The Proper and Improper Role of Government – Chapter 5: Socialism, Communism, Capitalism, and Envy

Bird of PreyAs a kid, the USSR loomed as an ever-present force that could at anytime wipe America off the map with a pre-emptive nuclear strike.  Of course, America would retaliate with nuclear weapons, and this would create MAD or “mutually assured destruction.”  People understood MAD was bad, but the communists among us were more insidious about portraying communism.  The news media showed bread lines, soap lines, and the bitter pictures of enslavement under communism.  Thus, socialism was the way to go, and the communists were selling socialism as the better way to government.

Except, socialism is communism light, and when the socialists run out of other people’s money, communism takes over.  All because under capitalism, the results of one’s choices and consequences are harsh and cannot be hidden. Those preaching socialism and communism were envious of the capitalists who achieved and wanted what others possessed but without the hard work required to obtain benefits.

One other reality is critical to understanding the role of socialism; there is an axiom that states something like, “today’s students are tomorrow’s government policymakers.”  This is precisely what has happened; the students of the 1960s are now setters of government policy, holding onto the reigns of power through sheer willpower, to see America die before they do.  Socialism has been taught in the classrooms of government-mandated schools since the early 1900s to purposefully bring down the liberty and freedoms of the citizens of every representative government, out of envy for those in power in communist countries.  Refusing to believe that under communism, less than .01% are powerful, rich, and mighty, whereas everyone else suffers, grovels, and struggles!Plato 3

Socialism, Communism, and Capitalism – Detailed for understanding.

What is communism?  Webster relates that communism is “A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which the people equally share all goods.”  Except, everywhere communism has been tried, one-party rule leads to sycophants and ideologues ruling and taking what they want, while everyone else suffers, held in power by hired guns.  Cuba was an incredible island nation, then Fidel Castro came along, and now Cuba is a cesspool of suffering, misery, and stagnation.  Venezuela used to be the crown jewel of South America; now, it is a war zone, a catastrophe, and a pit of wasted potential.  Czarist Russia was no picnic, but it was much greater than the vulture of communism that feasted on the body of Czarist Russia while it poisoned the world.  China before communism was enlightened, capable, able, and has joined the ranks of failed communist planning and operations.Plato 2

What is socialism?  Socialism is defined in Webster as “Any of [the] various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.”  As well as, “The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which the means of production are collectively owned, but an utterly classless society has not yet been achieved.”  Is the connection clear as to why socialism is referred to as “communism light?”

One last point about socialism, “legislation intended to improve the condition of the working-man. Among the measures include the insurance of workmen against accident, sickness, and old age, and the establishment of cooperative associations under state protection.”  Envy of other countries having benefits has caused legislation that never should have happened in America and many other representative governments due to costs, loss of liberty and freedom, and the destruction of fundamental processes in the “Rule of Law.”  How expensive has unemployment insurance been in non-monetary costs?  Jobs have been lost forever, the expense of hiring has pushed jobs out of America, the expense has reduced wages of those lucky enough to be hired, but the growth of government and the millstone of bureaucrats has cost more than money, we have lost liberty, freedom, and potential.The Duty of Americans

What is capitalism?  The common definition of capitalism in Webster states capitalism is “An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned, and development occurs through the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.”  Webster’s dictionary has come under the same influence of plastic words and liberal ideology.  Webster also defines capitalism as “The concentration or massing of capital in the hands of a few; also, the power or influence of large or combined capital.”  Do a few condense capital; yes, no doubt.  Except, when there is less government, and people keep their envy to themselves, capitalism brings the most freedom to the most people better than any other form of government attempted in human history.  So, while capitalism has its faults, which are legion, capitalism is not the problem as it embraces private property ownership.  Private property ownership is freedom from government oppression!Patriotism

Please note, it is entirely acceptable to reach a level of financial comfort, look around, see suffering, and want to aid in the relief of suffering.  This is a good thing and expected in a capitalistic system.  Those paying for the relief of suffering are not government officials hired through forced taxation.  In a socialized system, the money is stolen, legally, through forced taxation, then handed freely to those suffering, with several cuts made for wages and benefits of the workers doling out other people’s money.  In a communist system, political leaders get fat and enjoy all the benefits, while everyone else suffers without relief.  Yet, too many people would see you in a communist system and suffer, for there is no envy.  If you believe that, I have a gravity-resistant bridge to the moon for you to buy.

Envy

Social Justice Warriors 4Envy has been one of the seven deadliest sins for a reason; it breeds violence and discontent.  Webster shines a light on envy describing it this way, “A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.”  Fear is disgust and envy paired for the weak to overcome the powerful.  The disease of envy includes admiration, jealousy, discontent, disbelief, lies, and a host of emotions that overwhelm a person’s mind to the point where they become irrational and hostile.  Another resource claims envy (from Latin invidia) is an emotion that occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desire it or wishes that the other lacked it. Aristotle defined envy as pain at the sight of another’s good fortune, stirred by “those who have what we ought to have.”

While academics continue to split hairs between jealousy and envy and strive to create more distinctions, what has been described regarding envy is sufficient for my purposes.  The purpose of discussing envy is to aid in clearing the confusion surrounding envious people who have a modicum of power, as they perceive it, and then abuse that power for their own benefit.  For example, Trump Derangement Syndrom (TDS) was already a disease long before President Trump left the private sector for the political arena.  TDS remains rooted in envious people acting violently, abusing power, and acting unethically and immorally because of the envy they feel for President Trump’s success.Social Justice Warrior 3

Consider Speaker Pelosi (D), who ripped her copy of President Trump’s State of the Union speech up in front of cameras.  She was jealous; her pride was hurt, and she felt envious and lacked a weapon to harm the president, so she acted immaturely and disrespected the sitting president.  All this because, at heart, Speaker Pelosi (D) is nothing but a shallow and useless person, stuck in Congress and hating every minute of her tenure there because she could not obtain a higher office.  She is envious of the Americans she despises and works 24/7/365 to destroy America, all because of her envy of other people’s success.

