"I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or an other's spiritual growth." - M. Scott Peck

Love Education 101.com

"To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love." - Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love

"Educating the Mind without educating the Heart is no Education at all." - Aristotle


LoveEducation4all@gmail.com- Click here

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Welcome to Love Education 101.com. - You are Loved!
This Love Education website is a collection of lessons, training, worksheets, goal setting and action plans for individuals and couples, and also a proposed curriculum / framework for love and relationship training in primary schools, secondary schools, universities and at home. Children and young adults need to understand how to love each other as much as adults do, otherwise you end up with bullying and negative relationship behaviors starting at a very young age which can cause problems for the rest of your lifetime. An gram of prevention/training is worth a kilogram of cure/counseling.
Since there does not appear to be many Share-Able, Open-Source love education training programs readily available on the world wide web, this training program is merely a starting point and will need to be improved upon by motivated individuals, teaching professionals, psychologists and experts in the field of love, marriage, parenting, family development and problem solving education. Please realize that not everyone will agree with everything that will be presented here. There will be some ideas and concepts that will be useful for you and others that will cause you to wonder about their validity.
That is part of the education process - critical thinking. We can not evolve and grow wiser without it. A quality education teaches us to have an open mind and use creative thinking, not merely memorize the "facts" presented to us. The facts may need to be analyzed using critical thinking and subsequently modified and improved upon.

The Problem Solving Methods discussed in section 2.8 are designed to help individuals in every aspect of their lives, not just in their relationships. They are also useful for communities and nations that might be heading toward increased conflict because of unhealthy relationship issues, for example in Palestine and Israel.
Love and Respect are a main theme in achieving peace in any relationship, whether personal or national.
"Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others that which you wish for yourself." Do you agree with the Golden Rule?
Many of us have never been trained in personal Problem Solving Methods (PSM's), and some of us have never heard of them before, but that is now going to change. It is time to put some new tools in our tool bag of knowledge.

The real value of this love education resource may be to merely create a starting point where Love knowledge and training can be refined so that we all benefit from having many useful, valuable, and easily accessible love education assets which can be adapted to local cultures, values and goals.
Thank you for being involved in the transition to a truly loving and peaceful planet.

A key aspect of this endeavor is to create a greater understanding of how love education will become a reality. The intention is to facilitate the development of a syllabus, a "document" that will organize information about the course and define the expectations, objectives and goals.

The main goal is to help all of us comprehend the importance of human communication, human perceptions, human behavior, national and international cooperation and human evolution in relation to finding a path to sowing and reaping fruitful Love on Mother Earth.
The wisdom we can learn from love education can take us to a place where happiness, peace and prosperity coexist in a golden age of Love around the globe.

The amount of Love you give to the World

May be the best measure of Success,

Because you also share it with Yourself.

This Love Education 101 curriculum has also been posted to World Peace Newsletter . com

Love Education 101, 201, 301 & 401 Curriculum

Syllabus and Lesson Plans - Website construction began on May 27, 2020

Phase 1: Construction, Creation and Brainstorming - Addition & Subtraction of Content.
a. Re-arrangement, Re-organization stage.
b. Refinement stage.
c. Finalize 1st rough draft.
Phase 2: 2nd through 100+ of rough drafts.
Phase 3: First "public offering" of completed 1st Article. (public offering means you are willing to show it to 1 or 1,000,000,000 people.)

Note: As of June 11, this Love Education Curriculum is currently in the early stages of Phase 1 but we have decided to release it to the public (Phase 3) so the lessons can be viewed and analyzed in order to get feedback which will accelerate the development of a severely overdue Love Education Curriculum, perhaps in time for fall classes.

These lessons are subject to change/revision - Latest major updates:
June 19, 2020 (Juneteenth): Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 1 - 7
June 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 8 - 10
June 28, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.12 - 10 Types of Intimacy
June 29, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Method: 11
June 30, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.13 - 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make
July 3, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.9 - Goal Setting Methods: 1 - 5
July 4, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.18 - Creating a Master Journal to Support your Personal & Relationship Growth
July 6, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.11 - LE-101 Quizzes and Final Exam
July 9, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.17 - Creating your Personal and Relationship "Vision and Mission" Statements
July 11, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.10 - Choosing the Best Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to Solve Problems and Issues
July 16, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 12 - 13
July 19, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Creating Action Plans using PSM Tool #10 (Rev. B)
July 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.11 - Creating Implementation Plans (IP's) & Applying them to Improve your Relationships
July 30, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.14 - Deep Friendships
August 6, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.19 - Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's)
August 13, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.15 - Family Relationships
August 17, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.3, Rev. B - Types of love
August 23, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20 - Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness
August 29, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20 - Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness - #16 Justice
September 4, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.7, Rev. B - Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself" - The Golden Rule
September 18, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, 9a - Virtues: Praise and Blame
September 22, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, 6c - Unified Wisdom Theory
October 12, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: Revisions to 5a, 10a & 14
October 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.21) Character Counts!
October 26, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 9b, 9c, 9d & 9e - Choice and Deliberation
November 1, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 9f & 9g - Machiavelli's "Do the ends justify the means?"
November 18, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7a & 7b - Courage and Temperance
November 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7d thru 7k - Liberality & Generosity
November 26, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7l thru 7n - Magnificence
November 27, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7o thru 7q - Magnamity & Pride, 7r - Proper Ambition
December 1, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22, Reality Theories: Reality Tunnels
December 3, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22, Reality Theories: Worldview Realities
December 4, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.23, Philosophy: Metaphysics
December 7, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.23, Philosophy: Epistemology
December 8, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.23, Philosophy: Logic
December 11, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.23, Philosophy: Axiology (Values): Ethics & Aesthetics
December 13, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.23, Philosophy: Introduction to Philosophy
December 20, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22, Reality Theories: 10a thru 10t - Dramaturgy (Drama Reality Theory)
December 24, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Method: 14 - Problem Solvers Caucus
December 26, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22 - Reality Theories: 11 - Cognitive Bias Reality Theory
January 7, 2021: Love Ed 201: 2.22 - Reality Theories: 11h (n thru q) - Cognitive Bias Reality Theory:
Conspiracy Theory Bias, Empathy Gap Bias, Ostrich Bias & Cognitive Dissonance
February 9, 2021: Love Ed 101: 1.1 (m) - Love, Actually: The Science behind Lust, Attraction, and Companionship
March 12, 2021: Love Ed 201: 2.24 - Intuition2020.com: Discovering our 3 Brains

You may notice that the graphics and photos may change on occasion. As we receive feedback and comments on what is liked and what might need some attention, we will try new images and add or revise content accordingly until we get it right. It is a bit like how a loving relationship grows and improves ;)

Recent Events:

November 14, 2020: You are invited to join the celebration of Diwali (Divali, Dipawali, Deepavali, Dipabali) which is known as the festival of lights and is a public holiday in India and is celebrated around the world. In most of India, Deepavali consists of a five day celebration that peaks on the third day. In other places only the main day is celebrated.

In celebration of the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and the blessings of victory, freedom, and enlightenment, it is customary to light dozens of candles and clay lamps (called diyas), placing them throughout homes and in the streets to light up the darkness.

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Love is the reason we all have a hopeful Future. Live for Love. Choose Love. Pray for Love. Elect governments that Love!

Love Ed 101: Introduction to Love Education

1.1) Introduction to Love Education 101

1.2) Definitions of Love

1.3) Types of Love

1.4) 16 Stages of Love

1.5) Love at Different Ages of Life

1.6) How can you Improve your Chances to Find Love

1.7) Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself"

1.8) Using "Mindful" Communication to Keep Love Alive and Well

1.9) Using the Arts to Teach Love Education

1.10) Data about Love, Divorce and Single Parents

1.11) Love Ed 101 Quizzes and Tests

Note: Some of these lessons may be moved into Love Ed 201, 301 as we construct this curriculum.

Love Ed 201: Evaluating, Identifying, Strategies, Goal-Setting and Implementation to Improve your Relationships

2.1) Introduction to Love Education 201

2.2) Review of Love Ed 101

2.3) Evaluating your Love Relationship / Personal Questionaire - Tool #1

2.4) Evaluating your "Wholeness" using a Balance Wheel - Tool #2

2.5) Evaluating your Daily Growth using the Good Day / Bad Day checklist - Tool #3

2.6) Journaling your Daily Growth using "Morning Pages" - Tool #4

2.7) Identifying Problems and Issues for Improvement

2.8) 10+ Problem Solving Tools and Strategies to Address and Solve Issues

2.9) 5+ Goal Setting Tools and Strategies to Establish Goals and Action Plans

2.10) Choosing the Best Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to Solve Problems and Issues

2.11) Creating Implementation Plans (IP's) & Applying them to Improve your Relationships

2.12) 10 Types of Intimacy

2.13) 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make

2.14) Deep Friendships

2.15) Family Relationships

2.16) Parenting and Child Development

2.17) Creating your Personal and Relationship "Vision and Mission" Statements

2.18) Creating a Master Journal to Support your Personal Growth

2.19) Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's)

2.20) Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness

2.21) Character Counts!

2.22) Reality Theories

2.23) Branches of Philosophy

2.24) Intuition2020 - Discovering our 3 Brains

Love Ed 301: History and Teaching of Love

3.1) History of Love
3.2) Greatest teachers / mentors on Love
3.3) Teaching love in Schools
3.4) Love teachings in Religion
3.5) Love and Marriage Counseling

Love Ed 401: Working as a Love Counselor, Masters Program, Love Award ideas

4.1) Nobel Love Prize / Rewards / Merit Badges / Trophies - Positive Reinforcement
4.2) Teaching and Training Love as a profession
4.3) Love Thesis - Lab work (how fun is that!)
4.4) Post-graduate Love training
4.5) Love Masters degree
4.6) Love Doctorate - Dr. Love
4.7) Love Workshops
4.8) Friendship / Family Love
4.9) Love University / College
4.10) UN olive branch of Love Education & Peace Award

LoveEducation4all@gmail.com- Click here

Love Ed 101:

1.1) Introduction to Love Education 101
1.2) Definitions of Love
1.3) Types of Love
1.4) Stages of Love
1.5) Love at Different Ages of Life
1.6) How can you improve your chances to find Love
1.7) Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself"
1.8) Using "Mindful" Communication to Keep Love Alive
1.9) Using the Arts to Teach Love Education
1.10) Data about Love, Divorce and Single Parents
1.11) Love Ed 101 Quizzes and Tests

1.1) Introduction to Love Education 101

a) Love is probably the most wonderful, important and influential ingredient in the recipe of our lives, for perhaps every one of us. Most of us crave love from our partner, our parents, our friends, our "world", both our local and international neighbors, our pets and even ourselves. Thus it might be highly valuable to learn how to both give and receive love. It is not as natural as you might think, otherwise we would have a greater than 90% "happy marriage" rate. Since we do not, the information presented here is an attempt to help us get nearer to the goal of accessible "true love" for everyone, achievable through education and training. What we all want is to find a treasure chest of information (gold) that allows us to enjoy our entire lives, not just certain phases of it; from our childhood through our golden / enlightened years. If we can uncover the gold that love education yields, it will result in riches beyond our wildest dreams since most of us yearn for gratifying love and friendship in all our relationships. In a joyous, "pragma marriage" we develop a deep and pleasurable love along with a deep friendship!

b) Many people believe that love is just something that happens between two people and that is all that matters.
If true love was really that easy, then why do so many people end their relationships in heart break and move on to another, and then continue to repeat this heart-breaking process? Why are so many children raised by single parents?
Love is defined in the dictionary as an intense feeling of deep affection. But that is a "feeling" definition and hides the reality of what true love can be. Plus, this definition of love is not measurable. Love should be an action, a process based upon the feeling of love and affection. The act of truly loving someone means you treat them in a kind, loving, respectful and caring way. A loving relationship is devoid of jealousy, anger and abuse, both verbal and physical. Some wives say their husband "loves" them, yet they are frequently abused. Sorry, but that is not love, regardless of how much affection they might have for you some of the time. Thus, "active true love" is a very visible, measurable practice for all to see. What do their actions tell you? Actions speak louder and clearer than words.

c) Berit Brogaard, the author of "On Romantic Love" (2015), who believes we should fall "rationally in love", writes:
"Why don't we avoid crazy love like the plague? Why do we, in fact, strive to fall so madly in love? The answer turns on our pesky brain chemicals: all-consuming love is coupled with a brain chemistry similar to that of people addicted to drugs."

Regarding "crazy love", most of us are looking for exactly that :) As if you could stop it anyway? The point is to understand what is going on and not forget to use your "logical left brain" to analyze (fall rationally in love) the direction your new-found relationship is heading. If all things point to you finding your soul mate, by all means proceed 3/4 speed ahead. Just be aware of your bias to have an extreme desire to want this to be the love of your dreams. You can save yourself a lot of wasted time and profound heart-ache by using some of your love education to help yourself be rational during this "crazy love" time frame. It is a bit like choosing short term gratification versus seeking long term paradise. If done right, you can have both.
There will likely be many more of these crazy loves ahead of you until you finally find the right "crazy love". Also keep in mind that some of the most successful and happy marriages are those where the couples first became friends and maybe never even had a crazy love phase. Being friends first, they already knew the others' values, perceptions of life (their "reality"), and their goals. Thus they could start proceeding directly to "companionate love" / Pragma Love.

d) Many of us learn about how love should be by observing our parents, but if our parents did not know how to truly love each other, what kind of lessons have we learned? Where will we learn how to find and develop true love? In school, at church, from friends? Hopefully love and marriage education will someday be taught at all schools, just like math and reading are. Many more people will benefit from Love Education in their day to day lives than they will from learning Advanced Physics.

e) The truth may be that love is something that must be taught, learned and nurtured. It should not just be taken for granted that it will just happen as someone "falls in love"? When we are young it is fairly easy to fall in love with just about anyone who shows mutual interest in us, but to find the right person takes a certain amount of time, understanding and discipline.
The easy and perhaps reckless method of "Falling" in love should likely be re-phrased to Fromm's "Standing" in love, and eventually improve to "Ascending" to a higher love in order to reach the summit, the top of the mountain, the top of the world.
Getting to know someone and determining if you have similar values, goals and desires may be more important than how smitten you are by their attractiveness.
Unfortunately, some steamy romances may also end up with an unexpected pregnancy and the two unready individuals may be "forced" to marry long before they ever find out if they are truly compatible as a couple. And once a child is added to the mix, stress levels and financial burdens can increase dramatically making it even more difficult to make your relationship work and to keep your relationship from falling out of love.

f) Many of us dream of a fairy tale marriage where we meet the prince or princess of our dreams, but without training and education about creating true love, our chances of finding and developing a magical relationship with that prince or princess will likely be much less glamorous, if not an outright disaster.
The great part is that this can happen! There are at least three ways for you to live your fairy tale inspirations.
Method 1 is to get very very lucky and meet the person of your dreams and they turn out to be everything you ever wanted (and that you have the inner peace and self-love to keep them).
Method 2 is to simply let the hormone cocktail flowing within your body during the infatuation and intimacy stage cause you to commit to a long term relationship, without realizing that those "love chemicals" racing through your body tend to cause you to make rash decisions and disregard obvious signs of potential future problems. Thus now that you have committed, the way to turn this into a "dream-love" is to start working together on mindfulness, conflict-resolution, and love education.
Method 3 is that you use the love education you have spent the time learning to narrow the right suitor down to the person of your dreams.

g) Love education is a tool to reduce stress in your life. It can help you avoid lost time spent in dead-end relationships that were fine in the passion stage, but not so good when you found out your values and virtues were unlikely to mesh when the infatuation phase ends.
Love education gives you confidence in knowing that you understand the "process" of love and can now choose to control the process instead of it controlling you.
Some people think that understanding the process of love diminishes the beauty and spontaneity of love. Maybe there is some truth to that, maybe not. If you choose to live your life without utilizing available information and knowledge on love, that is your choice but keep in mind what Thich Nhat Hanh stated in his book "How to Love": "To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love." or Aristotle: "Educating the Mind without educating the Heart is no Education at all."
Would you rather jump from relationship to relationship and suffer the heart-break because you did not get the proper training or would you prefer to use your knowledge and evaluation skills to find your true love prior to committing to a long term relationship?

h) Who benefits from your love education? Everyone! Yourself, your current and potential future love interests, your kids, your friends and family, domestic violence counselors that won't have to counsel as many clients, your neighbors that won't have to listen to the loud arguments that sometimes happen, and lastly your dog or cat :)
Considering that it is very difficult to get adequate education, guidance and advice on obtaining and maintaining true love, this web site has been put together in the hope that it helps all of us grow. You may wonder how an web site on Love fits in with World Peace Enterprises? Well if you don't know how to love, and you end a relationship badly with your partner, you will likely have an "inner and outer" peace problem, adding to a global peace problem.

i) One of the keys to a happy relationship is understanding the concept of two magnets with a north-south pole.
On one end the two magnets are drawn together in inseparable closeness. On the other end, they are repelled by an invisible force field. So is a good relationship. Closeness is extremely important but so is space and the unselfish willingness to allow, to assist the other person to grow as an individual and have their own time and space, friends and interests.

j) Another key is understanding that all partners have imperfections, including yourself. Many relationships end early because we choose not to see these imperfections at the early stages, possibly because we are so happy to be "in love" and we don't want that feeling to end. But learning to discover and understand these imperfections and then deciding if you can stay in love despite these flaws is crucial to any successful and happy relationship.

k) One more key is to realize that it is nearly impossible to express true love for another if you do not truly love yourself. Not in a narcissistic way, but in a loving way that enhances your ability to love others. Also known as Philautia, or love of the self.

l) Research has shown that successful long-term marriages usually start out with passionate love and eventually evolve into compassionate, "companionate", mature love. These marriages express the positive virtues that lead to true friendship/partnership such as active listening and understanding, support, sympathy and empathy, give and take negotiations, humor, the ability to laugh at yourself, and adventurous fun.
They also showed less of the destructive tendencies that often lead to divorce such as biting criticism, raging fights, long lasting anger and contempt, and periods with lack of communication/stonewalling. They use mindful communication in order to relieve the problematic issues that nearly all couples will face, especially in the early stages of a relationship. And when they reach the companionate stage, most relationships attain an even higher level of love and respect and happiness, partly (or perhaps mainly?) due to the fact that they "worked" hard to reach their goal of attaining a happy and successful marriage.

m) Love, Actually: The Science behind Lust, Attraction, and Companionship
February 14, 2017, From a Harvard Blog by Katherine Wu

In 1993, Haddaway asked the world, "What is Love?" I'm not sure if he ever got his answer - but today, you can have yours. Sort of.
Scientists in fields ranging from anthropology to neuroscience have been asking this same question (albeit less eloquently) for decades. It turns out the science behind love is both simpler and more complex than we might think.

Google the phrase "biology of love" and you'll get answers that run the gamut of accuracy. Needless to say, the scientific basis of love is often sensationalized, and as with most science, we don't know enough to draw firm conclusions about every piece of the puzzle. What we do know, however, is that much of love can be explained by chemistry. So, if there's really a "formula" for love, what is it, and what does it mean?

Think of the last time you ran into someone you find attractive. You may have stammered, your palms may have sweated; you may have said something incredibly asinine and tripped spectacularly while trying to saunter away (or is that just me?). And chances are, your heart was thudding in your chest. It's no surprise that, for centuries, people thought love (and most other emotions, for that matter) arose from the heart. As it turns out, love is all about the brain - which, in turn, makes the rest of your body go haywire.

According to a team of scientists led by Dr. Helen Fisher at Rutgers, romantic love can be broken down into three categories: lust, attraction, and attachment. Each category is characterized by its own set of hormones stemming from the brain. Though there are overlaps and subtleties to each, each type is characterized by its own set of hormones. Testosterone and estrogen drive lust; dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin create attraction; and oxytocin and vasopressin mediate attachment.

Let's Get Chemical
Lust is driven by the desire for sexual gratification. The evolutionary basis for this stems from our need to reproduce, a need shared among all living things. Through reproduction, organisms pass on their genes, and thus contribute to the perpetuation of their species.

The hypothalamus of the brain plays a big role in this, stimulating the production of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen from the testes and ovaries. While these chemicals are often stereotyped as being "male" and "female," respectively, both play a role in men and women. As it turns out, testosterone increases libido in just about everyone. The effects are less pronounced with estrogen, but some women report being more sexually motivated around the time they ovulate, when estrogen levels are highest.
The testes and ovaries secrete the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, driving sexual desire. Dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin are all made in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that controls many vital functions as well as emotion. Lust and attraction shut off the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which includes rational behavior.

Love is its Own Reward
Meanwhile, attraction seems to be a distinct, though closely related, phenomenon. While we can certainly lust for someone we are attracted to, and vice versa, one can happen without the other. Attraction involves the brain pathways that control "reward" behavior, which partly explains why the first few weeks or months of a relationship can be so exhilarating and even all-consuming.

Dopamine, produced by the hypothalamus, is a particularly well-publicized player in the brain's reward pathway - it's released when we do things that feel good to us. In this case, these things include spending time with loved ones and having sex. High levels of dopamine and a related hormone, norepinephrine, are released during attraction. These chemicals make us giddy, energetic, and euphoric, even leading to decreased appetite and insomnia - which means you actually can be so "in love" that you can't eat and can't sleep. In fact, norepinephrine, also known as noradrenalin, may sound familiar because it plays a large role in the fight or flight response, which kicks into high gear when we're stressed and keeps us alert. Brain scans of people in love have actually shown that the primary "reward" centers of the brain, including the ventral tegmental area and the caudate nucleus, fire like crazy when people are shown a photo of someone they are intensely attracted to, compared to when they are shown someone they feel neutral towards (like an old high school acquaintance).

Finally, attraction seems to lead to a reduction in serotonin, a hormone that's known to be involved in appetite and mood. Interestingly, people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder also have low levels of serotonin, leading scientists to speculate that this is what underlies the overpowering infatuation that characterizes the beginning stages of love.

>>> From the NIH website
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that constricts blood vessels and brings on sleep. It is also involved in temperature regulation. Low levels of serotonin may cause sleep problems and depression, while too much serotonin can lead to seizures.
Dopamine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in mood and the control of complex movements. The loss of dopamine activity in some portions of the brain leads to the muscular rigidity of Parkinson's disease. Many medications used to treat behavioral disorders work by modifying the action of dopamine in the brain.

The Friend Zone
Last but not least, attachment is the predominant factor in long-term relationships. While lust and attraction are pretty much exclusive to romantic entanglements, attachment mediates friendships, parent-infant bonding, social cordiality, and many other intimacies as well. The two primary hormones here appear to be oxytocin and vasopressin.
Oxytocin is often nicknamed "cuddle hormone" for this reason. Like dopamine, oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus and released in large quantities during sex, breastfeeding, and childbirth. This may seem like a very strange assortment of activities - not all of which are necessarily enjoyable - but the common factor here is that all of these events are precursors to bonding. It also makes it pretty clear why having separate areas for attachment, lust, and attraction is important: we are attached to our immediate family, but those other emotions have no business there (and let's just say people who have muddled this up don't have the best track record).

Love Hurts
This all paints quite the rosy picture of love: hormones are released, making us feel good, rewarded, and close to our romantic partners. But that can't be the whole story: love is often accompanied by jealousy, erratic behavior, and irrationality, along with a host of other less-than-positive emotions and moods. It seems that our friendly cohort of hormones is also responsible for the downsides of love.

Dopamine, for instance, is the hormone responsible for the vast majority of the brain's reward pathway - and that means controlling both the good and the bad. We experience surges of dopamine for our virtues and our vices. In fact, the dopamine pathway is particularly well studied when it comes to addiction. The same regions that light up when we're feeling attraction light up when drug addicts take cocaine and when we binge eat sweets. For example, cocaine maintains dopamine signaling for much longer than usual, leading to a temporary "high." In a way, attraction is much like an addiction to another human being. Similarly, the same brain regions light up when we become addicted to material goods as when we become emotionally dependent on our partners. And addicts going into withdrawal are not unlike love-struck people craving the company of someone they cannot see.

Dopamine, which runs the reward pathways in our brain, is great in moderate doses, helping us enjoy food, exciting events, and relationships. However, we can push the dopamine pathway too far when we become addicted to food or drugs. Similarly, too much dopamine in a relationship can underlie unhealthy emotional dependence on our partners. And while healthy levels of oxytocin help us bond and feel warm and fuzzy towards our companions, elevated oxytocin can also fuel prejudice.

The story is somewhat similar for oxytocin: too much of a good thing can be bad. Recent studies on party drugs such as MDMA and GHB shows that oxytocin may be the hormone behind the feel-good, sociable effects these chemicals produce. These positive feelings are taken to an extreme in this case, causing the user to dissociate from his or her environment and act wildly and recklessly. Furthermore, oxytocin's role as a "bonding" hormone appears to help reinforce the positive feelings we already feel towards the people we love. That is, as we become more attached to our families, friends, and significant others, oxytocin is working in the background, reminding us why we like these people and increasing our affection for them. While this may be a good things for monogamy, such associations are not always positive. For example, oxytocin has also been suggested to play a role in ethnocentrism, increasing our love for people in our already-established cultural groups and making those unlike us seem more foreign. Thus, like dopamine, oxytocin can be a bit of a double-edged sword.

And finally, what would love be without embarrassment? Sexual arousal (but not necessarily attachment) appears to turn off regions in our brain that regulate critical thinking, self-awareness, and rational behavior, including parts of the prefrontal cortex. In short, love makes us dumb. Have you ever done something when you were in love that you later regretted? Maybe not. I'd ask a certain star-crossed Shakespearean couple, but it's a little late for them.

So, in short, there is sort of a "formula" for love. However, it's a work in progress, and there are many questions left unanswered. And, as we've realized by now, it's not just the hormone side of the equation that's complicated. Love can be both the best and worst thing for you - it can be the thing that gets us up in the morning, or what makes us never want to wake up again. I'm not sure I could define "love" for you if I kept you here for another ten thousand pages.
In the end, everyone is capable of defining love for themselves. And, for better or for worse, if it's all hormones, maybe each of us can have "chemistry" with just about anyone. But whether or not it goes further is still up to the rest of you. Happy Valentine's Day!


Regarding the above article, some people are offended by trying to break "love" down into a certain group of chemicals that are being released in the brain and body. There is obviously much more going on, such as shared mutual values, the desire for long-term companionship and the desire to start a family, etc. but the point is to be aware of how chemicals and neurotransmitters play a role in love, mood, depression, addiction, sleep and compulsion so that you can find balance and comprehend what is going on inside you during these phases.

n) The best gift a parent can give their kids is to love their spouse.
This is also what makes a house a home and teaches children and young adults how to live a happy and successful love-filled life.

1.2) Definitions of Love

The following are a few definitions and quotes about love. Perhaps you have your own definition of love?

A feeling of strong or constant affection for a person. - Merriam-Webster

The act of caring and giving to someone else. Having someone's best interest and well being as a priority in your life. To truly love is a very selfless act. - Urban Dictionary

"Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one object of love. . . . If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world, I love life. If I can say to somebody else 'I love you,' I must be able to say, 'I love in you everybody, I love through you the world, I love in you also myself." - Erich Fromm

"When a man and women with significant spiritual and psychological affinities encounter each other and fall in love, if they have evolved beyond the level of problems and difficulties, if they are beyond the level of merely struggling to make their relationship 'work' then romantic love becomes the pathway not only to sexual and emotional happiness but also to the higher reaches of human growth. It becomes a context for a continuing encounter with the self, through the process of interaction with another self. Two consciousnesses, each dedicated to personal evolution, can provide an extraordinary stimulus and challenge to the other. Then ecstasy can become a way of life. Romantic love is not a myth waiting to be discarded, but, for most of us, a discovery waiting to be born." - Nathaniel Branden

"I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or an other's spiritual growth." - M. Scott Peck

Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, to the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure. - Wikipedia

It has been said that Lust is the desire for the body, the flesh, immediate gratification.
Love is the desire for the heart and soul, long-term satisfaction.

"Lust causes the brain to produce the same reaction as if on cocaine or speed. Lust really is like a drug, it leaves you wanting more." -Dr. Jon Marsden, Director of the National Addiction Center

"To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love."
"Understanding is love's other name. If you don't understand, you can't love."
"Understanding someone's suffering is the best gift you can give another person."
"The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable. Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything."
- Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love

Some of us need to hear this, some of us need to say it: You are Loved!

1.3) Types of Love

8 Greek words for love and their meanings:

1. Eros, or sexual passion.
The ancient Greeks considered Eros to be potentially risky and irresponsible as it involves a "loss of control" through the primal impulse to procreate. Eros is an intense form of infatuation/lust that arouses romantic and sexual feelings. Sometimes relationships start with this type of passion prior to even getting to know each other. An eros dominant person is mainly interested in beauty and physical attractiveness and can be critical of physical imperfections. They may choose a "trophy" spouse versus seeking true friendship.

2. Mania, or obsessive love.
When love turns to obsession and excessive control, it becomes mania. A manic lover alternates between elation and depression; extreme highs and lows.
Stalking behaviors, dominance, co-dependency, extreme jealousy, verbal abuse and violence are all symptoms of mania. It can be dangerous so be cautious of getting into or out of this type of relationship.

3. Philautia, or love of the self.
Aristotle realized there were two types of self love. The unhealthy philautian is associated with narcissism and is self-obsessed and focused on personal interests, fame and fortune.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a long-term pattern of exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive craving for admiration, and low levels of empathy.
This type of person is only concerned in what they can get from others to advance their own self interests and will discard others when they no longer conform to their demands. They criticize others to build their ego due to their low self-esteem. They claim not to care when others "unfairly" criticize them, especially those held in "high esteem", but deep down it hurts them as much as the pain they inflict on others.
"The 7 Things That Only Narcissists Will Do" by Amy Morin, Posted Nov 12, 2015
1. They make it clear they know everything.
2. They insist on being the exception to the rule.
3. They project an image of superiority.
4. They make a great first impression, but quickly wear out their welcome.
5. They boost their egos by implying others are inferior.
6. They assume everyone adores them.
7. They put their own feelings ahead of other people's needs.

The healthy version of philautia enhances your wider capacity to love and be loved.
The Greeks understood that in order to care for others, we must first learn to love ourselves.
"All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man's feelings for himself." - Aristotle
A person with this high quality of character has a well developed self-identity and self-confidence and can thus extend themselves to building the self-esteem and self-actualization of others, thereby helping the society in which they live. This type of person has the opportunity for transcendence, especially if they also possess agape love.

