Category Archives: Psychology

Media content tags

Rather than brand media (film, television, novels, art) with assumed age guestimations

G, PG, PG-13, PG-17, R, X, Adult, Young Adult, Middlegrade, Childrens, Mature Audience, General Audience, and so-on-and-so-forth, we should simply state what is contained within the media and then mark the following checkboxes (or initialisms) on the labels.

  • XSX: explicit sexual situations
  • ISX: implied sexual situations
  • XNU: explicit nudity
  • BNU: brief nudity
  • XDU: explicit drug and/or alcohol use
  • IDU: implied drug and/or alcohol use
  • XLA: profane language
  • SLA: strong language
  • XVI: explicit violence
  • SVI: strong violence
  • MVI: violence against minors
  • XMO: explicit mortality
  • IMO: implied mortality
  • XCB: explicit criminal behavior
  • ICB: implied criminal behavior

Using such a list would standardize all media regardless of form. Then, rather than have media judged by some arbitrary age restriction (what IS a young adult novel anyway?) the consumer could know the content parameters (or metadata) and choose for themselves (or their children).

Want to watch the movie Fury? Well, Fury would be: ISX, XLA, XVI, MVI, XMO
Harry Potter novels? IDU, SVI, IMO (some are XMO)
Bambi? IMO
Raiders of the Lost Ark? XDU, SLA, XVI, XMO

Are there a few other tags we should include? XAX – extreme anxiety inducing perhaps?
Want to tag a few more media items?
Your thoughts?


How smart are we?


Go lookup any standard distribution chart of IQ for the country (or the world in general). You’ll find the following obvious but alarming results. One half of the human population has an IQ of less than 100.

Just let that sink in.

Additionally, approximately 20% has an IQ of less than 90. In the U.S. (320M) that would mean 1/5 of people, ~64million people have an IQ less than 90. For the world? 1/5 of 7.4B = 1.48B.


One and a half billion people have an IQ of 90 or less. These aren’t magic numbers or fake numbers. These are approximate facts.

I’m not trying to stigmatize anyone here. In fact, intelligence, in my book, doesn’t mean squat. I would posit that there are more happy people at the lower end of the IQ scale than at the upper; ignorance is bliss and with power (intelligence) comes responsibility (and the associated problems). And, to me, happiness is the real gauge of a successful life.

That said, how many people do you know with an IQ less than 90? Yet they exist and can vote and have opinions (although, with a stereotypical bias those opinions might be mal- or un-informed.)

I don’t point this out because I’m an intellectual snob (far from it if you knew my history), only that I would offer that one might use such open and obvious information as the basis for understanding the country’s and the world’s opinions and predispositions.

I know this feels a tad distasteful. As if by discussing this we’re betraying a huge portion of humanity. However I want to continue to stress that this is a reality. It’s not a politifact or fake-news.

The other side of this coin is that just because one possesses a supposedly high IQ does not make one automatically superior in thought or opinion. Bigotry, misogyny, racism live quite well in many of the world’s smart people. Sure a greater intelligence may predispose you to a more open mind — but it does not guarantee it.

When I read or watch the news and see statistics and counts of people doing this or that I’ve tended to think that most people are like me: average intelligence, average beliefs, average faults and ideals. What a chart like this shows, what the knowledge of this disparity of intelligence should tell me, tell us, is that this is not the case. That “average” may actually have little bearing on what truly exists in the world regarding intellectual capability.

What do you think of this distribution of IQ? Does it challenge your assumptions about people?




[Pretty much <90 we’re dealing with people who, in general would have a hard time graduating high school, writing an essay, read and follow instructions for building a model toy, memorize 10 phone numbers. (my interpretation)]

Learning to drive

There are three parts to learning to drive:

  1. The Law!
  2. Situational awareness.
  3. Physical interaction and muscle memory.

As I considered these (more on them later), in my endeavor to teach my children how to drive, I thought about that number — three.

And how curious it is and how it might represent a balance between so many aspects of life.

Jessie posted an article on argumentative discourse where there were three factor that comprise a good discussion 1) episteme, 2) eunoia, 3) parrhesia.

There’s the three branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial.

Three parts to the Holy Trinity.

A three legged stool is the most stable of simple structures.

We’ve got, beginning-middle-end, birth-life-death, three-wishes, the troika, and the three languages on the Rosetta Stone. Just dozens and dozens of references to the balance of ideals, concepts, strengths, forces all done so through the juxtaposition and interaction of three.