Social justice warriors, including President Obama, are full of envy and do everything they can to obtain revenge for self-inflicted wrongs.  Envious people hate consequences for the choices they make.  Envious people turn to drugs, alcohol, and other forms of self-medication, which in turn makes their self-loathing and self-hate worse.  Then, these same envious people curse the success of others while demanding that someone else pay for the help they need to overcome their self-inflicted consequences.Social Justice Warrior 2

I recently talked to a gentleman who was severely upset that democrats stole the 2020 elections, stuffing ballot boxes, allowing illegal immigration, and a host of other crimes that occur for votes.  While I can understand his distress, he was envious of a political party for their success at suborning American Law.  He left the conversation mad because he could not understand the role of envy in himself and what he was observing in others.  Worse, the belief that justice and mercy are alive keeps him from acting to help change the situation, shift the paradigm, and improve the problems he mentioned to a solution.  Envy captures the mind, placing shades and shutters over logic while unlocking emotion, many times without the person realizing what is occurring until that mind is chained in the captivity of envy.

IronyThere is a reason why envy is a deadly sin in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, mentioned in all the ancient books as a problem, and continues to infect people who refuse to learn.  Unbridled emotions are captivity, not freedom!  There is danger in the extremes of everything.  Envy is in the extremes and imitates a minimal issue to capture the mind and control the person.  Consider this, capitalism is the best, and envious people implement socialism to chain capitalism while rooting for communism to come in a takeover, thinking they will be better off and the “rich will finally pay their fair share.”  Reality is always disappointing for envious people, and the result will be that everyone detests them when their plans come to fruition.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Let’s Stop Being Afraid of Language – Communication and Freedom Lessons From Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Broken RobotCommunication presentation is the careful and concise logic behind selecting words to communicate an idea—the rules of grammar and punctuation aid in communicating correctly to enhance the sense and communicate the vision.  Language is a grand and glorious tool for sharing ideas, empowering motivation, and building ideas into action items.  Yet, for some reason, words have become cheapened by political positions, and I would see this trend cease forthwith.  Presenting the first and second principles of language and communication:

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Consider two emails; the content is identical, the first is titled:

How To Learn and Master Things Faster – Five Tips

The second email was received later in the day and is titled:

How To Learn and Excel At Things Faster – Five Tips

The second email also came with an apology:

Apologies for churn. The original email today used a non-inclusive word in the header. We apologize for this error and are re-sending with the corrected content.

The content of the email did not change at all, only the titles changed, and the apology suggests that there is a “non-inclusive” word in the original title.  Some people will erroneously claim that the term master is automatically a negative term and base that assumption upon slavery, especially with Juneteenth celebrations abounding this weekend.  Except, master and mastery are not negative terms.

Knowledge Check!As a point of reference, a male teacher is a master.  There are master degrees; master also appears in religious texts as an honorific.  A master can be a highly accomplished person in a trade or craft, or a role model from history.  One having authority over another to force compulsion is much lower in the definition lists.  Hence, the wordsmithing for “inclusion” is a myth; yet the fear of potentially appearing to be exclusive forced the title change in this email and was 100% wrong!

We must never forget the following:

My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. [emphasis mine].

The fear of thought police drives a lot of other problems in society.  Choose the wrong word on an advertisement, and college children (thought terrorists) have been known to storm the business, ruin patronage, anger the entire community, and force the business closure.  All because they presume the mantle of “Master of Thought Police.”  Who gave them this authority?  Where are their charter, endowment, and power originating from?  Who granted permission; this last one is easy; the license to become a terrorist was self-assumed!  Necessitating the following principle:

The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable. To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily also deprives others of the right to listen to those views.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.Social Justice Warrior

Please note, I am not against wordsmithing to increase the potential power of communication to reach an audience.  Nor am I against the careful selection of words to provide clear context and empower a collective message through editing.  I will certainly not be upset because someone chooses one word in a message that I might not have used had I been in their shoes.  Why have we, the adults in society, allowed the children in the community to act like spoiled brats and create fear and division over word selection and placement in a message?

The following two quotes contain more than simple support for the principles of communicating but reflect how those principles of freedom and communication operate in society.

If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Certitude leads to violence. This is a proposition that has an easy application and a difficult one. The easy application is to ideologues, dogmatists, and bullies–people who think that their rightness justifies them in imposing on anyone who does not happen to subscribe to their particular ideology, dogma, or notion of turf. If the conviction of rightness is powerful enough, resistance to it will be met, sooner or later by force. There are people like this in every sphere of life, and it is natural to feel that the world would be a better place without them!” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. [emphasis mine]

QuestionIs the fear of the mob so significant that even without a mob, fear is spread, risks must be avoided proactively, and thoughts curtailed?  I say NO!  I defy the entire argument that word selection can cause exclusion.  Why; because understanding is a choice!  The only person who can choose to be insulted over a word is you!  You own the emotions of the moment, and your emotional choices are not my concern!  Do we understand this concept?

Audience selection is the first job in designing communication.  Identifying the primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences is the job of the communication initiator.  After drafting that message and sending the ideas out, the audience is left to choose what they do moving forward.  How you choose is your power, and I am not responsible for your choices.  The communication initiator is not accountable for your preferences and selections.

