From the Great Courses Series, Steven Novella, M.D.lectures for a course on critical thinking called “Your Deceptive Mind”. He introduces the term “confabulation.” Although this article refers to psychopathology, it describes the less publicized neurotypical fallibility of our memories. He says that memory retrieval is better described as a constructive process, and that unlike our past beliefs in memory, we actually can “lose” memories, something hard for me to believe. Even though I have often faced complete losses of events that others remember and recount to me, I had always blamed the loss as more of a retrieval problem. But maybe the memories simply aren’t there in my brain anymore.

“Confabulations are classified into one of two categories: provoked and spontaneous. A provoked confabulation is when a patient invents an untrue story in response to a question. These tend to be quite common among patients with amnesia or dementia. A spontaneous confabulation is a more rare occurrence and involves the telling of an untrue story with no apparent motivation.”

Mo Costandi

The term ‘Rashomon effect’ is often used by psychologists in situations where observers give different accounts of the same event,and describes the effect of subjective perceptions on recollection. The phenomenon is named after a 1950 film by the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. It was with Rashōmon that Western cinema-goers discovered both Kurosawa and Japanese film in general – the film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1951, as well as the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film the following year.

Rashōmon is an adaptation of two short stories by Akutagawa Ryunosuke. Set in the 12th century, the film depicts the trial of a notorious bandit called Tajomaru (played by Kurosawa’s frequent collaborator Toshirô Mifune), who is alleged to have raped a woman and killed her samurai husband. In flashbacks, the incident is recalled by four different witnesses – a woodcutter, a priest, the…

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Creative by Nature

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” ~The Rolling Stones
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More than anything else, millions suffer in this world because what we want distracts us from what we actually need. The Rolling Stones made this observation decades ago, yet still we struggle.
For example, you may want to be admired by others, to gain a high status job, have a successful career and big house, make a lot of money.
Yet what we need for happiness is work that feeds our souls, that helps us to improve skills and grow, that provides us with a living but also makes us happier and wiser human beings.
Millions of people look forward to their “free time” as a chance to escape. They would love to watch endless TV dramas or pornography, surf the internet, play video games, get…

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The recent GOP failure marks a rare moment of demonstrated evidence that negative criticism and the opposition mindset create no value. Meanwhile, by elimination, the evidence also says that constructive criticism is more valuable for solving problems. This message is important for educators who are struggling to inspire building-wide buy-in for positive behavioral recognition in their schools, but it is also important to business leaders who have the same struggle trying to create a positive, creative culture.

Source: Leaders Need More Skills in Creativity and Appreciation | Duane Sharrock | Pulse | LinkedIn

A new study says it’s due to the ‘glass ceiling effect’

Source: Women in the Workplace Lose Ambition As Careers Progress |


This summary of a study tells us that we might “blame the victim” when we expect women to persevere despite the realities of the workplace and of the surrounding society of the organization that they work for.
Then when that is understood, you can expand that view to racial inequalities where a minority may also discover and accept the limiting realities of their workplace and of the surrounding society of the organization that they work for.
“Loss of ambition” can occur to anyone at any time when perspective limits ambition. This can happen with work but also with education. This is not only important for why role models are important, but also for why communication of expectations and employer needs are not only the receiver’s responsibility for understanding, but is also the sender’s responsibility to consistently follow through. The messages of equal assessment need to compel equal, consistent results when those expectations are met. Success must be rewarded regardless of the identity and status of the achiever.
Using Occam’s Razor-type thinking, we can discard the gender, race, and ethnicity labels to simply blame the organizations culture and leadership for the lack of ambition in employees. The messages sent to employees can vary, but in the end, the perceptions and beliefs need to be understood and changed, requiring a more mindful approach to communicating expectations and rewarding employees consistently so that the messages are validated. Employees should not be expected to be crazy enough to ignore the limitations they perceive as a result of their own experiences and observations. They should not be expected to be crazy enough to maintain their ambition and perseverance.
Again though, these suggest implications in education as it does in work. There are implication in the teacher-student relationship just as there are implications in the employer-employee relationship.
How often do you find yourself doing that though? How often do you find yourself telling people to ignore the truth and to be crazy?

What is Philosophy?

Posted: February 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

One frustration most philosophy students share is a consequence of the gulf that exists between what the study of philosophy actually involves, and what many people who have never studied philosophy – which includes most of our family and friends and acquaintances — think it involves.

Perceptions of philosopher image

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by Duane Sharrock

There is an intersection near my town where war veterans stand with flags and banners to protest. Their numbers grow and shrink depending on the week, but some are there every Sunday. They are not bearing arms; they are armed with words and presence.

Sometimes, on the opposite corner, across from these protesters and as opposition, there is another group of protesters.

At no time, has anyone crossed the street to physically fight each other. Each side is peopled with adults–not children. They are just Americans with differing perspectives voicing their opinions and disagreements. And both groups are protesters.