4. Philia, or deep friendship.
This is a bond that develops between friends, couples, co-workers, people in the military, fraternities, counseling groups, charities and foundations. It is also a love/friendship for neighbors, pets, animals, nature and all living things.
Plato believed that physical attraction was not a required part of love, hence the use of the word "platonic" to mean, "without physical attraction."
You love someone for who they are and what they mean to you, not for what their physical appearance is.
A philia dominant person seeks friendship but may also desire intimacy and passion depending on the relationship.

5. Ludus, or playful love.
This is the playfulness between young family members and friends; crushes for young adults and casual relationships for mature adults.
The ludic person desires entertainment and excitement and the relationship ends when it ceases to be amusing.
For adults it is similar to narcissistic love in that it is all about "what's in it for me" with little regards to the desires and feelings of others.

6. Storge, or familial love.
Storge is a natural form of affection experienced between family members. This protective, kinship based love is usually quite strong between grandparents, parents and their children, and vice-versa. Familial love is also extremely important during this COVID-19 pandemic, since the younger family members who disregard the health warnings can unknowingly infect their parents and grandparents and put their lives at risk, leaving them without a complete family for the rest of their lives.
Storge love can also describe a sense of patriotism / belonging toward a country, religion, race or ethnicity.
The storge individual seeks companionship and stability with someone they have common interests with but this type of relationship may lack romance. It is also known as Companionate Love: Friendship + Utility + Commitment.

7. Pragma, or enduring, longstanding love.
Pragma is a love built on commitment and long-term best interests.
This is the love that most couples hope to attain in a healthy and happy marriage. It consists of friendship (philia), compromise, trust, tolerance, understanding, negotiation, patience, forgiveness, and adequate training and education to help them achieve the greatest heights possible.
It is a love that has grown and matured thus allowing the relationship to strengthen and flourish over time.
The pragma partner seeks compatibility, commitment and trust with the anticipation and expectation that their most important wants, needs and goals will be satisfied. It is also known as True Love or Consummate Love: Friendship + Intimacy + Passion + Commitment.

8. Agape, universal love, love for everyone.
This type of love extends beyond family members to all people everywhere.
This love is unconditional, bigger than ourselves, a boundless compassion and an infinite empathy that you extended to everyone, whether they are family members or distant strangers.
Empathy for others has seen a great decline in the past decade as people seem to want to return to the "Me decade" of the 80's. The world seems more divided than ever and politicians seem to want to divide people even further. Hopefully there will be a return to the "Golden Rule" soon and people will Unite and realize that love for everyone is extremely important. The agape individual has spiritual love for everyone with little concern for personal gain.

Considering the many types of love that are available to us, how many of these types have you experienced? How many do you currently possess? Which is your dominant type? Which is the dominant type of your partner? Which might you need to work on? Are there any that are causing you problems?
Most people at different stages in their lives can survive and be happy while only experiencing one, two or three of these types of positive love during certain periods of their lives. Can you think of anyone you know that has that experience? If you were filled with five of the positive types of love at any given time, how happy would you likely be? Perhaps it might become one of your lifetime goals and require an action plan to achieve it?

1.4) 16 Stages of Love

16 Potential Stages on the path towards Love or Separation:

Understand that relationships may break up at any of these stages, especially the early stages if there has been inadequate communication and truth in order to really get to know each other's morals, values, personality and long term goals. Not everyone takes the time to really get to know the other person in the early stages possibly because the "passion" chemicals are racing through our body so rapidly that we are somewhat blissful and unconcerned because we desire love to happen right now, especially if we have been waiting a long time to find that "special someone".

Also realize that some relationships may begin with stage 6 because some people believe that instantaneous passion is what defines "falling in love" or "love at first sight". This section is hopefully going to help people find their "true love" and help them "live in love" (or "stand upright in love" instead of "falling" in love and hoping things work out without disaster and pain).

It is estimated that over half of all arguments in a relationship or marriage are basically unsolvable (things like your family, your background, your beliefs; things that aren't likely to change) so the best way to deal with them is to address these issues, come to a compromise and learn to live with some of those problems. If you can't do that with your partner then you are certainly headed for unhappiness.

Lastly, realize that the following suggested stages are not an attempt to minimize the beauty of falling in love, on the contrary, they are meant to help people understand some of the mistakes people make in their attempt to find love quickly. The hope is that you don't waste years of your life and suffer incredible heart-break with a person you are not compatible with, merely because you did not take the time to properly get to know that person prior to marriage and starting a family. Also, notice we do not state at what stage a marriage may occur. In fact it could occur at any stage or possibly never.

16 Potential Stages on the path towards Love or Separation:
(not necessarily in this order)

1) Desire for companionship and love.
2) Infatuation, "crushes".
3) Bodily "love chemicals" flowing swiftly, possibly causing poor judgment /decisions.
4) Adoration and bliss, no flaws perceived.
5) Romance, dating. People show their best behavior and tend to hide their negative behaviors during this stage.
6) Intimacy.
7) Initial realization of flaws and communication issues that are now being exposed.
8) Potential trust issues, jealousy, concerns.
9) Initial stages of fights, arguments and biting criticism. Many relationships end here at number 9.
10) Working through arguments (conflict resolution). Compromise. Give and take negotiations (hopefully equal). Forgiveness.
11) Stability, security, satisfaction and happiness. True understanding of each other's wants and needs. Sharing of chores and responsibilities.
12) Philia love, deepening friendship.
13) True love, Pragma love. Deep and understanding love between two partners.
14) Universal love, Agape love. A love that spreads to the people that surround your relationship now that you have love to spare for others.
15) Self-Actualization / Couple-Actualization Love. True partnership that spreads knowledge and wisdom, produces blogs, newsletters, books, charities, donations, sponsorship, foundations.
16) Transcendence (existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level) of the self becomes possible: Teaching others to arrive at self-actualization and to reach the highest levels of achievement.


1.5) Love at Different Ages of Life

As a baby, the love we receive is from our parents. Most of us don't remember this love, except from baby pictures possibly taken of us.

As young children, we mainly receive love from our parents, grandparents and relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc), if we are lucky enough to have a loving family surrounding us.
We are learning about what love looks like by observing and studying the relationship our parents have (hopefully a good example) and from watching other relationships from their family and friends.

Once we get into our early school years, we might also receive some love from teachers, church members, sports organizations and other extracurricular activities we get involved in.

In our middle school years we experience puberty and begin to have strange feelings of love inside us, usually as "crushes" on other kids our age or even on adults we view as attractive. It can be an awkward experience, especially since love education has not been taught to many of us at that age and we are left to figure out what is happening on our own.

In our late school years some of us will start dating. Thus we may begin to discover both the excitement of falling in love and the pain from being rejected or abandoned. It is often very confusing and chaotic. You may have a crush on someone but not know how to start the dating process, or even how to communicate your feeling to them. You might even start the dating process and then get fearful and end the relationship abruptly without even really knowing why? This happened to us when we were young and to this day we still do not know why we "broke up" suddenly with a wonderful and beautiful partner. Maybe things were just moving too fast and we feared that we were to young to suddenly get intimate and start a long term relationship that might lead to an early marriage that we were not quite ready for? Perhaps we were also afraid of experiencing a teen-age pregnancy situation? Regardless, young love can be both extremely exciting and scary. If only we had some training in school or elsewhere, perhaps we would have been able to handle things differently and not have hurt someone we "loved"?

Harder yet, is the longing for love and not being able to find a love connection with someone. You may start to wonder if there is something wrong with you, or you are not attractive enough to find love? Well, take comfort that there is someone out there that is likely thinking the same thoughts and wondering when they will find YOU. It may take some time but it will happen.
There is a song by Diana Ross and the Supremes, 1966:
I need love, love to ease my mind
I need to find, find someone to call mine
But mama said "you can't hurry love"
No you just have to wait
She said love don't come easy
It's a game of give and take
You can't hurry love
No, you just have to wait
You gotta trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes
But how many heartaches must I stand
Before I find a love to let me live again

Not sure if that helps since most of us don't want to wait in order to find love, but it does show that you are not alone in your longing to find a true love. Seek and you shall find. Keep the faith. Also keep in mind that by being in a hurry and rushing in too deep without discovering if your first or second relationship will be a "true Love" you can wind up losing many precious years of your life in a dead-end relationship. Thus, love education is very, very important and many of us never received any. We were on our own! Good luck with that. Finding a "true love" relationship with good training is hard enough, find one without is sort of a miracle :)

If we are lucky enough to go to college, this is where many students find their future spouse. By now we have reached 18 years and perhaps have had one or more relationships.
For those that can not continue their schooling, they may find relationships through friends, at work, at church, in their neighborhood, online dating and other places. Once again the key to finding perhaps a true love is by being patient and using good communication skills in order to determine if you and your partner are truly compatible and have similar long term goals and dreams. One thing that should be mentioned is that people often choose mates that are not positive for them due to childhood issues that they are not always aware of. If you were anxious or fearful as a child, you may choose someone that makes you anxious as an adult, thus perpetuating your condition instead of relieving it. If you were abused, you may choose an abusive spouse. If you were a bully or abusive, you may seek someone you can continue to abuse. If you were depressed, you may end up with someone who adds to your depression instead of uplifts you. It may be helpful to assess your childhood upbringing and create an accurate awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. Were you an introvert or an extrovert. Were you predominantly happy or sad. Did you like to spend your time doing art or were you more into athletic activities? Were you humorous or were you dark? Were you free or were you trapped? Were you verbal or were you analytical? Did you think with your head or with your heart/gut? Were you spiritual or were you agnostic or an atheist? By now, you probably get the point that we are made of of a very complex set of background issues that make up who we are and what type of spouse might be best suited for us.

A good book that might help you is titled, "Who are you? 101 Ways of Seeing Yourself" by Malcom Godwin, in which he discusses in detail the 4 types: Body type, Feeling type, Thinking type and Spiritual type.
The main point is to be aware of your negative childhood thinking, issues and tendencies and try to find someone who helps reduce those issues instead of someone who makes them worse. Try to find someone who "completes" and complements you. Someone additive versus someone negative.

In early adulthood, we have now possibly gotten married and started a family and have many responsibility to provide for our new family unit. The stresses this creates can be overwhelming at times so it is important that you have good communication with your spouse in order to help each other through the tough times and find ways to ensure that there are also many joyful times. Once again, having a good love education background can assist greatly in being aware of the challenges you may face and choosing appropriate strategies to combat these difficulties without leaning on our negative tendencies to argue, criticize and fight.

In middle adulthood, if we have children, they are getting older and watching and learning from your example of how love and marriage develops. Hopefully your relationship has reached stage 10-13.
(10) Working through arguments (conflict resolution). Compromise. Give and take negotiations(hopefully equal). Forgiveness.
11) Stability, security, satisfaction and happiness. True understanding of each other's wants and needs. Sharing of chores and responsibilities. 12) Deepening friendship.
13) True love. Deep and understanding love between two partners.
If you have reached stage 13 then congratulations are in order. You have achieved what many people attempt to do but often don't have the training and tools to build such a desirable relationship. There should be a trophy presentation or an award that you may want to have engraved with your names and years of marriage stating "We achieved Paradise Together" or something to that effect.
This is also where you may have achieved type 4 of the Greek Love: Pragma, or longstanding compassionate and "companionate" love.
This is the love that most couples hope to attain in a healthy marriage with compromise, trust, tolerance, understanding and patience.

In our senior golden years, the children have likely left home and started relationships of their own. Hopefully they learned valuable lessons from observing your successful and happy relationship and you gave them guidance on how they can also achieve a similar wonderful, yet likely challenging marriage. At this age, if you are truly lucky and worked hard to get here, you can achieve the highest levels of love, Agape Love and Couple-Actualization.
(14) Agape love, a love that spreads to the people that surround your relationship, now that you have love to spare for others.
(15) Self-Actualization / Couple-Actualization Love. True partnership that spreads knowledge and wisdom, produces blogs, newsletters, books, charities, donations, sponsorship, foundations, etc.
These are the types of love that few couples reach without adequate research, training and hard work:
5. Agape, or love for everyone.
This type of love extends beyond family members to all people everywhere.
6. Philautia, or love of the self.
Aristotle realized there were two types. One was an unhealthy variety associated with narcissism, where you became self-obsessed and focused on personal interests, fame and fortune. The healthy version enhances your wider capacity to love and be loved.
Not many people ever achieve self-actualization, let alone couple-actualization. If you have, you definitely need to create an award for yourselves exclaiming that you have reached the pinnacle of success. You have climbed to the top of the highest mountain and deserve recognition. Congratulations! Job well done! You graduated at the top of your class. You have earned your teaching degree and may want to become a mentor to others.


1.6) How can you Improve your Chances to Find True Love

Perhaps the best way to find and keep "true love" in your world is to begin with finding true love for yourself. How can you love someone else if you haven't learned how to love yourself first? If you already have a tremendous amount of love for yourself you can probably just skip this section. If you have a tendency to talk down to yourself and criticize yourself for mistakes you've made, poor choices you've made, or for your appearance, then you probably need to work on improving love for yourself and let go of some of your baggage. Perhaps your parents, siblings, past friends or past partners criticized you and you accepted their criticism as truth? You'll need to address these issues and repair the damage so that you can move forward with a positive self-identification. No doubt you have many, many great qualities and abilities. Learn to focus on these positive attributes and try to fix the negative attributes so that you can feel better about yourself.

If you criticize yourself often, then you are very likely to criticize your partner(s) in your future relationships, thereby jeopardizing any hope for a happy and healthy bond with them. As Thich Nhat Hanh stated, "To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love." Thus without learning to love yourself and without learning how to love others, your chances of keeping true love are greatly diminished, if not nearly impossible.

Another way to improve your chances of keeping true love alive is to improve your communication skills. Poor communication can sabotage almost any relationship no matter how strong the attraction and passion may be. One of the keys to good communication is to be "mindful" during your discussions with your partner. You definitely want to avoid the dreaded 3 R's during any heated conversation / fights: "Rapid, Rash Reaction". Once terrible words are spoken to your partner, they can never be taken back. It is always better to avoid saying awful things than to try and explain later why you said them. When things reach that level, take a time-out and wait for things to cool down for a period. It is always better to "Respond" instead of React.

In the early stages of any relationship, it is often best if you agree to some "ground rules" for future possible arguments, such as remaining civil and taking a time-out if things get too intense and there is the possibility of saying things that can not be retracted, thus jeopardizing the quality of your relationship.

Regarding finding the "right" person for you, have you ever considered that question?
Instead of seeking the most attractive person, the wealthiest person, or the smartest person, etc., how about finding someone who compliments and supplements your personality type, and you truly enjoy being with all the time? Someone like a best friend instead of a trophy for you to display to your friends? Yes, some people marry for money or a way out of their current situation, and maybe that might make them happy for a while but if you don't have much in common there will likely be trouble on the horizon. What is it that you really want in a successful long-term marriage? Lots of money and ego, or lots of joy? Didn't someone once say "money can't buy me love"? You might want to choose Joy!

How many types of Love do you have within you?

We have available to us many types of loves during our lifetime: from family, from children, from friends, from ourselves, from church, from pets, from co-workers, from school mates, from neighbors, social media acqaintances and from and for kind strangers and wayfarers from distant lands. We can also possess tremendous spiritual love and love for nature, flowers, gardens, art, creativity, education and learning, music, sports, food, entertainment, and the list goes on and on.
When you add all your love(s) together, it can get you through tough times, especially if you are wanting and missing love from a romantic partner. (Remember the 6 types of Greek love discussed prior). Romantic passionate love, for many people, may only be our highest priority type of love during a small portion of our lives, from 18 - 30/40 or so? Romantic passionate love may always be an imperative during your life, along with the other types of love, but it has an even greater importance during our younger adult years. Of course, if you are fortunate to have romantic love for your entire adult life, remember to count your blessings.

When you are living your life with many types of loves, it will likely also help you find romantic or "companionate" love because you tend to be happy and more attractive when you have plenty of love in your life. Keep in mind the well known concept of the law of attraction. In the New Thought philosophy, the Law of Attraction is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person's life.

The Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality. In basic terms, all thoughts turn into things eventually. Keep your focus on good thoughts, not on the things you don't want because you will attract them also. People tend to be attracted to happy, loving individuals and groups of people. Utilize your happiness and positive thoughts to attract the person you are searching for. Perhaps the person you are looking for is yourself. Whether you prefer being semi-autonomous or prefer always being in a relationship, keep in mind the law of attraction.

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Buddha
"You are what you think. All that you are arises from your thoughts. With your thoughts you make your world." - Anonymous, The Dhammapada
"A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes." Gandhi
"With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world." - Dalai Lama
"Think good and good follows. Think evil and evil follows. You are what you think all day long." - Joseph Murphy
"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."- Dr. Wayne Dyer
"Change your thoughts and you change your world." - Norman Vincent Peale
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony. - Mahatma Gandhi
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude."- Zig Ziglar
"The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous." - Carl Sagan
"How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to?"- Tony Robbins
"Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it."- Ernest Holmes
"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit." - Helen Keller
"What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."- Napolean Hill
"Thoughts become things. Think good ones." - Mike Dooley


1.7) Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself".

Confucius understood how important it is to love yourself and to rectify your heart.

Wishing to order well their States, they first regulated their families.
Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons.
Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts.
Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts.
Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge.
Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.
Things being investigated, knowledge became complete.
Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere.
Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified.
Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated.
Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated.
Their families being regulated, their States were rightly governed.
Their States being rightly governed, the entire world was at peace.

So how do you rectify your heart?
The following are a few ideas to consider.

1. Confucius suggested to be sincere in your thoughts. In order to do so, you must investigate things in order to obtain knowledge (and eventually wisdom).
Well isn't this exactly what you are doing by reading this information on love education?
You probably wouldn't bother if you didn't want to learn valuable information that might help you not only improve your love for others, but also love for yourself.

2. Learn to let go of baggage from your past. Don't carry around useless weight that causes you pain and suffering.

3. Let go of resentment and contempt. "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies." - Nelson Mandela.

4. Learn to live in the present (not the past and not the future).

Remember that it is the journey, not the destination that is most important to achieving success and happiness. Let your heart live in the present. The past is history, the future is uncertain, but this moment is a gift, a present to enjoy.
Granted, not all moments are joyful, but as the saying goes, "this too shall pass", which is a Persian adage translated and used in many languages. It reflects on the temporary nature of the human condition. The general sentiment is often expressed in wisdom literature throughout history and across cultures, although the specific phrase appears to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets.

5. Forgive yourself for mistakes you have made.
We have all made mistakes. "Let he who is without sin throw the first stone." (John 8:7)

6. Choose to do and be good now and in the future, and choose friends who have a good heart.

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit".
"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him" (Matt. 12:33 & 35).
If you have evil stored within you, release it and free up more space to store good instead.

7. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Christianity. The Gospel of Matthew records the following:
One of the Pharisees, an expert in the law, tested Jesus with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." - Jesus (Matt. 22:35-38)
The Gospel of Mark records the following:
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." - Jesus, (Mark 12:29-31)
Islam. "Worship God alone and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him. And do good unto your parents, and near of kin, and unto orphans, and the needy, and the neighbour from among your own people, and the neighbour who is a stranger, and the friend by your side, and the traveler, and anyone else under your control. Verily, God does not love any of those who, full of self-conceit, act in a boastful manner." - Quran, (Surah 4:36)
Judaism. "Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." Torah, (Leviticus 19:18)

Notice that the commandment implies 'Love yourself'. Well if you don't love yourself, how can you express and manifest love for your neighbors or partner?
Thus it becomes imperative that you find love for yourself, the sooner the better.

8. Abide by the Golden Rule.

To abide by the Golden Rule also means you treat yourself in the same manner you treat others, with respect and loving kindness.

143 leaders of the world's major faiths endorsed the Golden Rule as part of the 1993 "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic". It is often considered the most concise and general principle of ethics. This rule is also endorsed by non-religious people in the common phrase, "Treat others as you would like to be treated." It is obviously very important for individuals, society and Peace in the world. No wonder this rule is Golden :)

Christianity: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." - Jesus (Matt. 7:12)
Islam: "Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others that which you wish for yourself." -The Prophet Muhammed Hadith
Judaism: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it." - Hillel, Talmud, Shabbath 31a.
Hinduism: "One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one's own self."
This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. If the entire Dharma can be summarized in a few words, then it is: That which is unfavorable to us, do not do that to others.
Confucianism: "Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself." - Confucius
Buddhism: "Hurt not others with what pains yourself." - Buddha
Zoroastrianism: "Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself." - Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29
Baha'i Faith: "If thine eyes be turned towards mercy, forsake the things that profit thee and cleave unto that which will profit mankind. And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbor that which thou choosest for thyself." - Baha'u'llah
Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." - T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien
Sikhism: "No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend." - Guru Arjun Dev Ji, 5th Guru, Guru Granth Sahib, P1299
The three golden rules of Sikhism namely; Naam Japna (meditate on the name of God), Kirat karna (honest living) , and Vand Chakna (sharing with others) are the corner stones for all Sikhs. Out of these, Vand Chakna, sharing with all (Use some of your hard earned money and precious time to help underprivileged people. They give it back to the society in a form of Dasvand.) has been extended into the institution of Langar. Langar means a Sikh free communal meal.
Jainism: "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated." - Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
Unitarianism: "We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part."
Shinto: "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form." - Munetada Kurozumi
Mohism: "If people regarded other people's states in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own state to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself."
Native Spirituality: "We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive." - Chief Dan George
Native American Shawnees: "Do not kill or injure your neighbor, for it is not him that you injure, you injure yourself. But do good to him, therefore add to his days of happiness as you add to your own. Do not wrong or hate your neighbor, for it is not him that you wrong, you wrong yourself."
Socrates: "Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you."
Plato: "May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me."
Aristotle: "We should behave towards friends, as we would wish friends to behave towards us."
Seneca: "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors."
Epictetus: "What you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others."
Thomas Hobbs: "Do not that to another which thou wouldst not have done to thyself."
Immanuel Kant: "Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature."
Napoleon Hill: "Only by working harmoniously in co-operation with other individuals or groups of individuals and thus creating value and benefit for them will one create sustainable achievement for oneself."
The Yorubas of West Africa: "He who injures another injures himself."
Moroccan tribesmen: "What you desire for yourself you should desire for others."
Bakongo: "If you see a jackal in your neighbor's garden, drive it out. One might get into yours one day, and you would like the same done for you."
From the Upanishads - the foundational document for Indian Brahmanism: "Let no man do to another that which would be repugnant to himself; this is the sum of righteousness. A man obtains the proper rule by regarding another's case as like his own."
Dalai Lama: "Follow the three Rs: 1) Respect for self. 2) Respect for others. 3) Responsibility for all your actions."

Above poster available through Scarboro Missions @ www.scarboromissions.ca/product/golden-rule-across-the-worlds-religions

Now that we have discussed ways to rectify your heart, what are some of the best ways of improving love for yourself with your new and improved heart and soul? One of them is by continuing what you are doing right now - educating yourself. Another may be through meditation and prayer. If you feel you have major issues that need addressing you may want to seek counseling.

What other ways come to mind for improving the love you have for yourself? Time with your family and friends? Time with yourself? Discussions with wise and loving friends, relatives and mentors? Reading books? Walks in nature? Taking a relaxing bath? Playing with pets? What works for you?
The internet has a wealth of information that can help you improve the love you have for yourself and others. Seek and you shall find. May Love be with you.


1.8) Using "Mindful" Communication to Keep Love Alive and Well

Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a simple but powerful technique to focus attention, manage emotions, handle stress and resolve conflicts. This allows people of all ages to make better decisions in stressful moments, rather than only in retrospect and can provide a much more positive social environment with fewer conflicts.
It addresses anger management and amygdala hijacking (15 seconds of rage, seeing red, can cause damage to your life for days, weeks, months or years). In heated situations, people are taught to try and keep calm so they can apply one of lifes most valuable lessons: Learn to respond (be mindful) versus rapid rash reaction (the dreaded 3R's).
Our basic human instinct (from our reptilian brain) is to react (fight or flight) but with training we can learn to use our higher consciousness (our cerebral cortex / human brain) and develop wiser responses to non life threatening situations.

"Mindfulness means to pay attention to the present moment, with intention, in a non-judgmental way. It is a practice of awareness and observation." - Jon Kabat-Zinn

This simple practice gives us the ability to respond (take a "time-out"), rather than impulsively react to any event or circumstance in our lives. Harsh words are seldom, if ever, able to be retracted and can sometimes cause irreparable harm to yourself and others.
With a better understanding of the relationship and inner workings of our brain (reptilian, mammalian, and cerebral cortex), mind (consciousness), heart (soul) and body (flesh), we will learn to make decisions from a place of strength, wisdom, and compassion.
As these "mindful moments" add up, they will allow us to feel a greater sense of peace in our daily lives and help us connect with ourselves and others in a more positive and meaningful way.
Mindfulness creates space, changing impulsive reactions to thoughtful responses.

When you are having a heated discussion / fight with your partner, remembering to stay mindful can not only save you a lot of pain, anger and escalation of the argument, it may save your relationship. We all want to be treated with respect and dignity and when we get down in the weeds and resort to biting criticism of our loved ones, we risk losing those loved ones.
In some cases, maybe it is best to end these non-rewarding / negative relationships, but if you currently value them, you may want to stay mindful. There is a thin line between love and hate, so just be aware of how quickly you can lose something that was once so joyful, just because of a few minutes of out-of-control rage. Bite your tongue, zip your lip, keep your mouth shut until you can calm down and discuss things in a civil manner if you value your relationship.

Don't lose your mind! Be mindful.

1.9) Using the Arts to Teach Love

Love education not only needs to be taught in the head but also in the heart.
Using the arts and through creativity and emotion, love can be integrated into our soul in ways that words and logic can not do alone.

Depending on the age group, the following activities can be helpful.

Finger Painting.
Paper Mache.

. .
Scrap books.
Painting, Watercolor.
Sewing, Knitting, Weaving, Quilting.
Basket making.
Beading, Jewelry making.

Poem writing.
Story writing.
Song writing.
TedTV and YouTube Love presentations.


1.10) Data about Love, Divorce and Single Parents

There are many statistics on divorce averages around the world, ranging from 25% of first marriages ending in divorce, to 50% ending in divorce. We do know that the average divorce rate has doubled in the last 40 years. We also know that the divorce rate for second and third marriages are higher than for first marriages, sometimes in the range of 75%, thus boosting the average divorce rate as a whole. Until we have more data (which we are working on getting), we estimate the overall first marriage divorce rate to be in the neighborhood of 30-40% or 1 in 3.

Regardless of what the actual rate is, divorce is almost always a very devastating, emotional and financially destructive circumstance and it is probably even harder on the children (if there are any) than the adults. Remember that the children often blame themselves for their parents problems so be extra aware of helping them to understand that they are not to blame.
If we can use Love Education to better prepare us for the challenges and difficulties that lay ahead of us we can hopefully choose our marriage partners more wisely and then nurture our relationships so that love can flourish, both as a couple and as a family.

Keep in mind that a lower divorce rate is not really the goal we are after, although it is part of the equation. It is happy and healthy relationships that are the true measure of success! Perhaps that is what we should be measuring? Instead of divorce rate, what is the "marriage happiness rate"? The higher the happiness rate, the lower the divorce rate, don't you think? What we really want is for 75-90% of the first marriages to be "Happily Married", and likewise for those in their second or third marriages. How can we attain this optimistic goal? Possibly by Love Education.

The following article offers some insights that may be helpful.

Divorce Rates Around the World: A Love Story - Bella DePaulo Ph.D., Psychology Today
In four decades, divorce rates around the world have more than doubled.

University of California at Irvine sociologists Cheng-Tong Lir Wang and Evan Schofer analyzed nearly four decades of divorce data (1970-2008) from 84 countries around the world. They looked at changes in rates of divorce over time and different rates of divorce in different places. Their report, "Coming out of the penumbras: World culture and cross-national variation in divorce rates," was published in the December 2018 issue of Social Forces.

The approach that psychologists use to understand whether someone is likely to divorce is to look at individual life experiences and choices, such as a person's education, employment, income, and the age at which they marry. The sociologists Wang and Schofer were interested in societal factors that might be relevant to rates of divorce, such as a nation's level of economic development and the proportion of their women who are in the workforce. They also wanted to learn about global norms and values, such as the belief in human rights and gender equality, and whether they had anything to do with rates of divorce.

What Is Different about the Nations that Have Higher Rates of Divorce

They have a higher level of economic development. One of the most powerful predictors of the rate of divorce is a country's gross national income (per capita). In wealthier countries (as measured by gross national income), a greater proportion of people get divorced.

More of their women are in the workforce. Countries with a greater percentage of women (ages 15 and older) in the labor force have higher rates of divorce.

They are more highly educated. Nations with more people enrolled in secondary education have higher divorce rates.

They have lower proportions of Catholics. Nations with proportionately more Catholics have lower rates of divorce. Nations with greater proportions of Muslims also have lower divorce rates, but the results are not always statistically significant.

They are more likely to be part of international organizations and treaties. The authors believe that when nations sign onto international non-governmental organizations and treaties, they are more likely to be influenced by global norms and ideas such as individual rights, the importance of consent, and the freedom to choose one's own destiny. An example is the Convention to Eliminate All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The authors see a country's ratification of CEDAW as an indication of its "commitment to the cultural principles of individualism and gender equality." Nations with higher rates of membership in international non-governmental organizations and treaties have higher rates of divorce.

Why Divorce Stories Can Be Love Stories

Divorce can be a devastating experience for the adults who are splitting as well as their children. But it can be an empowering, and sometimes even life-saving, choice when the alternative of staying in the marriage is even worse.
Some marriages are abusive, posing risks to the emotional and physical well-being, and even the survival, of adults and children. It can be an act of love for yourself and your children (if you have any) to leave such marriages, especially in the face of an uncertain life outside of marriage and threats from the abusive spouse.
Divorce can be a love story when people love themselves enough to walk away from a bad situation. Divorce can be a love story when people believe that they can find romantic love once again.

Divorce can be a love story when people realize that they already have love, in the biggest, broadest sense of the word. Maybe they have friends they love and family they love. Maybe they realize that the romantic version of love is just one version, and a rather narrow one at that. Maybe those friends and family who are so important to them have been in their lives a whole lot longer than their former spouse.

