Why compassion matters

I have a friend who is always posting videos from a man named ZDogg.  I don't really care for the videos. While he does a good job of convincing people to follow the science, he does misrepresent things - a lot too.

But I understand why his approach has value for a specific fan base.  His fan base is awash in misinformation and is trying to figure out what is true and what isn't. And good for them for caring enough to try and sort that out! 

And good for him for compassionately trying to help them stay reality based when the media bubble they are in is encouraging them to NOT be. 

He recently shared a letter he got from someone who got covid because he wasn't vaccinated.  He was mad, not just the people who lied to him and fed him the disinformation that caused him to go to the hospital and nearly die, but also to the people who were judgemental towards him for believing the lies. 

The attitude of the letter writer was F the right, but also F the left for being so – judgy that he couldn't and wouldn't listen to them. 

Personal responsibility, cults and compassion

On one hand – it’s silly for people like this to not take responsibility for the fact – they believed people who were lying to them. And it's silly to blame the people telling them they were being lied to for being – too judgy.

On the other hand – this does validate the science of HOW people get out of cults. And that is what is ultimately important here. 

As hard as it is for people in the reality based crowd dealing with people who appear to have joined a cult of misinformation, we need to understand that if someone is in a misinformation rabbit hole and being an ass about their complete denial of reality – the way to help them out is not to shame them.  

First, they won’t listen. Second, it doesn’t work. 

What works is – encouraging them – supporting them – helping them to ask questions and find answers without being judged for asking – what may seem like insanely stupid questions. 

The key is to understand – they are coming from a place of disinformation and lies.  And they don’t know what is true and what isn’t. And the fact they are asking any questions at all is wonderful.

So – if you can find the compassion in you to not take your anger at the cult out on the person asking questions – that would be great.

What ZDogg does – is he speaks to cult members in their language so he comes off as one of them. He’s safe for them. Are the people that they’ve been told are the enemy and scary – really bad? Of course not, but they don’t know that and they are only just beginning to question the tenets of the cult.  

Is this easy to do? No, many of us have compassion fatigue and are angry at the harm the cult is doing to people we care about.  People are dying because of this misinformation! The emotions we have at the evil people killing our neighbors through cult tactics – is valid because what has happened is horrifying.

But to help people get out of the cult and to help them get and seek and accept factual information – we have to treat people asking questions – with kindness, and compassion and remember, there are no stupid questions even if the question seems insanely stupid. Why? Because anyone who has the courage to question the ideas of a cult they’ve been indoctrinated in – is showing a tremendous amount of courage – and yes – FREETHOUGHT! 

So be kind to everyone.  If you are frustrated, reframe the situation so that you feel compassion. And - ask questions and praise people for asking questions. And help them find accurate sources of information.

Sometimes that means, not challenging all the lies at once and just focusing on one thing at a time.  Cult deprogramming is a process that takes time. Never in the entire history of humanity has anyone left a cult because someone told them it was a cult.  Encourage questions. Be kind when answering them. Good luck. 

One of the topics I teach is Socratic Jujitsu - the art of asking questions.  If you are interested in doing your part to help us - bridge our divides and help people, get more reality based - asking questions is a great way to do this. Here is a link.  The program comes as an online course, or as a book. https://humanistlearning.com/book-how-to-win-arguments-without-arguing/

A Conversation on A Thousand Brains and Behavioral Modification

Had a fun conversation with Jeff Hawkins of Numenta about the Thousand Brain theory and behavioral modification. #ai #behaviorchange #learning #brainscience It's a really good book, I highly recommend it. The theory explains a LOT.

Keeping it together - humanistically

 I've been in a funk lately. I know I'm not the only one. I've got friends. We talk. Most of us are - funky - and not in a good way. Ugh.

It's partially the pandemic and the stress related to that and  - lots of other things. It makes it hard to want to make plans. I run my own business and honestly, if I don't feel like working, no one notices but me. I'm not nearly as effective as I could be if I was - you know - motivated.  And right now I'm not.

So, how should I, as a Humanist, deal with this situation.  Well - here's how I'm approaching it.  

Step one. Accept reality. 

The reality is. I'm in a funk. And, that's honestly ok. I mean seriously, with all that is going on. I'm pretty sure my desire to not interact much with the world except, do my own thing and hang out with family, is a pretty darned good response to a global pandemic. It's me protecting myself.  That's a good thing.

The reality is, we have one job during a pandemic. And that is, to survive it. 

Not wanting to do much - is probably a health response to our current reality.

Step 2: Be OK with NOT being "productive" for a while. 

I'm normally a pretty productive person. I sit on 2 non-profit boards. I publish books, run my own company, have a kid, plus I'm working on a genealogy project. I have very little interest in doing extra for my work right now. And you know what? That's ok. I don't have to be maximizing my impact on others right now. What I can and should be doing, is surviving this pandemic - hopefully, with my sanity intact. 

