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My motivation and journey in brief:
Since childhood I have seen and experienced people doing some horrendous things to each other, and also some other people helping each other in significant ways. I want to help stop the horrendous things and increase the helping activities. It was, and still is, always an 'individual' who commits the violence or extends the kindness. So my curiosity developed into a passion to understand individual people, and what 'makes them tick'. Now understanding is nice, but it's not enough. If I simply understand why people commit violence, but can't help them to change, why bother understanding them?
It would turn out to be a lifelong, and sometimes frustrating, sometimes magnificent, journey.
An early Clue:
People who are pursuing personally chosen Dreams or Goals, tend to be Excited, Satisfied and Fulfilled even if they experience significant challenges towards their goals. They do not need the artificial excitement of addictions to either excessive substances like alcohol, chocolate, heroin or to routines like workaholism, gambling, or sexual excesses.
They do not commit crimes!
They are not violent, and are so busy pursuing their own personal dreams, that they do not have any time or energy left to butt into other people's affairs.
A personal ray of hope:
Fortunately, I have another passion which also started in childhood, and has never stopped, indeed it has grown, and that is Aviation. I love almost everything about it: flying, the space shuttle, moon journeys, Mars explorations, stealth fighters, even the thoroughness that the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) uses to examine every single accident and even close misses; their dedication to reduce future mishaps is extraordinary and an inspiring model for the human services.
In the 100 years since the Wright Brothers first flights, we have developed propeller driven engines, jets, gone to the moon, and have an orbiting space station. The engineering or analytical part of me loves the precision in these advances, and the way they are shared for continuous, incremental improvement.
The human part of me keeps asking: "If we can go to the moon, and return safely, why can't we eliminate unnecessary violence, addiction to substances and routines, mental illness as we know it, and make personal satisfaction & fulfillment attainable for everyone"?
If we can, somehow, teach all people how to keep and pursue their own personal dreams, move towards personal satisfaction and fulfillment, and contribute to community; there will be no one left to commit crimes, and perpetrate violence.
Since so many people around the world, in every culture want these same goals, and dedicate entire lifetimes of effort in this direction, why is there not the progress in education, and psychology (education for living) similar to what we have achieved in aviation, and other sciences? Hundreds of models of both human health and illness have been proposed, some complete with techniques, and occasionally tools. Thousands of self-help books have been written, read, and in many cases provided short, temporary relief for those whose lives were more frustrating than satisfying, more empty than fulfilling.
Yet, Violence of individuals against individuals has been increasing in both quantity and destructiveness.
Towards a solution:
Combining my philosophical and engineering interests and experiences, I decided to examine the assumptions, beliefs, and especially the 'thinking tools' and processes that people were using for their research into people - make that individual - personal behavior.
Then compare them to the assumptions, and beliefs, and the 'thinking tools' and processes that people are using for aerospace.
Finally, where possible, transfer the paradigms, and thought processes, techniques, and even the many tools of aerospace to the art of learning how to live well!
A Strategic Personal Decision:
In hindsight, this decision seems a lot more rational and organized, then it was at the time.
After 3 years in a seminary studying for the Catholic priesthood, I switched to St. John's University, and majored in Psychology, a natural choice for me. But after two years of their psychology courses, I was completely frustrated. The goals of clinical psychology were unclear. In almost every class I asked: What is a healthy person? All of the answers were variations of: remove all troubling symptoms. But I wouldn't buy that. Dead people have no symptoms, but that is not a goal. Without a clear goal, methods of treatment varied all over the place, but most were symptom based. If you have symptom A, use therapy A, etc.
So I made a decision that changed the course of the rest of my life. I switched my major to Philosophy, since Why was, and still is, always my central question, and kept Psychology and English as minors. Career-wise it was a major change. I would not work for a therapy practice or a hospital, and endure their supervision, but while keeping my primary love in psychology, I would have to make my daily living somewhere else. Using my mathematical background, and passion for precision, that somewhere else was software engineering.
While using software related jobs to feed my family, I continued to pursue my primary love, psychology, as an avocation, a passionate avocation, and as a self-funded research career.
This change in paradigm required new Models, Principles, Techniques and Tools for treating people as individuals rather that as members of groups or categories and thereby make a significant improvement in how we treat individuals.
I bundled all of these requirements, assumptions, theories, models, techniques, and even tools, under the title of Individuology, a discipline I've been developing, organizing and promoting since the mid-1980's.