What three lobed thing, in your life, your universe, means something to you?

But back to driving…

First, we must learn the law. Knowledge of what is legal, or not; how to treat the road signs, the road-lines, the signals and public alerts and indications — the rules of the road — all of this must be learned and memorized so that you can know how the other two factors should be situated.

Second we have situational awareness. Within the framework of the law, we have what is going on around you *right now*. Are there cars, people, animals around you. Are you driving on a curvy, straight, slick, gravelly road? Are you going too fast? Too slow? How’s the light? Are you getting tired? Everything that makes up the environment of your driving experience.

Thirdly there is the actual interaction with the vehicle. Some people rarely think this is a thing to learn — or at least to spend much time on. But in my mind this must be the very first thing you should learn. The car becomes an extension of your body. When it accelerates or screeches to a halt, you feel it in your body. When you go too fast around a curve, the centripetal force alerts you to the danger. When your wheels start to slide on ice or snow or hydro-plane, you feel that instant queasy, fair-ride feeling of lost control. How hard can you slam on the breaks? How does it feel to power-slide? What does it feel like to hit a deep pothole or get lifted off your seat during a gravity escaping leap over a country hill? Such things must be learned by your mind-body. These are not conscious parts of driving. These must be subconscious reactions that your body takes over when your mind is freewheeling in chaos.

Three parts to driving. Three parts to conversation. Three parts to government, and a good milking stool. “Three shall be the number. And the number shall be three…”

Influence, impact, effect

A time ago, don’t ask me when, we, Martina, Jessie and I, were talking about UBI – Universal Basic Income (okay, we weren’t specifically discussing UBI, but near enough), and Jessie mentioned that she thought the struggle of the classes was power based. I, offhandedly, read through her comment not really having any reply at the moment (not that I didn’t reply, mind you).

However, on retrospect, I circled back to that theory: empowering all of us, giving each of us agency to affect our own lives, enough such that we can witness and claim responsibility for the changes, this would be a good thing. And that’s noble and admirable and, if it could be done (like in the Scandinavian countries) then maybe that’s the answer.

What prompted this latest doffing of words was thinking about myself as the curmudgeon that I’ve become. Yes, I’m a self-professed stick-in-the-mud, the proverbial “get off my lawn” old man with suspenders and a cane (well, maybe not the cane, um, or the suspenders). But I’ve grown less and less tolerant of fools over the years. And here’s the thing; Martina talks about criticism (here) and I wonder:  perhaps there’s simply some aspect of influence here. A “hey, he looked!” type behavior humans crave. More generally, we humans want to know we’ve impacted our world, left a mark, had an affect, effected others — in some way.

With criticism, that affect is negative (generally). With a curmudgeon like me, just seeing the teenagers flinch, that’s a kick in the pants, now isn’t it? (I don’t really do this, but I know you know someone who does.) The thing is, we crave influence. We yearn for self induced change in the world. Poke this thing and it cringes. “Hmm, I feel a little better (although it may not).”

All of social media is focused on this. You post a woodgiewoodgie (whatever to wherever) and what do you expect? A response of course. Trolls post the most foul and incendiary tripe. Why? For impact, for a response: “They — anybody — replied, responded, grimaced, smiled, screamed, cursed, cried, cheered!”

Do we crave power? Or influence?

And, to bring this back full circle, (circles in circles), is there a means to alter the economics of countries such that we provide for expanded influence, agency in how we govern and direct our own lives? Maybe, however a UBI’esque effort comes to be, if we provide every human the ability to change their lives –however they care to — maybe that will be enough.

ADD and the argument

I’ve run in to a few people lately who are, I believe ADD (attention deficit disorder), who have a hard time maintaining a level head during a discussion (argument).

These people, during a discussion, tend to interrupt and inject their immediate interpretation of my exposition without hearing the entire theory (or at least most of it). They tend to take bits of the explanation, in isolation, and react to them as if they were stand alone parts rather than to wait for the full explanation to resolve itself into a cogent presentation.

And because they interject with their half interpretations, they are incapable of understanding the bigger picture that is in the throes of being laid out. They often take offense at the segments of the theory, create ill-conceived rejoinders to them and fail, in the end, to come to view the theory in its entirety.

And so I wonder: are people these days, who more and more are afflicted with varying levels of ADD more and more incapable of participating in arguments coherently?

If one cannot hold in one’s mind the parts of an argument, setting aside one’s biases and prejudices — for a time — and put one’s opponent’s “hat” on, as it were, can such a person ever be made aware, fully, of another’s perspective?