Andragogy - LEARNBut what about those messages specifically designed to inflame, insult, denigrate, and deride?  What changed?  Nothing!  The communication initiator desired to rile the primary audience, deny them this power over you, choose different emotions, and retain the moral high ground.  The best response to a communication initiator who wants to rule your emotions is to deny them that power, and then that person goes away as irrelevant.

Opposing thoughts expand our minds with both experience and the force to make a decision.  If all we ever experienced were ideas and thoughts we agreed with, change, growth, opinion, all the spice of life would be lost.  Worse, envy would overcome logic, and the world would undoubtedly be a more violent place as a result.

I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy – I don’t disparage envy, but I don’t accept it as legitimately my master.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.Social Justice Warrior 3

Is the ability to choose emotional reasoning supported sufficiently to empower you?  One of the great tragedies of life, since the 1960s, has been the call for “equality” when the worship of envy was the actual message.  Worse, these ideas have been planted and carefully tended, and the fruit is poison.  When I moved to the western US as a kid, I was introduced to cedar trees for the first time.  A cedar tree is the place of choice for pregnant animals to have their offspring, as the cedar slowly transforms the ground under it into a sterile environment.  The air is affected, the earth is involved, and the grove of cedar trees holds tremendous power for generations inside the forest of cedar trees.  The cedar tree is an excellent example of the power of envy worship.  Call envy equality if you prefer, but the fruit will kill and poison the minds of those choosing to plant the seeds for generations.

Taking the concepts into the final thought:

Liberty is often a heavy burden on a man. It involves the necessity for perpetual choice, which is the kind of labor men have always dreaded.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. [emphasis mine].

Calvin & Hobbes - EnmityLike the expanded mind, choice leads to decisions, decision spurs action, and action will result in consequences.  How you perceive the effects will drive the next series of choices, decisions, activities, and consequences.  Liberty and freedom allow us the glory and the horror of choice and consequence.  Thus, I plead with you, stop allowing your emotional decisions to be controlled by others!  Cease the turmoil over language, speak simply, communicate clearly, and then rest knowing you have not intentionally caused harm.  The audience is left to choose, and if they choose to be offended, those are not your consequences to suffer!

Reason may be the lever, but sentiment gives you the fulcrum and the place to stand on if you want to move the world.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Indifference

Sympathy v Empathy v ApathyMilitary commanders are taught there are two great sins in planning operations; one is waiting, and predictability and the other is indifference.  Today, business leaders are instructed well by academics about the problems with waiting to make a decision, failing to act, and the costs of blown opportunities from taking too long to make a decision.  But few have ever considered the costs of indifference.  I intend to close this gap in education, using some recent examples and some history to reflect why indifference is a corrosive acid on the souls of men.

Indifference

Indifference is all about a lack of interest, not having or showing concern, and refusing sympathy.  Webster has also referred to indifference as unimportant.  When discussing the sympathetic aspects of indifference, please remember, sympathy is part of the emotions of ruination.  Many people continue to become lost in showing empathy and sympathy when choosing not to emote or become involved in the feelings of others is a better course of action.  Lacking sympathy might not be a terrible thing in a particular circumstance and does not reflect indifference.

What is the distinction between choosing not to emote and indifference?

Not Passion's Slave - Emotions and ChoiceLet’s take Robert Solomon’s position that emotions are a choice, a judgment, and a social event. Indifference is not distinguishable from other emotions and remains a choice, a judgment, or a social event.  Except one is not left trying to distinguish between indifference as emotion and indifference as lacking interest or caring.  More to the point, if indifference was simply an emotion to choose, then indifference is apathy, and apathy is another emotion on the path to ruination.

Hence, there must be more to the concept of indifference to make the separation between indifference as emotion and indifference as an action.  Let us pause here for a moment mentally and keep one principle firmly in mind, indifference, or the activities that reflect indifference, are a choice, a decision, and judgment about the social situation.  Choices have natural consequences that cannot be escaped.  The consequences of choosing indifference cannot always be controlled or directly understood as lines of congruence from the choice of indifference to the consequences of indifference.  These principles remain valid for all emotional choices expressed by humans.  Worse, the valuation of the consequences can vary wildly from person to person, creating additional consequences that snowball into major social events quickly.

Emtional Investment CycleSolomon makes a classic point in tying indifference to defensive mechanisms used in choosing emotional interactions for social situations.  Indifference can reflect envy, resentment, hate, disdain, and the “opposite” of these emotions: love and respect—indifference embodying the individual’s psyche through emotional choices.  When angry, frustrated, or time-pressured, how many times has the words “I don’t care” slipped out as the position when at another time the decision would not have been indifferent?  Is the defensive aspect clear?

Please note, when using the term opposite, I am trying to be easily understood.  The problem when discussing emotions is that there are no clear-cut opposites to emotions.  For example, the opposite of light is dark; but light shades include darkness to set emotional states or moods.  Opposite always depends upon the context, e.g., the social situation of human interactions.  Another aspect of emotions is the transformation from one to another, the speed of transformation, and the social context forcing a change.  Thus, making distinctions between emotions remains ambiguous and always will depend upon context and the social environment.Apathy

Finally, please remember that positive and negative are valuations of consequences, not emotional choices.  The emotional choice will have consequences, and the social situation, the judgment, and the choice will be reflected in the consequences experienced.  The emotion itself cannot be judged without the consequences, and the valuation of the consequences is deeply personal.  Hence trying to characterize an emotion is simpleminded and detrimental to all aspects of emotional valuation.  The emotion cannot be evaluated or valued, but the consequences from that emotional choice must be considered and given value.  Does this make sense?