Divorce can be a love story when people realize that they love their life outside of marriage. Maybe they love their single life more than any other life. Maybe they especially love living alone.

Because of economic development, the growing numbers of women in the workforce, and higher rates of education, more and more people around the world can afford to divorce. They have the skills, the knowledge, and the resources to support themselves outside of marriage. Because of the world-wide dissemination of norms and values that maintain that humans should have rights and choices, and that men and women should have equal control over their own destinies, more and more people take seriously the option to divorce.

The next step in this process is for more and more people to have the option - and to realize they have the option - not to marry at all. Once single life loses its stigma, then people who like living single can more readily choose to do so. People who want to marry will be advantaged, too. They can pursue marriage from a position of strength, as something they are running towards and not just a place where they end up because they are running away from being single. When single life is affordable and respected, and recognized as meaningful and fulfilling, then people who want to be coupled won't be in such a rush to get there. They won't lunge at risky romantic partners out of desperation.

People who want to marry might make better choices, and consequently be less likely to divorce. They (and their children, if they have any) will get to avoid the pain of divorce while enjoying the individual rights, choices, freedoms, and individualistic values and practices that are increasingly a part of everyday life in many nations all around the world.

More data and information coming soon on these topics.

Section 1.11 LE-101, Section Quizzes & Final Exam

The following quizzes can be used after each section. After studying all the sections, the sum of all the quizzes can be given as a final test, or you may choose some of the questions from each section to create the final exam.

Section 1.1 - Introduction to Love Education 101:

1) What are the 3 methods for finding true love?
2) Who benefits from Love Education?
3) What is meant by the "two magnets" theory about love?
4) What is the reason for loving yourself?
5) What is companionate love?
6) What is the first type of love often present at the start of many relationships?
7) What is the reason we tend to fall "madly in love" instead of "rationally in love"?
8) What are some of the possible consequences of falling "madly in love"?
9) What is the best gift a parent can give their children?

Section 1.2 - Definitions of Love

1) What was the definition of love provided by the dictionary?
2) Why was the dictionary definition incomplete when applied to a healthy relationship? 3) What was your favorite definition of love?

Section 1.3 - Types of Love

1) How many Greek words for love were discussed? Can you name half of them?
2) How many were considered risky or dangerous? What were they?
3) What was the word they used for a healthy and happy marriage?
4) What was the highest level of love that couples can reach?
5) How any types of love have you experienced so far?

Section 1.4 - Stages of Love

1) How many stages of love were described?
2) Did you agree with the stages as they were organized?
3) Which stage was a relationship in the most jeopardy of ending?
4) What was the reason that relationship sometimes end during that phase?
5) What was the final stage, which few individuals and couples reach?
6) How many people do you know that have reached this highest pinnacle?
7) Do you believe you can reach that pinnacle? If so, how?

Section 1.5 - Love at Different Ages of Life

1) Where does most of our love come from when we are babies?
2) As young children?
3) In our early school years?
4) What happens in our middle school years?
5) In our high school years, dating often starts to get serious. Why is it difficult for many?
6)What type of mistakes might be made because of fears, possible rejection issues, or lack of relationship training?
7) After finishing primary school, many of us may get married. What were some of the key ways to hopefully create a long term, happy marriage?
8) In early adulthood, after many have gotten married, what were some of the issue you might face? What were some of the best ways to help get you through them?
9) In middle adulthood, hopefully you have attained a high level of happiness and satisfaction in your marriage. What were some of the suggested methods to help your relationship grow? What is the greek word for love that describes a happy marriage?
10) In our senior golden years, what were the two types of love possible to couples that have survived the challenges and thrived to create a wonderful marriage and partnership?

Section 1.6 - How can you Improve your Chances to Find True Love

1) What was mentioned as perhaps the best way to find and keep true love?
2) What was another key to finding true love?
3) What was meant by finding the "right" person for you?
4) How many types of love do you currently have within you? Why is that important? How does it help you?
5) What is the "law of attraction", and why is it important to finding true love?
6) How many authors were quoted regarding the law of attraction? 8? 12? 15?

Section 1.7 - Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself"

1) What did Confucius have to say in regards to loving yourself?
2) What were 2-3 of the other ways to improve love for yourself?
3) What was meant by "Love your neighbor as yourself"?
4) Why was the Golden Rule mentioned?
5) What does it mean to abide by the Golden Rule?
6) How many religions were listed that believe in the Golden Rule?

Section 1.8 - Using "Mindful" Communication to Keep Love Alive and Well

1) What is the definition of mindfulness?
2) What does this simple practice allow us to do?
3) When you are having a heated discussion, why is mindfulness important?
4) What dreaded problem can mindfulness help prevent during moments of heightened anger?

Section 1.9 - Using the Arts to Teach Love

1) Why are the arts useful for love education?
2) How many types of art have you learned in your life?
3) What would be your favorite form of art to create displays of love?
4) Have you actually created any arts and crafts for a love display yet? Maybe you added them to your Master Journal.

Section 1.10 - Data about Love, Divorce and Single Parents

1) What is the estimated divorce rate worldwide?
2) Is it increasing or decreasing? How much in the last 4 decades?
3) Why is the divorce rate percentage the wrong objective to focus on? What is more important? 4) What types of issues are negatively impacted during and after a divorce?
5) What is a key concern for children involved in a divorce?
6) What are two differences about nations that have higher rates of divorce?
7) Why can divorce actually be a love story?
8) Is there a stigma to being single or divorced? What is the position of your culture?
9) Why might some people prefer not to get married, or remarried?

Click here to print the Quizzes and Final Exam for Love Education 101: LE-101, sections 1.1 thru 1.10, July 6, Rev A.

Now that you have completed the Final Exam, you can download, edit, save and print your LE-101 "Certificate of Excellence" which is your document of accomplishment certifying you have completed Love Education 101. You may want to add it to your Master Journal of Personal and Relationship Growth.

You can click-on and download, save, edit and print your Diploma, your Certificate of Excellence for completing the online course, Love Education 101: LE-101, sections 1.1 thru 1.10.

You may want to add it to your Master Journal notebook.

Coming soon:

Love Ed 301 - History and Teaching of Love
Love Ed 401 - Working as a Love Counselor, Masters Program, Love Award Ideas


. .

What levels have you attained on these pyramids? What level do you aspire to reach?

Which levels do you need the help of others in order to reach?

Love Ed 201: Evaluating, Identifying, Strategies, Goal-Setting and Implementation to Improve your Relationships

2.1) Introduction to Love Education 201

2.2) Review of Love Ed 101

2.3) Evaluating your Love Relationship / Personal Questionaire - Tool #1

2.4) Evaluating your "Wholeness" using a Balance Wheel - Tool #2

2.5) Evaluating your Daily Growth using the Good Day / Bad Day checklist - Tool #3

2.6) Journaling your Daily Growth using "Morning Pages" - Tool #4

2.7) Identifying Problems and Issues for Improvement

2.8) 10+ Problem Solving Tools and Strategies to Address and Solve Issues

2.9) 5+ Goal Setting Tools and Strategies to Establish Goals and Action Plans

2.10) Choosing the Best Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to Solve Problems and Issues

2.11) Creating Implementation Plans (IP's) & Applying them to Improve your Relationships

2.12) 10 Types of Intimacy

2.13) 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make

2.14) Deep Friendships

2.15) Family Relationships

2.16) Parenting and Child Development

2.17) Creating your Personal and Relationship "Vision and Mission" Statements

2.18) Creating a Master Journal to Support your Personal Growth

2.19) Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's)

2.20) Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness

2.21) Continuous Quizzing / Testing / Monitoring of your Relationships

2.1) Introduction to Love Education 201

Love Education 201 is focused around evaluating and improving your relationship(s). The first step in improving any situation is to identify the existing issues prior to solving the problem(s). You certainly don't want to waste time and resources solving the wrong problem. For instance, you don't fix a failing relationship by going on a romantic trip when the real problem is a communication break-down. Take time to fix the communication problem first, and then go on the romantic trip to re-kindle your relationship. This way you don't end up fighting during the entire trip. Does this make sense?

"If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it." - Albert Einstein

Love Ed 201 thus first addresses the evaluation process using a detailed questionaire and other evaluation tools.
After the evaluation is complete (actually it will never be complete since it is an ongoing process) it can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses in your relationship with yourself and others. Notice this is a two-pronged approach. You need to identify issues in yourself prior to working on issues with your relationships with your partner, family, friends and co-workers, etc. Without solving your inner issues first, you will likely be focusing on the wrong problems.
It is similar to focusing first on inner peace before you can find outer peace.
You must grow inner Love prior to nurturing true outer Love.
Once you have accomplished some gains on your inner struggles, then you can begin working with others on your relationships.
After the identification process is done, we need to decide which are the best methods and strategies to facilitate improvement of the issues we have discovered.
Finally we can begin implementing these methods and apply them to solve our problems.
The last step is to begin the continuous and never ending step of monitoring and re-evaluating our progress. Are the methods we chose bringing progress? Did we truly identify the proper problems to work on? Maybe new issues have popped up since we started opening doors that we never realized were locked in the first place?
You are probably starting to see that this is a cycle, an expedition, a journey, not simply a destination.

2.2) Review of Love Ed 101

A brief review and summary of Love Ed 101 will be added here soon.

2.3) Diagnostic Tool #1: Relationship / Personal Questionaire

The whole point of completing this questionaire is to ensure that you understand who you are, your likes and dislikes, your positive attributes and possibly some things you need to work on.
You may also want to put a star next to the topics that you think are very important, significant, or might be a problem that needs addressing. Remember the whole goal of this exercise is to learn about yourself and your partner, and thus increase the love you have for both yourself and each other.

As mentioned in LE-101, it is estimated that over half of all arguments in a relationship or marriage are basically unsolvable (things like your family, your background, your beliefs; things that aren't likely to change) so the best way to deal with them is to address these issues, come to a compromise and learn to live with some of those problems. If you can't do that with your partner then you are certainly headed for unhappiness.

After your partner completes their questionaire (or you can take it together), you can compare the results and discuss areas for improvement and compromise so that both of you can get a better understanding of your values, strengths and weaknesses, and significant issues that you can work on together in order to improve your relationship and level of happiness.

Note: this is not a questionaire that you can add up your score and compare it to someone else's score. It is merely to be used as a guide to help both you and your partner understand where both of you are coming from, where you are at now, and where you want to go.
Also realize that at different stages of your relationship and at different times of your life, your answers to these questions will likely change.

On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself as to which description most applies to you, the one on the left side or the one on the right side.
(1)-Left-side <---------------------(5)-Both--------------------> (10)-Right-side
Example: On question #1) if you mainly use your logical/thinking brain, then you may be a 2 or a 3. If you use your gut feelings to make most decisions, you may be a 9 or 10. If you use both equally, you may be a 5, or somewhere in-between.
If you are in a relationship now, you can answer each question for yourself, and then write a number down for how you think your partner is best described. Maybe you are a 3 and they are an 8, thus __3__ : __8__
Another way to answer these questions is to merely circle or underline the left or right description that most applies to you. If you are in the middle, circle the dash between them. . . . . . Date:________________________

Mind Questions:

1) Thinking / Left Brain Dominant - Feeling / Right Brain Dominant _____ : _____

Mathematical - Verbal / Pictorial / Graphical / Auditory / Touch _____ : _____

Introvert - Extrovert _____ : _____

Artistic / Creative - Not very Artistic / Creative _____ : _____

5) Intuitive - Not Intuitive _____ : _____

Good at dealing with stress - Not so good at dealing with stress _____ : _____

Patient - Impatient _____ : _____

Prefer spontaneity - Prefer planning and organization _____ : _____

Spiritual Questions:

Strongly religious - Slightly religious _____ : _____

10) Prefer praying daily - Prefer to have less daily prayer _____ : _____

10A) Prefer to go to church every week - Prefer not to go to church _____ : _____

Strongly spiritual - Slightly spiritual _____ : _____

Heart / Feeling Questions:

Are you emotional - Not very emotional _____ : _____

Do you deal well with your emotions? - Not well with your emotions _____ : _____

Do you feel confined? - Do you feel free _____ : _____

15) Prefer giving - Prefer receiving _____ : _____

Self-respect very important - Self-respect not that important _____ : _____

Do you have high self-esteem? - Low self-esteem _____ : _____

Respect for others very important - Respect for others not that important _____ : _____

Personal Boundaries very important - Boundaries not that important _____ : _____

20) Communication is very important - Communication is not that important _____ : _____

20-A) Do you communicate well - Do you need to work on your communication skills _____ : _____

Compromise very important - My way or the highway _____ : _____

Slow to anger - Quick to anger _____ : _____

Easily forgives - Hangs on to resentment _____ : _____

Quick to criticize - Prefer mindful discussion to solve problems _____ : _____

25) Humor not important - Humor very important _____ : _____

Seriousness not important - Seriousness very important _____ : _____

Thoughtfulness not important - Thoughtfulness very important _____ : _____

Have many regrets from the past - Have few regrets from the past _____ : _____

Body Questions:

Athletic - Not very Athletic _____ : _____

30) Energetic / Hyper - Relaxed / Casual _____ : _____

Strong / Muscular - Delicate / Fragile _____ : _____

Tall - Short _____ : _____

Heavy (Endomorph) - Slender (Ectomorph) _____ : _____

Personal Preferences:

- PowToon

Strongly motivated by money - Slightly motivated by money _____ : _____

35) Money very important to happiness / success - Money not that important _____ : _____

Prefer time together versus long work hours to make money - Money more important _____ : _____

Prefer to live in the city - Prefer to live in the suburbs / country _____ : _____

Enjoy watching sports - Enjoy watching movies / other, (Sitcoms/News) _____ : _____

Prefer being in nature / camping - Prefer being in a hotel _____ : _____

40) Prefer outdoor activities - Prefer indoor activities _____ : _____

Prefer home cooking - Prefer eating out _____ : _____

Prefer meat - Prefer fruit and vegetables _____ : _____

Like to stay up late - Prefer to go to bed early _____ : _____

Family / Friends Questions:

Good relation with parents - Not so good relations with parents _____ : _____

45) Good relation with siblings - Not so good relations with siblings _____ : _____

Good at identifying friend vs foe - Not so good at identifying true friends _____ : _____

Friendships not that important - Friendships very important _____ : _____

Prefer many friends - Prefer fewer friends _____ : _____

Enjoyed school - Did not enjoy school _____ : _____

50) Had a happy childhood - Had an unhappy childhood _____ : _____

Happy with my appearance - Not happy with my appearance _____ : _____

Relationship / Love Questions:

Time alone/apart not very important - Time alone very important _____ : _____

Time together not that important - Time together very important _____ : _____

Does your partner spend too much time with friends? : I do not mind being alone / ignored _____ : _____

55) Intimacy / Hugs / Holding Hands not important - Intimacy very important _____ : _____

Sex not that important - Sex very important _____ : _____

Love not that important - Love very important _____ : _____

Fidelity not that important - Trust / Fidelity / Faithfulness very important _____ : _____

Marriage counseling may be helpful - Marriage counseling not useful _____ : _____

60) Prefer separation of chores for each partner - Prefer both partners share same chores equally _____ : _____

Desire many children - Desire only one or two children _____ : _____

Children desired soon - Children can wait for a while _____ : _____

Parenting classes may be important - Parenting classes not useful _____ : _____

Prefer strict discipline for children - Prefer less strict discipline _____ : _____

65) Prefer public schooling for children - Prefer private schooling / home schooling _____ : _____

Prefer lots of time with family / in-laws - Prefer less time with in-laws _____ : _____

Prefer to live near family / in-laws - Does not matter _____ : _____

Are you overly defensive? - Not easily offended _____ : _____

Are you sensitive / understanding? - Not very sensitive _____ : _____

70) Are you kind / compassionate? - Not very compassionate _____ : _____

I can easily entertain and enjoy myself - I need others to help me feel better, enjoy myself _____ : _____

We like to spend a lot of time just talking - we don't talk much _____ : _____

Do you make plans without asking your partner? - I always ask before making any plans _____ : _____

Do you turn into a mind reader when your partner is upset? - I do not assume what is bothering my partner, I ask instead _____ : _____

75) If your partner is upset, is it always about you? - I do not assume it is my fault, instead I ask kindly, "is there something wrong?" _____ : _____

When it is your fault, do you apologize? - I seldom apologize since I am seldom wrong _____ : _____

I often my raise voice / use a negative tone when having difficult discussions - I usually keep civil _____ : _____

Do you sometimes get into yelling matches, or worse? - Not very often _____ : _____

Do you prefer a clean house? - Clutter is OK _____ : _____

80) Prefer a 1/2 hour or more of totally "alone" time per day to grow my soul - Time alone not required _____ : _____

Prefer to be told "I Love You" every day - Prefer not to be told that I am loved _____ : _____

What are your hot buttons, things that set you off: __________________________________________________


What are your cool buttons, things that please you:___________________________________________________


What are your phobias, anxieties and fears:___________________________________________________________


85) What are your favorite things in life / What do you love:_____________________________________________________


What activities do you enjoy the most with your partner_______________________________________________________


Which activities do you least enjoy with your partner ________________________________________


What other activities do you hope you can enjoy with your partner soon ____________________


What are your hopes and dreams as a couple____________________________________________________


90) What are the key things you are looking for in a partner: ______________________________________________________


What are the key things you don't want in a partner: ______________________________________________________________


What are your best attributes / strong points: ________________________________________________________________


What are your weak points you need to work on: _______________________________________________________


If you have a partner, What are their best attributes / strong points:___________________________________


95) What are their weak points they need to work on: _________________________________________________


96) Do you share similar political / governmental views: ___________________________________________________


97) Do you believe in similar humanitarian issues such as:

a) Respect for others regardless of race, gender, age, nationality, class, sexuality, appearance, political or religious belief, physical or mental ability. Yes / No
b) Empathy and willingness to understand the views of others from their standpoint. Yes / No
c) A belief that individuals and groups of people can make for positive change. Yes / No
d) Appreciation of and respect for diversity. Yes / No
e) Self-esteem and accepting the intrinsic value of oneself. Yes / No
f) Commitment to social justice, equity and nonviolence. Yes / No
g) Concern for the environment and understanding of our place in the ecosystem. Yes / No
h) Commitment to equality. Yes / No
Special thanks to the Peace Education Network of the British National Peace Council for these insights.


Now that you have completed this questionaire, what stands out to you as your strengths, and which are your weakness that can be improved or addressed?
Are you happy with the mind, body, feelings, behavioral, perceptual and spiritual aspects of your life?
If not, do you need to change your thoughts and feelings about some negative aspects, or can you create physical changes that will help you and others see you in a better light?
Part of this exercise is to understand that it is OK that you are not perfect (no one is).
Keep in mind the Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Click Here to print or download this questionaire, June 12, 2020, Rev G


2.4) Evaluating your "Wholeness" using a Balance Wheel - Tool #2

The goal is to accomplish balance in your life. Think of it as 12 spokes on a wheel. If all aspects of your life are in balance, the wheel rolls smoothly. Get too many spokes out of whack, and the wheel becomes a square!

The "Left Brain" (logical) Spokes are: Work, Exercise, Nutrition, Chores, Learning, Planning

The "Right Brain" (emotional) Spokes are: Family/Friends, Relaxation, Intuition, Creation, Romance, Dreams

Notice how the categories differ. The type A personality spends most of their time using only their left brains. Where is the fun in that?! It seems that most of the enjoyable things in life are right brain dominant.

The key is to learn how to use our "two" brains together. We obviously need both sides in order to survive, but once again the critical word is balance! Looked at another way, if we only used our left brain (as a nation) then war and fighting would be dominant. If we only used our right brain then we would not have the ability to support and protect ourselves. Only by utilizing the two halves together can we become whole.

By looking at this "vase-face" picture, you can feel the shift from left (vase) to right (faces), and back again. By learning to control this shift we will take another step in our evolution. (see also: World Peace and Reality - an eassy on Peace

"Left" Definitions: Work (Job or Housework), Exercise (20 minutes +), Nutrition (4 food groups, 4-8 glasses of water, 2-3 alcohol drinks or less), Chores, Learning (Study, reading, internet research, informative TV, ...), Planning / Goals (5-30 minutes/day)

"Right" Definitions: Family/Friends, Relax (20 minutes +, lay on couch, meditate, bath, ...), Intuition (the sum of observation, perception, re-collection and contemplation), Create (Draw, paint, ..), Romance (time with significant other), Dream (Daydream, analyze past dreams, Meditate, Spiritual activities)

To make a daily chart to see how well you are rolling, draw a large circle on a piece of paper and divide it with 6 straight lines, all intersecting at the middle. It should look like a bicycle wheel with 12 spokes when finished. Write the first initial of a category, outside each spoke, ie. W-E-N-C-L-P & F-R-I-C-R-D

On a scale of low to high, the center being none, make a mark on each spoke that depicts the amount of effort you gave yesterday to each category. The outside of the wheel represents a lot of effort, the center represents minimal effort. After marking all spokes, draw lines to connect the dots and see how well you did. The larger and rounder the wheel, the happier and healthier you probably are! Date each wheel so you can compare your progress.

Another way of looking at the "Balance Wheel" you have just drawn is as a map of the brain. Is your wheel/brain one-sided? If so, you probably need to put more effort into developing the other side.

Printable version of the "Check List" and Balance Wheel - Click Here

-Rob Gonsalves

2.5) Evaluating your Daily Growth using a Good Day / Bad Day checklist - Tool #3

By reviewing the activities below and checking the ones you accomplished today, you can get a rating on the kind of day you've had. A score over 15 is a great day. 10 - 14 is a good day. Under 10, you need improvement. . . Did you:

Brighten someone's day?____ Smile/Laugh?____ Think positive thoughts?____ Help someone?____

Exercise?____ Clean?____ Eat Properly?____ Drink 8 glasses of water?____ Relax?____

Learn from a failure?____ Create something?____ Use intuition?____ Play?____

Time with significant other?____ Time with family?____ Time with friends?____ Time alone?____

Learn something new?____ Work on a goal?____ Have a success?____ Think about Peace?____

Count your blessings? _____ Pray/Meditate?_____

NEGATIVES: . . (subtract 1 for each check mark)

Yell at someone?____ Hold resentment against another (justified or not)?_____

Talk down to yourself?____ Pity yourself?____

Worry excessively?____ Over/under eat?____

Sleep poorly last night?____ 5 or more drinks yesterday?____

What might you change or add to this list to make it more personal for you?

Hopefully you scored well but the real point of this exercise is to learn to focus on the positive aspects of life and count our blessings. The happier and more balanced you become, the more happiness and love you will have to share with those you love, thus improving the chances for stronger, healthier relationships. Most people prefer not to be around negative, non-loving people and instead prefer to share the company of positive loving, supportive and understanding people.

It would be great if we all helped each other with our shared emotional and spiritual growth, particularly when our individual skills can be applied to the challenge, or opportunity, we choose to undertake. Regarding helping others, perhaps "an eye for an eye" should soon be interpreted as "when you save an eye you actually save your own as well"? In our case, we chose to undertake the challenge / opportunity to create a Love Education curriculum although we were fearful that it would fail, since our 25 year background is in Peace Education. After getting nearly halfway through the very 1st phase of this project we realized that Peace and Love go hand in hand. It may be that you can't truly have one without the other?!

Printable version of the "Check List" and Balance Wheel - Click Here


2.6) Journaling your Daily Growth using "Morning Pages" - Tool #4

Constructive Journaling, or writing your "Morning Pages" is the process of recording your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. If you struggle with self-esteem, anxiety, stress, or depression, keeping a journal can be very helpful. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.

Journaling helps to identify negative thoughts and behaviors. By clarifying your perceptions, thoughts and feelings, you will get to know and understand yourself better. Journaling allows us to look at our lives from an "outsider" perspective even though we are looking inward. Thus we have the opportunity to "counsel" ourselves without having to share uncomfortable personal issues with a true counselor/mentor. This can give you new perspectives that can help you achieve the goals and dreams you have established, possibly by writing them in your journal also. There may be times when you may need outside guidance or counseling, but having a journal will likely help with being able to better express your concerns and issues with someone qualified to assist you in addressing and resolving those challenges and opportunities.
Many mental health experts recommend journaling because it can improve your mood and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. Studies support this and suggest journaling is good for your mental health. It may also make therapy work better.

Morning Pages also help you keep track of what is going on in your life, both positive and negative. When life seems extra chaotic, Morning Pages can help you sort out things going on in your life so they don't seem so out of control. Just jotting down a few events and situations and writing down some feelings about them can be a type of release to free up your bottled emotions. Then you can move on with your day and hopefully be more at peace.

Morning Pages are not just for the morning hours, although getting your thoughts and feelings released in the morning can be particularly beneficial during the rest of your day. It can be a safe place to record epiphanies, crazy ideas, concerns, sadness, hopes and fears all throughout the day and night. Consider this: We all have three sides to our personality.
1) The side we show the world.
2) The side we only show to close family and trusted friends.
3) The side we only show to ourselves.
By writing down your impulses and self-expressions, and all the other things mentioned here, you are getting to know the side you usually only show to yourself. You have the chance to become a better friend to yourself by sharing your inner secrets and most sincere thoughts with yourself. Since you spend more time with yourself than any other person in your lifetime, perhaps it is a great idea to develop a true love for that person: Yourself. Journaling can help you get there.

Twelve things Journaling / Morning Pages can be helpful with:

1) Keeping your thoughts, perceptions and feelings organized and making them more accessible in order to work on them. This will help with self-reflection and personal growth.
2) Providing a place to record both successes and failures, thereby allowing you to evaluate what went right and what went wrong.
3) Reducing stress by relieving bottled-in pressure. Instead of yelling, fighting and screaming to release stress, anger and depression, release these feelings onto paper (or your cell phone, computer, iPad, etc.). This will improve your chances of dealing more appropriately with your relationship(s) and the outside world.
4) Providing a place to record ideas, sadness, fears, hopes and dreams.
5) Providing a place to set your goals and the corresponding plans and strategies to achieve those goals. "A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
6) Providing a place for creative writing, drawing and doodling.
7) Providing a place for your "To-Do" list, as well as your "I Accomplished This" list.
8) Improving your writing and self-expression skills.
9) Improving your memory by recording a visual document of your daily / weekly events, plans and appointments. Part of our problems come from forgetting things that could have been remembered if we had simply taken the time to write them down, thus reinforcing them in our memory bank and on paper.
10) Keeping you on track and focused on the things that are most important in your life.
11) Providing a place to record your gratitude journal. Things you are grateful for each day.
12) Providing a place to get to know yourself better and develop a deeper love for yourself.

In a sense, journaling can be a form of meditation, prayer, understanding and planning, thus satisfying your spiritual, emotional and logical sides of your being.
As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, "We are human 'beings', not human doings."

What else might Morning Pages help you with?

- Special thanks to Julia Cameron for her introduction of Morning Pages in her book "The Artist's Way". This concept has been extremely valuable to many people.
"The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is a daily practice called Morning Pages."
"Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages - they are not high art. They are not even 'writing.' They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind, and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow."

Three pages may be a bit long for the average person who does not aspire to be an artist, but her concept combined with journaling makes for a wonderful tool, especially for those periods in your life when you need direction, understanding and clarity.

2.7) Identifying Areas for Improvement

This stage is where you are going to need both your "feeling/intuitive" right brain AND your logical/thinking left brain.

Using the Relationship / Personal questionaire, your gut feelings and the other tools you used in the evaluation stage, go back and identify the subjects that need addressing.
You will need to first identify the issues that you have the strongest feelings about.
Identify subject matter that inspires you and also those that cause you to cringe.
Review topics that might now only be a minor disturbance, and those that already bother you significantly.

After completing that analysis, now use the logical side of your brain and determine which issues might cause problems on the road ahead.
For instance, if your partner doesn't get along with your family, or they don't want to live where you want to live, or they don't share the same goals and values, these are possibly warning signs. Maybe not right now, depending on what stage of the relationship you are in, but they are red flags that probably need serious consideration.

Identify both the subjects that you need to work on as an individual for your own self improvement and growth, and also those your partner needs to work on now. Then identify the topics that need attention if you are to grow and mature in order to become a "companionate", "best-friends" couple.

Theorize on what the future could be if some of the negative issues could be vanquished using a thorough and meaningful identification process. What does your intuition tell you? Have you asked this valuable resource inside you for help lately? Merely ask and you'll get some sort of an answer. Not always the one you want, but it will give you some ideas to consider in addition to your already pre-conceived notions.
Regarding utilizing your intuition to identify potential problems and solutions, it may require "sleeping on it" for several nights, using meditation and prayer, getting massages, taking hot showers or baths, analyzing dreams, and searching your subconscious while relaxing or listening to music, etc.
These are just some of the techniques to finding answers to life's most important questions.
You will be amazed at the amount of inner information you will receive. It may take some time and effort but soon you will find the answers to the questions you are pondering. It won't be long before your realize the benefits and the value of nurturing your intuition in order to reduce the amount of problems and conflicts in your life. You will actually finally do the things you "knew" you should do, instead of ignoring them and facing the consequences. You can finally stop repeating to yourself, "I knew I should have done that, Why didn't I listen to myself?" You will now start doing what you should have done! You will have gained improved access to your sixth sense: Intuition / Extrasensory Perception. Congratulations and welcome to a higher level of consciousness and success in life.

Another way to grow your intuition is by learning to draw. Sounds strange but it really works. We highly recommend the fabulous book by Betty Edwards, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." It may have more importance regarding utilizing the right / intuitive / creative side of the brain than it does about learning to draw, although learning to draw and be creative is a helpful and fun thing to learn also. It turns out that the act of drawing turns off the left logical brain and allows the right intuitive brain to take full control, giving us access to "knowledge" that is normally hidden from us by the usually dominant left brain.

Two Ways of Knowing -
"You have two brains: a left and a right. Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words. Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of 'whole things,' and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters, or words."
From The Fabric of Mind, by the eminent scientist and neurosurgeon, Richard Bergland.

In addition we can learn from the Nobel Prize-winning work of Dr. Roger W. Sperry, (1913-1994), the eminent neuropsychologist and neurobiologist at CalTech (the California Institute of Technology) in Pasadena. His work focused on the lateralization of verbal, analytic, sequential functions, which, for most individuals, are mainly located in the left hemisphere; and the visual, spatial, perceptual functions, mainly located in most individuals' right hemisphere. In Sperry's words, each hemisphere is:
". . . indeed a conscious system in its own right, perceiving, thinking, remembering, reasoning, willing, and emoting, all at a characteristically human level, and . . . both the left and the right hemisphere may be conscious simultaneously in different, even in mutually conflicting, mental experiences that run along in parallel." - Roger W. Sperry, 1974

Getting back to the identification process, try to get "relaxed" and theorize on how amazing the future might be if you implement methods and strategies to improve the weak areas of yourself and your relationship, while simultaneously capitalizing on the strengths you have identified. Sometimes your differences are a strength and sometimes your similarities are a strength, sometimes not so much.

