai Terrorists to rationalise their actions by wrapping their behaviour up in some anti-western philosophy (please explain the number of Indian casualties). However this attempt at their coping with the personal dissonance that must have been generated by their actions (the human desire for life & living versus the killing and carnage) can only be explained properly by the psyche not the situation.

The Mumbai attackers were clearly exhibiting what Eric Fromm in his book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness calls the necrophilous or death loving character. These individuals are consumed by a desire to be close to death, and are driven to destroy life. In essence they are evil. They engage in life thwarting behaviours. Nothing must survive.

Contrast this psyche with the biophilous or life loving people. People who seek to enhance and preserve life. These are good people.

If we stand aside from the situation, if we unwrap the behaviour from its religious clothing and other philosophical rationalisations, we are left with the core of the argument. We are left with a war, not against terror. We have a war between Good and Evil.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Living Love In The Public Domain

Being a parent in the socially networked 21st century presents us with some firsts. In the past I'm sure parents heard about their children's bust ups and, of course, were there for the anger and tears, they didn't actually 'live through them'.

I find myself in the weird situation of watching the events unfold blow by blow on Facebook.

I'm witnessing wall messages that are like cries in the dark. Pointed jibes, bravado and all sorts...

What I find curious is that modern youngsters seem to have no inhibitions whatsoever in sharing what is a rather personal event.

Perhaps Facebook has been become a 'cyber-god'? An entity where love/hate messages are left for the god to influence the outcome.

On the other hand maybe its just a way of letting everyone know that 'frankly they don't give a damn'.

My dilemma is...should I comment on the wall or just leave it be? What would you do? Remain a voyeur? Cancel Facebook Account?, remove participants as friends until it has blown over? or join in? Facebookers must be gullible if they don't think people are watching and following...

Friday, 21 November 2008

Like Twain The USA Is Unlikley to Wane

Any management student will tell you that Scenarios are designed to be provocative documents that explore a variety of potential outcomes.

So anybody wringing their hands expecting the USA to wane is being rather gullible. Not only that how can any of us know whether the assessment has any credence. For all we know it might merely be a deceptive move on the part of the intelligence agencies to lull their opponents into a false state of security.

It might even be a leak to inspire others to action, or as part of a persuasive landscaping initiative to prepare people's minds for additional military and security spending.

Imagine...if the document was something an antique salesman was trying to get you to buy, wouldn't you demand more provenance? You can read the full report on the link via the BBC website.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

It's Time To Manage My Blogging Workload!

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
C.S. Lewis.

Some of you are no doubt much more ordered and organised than me.

I've noticed however, one particular thing I don't do when I'm blogging compared to how I work in the 'real world', and that is deciding what my key 'tasks' are, which are nice to have, which are essential, how much 'resource' I have and when the tasks should be done.

I reckon the lack of 'formality' in my blogging is because I see it as a 'hobby' rather than a job, I'm not answerable to anybody, and I've treated it as a casual exploration rather than an objective led task.

As well, you've probably come across that well worn description of what it's like coping with the deluge of information that is available from the net as 'like drinking from a fire hose'. Well, I'm not really talking about that experience although it is party related to it.

There is always something you 'can do' when you are blogging, communities to join explore and engage with, gadgets and widgets to try out, technical skills to develop, analysis to carry out, content to write, research to do etc.

For the most part since I started blogging I have approached these tasks on an ad hoc basis, you know, I'll drop in on Blogcatalog, next I'll tweak my Squidoo lens, or build another one, now I'll Twitter, next its over to Stumble etc etc. I've never really structured what I'm going to do on a daily or weekly basis and I've never really worked out how to send a 'shout' on Digg for example!! (cries of 'doh' from the readership) How 'corporate' would that be anyway and surely that's not what the blogosphere is about!!

The trouble with this scattershot approach is that I'm not consistent and I'm not managing the key resource I have - time. Why is consistency important? Well, I think its to do with the fact that I'm not sure what connection there is between community participation, commenting and readership of my blog, I sort of 'drop-in' from time to time but don't really 'join-in'. Not only that I have gnawing sense of frustration and disorientation about what it is do when switch on the laptop! I never seem to have sense that my blogging time is productive or 'finished'.

So...I'm going to try some 'structure'. Now, perhaps Second Brain, Feedster, Google Reader, My Space, Zune, Stumble, Squidoo, Delicious and a host of other of Reasonable Robinson's playgrounds will get some dedicated attention. I'm going to allocate a maximum of 1 hour per day to blogging. I'm going to limit myself to 15 mins for a post and 45 mins for other activities. This is going to be my 'blogging regime'.

