Archive for September, 2012

The app of all apps.

September 30, 2012

Hey Tom, dick and Harry are you guys into apps? You don’t have to be a programmer, educated, smart, all you have to do is watch your kid and think of an app that would sell.  If you are Steven Jobs, you don’t even need to look at your kid or survey consumers, you just know that your apps would sell…anything slick that you can hold in the palm of your had that with the click of a button would produce what appears like magic but it is not magic. Think, dude, there is an app out there for the money if you can think of a cool one that would sell. Two years later: You are rich now! You get the girl with the big chest that you always wanted.  You developed an app for her heart and one for brushing your teeth in the morning cause you still had bad breath. Your inspired girl friend thought of an app rating her social life anew… and one that traced or erased both your loneliness. I checked it all out: there is app for fitness and one for obesity, I found them all, but I couldn’t find even a drop of and app for spirituality, as if this generation of humans are devoid of the highest purpose for living! I am sure you know about it by now?

The other day, Bruce, a friend of mine, said, “You know, Elior, I am getting tired of religion.” I looked at him, sure, humans get tired of religion when sectarian violence replaces the worship of God, but I said nothing to the dude, but I thought about it… a high-tech guy with a PhD in theology who can’t think of spirituality apart from religion, who am I to expect others to do so. But being the eternal optimist, I decided to wed apps (the woman) to spirituality (the man), after all high-tech imagination is endless.

“Bruce, would you be interested in an app that can trace ghosts, lost souls, God, angels, or whatever your call these spirits in your religion?”

“Nope.”

His abrupt answer was scary and I had no one else to talk to about apps except you (my readers), so here is a list of possible apps. Please reply and tell me which ones you like and which ones you think have a chance to be nominated as the app of all spiritual apps:

An app to communicate with extra terrestrial?

A séance app?

How would you like an app that reads minds?

A space GPS app to navigate known habitable planets?

How about an app that analyses dreams, develop or trace your free will, expand your consciousness? OK, that one I don’t know about, after all the great Skinner said that human behaviour is deterministic and the profound Freud said that humans can’t dig deep enough to get their consciousness out of the unconscious coffin  it is berried in!

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The clash of civilization

September 21, 2012

 

if you had a bird’s-eye looking at people right now from  a mile above, what would you see? Ants.  You fly a bit closer and you realize that these ants are aunts and uncles that can talk running around like ants. You land and see that they are males that smash property and eat their territorial enemies. That is what ants do to secure food and holes. That is what humans do to secure culture and religion, not that much different from ants, except that humans have lofty terms to use. The clash of civilization is really a war between two powerful global groups of a billion or two nuts each. Anyone who argues who is right or wrong is an idiot because ultimately it isn’t a bout that, it’s about might, in history it’s always about might, power, military power! In this world might make right no matter what you or CNN wish that right makes might. Talk about freedom of speech is just talk. The world is in the middle of a clash between 100 Islamic cultures and 100 western cultures. And it isn’t difficult to know that only the United States has a sacred almost unlimited freedom of speech guaranteed in the US Constitution. That is the trigger of the war. So, there is a clash between the United States and Muslim groups that take on the American giant, one will win and the other will lose. If Iran gets the bomb it’s a draw, if the US gets really pissed off, even the feeble  western culture will win. Taking sides is ridiculous, as Werner Erhard says, sit relax and observe the biggest clash in human history between two global belief systems that don’t share anything in common except on CNN. I wish humans got along like Rodney King wanted, but they don’t and there is nothing you can do about it. ultimately the issue is not who is right but who is mightier. Human beings have never resolve their differences sitting around a table. If they did there would be no human civilization. War has shaped all human cultures, science and best inventions. War is stupid but so is a toilet seat. So what?, Get it, that is the way nasty things pass through.

Why I am introducing behavioural politics?

September 16, 2012

Introducing a new scientific discipline to the world is difficult. History tells us that when Albert Einstein introduced Behavioral Physics (BP) in 1905 trying to replace  Newton’s Classical Physics (CP) as the main theory that explains the Universe – classical physicists laughed at him. We know that when Dr. Daniel Kahneman introduced Behavioral Economics (BE) in 1979 trying to replace Classical Economics (CE) as the main theory that explains the universe of finance – classical economists laughed at him. Twenty years later that behavioral psychologist received the Nobel prise in – economics to the chagrin of classical economists who feared that the world will replace the fundamental economic rules of Adam Smith. Behavioral Economics (BE) is still fighting for the right to be heard at economic departments in universities all over the world, I know all that but the time is here to introduce Behavioral Politics (BP) because I believe it can solve the bloodshed between groups all over the world, even in Syria!

Classical politics (CP) deals with diplomacy and war, when one ends the other one begins. Political parties or systems with inadequate understanding of human behavior form governments, perpetually discussing which democratic or dictatorial system work best for the people. CP is into trying to fix failing relationships without having a psychological clue how to do it!  Studying emotional decision-making resulting in behaviour is absolutely not allowed in CP. In Behavioural Politics, on the other hand, a system that one day will exist at a new age of enlightenment, studying emotional decision-making resulting in behaviour is absolutely required!

