The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

The Joy Of Critical Thinking

Posted by keith on June 25th, 2009

Head On Desk

Here is a press release that makes no sense at all:

Dr. Hendrie Weisinger, a leading psychologist and the author of The Genius of Instinct: Reclaim Mother Nature’s Tools for Enhancing Your Health, Happiness, Family, and Work (FT Press, 2009) says, “Today, being psychologically green means tuning into your instincts, getting back to basics, and back to our human nature. Whereas physical green is analogous to protecting our planet, psychological green is about protecting and honoring our human nature.”

About the only thing good I can say for it is that it provides a perfect example of how to mix your metaphors, and end up with a pile of verbal slush. I use this press release, sent to me a couple of weeks ago, as a way of showing how to think “anti-greenwash”. One of the most underrated skills — and one of the most dangerous to Industrial Civilization — is Critical Thinking, the ability to tease meaning out of information and counter (or reinforce) that meaning with your own ideas. That is what I am going to do on the following text, which was part of the press release. Others may call it a “hatchet job”, which is fine by me.

Read along and if you spot anything I haven’t written down (I will just comment on the worst bits, from my POV) then please comment…

“Take a look at the plights we have now and you will see for that they are a result of going against our human nature, from being ‘instinctually disconnected.’ No wonder we are often so unhappy and unfulfilled. [Ok, that’s not a bad start, although it’s a bit vague] No wonder we sometimes get into the wrong relationships, take the wrong jobs, and make the wrong choices. At the same time, take a look at the individuals, families, organizations, and countries that are thriving, and you will conclude that they are doing nothing more than staying in synch with their human nature [So, ExxonMobil and the Burmese Junta are just sticking with human nature, are they? Basic error by not defining “thriving”.], that is why they are growing. It is our instinctual tools that allow us to thrive and to solve the everyday problems that we encounter. Indeed, today psychological green is true to the color of nature-green for growth.” [That last bit made no sense, whatsoever. Where did this “psychological green” come from? “Growth” in the industrial consumer culture is the antithesis of natural growth — what do you mean?]

What can we do to become “psychologically green…How do we get back in touch with our human nature?” The answer lies in using the genius of your instincts [Back on track; I use my instincts a lot]. Here are six tips to get you started:

1. Listen to your emotions; they are the voice of your instincts. Too many times, we rely on the opinions and recommendations of others to make our choice. Friends tell you, “He is perfect for you.” Parents and counselors tell the high school graduate, “This is the school for me.” We follow the advice, despite the nagging feeling that tells us, something isn’t right. Listening to your emotions and feelings is the beginning for getting connected to your instinctual tunes. [Again, no problem here, although the link with nature has been entirely lost]

2. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable. You are hardwired to care-solicit-ask others for help. It is Mother Nature[‘s] instinctual tool[s] that help you protect your vulnerabilities [Now she’s lost me. If you feel vulnerable then your vulnerabilities are not protected, but that contradicts the third sentence entirely.]. Yet, most people deny their vulnerabilities and as result, become disconnected from their care-soliciting instinct. Why does this happen? One reason is that feeling vulnerable is uncomfortable (as it should be since it communicates we are at risk.) Another reason is the conventional pop psychology message that successful individuals solve their own problems, the emotionally healthy too. Thus, we seldom ask for help when we really need it-whether it is asking our partner for help around the house or in managing finances [I’ve just been transported back to the 1950s!]. Being comfortable with feeling vulnerable will allow you to take advantage of your care-soliciting instincts [Why not just say, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help”? Sorry if that doesn’t use enough jargon].

3. Develop others: Can anyone deny the world would be better place if we all became more touched by our care-giving instincts, the evolutionary function being to develop the future [What does “develop the future” mean. Our evolutionary function is to survive; our cultural function, as imposed upon us by the culture we live in may be to “develop the future” but that is not innate.]. Fact is, Presidents have written books on the importance of care-giving [and the significance of this is what?], but Mother Nature said it first. In fact, both males and females are hardwired to be maternal and paternal-it is in your genes. Early parents who were good care-givers increased the survival chances of their off spring [Fine, and correct], and just as the Roman Empire had to develop young warriors, so does Merrill Lynch have to develop young warriors [which makes a complete mockery of the “evolutionary” argument, given that both the Roman Empire and Merrill Lynch both collapsed following intense periods of greed and acquisition!]. There are all sorts of reasons that inhibit our care-giving instincts, ranging from “it’s an effort,” to withholding love because of anger [What about the cultural system that discourages cooperation and long-term sustainability, in order to maximise profit?]-animals never do this. To get to your care-giving nature: at work, focus on developing others; at home, prioritize your children; with your partner, tune in to their physical and mental health. Also, do things for your community. All these activities will be a catalyst to get your care giving instincts going.