People seeking to control social situations employ emotional sophistry to plasticize the emotion and the consequence into weapons to force those they select to either come closer or move further away.  Where indifference is concerned, the aspects of defense remain the most influential aspect of emotional choices leading to action.  The cost and constraint of emotion are all found in the consequences of that emotional choice and social environment.  Defense mechanisms work to protect, but as the axiom goes, a good defense is supported by a good offense.  The best defensive drivers drive offensively and defensively, balancing the offense and defense to protect themselves, as a continuous string of decisions while driving.Plato 3

I realize this was a long explanation, but understanding the consequences of choosing to emote, choosing to be indifferent as a defensive position, and employing other emotions in social environments to judge others, are all connected emotionally speaking.  Remaining interconnected and the failure to describe these relationships does not produce the understanding for evaluating the situations around us properly.  Let me be clear, the difference between choosing to emote and indifference is the defensive aspect of indifference when applied to a social situation.

Indifference in Action

Consider the teenager who, when given a choice, screams, “I don’t care.”  When they calm down, who will care a great deal but are stuck inside their choice and consequence cycle because they chose to defend when they needed a different emotional response to a particular situation?  My wife, when we got married, discussed how to decorate the home.  I decided that the home looks and the decorations making a house a home were beyond my purview, realizing I have no taste in furnishings and am happy with bare essentials.  This decision has aggravated and grated on my wife for our entire marriage (20+ years), but I refuse to budge.Plato 2

I am not indifferent to what the house looks like, but I have no interest in the minutia of decorations and decorating.  Hence, my simplicity is not indifference, as my wife has judged, but a recognition that there are more important aspects to life than choosing colors and styles of curtains, where furniture goes, or how to light a room.  My consequence has been that sometimes I might not like her ideas but live with them due to the consequences of my choice to stay out of decorating decisions entirely.  I have also had to move furniture I did not particularly like because she prefers a style and shape.  My decision has also led to a host of other consequences.  Since I refuse to budge on helping to decorate, I remain indifferent to how the house looks and push all credit onto her while accepting the blame for anything out of place or undesired in her home.

WhyPublic examples of indifference abound; one of the most obvious was the Beer Summit.  President Obama’s indifference to police officers during the Henry Louis Gates arrest debacle in July 2009 reflected poorly in a socially political aspect for all his faults and all his other decisions.  Thus the “Beer Summit” was held to improve the appearances of indifference towards police by the sitting US President.  Except, the “Beer Summit” was as empty as the calories of the beer consumed for the next time a police controversy arose, the sitting US President went out of his way to blame police before all the facts were known.  Leading to the question, what is President Obama defending by showing indifference to police officers?

Another aspect of indifference has been the Federal Response to individual states legalizing cannabis, a trend that took off under President Obama.  The executive in charge, the sitting US President, reflected indifference towards states broadening the “state-approved legal” use of cannabis.  Was the sitting president indifferent due to a defensive position due to his history of drug use?  Are the stories true that President Obama smoked cannabis in the White House?  Is there a connection between indifference showed by the US President and the rise of states legalizing cannabis?

Question 3President Trump was criticized for caring too much about war zones and problems outside the United States, while the infrastructure crumbled and the poor suffered.  President Obama was criticized for his refusals to enforce “Red Lines” being crossed with impunity and where internationally illegal weapons of mass destruction were employed.  Which one was a reflection of indifference?  Why?  I am not getting into political discussions here; the topic is indifference, and recognizing indifference and the consequence from indifferent actions remains crucial to improving decision-making.  Both presidents inherited situations where American Troops were in harm’s way, and these troop conditions rightly took priority in decision-making short and long-term.  Yet, which president was indifferent?  Why?  Does indifference change solely because of political leanings?  Why?

President Biden was criticized for being indifferent to National Guard Troops sleeping in parking garages during his ascension and confirmation as US President in January and February 2021.  When the political appearances could no longer be sidestepped, token measures were taken to improve troop comforts.  What is President Biden defending where US Troops in the US Capitol are concerned?

Knowledge Check!Indifference surrounds us in every social situation, every day.  Do we understand the role indifference is currently playing in obstructing development, hampering growth, and destroying lives?  Since Feb. 2020, the globe has witnessed governments running away with stealing freedoms and liberties from the citizenry, issuing mandates and restrictions without due process, all because of a “health emergency.”  The indifference to science by the politicians stealing liberty has been deafening.  The indifference to the citizenry and the judiciary has also been deafening.  To fight indifference, we must first understand what we are witnessing and then address that indifference at the source.  We must realize our own indifference and determine why before we can begin to understand the larger applications of indifference and force change.

Reference

Solomon, R. C. (2007). Not passion’s slave: Emotions and choice [Kindle 6]. Buy your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Not-Passions-Slave-Emotions-Passionate/dp/0195179781

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Apathy, Empathy, and Sympathy – Chapter 2

Never Give Up!It never seems to change; the powers that think they run the world want everyone drinking the Kool-Aid of emotional entanglement.  August 2020, I wrote the first chapter on apathy, empathy, and sympathy; unfortunately, the events of this past week have shown that a return to this topic is both necessary and urgently needed.  What worries me is that too many still feel they must share emotions to prove their care towards something or someone else, an idea that is 100% false!

What is Apathy?

ApathyApathy is all about a lack of enthused concern.  Being apathetic is a choice to show no concern, emotional connection to an issue, or interest.  The choice to be apathetic is personal and does not indicate that a person is heartless; simply that the person being apathetic is making different choices where emotion is concerned on a topic.  Choosing a different emotional response to a situation is a good thing and reflects intelligence in understanding emotional pitfalls and emotional problems leading to problems and chaos.

What is Empathy?