Americans should never stand against protests. We should never silence protest. Protest is as American as the Boston Tea Party that rejected taxation without representation (although “340 chests of British East India Company Tea, weighing over 92,000 pounds (roughly 46 tons), onboard the Beaver, Dartmouth, and Eleanor were smashed open by the Sons of Liberty armed with an assortment of axes and dumped into Boston Harbor the night of December 16, 1773.”


Since the Boston Tea Party and the birth of our nation, Americans have also protested oppression in its various forms. They have protested slavery, animal testing, abortion, the torture and neglect of pets, driving while intoxicated, the poisoning of water due to fracking, child labor, and more. Unlike the Civil War and the the wars that gave birth to this nation, there are still people alive who remember newsworthy protests and some of these protests have led to change. From the comforts of their own homes watching television or by participating in some direct way, some may personally remember the reactions to Richard Nixon, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights movements. Nobody gets a pass: not kings or queens, not politicians, not the rich or the powerful. Nobody. Americans have always questioned and challenged and risen up against what they believe is wrong to fight for what they believe is right.

However, history teaches that protest can take many forms. Protest includes marches, sit-ins, music festivals, documentary films, opinion essays in newspapers and other publications, but protest is also expressed through the Arts. Oliver Twist (British) and Annie, although adapted into musicals with memorable songs, protest the bad treatment of orphans. Some of our most celebrated movies are protests against the tyranny of powerful individuals, organizations, systems, and even ideas themselves. We celebrate the comedians Richard Pryor, Carol Burnett, George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Wanda Sykes, Lenny Bruce, Freddie Prinze, Jane Curtain, Gilda Radner, and the hundreds of others living and dead, because of their ability to make us laugh but also for their ability to make us see things differently, to think and to question. That’s what makes us American. It is not subservience and obedience. It is our ability to question the powers that be, and it is protest.

Sometimes though, in the throes of a revolution, The Arts and their artists are often the first who are attacked for their subversiveness and their undermining of power. When you want to begin a new regime, ignoring and censoring are not enough. You have to silence the opposition beyond discrediting, since even discrediting is not enough, more extreme measures might be taken: “Writers, artists and intellectuals who were the recipients and disseminators of the “old culture” would be comprehensively eradicated. The majority of writers and artists were seen as “black line figures” and “reactionary literati”, and therefore persecuted, many were subjected to “criticism and denunciation” where they may be publicly humiliated and ravaged, and they may also be imprisoned or sent to be reformed through hard labour.” Of course, make no mistake: the murder and imprisonment and blacklisting starts with censoring and discrediting. But even before that, you need buy-in. You need agreement that one side is dangerous and inhuman, while your side, the revolutionaries, are the Good. Dehumanizing leads to the imprisonment and more radical means of silencing, while the Good side rationalize the dismissal of values and ethical behavior as necessary for the revolution.

Rights, so often, are not given freely. They almost always have to be fought for. Only after a fight do voices get heard. But before the fight, people must decide on priorities and values. People have to ask themselves, “Is this point really important enough that I stand up and stand out? Do I really want to take this risk?”

Standing up and standing out is scary. By standing up and standing out you can be seen, identified, and remembered. You can be blacklisted or boycotted. You can be publicly humiliated or physically abused. Your property can be trashed with a burning cross or defaced with painted messages. When does the childishness cross the line into cowardly terrorism? Revolutionaries tend to dismiss these questions.

The trick though is to move past the protest, past the fear of what might be said or what has been said, past the need to censor and silence, in order to begin a dialogue. In a real dialogue opinions are respected while being challenged, information is exchanged, people learn from each other. They translate their needs and wants so that they are understood. This is how greatness happens.

Make no mistake. Although there have been isolated incidents where violence has broken out, and there were a few dishonorable verbal attacks, there are millions of protesters who did not do violence and have protested with dignity. Instead of posting a meme to voice disagreement, instead of throwing money at lobbyists who represent their interests, instead of waiting for someone else to take a stand, they inconvenienced themselves by leaving their comfortable homes and traveling to their major cities to stand and walk with hundreds of thousands of wives, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, with even a few fathers, sons, and grandfathers, to say this is not how they want the President of the United States to conduct himself. They have greater expectations. They want their concerns heard and taken seriously, recognized, and understood. This tradition of protest should be honored, not discouraged. We should never encourage obedience for its own sake.


During World War II, natives on Pacific islands saw something most unusual. Strange men appeared, cleared long strips of land and built structures decorated with flags. Some of these men wore large cups over their ears, while others waved sticks and, almost magically, machines appeared from the sky carrying valuable cargo.

After the war ended, the men left and the supplies stopped coming. Some of the natives formed cargo cults which copied many of the the rituals the soldiers performed. They marched in formation, wore cups over their ears and waved sticks around. Alas, no airplanes ever came.

Clearly, the idea was patently absurd. Anybody who thinks that waving sticks will cause airplanes to appear is missing some basic principles about how air travel works. Yet many modern executives also believe by mimicking the tactics of others they will somehow achieve the same results. These “cargo cult strategists” don’t do much better than the islanders.


Continue reading…

“The term ‘cultural heritage’ has changed content considerably in recent decades, partially owing to the instruments developed by UNESCO. Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.” (Excerpt)