Side note: If you think you can relax in only a few ways, it is time to change that notion as well. We are creatures of habit and if we think we can only relax in our usual ways, in our usual locations, doing the usual "relaxing" activities, we are limiting the time and space we have in our world to relax and de-stress. Look elsewhere and find ways to relax at any time, any where and any place so you can be relaxed more often. Stress may be one of the biggest problems (both mentally and medically) that individuals and couples face during their lives. Find better, faster and more effective ways to de-stress whenever needed. - OK, that ends this stress rant :)

Beware of over-believing your own analysis and conclusions. Just like you are hopefully being critical of information on this website, you need to hold yourself to the same High standard.
Unfortunately we all get a little prideful of our inner perceptions and logic. A controlled self-ego is a necessity to keep our personality and self-esteem in proper balance. We can easily drop our guard and neglect to be self-critical if we are perhaps a bit too biased in our analysis.

After you have completed your preliminary analysis of all the issues, strengths, weaknesses and concerns you have identified, you can move into the refinement stage and focus on the most important of these.

Identification Questions:

Which are the top 5-10 things I need to work on?

Which are the top 5-10 things that my partner needs to work on?

Which are the top 5-10 things that I have concern about regarding our future together?

Which are the top 5-10 things that you have in common?

Which are the top 5-10 things you differ on?

Which are the top issues that would create a "deal-buster" regarding your relationship?
For example, your partner wants to move to another country and you will lose close contact with your family and friends; or one of you has a drinking, drug, gambling or infidelity problem that may get worse.

Out of all of these topics, which are the most threatening to a happy future, both as an individual and as a couple?

Can you survive as a couple if the problem-causing issues are not addressed? Can you simply choose to overlook them and continue to lead a happy and healthy life despite the continuing situations.
Keep in mind that fixing the issues you identify will take some time. It is not easy to quickly change years of learned bad habits and vices, some of which they might not even realize is a problem (boundary issues for instance). Be patient and provide positive feedback to your partner as they attempt to improve their behavior. If they truly care, they will improve over time. Yard by yard, life can be hard. Inch by inch, life's a cinch.

2.8) 13 Problem Solving Tools and Strategies to Address and Solve Issues

Introduction to Problem Solving

Tool #1 - The 5 Whys: The Remarkable Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Tool / Problem Solving Method (5W-PSM)

Tool #2 - Index Card Problem Solving Method (IC-PSM)

Tool #3 - Alternative Solutions Problem Solving Method (AS-PSM)

Tool #4 - "What If" Problem Solving Method (WI-PSM)

Tool #5 - "In Their Shoes" Problem Solving Method (ITS-PSM)

Tool #6 - "The Six Thinking Hats" Problem Solving Model (6TH-PSM)

Tool #7 - "What Has Happened" Problem Solving Method (WHH-PSM)

Tool #8 - "Numbers In A Bowl" game / Problem Solving Method (NIAB-PSM)

Tool #9 - Golden Rule & Love Your Neighbor Problem Solving Method (GRLYN-PSM)

Tool #10 - Creating an Action Plan using the "Flow Chart" Problem Solving Method (FC-PSM)

Tool #11 - "Remove the Cause, or Dampen the Effect" Problem Solving Method (RCDE-PSM)

Tool #12 - "Trial & Error" Problem Solving Method (T&E-PSM)

Tool #13 - "IF-THEN" Problem Solving Method (IT-PSM)

Tool #14 - "The Problem Solvers Caucus in the U.S. Government (PSC-PSM)


Now that you have completed the evaluation and identification of the issues that need to be addressed, we can begin utilizing new problem solving methods and strategies that might shine light on the challenges you may be facing, or will likely face in the future.
If you have not completed the evaluation questionaire from section 2.3, you can view it here.
2.3) Evaluating your Love Relationship / Personal Questionaire - Tool #1

Along with some of the new problem solving methods presented here, there are already many problem solving methods for businesses trying to increase their profits. We have utilized a few of them and modified them to increase the "profits", gains, sustainability, and return on investment in our personal, interpersonal and societal relationships.
It appears that most people have never heard of Personal or Relationship Problem Solving Methods (PSM's), let alone received training on them. How many Personal PSM's have you been trained to use? Do you think that Problem Solving Tools are something that might have been helpful, had you known about them? Well it may be time to put some handy new tools in your "life-improvement" toolbox.

If you have many individual issues then you may want to work on those before starting on your relationship issues. For instance, perhaps you have problems communicating with others? Or perhaps you have a self esteem or self respect issue. Maybe you have anger or forgiveness issues?
Do you want to tackle the hardest problems or the easier ones first? Try to use your own personal examples when working through the PSM's to ensure you understand what application each method is most useful for. More details on that coming soon in section 2.10

Before we get into the training on the 10+ Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to be presented, the following are some concepts involved in the Problem Solving process.

The 14 Basic Steps to Problem Solving:

1. Define the Problems / Issues. Is it the Right Problem to Solve?
2. Prioritize the Problems. Which do you want to tackle first? A major one or a minor one?
3. State and check your Assumptions.
4. Collect and Analyze Information, Feelings and Facts.
5. Determine the Root Cause(s) of the Problem.
6. Develop an estimated / desired Time Frame to work on the problem, start testing and trials, and to begin implementation.
7. Utilize several Problem Solving Methods (PSM's).
8. Develop Alternative Solutions.
9. Evaluate Alternatives by examining the potential Benefits and Consequences (Pro's and Con's) of each one.
10. Select a Solution.
11. Implement the Solution.
12. Monitor, Review and Evaluate the Progress.
13. Learn from the Outcome.
14. Adjust by trying Corrections and Alternate Solutions until the Desired Goal is Achieved.

How can I Solve Problems in My Daily Life?

1. First, ask yourself: is there really a problem here?
2. Have I blown it out of proportion? Catastrophized it? (Sky is falling complex)
3. Is this a personal issue or a relationship issue?
4. Should I accept some responsibility for it?
5. Have I personalized this? Am I being overly critical?
6. Ask for help or an outsider perspective if needed.
7. Can you see the forest for the trees? Have you focused on the all the numerous details and failed to also see the bigger picture, key points, major issues or far-reaching opportunities and possible consequences.
The pieces of the puzzle (the trees) should fit together smoothly in order to define and recognize the big picture (the forest). What is the phenomenal "landscape" you are trying to create?
The big picture may be to create a loving relationship, while the details are all the challenges, awareness, knowledge and skills required to create that magical destination.
8. Break the problem down into smaller pieces. Inch by inch, life is a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.
9. Find the opportunity and lessons to be learned from the problem.
10. Use your creativity and imagination to find hidden treasures and benefits (silver linings).
11. Are you being overly negative? Beware of "Yes but-ism": Yes it is a good plan, but I doubt the solution will succeed because ...
12. If possible, involve and work with all parties directly involved or affected by the problem you are trying to solve.
13. Use logic, intuition and PSM's to find solutions. Sleep on them until you know you are ready. Don't be overly impulsive.
14. Implement the solution(s).
15. Evaluate, monitor and learn from the results.
16. Try alternate solutions until the desired outcome is achieved.
17. Enjoy your success, or learn from your failures, and keep establishing new goals and action plans. Reaching an important goal without having established more goals and challenges can leave you feeling very hollow, bewildered, uninspired and unprepared to discover future personal growth in life, especially after the euphoria of reaching a high goal has dissipated.

18. Have an action plan, 2nd and 3rd level goals for the next higher phase after you reach your initial dreams and 1st level goals. The goals could be to solve other pressing issues, or they may be to share your success with others less fortunate. Maybe you want to write a book, a blog, a website or start a business, a charity or a foundation. Maybe you just want to relax for a while before continuing your journey towards peace, love and happiness, "self-actualization" and Transcendence? ;)


Tool #1 - "The 5 Whys": The Remarkable Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Tool / Problem Solving Method (5W-PSM)

Using this technique you may discover that the root cause of the problem often turns out to be something completely different from what you may have been expecting.
The 5 Why's analysis has the purpose to inspect a certain problem in depth until it shows you the possible/probable root cause. At this stage, the root cause determined is still just a hypothesis and may not actually be the true root cause, or there may be several. Further critical thinking will be required to determine validity.

The 5 Whys method is part of the Toyota Production System, developed by Sakichi Toyoda.
"The basis of Toyota's scientific approach is to ask why five times whenever we find a problem. By repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear." - Taiichi Ohno

Keep in mind that "5" is just a number. Ask "Why" as many times as you need in order to complete the process and eventually determine appropriate corrective actions to solve the problem.

Example #1:

I get upset quickly when discussing difficult issues with my partner.
Because they make me so angry.
Because they never listen to my side of the argument.
Because they don't know how to listen and only want to see their side.
Because they don't want to lose the argument.
Because then they have to admit they might be wrong.

OK, so perhaps the root cause of you getting angry quickly is that neither you or your partner like to admit they are wrong. That can be a problem? Yes?
Thus, the anger is a response to the problem, not necessarily the problem itself (although anger management might be a part of the solution) and the root cause is not wanting to admit you might be wrong?
So how might you fix the problem? Perhaps by admitting you might be wrong some of the time? Or on the flip side: Do you always have to be right all the time?! Both of these issues may need to be addressed by you and your partner.
Another part of the solution may be that you both agree at the beginning of the discussion that either of you could possibly be wrong, before you even start getting worked up and agitated. Trying to prove that one of you is right and the other is wrong is NOT the goal of the discussion. The goal is to resolve a difficult issue and move forward in a positive and productive manner.
If you see the discussion going south, agree to pause and remind each other of the agreement you made at the start to remain civil or else you will need a time-out and re-group later.
But look what else you uncovered in the 5 Whys.
1. They never listen to your opinion. That needs to be worked out.
2. They don't know how to listen. Together you can work on improving your active, attentive listening skills so that you truly listen to your partner and best friend (we are assuming they are your BFF - Best friend Forever).
3. They only want to see their side. You will both likely have to work on stepping into the other persons shoes (another problem solving method that is quite useful).
4. They don't want to lose the argument. Thus you both need to stop trying to win the argument and force your viewpoint on the other person. You are a couple and you need to reach a solution that benefits both of you, not at the expense of the other, if you want to remain a couple.

Here is another example:

I have low self esteem.
Because I have always been told I am dumb and I make a lot of mistakes.
Because my family, friends, and students at school were fairly mean to me and then I do dumb things that cause problems for me.
I think they were mean because perhaps they have issues and said unkind things to me because of their own internal problems?
Because maybe they were treated badly as a child and developed self esteem problems which are the root cause of their unfair treatment of others?
Because maybe their parents did not receive good education about parenting, love and problem solving techniques?
Because Parenting, Love Education and Problem Solving Techniques have never really been taught in schools or at home?
That is a good question! Don't really have an answer for that one.
Maybe because no one ever took the time to develop a Love Education Curriculum and parents never demanded that parenting and Love Education be taught to children, young adults and themselves?
Why??? Seems almost absurd, doesn't it? That type of education seems fairly important to creating happy, healthy individuals.

OK, so a brief re-cap of what we learned. A person's low self esteem may have come from people being mean or bullying them, because those people have internal issues that were never addressed, because they were not given adequate training or guidance to help them become more emotionally and mentally stable (EQ and IQ). Thus they down-loaded their problems on you and they are partly to blame for you having low self esteem.

So what are you going to do about it? Perhaps start by realizing how many amazing good qualities you have and forgiving yourself for the mistakes you have made in the past. Now that you are aware of the root cause, there is no need to "own" your negative feelings about yourself and you can focus on your positive attributes and grow from a place of strength, instead of a place of weakness. You may still need to listen to some of your critics, but you don't have to believe everything they tell you. If they are offering advice that helps you grow, take it to heart. If not, discard it but recognize that if their criticism makes you really upset, there may be a kernel of truth that you need to address.

This last example is just to show how the "5 Whys" can even be used to understand the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issue: America has not been able to get the virus under control, while nearly all advanced countries have been successful. As of September 15, 2020, China has under 5000 deaths with a population of 1.4 billion, Japan has 1500 deaths, Australia has 825, South Korea has 360, and Thailand has 58. The U.S. now has 200,000 deaths; about 1000 per day (Worldometers.info).
See if you can use the 5 Whys to find the root causes of the U.S. failure (there are several). How might that help you and your famly save the lives of your parents, children, siblings, grandparents and others you care about? If America does not listen to health experts and get the first wave under control soon, how might that affect the U.S. and world economy and the expected 2nd wave coming now that schools are attempting to open and the seasonal flu is about to start? Why do you think America has largely ignored the health experts? How many thousand more lives will be needlessly lost because of this problem solving failure?
If America had been able to get mask usage (face coverings) above 90% instead of 50% or so, America would likely have less than 25,000-100,000 deaths, like Asian countries have been able to do. America would also have been able to open schools and businesses in order to grow jobs and get the economy rolling again, due to the lower COVID-19 transmission rate. Why won't Americans wear face coverings and save the lives and livelihoods of fellow citizens?! The U.S. has 5% of the world population but 20% of the deaths, yet supposedly America has perhaps the best science in the world. Hopefully someone, or some groups, will convince people to wear masks and utilize social distancing until a vaccine or effective treatment is available to the entire population (by 2022?). The U.S. economy is directly related to the world economy so hopefully the U.S. will change direction soon for the sake of the world in order to stop an economic and health catastrophe.

Tool #2 - "Index Card" Problem Solving Method (IC-PSM)

You can use this PSM to sort out and prioritize numerous issues you and your partner may need to work on.

1. Identify all the issues you want to address, perhaps after you completed the four evaluation tools from section 2.3.
2. On index cards or on pieces of paper that you have cut into squares, write all the issues down that you identified in the previous step. Now lay them out and organize them into two groups: Individual issues and Relationship issues.
3. Re-organize them from the biggest, most difficult issues at the top and the most minor issues at the bottom.
4. Now you can write the issues down on two separate pieces of paper (individual issues and relationship issues) in the order you just arranged them. It is often best to start working on individual issues first since solving some of those issues will sometimes reduce the problems you are having in your relationship.
5. Next, prioritize the ones you would like to fix first, second, third, etc. 6. Decide if you really want to tackle the most difficult issue(s) first, or perhaps it may be better to solve an easier challenge first, just to get your feet wet and gain some confidence. Now that you have organized the problems using the Index card problem-solving method (IC-PSM) it is time to use some of the other problem solving tools you are learning in order to further define root causes and alternative solutions.

An alternate way to use the Index Card technique is to turn it into a game we call the Index Card Problem Solving Game (IC-PSG).

1. After writing down all the issues you want to address on the index cards or pieces of paper, mix them up and put them in a bag or box. Also throw in a couple index cards with fun items written on them like "give your partner a kiss", "tell them something wonderful about them", "describe something wonderful about yourself", "meditate for 3-5 minutes", "say a prayer", "relax!", "think of something funny", and whatever else that will make this fun and not quite so serious.
2. Take one index card out and write down a few ideas you have that might help solve the problem in your "ISSUES / GOALS / MORNING PAGES" journal or on a piece of paper. After that, you might want to use the 5 Whys PSM and find the root cause(s). If you run into a roadblock and can't solve the issue right away, don't stress too much about it. Remember that you are trying to reduce stress, not add more to your life. Come back later when you have had more time to analyze the problem and have fresh new perspectives.
3. Take another index card from out and repeat step 2. Do this as many times as you want until it is time to take a break. Rome was not built in a day. Come back and work on these issues when you have the time and a positive frame of mind.

Tool #3 - "Alternative Solutions" Problem Solving Method (AS-PSM)

Phase 1: The goal of this problem solving method is to brain storm as many possible solutions as you can think of to solve a particular problem and then narrow it down to the best several solutions, realizing there is seldom just one way to solve a problem. During this predominantly right-brained session, don't get hung up on grammar, spelling, rambling or other left brain mathematical over-sight. Left brain "math and criticism" can quickly halt the rapid flow of intuitive and creative ideas. When you are finished coming up with both "genius, crazy and funny" ideas from this phase, you can move on to the next step.

Phase 2: On another page write down the emotions and feelings being experienced by ALL parties and their corresponding relationships. Partner, Family, friends, children, neighbors, co-workers and more. For example, let's say you are being bullied at school or at home.
Phase 1: Using uncontrolled free-for-all brainstorming you could come up with the following obvious, creative, crazy and possibly unrealistic ideas:
Beat up the bully. Tell the teachers you are being bullied. Tell him you disapprove of his insults. Tell your parents to discuss the problem with his parents. Discuss the problem with family and friends and ask for their advice. Tell yourself that he has serious internal issues that make him insecure and that causes him to be a bully, and now you can take pity on him instead of internalizing the insults he hurls at you and others. Realize that his Dad is likely a bully and he has learned these awful traits from him. Realize that maybe you are just different from him and he is picking on you because you are different - He has no sympathy or empathy for diversity, which is a spice of life - How boring it would be if we were all the same! Move to another country. Go into hiding. Switch to another school. Eat more ice cream :) Ask him to join you eating ice cream. Get a bigger bully to tell him to stop. Just ignore him and don't bother listening to him any more. Put on your earbuds and tune him out. What else leaps into your mind?
Side note: Do you think that the school shootings are part of the bullying problem and that young adults resort to extreme solutions, thus causing many fellow students and teachers to be murdered and the young shooters to ruin the rest of their lives?
Maybe educators and law makers need to use the "5 Whys" to solve that problem?

Ok, so what 5 or so solutions look like they might be the best for this bullying situation after completing Phase 1?

In our case, we stood up to the bully and he beat us up, but then left us alone after that, possibly because we stood up to him? Plus we soon realized that he had family problems. We felt pity for him and realized he had a tough future ahead of him because of his family issues. One great thing learned from the situation: Standing up for oneself and not accepting or internalizing unjust criticism is empowering!
In reflection, standing up to the bully was probably not the best solution since it was made out of anger, not reasoning or using problem solving techniques. But there was little education given to us on how to solve problems back then, thus rash decisions were often made.

Phase 2: In order to understand the thoughts and perceptions, feelings and emotions involved in the situation, write them down:
Anger, Rage, Hatred, Adrenalin, Resentment, Discrimination, Prejudice, Injustice, Division, Contempt, Distrust, Hurt feelings, Damaged Ego, Uncertainty, Stress, Belittlement, Retribution, Revenge, Fear, Concern, Uncertainty, Faith, Hope, Strategies, Discouragement, Dejection, Depression, Sadness, Hopelessness, ....
Now that you've completed the second phase and released bottled-up feelings you may not even have realized you were holding in, you can do another review of the best solutions currently available to you. By releasing feelings it can help you think more clearly and take some "emotion" out of your decisions. You don't want your emotions to affect your judgment prior to implementing the solution(s). But yet you need to address your emotions in order to realize how important (or unimportant) this problem actually is.
More solutions may present themselves to you soon in dreams, from your subconscious (daydreams), or by using other tools and methods.

After deciding upon the top 3-5 or so solutions, perhaps you will be able to choose the best one that works for you, or perhaps you might try several of them and see which one gives the best results. The point is that you need to have several options. You can sometimes utilize them all at the same time, or you can try them one after another until you get the results you are hoping for. Or maybe you will need to use different PSM's (Problem Solving Methods) to tackle the problem. By keeping an open mind and trying different methods, you will likely find appropriate solutions.

Tool #4 - "What If" Problem Solving Method (WI-PSM)

Play the what if game. What if we did this, What if we did that? Then what might happen?
Analyze each "what if" answer that you come up with and review whether it is feasible and desirable and if so, how would you make it become a reality?

Example 1, What If we did research together on improving our communication skills? What might happen if we were successful?
Our relationship would improve, we would be happier, less fights, more respect, more love, what else?

Example 2: What if we completed Love Education exercises and problem solving methods together or alone? What might happen?
Is our relationship with ourselves or our significant other strong enough to withstand facing the truth? If not, what might that tell us? If we are ready to face the truth, then a little understanding and guidance might actually help our relationship?

Since we are discussing problem solving methods, here are 17 issues and goals the United Nations is actively working on improving and solving. Goal Setting is presented in LE-201, section 2.9

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world:

GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 14: Life Below Water
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito." - Dalai Lama.

Tool #5 - "In Their Shoes" Problem Solving Method (ITS-PSM)

1. Choose a problem to solve and then write down everything you can about it from the viewpoint of standing in YOUR shoes. Write down the facts, feelings, fears, hopes, benefits and possible consequences from your perspective.

2. On another piece of paper, write down everything you can about it from the viewpoint of standing in THEIR shoes. Write down the facts, feelings, fears, hopes, benefits and possible consequences from what you think their perspective might be.

Write down potential biases, prejudices and history that might not allow you or them to see the problem objectively and accurately.

After you have exhausted everything you can think of, review and organize the issues, perhaps using the Index Card PSM, and search for solutions to the issues you have uncovered.

In regards to the 17 goals established by the U.N., have you ever been affected by, or gotten involved in any of those issues (been in any of those "shoes")?

Tool #6 - "The Six Thinking Hats" Problem Solving Model (6TH-PSM)

The Six Thinking Hats was created by Edward de Bono, and published in his 1985 book of the same name.
This PSM is useful with groups or on your own. In groups, it has the value of reducing confrontation that can happen when people with differing thinking styles and points of view discuss a problem, because every perspective is valid and should be accounted for, even if you strongly disagree with their opinions.

Each Thinking Hat is a different style of thinking.

White Hat: With this "logical" thinking hat, you focus on the available data using logic. Look at the information that you have, analyze past trends, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge. What information are you missing?

Red Hat: When you put on the "intuitive" Red Hat, you look at problems using your intuition, gut feelings, and emotion. Also, think how others might react emotionally. Try to guess the responses of people who do not fully understand or agree with your reasoning.

Yellow Hat: Wearing the "optimistic" yellow hat helps you to think positively. It is the optimistic viewpoint that helps you to see all the benefits of the solutions and the value in them. The glass is at least half full. Yellow Hat thinking helps you to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.

Green Hat: Using the "creative" Green Hat is where you develop creative solutions to a problem. It is a brain-storming way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas. You just try to get as many ideas on paper as quickly as possible without much concern for logic. This is often where unusual and hidden options are generated.

Black Hat: Wearing the "critical" Black Hat, you look at a decision's potentially negative outcomes. Look at it carefully and thoroughly. Try to see why it might not work. This is important because it highlights the weak points in any plan. It allows you to reduce them, alter them, or prepare contingency plans to counter them.
Black Hat thinking helps to make your plans "tougher" and more resilient. It can also help you to spot fatal flaws and risks before you employ your course of action. Many overly optimistic people get so used to thinking positively that they often cannot see the possible down-sides in advance. This leaves them ill-prepared for unexpected difficulties.

Blue Hat: This "directors/mentors" hat represents process control. It's the hat worn by people organizing, directing and encouraging the discussions. When facing difficulties because ideas are running dry, they may direct activity into Green Hat thinking. When contingency plans are needed, they may ask for Black Hat thinking.

This PSM allows an individual or team to re-frame the challenge as an opportunity prior to starting the problem solving process. This method enables a team to solve problems with a focus on generating lasting change and improvement. You begin by discussing the issue you are going to work on and exploring the ways in which it causes problems before splitting into the five teams who will each consider the problem wearing the five different hats (the sixth Blue Hat guides and oversees the process). After each team has concluded their analysis they then get together and present their findings to the group. After combining all the data obtained, the group can attempt to find a consensus and develop an action plan. If necessary, the groups can then change members and repeat the process wearing different hats if further analysis is desired. Or perhaps the group may decide that everyone wears the same hat in order to discover more alternative solutions using that one type of thinking.

Tool #7 - "What Has Happened" Problem Solving Method (WHH-PSM)

This tool is useful to help individuals and couples understand how they ended up in the situation they find themselves in, how you actually got to where you are now; your current reality. Let's say that you are having some personal issues or your relationship is having some difficulties. What are the problems you are currently facing? Now take each difficulty and work backwards to determine what actions / lack of actions happened that caused each difficulty. The "5 Whys" might be helpful in finding out the root causes after you determine the key issues from working backwards.

We do not spend as much quality time together as we did before.
Working backwards:
a) We have been very busy lately with the kid's school and sports activities.
b) We have financial issues which are causing us stress.
c) My husband has been working longer hours because we have these financial issues.
d) We are spending more than we can afford because we have not established a budget.
e) We have not established a budget because we have not made the time to do so.
f) We have not been communicating very well because of the stress.
g) Because of poor communication we are sometimes not very happy with each other.
h) We are spending more free time with friends instead of personal time with each other.
i) By the end of the day we are usually very tired.
j) Because of the above issues, we have not had shared many of the 6 types of intimacy.
k) We are not as passionate as before, now that we are past the infatuation phase.
l) When we try to have intimate time together we are usually distracted and not very attentive.
m) Things seem to be spiraling out of control.

You may notice that this PSM is similar to the "5 Whys" except that it lists all the issues and does not address just one particular problem to determine the exact sequence of events and root cause. Thus, this method brings to the surface all of the issues so that you can see "what has happened" and why. You can dig deeper and use the "5 Whys" on the most problematic issues found to determine the root cause(s).

Now that some of the difficulties have been mapped out you can begin to search for the solutions that will lead to a course-correction and get you on a route that will lead to happier times. It appears that poor communication might be a key issue. If you can sit down to discuss the problems then you might be able to develop a plan to work on your finances and time-management objectives so that you can reduce the stress load on both of you. By working together to solve / reduce the issues you will likely start communicating better and feel a greater sense of hope for the future.
Perhaps you will both need to improve your communication skills? Be sure to establish communication guidelines so that finding solutions becomes the goal, instead of determining who is more at fault. Use mindful communication to stay civil and calm.
When you have hope and a plan, stress will likely be reduced and you can enjoy spending more time on the 6 types of intimacy together. Using intellectual intimacy, you will need to develop some goals and the corresponding action plans to achieve those goals.

Tool #8 - "Numbers In A Bowl" game / Problem Solving Method (NIAB-PSM)

This game can be played by yourself or as a group.
By randomly working on the two lists of questions shown below, one list for feelings and emotions and the other for logic and facts, you can create a fairly detailed analysis for issues and problems you choose to address.
Realize that not all questions listed below will apply to every issue, individual or group.
Answer the questions, or the portion of a question that apply and mark the others as "N/A", Not-Applicable.

Cut a piece of paper into small squares and write a number on each one for the questions you are going to address in this game. Put all the numbers into a bowl or bag. Choose an issue you want to solve and write it at the top of a piece of paper. Now take a number out of the bowl and write down your answers to that question. Repeat the process until you have answered all the questions. If you have a large group involved in this discovery process, you may want to split into small groups with each group working on maybe 3-5 questions. After each group has finished with their analysis, you can get together to review and discuss the answers each group developed.

By picking the numbers randomly, it allows you to bounce around thus promoting a greater possibilty to be creative and imaginative. It also makes the discovery and analysis less formal and regimented. Thus you approach every issue you work on in future games in different orders.
If you prefer, you can skip the bowl and just answer the questions as listed or hop around to the most important or interesting ones first. The choice is yours. Choose whatever works best for you or the group.
By keeping it random though, you may first address some questions you didn't realize were important because of our built in biases we don't always know we have. Other times we Absolutely know we have bias and prejudices and choose to ignore them because we Know we are right!
When you do get to the "important" questions, it may help you by having considered new perceptions and revised perspectives prior to answering the "big ones". You might even leave those numbers out of the bowl until the end. Do you see how you can adapt this game to fit the particular situation you are addressing? It certainly allows for you to structure the game to only include the questions you want or need to address, and in the order you want to address them.

After answering all the questions, analyze what you have brainstormed and sort out which questions and answers seem to provide the best insight and relevance to the problem and solution you are working on. You may want to prioritize them by importance so that you can go into deeper analysis on the top issues.
If you want, you can repeat the game again later, now that you have a better handle on the situation. You may even choose to only add the numbers that were identified as the most important and start the game over using only those in a random sequence.

This discovery game is split into two parts, just as our brains are. You may choose to start with the right brain side and discover feelings, emotions, creativity, hopes and fears. Or you may want to start with the left brain side and record the facts, logic, benefits and consequences (pro's and con's) first. Once again the choice is yours.

You may notice that some of the questions seem similar for both the right side and left side discovery phases. That can help you realize that depending on which thinking cap you are wearing at any given time (which side of the brain you are using), the answers can be vastly different. Thus when dealing with others, and you are arguing from one side and they are presenting their case from the other side of the brain, it may be very difficult to have a "meeting of the minds". Just keep that in the back of your head when trying to reach mutually agreeable solutions. Are you both working from just the facts or just from emotions? And are your emotions over-ruling any chance of seeing the facts correctly, or are you perceptions of the facts over-ruling any chance of seeing the feelings and emotions correctly? When someone only cares about their feelings, facts seldom matter to them. When someone only cares about the facts, feelings seldom matter to them. You see it in social media arguments everyday! Just be aware of this and it can help you immensely. To be balanced and "whole" you need to see and comprehend both facts and feelings. That is the point of this PSM; to help you become a whole brain thinker and thus find greater balance, success, happiness, peace and love in your life.

Right Brain "Numbers in a Bowl" game: Feelings and Emotions

1. What are your dominant feeling and emotions about this issue? Their deepest feelings and emotions?
2. What are your crucial values? Their main values?
3. What are your top goals? Their key goals?
4. How does this issue affect your happiness? Theirs?
5. How does it affect your Peace? Theirs?
6. What are your biggest hopes, fears and concerns? What are theirs?
7. What is your history regarding this issue? Their history?
8. What are your key dislikes, your deal-buster issues and "non-negotiable" points? What are theirs?
9. Are they giving you the respect you deserve? Are you giving them the respect they deserve?
10. Is your pride, ego and self-esteem being attacked? Is theirs?
11. Are you being treated fairly and equally? Are they being treated fairly and equally?
12. Are you being discriminated against? Are they being discriminated against?
13. Do you believe justice is being served? Do they?
14. Do they follow the Golden Rule and treat you as they treat themselves?
15. Are you following the Golden Rule and treating them as you want to be treated?
16. Do they Love you as they love themselves? Do you Love them as you love yourself?
17. Are your belonging and inclusion needs being met? Are theirs?
18. Do you have an open mind to resolve the issue and make compromises? Do they?
19. Do you want this issue solved quickly? Do they?
20. Is this issue critical to you? To them?
21. If not resolved, will it continue to affect your health and happiness? How about theirs?
22. On a scale of 1 (minor) to 10 (major) how important is this issue to you from an emotional viewpoint? To them?
23. What else should be included in these emotional right brain questions?