Empathy v ApathyEmpathy, of all the emotional pitfalls, empathy is the most devious of this list’s emotional responses.  Empathy is all about acting like you understand another person’s emotions, and you have a personal desire to share those emotions.  Empathy is fake; empathy is a choice one exercises in the attempt to control a person or situation through emotion.  Being empathetic is a skill set learned as a manner of defense or, for the more nefarious, to control others.  Empathy is nothing more than faking concern.  By encouraging empathy, a person with authority is looking to steal control over enough people to contain a group through that group’s emotional connections.  By choosing to be empathetic, control over the cognizant emotional choices is given away to someone else for momentary social gains.  Shift the social environment even slightly, and empathy becomes foolish.  Still, people will continue to look for something to emote about, even after being caught feeling ridiculous about being empathetic for social gain.

What is Sympathy?

Sympathy v Empathy v ApathySympathy is a process of coming to a common feeling in a social setting or group.  The emotional pathway journeyed by people or groups to feel the same emotions for someone else’s emotional state.  Sympathy is the most dangerous of the emotional tools on this list, not for the one experiencing the sorrow or misfortune, but for those who jump in with the person feeling the sadness or experiencing adversity.  Understand, the sympathetic person attracts other sympathetic people, like moths to a flame or lemmings to a cliff.  I have met people who were so sympathetic with another person in my travels that they thought they had contracted cancer, become pregnant, or had an addiction to dangerous drugs.

Examples of runaway emotional hysteria.

Detective 4The 800#-Gorilla in the news is COVID-19; the corporate media is using sympathy and empathy to garner support for the government to continue the lockdowns, the mask mandates, the economic decline, and to refuse and refute those governors in the U.S. who want to return to business as usual pre-COVID.  Sympathy for the dead, empathy for the families left behind, sympathy for those in hospitals, empathy for those first responders struggling with COVID cases, and so much more.  The logic is never equal to the emotional marionette strings, and heaven forbid someone approaches the media with facts.  Want more proof that the media is only interested in the emotional gamesmanship of sympathy and empathy; look to historical records of Ebola in the US, Swine-flu, Avian-Flu, SARS, MERS, annual flu outbreaks, and other viral outbreaks.  You will find headlines blaring a need to sympathize, empathize, and emote in a specified manner, or you are considered heartless, uncaring, and a host of -isms that make no sense, except to those demanding an emotional response.

Consider the “influencer culture” that has gripped the world for more than two decades as social media has swept the world.  In case you missed the definition of “influencer culture,” it is all about people with above-average influence on an audience.  The best influencers have built their reputation online for being an expert in some particular niche or are cashing in on their popularity through sports, politics, or Hollywood. They are similar to key opinion leaders but usually have gained their reputation more informally through their online activity.  Consider the emotional diatribes regarding Lady Gaga’s dogs being stolen.  Heck, I don’t even know who or what a “Lady Gaga” is, but I know a dog theft is not that big a news item.  Yet, how many days has your newsfeed been filled with this story?  Worse, BBC and Time have run follow-on stories about dog thefts and tried to raise “public awareness” of a problem, demanding empathy and sympathy from the audience due to influencer culture.

Baby Blues - Good AnswerI saw a headline in my newsfeed that had me laughing, “What the U.S. owes Iran?” authored by Ryan Cooper.  My answer was first a low-yield nuclear bomb, at about 150’-agl, and a smile!  My second answer is not fit to print.  My third and fourth answers were similar, but to have the author advocating for the fraudulent President Biden to “budge first” was an absolute farce!  Still, even on this topic, the author begs the audience to have sympathy and empathy for Iran’s citizens and political structure before America and the rest of the world, who have been victims of Iran’s tyranny and terrorism over the last several decades.  Is the pattern clear; when emotions of empathy and sympathy override common-sense and logic, control of the audience is no longer individually held but collectively controlled.

ParadoxMy newsfeed has been clogged by some spoiled brats who fled a palace in the United Kingdom for fame and fortune in America and some stupid interview with Oprah.  Beyond that, I have no clue what their pampered beef is and could care less.  Yet, this entire week has been filled with demands from the crown for sympathy and empathy, cries for sympathy, and empathy for the runaway pampered couple in California.  As well as cries for Oprah who is not a big enough girl to stand criticizing memes and people who use her as a meme are “digital blackfacing.”  Digital blackfacing, what a plastic term of useless indignation which is masquerading as a call for sympathy and empathy.

How do people move forward?

The following are suggestions; I employ them for my own sanity.  I make my own choices and live with the consequences, and I urge you to consider the same:

      1. Restrict the media flow into your life. I do not watch TV, listen to the radio, or allow any specific corporate media channel to infest my digital devices or computer.  I have five specific news provider applications, but it has taken a lot of time and effort to stop being a news junkie!Not Passion's Slave - Emotions and Choice
      2. Robert Solomon wrote, “Not Passion’s Slave: Emotions and Choice.” Make some time to read this book.  I am not saying everyone has to follow everything Solomon claims; I am saying that being more informed about the role of emotions and conscious choices is empowering, sanctioning, and liberating.Emtional Investment Cycle
      3. Are you aware of your emotional investments? I have two people I respect, but they hold opposing views and emotional investments.  Both have grown children, but one allows their children space to act as independent agents.  The other tries to be a helicopter parent for the kids who now have kids.  Worse, the helicopter parent cannot catch the hint that the kids do not want anything to do with their parent.  The helicopter parent is so emotionally involved that they have physical health problems from the emotional wasteland’s stress and anxiety between the kids and the parent.  Thus, I ask, do you know where your emotional investments are?  What is your return on investment for emotionally investing?

