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Rethinking Complexity

Language and Leadership

06/06/2014
Language and Leadership
Do you think much about your choice of terms, the language you use? How these influence the ways you think? How the ways you think influences your worldview and the choices available to you? How this leads to the behaviors you choose (consciously or unconsciously)? Linguists have long argued about whether language “causes” us to think in certain ways. Lera Boroditsky (University of California San Diego, formerly of Stanford) has been conducting research for several years on questions such as these. You can find articles by and about her at Edge.com, the New York Times, Scientific...

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New Existentialists

Existential Roundup

06/06/2014
Existential Roundup
Welcome to the Existential Roundup, where we bring you links to some articles currently trending that may be of interest to those in the existential-humanistic psychology community. This column has spent several weeks focusing on some of the darkness in the world, but as existentialists, we appreciate that life has both darkness and light. So it’s time for a little happiness. One of my favorite books growing up was a Peanuts book—Happiness Is a Warm Puppy. The book included pages and pages of “Happiness Is” statements. Since I spent so much of my childhood (and...

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New Existentialists

“I Didn’t Want to Get Involved”

06/05/2014
“I Didn’t Want to Get Involved”
How often do we hear that phrase—“I didn’t want to get involved”? The reasons are always excellent—“I was way too busy,” “I had problems of my own,” “I had too much on my plate,” “It wasn’t my business,” or the piece de resistance, “Someone else will take care of it.” And the issue never seems to matter—whether it is helping bring food to one’s child’s school event, protesting Monsanto’s latest Frankenfood, or supporting one individual’s human rights and dignity. We...

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New Existentialists

No More John Hancocks?

06/04/2014
No More John Hancocks?
Recently, one of my students—a junior in high school—raised his hand and asked if he really had to sign the back of his test form. I asked him why he was asking. He replied, “I don’t know how to write in cursive.” Part of the new Common Core requirements is the elimination of teaching cursive handwriting. This change was in the process of happening anyway, but institutionalizing it as part of the Common Core has only hastened the death of writing in script. Still, as PBS reports, at least seven states have moved to make teaching cursive writing mandatory. The...

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Rethinking Complexity

Cross-cultural Encounters: A Gateway to Transformative Learning

06/03/2014
Cross-cultural Encounters: A Gateway to Transformative Learning
This month I travelled to Finland for a conference on Culture, Values, and Justice.  An interesting group of scholars attended who were exploring the many aspects, interrelationships, and applications of ideas that comprise these three areas.  To me, these three subjects and their interrelationships suggest three questions that define the nature of being human.  Who are we?  What do we hold as important? How do we participate in our relationships in a way that upholds our humanness? These are not questions that are easy to discuss, whether in private or public forums....

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New Existentialists

No Way to Prevent This? Well, Maybe There Is...

06/03/2014
No Way to Prevent This? Well, Maybe There Is...
Much in the way that some families only see each other at funerals, America only seems to have a conversation about mental health when somebody dies. These are the worst times to have such a conversation, because the needs of the survivors are at odds with the needs of a “national discussion about” anything. The result is a kind of Kabuki Theater around guns, politics, and mental health that for all its noise accomplishes less than a moment of honest silence ever could. But here we are again, confronting the fact that—as The Onion so elegantly put it—the only nation on...

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New Existentialists

Dogs and Existential Psychology

06/02/2014
Dogs and Existential Psychology
Dog lovers know that picking a breed is often an important part of responsible pet ownership. It also says a lot about ourselves and can be a source of self-awareness. Choosing a pet that is a good fit is important for the family as well as for the dog. Too often, a wrong match can lead to the pet being mislabeled as a “bad dog” or not having the life that they deserve. Dogs and Spirituality People have often scoffed when I have said that dogs are an important part of my spirituality. I am a dog lover. I enjoy their companionship and have fun playing with dogs, but it is more than...

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Rethinking Complexity

Seeking a Global Future Beyond the Horizon of Conventional Rationality

05/31/2014
Seeking a Global Future Beyond the Horizon of Conventional Rationality
Summer is approaching, my backyard has come to life with the lush greenery of late Spring in northeast Ohio, our youngest daughter just graduated high school, and as I take a moment to reflect, interrupting my accustomed pattern of research, gardening, and violin practice, it suddenly occurs to me:  By this time next week I will be in Milan with my family beginning a long anticipated three-week journey through Bella Italia.  Having spent the past few months with my nose in the books, exploring various theoretical constructs and cultural understandings related to human values as seen...

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New Existentialists

Existential Roundup

05/30/2014
Existential Roundup
Welcome to the Existential Roundup, where we bring you links to some articles currently trending that may be of interest to those in the existential-humanistic psychology community. Unfortunately, the news of the week has returned to the psychology of mass shooters in the wake of the most recent incident last weekend in Santa Barbara, CA. Previously discussions on this site have discussed the futility of trying to actually get into the mind of these people—of trying to figure out what made them snap against us—since one of our more powerful coping strategies is to create the us-...

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New Existentialists

Doors That Open on Beauty: Bodily Knowing and Existential Living

05/29/2014
Doors That Open on Beauty: Bodily Knowing and Existential Living
I have a quirky knack. For as long as I can remember, I have been able to pinpoint the exact center of a space or midpoint of a line. I can also space objects at equal distances from each other (when I care to do so) by simply “eyeballing” the entirety of what I am trying to accomplish. My accuracy is downright scary. My wife will be the first to tell you that this is no idle boast on my part. Our walls are filled with pictures and art objects hung the old fashioned way. Basically, she maneuvers frames, and I utter the expected steady stream of “a little more to the left,...

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