There were two examples of BP in human history that come to mind. The first one was when Moses allocated regions in Canaan to the 12 tribes of Israel so they won’t fight with each other so much. The other example was when the forefathers of the United States constitution designated 13 States in the federal union for purposes of conflict resolution. Think what BP will do to solve the conflict in Syria.

911: What nobody analyses!

September 12, 2012

Let’s recreate 911 psychologically. The US president is not George Bush but Teddy Roosevelt, the most assertive or aggressive one term US president ever! He sits in the oval office and hears rumors about increasing terror against Americans in Europe and Africa. He picks up the phone and calls the heads of the CIA and FBI to his oval office.

“Gentlemen, you have investigated Saudi students who enrolled in US private Flight schools since 2000. What did you find out?”

“Mr. President, flight schools instructors reported to local FBI officers in 2001 that they found it odd that these Arabian students concentrated on learning how to fly 747 passenger jets, skipping classes on landing.”

“Arrest and interrogate them.”

“But, Mr. President, we have no evidence that this odd behaviour is related to planning attacks in the US.”

Teddy gave them a stern look, “Arrest them!”

The 911 plot was nipped in the bud, 911 did not happen, instead, Teddy Roosevelt lost his reelection to the Democrats in 2004. He was depicted as an aggressive, punitive, dictatorial, paranoid president. People in the twin towers voted overwhelmingly democrat. Sweet Kerry was elected in a landslide. Many times in America psychological reality  of threat from abroad clashes with political reality at home. Americans hate preemptive strikes against enemies. Can you imagine if Osama Bin Laden stayed a trivial terrorism organizer? Can you imagine how many lives would have been saved if what Hitler did in 1938 was good enough as evident for Teddy’s cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt (a Democrat) to take him out? But Franklin would not have been elected to a third term! 4000 innocent people would not have died in Pearl Harbor or collapsing towers and planes on 911  – but Bush would have been defeated on November 3, 2000. Americans hate leaders who rush to bloody good judgment. It is the price they are willing to pay for a bit longer peace and presidents who get elected and reelected know that mentality of waiting to the last-minute. 911 happened 11 years ago. This may be a numerology sign or other psycho-babble, but, as in Pearl Harbor 1941 under sweet Franklin Delano Roosevelt or 2012 under Obama, the game is still the same. No one is a Teddy (Roosevelt) bear anymore who says, “Walk softly but carry a big stick.” Today they say, “Walk very softly and carry a foreign aid bag of money.” Obama will be reelected and will try to avoid war with Al Queda till he has no choice but to fight. History always repeats itself with sweet Presidents than with tough ones!

Dr. Daniel Kahneman’s System 2: Making sense of perceiving something, observing it, agreeing/disagreeing, point of viewing, having a position and experiencing.

September 9, 2012

Dr. Daniel Kahneman is the only behavioural psychologist that ever received the Nobel prise in economics, triggering jealousy, anxiety, rejection of psychological research and out right animosity among most classical economists.  He received the Nobel prize in economics for his research finding that humans do not usually make logical or rational decisions in business and investing, even court decisions are flawed! Humans are emotional. Most of their decisions are heuristic (System 1), but those who make decisions based on science and statistics (System 2) are usually more moral, fair and successful.

I drove home an hour ago from my usual Sunday meeting discussing the Jewish world. My friend John and I disagreed on a political issue. Our friend  Jerry turned to us and said, “This is the first time that I see you two disagree on anything.” I decided to post the scientific and statistical truth about human disagreements. For 10,000 years people went to war with each other because of disagreements. Today, friends split and families break up because of disagreements. I hope that after you read this important scientific posting, you will understand what geneticists call the evolutionary flaw of human perception, ie., that each mind’s hardware thinks that its observation is the observation. I am guilty of it, you are guilty of it, we all are guilty of it. We can’t help it (its genetic), but once we understand perception mathematically we become more tolerant of other points of viewing a phenomenon.

Let us begin to understand Kahneman behavioural genius:

Draw a perfect circle and count the equal number of degrees of freedom on the curved line: 360 degrees? 385%? 34%? How many degrees? Each of these 360 equal positions on the circle line has an equal distance to the center of the circle where you place a phenomenon to be observed and judged (if your life is 100% heuristic you lose perspective of mathematical reality. The extreme manifestation of distorted perception of reality is when a weak person or nation declares war on a strong person or nation with the hope to win (watch the play the mouse that roared), knowing that he is going to lose. A mild manifestation of distorted perception of reality is when a husband picks up a verbal fight with his wife believing he would win…ha, ha, ha). Here is an example from my life: My Catholic friend believes that abortion is murder. I don’t. System 2 would say that he observes the phenomenon from one side of the circle and I observe it from the opposite side. If he convinces me that he is right…I will have to move on the circle, replace the dude and take his position (a degree cannot be split. You can’t have 361 degrees unless you are heuristic). My response to people on the other side of the circle from me is usually, “Would you like a cup of coffee or tea? How is your mom? Hey, what’s happening in Timbuktu?” (called the inappropriate response in psychology). Try it you’d like it. It will keep you out of trouble, free your time  and keep you living in the truth (System 2). The only way to know the center of the circle is not to argue about it but to move in and experience it. 1980: an EST workshop with Werner Erhard in San Francisco, a participant asked  “What’s a tree.” Werner took him by the hand and they walked outside and hugged a tree. It blew my mind away when they returned and he opened a book and said, “and now let’s learn the concept “tree.” I have been hugging a lot of things ever since, ha, ha, ha.