4. Look Your Personal Best: Silverback gorillas spend hours polishing their coats and picking fleas off themselves and each other. The more attractive they are to each other, the greater the chance of mating and perpetuation of their species. You are hardwired to beautify-to make yourself attractive for the purpose of making yourself desirable to others. If you are not, say goodbye to your line of genes. You’d be amazed how many people are surprised they didn’t get the job, even though they look like slobs, and how many executives are clueless to their abrasive demeanor that makes them unattractive to those above them and those under them. To begin to reconnect with your attractive instincts, take a lesson from the silverbacks-look your personal best. Few of us are movie star looking, but we can also do the simple things such as tucking in our shirt, polishing our shoes, [It was all going so well, and then she had to introduce cultural stereotypes – do we want to encourage a genetic line of office clones? Really?] combing our hair. Then, so that you can become a more desirable mate, a parent your children come to in times of need, and a more successful employee, develop your sense of humor, become a better listener, and be supportive to others, all actions of attractive instincts that will make you more desirable to others. [I can’t really disagree with that, although I’m slightly concerned with the focus on being “desirable” — it all sounds rather contrived.]

5. Commit to cooperate. The recent Summit [Which one, of the dozens?], according to the President, is the beginning of a more “cooperative world.” The fact is, we are all hard wired to cooperate-not compete [Well, actually, we are hard-wired to compete in cooperative groups, but in general this is correct – as opposed to the way the business world, that this book seems intent on making you a “success” in, functions]. Remember, the first atom could not make it by itself so it coagulated [“Coagulated”? How can an atom coagulate? Bad science] with others and ever since, it has been a team game [Terrible analogy: all forces, as far as we know, have anti- forces, intent on breaking apart (increasing entropy) rather than combining]. Get in touch with your cooperative nature-it brings out the best in you and others. Start by making the commitment to cooperate, especially when others aren’t. Be like lions, who don’t punish or exclude the “laggards” who don’t do their share, but rather continue their own efforts to make the pride stronger [I may be wrong here, but aren’t uncooperative lions banished from prides?]. Tit for Tat is a losing strategy, and one that is hard to break-it ruins relationships. Teach your kids that they can’t be lucky every day but they can be nice every day. The fact is, nice guys do finish first [But not in the business world — see the next sentence]. Project managers-create a team identity, you will see cooperation increase, and make sure fairness is in play, as few people quit when the rules are fair. Parents-create a sibling identity for your child’s [Child’s what?] and you will rid your household from sibling rivalry [No you won’t — sibling rivalry is innate; it can be controlled but never banished] and create sibling support. Partners-honor your couple identity-it will reinforce each of your desire to nourish the relationship.

6. Become a Curious George/Georgette. You are hardwired to investigate and explore your environment-it increases the likelihood of encountering objects-be it a person, a book, or food-that can enhance your existence [I’m getting really fed up with these hyphens — have they not heard of en-dashes?]. That is the evolutionary function of your curiosity instinct. Your curiosity instinct accelerates your learning so it is good that we have a Green President [NO!!!!!!! See my article.]who has made curiosity one of his Administration’s core values [Ok, I may be across the water, but I don’t remember this]. Unfortunately, parents stifle the curiosity of their children every day by ignoring or failing to encourage their interests, usually because it does not concur with the parents’ interest. Countless couples stay stuck in their comfort zone by choosing their favorite restaurant every time out, rather than taking a chance on a new spot, and our schools have lost their edge by failing to ignite the curiosity of students, especially in science and math. [What horribly mundane examples — what about getting out into nature; questioning the nature of schooling; questioning the entire culture of destruction?]Ask yourself-when was the last time you developed a new interest-if not, you’re probably a bore [Oh, that’s very nice!]. Get back to your curious nature if you want to stay ahead of the pack [Oh, that’s even nicer! All that stuff about cooperation, and then it’s suddenly dog-eat-dog]. Begin to Alpha up [Clearly I didn’t pay enough attention in class — I have no idea what this means]-increase your energy level, a prerequisite for curio[u]s actions like going for a walk in new area of town. Mentally stimulate your curiosity by asking yourself questions you don’t know until you are motivated to find out. Go to a new restaurant and order a novel dish, all for the sake of jump starting your dormant curiosity instinct.

Follow these tips and the next time you are turning green [Oh, I see, it’s that kind of green! So I’m sure there won’t be any more mixed metaphors…], you won’t be envious or greedy. You will be growing […ok, I was wrong].

Now go and change something!

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