Maybe I'll just have to 'let something go' but that is going to be difficult, I reckon I've got the blogging version of the Gambler's Fallacy, you know, 'aw, go on...just look at one more thing, add one more comment, its bound to make a difference to my visitor numbers...this next post is going to be 'the biggy'...thousands of readers...just one more...just one more...' The Bloggers Fallacy in action!

Everyday...half hour max...
1 read the news (usually the BBC)
2 read/ manage google reader
3 comment on other blog posts and Twitter
4 post something

And...for the other half hour...

5 Monday - Stumble, Digg, Reddit
6 Tuesday - Blogcatalog and My Bloglog
7 Wednesday - Second Brain, Feedster, Delicious
8 Thursday - Squidoo and other RR blogs
9 Friday - Yahoo Answers, Amazon lists, Fuel My Blog, Spicy Pages, Blog Explosion
10 Saturday - Predictify, ebook writing, monetize of not monetize
11 Sunday - out how to send a shout on Digg?

...this has just taken me 45 mins! now what! aaaarggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

George Osborne's Selfish Genes

image credit Chris Doidge

UK Shadow Chancellor George Osborne is performing double loop gullibility at the moment. Does he seriously think (sic) that the public really believe his outburst about that the value of Sterling is genuine and informed concern for the economy?

Everyone must realise that it is not borne out of altruistic concern for the country. It is a shout from his selfish genes as they struggle to ensure the survival of his political derriere. This is not statesmanlike. It is behaviour that is more reminiscent of poorly run businesses where the managers are more concerned with internal and personal affairs than the real issues.

What chance would the country have if his 'sixth form' approach to politics was ever given the chance to 'do it for real'...we need politicians not management trainees running the country.

His second count of gullibility is making his half baked thoughts public. Doesn't he realise that as a member of parliament holding a notable position in her majesty's opposition that what he says might have adverse impact on the country? Poor judgement George...I think you need some time off to take the strain away...Have you considered a nice cruise?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

10,000 Little Lies

The announcement of 10,000 British Telecom Job Losses has been announced as a 'the latest gloomy news' for the economy.

Is that the truth? Read the article and the announcement from BT makes is clear that the job losses are part of an ongoing efficiency drive and likely to come from natural wastage rather than the scythe of the corporate cut backs director.

Associating this news with the state of economy is misleading.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Yes You Have!

The American people have made history. Watching from the UK the US election was a fascinating process to witness. For nations around the world that don't have it this is democracy in action.

Much of course will now be written about President elect Obama. Nevertheless his campaign adversary Senator John McCain should not be written out of the story. Putting political leanings to one side, his story is as much the example of democracy in action as Barack Obama. His effort and dignity in loss deserves the greatest respect.

And that is really the point. This was a political debate not some tribal mob war. Everyone involved had the welfare of the USA at heart and I'm sure the esteem of the USA will grow immeasurably around the world.

The expectations have been set very high. I sincerely hope that the American people are not gullible in their belief that every hope will be met to everyone's satisfaction in an instant and that becomes a reason not to have high hopes in the first place and a cause to criticise.

Congratulations America.Your fathers brought forth on the continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.You have shown that you now have a government of the people, by the people, for the people...and not just the people of the USA.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Sarah Palin Into Insignificance

Just how gullible Senator John McCain was in choosing Sarah Palin will become clear in the next 48 hours.

It was certainly an astute move to gain attention, and like all half baked social influence attempts it only addressed one aspect of the Persuasive Task.

Having gained attention with this Barbie-seque periphery 'cue', Senator McCain ensured that potential voters were then switched into 'central processing' mode which meant that their attention to logic and argument was engaged as they began to pay full attention to the political substance behind the puffery engineered by Sarah Palin's celebrity image consultants.

Sarah relied heavily on her 'palindrones', simple little phrases that looked the same backwards as well as forwards. Not a shade of grey or complexity amongst them and the natural position of the Crisis and Tame problem manager. Through these lenses every problem is simple and so is the solution that goes with it. Not exactly the appropriate outlook for a leader of powerful nation in globally interdependent world.

It seems however that the American people are much much smarter than her anti-intellectual expectations, and that she won't be getting the 'X' factor in the polling booths.

Sarah Palin - Has (been) Nail (in political coffin) Its a (w)Rap