OBAMA OR ROMNEY: IS THAT ALL we GOT?

September 8, 2012

Yes, these are the only two choices you have in November. Yes, I know, most of you will vote for Obama. That’s because you didn’t read my books the psychology of investing during the chaotic Obama years that came out last year and the psychology of investing: how to play the game and win that came out the first year of the Obama presidency. Some of you will vote for Romney – for the same reason. You didn’t read my two books. Listen, you are smart, you know that I am not trying to sell books. Most well-known American psychologists have plenty of money. Then why am I promoting my books? The ideas, my friend, the simple ideas how to renew America that neither Obama nor Romney would ever think about… not because they are stupid, not at all, politicians who get to run for president are not stupid. Then, are the people who voters for them stupid? No. They are uninformed. They read the wrong books and listen to – CNN! What are some of my great ideas?

I will give you one, a big one: I taught psychology at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, California for 26 years. I know the ins and outs of community college education. I got my start as an immigrant in 1964 at Los Angeles Community College, then UCLA and Finally USC. Let me tell you, dude, if you don’t have enough money or you have a lousy job or you are unemployed, get your butt on the bus and ride to your nearest community college. Walk in to the  counseling office and financial aid. Take an occupational preference test. You do it right now and do it right and you may become a millionaire around BOOM age – becoming your own man! If you are a female student, call the department of education and ask them to change BOOM to BOOP – becoming your own person! Get going, man or woman, get going. Now, what has this got to do with Obama or Romney? Read my books to find out that the job of a president when unemployment is high because jobs are shifted overseas is to set up a White House Educational Commission (WHEC) to study how to train or retrain the unemployed in new trade skills, high-tech and entrepreneurial skills. Obama didn’t do that and Romney doesn’t even know what I am talking about. Well, go vote on November 3rd. One way or another the American dream will continue to be a reality for immigrants like me, but, what a shame, it could have been a reality for every one. I truly care about you.

On a second thought, I’m not sure the American dream could be a reality for everyone. Dr. Abraham Maslow, the great social psychologist, points out in my psychology textbook that people who strongly identify with their culture can “rise only as high as their culture let them rise.” I know, I make you think about heavy stuff. Enjoy! You deserve the best. If you are poor, get your butt on the bus and… (you know the rest)!

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney: Grades C, D and F.

September 7, 2012

My opinion: Twelve years ago you elect George Bush your president. He spends your money and blood to install a “democratic” dictatorship in Iraq that support a next door pre-nuclear Iran (both Shia). Then he borrows money from your future to fight a war in Afghanistan that isn’t making us more secure. He installs third grade classical economic advisers at home that don’t know how to prevent the 2008 recession except by borrowing more of your money to bail out inefficient industries. Then, he leaves the WH and leaves the mess to president Obama to fix. Four years ago you elect Barack Obama as your president with that promise. He continues to spend your money to strengthen the “democratic” dictatorship in Iraq. He brings the troops home and let the Iraqi Sunni and Shia kill each other rather than kill Americans. Now Obama is trying to install a “democratic” dictatorship in Afghanistan so he can bring the American troops home next year and let Pakistanis in hoping that they won’t all kill each other. Then at home, Obama installs the same third grade classical economists that didn’t know how to prevent the 2008 recession – fix it. He starts spending even more of your money than president Bush did.  As a college professor I know how to grade performance. F for Romney and his Republican ideas, D for Obama for his first four years in the WH and C for his next four years in the WH.

Why C and not another D for Obama? Well, something very painful will happen the next four years that I don’t dare tell you about and have you roll your eyes! Wait for president Obama’s unexpected performance during the coming global post-deluvian crisis to know why I changed his grade from a D to a C.  Let me create a story to explain the behavior of Barack and Mitt. Imagine a Biblical flood seen on the horizon. Noah is building an Ark. There are two outside groups watching and laughing, both don’t believe a deluge is coming. Then the flood starts and Noah’s Ark sails away. The Democrats run up Capitol Hill and start building Ark-II. The Republicans stay foot and say the flood will soon stop, so  they build small boats just in case. Noah opens the window after 40 days and sees only Ark-II floating near by. He invites the Democrats into the Ark to celebrate survival and freedom. They have a party. If you know who is Noah in my allegorical story you are very perceptive! Have fun!