Equipoise, or The Art of Acceptance

In a time when incivility, rudeness, extremism, intolerance, and self-righteousness dominate in the media and on the street, David Brooks pleas for equipoise (“In Praise of Equipoise,” The New York Times, September 1, 2017). Huh? Equipoise? What’s that? Equal poise across situations. The concept appears to have originated in the East. Something like Buddhist non-attachment.... Continue Reading →

On Materialism

It is what it is. If the shoe fits, wear it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. A rose by any other name…. Our language is peppered with such phrases that urge authenticity. Perhaps Shakespeare said it most eloquently (Hamlet, I,3, 564-566) with This above all--to thine own self be true, And it must follow,... Continue Reading →

Silence! I’m Composing…

The story is told of the Beethoven fan who had exhausted the usual pursuits of musical enthusiasts—he had all the recordings, publications, pictures, anecdotes, and so forth. At his wit’s end to spend his zealous energy further, he arrived one midnight with spade in hand at Ludwig van’s grave in Vienna. He dug to the... Continue Reading →

I’m Just a Churl Who Can’t Say “No”

Well, not really a churl. Or a girl, for that matter. At the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies, we employ the Five-Factor Model to describe individual differences in personality traits. One of the traits is Accommodation, which reports how an individual typically behaves around power. Broadly described, Challengers are those low in Accommodation—as a rule... Continue Reading →

Leaders Can Be Made, If Not Born

One can be born to be a 7-foot NBA center, but one cannot be made into one. Or? Look at the Dutch, who have an unusually tall population and who also are known for their unusually heavy consumption of calcium (milk, cheese, and their kin). Clearly most human behavior has a largely genetic component, but... Continue Reading →

Beauty, Billions, and Brains

My search for summer reading led me to a first novel by Stuart Rojstaczer (ROYCE-teacher)--The Mathematician’s Shiva (Penguin, 2014). Hadn’t heard of it, but it sounded intriguing—a fictional, brilliant, female, University of Wisconsin mathematician named Rachela Karnokovitch was dead, and brainy mathematicians from around the were globe sitting shiva. Much of the story dealt with... Continue Reading →

Appearances Can Be Deceiving (6. Perfectionism)

Good enough for government work—not! The government has its share of perfectionists, as well as its share of those with casual standards. Perfectionism is normally distributed throughout the world. It is neither a good nor a bad thing—rather, its value depends on the needs of a particular situation. My wife once worked with a government... Continue Reading →

Appearances Can Be Deceiving (4. Bravery)

Think twice—what you see may not be what you think. In three previous posts, we explored situations in which a single behavior might have multiple meanings and interpretations. First, we considered how fidgeting is not always impatience. Then, how solitude is not necessarily loneliness. Last week, how smiling is not always liking. I call these... Continue Reading →

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