I have friends who are caring for sick family members, or who are sick themselves. Or they are dealing with loss of job or income or whatever it is. The reality is, everything is harder right now. If you can't do all the extra stuff you want to - that's ok. Again, withdrawing is a health response to being overwhelmed. If you can withdraw a bit - do it. The stuff you do get done, will get better and your sanity will thank you.

If you can't withdraw from things, figure out if you can. You have one job, to survive this. What is the bare minimum you need to do, to survive. You have to earn a living. And take care of your family. That's it really. All that other still will not go away. For more on this concept - read this essay I wrote last month - http://humanisthappiness.blogspot.com/2021/08/self-care-lessons-from-goat.html

Figure out what your priorities are - and focus on 3 things at most. 

Step 3: Relax

What makes you happy? What do you enjoy out of all the things you do and what do you never want to do again?

Make time for and indulge in the things that bring you joy.  I cant' stress this enough. Yes, you have a lot going on. It's overwhelming. We all want to withdraw.  No, you do not have to be productive in your cocoon. What do you like to do that helps you feel alive?

For me, it's watching foreign movies and K-dramas. And Disney movies and let's face it - MCU.  That brings me joy. 

Time spent wasting time - is not wasted if it helps me relax and feel happy.

I do find that when I don't want to do work work, my brain occupies itself with other things. Right now, that's genealogy stuff.  Whatever it is you enjoy, indulge in your guilty pleasures. That isn't wasted time. It's quality time.

Learning More

My first online course, is my course called - Living Made Simpler. https://humanistlearning.com/livingmadesimpler1/

The goal of the course is to teach people how to apply the humanist philosophy to their daily life. The result, for me at least, is my life is made easier when I think - what would a humanist do. How do I live an ethical life of personal fulfillment that aspires to the greater good of humanity?

That's what we are all striving for right?  Humanist philosophers through out history have come up with a solution that actually seems to work. So, I encourage you to learn more and see if it works for you.

The course is a 6 hour video lesson program that is loosely based on my book: The Humanist Approach to Happiness. https://humanistlearning.com/the-humanist-approach-to-happiness-book/

The book has been translated into several languages and is in use at a military academy in Canada in addition to being part of the curricula for the UUA.   

I hope this approach helps you - feel better while doing better. 

As always, if I can ever help you on your journey to living a better more ethical life, please let me know. 

Measuring Humanistic Leadership & Orchestrating Change

 One of the more interesting responses I get when people take one of my courses is - this is great. How do I get other people to do this do. This being, taking a humanistic approach to - leadership.

I always find it interesting because for me, Humanism is a personal choice. It's something I choose to do for me.  I don't expect other people to do it to.

It may seem weird to say, even though I teach Humanism, I don't proselytize Humanism.  All Humanism is, is a personal approach to being a good person. Being good is catching actually. But even if it isn't, it's still worth being a good person even if the people around you are not.

The other thing is, trying to change other people, is uncool. Helping people be better - super cool. But if they don't want to change, don't try to force them. 

I have a lot of experience orchestrating organizational change.  I don't ever force people to change. I help the people who want to change, change and then, they and we, create a new cultural norm through our efforts.  If we are doing good and doing better, everyone else will see that and want to be a part of it. And if they don't, that's normally fine too.  The mistake most people seeking to create change make is, thinking - they need everyone to buy in. You don't. You just need people willing to experiment with whatever new thing you are trying. 

For more information on how to do this, take my course: Why is Change so Hard? Or ge
t the book. Or the audio book. Whatever format you like, is fine by me. https://humanistlearning.com/book-and-program-why-is-change-so-hard/ 

Which brings me back to the topic of humanistic leadership. If you are trying to create cultural change, taking a humanistic approach to your leadership will help a lot. Why? Because it encourages you to treat everyone with dignity, including the people who are opposed to your efforts. Again, this is about how you decide to behave. Not how you force others to be more like you, which isn't humanistic at all.

Regardless, lets' say you want to try and recruit people in and you have some people willing to experiment with this new approach. Now what?  Well, first, you all need to educate yourself on not only the philosophy but also on the techniques. 

I have several resources you can use for this.

A book: https://humanismforbusiness.com/, and

Certificate Programs in Humanistic Leadership and Humanistic Conflict Management: https://humanistlearning.com/category/businesscourses/professionaldevelopment/certificateprograms/

If you are interested in measuring your progress as an individual or as a group, I have free downloadable tools you can use to help you better

  • Identify your personal values so you can have effective conversations about which values matter most to you and your team
  • Integrate your chosen values into your decision making process, and 
  • a Reality Based Problem Solving Matrix to use when doing strategy or problem solving work.

These are all based on my book: Applied Humanism, available through Business Expert Press.

Thanks and let me know if I can help you on your journey towards better more ethical leadership. 

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