I find discussions with such people to be vexing to the max.

So much so, that I’m unsure as to how to make them see my side of the story.

Do I sit calmly and listen to their argument and the evidence set forth? Yes. I can do this, trying on the hat of their position. I settle it here, then there and before I can set it aside and then begin to explain how their hat may or may not fit — we immediately enter into this argument-interuptus. And, of course, because they can never fully understand my side of the story, they either win by default, or storm off in contempt at my trying to expose my opinion in the most plain and simple manner — to no avail.



Are you overwhelmed?

I’m overwhelmed.

Are you?

I’ll bet you six copper pennies in a can of Coke that you thought to yourself:
“You’re damned right I’m overwhelmed.”

But who wouldn’t be overwhelmed by today’s onslaught of pointless, blathering, necessary, important, useless, whimsical, inane, senseless, critical STUFF?



Alright, here we are, dealing with so much information, this constant inundation of news and memes and tropes and updates and “hey, look at my cute dog wearing Lady Gaga outfits” and the ice is melting faster than we thought and you need to try this new tech gizmo and, well, you get the picture. It’s too much. In fact…

It’s overwhelming. And not only that — hey, look at you reading this! Just one more thing you chose to do out of the tens of thousands of things you could be doing — yet you chose, for probably some faulty reason, to read this. Thanks. No really, I realize this is trite and utterly anonymous, but just know, I feel your pain. And you reading this, well, it’s a solid. Really.

And to pay you back here’s a picture of a porpoise doing a head stand on a trampoline floating in the Gulf of Mexico… Naw, I’m just joshin’ with you.

Now tell me this, wouldn’t you really (*really*) just like to have, perhaps 100-200 people you paid attention to. JUST THEM. ONLY THEM. Like they were your village, and you could do your thing, and they’d do theirs, and once or twice during the day you’d hook up with a few of them and say hi and how-ya-doin’ and later, in the evening, you and a bunch of them would walk down to the river, or the town square, or the communal pasture and just rest there, leaning on a fence post, sipping a beer, just chatting about the day and the people around you and the small corner of the world you live in? And that would be your day…

Wouldn’t that be nice? And by nice I mean better? Like WAY better than this pressure you feel every time you find yourself online, checking email(s), facebook, twitter, instagram, the news (ugh! the news), and all the tiny micro-shit that just keeps pounding on your consciousness?

The world invades our lives. It feels like ALL OF THE WORLD is now invading our lives. And I’m tired of it. I’m half disgusted, half encouraged, half enraged, half sympathetic — I’m pulled in dozens of ways. And I know you are too. And I wish I had an answer to assuage all of this anguish and stress and anxiety. But I’m sorry. I don’t. Here’s a video of a bunny sleeping with a fox in a kennel and aren’t they both darling?

Oh shit, I’m sorry. You see what I mean? This crap never ends. Well, here’s hoping I didn’t extend or heighten your level of angst. Because, you know, that would just add to my own exhaustion, and I’m already…

Of labels and classifications

“A young black man walks into a store…”

Why does he have to be black, or white or Asian or Hispanic or…? Why can’t he just be a young man who walks into a store? Why do we have to label people?

Why does he have to be young? How about “A man walks into a store…”

Even that sentence has classified our protagonist. Why does it have to be a man?

“A human walks into a store…” What? Now we’re prejudice against animals?

“A sentient being walks into a store…” Whoops, we’ve got still one more bias to eliminate — walking.

“A sentient being enters a store…” There. Now we’ve eliminated our biases. Well, most of them… Sentience? Is that a bias? Are we favoring beings that can think? Or move?

My point here is that biases, prejudices, labels and classifications are required — at some level. But where do we draw the line? At what point do our bias-agnostic intentions become absurd? Surely there are divisions that make sense. But what are they?

So far in this simple exercise we’ve reduced our biases to the absurd. But what if we expand them further? “A shirtless, mentally handicapped young black man with one arm, who hasn’t eaten for days, stumbles into a store…” As a story teller, perhaps this description fits our needs.

But as a reporter — explaining a robbery — perhaps such a sentence crosses into bigotry. Should a reporter call out the race, age, gender or disability of the accused? Under what context does information descend into prejudice? Should we try and refrain from attaching labels to people when we describe events and situations?

I personally would like to, and in fact, try to avoid race, religion or culture anytime I describe someone. To me a person is just a person. It’s hard mind you. And I slip, often. But to me it’s a worthy effort to change the way I label or classify people.