Left Brain: "Numbers in a Bowl" game: Facts and Logic

1. Why is this issue important to you? To them?
2. Is it the right issue to work on first?
3. Why are we/I having this problem?
4. Why haven't we/I solved it yet?
5. Why do we/I need to solve it?
6. What are the facts in this issue from your POV (Point of View)? From theirs?
7. How long has this issue been a problem for you? For them?
8. Do you have any biases, pride or prejudice regarding this issue? Do they?
9. Do you believe they should appreciate your POV? Do you believe you should understand their POV?
10. Do you believe they will agree to your requests/demands? Do you believe you will agree to theirs? If not, what can be done?
11. What other individuals or groups might help you solve this problem?
12. Who has the most to lose?
13. Who has the most to gain?
14. Who doesn't seem to care?
15. Who is at the mercy of the other?
16. Who is most likely to go berserk?
17. Are you educated enough to understand both sides of the issue? Are they?
18. What type of training/tools might be necessary to help find a solution?
19. Who has the most expertise?
20. Who has the most power?
21. Who has the more powerful allies?
22. Who is currently controlling the issue?
23. Is your personal safety and security at risk? Is theirs?
24. Are other family members safety and security at risk?
25. If a solution can be found, how important would it be to you? To them?
26. If a solution can not be found, how devastating would it be to you? To them?
27. What is the desired future from your point of view? From their point of view?
28. What is the undesired future from your point of view? From their point of view?
29. How long do you think it will take to reach an agreement?
30. If you can reach an agreement, how long can you make it last? What measures should be in place to ensure it lasts?
31. Where should the location be to discuss the issue(s)?
32. How might religion, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, financial wealth, distrust and retribution/vengeance affect the probability of a successful solution? How can these factors be countered to allow justice, respect, improvement and peace to have a chance to advance?
33. What action plan and steps are you using, or planning to use? What action plan and steps are they using, or might they use to counter your actions? 34. At what point can you begin testing and implementing a strategy?
35. What might happen if you can't reach an agreement or compromise?
36. What might happen if you do reach an agreement or compromise?
37. On a scale of 1 (minor) to 10 (major) how important is this issue to you from a logical viewpoint? To them?
38. What else should be included in these logical left brain questions?
In summary, after answering all the questions, analyze what you have deciphered and deduced and sort out which questions and answers seem to provide the best insight and relevance. You may want to prioritize them by importance so that you can go into deeper analysis on the key issues. What should the action plan be in order to implement the alternative solutions you will develop and deploy? You may want to put these results into a flow chart and help you see the process and steps needed in order to achieve the key goals.

In a group situation, if you don't get all parties to agree prior to developing the action plan and implementing the solution(s), you are most likely doomed to failure. In other words, work together whenever possible or suffer the consequences!

The last point is that you really need to address BOTH sides of the issues.
You need to see things from your Point of View and from the other sides' POV.
You need to see things from the logical left brain and from the emotional right brain.
To just see one side only gives you half the information you need to solve the problem.
How many of us can successfully solve our problems with only half of the data?
We surely can not. Can you?

Tool #9 - Golden Rule & Love Your Neighbor Problem Solving Method (GRLYN-PSM)

This PSM is very similar to the "In Their Shoes" (ITS-PSM) except that this deals with the way things could be if all parties truly followed the Golden Rule, instead of the way reality actually has turned out. The ITS-PSM is where you are now and how to move forward, while the GRLYN-PSM is where we should be if we all followed the Golden Rule, a Rule that nearly every major religion has as one of their main tenents or creeds.

1. Choose an issue to solve and then write down what reality would be like if all parties truly followed the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and also the "Love your Neighbor" commandment.

2. On one piece of paper write down the things You would need to do or correct in order to create and ensure justice, equity, respect and reparation. How would you follow these rules and make things right?

3. On another piece of paper write down the things the other party(s) would need to do or correct in order to create and ensure justice, equality, respect and reparation.

4. Write down not just logical/process things that would need to be addressed but also the hurt feelings and respect issues that will need apologies, repairing and forgiveness. What reparations would need to be given to the other side to repay them for the pain, damages, inequity and injustices that were inflicted on them? What would the benefits be from treating the other party the way nearly every religions command us to treat them? Do you believe in the Golden Rule? Does it only apply to some people? Perhaps only to those who claim to be religious? Do their actions show that they even care about the Golden Rule and obeying religious commandments? Can they truly be considered God loving people if they fail to follow the Golden Rule and the "Love Thy Neighbor" commandment? How will God judge them?

5. After you have exhausted everything you can think of, review and organize the facts, perceptions, feelings and biases, perhaps using the Index Card PSM, and search for solutions to the subjects you have uncovered. After organizing and prioritizing the issues you may want to create an action plan using the following Flow Chart PSM.

Tool #10 - Creating an Action Plan using the "Flow Chart" Problem Solving Method (FC-PSM)

Click Here to print this Action Plan Flow Chart : June 21, 2020, Rev. A

Flow Charts can be used to diagram the problem solving process and help create a more visual map of the Issues you want to analyze and solve. You can use these in conjunction with nearly all the PSM's discussed so far, or just start working on a Flow Chart from scratch. Flow Charts are useful to create visual action plans for achieving the results, goals and vision you establish.

You don't actually have to write inside each geometric shape since the "issues and actions" you need to write down are often several sentences. If using this pre-made form you can write a brief one or two word note to show the issue or action for each shape and then have a detailed page which goes into expanded details for each stage in your Flow Chart.

If you create your own Flow Chart on a blank sheet of paper you can go into greater detail and then draw the shape around the words you have written afterwards. Thus if you have numerous actions for each root cause you are not limited to the one or two rectangles shown on the blamk flow chart shown here. You may need several sheets of paper laid side by side in order to create this larger road map but you can tape them together if you want.

From Left to Right:

1. Issues in Squares
2. Root Causes in Circles
3. Actions in Rectangles
4. Potential Difficulties / Opportunities in Ovals
5. Time Frame in Triangles
6. Review, Measure and Learn in Hexagons
7. Results and Goals in Diamonds
8. 2nd Level Goals in more Diamonds
9. 3rd Level Goals in even more Diamonds

1. Issue = Anger when communicating difficult issues with partner.
2. Root Causes = [1] Can't or will not admit mistakes & [2] Poor listening skills.
3. Possible Actions = [1a] Be willing to admit fault, [1b] Don't force your opinion on others, [1c] Use Time-outs when things get heated.
[2a] Learn Active Listening, [2b] Learn improved communication skills.
4. Potential Difficulties = [1a] Partner not interested in improving. [1b] Change takes time.
[2a] Possible hearing or attention deficit disorders. [2b] Unwillingness to turn off TV.
5. Time frame = Whatever you both agree is reasonable for each action.
6. Review, Measure and Learn = [1a] Are you both finally admitting faults? [1b] What additional actions might be needed? (add new rectangles on the chart here if needed).
[2a] Are you now actively listening to each other? [2b] Is one partner still talking over the other? [2c] What additional actions might be needed? (add new rectangles on the chart here if needed).
7. Results and Goals = [1a] Finally admitting faults. [1b] Anger Reduced. [1c] Relationship improved. [1d] Family life improved.
[2a] Attentive listening improved. [2b] Communications improved.
If these are not the results you achieved, create a new flow chart to address the unresolved issues and start working on those.

8. 2nd Level Results and Goals: Assuming you achieved the 1st level goals and results, where are you going from there? Maybe there are other anger and communication issues to be solved that can be listed here?

9. 3rd Level Results and Goals: Assuming you achieved the 2nd level goals and results, where are you going now? What else do you want to improve in your relationship? More time together, more time alone, more support from your partner, a cleaner house, less over-spending of finances, etc.

And the goals keep going until you have achieved all the results you need and desire, which means you will probably need to set new goals for the rest of your life. (:

Now that you understand the visual representation of an Action Plan Flow Chart, we can delve deeper into how Action Plans can help change your dreams and hopes into reality.
Action Plans can be used to Solve Problems / Issues / Challenges and to Reach Goals / Dreams / Visions.

Your Vision and Mission statements are the airplane view, the grand picture of your dream for your life.
Your Action Plan is the bird's eye view of the forest, the big picture.
The Implementation plan is the detailed picture, the view of the trees from the perspective of being on the ground. It defines the steps you will take on your journey so you can reach your destination.

Action plans can be itemized on a piece of paper by following the process below. Once you have decided upon the the actions required to solve your issues or reach your goals, you can use them and the rest of the information to create the detailed steps you will take on your Implementation Plan (IP). You can itemize them similar to the AP lists below and then add them to your IP Flow Chart. (Section 2.11: IP's to be uploaded by July 25)

For Problem Solving, the Action Plan (AP) looks something like this:

ISSUES: (Perhaps Identified using section 2.1 - 2.4)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

ROOT CAUSES: (Perhaps using the 5 Whys PSM Tool)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________
5. ___________________________________________________________________

ACTIONS: (Perhaps determined from some of the PSM Tools)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

POTENTIAL DIFFICULTIES / CONSEQUENCES / OPPORTUNITIES: (Perhaps determined from some of the PSM Tools)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

TIME FRAME TO BEGIN / FINALIZE: (Perhaps using the Index Card Prioritizing Tool)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

For Goal Setting, the Action Plan (AP) looks something like this:

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

ACTIONS: (Perhaps determined from some of the GSM Tools)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

TIME FRAME TO BEGIN / FINALIZE: (Perhaps using the Index Card Prioritizing Tool)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

In conclusion, developing both written and graphic Action Plans (AP's) can provide you with the "Big Picture" roadmap that will help you reach your destinations. You can then break down the actions in a similar process to create your written and graphic Implementation Plans (Section 2.11), which define the steps necessary to complete the actions. Remember that a Goal without a plan is merely a Dream.

Tool #11 - "Remove the Cause, or Dampen the Effect" Problem Solving Method (RCDE-PSM)

There are two main ways to solve a problem:
1) Remove the cause, or 2) Dampen the effect.
You can either fix or remove the problems you have identified, or dampen the effect either through compromise, reduction of the scale of the problem(s), by learning to accept the issues as a condition of an otherwise healthy relationship, or find other creative solutions.

Example 1, Sewage in a river.
1) Remove the source of the sewage.
2) Dampen the effect by moving up-river or somewhere else; or build a sewage treatment plant to reduce the amount of pollution.

Example 2, COVID-19 infections and deaths.
1) Remove the virus or stop it from coming to your community. Now that the virus has spread into a global pandemic, this option is no longer available.
2) Dampen the effect by wearing a mask or face covering, observing social distancing, disinfecting hands and surfaces frequently, avoiding large crowds (especially indoor crowds), avoid locations where yelling, loud talking, singing and heavy breathing causes the virus to spread greater than 2 meters, stay home as much as possible, listen to the advice of the health experts (if they are not being suppressed by your government).
Realize that the younger population tend to believe they will survive the virus and thus they are exposing themselves more often and receiving greater viral loads. Then they unknowingly bring high doses of the virus home to their parents and grandparents, putting them at an even greater risk of death. There is new evidence that they may be permanently damaging their lungs without realizing it, just as is happening to adults.
Eventually we will dampen the effect even further when vaccines and treatments are developed but until then we need to utilize the "3 W's" (Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance) in order to reduce the transmission rate and save the lives of our loved ones. As of July 2, the U.S. has reached 50,000 new cases per day (Wuhan has had 50,000 cases in total) and Florida and Texas have reached over 8,000 new cases per day, which exceeds the new cases per day in China and the EU combined. What are they doing to save their economies and lives that the U.S. has not? Nearly 100% of them wear masks when they leave their houses. It is really that simple. They "solved" the problem, the U.S. has not.

Example 3, Boundary issues in your relationships.
1) Remove or distance the offending party from your relationship (be it a "friend", family member, social media contact, etc).
2) Dampen the effect by informing the offender that they are crossing over your boundaries and you desire greater respect.
Inform them which boundaries are being crossed and discuss ways to improve the situation. Perhaps they do not realize they are invading your space and not being sensitive to your needs?
Understand that boundary problems are not just the inability to tell people No. You also need to clearly understand and define your boundaries to yourself and others. Don't assume they should know and understand your boundaries.

Boundary issues come in at least four categories and you or the offender may possess several:
The Compliant: saying "ok" to the bad. Letting others get away with bad behavior and cross the line.
The Avoidant: saying "no" to the possible good. Putting up unnecessary walls which could possibly hurt a healthy relationship. For instance you block love from others because you are afraid they will hurt you, as has happened before.
The Controller: not respecting others' boundaries and not caring. Probably the most difficult type to help change toward a more loving nature.
The Nonresponsive: not hearing the needs of others, perhaps because they did not grow up understanding boundary issues. These types have a good chance to improve once they understand that boundaries are extremely important.

By realizing the types of boundary issues that are present in your relationships you can reduce the ill effects by being aware and informing others when they do not comprehend, appreciate or respect those boundaries. Give them time to change their behavior since boundaries are sometimes hard to understand. If they truly love you, they will attempt to grow more loving.

Tool #12 - "Trial & Error" Problem Solving Method (T&E-PSM)

Most of us have heard of the Trial and Error PSM. Just think of Thomas Edison and his 99 ways not to make a light bulb. He failed "99" times but continued trying knowing someday he would probably succeed, especially since he was learning so much from his "failures". Looked at from the optimist's point of view (wearing a yellow hat), he was learning from his "minor successes" so that he could achieve a "major success". That is what you are trying to achieve using the T&E PSM. It relieves some of the pressure from having to "get it right" the very first try. You can gently try one thing and see what happens before going "full steam ahead" with the entire Implementation Plan (IP).

Brainstorm as many possible trials you can think of and then prioritize them in the order you want to conduct your experiments. The more trials you can dream up, the better. Some of them you will never even use but they may give you some insights to apply to the trials that are worth trying. Some of the results of the trials will likely provide you with clues as to which trial you should try next.

For instance you try giving your partner flowers before discussing something that may be tense. Did it have any affect on the conversation or did they accuse you of trying to soften them up be before "delivering the blow" :) What did you learn from this trial? Maybe you should have gone on a picnic or out to dinner instead? Perhaps during a walk in the park would have been more advantageous? Maybe you should have just asked if you could talk about the topic? What other trials can you think of to improve your chances of success?

In summary, the T&E PSM is a way to test the waters before actually going swimming. By trying different things and analyzing the results, you begin to formulate better plans that will help you achieve major successes.

Tool #13 - "IF-THEN" Problem Solving Method (IT-PSM)

The IF-THEN PSM describes what you will do in circumstances that come up in your day to day life, and when you are implementing new plans. It has a simple 2 step process:

1) IF this happens,
2) THEN you will do that.
You can then think of possible/likely scenarios that come up on occasion and decide upon sensible responses to reduce the odds of negative outcomes.

It can become a more complex PSM by adding "AND" or "OR":
1) IF this happens AND this happens, OR this happens,
2) THEN you will do that.

Imagine you start getting into a heated argument with your partner.
IF this happens, THEN I will remain calm and use the mindfulness and stress reduction techniques (coming soon) I have learned. If necessary, we will take a "time-out" until we can de-escalate the argument and continue the discussion after we have calmed down.
By having an IF-THEN tool in your tool bag, you are prepared for the times you will need that tool to save you from a near certain negative outcome.

Another example is you decide to proceed with one of your Implementation Plans (IP's).
Perhaps you want to discuss "boundary issues" or "intimacy" or "parenting"?
After initiating the conversation, IF the direction is going in a positive direction, AND your partner is actually being attentive, THEN you may move forward and bring up other related topics you want to expand upon.
IF the discussion is heading negative, THEN you can end the conversation OR switch to another topic before things start to get out of control. Attempt to avoid pressing one of their hot buttons, thereby sabotaging any chance of a fruitful consensus.
Perhaps you could agree to proper ways of discussing "difficult issues" prior to starting any "deep" discussions / compromises.

Try to think of as many IF-THEN scenarios as possible that so that you are better prepared for nearly every challenge or opportunity in your current reality. The point is to have confidence that no matter what difficulties or direction your plan goes, you have a plan B, C, D, etc. in your back pocket.
Thus fear and uncertainty do not stop you from enacting your plans and slow down your progress towards a healthy and happy life and relationship.

IF-THEN's can also be used to establish ground rules in your relationship that you can both agree upon.
They become the "IF-THEN Guidelines" or protocols.
Here are several detailed examples:

RULE #1 - Communication Issues
IF one party wants to discuss a sensitive topic,
THEN we will agree to the following 2 items:
a) We will establish a place, time and duration to discuss the topic.
b) We will agree to come to an agreement or set-up another time to negotiate a compromise.

RULE #2 - Arguments
IF we start raising our voices at each other (which may be a trigger for one or both parties),
THEN we agree to do the following 3 things:
a) Agree to either be mindful, considerate and open-minded; or agree to take a time-out.
b) Relax and de-stress for 15 - 45 minutes.
c) After de-stressing (or at least attempting to), determine if you should continue or wait until a better time.

RULE #3 - Intimacy
IF one of us feels that we need more of the 10 types of intimacy in our lives,
THEN we will agree to the following options:
a) Discuss the type of intimacy that is requested. Perhaps it is more time enjoying each others' companionship or more family time?
b) Determine a plan to address and improve that desired goal.
c) Implement the plan by establishing activities, times and places to achieve this goal.
d) Monitor, review and evaluate how the plan is working.
e) Make course corrections if necessary.
f) Celebrate this new improvement in your relationship by having a nice dinner together or other reward.

Other guidelines you may want to create protocols for could include: Boundaries, Time together / apart, Friends, In-Laws, Parenting, House keeping, Decision making negotiations, Financial decisions, Employment decisions, Cognitive learning needs, Support and esteem needs, Aesthetic needs, Vacation needs, Relationship and Love needs, Self actualization needs, Couple actualization needs, etc.

Both parties should agree to the "terms of engagement" or it is probably a waste of time to create these protocols.
You can both write the issues that are most important or disturbing to you and go over them together and develop your own IF's and THEN's (a, b & c's).

In a sense, these become relationship vows. They can be cited as Rule #1, 2 or 3, article a, b, c, d, etc.
It may be helpful to remind each other occasionally that we agreed to these guidelines in order to create a healthy, loving relationship so we either stick with them, revise them or suffer the consequences.
If you are writing these IF-THENS for personal, instead of relationship guidelines, the process is the same. It is a good way to keep yourself on track when you are having internal struggles, conflicts, challenges or opportunities. The bottom line is to have procedures in place so that you gain confidence in yourself for having established sensible solutions for difficult situations that come up during your life.

You may want to add these to your Master Journal as a reminder of your agreements.

Tool #14 - "The Problem Solvers Caucus in the U.S. Government (PSC-PSM)

Although this group of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans in the United States House of Representative was created in 2017, two very important announcements relating to COVID-19 were made this year on September 15; "March To Common Ground" & December 3, 2020; $908 billion COVID-19 relief package, as presented below. It is an example of how working together in a bipartisan fashion can be utilized to solve the planet's biggest challenges.

The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan group in the United States House of Representatives that includes 50 members, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, who seek to foster bipartisan cooperation on key policy issues. Created in January 2017, the group is currently co-chaired by Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY).

Writing in The New York Times about the formation of the Caucus, Reed and Gottheimer said: "We all knew the partisanship in Washington had gotten out of control and felt the need to create a bipartisan group committed to getting to "yes" on important issues.

The Problem Solvers Caucus Website: Welcome from the Co-Chairs
On behalf of the Problem Solvers Caucus' members, we welcome you to our official website. We are all tired of the obstructionism in Washington where partisan politics is too often prioritized over governing and what is best for the country. This is why the Problem Solvers Caucus was formed, and why we are on a mission to change the culture of D.C. We are a bipartisan group of Members of Congress organized to get to "yes" to help solve some of our country's most pressing challenges. Every week we are in Washington, you will find Problem Solvers, proud Democrats and Republicans, seated together around a table, debating, listening, and working together to help solve these issues.

September 15, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Tuesday, September 15, 2020, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus - 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans -- unveiled its "March To Common Ground" framework to help break the gridlock on the latest COVID-19 relief package and encourage negotiators to get back to the table.

The 50-member bipartisan Caucus, led by Co-Chairs Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY), developed and came together in support of the framework after extensive listening to constituents and outreach to stakeholders over the past six weeks.

The package addresses key areas of need, including COVID-19 testing, unemployment insurance, direct stimulus, worker and liability protection, small business and non-profit support, food security, schools and child care, housing, election support, and state and local aid.

In light of the urgent needs facing millions of Americans, families, and small businesses, the framework is designed for a six month horizon and through the next inauguration, except for state and local funding which extends for a full year.

Depending on the severity of the pandemic and if a successful vaccination program is adopted by March, 2021, a system of automatic "boosters" are designed to incrementally increase the amount of relief to individuals and families. Conversely, a system of "reducers" will decrease the total cost of the package.

The framework calls for both new stimulus money and the reallocation of previously appropriated "CARES Act" funding, and allocates resources to the following key categories:

Testing & Healthcare ($100B)
Direct Assistance to Individuals & Families ($316B)
Unemployment Assistance ($120B)
Small Business & Non-profit Support ($290B)
School & Child Care ($145B)
State & Local Aid ($500.3B)
Election Support ($400M)
Broadband, Agriculture, USPS, & Census ($52B)
Worker & Liability Protections
Automatic Boosters & Reducers

"Americans deserve a functioning Congress that can rise to the challenge and deliver the relief they need," said PSC Co-Chair Tom Reed. "Our framework reflects months of bipartisan consensus-building on the actions the federal government can take to help working families and local communities across the country as they navigate the impacts of COVID-19. We are hopeful this package will help bring lead negotiations back to the table as we try to solve this problem for the American people."

"What brings us together - 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans - is our shared goal of finding a pragmatic solution - a bipartisan path forward - to help get negotiators to return to the table," said PSC Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer. "Our March to Common Ground package does just that - it lays out a common sense framework to get help and resources out to American families and businesses.

"Our group put aside brinksmanship and political games," said Rep. Dusty Johnson, "Once we focused on what was good for the country, it didn't take us long to find common ground. This is how Congress is supposed to work."

"Today, my 25 Democrat and 25 Republican colleagues of the Problem Solvers Caucus are introducing a bipartisan, COVID relief framework to reignite negotiations and help our country through these difficult days," said Rep. Dean Phillips. "Months of inaction have left too many at the precipice, and principle must overcome politics. Co-leading our working group with Rep. Dusty Johnson has been an inspirational lesson in possibility. A shared mission to support our country and compassion for people transcended divisions in Congress, and is a reminder that unity and trust can overcome anything. Even politics. We're not the flashiest members of Congress, but we sit at the table, listen to one another, engage in respectful debate and deliberation, and accomplish good work for our country behind the scenes. Congress can be fixed. One friendship at a time."

"American families still need help, and Congress needs to step up," said Rep. Fred Upton. "This framework is something both parties can get behind, would be signed by the President, and would deliver immediate help to those in the most need."

"Our communities cannot wait any longer while Washington continues to play partisan games," said Rep. Kendra Horn. "Oklahoma businesses are closing and our families are struggling to make ends meet. Today's March to Common Ground bipartisan framework would deliver relief in a timely, targeted and transparent way. It's time to put politics aside and do what's right. The Problem Solvers are showing that we can work across the aisle. We can solve this together."

"During a moment of crisis, our mission in Washington should be clear: help families stay safe and weather the storm of COVID-19," said Rep. Elissa Slotkin. "But unfortunately, amidst election season, politics has distorted that mission. The Problem Solvers Caucus has been quietly working on the outlines of another emergency COVID package, in the hopes that our framework can kick-start negotiations between the House, the Senate, and the White House. And I'm proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle today as we unveil that framework. Importantly: no deal is perfect. But this proposal can and should serve as a serious start of negotiations. And I'm urging leadership in the House, Senate and White House to rise to the moment and get back to negotiating. We have to continue working across the aisle, regardless of politics, to get help to the people who need it right now. That is what is expected of us, and what the moment demands."

"I'm proud to join members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to announce a new COVID-19 relief bill, developed and supported by our membership, consisting of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans," said Rep. John Katko. "For too long, partisanship and posturing have stood in the way of substantive negotiations to address the sustained impact of the pandemic on our country. Our package contains measures that both sides agree on, including additional assistance for state and local governments, and resources for COVID testing, unemployment support, stimulus checks, schools & child care, and PPP. There's more that we agree on than disagree on. I hope this bill will inspire negotiators to set politics aside, and act as a blueprint to advance discussions."

December 3, 2020

The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, of which Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) serves as vice chair, urged congressional leaders to pass a $908 billion COVID-19 relief package before a Dec. 11 deadline in a press conference on Thursday.

In the wake of the second wave of virus cases, with a total of 2,257 deaths in Nassau County, the bill's supporters say it "would deliver much-needed relief to families, businesses, workers, state and local governments, and health care providers."

The proposal, put forward by Suozzi, fellow members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in the House of Representatives, and a group of Republican and Democratic senators, has so far received the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he plans to attach any COVID-19 agreement to a government funding bill before a Dec. 11 deadline to avoid a shutdown. Suozzi and other political leaders have criticized McConnell for not putting the HEROES Act, this bill's predecessor, up for a vote in the summer.

"The effects of this pandemic have been cruelly uneven. While some individuals and businesses remain unscathed or even better off, others have been completely devastated. Only those living in a Beltway fantasyland are immune from the cries for help to get through the winter," Suozzi said at the press conference. "This bipartisan compromise is an essential lifeline that must be a starting point for Democratic and Republican leadership to demonstrate that the United States government can actually fulfill its obligation to serve the American people. We cannot, in good conscience, leave DC before the holidays without a relief package."

The framework allocates $908 billion in total aid, including both new funding and the reallocation of previously appropriated CARES Act funding.

All told, the proposal would allocate $160 billion to state, local, and tribal governments; $288 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, including "restaurants, stages, and deductibility;" $180 billion in additional unemployment insurance; $82 billion in education funding; $45 billion for transportation such as airlines, airports, buses, transit, and Amtrak; $35 billion for the Healthcare Provider Relief Fund; $26 billion for nutrition and agriculture; $25 billion for rental housing assistance; $16 billion for vaccine development, distribution, testing and contact tracing; and $12 billion in support for CDFI and MDI community lenders.

$10 billion apiece will go to child care, dedicated broadband, and the U.S. Postal Service while $5 billion will go to opioid funding, $4 billion to student loans, about $4 billion to help other nations provide a COVID-19 vaccine for their people, and an increase in food stamp benefits.

"I have been a strong advocate for even more relief, but people are desperate and a smaller relief package in time for the winter is much more important than a larger package in February or March," Suozzi said. "People need help now."

December 23, 2020

ABC News, WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump has threatened to torpedo Congress' massive COVID-19 relief and year-end package, upending a hard-fought compromise in the midst of a raging pandemic and deep economic uncertainty by demanding changes fellow Republicans have opposed.

Trump assailed the bipartisan $900 billion bill and broader government funding package in a video he tweeted out Tuesday night and suggested he may not sign the legislation. That revives threats of a federal government shutdown.

Lawmakers spent months in a stalemate over pandemic relief funds, even as COVID-19 cases soared across the country. Democrats had pushed for higher payments to Americans, but compromised with Republicans to allow a deal to proceed.

Republicans have been reluctant to spend more on pandemic relief and only agreed to the big year-end package as time dwindled for a final deal. And Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, said that "Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open," and Congress would step up for more aid after.

Trump's call for changes to the legislation will test his sway with a Republican Party he has held tight control of throughout his presidency. Several Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have begun to gingerly break with Trump and acknowledge his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden, a step Trump has refused to take. McConnell has also warned Republicans against disputing the election on Jan. 6, when Congress must formally affirm the results.

Shortly after castigating the relief bill, Trump challenged McConnell and Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican who has also said any effort to overturn Biden's victory would be futile. Trump said he would back a primary challenge to Thune when he is up for reelection in 2022.

Trump's threats to hold up the pandemic legislation could also complicate matters for Republicans in Georgia, where two runoff races to determine control of the Senate will be held in January. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have been running as ardent supporters of Trump and will now face questions about whether they will back his call for more money for Americans.

Jon Ossoff, Perdue's Democratic opponent, tweeted simply on Tuesday night: "$2,000 checks now."

The relief package was brought forward Monday afternoon and sped through the House and Senate in a matter of hours as lawmakers worked to close the books on the year. While many lawmakers complained about being given so little time to read the bill, they overwhelmingly voted for it as local businesses and constituents seek economic relief from the pandemic.

The Senate cleared the huge relief package by a 92-6 vote after the House approved it by another lopsided vote, 359-53. Those votes totals would be enough to override a veto should Trump decide to take that step.

After months of partisanship and politicking about pandemic relief, the logjam broke after Biden urged his party to accept a compromise with top Republicans that is smaller than many Democrats would have liked.

Click Here to print these Problem Solving Methods - PSM's: July 16, 2020, Rev. F

2.9) 5+ Goal Setting Tools and Strategies to Establish Goals and Action Plans

click on image to download

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge and wisdom, and helps you to organize your time and limited resources so that you can attain your hopes and dreams.

A SMART goal is a carefully planned, clear and trackable objective. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. They are well defined targets that you intend to accomplish over an established period of time.

The Benefits of Goal Setting include:

1) Direction. First and foremost, goals give you a direction and a destination.
2) Starts you on your journey.
3) Clear focus on what is important.
4) Decision making experience.
5) Provides control of your future.
6) Increases motivation.
7) Bestows a sense of personal satisfaction and self-esteem.
8) Gives you a sense of purpose in life.
9) Provides a reward for personal achievement.
10) Improves your relationship with yourself and others.

Your goals should also correlate to your Personal Mission and Vision statement, something that will be addressed here before July 15 (that is the goal.)

Tool #1 - "Steps to Achieve your Goals" Goal Setting Method (SAG-GSM)

This tool is a forward looking process where you define the goals you want to achieve and then determine appropriate steps to reach those goals.