Image - Eagle & FlagI promise as you review and reduce your emotional investments, you will experience a feeling of liberation like you have never known before.  Stress levels drop, time becomes available for other activities, and a more conscious choice of emotional investing makes you a better person to be around.  Stop giving away your emotional liberty to those who would control and destroy you, be they children, friends, employment, media, politics, etc.; you can be free of emotional chains.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

For Those Confused: The Emotional Intelligence Farce!

Logo 3A colleague and I were recently discussing how emotional intelligence has taken over as a phrase with power but lacking definition, clarity, organization, and foundational logic.  Included below is my answer to my colleague and some thoughts on avoiding the constant maelstrom of business jargon passed around as useful tools for management.

In the world of business today, many people remain confused by current ‘buzz words,’ ‘jargon,’ and flat out misnomers fulfilling Rand’s description of “mental disintegration” (Locke, 2005, p. 430).  One of the most popular ‘buzz words’ in today’s business environment is ‘Emotional Intelligence (EI).’  Which in itself is both a misnomer and a confusion generator, where even professional researchers cannot pin down a definitive definition of ‘EI.’  Many of the descriptions about EI dwell upon variables that cannot be controlled by an individual, namely, the emotions of those people surrounding the problem.  The definitions purport the claim that a prediction of other people’s emotional reactions can occur through knowing one’s own emotional responses.

Not Passion's Slave - Emotions and ChoiceMany of the explanations for EI support the claim that improved leadership occurs as a result of conquering one’s emotional decisions.  Several of the definitions go so far as to promote that improved emotional control mitigates problems.  Concluding that if everyone were trained in emotional understanding, the world would be more productive.  What all of these definitions have in common is the assertion that emotions can be chosen (Solomon, 2003).  All the while castigating, Solomon (2003) who insisted that emotions are a choice, a judgment, and connected to social variables based upon historical interactions.  What is missing is the value of choosing emotions as a logical process in evaluating the problem socially and the consequences of acting emotionally when logic would be preferred.

Locke (2005) reported the continuing shift of researchers developing a new definitive definition for the same biological process of emotionally reviewing a problem, analyzing the variables, making decisions based upon the data discovered, and calling this emotional intelligence.  Thus, the question arises, what does emotional intelligence mean?  More specifically, can EI be measured and quantified without a definitive definition?  Finally, is emotional intelligence even worth studying, or learning, when, as a misnomer, the biological process of intelligence works best without emotion to clutter the mental landscape required to consider variables and make decisions rationally in a social context like employment situations?

ToolsHence the conclusion that emotional intelligence is a misnomer and the process currently labeled as ‘emotional intelligence’ is nothing more than intelligence being confused with emotions (Antonakis, Ashkanasy, & Dasborough 2005; Locke, 2005).  Antonakis, et al. (2009) and Locke (2005), both of whom supported the claim that emotional intelligence is a confusion of intelligence with emotions that creates chaos when applied together, supports the conclusion that emotional intelligence does not work as a concept. Thus, in employees’ identity transformation, using any emotional intelligence model remains wasted time and energy for the business leader already stretched thin on resources.

Breaking down the term emotional intelligence is key to understanding why Locke (2005) aptly calls emotional intelligence a misnomer. Emotion is a choice an individual makes as a response to social situations, their relationship to the environment, and a conscious decision for a response, as Solomon (2003) detailed.  The author described the mental and emotional choice relationship extensively, and Solomon (2003) is highly recommended for the business leader to read and understand. Smollan and Parry (2011) enhanced the emotion as a choice discussion in elaborating upon followers’ emotional responses to leaders in change management.  Inherent to the research of Smollan and Parry (2011) is that emotions do not affect intelligence.

Empathy v ApathyLewis (2000) and Van Kleef, Homan, Beersma, and van Knippenberg (2010) completed research where emotions of a negative type were selected and employed, then measuring the motivation and influence upon the team members were measured.  The study reflects similar conclusions and supports Solomon’s (2003) position that emotions are a choice and that emotional inclusion in a situation does not influence the intelligence of those involved, even though the followers’ emotional decisions are recognized as pieces to the social environment and relationship in small teams.  Neither Lewis (2000) or Van Kleef, et al. (2010) investigated the social connections between follower’s emotional response choices and the emotions in the situation, even though social interactions do influence emotional choices (Solomon, 2003).

Before discussing intelligence, Yalom (1980) adds a key variable to the discussion of the transformation of identity and small group development, individual agency, or the power of an agent to choose cognizantly, their response to external and internal stimuli, and environments. Boler (1968), regarded as the seminal authority on the understanding and application of agency, concluded that agency is a concept, and the need for people to have choices free of external influences and agency’s motivational power without control to spur production to greater heights. When people feel their choices are honored, that person, acting as an agent, will work harder to reflect their desires to be of worth to another entity.  Essentially, when I, as a leader, provide members of teams the ability to choose, they work harder and smarter as an extension of their agentic choices.  Naturally, they will decide that which empowers them and the team, and the team builds cohesion faster, all because of individual agency, not emotional intelligence mine or theirs.  Thus, the second part of this discussion becomes apparent; there is no need for an emotional intelligence model or emotional intelligence competency in the identity transformation process when agents are provided the ability to choose, without undue influence, the direction they individually want to travel.

Emotional OutburstAccording to APA.org (2018), intelligence is nothing other than the functioning of the intellect an individual possesses.  APA.org (2018) discusses how to compete more effectively through proper sleep, diet, education, etc., in intelligent functions; apparently, feeding the brain improves how the brain functions, thus increasing intelligence opportunities and competitive skills against others on an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) standardized test.  Locke (2005) explored the intelligence side of the misnomer emotional intelligence, further supporting that an individual’s intelligence, even if focused just on emotional responses, cannot and should not measure the intelligence of the individuals involved in a situation.  Finally, Joseph (2016) imported that understanding the leader-member exchange (LMX) and working to improve the LMX remains more important than being, whatever definition is currently accepted for, emotionally intelligent.