This was a lengthy description of the years between college and my retirement, and why they make me in some way 'worthy' to speak about my ideas. But then I realized it totally violated my own values and principles. I've spent most of my life, often at great personal expense, preferring personal experimentation and reflection over following other so-called 'authorities'. So, to somehow build myself up as a type of authority was not true to my own principles.
All of my ideas stand completely on their own merit. If you find them useful, great, use them. If they are not useful to you, ignore them. But please judge their usefulness to you by your own experiments and reflection. Nothing I say is true because I say it, just like any other so-called 'authority'.
Having said that, my friends reminded me that it's only fair to you the reader, to show briefly, how and why my own personal life experiences might, I add might, make my ideas worthy of your consideration. So here is a brief summary.
Many of the skills, and techniques, and knowledge required to succeed in the software industry turned out to be most useful in my primary pursuit: What makes people tick? Some of them are:
Since retiring, my entire focus is to create or collect the models, techniques, tools & role models to help Individuals create satisfying & fulfilling lives and contribute to their chosen communities.
Some such better learning, thinking & sharing tools include:
Developing these tools were necessary detours, but still detours. Now, having defined and explained them, and tested them in many circumstances, I wish to return to my original challenge, understanding what makes individual persons 'tick' and then help them to 'tick' better! These ideas, models, principles, techniques and tools, I collectively call the discipline of Individuology, because they focus on Individuals as Individuals rather than as members of categories.
Every time there is another Columbine, or Virginia Tech Massacre, I feel an even stronger need to speak out. We cannot wait for perfect solutions, we must act now, and on 2 separate fronts at the same time.
First, we need to create, or make that promote, the healing processes and tools to help repair those individuals who have already been severely, even overwhelmingly, 'damaged' to recover from their profound, life altering wounds, before they act out their frustrations on others. I say promote, because there are already several 'therapeutic' techniques that reduce recovery time from years to weeks, and effectiveness from temporary to permanent relief. Several of them are simple enough to use by yourself or with a friend.
Second, we must stop or at least greatly slow down the creation of more 'damaged' individuals. If we stop or heal 4 violent individuals a month, yet allow the creation of 6 new ones, the situation will rapidly deteriorate.
A new project I've created in this area is N2N - Neighbor to Neighbor. None of the Individuals in these mass murders, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold at Columbine & Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech grew up in solitary confinement. They were a part of a family, a school system, and a community, our communities.
It took 18-20 years to create these monsters (none were monsters at birth). During all those years they were in contact with dozens, perhaps hundreds of Individuals who could have helped but didn't.
The most frequent question I hear is:"How can I help?" This project N2N - Neighbor to Neighbor is designed to answer that question.
But from non-violence to violence is not a single giant step, there are intermediate steps and critical thresholds between them. Places & times where a small intervention could yield huge results. I explore these at: The Violence Escalation Chain
The road from frustration to fulfillment is also not a single step, but the mastery of many separate skills, models, etc. I believe we can make substantial progress in helping individuals to pursue their personal dreams, and achieve fulfillment through contribution to community, thus eliminating Personal Violence in many spheres of activity. How? By modifying & applying the processes and techniques of the aerospace industry, to education, psychology and self-help. Hopefully, we can achieve the progress in the 21st century that aviation did in the 20th century.
My website, articles, books, workshops, blog and other activities are all devoted to making these 'new' models, techniques, and tools, collectively called Individuology, available to hopefully provoke new questions and new answers to these challenges. I say 'new', but they are only new to education and psychology, they are old, tried and true techniques that have proven successful in aviation and other hard sciences.
I look forward to working with other individuals from many, many different disciplines to bring about a better life for all of us. So far I'd chosen to be self-funded. But I now realize the scope of changes we all need, and the resources it will take.
If you believe this approach will have both short & long term impact for our entire community, invest here in 'KnCell Technologies', the not-for-profit company I've set up to make this dream a reality for all of us:
Significant Personal Influences: (in alphabetical order)
Steve & Connirae Andreas - for making NLP understandable & more useful
Colonel John Boyd - who transformed fighter plane methods & technologies.
Bruce Ecker - Coherence Therapy
Albert Einstein - for his unrelenting drive to unearth fundamental principles.
Bucky Fuller - for his notion of "Trim Tabs".
Eugene Gendlin - who described how to add subjective experience to the scientific method.
David Grove - for creating Clean Language & Clean Space
George Kelly - Creator of Constructivist Psychology.
Monty Roberts - The Horse Whisperer - Proof we can train without violence.
The entire aerospace industry, from creative innovations to the NTSB.
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