1. Write down all your goals and dreams.
2. Sort them into major and minor goals.
3. Which are Short term and long term.
4. Now determine which ones you want to focus on first, second and third. Choose one or two major and minor goals.
5. Use the SMART method when defining your top goals. Are they Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based
6. Write an action plan to achieve the first goal you've chosen. What steps do you need to take to get you there? When, where, how and why? I will exercise at least 4 days a week for 30 minutes at the gym using the treadmill, swimming pool and weights.
7. List the benefits. By exercising I will get healthier, look better and sleep more deeply.
7. Define a time frame for achieving the first goal(s) you want to work on. When will you start and how long will it take?
8. Visualize your self achieving the goal.
9. Start working on your goal. Realize that goals can compete with each other causing loss of focus.
10. Monitor and evaluate your progress.
11. Make changes and course corrections as required.
12. Achieve your goal or decide that it is no longer as important as you thought.
13. Congratulate yourself for the effort you put into this process, regardless of whether you achieved this goal or not.
14. Start working on your next goals.

For simple goals you can combine and connect new goals to existing habits.
Examples: After breakfast I will write in my gratitude and "morning pages" journal. Before starting dinner, my partner and I will spend 30 minutes of "quality time" together to discuss things on our minds.

If you want a simplified list of the goal setting process, here is a five step process:

1) List all your goals and then narrow them down into the top 5 major and top 5 minor goals.
2) Create the Overall Action Plan and then break it down into a daily/weekly "To-Do List" to reach one or two of these goals and stay focused until successful.
3) Put your plan into action and continue to monitor and evaluate the progress.
4) Learn from your successes and failures.
5) Celebrate the fact that you are finally working on your goals, dreams and visions.

Remember: A goal without a plan and action is just a wish.

Tool #2 - "How Did We Get Here" Goal Setting Method (HDWGH-GSM)

This tool is often used by businesses that want to reach certain goals, but individuals and couples can use it as well. It uses a backward looking process and imagines you have already achieved the goal.

1. You start with a goal, or several goals and imagine that you have achieved these goals in a matter of days, weeks, months or years.
2. Now work backwards and write down the imaginary steps and actions that you took to achieve the stated goals/vision/mission. Use both imagination and logic.
You can merely write them the steps down or put them in a flow chart. This is the beginning of your action plan.
3. Analyze and make corrections to the rough draft of your action plan and add more detailed steps.
4. Keep adding, subtracting and modifying the steps. Refine it by going from Rev. A to Revision E or higher.
Our theory in creating excellent "Final Articles" is to begin with your "first article", which would likely get you a low grade in school, and revise and refine it about a dozen times in order to get a high grade. Sometimes, presenting it before it is truly refined can be helpful when you present it as a "work in progress" and request feedback and assistance in order to accelerate realization.
5. When ready, you can implement your action plan(s) and start solving your issues and reaching your goals, hopefully creating more peace, love and harmony in your life.

This GSM can be used to create action plans to achieve many types of goals: Love Goals, Relationship Goals, Occupational Goals, Spiritual Goals, Financial Goals, Personal Growth Goals, etc.

There are many ways to achieve the goals you have established so make sure to be creative and write down as many possible paths you can think of in order to reach your goal(s). Choose which are the best paths and begin your journey. Be sure to keep monitoring and correcting as you go.
Good Luck on your travels!

Tool #3 - Warren Buffet's "Not To Do" Goal Setting Method (NTD-GSM)

Warren Buffett's secret to success is intense focus: instead of doing more, do less.
His philosophy is that in order to reach your goals, you need to do three things.
1) Write down your 25 top goals, and then circle the 5 most important.
2) Put the top 5 into their own list and goals 6-25 become the 'not to do' list.
3) Ignore everything on the 'not to do' list until you've achieved your top 5.

The beauty of this approach is that it keeps you focused on what is most important in your life. It may be that you did not even realize some of the things that are very important to you. Introspection can be a very useful tool. Introspection is the examination of your thoughts and feelings. In psychology, the process of introspection is based on observation of your mental state, while in a spiritual context it may refer to the examination of one's soul.
By analyzing what is most important to you, you are also discovering your Personal Mission and Vision statement and learning more about yourself and your dearest values and beliefs.

Tool #4 - "Flow Chart" Goal Setting Method (FC-GSM)

Click Here to print this Goal Setting Flow Chart : July 9, 2020, Rev. B

Similar to Tool #10 in the Flow Chart Problem Solving Methods, Flow Charts can be used to diagram the Goal Setting process and help create a graphic map of the goals you want to achieve. They create visual action plans for achieving the results and goals you establish.

You don't actually have to write inside each geometric shape since the steps you need to write down are often several sentences. Using this form you can write a brief one or two word note to show the goal or action for each shape and then have a detailed page which goes into expanded details for each stage in your Flow Chart.

If you create your own Flow Chart you can go into greater detail and then draw the shape around the words you have written afterwards. Thus if you have numerous actions for each goal you are not limited to the one or two rectangles shown on the blank flow chart shown here. You may need several sheets of paper laid side by side in order to create this larger road map but you can tape them together if you want.

From Left to Right:

Goals in Diamonds
Skills / Education required in Squares
Actions in Rectangles
Time Frame in Triangles
Potential Difficulties in Ovals
Review, Measure and Learn in Hexagons
Reward yourself / Celebrate in Circles

After achieving some of your major and minor goals you may want to revisit your goals and see if they are still the same. Has the priority changed for any of them?

Tool #5 - "To Do Lists" Goal Setting Method (TDL-GSM)

Using To Do lists can help you focus on your day to day tasks as well as your loftier "major" goals. They help you get more things done each day than if you just keep the list in your head.
They can be used as both a carrot and a stick, a reward and a reminder to stay on track.
They are also a memory tool so you don't forget to follow through on your promises to yourself and others.

You may want to create 3 or more lists: One for Personal daily tasks, One for Relationships goals, One for Work or Education, One for Major and Minor Goals, One for Personal Growth goals, etc.

1) Create 3 sections on each list: A - High Priority, B - Moderate Priority & C - Low Priority.
2) Write down the items you want to get done into each section.
3) Put a star next to the ones that you really need to stay focused on today / soon.
4) During the day, add a check mark next to the ones you actually worked on today.
5) Put a line through the items that you actually completed and won't be required to do again on future days.

You do not have to complete each item every day, you just need to be able to see that you are making progress on your highest priority items. For example, one of your moderate priority items may be to relax or play for 30 minutes each day. Perhaps you spend only 15 minutes de-stressing in the morning. You can add a check mark next to that item. If later in the day you relax for another 15 minutes then you can cross that item off your list or just add another check mark.
You might only cross items off the list that are "one time" items, for instance a doctor appointment.

Maybe you want to write your "morning pages" in your journal every day. You can add a check mark next to that item on the days you did that. Over time you might have many check marks and it becomes a visual reward that you are spending time on issues that truly matter to you. It also shows you a graphic of items that you are not focusing on, which is fine if they are low priority items.

You may be able to use one to-do lists for several days or longer, or you can re-write them as they get cluttered. Whatever works for you is the most important point. Maybe you have a section in your journal where you write them down instead of on loose pieces of paper. In that journal you may also record your goals and action plans in another section, create a daily gratitude section, golden life moments section, and personal mission statement section. We will soon go into more detail on these other sections that could become part of your master journal that helps you grow your relationships, your successes and your happiness.

Click Here to print these Goal Setting Methods - GSM's: July 9, 2020, Rev. B

More GSM's to be posted soon.

2.10) Choosing the Best Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to Solve Problems and Issues

After learning about various tools available for personal and relationship problem solving, it is helpful to understand and comprehend what each tool actually does and where it is most useful in the problem solving process. As you may recall, their are 14 or more steps to solving problems.

1. Define the Problems / Issues. Is it the Right Problem to Solve?
2. Prioritize the Problems. Which do you want to tackle first? A major one or a minor one?
3. State and check your Assumptions.
4. Collect and Analyze Information and Facts.
5. Determine the Root Cause(s) of the Problem.
6. Develop an estimated / desired Time Frame to work on the problem, start testing and trials, and to begin implementation.
7. Utilize several Problem Solving Methods (PSM's).
8. Develop Alternative Solutions.
9. Evaluate Alternatives by examining the potential Benefits and Consequences (Pro's and Con's) of each one.
10. Select a Solution.
11. Implement the Solution.
12. Monitor, Review and Evaluate the Progress.
13. Learn from the Outcome.
14. Adjust by trying Corrections and Alternate Solutions until the Desired Goal is Achieved.

The PSM's have been aligned with the corresponding stages of the problem solving process in which they may be most beneficial. Also realize that some of the PSM's listed below may be applicable in several steps of the problem solving process. Just because they are listed in one phase doesn't exclude them from being helpful for other steps also.

1) Define the Problems and Issues.

The Personal / Relationship Questionaire (Analysis Tool #1) from section 2.3 can help expose and identify specific issues for you to work on. Section 2.4 thru 2.6 (Analysis Tools #2 - #4) may also help identify more broad areas that can be improved. Section 2.7 "Identifying Areas for Improvement" helps you sort out and refine the analysis from sections 2.3 thru 2.6

PSM Tool #5 - "In Their Shoes" Problem Solving Method (ITS-PSM) may be useful to uncover current and past issues that can then be analyzed and prioritized to discover the root cause.

PSM Tool #9 - "Golden Rule & Love Your Neighbor" Problem Solving Method (GRLYN-PSM) may be useful to uncover current and future issues that can then be analyzed and prioritized to develop an action plan.

2) Prioritize the Problems and Issues.

PSM Tool #2 - "Index Card" Problem Solving Method (IC-PSM) is a useful way to order the issues from major to minor. Do you want to start working on a major issue or a minor issue.

3) Determine the Root Cause of the Problem.

PSM Tool #1 - "The 5 Whys" Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Tool / Problem Solving Method (5W-PSM)
The 5 Whys is very useful for determining the root cause of a problem. It will likely expose 3+ other issues/symptoms that might need to be addressed. Once you know the root cause, you know what the real source of the problem is.

PSM Tool #7 - "What Has Happened" Problem Solving Method (WHH-PSM)
This tool is useful to help individuals and couples understand how they ended up in the situation they find themselves in, how you actually got to where you are now.
You may notice that this PSM is similar to the "5 Whys" except that it lists all the issues and does not address just one particular problem to determine the exact sequence of events and root cause. Thus, this method brings to the surface all of the issues so that you can see "what has happened" and why. You can dig deeper and use the "5 Whys" on the most problematic issues found to determine the root cause(s).

4. Collect and Analyze Information, Feelings and Facts.

PSM Tool #8 - "Numbers In A Bowl" game / Problem Solving Method (NIAB-PSM)
Similar to PSM #7, this PSM allows you to analyze what you have discovered and sort out which questions and answers seem to provide the best insight and relevance to the problem and solution you are working on. It sheds light on both feelings and facts. You may want to prioritize them by importance so that you can go into deeper analysis on the top issues.

5) Develop Alternative Solutions.

PSM Tool #3 - "Alternative Solutions" Problem Solving Method (AS-PSM) is a basic brainstorming method using both the right and left brain to come up with possible solutions.

PSM Tool #6 - "The Six Thinking Hats" Problem Solving Method (6TH-PSM) allows you to approach the issue from 5 different types of thinking in order to develop alternative solutions.

PSM Tool #12 - "Trial & Error" Problem Solving Method (T&E-PSM)
The Trial and Error PSM allows you to experiment with different approaches to solving problems until you find the best methods for each particular issue.

PSM Tool #13 - "IF-THEN" Problem Solving Method (IT-PSM)
By creating IF-THEN scenarios and guidelines, it can help establish positive solutions to issues, challenges and opportunities that may come up in your day to day life.

Both Tool #12 and 13 can be applied in the Implementation Phase also. Essentially they can be used to both develop possible solutions and to implement them.

6) Review the Alternative Solutions and Choose the Best Ones.

PSM Tool #4 - "What If" Problem Solving Method (WI-PSM)
Play the what if game. What if we did this, What if we did that? Then what might happen? Which solutions provides the best outcome with the least amount of complications and consequences?

7) Implement the Solution(s) and Monitor, Evaluate, Learn and Adjust the Progress.

PSM Tool #10 - "Flow Chart" Problem Solving Method (FC-PSM)
Flow Charts can be used to diagram the problem solving process and help create a more visual map of the issues you want to analyze and solve. You can use these in conjunction with nearly all the PSM's presented, or just start working on a Flow Chart from scratch. Flow Charts are useful to create visual Action Plans for solving the issues you have chosen to work on.

8) Celebrate Successes and Learn from Failures. Determine Additional Problems and Goals to Conquer.

Repeat the problem solving process until you have solved your major issues. You may want to be working on your goals and vision statement simultaneously by utilizing the GSM's from section 2.9: 5+ Goal Setting Tools and Strategies to Establish Goals and Action Plans

2.12) Creating Implementation Plans (IP's) & Applying them to Improve your Relationships

Click Here to print this Implementation Plan Flow Chart : July 12, 2020, Rev. A

When you have completed the identification, evaluation and analysis phase, and created your action plan(s) you are now ready to implement and apply your plan to improve and enhance your life and your relationships.

In review, your Vision and Mission statements are the overall "Grand Picture", the airplane view. These are your loftiest goals, the dream you have for your life.
The Action Plan (AP) is the "Big Picture", the bird's eye view of the forest. It utilizes the information learned from the identification, evaluation and analysis phase and combines them with the actions required to solve your problems and reach your goals. It provides a guideline to take you from where you are now to where you want to be.
The Implementation Plan (IP) is the "Specific Picture", the detailed view of the trees from the ground. It is where "the rubber meets the road". It takes the actions from the action plan and breaks them down into the steps you will take to complete your plan and realize your vision. It describes the actual roads you will take on your journey that will get you to your destination.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao Tzu
Remember to embrace and enjoy the journey. View it with positivity, curiousity and hope. It may not even matter if you ever reach your "destination", as long as you are motivated, grateful and joyful during the journey. In the end you may well discover that the journey is more important to your happiness than the destination. There is a saying that states "A gold medal (or a million dollars, or a championship ring) may be a wonderful thing, but if you are not enough without it, you will not be enough with it. Be who you are before you acquire the things that you think will make you who you are".

How should you start? What actions did you determine are needed from the Problem Solving Methods (PSM) or Goal Setting Methods (GSM) and what time frame did you decide for each action? What actions have the highest priority? Do the actions need to begin at the same time or should each action come in phases dependent upon review and success or failure of the prior actions? How will the people who are involved in your implementation plan likely to respond? Are they even aware of your attempt to enact this new direction? Do they need to be involved or advised?
Be aware of some of the obstacles to implementing your plan such as creating a plan that is unachievable or impractical, not thoroughly thought out, overly focused on immediacy or not reviewed often enough. As you can see, there are many things to consider in creating successful Action Plans and Implementation Plans.

Creating and Applying an Implementation Plan - For both Problem Solving and Goal Setting.

A) Choose the actions you want to address first:

1. List the actions you want to focus on. Perhaps you decided upon some actions you want to take after using some of the Problem Solving Methods or Goal Setting Methods? If you created an Action Plan (Section 2.8 - PSM Tool #10) or Goals (Section 2.10 - GSM Tool #4) you can use the ones you listed there.
2. Organize and prioritize the actions.
3. Re-check your assumptions and biases to ensure you are open-minded and thinking clearly regarding these issues and actions.
4. Are there any other actions that you might need to consider prior to implementation?
5. What time frame did you establish for each action? When does each start and how long might each take to complete?
6. Have you considered the potential difficulties and consequences (the cons) for each action?
7. Have you considered the potential opportunities and benefits (the pros) for each action?

B) Determine the steps required to complete each action:

8. Who are the people involved in each step?
9. Do you need to advise or get help from any of the significant parties that will be involved or affected prior to implementing each step?
10. Consider how you want to start each step and the potential reactions.
11. What is your plan for addressing these potential responses (course reinforcements or corrections)? You may want to utilize the If-Then PSM. IF the response you are getting is positive, THEN you will proceed by doing specific subsequent steps. If it is negative, what will you do then?
12. List all the steps and information you have developed and create your Implementation Plan and IP Flow Chart (FC-IP).

C) Review your Implementation Plan (IP) and Start the Implementation:

13. Review the Implementation Plan (IP) you have created and determine if any changes are needed.
14. Believe in your IP and stay focused and motivated during the implementation. Although committed, remain flexible.
15. You may want to consider trying a few test trials prior to implementation. The Trial & Error PSM Tool #12 may be useful at this stage.
16. Now that you have confidence in your IP, as Nike would say, Just Do It.
17. Monitor, review, and evaluate the results you are perceiving.
18. Make necessary course adjustments or determine if you need to abandon a particular action and move on to another.
19. Celebrate the fact that you actually implemented your plan. Excellent Job! You need to create a Certificate of Excellence award for yourself for putting in all this research and effort to improve your life. Reward yourself. It does not even matter if your initial plan is a success or needs adjustments. The bottom line is you instituted action in an attempt to align your life with your vision and mission statements. That is how life gets better for those that choose to direct it instead of letting life steer them. Do you want to be the driver or the passenger?

If you have gotten this far, you are performing all the steps necessary to give yourself the highest possibility for success. Regardless of the outcome, you understand the risks, the rewards, your vision and the fact you are learning and using all sorts of life skills that will undoubtably benefit you for the rest of your life. Knowledge is power. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. Success is using wisdom to improve and beautify your life.
"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." - Ray Bradbury

For both Problem Solving and Reaching Goals, the Implementation Plan (IP) looks something like this:

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2.12) 10 Types of Intimacy

There are many types of intimacy: emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, creative/fun, sexual, athletic, artistic, amusement, meditative and more.
Intimacy is linked with feelings of closeness among partners in a relationship. If closeness is drifting apart, focusing on intimacy can be very beneficial. If you are unable to develop or restore intimacy, your relationship will likely face increasingly serious challenges.

1. Emotional intimacy is a key component to a happy marriage. It is about becoming best friends, sharing secrets, desires, wants and needs. It is you nurturing them and them nurturing you with a deep understanding of feelings and the need for emotional support. It is giving them daily compliments and telling them how much you love them. How successful you are at this intimacy is directly related to your E.Q. - Emotional Intelligence as opposed to I.Q., which is more useful for Intellectual Intimacy. Working on improving your E.Q. can be quite helpful in a relationship. There are many resources online to guide your training.
Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ - Daniel Goleman) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, utilize motivation to overcome challenges, defuse conflict, accept valid criticism and improve your social skills.

2. Physical intimacy is about soft caresses and touches. It is holding hands, kisses goodbye and hello, massages and shoulder rubs, cuddling during sleep and the need to be close to each other. It is also fun activities such as darts, table tennis, video games, hiking, talking walks and playing games with each other. The key is that you get to enjoy each others company, just as good friends do. What type of activities do you enjoy together?

3. Intellectual intimacy is the sharing of thoughts and ideas, hopes and concerns, hobbies, skills, goals, plans and values. You should also discuss how you want to raise your children, schooling decisions, and considerations such as financial management and how to address structuring time with the in-laws. It is spending attentive quality time talking about daily issues, opportunities and fun stuff, perhaps during afternoon tea or while enjoying a cool beverage.

4. Spiritual intimacy involves practicing and discussing your spiritual and religious needs and differences. Which type of worship or religious organization might be appropriate. Do you want to spend time doing a spiritual study together? What key concepts might you want to learn about first? Perhaps the Golden Rule which is observed by nearly every religion :) How often each day do you want to pray? How might you involve yourselves and your children in prayer? Perhaps before meals and before turning out the light at night, as a start? There is a popular saying, "the family that prays together, stays together."
Are you willing to learn about other religions and attempt to understand their value, meaning and essence or would that be a threat to you? Are you familiar with the 3 Abrahamic religions?

5. Creative intimacy is where you try new things and go to different places. Maybe you enjoy listening to music together. You could plant a vegetable garden or plant flowers. Perhaps you surprise your loved one with a special gift or flowers on days other than Valentine's day. Maybe you give them a hand written love letter or write a poem. Go on a picnic, enjoy being in nature, bird and wildlife watching, watch a sunset or sunrise, go to the park, beach, lake or river. The idea is to keep fun alive in your relationship and enjoy each others company.

6. Sexual intimacy often gets much of the attention during the early stages of any passionate romantic relationship. The real concern is after the infatuation stage cools down, how do you continue towards a more relaxed intimacy? Some couples get overly worried that because the passion is less intense your relationship might be in jeopardy. Could you drift apart? That is where the other intimacies really create common ground and prop up your relationship. Successful relationships still have plenty of passion even after the infatuation stage has passed. With mutual understanding, communication and teamwork, your relationship can remain romantically passionate while adding other intimacies to make it more balanced and enjoyable. In fact, as you develop the other intimacies, passion can actually improve in ways you had not anticipated.

7. Athletic intimacy is based upon exercise and sports. You can try yoga or work-out together at home or at the gym. Choose a sport that you both like or learn one together. Some options include: jogging, tennis, golf, badminton, table tennis, soccer/football, cricket, basketball, field hockey, skiing, bowling, bicycling or dancing.

8. Artistic intimacy involves addressing your artistic desires such as creating arts and crafts projects, drawing, painting, watercolor, sketching, ceramics, cooking, jewelry making, photography/film making, writing or playing musical instruments. You may want to take some online or in-person classes. You might be saying to yourself, "I don't have that kind of talent or creativity". Our reply is that you need to have more faith in yourself. You are amazing in many, many ways and creativity is probably one of your skills. Art can be learned just like reading and writing. We know because we previously thought we could not learn to draw either. After reading Betty Edwards book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" we discovered that not only did we learn to draw, we were meditating and improving our intuition simultaneously since those are also right brain activitities. The real reason that we utilized this book was because we really wanted to improve our intuition, not because we wanted to draw. Intuition improved immediately. We started doing what we "knew" we should do instead of going against our intuition and suffering the consequences. Hopefully the same intuition growth can happen for you also, however you get there.

9. Amusement or Entertainment intimacy is just what it sounds like, finding ways to entertain yourselves together so that boredom does not take hold of your relationship. Maybe you enjoy going to concerts, plays, museums, parties, sporting events, casinos, amusement parks, the movie theater, the zoo, the fair, the science center, doing puzzles, scrap-books, volunteering to watch another couples children so they can have some time alone, volunteering at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or nursing home. Help someone in need. Create a bucket-list and pick one activity to do every week or so.

10. Meditative intimacy is both a relaxation, stress reduction technique and a partnership building method. By helping each other improve your meditative abilities it will likely open doorways to an area of your soul that you have not worked on before. Meditation can help you get in touch with your subconscious, your intuition and your spiritual nature. It is hard to put it into words until you experience it. At first you will both find it difficult to stay focused and not get distracted with random thoughts such as "what else do I need to add to the shopping list". After you have spent 5-10 minutes practicing, it is fun to ask your partner how many times they got distracted and what thoughts were popping into their head. That is normal but with practice you can reach greater depths and last for perhaps 30 or 60 minutes or more, assuming you can schedule that amount of time for yourselves. There are many apps that offer soothing sounds such as a soft flowing stream or waves at the beach to help you relax. Science has proven that meditation / stress reduction techniques can be a great benefit to your health and to your relationship whether you practice alone or together. Unfortunately many cultures have not yet come to comprehend this benefit. How do you think monks get so wise and peaceful? Here are several quotes from the Dalai Lama.
"Love is the absence of judgment."
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
"There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.' No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster."
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."
"Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other."

In conclusion, you might want to agree to enjoy 3-5 or all 10 intimacies. Each partner should pick their top activities and compromise so that each of you gets to enjoy your favorites with each other, even when their favorites may not be your top choices. You will probably discover that they are more fun than you expected, especially because you are doing them with your best friend. And maybe some of their top picks are also some of yours. That is an extra bonus.

Click Here to print the "10 Types of Intimacy" : June 29, 2020, Rev. B

2.13) 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make

"The 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make and How to Avoid Them"
by Dr. Arthur Freeman and Rose DeWolf

The following is a list of 10 mistakes almost all of us have or will make. We have summarized our interpretations of each chapter below along with a few additional comments and the "Serenity Prayer". Hopefully you can learn something from these lessons that helps your relationships and improves your happiness.

1. Chicken Little Syndrome.
In the Chicken little syndrome Chicken Little is hit on the head by a nut falling from a tree and immediately thinks the sky is falling. In the same way people jump to all sorts of catastrophic conclusions and irrational thinking without a second thought. Blowing things out of proportion can cause all sorts of stress and make finding solutions nearly impossible.

2. Mind reading.
Mind reading is one of the most dearly held illusions. We assume we know what others are thinking and that others should know what we are thinking. "I don't have to tell him, he knows" is an all-too-common remark and one that has a way of leading to conflict and disappointment. Often it turns out that he not only doesn't know, he doesn't even know you think he should know.

3. Personalizing.
Some people seem to take everything personal. They interpret many comments as a personal attack against them. As a result they tend to feel very angry and resentful much of the time and have a hard time working in a group. In this light, advice and constructive criticism do need to be applied in a sensitive manner.

4. Believing your Press Agent.
This is a common failure of the famous but quite ordinary folks who have family, friends and an internal press agent to glorify them fall victim to it also. It can cause self-righteousness and cause one to be over-bearing and unwilling to cooperate. It also involves among other things, believing that success in one area automatically translates to success in other areas without a need for the same effort that led to the first success.

5. Believing or Inventing your Critics.
This mistake is the direct opposite of believing your press agent. It can be just as troublesome but in a different way. To accept without debate anyone who criticizes you, or to assume that others are criticizing you without bothering to determine if that is really true, or how qualified those critics are to judge you. "What Sally says about Suzy says more about Sally than it does about Suzy".

6. Perfectionism.
This is the desire to be perfect in all things. Sounds quite admirable and no one would deny that it's smart to set high standards for yourself, however perfectionism becomes dumb when the standards you set are so high that you could never meet them nor can anyone else meet your unrealistic standards.

7. Comparisonitis.
To compare and contrast is a respectable way of analyzing differences but people often get into trouble by focusing only on negative comparisons of themselves to others, or by accepting negative comparisons of themselves made by others. This is very discouraging and usually inaccurate.

In our view, comparing yourself to others can cause quite a few problems. It is unhealthy to think you are better or worse than others. There will always be people better looking than you, richer than you, more successful than you. What really matters is how happy and how much love and success you have in your life. Those are the types of issues you should be working on improving instead of either boasting about how much better or complaining how much worse you are than other people. For all you know, the people you are comparing yourself to may not be nearly as happy as you imagine them to be, and even if they are, who cares. It is growing your happiness and success that you need to stay focused on.

8. "What if" thinking.
Worry worry worry. That's what "what if thinking" is all about. It's worrying about things that don't exist or are highly improbable. And it is worrying about real threats to success, health and happiness to a degree that diminishes your power to deal with them, instead of increasing your coping power.

Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
(Although known most widely in its abbreviated form above, the entire prayer reads as follows...)
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.

9. The imperative should. (coulda, woulda, shoulda)
Should is an ordinary everyday word except when it is used to indicate an order that may not be refused. Then should becomes a finger waving under the nose. This imperative says don't you dare deviate by as much as a millimeter or you'll be sorry, you'll feel guilty, you'll feel ashamed. Should users build prison cells for themselves. They are so focused on what they or others should do or should have done in the past, they cannot think about what they can do, or what they might try in the future.

10. Yes but-ism.
The yes-but person always manages to find a negative that outweighs any positives. They tend to get in their way and the way of others, and can demean and alienate others, stirring up arguments and anger. They seldom look at situations from the other person's perspective. Everyone else seems against them while they and their press agents are the only ones who can see clearly. They refuse to look in the mirror and tend to be judgmental and unforgiving.

In summary, most of us have experienced some, if not all of these mistakes. Also be aware that many of these mistakes can combine in particular situations or relationships, compounding the problems and making it that much harder to reach workable solutions. Try to identify the ones that are holding you back and work to fix them. It will likely improve your life and help you find success, love, peace and happiness.

We have decided to add one more mistake to the list:
11. Forgetting to be grateful. Gratitude is extremely important to your happiness and success in life. When you forget to be grateful, you stop seeing the positive factors in your life, the factors that make life worth living. Many people keep a "gratitude journal" where they write 5 things they are grateful for each day. Usually the first item on the list is being given another day to write down your gratitude. Even if you don't write them in a journal, merely thinking of 5 things you are grateful for each day can improve your outlook on life and make you aware of how many things you do have going for you.
"Who is rich? The one who appreciates what he has."
"Who is wise? The one who learns from every person."

2.14) Deep Friendships

Friendships are one of the most important relationships you will have during your life, along with family and marriage relationships. In fact, friendship is a key to happiness in both marriage and family relationships. If you are not good friends with your spouse and your family members, you probably don't have a good relationship with them. Thus it is important to understand the different types of friendships and focus on developing "true friendships" whenever possible.

"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

The dictionary defines friendship as "the state of being friends".

The definition of friendship as defined by Wikipedia is much better:

"Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. It is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association.
Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of such bonds. Such characteristics include affection; kindness, love, virtue, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, loyalty, generosity, forgiveness, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other's company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one's feelings to others, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. Friendship is an essential aspect of relationship building skills."

Aristotle put great emphasis on the value of friendship. He writes about it as a special possession and a necessity to a happy life.
"What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies."

"In poverty as well as in other misfortunes, people suppose that friends are their only refuge. And friendship is a help to the young, in saving them from error, just as it is also to the old, with a view to the care they require and their diminished capacity for action stemming from their weakness; it is a help also to those in their prime in performing noble actions, for 'two going together' are better able to think and to act."

3 types of friendships:
He also said you will experience three different types of friendship. One of them, true friendship, is the type of friendship that is valued above the other two. The others are not considered bad or undesired, they are also a part of life, but true friendship is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It creates a bond with another living soul that is invaluable, altruistic and treasured.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson states:

"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another."

Aristotle explained his three types of friendship in book VIIII of his ethics masterpiece, Nichomachean Ethics, based upon the works of his mentors, Plato and Socrates, 2400 years ago. The three friendships are: Utility, Pleasure & Goodness (true friendship), in ascending order of worthiness. The first two kinds of friendship are accidental, because in these cases friends are motivated by their own utility and pleasure, not by anything essential to the nature of the other person. Both of these kinds are often short-lived because the needs and pleasures of each person change over time.