Thus, I conclude that agency in employment situations is more critical to building team member identities than a false claim of emotional intelligence.  That emotional intelligence remains not just a misnomer, but a complete fallacy is supported by research.  Even if all a person currently knows is their emotional choices as they respond to environmental stimuli, their potential to learn and become more intelligent remains independent of their individual emotional choices.  Locke (2005) mentioned the final reason for emotional intelligence being a misnomer, echoed by Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso (2004) among many others, emotional intelligence remains defined by each individual researcher, and the power to influence emotional intelligence remains in the popularity of the researchers, not sound science.  Hence, it would behoove every leader to flush emotional intelligence as a current business “buzz word” from their vocabulary and return to describing emotions as a choice separate from an individuals’ intelligence potential.

Plastic Words (The Tyranny of a Modular Language)Poerksen (1995) argued that plastic words provide no strengths within any field of endeavor, only weakness in word application, weakness in logic, and produce weaknesses in the audience to think and reason.  Poerksen (1995) analogized the plasticity of words as “Legos,” a building block system designed to thwart the audience’s intellect, instead of building the audience to understanding.  Poerksen (1995) remains adamant that stopping the practice of plasticizing words is not pessimistic or optimistic, merely a need to transmit messages of context and content, not flavor-of-the-month plastic words and phrases.  Words have meanings, and these meanings need to be grounded in a foundation of accepted definitions.  Thus, the researcher who would succeed should focus on employing words properly.  Finally, it should be realized that intelligence has morphed into one of those plastic words that everyone knows, no one can define, and every researcher, and practitioner, will plasticize for their own benefit.  A working definition of intelligence that I prefer is “The ability to acquire and use knowledge and skills, to continue learning and growing; through the manipulation of the environments surrounding the seeker of intelligence;” while not scientifically supported, this is my definition as based upon fundamental research.  The problem is that many researchers will have a different definition, and more practitioners even more definitions; hence the example of plastic words is demonstrated (QED), and the futility of emotional intelligence debunked.

How should a business leader avoid the maelstrom of buzz words, jargon, and popular beliefs?  The business leader wanting to avoid the vortex would first never stop learning.  Read a book.  Read peer-reviewed articles and decide upon their veracity by watching the effect on people, as individuals in your organization.  Engage in a debate with loyal oppositionists.  One of the best leaders I know has the most violent debates in the boardroom.  But, his team of C-Level leaders are friends, they are tight socially, and they all possess confidence and independence to act.  One would think the opposite was true, but in debating ideas, the team has grown to trust the others’ logic in which they work. This trust is communicated down through the business organization and is reflected in motivated employees of all levels and responsibilities.

Leadership CartoonEmotional Intelligence will die as a concept when the researcher’s and practitioner’s social popularity begins to subside.  What will not disappear is the continued use of plastic words to describe, detail, stretch, contort, and deceive people.  Hence, the third suggestion to avoid calamity brought about by jargon unleashed is to recognize plastic words, and if in doubt, refer to the first suggestion, read a book!

References

Antonakis, J., Ashkanasy, N. M., & Dasborough, M. T. (2009). Does leadership need emotional intelligence? The Leadership Quarterly, 20, 247-261. doi: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2009.01.006

APA.org. (2018). Psychology topics: Intelligence. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from http://www.apa.org/topics/intelligence/index.aspx

Boler, J. (1968). Agency. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 29(2), 165-181. doi: 10.2307/2105850.

Daus, C. S., & Ashkanasy, N. M. (2005). The case for the ability-based model of emotional intelligence in organizational behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(4), 453-466. doi:10.1002/job.321

Joseph, T. (2016). Developing the leader-follower relationship: Perceptions of leaders and followers. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 13(1), 132.

Lewis, K. M. (2000). When leaders display emotion: How followers respond to negative emotional expression of male and female leaders. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21(2), 221-234. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1379(200003)21:2<221::AID-JOB36>3.0.CO;2-0

Lievens, F., & Chan, D. (2017). Practical intelligence, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence. In Handbook of employee selection (pp. 342-364). Routledge.

Locke, E. A. (2005). Why emotional intelligence is an invalid concept. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26, 425-431. doi: 10.1002/job.318

Mayer, J., Salovey, P., Caruso, D., & Sitarenios, G. (2003). Measuring emotional

intelligence with the MSCEIT™ v2.0. Emotion, 3(1), 95-105.

Poerksen, U. (1995). Plastic words: The tyranny of modular language (J. Mason, & D. Cayley, Trans.). University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press

Smollan, R., & Parry, K. (2011). Follower perceptions of the emotional intelligence of change leaders: A qualitative study. Leadership, 7(4), 435-462. doi: 10.1177/1742715011416890

Solomon, R. C. (2003). Not passion’s slave: Emotions and choice [Kindle 6.10 version].

Van Kleef, G. A., Homan, A. C., Beersma, B., &van Knippenberg, D. (2010). On angry leaders and agreeable followers: How leaders’ emotions and followers’ personalities shape motivation and team performance. Psychological Science, 21(12), 1827-1834

Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d05e/ba9b468ea6cdfa15b882ff3ed0977369562c.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: A Truth Revealed

Life ValuedIt is no secret that I left the US Navy disabled.  One of those disabilities is a low-lung volume, which has been increasing since I was injured in the service.  Until March 2020, this low-lung volume issue has been refused to be taken seriously by the VA.  As soon as I got arrested, the first time, for not wearing a mask, my low-lung volumes have been steadily receiving slightly more attention from the providers at the VA.  On Tuesday, I met with my primary care provider (PCP) in a virtual appointment.  My doctor let slip something very critical, “COVID is receiving an emotional response.”

The emotional responses to COVID include irrational “security” policies that saw COVID positive, symptomatic members of the US House of Representatives somehow traveling to Washington DC to share in the electing of Speaker Pelosi to the leadership of the US House of Representatives, and infecting other members of the house in the process.  Consider this issue for a moment, Pelosi has been cheering out of control governors in Michigan, New York, California, New Mexico, etc. as they have robbed their citizens of fundamental human rights, ruined their businesses, and enforced a police state, all in the name of public health.  Yet, for politickal purposes, members of her political party somehow were able to travel and vote for her as the speaker.  At last count, three party members have been tested for COVID after interacting with these infected and symptomatic people, and the number is growing.  An emotionally fueled response indeed!

Not Passion's Slave - Emotions and ChoiceThe government abusing you relies upon the media controlling yyour emotions, emotional reactions, and your addiction to strongly emoting.  Do you understand this connection?  The TV is the medium of choice to communicate strong emotional responses.  Social media has been researched and found to be influential and connected to strong emotional reactions.  Your emotions are being controlled by what media you watch and the social media platforms you use to connect to other people.  In recognizing this influence, I am not advocating for being unemotional, nor am I casting aspersions about emotions.  I am asking you to consider and choose carefully who controls your emotions and emotional responses!

While shopping today, more stickers have appeared, begging people to stop cleaning the point-of-sale machines, as this is destroying the machines.  On a trip to the US Post Office, I was recently confronted by a gentleman who derided me for not wearing a mask.  Today at Trader Joe’s, I experienced more mask discrimination.  Still, the VA Hospital in Phoenix refuses me entry and medical support because I cannot safely wear a mask.  Fear is an emotional response spurred during COVID by the Media and supported by the politicians.

CourageThe Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reported some interesting numbers on the emotional toll of COVID in America in August 2020.  These are the most recent numbers I can find, and I can only presume that these numbers grew with the holidays now past.  53%, up from 32 % reported in March, saw adults stressing and worrying about COVID and the pandemic results and resulting economic shrinking.  Alcohol consumption has been steadily increasing every month the pandemic continues to lock people in their homes.  Suicide is always heartbreaking, but when children as young as ten have committed suicide over the pandemic, heartbreaking has become obscene, and those responsible for generating this fear and loneliness need to be held accountable.

Dr. Sammarco, a psychologist, said, “while the number of people under 18 who have committed suicide has dropped over the past few years, that doesn’t show the full story. “I would say the more recent trend is down (for children committing suicide), but what does that mean overall?  For years, suicide among young people was relatively rare, but from 2007 to 2017, the number of 10-24-year-olds committing suicide increased from 6.8 deaths per 100,000 people to 10.6.  Dr. Sammarco thinks one reason behind the suicide in these younger people may be technology-related.  “In some ways, it’s good that we have this information generation where they can get information.  But in some ways, it’s really bad because their young brains cannot handle some of the information they get and that they see, and sometimes it affects them very negatively. I mean, maybe they never would’ve thought of doing something had they not Googled something.”

The excerpt above is from the report of a suicide in Feb 2020, Ohio.  An 11-year old child committed suicide.  Frankly, I think Dr. Sammarco was wholly too detached from this episode.  How many more suicides will America suffer due to COVID?  When counting suicides, let’s include murder-suicides in that group.  Both are tragic and deserving more resources to avoid, suicides and murder-suicides are born of fear, and the media should be held culpable for constantly feeding the fear.

Finest HourKFF reports, “A broad body of research links social isolation and loneliness to poor mental health…” Social isolation and loneliness are the emotional response hallmarks to COVID; where are the politicians being held accountable for their power-grabs, freedom-theft, and police state?  When will the media be turned off and shunned for constantly feeding emotions with more negativity?

I fully support an individual’s liberty, ability to choose and make informed decisions, and that person can enjoy the consequences.  I also fully support intervening when a personal choice is going to cause familial and societal chaos, hurt, and lifelong problems.  I understand the place a person considering suicide is coming from; I have been in that dark pit, and thank the people who helped me.  The following are suggestions for your consideration:

      1. Take off your mask, walk outside, and rejoice in good old sunshine disinfectant!
      2. Reach out. Country Singer Matt Kennon sang, “The Call.”  Be the hero that song expresses; make the call!
      3. Stop watching the news! I understand the need to remain informed, know the addiction to the news, and fully appreciate the loneliness that not having the TV on appears to fill.  Still, find alternatives!  Exercise your right not to be lied to.
      4. Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is ask for help. Please, ask!  Please talk about what you are experiencing.  Please, be brave!
      5. The last suggestion might seem to be totally insane, but in refusing to be lied to, cease social media. If not totally, cut back to a level where your emotional health improves.  Social media comparison influences what we do, just for the glory of a picture and an instant of recognition.  I completely understand; many people have become addicted to the social media rush of attention from families, friends, and strangers.  Is your mental health worth the cost of remaining socially connected through media?

Kindness QuoteJohnny Cash sang, “Ragged Old Flag.”  Consider how strong America has been throughout history when neighbors helped, stood together, and reached out.  America’s strength has never been in the capitals across this land, but on the main streets, the local parks, the churches, and the work to be neighborly.  We can continue this trend, and turning off the TV and social media is not that high of a price.  Your emotions are your choice and should not be molested or controlled by anyone other than you!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.
All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/