1) Friendships of "Utility"; Self-interested friendship; friendship common for adults

These are the types of friendships where either one or both parties want something from the other. It may be access to other people, access to money, power, social status, reputation or other things of value. It may also be merely to escape loneliness or to become part of the in-crowd they want to join. It tends to be intellectual in nature. This type of friendship is often manipulative and may not last long. Whenever the benefit ends, so does the friendship. Aristotle noted this to be more common in adults. Many of us have experienced this type of friendship at one time or another. An example would be at college or a work relationship. You may enjoy the time you spend together, but once the situation changes, the relationship is over. If the "friendship" was manipulative, eventually most people realize they were being used and the relationship will end, sometimes with severe anger and resentment.

2) Friendships primarily for "Pleasure"; friendships for a moment in time; friendships common for children and younger people

This type of friendship can be very enjoyable while it lasts. It is emotional in nature. You probably remember these types of good times when you were a child or in your teens. You had friends that made you laugh, had sleep-overs with and went to parties, social functions or were on the same sports team. All everyone wants is to have a good time and forget any problems they may be experiencing. Before long though you realize that some of these friends are shallow and not there for you when you need help with your problems. They are off having a good time with others that will not "bring them down". All of us have most likely had this type of friendship. It is a normal part of life until we grow more mature and realize that we need more than just frivolous pleasure; we need meaning and purpose in our lives. We need people we can count on to be there for us when we need them and vice-versa. That leads us to the third type of friendship.

3) Friendships based on "Goodness" and virtue; True friendships; friendships that last a lifetime

The third type of Aristotle's friendships is the one you hope to find and nurture, a near perfect friendship. It is the rarest of all friendships. True friends like this don't come around very often unless you are willing to search them out and give them reciprocal friendship in return. How many friends do you have that would loan you their last dollar? How many will be there when you need a shoulder to cry on? Research suggests you might have hundreds of "friends" on social media, dozens of friends in your neighborhood, but only about two true friends at any given time in your life.

These are the friends who truly appreciate you for who you are, in good times and bad. They are there to support and encourage you in your times of despair, sickness and grief. These friends are not trying to always get something of value from you. It is their personality and inner qualities that attract you to these good friends. They care about you and want you to grow and find happiness. This is actually the type of friendship you also want in a romantic relationship or long-term marriage. They take effort, understanding and patience. A friend like this is worth their weight in gold. You can not put a price on this type of friendship and you certainly can't buy one. It comes from kindness and compassion.

True friendship is stable and are only possible between good, virtuous, honorable and mature people. He believed this type of true friendships are rare because there are very few good people. But this raises the question, is he right? Are there really so few good people that true friendships are nearly impossible to develop?

Accordingly he believed that a person must first love himself, in order to be able to give true love or friendship. Good people want to do good to themselves but they also want other people to be happy and successful. Thus it takes two virtuous people in order to create a union that can become a mutually beneficial and pleasurable friendship. People cannot bond together for long if they are not pleasant and do not enjoy the same things and have similar values, as friends who are companions seem to do. Goodness is an enduring quality, so friendships based on goodness tend to be long lasting.

Both individuals involved in a friendship of the good must value giving love over being loved, and as such, their relationship will be based predominantly around loving the other person and wanting what is good for them. Each, then, both loves what is good for themself, and makes an equal return in goodwill and in pleasantness; for friendship is said to be equality, and both of these are found most in the friendship of the good.
To be a self-actualized person, in the Aristotelian sense, you need to master the art of friendship. Abraham Maslow put "friends" in the middle level of his self-actualization pyramid but it appears Aristotle would have placed it near the top of the pyramid, believing that friendships of the good (only achievable through virtue) were a key to happiness and success.

If you can develop true friendships, you also get the best of the other two friendships as well. You receive mutual benefits/utility and pleasure. The times you spend together are rewarding at all levels. By combing the virtues of two good people, you amplify the possibility of achieving even greater heights by being engaged in this amazingly beneficial friendship. Aristotle believed that virtuous relationships are what make life worth living. Do you agree?

Aristotle insists the highest good, happiness, is achieved through virtuous activity and is not something that comes to us by chance. Although we must be fortunate enough to have parents and fellow citizens who help us become virtuous, we ourselves share much of the responsibility for acquiring and exercising our virtues.
It is up to us to develop ethical virtues (temperance, courage, empathy and so on), and also intellectual virtues (education, knowledge, practical wisdom {understanding the way certain things are} and theoretical wisdom {understanding why things are a certain way}, etc.).

How to identify if a person has virtue and may be a candidate for a true friend

If you want to know if someone has virtue, observe how they treat others, not just how they treat you or the ones they care about. Do they treat others with love, kindness and respect or do they treat others poorly. Do they routinely say mean and nasty things about others? What they say about others is merely a reflection of how they see themselves. Think of the bullies you have known for example. How much virtue did they possess? Young bullies usually use their above average size, strength or "popularity" status to bully and belittle others. Adult bullies tend to abuse their power, money and social status to dominate others and get their way. They believe that everyone that disagrees with them are inferior and deserves their self-righteous wrath. They often have "Narcissistic Personality Disorder".

People without empathy and maturity can seldom develop true friendship because it takes commitment and trust over time to create such relationships. People with limited virtues tend to be more interested in instant gratification, pleasure, ego and what they can get from you. They are takers, not givers.

"The true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good." - novelist Paul Eldridge 1948
"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him." - Malcolm S. Forbes 1972
"The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back." - Abigail Van Buren 1974
"Friend or Phony?: The best way to judge an individual is by observing how he treats people who can do him absolutely no good." - Ann Landers 1977

Warning signs that it may be time to end or reduce time spent with a friend:
They don't respect your feelings, boundaries, time, values or goals. They seldom ask how you are doing or reach out to you. They blame everything on you. They never take responsibility. It is never their fault. All they ever talk about is themselves. They only call you when they need something or when it is convenient for them. They have jealousy issues. They criticize you or belittle you. They try to make you feel guilty. They violate your trust.
If you have fake friends that are doing these things to you, it may be time to confront them and let them know these things are becoming an issue, or it may be time to find true friends.

If you decide to end a friendship you can gradually start distancing yourself by responding less often to their calls or texts. You can have less one-on-one time together. You can let them know that you have other issues that you need to attend to and that you won't have as much time for them as before. You can be straight forward and advise them that due to some of the things that have happened recently, perhaps trust, reliability, criticism or boundary issues, you are not ready to re-establish that trust right now. Instead of blaming them, merely advise them that you need some time to think things over. There is a phrase, "It's not about you, it's about me, and things I am going through right now." In reality, "it takes two to tango" and regardless of who is mostly at fault it may be time to solve the issues or move on.

Friendships, Justice and Long Lasting Societies

On a final note regarding Aristotle. He believed that it is through friendship that cities and societies are held together. Those with the moral virtue to develop relationships of goodness are a major part of this, but friendships of utility and pleasure are also needed since friendships of virtue are rare. It is the friendships of utility and pleasure that keep the city or nation together. But it takes the character of those with virtue for a solid long lasting unified nation to survive. It requires exceptional leadership, guidance, wisdom and unity (friendship). Without virtue, societies divide, enter into civil war and fail. It nearly happened in the United States in the early 1860's. From a historical perspective the average lifespan of a democracy is about 200 years. With wise and virtuous leaders and empowered citizens they can likely last much longer.

Aristotle states in Book VIII, Chapter 1: "Between friends there is no need for justice, but people who are just still need the quality of friendship; and indeed friendliness is considered to be justice in the fullest sense. It is not only a necessary thing but a splendid one". Aristotle bases his perception of justice on the conception of fair exchange, and does the same for friendship. Friendships of goodness are developed and sustained because each friend gives as much as they receive. Thus, justice and friendship are intertwined. Without them, unified societies collapse causing social, political and economic distress.

As Daniel Webster, the U.S. Secretary of State prophetically proclaimed in the late 1840's prior to the American civil war on slavery and racism: "Hold on my friends to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."

Friends are good for your health

Good friends are important to your health and well-being. Friends are there to celebrate good times and provide support during hard times. Friends reduce loneliness and give you the opportunity to prove to yourself and others that you have empathy and compassion. Studies have shown that people with healthy support networks tend to live longer and have reduced risk for medical issues such as high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity, stroke and depression.
Friends also:

* Advance your feelings of meaning, belonging and purpose in life.
* Help you through traumas and grief such as the death of a loved one, break-ups, divorce, serious illness, job loss, mid-life crisis and aging.
* Reduce stress and depression by allowing you to release your emotions, and provide you with alternative advice.
* Increase your happiness, self-confidence and self-esteem.
* Provide occasional safety, food, financial or housing support in the event of a disaster.
* Support your efforts to reduce bad habits, such as heavy drinking, poor nutrition, smoking, gambling, or lack of physical activity.

Many adults have difficulties developing and maintaining good friendships. Remember that true friendships depend upon virtue and compassion by both parties in the relationship. You need to have virtue as much as they do. You can help each other by working together to nurture maturity and virtue.
Creating true friendships is sometimes even more difficult due to the hectic lives that many adults lead due to their jobs, financial responsibilities, social unrest (or war), natural disasters, famine, disease, medical issues, and taking care of their children and/or elderly parents. The problem can be even more challenging if they are a single parent. Thus developing joyful and supportive friendships is sometimes considered to be something that will have to wait until things calm down. The truth is that a good friend can help you relax and reduce your stress! The benefits of a good friend are worth the effort to develop and maintain these types of relationships.

"I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light."
- Helen Keller

Developing new friendships

There are many ways for adults to find and develop new friendships. Meeting new people requires that you put forth some effort to go out and socialize. Some possible ideas include:

* Take classes at a community college or through your local Parks and Recreation offerings.
* Volunteer in your neighborhood at a charitable organization, church, youth or senior center, museum, etc.
* Join a fitness club or sports organization.
* Participate in school activities and events thus meeting other parents.
* Get to know the parents of your childrens friends.
* Go to parties, social gatherings, carnivals, parades, plays, community concerts, etc.
* Attend religious, community watch or special interest events: Walk-A-Thons or fund raising events for example.
* Join meet up groups like the Sierra Club, Botanical Clubs, Art clubs, etc.
* Join community groups in your neighborhood that play bingo, cards, dominoes, bridge, bunco, etc.
* Take your kids to the park or beach and meet other parents there.

When you find others who seem to have positive virtues and you find them interesting or perhaps you have similar interests and values, try to establish a relationship by inviting them to a party or asking them to join you for lunch, coffee, tea, wine or a beer. They may not always respond to your invitation initially but if you try to get to know them better over time you may find that they will warm up to you especially if you are patient and positive. People tend to attract others by showing their virtues and staying cheerful and positive. They tend to repel others when they are negative and critical.
Maybe you already know people in your network who you have just failed to evaluate as a potential friend? Maybe you have lost contact with a friend or relative who you could re-kindle a valuable relationship with? There is a decent chance they could use a good friend also.

Nurturing friendships

Recall the 3 types of friendships: Pleasure, Utility/Benefits and Goodness / True Friendship. If you want to make some new friends, just be aware of what type of friends you want and be cautious of people that might be trying to use you for their personal benefit. As long as you are aware of where they are coming from, it may reduce the likelihood of you getting hurt if and when you part ways.

To achieve true friendship, your relationship needs to be based on having fun together and offering each other support and compassion. Sometimes you are the one seeking support and sometimes it is your friend. If this support is not mutual it is unlikely it will develop into a true and lasting relationship. All too often we can get a bit self-centered and forget to give as much as we take. That is partly why true friendships are rare. A wise person once said it is better to give than to receive. Maybe they were thinking about true friendships?

Regarding the emotions, feelings and actions that lead to lasting friendships, the following are very important:

Show kindness and compassion.
Exhibit patience, tolerance and non-judgmental mindfulness.
Follow through on promises and commitments.
Be reliable, dependable and trustworthy.
Practice attentive listening skills.
Understand their boundaries and avoid crossing them.
Be available for them whenever possible.
Respect their time and support their values and goals.

"A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you."
- Elbert Hubbard

2.15) Family Relationships

Family relationships are one of the most important associations you may have in your life, along with romantic and friendship unions. The "richest" among us have satisfying relationships in all three types during our lives. They become a true and lasting treasure, more valuable than gold.
Family relations includes parents, siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, in-laws and possibly adopted or foster children. The family circle may also include neglected neighborhood children, isolated elderly neighbors or just people in need of family love.
Hopefully some of the strongest and most supportive friendships you develop are with your spouse, children and family members but for those that are not that blessed, friendships with people within your local or virtual community may be enough to provide a meaningful and happy life.

Family relationships are extremely influential to the development of our personality, character, self-esteem, behavior, core beliefs and values. They provide five of the things we need most as children and young adults: love, belonging, support, discipline and guidance. One of the primary purposes of families is to develop the well-being of children and help them become well-functioning members of society. The other main purpose of course is to create a warm and secure home to share love and joy between family members, which everyone benefits from. Family members are often the only ones who are there to support us in our times of greatest need, both emotionally and financially.

The following are some of principal reasons human beings bond together as family units, just as many animals do in the animal kingdom:

1. Survival.
2. Food and shelter.
3. Protection and security.
4. Love.
5. Friendship.
6. To create a feeling of belonging and connectedness.
7. To provide guidance and education in order to become self-sufficient.
8. To provide discipline, rules, and guidelines of conduct in order to develop a character of quality.
9. To communicate core values and beliefs.
10. To provide support in times of need and despair.
11. To provide a safe haven in times of disasters.
12. To develop independence and interdependence.
13. To build self-confidence, self-esteem and a sense of identity.
14. To promote a balance between reading, writing, math, science and creativity (the arts).
15. To teach the importance of mutual trust and respect.
16. To teach the importance of diversity and tolerance.
17. To teach the importance of caring for the environment and mother earth.
18. To help understand our spirituality and position in our universe.

Essentially, the family unit has the opportunity to help the family members become not only happy and successful members of the family and society, but also necessary members of the planet in order to create paradise: "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All". Granted, human beings still have a long way to go to achieve peace on earth but by developing healthy relationships within our personal and family lives, and across the globe with all countries, peace will become a reality. Remember that a rising tide raises all ships and a sinking tide threatens all ships. Let's focus on working as a team in both our family relationships and our global relationships in order to create a world filled with love and peace. Shangri-La is within our reach but is up to us to get there.

How to best grow and nurture successful family relations:

Good family relationships don't just happen by chance. Just like successful and happy marriages and friendships they require communication, compassion, understanding, negotiation (give and take), tolerance, forgiveness, discipline, utility (mutual benefit) and pleasure.
There are many sayings about how to achieve a happy family such as "the family that plays together stays together", "the family that eats together stays together", "the family that talks together, walks together", the family that prays together stays together", "the family that gives together, lives forever" and "Families are like branches on a tree - We grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one". What others can you add or create from your personal experience?

What are some of the ways to nurture a good family environment? Here are a few suggestions:

a) Try to involve everyone in family decisions as much as possible. Ask for input on family activities, vacations, birthday arrangements, social engagements and other important events. Having family meetings to discuss these topics can be quite beneficial. Let your children make some of their own choices when appropriate. Let them know that it is not always "my way or the highway".

b) Develop family rules and guidelines such as ways of treating each other with respect and compassion, observing established times for meals, homework, chores and play time. Also develop and communicate penalties for violating these rules. As children mature, whenever possible, attempt to get family input in developing these rules and guidelines. Remember when you were a kid and were forced to endure your parents rules without being able to have any say in the matter. This is a family unit, not an army unit. Your children want you to be both a loving parent and a friend. Without proper discipline you are neither. Children that grow up without discipline often have character flaws and are less likely to be happy as adults. It may be that they feel their parents didn't really care about them by letting them get away with whatever they wanted, or perhaps they were sent to a boarding school. Do avoid yelling and hitting them. Children that are raised in those hostile environments tend to yell at others, get into fights, become bullies, and show more aggressive behaviors than other children. Children usually do to others as you have done to them.

c) Help your older children to understand the reasons behind your rules and guidelines so you can earn their respect instead of demanding it. Be willing to admit mistakes and ask for forgiveness when you might have lost your temper or possibly been too over-bearing or did not show enough sensitivity to issues they may be facing. We are all human beings and none of us are perfect, including parents.

d) Establish household chores and rotate responsibilities daily or weekly to help train children on running a household and to instill discipline, responsibility and character. When possible, involve them in cooking, cleaning, household repairs, yard work and gardening. If you can involve them in volunteer activities such as picking up litter, walk-a-thons, helping out at a senior center, a children's hospital, a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, these activities will help them understand the importance of caring for the planet and having empathy and compassion for those less fortunate.

e) Use meal time and driving time to discuss daily events, activities and issues that have occurred for each family member. Allow each member to discuss whatever is on their mind and the highlights of their day. Discourage judgment and criticism by other members. Try to keep communications positive and supportive.

f) Encourage daily family fun and together time. You may want to set a time each day perhaps before or after dinner to play, go to the park, enjoy a game or sports activity, or discuss spiritual lessons. If things are too hectic during the week, at least spend some quality time on the weekends by taking hikes, a trip to the beach, lake, river or pool, enjoy a picnic lunch, play games or sports, go shopping or to a movie or sports event, etc.

g) Try to spend individual time with each family member each day. This includes both your spouse and children. Maybe there aren't always important topics to discuss each day but on the days where there are, it is important that you are there for them. They may not always want to talk even though you know something is bothering them (especially teenagers), but at least they know you care and are paying attention to them. When they do want to talk, give them your full attention and if you don't have answers to help them with their problems let them know you will try to research ways to help them.

h) Discuss family history and memories with each other. Many parents never really tell their kids how they meet each other and fell in love or how they were raised as children. Tell them what your parents were like and what your grandparents were like. What were some of their best features and some of the things you hope not to repeat from their parenting lessons. Where have they lived and what were their favorite things in life. Let your children tell you about some of their fondest memories / golden moments. You might be surprised at what they tell you. It may also provide you with clues on how to create more golden moments for them. Tell them some of the fondest memories you have about them. When they are old enough you may want to tell them about some of the struggles you had to help them through when they were young so that they can understand their emotional background and some of the challenges they overcame. They likely were never consciously aware they had those issues such as fears, immaturity, anger, temper tantrums, sibling jealousy, isolation, etc. Explain to them how they matured and overcame those challenges and turned into the fine young adult they have become. From personal experience, this happened to us and it was not only eye-opening, it was life-changing.

i) Encourage family members to support each other by acknowledging each others' special achievements and occasionally going to each others' significant events such as school band, choir or plays, sports events and scholastic award ceremonies. Recognize and discuss each others unique talents, strengths and abilities. No two children will have the same and each can benefit by being aware of the diversity within the family unit. Show appreciation for their successes by telling them how pleased you are with them and their accomplishments as often as you can. Use these moments to help boost their self-confidence, self-esteem and identity.

j) Ensure that everyone gets the hugs, kisses, hand-holding and the emotional support they need. Parents need these just as much as children. Pay close attention to others' moods and emotions and be responsive when it appears they may be struggling. They may be having problems with school classes, with teachers, bullies, friends, siblings and possibly with their own feelings and emotions. As they reach puberty, they may need support and guidance to understand the changes that are happening to their body, thoughts and emotions.

k) Try to create an "open door" environment so that your kids feel comfortable to discuss difficult issues such as peer pressure, social groups/cliques, "fitting in" at school, friendship issues, dating, sex, marriage, drugs and alcohol, etc.

How society benefits from healthy and loving families:

The benefits of raising a healthy family go far beyond those that you and your family members receive. They also help society by directly and indirectly reducing gang violence, murder, theft, vandalism, bullying, fighting, school shootings, sexual assault, rape, drugs, alcohol problems, teenage pregnancies, mental health issues, suicide, prejudice, discrimination, racism, gender inequality, religious intolerance, police / military / judicial corruption, white-collar crime, money laundering, civil / legal corruption (abuse of wealth), political corruption (abuse of power) and more.
Side question to ponder- Which harms society more: Blue-collar or White-collar criminals? Which lawbreakers have more influence on the emotional distress, direction, economics, and well-being of society?

In summary, the family relationship is amazingly critical, especially in the development of the youth of the world. What children learn from their family has lasting implications for their health and well-being as adults, as well as for society. By teaching them well and giving them the love and guidance they so badly need you greatly improve their chances to find lasting love and happiness for the rest of their lives. Show them by example how a happy family can flourish and encourage each member to reach their full potential. What they learn from trained and enlightened parents can help them create and nurture a happy family of their own someday. Thus you will get the future benefit of sharing in their happy and healthy lives. It becomes a win-win situation for all.

Coming soon:

2.16) Parenting and Child Development

2.17) Creating your Personal and Relationship "Vision and Mission" Statements

Your personal and relationship vision and mission statements reveal your "top of the mountain" highest inspiration for what you hope to attain and become by using the best of your skills and talents. They describe what you want to be "when you grow up" and mature into the person (or relationship) of your dreams. If you find a soul mate who has similar vision and mission statements it can greatly improve your chances of achieving a loving and joyous relationship.

You may want to complete your personal vision and mission statements first before defining your relationship statements. The relationship statements may be completed prior to actually being in a relationship, just to help you clarify what type of person you are looking for. Merely use the same methods for developing your relationship statements as you use for your personal statements.

Stephen Covey, the author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" says your mission statement is about "defining the personal, moral and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself." Writing it down on paper makes it real.
Many businesses establish a Vision and Mission Statement and a corresponding business plan using measurable objectives.
To create a visual image, your vision is placed at the top of a pyramid. Below that is your mission statement. Beneath that are your 3-5 most important goals. Below your goals are your core beliefs and values. At the base of the pyramid are your skills, talents, educational training and childhood upbringing, all of which tend to contribute and define your core beliefs, perceptions and values. After your pyramid is completed, you can develop an action plan to help you achieve your goals and dreams.

A vision statement is a bit like an image of yourself which describes the current and future dreams and hopes for your life. The vision statement is intended as a guide to help you make decisions that correspond to your life philosophy and declared set of goals and values. Your vision statement (the big picture, your purpose in life) should align with your mission statement (a more detailed statement of how you will get there).

Key Elements of a Good Vision Statement:
1. Forward-looking.
2. Motivational and inspirational.
3. Reflective of your culture and core values.
4. Aimed at bringing you benefits and improvements in the future.
5. Defines your reason for existence and where you are heading.

Examples of company vision statements:
IKEA: "Our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people."
Oxfam: "A world without poverty."
Amazon's vision statement is "to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavor to offer its customers the lowest possible prices."
World Peace Enterprises: "Help create a world where Peace and Love overpowers war, hatred and distrust."
Love Education 101: "To help individuals increase both the amount and quality of Love in their lives."
Side note: Many people believe that love is a prerequisite to achieving peace. Thus if your life is filled with anger, contempt, fear, distrust, anxiety, depression and hate, it is unlikely that you will find peace. On a much larger scale, if the entire planet is filled with hate, it is unlikely we will achieve world peace. Thus finding love for ourselves and our neighbor is a pretty big deal in the grand blueprint for creating world peace. We must start with love, respect, compassion, equality and justice in order for peace to grow. Would you agree?

Examples of personal vision statements:
"To become the kindest and best person I can be."
"To help those around me that are less fortunate."
"To achieve self-actualization within my lifetime."
"To achieve couple-actualization in our lifetimes."
"To share my passion for children by helping as many as possible get a decent education."
"To become financially successful so that I can help as many people as possible."
"To always meet others with a smile, for a smile is the beginning of love."
"Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other -- it doesn't matter who it is -- and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other." - Mother Teresa.

You can create a personal or relationship Mission Statement by following these 6 steps.

1. Identify Successes and Triumphs. What have you accomplished that strikes you as being significant in contributing to who you are and where you are at? What are some of the Golden Moments in your life?
2. Identify Core Values and Beliefs. What are your strongest, most important values? What are the key beliefs you have held dear since childhood? Which of these values and beliefs do you share with your partner?
3. Identify Contributions. Who helped you aspire and achieve the majority of your successes?
Maybe the key contributors were your partner, parents, siblings, teachers, mentors, friends, spiritual advisors, book authors, etc. Perhaps it was mainly yourself as the leading contributor to your success? Who was part of your "Master-Mind Group"?
4. Identify Skills. What skills most helped you attain your successes? What skills will you need to use and develop in order to reach your future goals?
5. Identify Goals. What is it you hope and dream of achieving in the near future? Distant future?
6. Write your Mission Statement. It should be fairly short and to the point. Not an essay. It ties your highest goals and vision with how you are going to accomplish them. In business it often focuses on 3 things: Product or Service, Customer or Audience, Uniqueness or why you should buy from us.
Apple's mission is "Bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services."
Amazon's mission statement is "serve consumers through online and physical stores and focus on selection, price, and convenience."
World Peace Enterprises: "Help people develop and grow peace, love and satisfaction in their lives by creating online 'open source' educational resources that can be freely shared and improved for the benefit of all to enjoy."
"Educating the Mind without educating the Heart is no Education at all." - Aristotle

A personal mission statement might be something like the following:
"To use my education to help myself and others achieve the goals that bring joy and prosperity."
"To be nurturing, compassionate, forgiving and patient to myself and others."
"To use my creativity, imagination and passion for giving, to help make life better for those within my reach."
"To be curious, kind and courageous so that fear and doubt can not derail my grand vision."
"To create a positive world around me that facilitates me becoming the person of my dreams."

It does not matter that you get your vision and mission statement perfect on your first attempt. As you probably noticed they can get a bit confusing and hard to distinguish one from the other. The point is to start focusing on both of them until you gain clarity. Just the mere fact of going through this exercise will help you better understand your life's purpose and how you intend to reach the top of the mountain. Obviously it takes some perseverance and learning but those that put in the effort usually obtain the rewards. Plus, the rewards you will receive along the journey to your destination will often be more than amazing than you can imagine. There is a reason that we have a phrase, "it is the journey, not the destination."
Your journey IS your destination; your being.
We all love a good journey.
Make yours Great!

You still need to write your "business action plan" in order to achieve your stated goals, mission and vision. A Flow Chart, or other GSM's previously discussed may be helpful in writing your personal development plan. You may want to add your first, second and 'final' drafts into your Master Journal so they can be reviewed and updated occasionally.

To summarize: the bottom of the pyramid is your talents, training and upbringing, the next level is your core beliefs and values, the next level is goals, the next level is your mission statement and the highest level is your vision statement.
You can create one pyramid for yourself and another by working with your partner to create your "relationship pyramid".

In conclusion, developing your vision and mission statements will not only help you with clarifying your values and goals, and establishing an action plan, it will also help you reduce many of your problems by staying focused on your true purpose in life, whatever it may be.

2.18) Creating a Master Journal to Support your Personal & Relationship Growth

By clicking on the Journal image you can save or print a cover page.

By creating a Master Journal it provides a location to record and store your goals, issues, action plans and more.
You can use a 3 ring binder, a spiral notebook, a folder, a box or store it digitally. The following are some of the items you may want to include in your Master Journal. This then becomes a history, a story, an art and creativity book, a guide, a plan, a direction and motivational tool to support your personal and relationship growth, and a place to record your accomplishments, setbacks and lessons learned.

What will you put in your Journal? Here are a few things you might want to include.

Relationship and Personal Issues and Problems you want to address
Action Plans
TO-DO Lists
Evalauation and Monitoring notes
Completed Action Steps
Daily / Weekly Successes and Failures (note: You tend to learn more from failure than from success)
Course Correction decisions
Daily Gratitude Statements
Morning pages
Golden Moments throughout your life
Personal Mission and Vision Statements
Thoughts and Ideas learned from Love Education
Dream Journal
"Eureka" thoughts and epiphanies
Artwork, Drawings, Paintings
Award certificates
What else might you want to include?

You can click-on and download, save, edit and print your own Certificate of Excellence for being among the first 10,000 visitors to review and study the online course, Love Education 101, in June 2020. You can also download a Certificate for being part of the 1st 25,000 study group during July 2020, the 1st 50,000 study group during August 2020, and the 1st 100,000 study group during September 2020.

You may want to add it to your Master Journal notebook.

2.19) Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's). Ways to de-stress.

We all endure stress during our lives. Some stresses are minor like traffic jams or long lines at the grocery store. Others are more severe such as job loss or the death of a loved one. Regardless of the stressor, your body is flooded with a chemical reaction causing increased heart rate, blood pressure and physical tension.
This "fight or flight" stress reaction is built into our DNA as a survival tool against dangerous situations that may threaten our lives. As humans have evolved and the stresses we face today are not the same as they were when we were "hunter-gatherers" but the stress response is still the same. The advantage we have over our predecessors is that we have developed better understanding and tools to deal with stress, grief and trauma.

Realizing that relaxation is the opposite of stress, we can use relaxation skills to combat stressful situations instead of being a slave to our instinctive reactions. Using mindful response instead of letting the fight or flight reaction take control of us is a big step in improving our mental and physical health and reducing unfortunate mistakes that cause us problems at school, with our relationships, at work and in our daily lives.
Regarding stressful situations in relationships, you will need to identify your stress triggers and find quick ways to de-stress so that heightening arguments don't escalate into major destructive fights that are caused by an amygdala hijacking and produce the dreaded 3R's: Rapid Rash Reaction. We suggest utilizing at least 3-5 of the SRT's below, whichever work best for you in preventing disastrous blow-ups.

There are numerous relaxation skills (Stress Reduction Techniques) that are advantageous to us in more ways than just reducing stress. They can help lower blood pressure, reduce depression and anxiety, reduce negative thinking, improve constructive thinking, help you get better sleep and increase mental and physical health. The following are some tools you may want to put in your tool bag, whether it is for reducing stress or increasing your health and well being.

Relaxation Skills / Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's):

1. Learn to take "time-outs". They are used effectively on children because they work. Use them for your own benefit. When things are spiraling out of control, remember to step back, pause, be mindful, and take a break before you reach the point of no return. Reduce the number of times you say or do things that can not be taken back, and possibly not forgiven. There is a reason this is listed as the #1 tool in your tool bag.
2. Practice deep breathing exercises. Often when we're stressed we hold our breath or have irregular breathing.
The 4-8-8 breathing technique, also known as "relaxing breath," involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 8 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. This breathing pattern can reduce anxiety or depression and also help people get to sleep.
3. Write in your master journal. Use the stream-of-consciousness writing technique to release the emotions you are feeling. Don't worry about grammar or spelling, just get the emotions out. Repression is harmful. If you want to throw away your writings afterwards, as a way to show that you have released your anger, resentment or pain, by all means do so.
4. Use Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to determine appropriate solutions to issues you are facing. Focus on solving the problem instead of remaining upset or assigning blame.
5. Do something pleasurable such as listening to music, reading, gardening, hugging a pet or taking a shower or bath.
6. Change your environment. Go to another room, the back yard, the park, the river or just be in nature.
7. Meditation.
8. Prayer.
9. Do relaxation exercises: Yoga, tai chi, or qigong.
10. Go walking, jogging or swimming.
11. Practice a physical activity such as basketball, soccer, golf or darts.
12. Draw, paint, quilt or sew, work on a scrapbook, take photos or utilize other creative activities.
13. Use the progressive/alternating muscle tension & relaxation exercise. Tense your muscles from your toes and relax them. Do this all the way up to your eyes. Tense muscles are a normal reaction to stress and can cause a build up of lactic acid. This is also useful for meditation, auto-hypnosis and as a sleep aid.
14. Take a nap or close your eyes and relax on the couch.
15. Utilize creative visualization. Visualize solving the issue, or merely visualize a peaceful activity or place you enjoy.
16. Exercise.
17. Force yourself to smile. The act of smiling can actually make you feel better. Not sure why but many experts advise it.
18. Talk to a friend or family member. Seek positive company. Avoid negative company.
19. Utilize the internet to see what solutions others have developed.
20. Seek guidance from a counselor or therapist.
21. Challenge your thoughts. Watch the watcher (a key to enlightenment by Eckert Tolle in "The Power of Now").
22. Avoid over-thinking. Be aware when your thoughts have become repetitive and harmful. Awareness is one of the first steps to reduce over-thinking and move on to constructive thinking.
23. Use the 4 A's, four strategies for coping with stress: Avoid, Alter, Accept and Adapt.
24. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Avoid excessive alcohol which can make things worse.
25. Get a massage. Massage decreases cortisol, the stress hormone.
26. Use coping self talk such as "This too shall pass", "I've done this before, take deep breaths" and "I've got this".

What others strategies would you add to this list? Which ones work best for you? Which ones haven't you tried yet?

The psychological and emotional signs of stress:

Anger, irritability, or restlessness.
Fear, hopelessness and loss of direction.
Depression and anxiety.
Feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, or unfocused.
Sleeplessness or sleeping too much.
Over-eating or under-eating.
Racing thoughts or constant worry.
Negative thinking.
Negative relationships.
Problems with your memory or concentration.
Making bad decisions.

The psychological and emotional signs of relaxation:

Peace, hope, empathy and compassion.
Feeling of ease, satisfaction and direction.
Lack of anger and resentment.
Nearly worry-free.
Positive and constructive thinking.
Positive relationships.
Making good decisions.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most beneficial therapy methods to deal with stress.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a talking and thinking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you perceive, think and behave. It's most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for many mental and physical health problems such post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder.

Common CBT strategies include learning how to manage stress and anxiety, and identifying situations that are likely to cause distress before they reach the fear and panic threshold. As CBT can involve confronting your emotions and anxieties, you may experience initial periods where you are anxious or emotionally uncomfortable but these will typically fade as you address your challenges.

How to Use Cognitive Restructuring (change your thinking patterns):

Step 1: Calm yourself. If you're still upset or stressed by the thoughts you want to explore, it may be difficult to concentrate while using this tool.
Step 2: Identify the troubling situations and conditions that are causing the stress.
Step 3: Analyze your mood. How do you feel about these situations.
Step 4. Become aware of your thoughts, emotions, beliefs and biases about these problems.
Step 4: Identify automatic thoughts and triggers.
Step 5: Identify negative, non-constructive and inaccurate thinking.
Step 6: Find objective evidence to prove your negative thinking has been harmful to you. Has this type of thinking helped you or hurt you so far?
Step 7: Replace negative or inaccurate thinking with positive and constructive thinking, actions and behavior.
Step 8: Evaluate the results you are obtaining and modify your thinking and behavior accordingly.
Step 9: Celebrate the fact that you are working to improve your life and reducing anxiety by focusing on positive strategies instead of non-constructive thinking.

A change in perception and thinking leads to a change in attitude, which leads to a change in behavior, which leads to a change in your world.

Life's what you make it. Make it the best you can! It's up to you.

Two key components of CBT are core beliefs and automatic thoughts. Core beliefs are the most central beliefs that people have about themselves, others and the world around them. We begin to form these beliefs in childhood as we interact with others in our world. We develop them from parents, teachers, friends, enemies and acquaintances. These beliefs are not always correct or helpful to us. Automatic thoughts are the reactions and behaviors we have developed in response to stressful and anxious situations. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) explores the links between thoughts, emotions and behavior.
CBT's main tenet is that all humans' core beliefs can be summed up in three categories: self, others, future. Your core beliefs directly affect your thoughts, feelings and behavior. It your core beliefs, developed from early childhood through your adult years, are erroneous, it leads to all sorts of problematic issues with your thoughts, feelings and behavior, which thankfully can be adjusted and fixed using CBT and other methods.

Main Goals of CBT Include:

1. The promotion of self-awareness and emotional intelligence by teaching people to "read" their emotions and distinguish healthy from unhealthy thoughts and feelings.
2. Helping people to understand how distorted perceptions and thoughts contribute to painful feelings.
3. Reduce anxiety and improve well being by replacing harmful cognitions and behaviors with beneficial thinking and behaviors.

Doing cognitive behavioral therapy on your own can be very effective. It's widely recognized that a few sessions of self-directed CBT can help in treating the anxiety and depression that so many people experience. Some individuals may need or prefer to seek professional guidance.

CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions (thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors), improving emotional intelligence and regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems. CBT is based on the belief that thought distortions and maladaptive behaviors play a role in the development and maintenance of psychological disorders, and that symptoms and associated distress can be reduced by learning new information-processing skills and coping mechanisms.

2.20) Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness

Ethics and virtues are of critical importance to creating and maintaining gratifying relationships, a happy life, and to becoming a responsible and valuable member of society. Aristotle's book, "Nicomachean Ethics" has become one of the most influential manuscripts ever written on the subject.
Aristotle (384-322 BCE, Stagira, Chalcidice, Greece) was a Greek philosopher, scientist and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. As a friend and student of Plato (who was mentored by Socrates), he was the founder of the Lyceum (the first research institute in which a number of scholars and investigators joined in collaborative inquiry and documentation), the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition. At the request of Philip II of Macedon, he tutored Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, and government.
He authored a philosophical and scientific system that became the framework and means of expression for both Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy. Even after the intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Aristotelian concepts remain embedded in modern thinking.
Dante called him: "The master of those who know."

"In relentless pursuit of varied knowledge, the objective of polymaths such as Aristotle and Leonardo da Vinci is to expand their "umwelt", the environment of their thought. They engage in a method of enquiry that consists of discovering, pursuing, experiencing, and knowing multiple perspectives, then synthesising them together in a way that allows for a fairer and more complete picture of the world. Leonardo's worldview, driven by curiosity, inspired by connectivity, and in pursuit of unity, offers a profound lesson for our times. The more areas of knowledge and experience we add to our repertoire, the more perspectives we can synthesise to enrich and round out our own perspective on the world." - Waqas Ahmed 2019

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.

"These are the principles for the development of a complete mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses; especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else." - Leonardo da Vinci (Renaissance Man)

"It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well." - Rene Descartes

Related note - Albert Einstein was given a compass by his father as a young child. After witnessing the compass needle move, it drove his work in field theories throughout his life. He sought to describe the nature of the force behind things and how objects that appear to be separate are connected and will affect each other. He had hoped to find a unified field theory to fully describe the interconnectedness of the world around us (even scribbling notes on his deathbed).
When he was stuck on a problem, he would play music (he loved the violin) and often a solution would present itself. Although the music (art) seems unrelated to the science he was working on, the interconnectedness of them shines through in the genius of his work. By using the opposite sides of his brain, he could dream up ideas he wanted to solve with his imaginative / intuitive right brain ("visual thought experiments" like riding a bicycle alongside a beam of light) and then form mathematical equations using his logical left brain. When he ran into roadblocks he would once again use his right brain (the artistic half) in order to find creative solutions. He utilized the opposite sides of his brain in order to create "whole brain thinking" and unity, which is a characteristic of geniuses.

"Intuition comes very close to clairvoyance; it appears to be the extrasensory perception of reality." - Alexis Carrel

By developing all of his senses (in both art and science) Einstein was able to see intuitive connections in ways similar to da Vinci and Aristotle. These connections are present in aesthetics, science, language, music, humanity, ethics, values and everything else. We tend to believe we are all separate, but even extremely divided people are connected in ways that few people can see because we often only want to see the "black and white" that supports our preconceived notions. Instead, we can use our vast human knowledge and Unified Wisdom in order to find common ground and work together to solve mutual problems that will make the world a better, happier, more harmonious place for all.

The yin yang symbol shows a balance between opposites with a portion of the opposite element in each section. In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang ("dark-light", "negative-positive") is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world. Only by seeing light to understand darkness and seeing darkness to understand light, can we get to know the essence of both opposites; the reason for their existence. Only by knowing the wholeness of a thing can we advance ourselves by utilizing the true potential available. We live in a world of duality and plurality but our purpose in life is to find opposites, connect them and create unity and harmony. Our passion should be using the illusion of separateness to create new wholes. We are all connected to everything and everything is connected to us. Our past, present and future are all merged into one moment in spacetime we call now.

Although the ten books of Aristotle's ethics masterpiece are rather detailed and somewhat difficult to comprehend they are well worth the effort to study them. Aristotle's manuscript will seem, at first glance, a difficult read. What we have are largely notes, written at various points in his career, for different purposes, edited, translated and organized by later followers. Thus it is appropriate that an attempt to summarize the incredible genius of his thinking be consolidated into a more concise and understandable format. His contribution to the evolution of humankind can not be overstated.

Realize that the key points listed below may seem overwhelming to understand at first. If you can take one concept at a time, or one sentence at a time, and attempt to relate it to your life and how it may affect you and your society's overall happiness, it may make it easier to understand and put these ethics and virtues into practical use. It took Aristotle about twenty years to develop these world-changing notions so it may take some time to make sense of his theories. If you have someone to help you sort out questions you have about these concepts, that can help also. Perhaps by the time you have fully comprehended this section, you will essentially have a degree in Philosophy 101, with Aristotle being your mentor.
Aristotle strongly believed that happiness and understanding / comprehension of life are of key importance for human beings since we possess a "rational soul".
Essentially his manuscript is a manual of how to attain earth's greatest treasures.

The following are a some of the key points he introduces and expands upon.

1. The greatest good and the desired end goal in human life is the pursuit and continuous fulfillment of Happiness. Nearly all other "goods" are useful in developing, supporting and maintaining this greatest good.
Question: Is Aristotle suggesting that Happiness is the meaning of life? If he is, do you agree?
And if Happiness is indeed the meaning of life, how do we best work together to attain it?
"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence.

1a. Regarding the definition of happiness, the same person may define happiness differently at different times in their lives. A sick person defines it as good health, good medicine, and staying alive; a poor person defines it as prosperity and having a safe place to live; a person who is suffering from discrimination and repression defines it as fairness and justice.
Do you believe that most people in most countries think happiness stems from such things as emotional pleasure (joy), mental and material well-being, equity, liberty, justice, freedom, respect and honorable status?

2. Every art and every occupation, and similarly every action and pursuit, is an aim to reach some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim (the desired end result). The end result of the medical art is good health, that of shipbuilding is a seaworthy vessel, that of construction is a quality structure, that of the artist is beauty of form, that of a philosopher is practical and theoretical wisdom which leads to happiness, and that of politics is honorable governance to achieve human benefit. To achieve the good of the individual is important, but the good of society, which is composed of many unique and diverse individuals, is the main purpose of virtuous government. "Political science spends most of its pains on making the citizens to be of a certain character, to make them good and capable of noble acts."

3. Happiness is achieved not by accident but by gaining virtue through education, contemplation, self-discipline and the development of honorable habits, thus developing morality and practical and theoretical wisdom regarding universal truths. Since happiness is dependent on excellence, it can be acquired by many citizens, for study and effort make it accessible to anyone whose capacity for virtue is unimpaired. Aristotle, Plato and Socrates are among those who believe that contemplation is the most likely way to achieve a lifetime of happiness. Do you?
"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates

4. Happiness is not a virtue, but rather a virtuous activity. Living well and maintaining sustained happiness consists in doing something purposeful, not just being in a certain state or condition at a given moment in time. It consists of lifelong activities that fulfill the ethical virtues of the rational part of the soul.
In other words, it means that by doing the right deeds and making the best choices, it guides us to the "Golden Mean" relating to the "12 Virtues of Wisdom", thus advancing our higher moral soul not just for our own benefit but also for the greater good.

Aristotle has this to say about the person whose whole life is good: "for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy."
We all have our "golden moments" but truly happy people find a way to live our normal lives consisting of "golden years" where we are surrounded by those we love and who love us.

4a. The function of the rational part of the soul is truth; hence, the virtues of that part of the soul will be "the states that best direct it toward the truth." Considering that humans are the only species that have a rational part to their soul, it gives humans the advantage of being able to apply reason and virtue to live happier lives than those in the animal kingdom. He believed that a happy person leads a good and honorable life because actions and behavior that conform to virtues are in themselves pleasurable. The person who does not enjoy performing virtuous acts is not a good person at all, regardless of the acts they may perform. Thus both a good person and an immoral person can perform virtuous acts, but only the good person gains long-term happiness from such actions. The non-virtuous person tends to choose immoral acts which may lead to short term gratification but eventually lead to disgrace, dishonor and the loss of friendship and respect from their peers and loved ones, thereby causing them distress, misery and unhappiness.
Those who think that by merely studying ethics they will become good, they are foolish, behaving somewhat like patients who listen attentively to their doctors, but do none of the things they are ordered to do. The knowledge of ethical philosophy without the utilization of morality for the proper reasons is of little value.

4b. "A happy person will be happy throughout their life; for always, or by preference to everything else, they will be engaged in virtuous action and contemplation, and they will bear the chances of life most nobly and altogether decorously, if they are 'truly good' and 'foursquare beyond reproach'."
"Many events happen by chance, and events differing in importance; small pieces of good or ill fortune clearly do not weigh down the scales of life one way or the other, but a multitude of important events if they turn out well will make life happier (for not only are they themselves likely to add beauty to life, but the way a person deals with them may be noble and good), while if they turn out ill they crush and maim happiness; for they both bring pain with them and hinder many activities. Yet even in these nobility shines through, when a person bears with resignation many great misfortunes, not through insensibility to pain but through nobility and greatness of soul."

5. Goods are divided into three important classes. The highest goods are goods of the soul (wisdom, virtue, genuine love, truth, happiness, etc.), which can never be excessive.
* Side note: Have you ever thought that the words "never" and "always" were too extreme to be realistic?
Goods of the soul might possibly "always be beneficial and never excessive", thereby disproving this axiom?

Next are goods relating to the body (health, sensual pleasure, safety, relaxation, etc.), followed by external goods (wealth, fame, power, reputation, honor, friends, entertainment, etc.), which have a limit and can become excessive and corruptive.
Honor and friendship are considered to be the greatest and most important of the external goods in contributing to a happy life.

We call those goods that relate to the soul the most proper and "true" goods and virtues, since they are ends in themselves, whereas the other two kinds of goods are merely means to an end. Goods of the body and external goods are indeed needed to attain complete happiness but they are not capable of bringing sustained "supreme happiness" alone.
Goods of the soul depend ultimately on each person's nature, guidance, education and learned habits, not on chance or luck.
Aristotle relates these goods to an ideal society, which like a person, needs internal goodness, leadership, direction, courage, justice, respect and wisdom in order to achieve the greatest good: Happiness.

5a. A soul's essence is related to the organic structure. The souls of living things are ordered in a hierarchy. Plants have a vegetative or "nutritive soul", which consists of the powers of growth, nutrition, and reproduction. These powers are fed via their organic roots. Animals have, in addition, the powers of perception and locomotion. Animals are considered to have a "sensory or appetitive soul". Every animal has at least one sense-faculty, touch being the most universal. Their powers are fed through their ability to eat food and drink water via their mouths. Since animals have senses and can feel pleasure, they like humans, also have desires. Humans, in extension, have the power of reason and rational thinking (logismos kai dianoia), which is considered our "rational soul". It is this rational soul that gives us the ability to utilize our intellectual powers to control our appetite, desires and emotions (the irrational element of our soul) but it does not guarantee that human beings will use this unique power and not succumb to our base desires such as greed and gluttony, lust and adultery, power and revenge, etc. That is why education, contemplation, self-discipline and the development of virtues and honorable habits are so important to individuals, families, politicians, the justice system, schools, society, etc.

Aristotle's structuring of the soul and its elements has influenced philosophy and science for over two thousand years. At this time it is believed that self-awareness is perhaps the most fundamental difference between us and animals. Human beings are capable of self-analysis, understanding of our place in the universe, perception of past, present and future, imagination, creativity, music, education, problem-solving, goal-setting, intuition, meditation, spiritual worship, morality, justice and cultural / governmental establishment.
Aristotle recognizes all of these unique human abilities but since few of them can function properly without educated reasoning he includes them as activities which should be guided and directed by our ethics and rational soul.
These higher level skills distinguish us from animals and form the basis of our ethical virtues and global culture as a species.

5b. What is virtue? Our soul is conditioned by three things: emotions / feelings; faculties / capacities; and character / disposition. Virtue must be one of these three.

(1) Emotions and passions are the feelings that are accompanied by pleasure or pain.
(2) Faculties are the way in which we are said to be capable of feeling these emotions, e.g. of becoming angry or feeling empathy.
(3) Character is that which we are praised or blamed with reference to the passions, e.g. with reference to anger we stand badly if we feel it violently or too weakly, and well if we feel it moderately; and similarly with reference to the other passions.

Regarding (1): Passions are not virtues or vices, because we are not called good or bad merely because we have natural emotions.
In relation to (2): We are neither praised nor blamed for having the capacity (or incapability) to experience these many natural feelings.
If the virtues are neither emotions nor the faculties to feel them, all that remains is that they should be states of character. (3)
Virtues (excellence) and vices (immorality) therefore develop from our choices which eventually over time become our character and disposition.

5c. Virtue is a disposition of the soul in which, when it has to choose among actions and feelings, it observes the golden mean that would be formulated by a honorable person practicing practical and theoretical wisdom.

It should be noted that it is impossible to choose a middle ground in regard to some actions or feelings. Emotions like hatred, malice and envy; and actions like adultery, theft, cruelty and murder are evil in any form or degree. One can never do right by experiencing such feelings or committing such deeds. Evil is evil in every form or magnitude, while good is good in every form or degree.

6. Virtue is of two kinds, intellectual and moral. Intellectual virtue (virtue of the mind) can be acquired, similar to learning mathematics, reading and writing. It is the part of the soul that engages in reasoning and value determinations and its growth is due to education and contemplation (which requires experience and time).
Intellectual virtues are qualities of the mind that promote intellectual flourishing, critical thinking, open-mindedness, fair-mindedness, intellectual curiosity, imagination, the search for truth, and the love of wisdom. They are also considered to be dependent on well-functioning mental faculties such as perception, intuition, logic and memory. Other factors include emotional, cultural, religious and socioeconomic intelligence.

6a. Intellectual virtues are cognitive bound. Moral virtues are behavior bound (ways of acting) and come about as a result of developing honorable habits. They are acquired through repetition and practice, similar to learning to play a musical instrument. Over time virtues become second nature, our character. They include courage, benevolence, modesty, civility, liberality, generosity, good temper, forgiveness, appropriate ambition, magnificence, friendliness, wit, kindness, empathy, truthfulness, integrity, fidelity, respect, etc.
On the other hand, vices can also determine our character when our actions and behavior are not guided by intellectual virtues but instead are dominated by our selfish desire for immediate gratification.
Moral virtues are attained when the irrational element of the human soul (appetite, desires, emotions) becomes governed by the wisdom of intellectual reasoning. Because the irrational element of the soul can be regulated by reasoning, it should actually be classified as intermediate, not fully rational or irrational.
Aristotle does not consider animalistic appetites to be necessarily negative. Only when they get out of control and there is either an excess or a deficiency do they become harmful to the soul. When they are regulated in accordance with the "golden mean" they make a positive contribution towards a good and happy life. It should be noted that intellectual virtues are never in excess, for their attainment always enhances the welfare of the entire soul.
In summary, the intellectual virtues are based on philosophical wisdom and understanding, which come about from training and environmental experiences. Moral virtues come about as a result of honorable behavior, actions and habituation, hence the term ethics (ethike), formed by a slight variation from the word ethos (habit).

6b. Only if a person possesses moral virtue will they behave in an appropriate manner to create a good life. Only if they possess intellectual virtue will they make virtuous assessments of the circumstances in which their decisions are continuously made. Moral virtues are incapable of intellectual reasoning but are established by the embodiment and habituation of intellectual virtues. Morality has to do with developing virtuous habits; the habits of right thinking, right choice and right behavior to reach the right goals.
It is impossible to be morally good without wisdom, or to be truly wise without moral virtue. Only when correct reasoning and right desire come together does truly virtuous action result.

Virtuous activity is the result of successful application of practical wisdom. But practical reasoning can be defective in various ways. Someone may be driven from a vicious choice of lifestyle. A glutton, for example, often plans their life around the purpose of always maximizing the present pleasure of their desires for immediate gratification.
In another example, immaturity is not only associated with youthful lack of knowledge; it is also linked to a lack of character and virtue in a person in their older years, for it comes about as a result of pursuing a life consisting of immoral, hypocritical, vulgar or self-serving impulses with little empathy or concern for others, especially those that may have different viewpoints.

6c. Aristotle structured his ethics lessons by broadly discussing ethical virtue, then examining particular ethical virtues (honesty, temperance, courage, modesty, friendliness, etc.), and finished his analysis by evaluating the intellectual virtues using practical wisdom and theoretical wisdom. Practical wisdom is understanding the way certain things are. Theoretical wisdom is understanding why things are a certain way. [the Way and the Why]
We must first attain practical wisdom before we can develop theoretical wisdom.

Unified wisdom is having practical wisdom in order to understand the way things are now; and being able to use theoretical wisdom to improve the way things will be once this greater wisdom is applied, thus benefiting individuals, relationships and society as a whole. Unified Wisdom Theory - Love Education 101
Virtue makes us aim at the right goals, while Unified Wisdom makes us use the right means.
Understanding the Way and the Why of things gives us the opportunity to use problem-solving techniques to advance ourselves in a New Way that may have been previously unavailable to us.
[the Way and the Why and the New Way]

For instance, the world needs a unified task force to combat our common enemy: COVID-19. We need shared wisdom and understanding of successes and failures in order to save lives. Likewise we hunger for a world-wide task force to combat the economic challenges we are facing.

7. Virtues: Every ethical virtue is a relative mean (golden mean) between extremes of excess and deficiency, and in general the moral life is one of moderation in all things except virtue. Even the "vices" are not necessarily considered bad if they are controlled by reason according to a moral principle. For example, the brave (courageous) person realizes that some dangers are worth facing while others are too risky and not worth the potential consequences. They also experience fear (cowardice) and uncertainty appropriate to the situation they are facing which helps in their decision of excess or deficiency. Thus the brave person balances rashness with courage and utilizes fear and self-preservation to sustain life, limb, security and sustained happiness.

Stated another way, the person who fears everything becomes a coward and the person who fears nothing becomes reckless or foolhardy, and neither is able to develop or maintain the virtue of courage. This rule applies to all the virtues. Excess or deficiency destroys them. Actions in accordance with the golden mean produce and maintain them. The same actions that produce virtue may be either the cause or the destruction of that virtue, depending on whether they adhere to the golden mean or not.

7a. Courage: Courage involves a certain amount of peril or boldness for it means the risking of something of worth in order to achieve a greater or more lasting value. There are different kinds of courage and these are distinguished by the type of sacrifice that is made for the sake of a greater good.
The greater the risk or sacrifice, the greater the nobleness of the deed.

In some cases the sacrifice may be minor yet humbly noble, such as showing empathy by providing aid and comfort to others in order to reduce their pain and increase their hope and well-being.
In a current situation, courage means complying with local or national health guidelines in order to reduce the spread of a deadly infectious disease with potentially long lasting after-effects, even though fellow citizens may ridicule and demonize you for such actions. It seems absurd that some people would belittle those that are making sacrifices and following measures that save the lives of their neighbors and loved ones, thus allowing schools and the economy to get back on track; but that is the reality we are living in this year. Popular phrases these days are: "Mask up so we can Open up" & "Observe the 3-W's: Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance".
In other instances courage means donating one's time, skills or possessions to provide the necessary care for those who are in need.
In another example, a noble and courageous person may risk their reputation or their current employment to fight for morality, fairness and justice.
In the most noble cases it may mean risking one's life for the sake of a cause which benefits the welfare of a multitude of people.

Thank you to all the courageous health workers, government personnel and frontline workers for your selfless efforts to help your fellow citizens in these difficult times. The pain and suffering we are all enduring this year has been profound.

7b. Temperance: While Aristotle considers courage as perhaps the most important virtue, he also believed that temperance is nearly as significant. The virtue of self-control has to do with the proper regulation of our lower animalistic appetites and desires.
"The self-indulgent man is so called because he is pained more than he ought at not getting pleasant things, and the temperate man is so called because he is not pained at the absence of what is pleasant and at his abstinence from it. The self-indulgent man, then, craves for all pleasant things or those that are most pleasant, and is led by his appetite to choose these at the cost of everything else; hence he is pained both when he fails to get them and when he is merely craving for them. In an irrational being the desire for pleasure is insatiable even if it tries every source of gratification, and the exercise of appetite increases its innate force, and if appetites are strong and violent they even expel the power of calculation."
The specific appetites and desires Aristotle discusses involve food, drink and sex (bodily goods) but power, wealth and vanity (external goods) can become just as excessive and corruptive. He believed that self-indulgent individuals are akin to immature children "since children in fact live at the beck and call of appetite". The self-indulgent person has a severe deficiency in the development of their rational soul.

7c. It is through the rational power of the soul that passions and vices are controlled and moral action is guided. Decisions should not be based solely on one's feelings but on what our reasoning tells us is most appropriate and beneficial with reference to our life as a whole, our vision.
Another example to help clarify the "golden mean" is the appropriate amount of anger that should be expressed in circumstances that warrant such strong emotions. In some cases a small amount of anger is appropriate while in other cases a great amount of anger and outrage must be expressed in order to make clear the importance of the situation. It involves the proper amount of emotional response towards the right person(s) at the right time in the right way in the right duration for the right situation.
Our emotions should not exceed the level at which we lose control of reason.

How many of these 12 virtues do you possess and value?
How many do your closest friends or loved ones possess?
How many of these 12 virtues does the leader of your country have?
Do you have any deficiencies or excesses (or both) in any of these virtues?

7d. Liberality: "Let us speak next of liberality. It seems to be the mean with regard to wealth or generosity; for the liberal man is praised not in respect of military matters, nor of those in respect of which the temperate man is praised, nor of judicial decisions, but with regard to the giving and taking of wealth, and especially in respect of giving."

7e. "Prodigality and meanness are excesses and defects with regard to wealth; and meanness we always impute to those who care more than they ought for wealth. We call those men prodigals who are incontinent and spend money on self-indulgence. Hence also they are thought the poorest characters; for they combine more vices than one. A prodigal means a man who has a single evil quality, that of wasting his substance; since a prodigal is one who is being ruined by his own fault, and the wasting of substance is thought to be a sort of ruining of oneself."

7f. "Now the things that have a use may be used either well or badly; and riches is a useful thing; and everything is used best by the man who has the virtue concerned with it; riches, therefore, will be used best by the man who has the virtue concerned with wealth; and this is the liberal or generous man. Now spending and giving seem to be the using of wealth; taking and keeping rather the possession of it. Hence it is more the mark of the liberal man to give to the right people than to take from the right sources and not to take from the wrong."

"For it is more characteristic of virtue to do good than to have good done to one, and more characteristic to do what is noble than not to do what is base; and it is not hard to see that giving implies doing good and doing what is noble, and taking implies having good done to one or not acting basely. And gratitude is felt towards him who gives, not towards him who does not take, and praise also is bestowed more on him.
And the liberal are almost the most loved of all virtuous characters, since they are useful; and this depends on their giving."

7g. "Now virtuous actions are noble and done for the sake of the noble. Therefore the liberal man, like other virtuous men, will give for the sake of the noble, for he will give to the right people, the right amounts, at the right time, with all the other qualifications that accompany right giving. But he who gives to the wrong people or not for the sake of the noble but for some other cause, will be called not liberal but by some other name. Nor is he liberal who gives with pain; for he would prefer the wealth to the noble act, and this is not characteristic of a liberal man."

7h. "A liberal man will take from the right sources, not as something noble but as a necessity, that he may have something to give. Nor will he neglect his own property, since he wishes by means of this to help others. And he will refrain from giving to anybody and everybody, that he may have something to give to the right people, at the right time, and where it is noble to do so. It is highly characteristic of a liberal man also to go to excess in giving, so that he leaves too little for himself; for it is the nature of a liberal man not to look to himself."

7i. "There is nothing to prevent the man who gives less from being the more liberal man, if he has less to give than those who are thought to be more liberal who have not made their wealth but inherited it; for in the first place they have no experience of want, and secondly all men are fonder of their own productions, as are parents and poets.
It is not easy for the liberal man to be rich, since he is not apt either at taking or at keeping, but at giving away, and does not value wealth for its own sake but as a means to giving. For, as has been said, he is liberal who spends according to his substance and on the right objects; and he who exceeds is prodigal.
Liberality, then, being a mean with regard to giving and taking of wealth, the liberal man will both give and spend the right amounts and on the right objects, and that with pleasure; he will also take the right amounts from the right sources."

7j. "Most prodigal people, as has been said, also take from the wrong sources, and are in this respect mean. They become apt to take because they wish to spend and cannot do this easily; for their possessions soon run short. Thus they are forced to provide means from some other source. At the same time, because they care nothing for honour, they take recklessly and from any source; for they have an appetite for giving, and they do not mind how or from what source. Hence also their giving is not liberal; for it is not noble, nor does it aim at nobility, nor is it done in the right way; sometimes they make rich those who should be poor, and will give nothing to people of respectable character, and much to flatterers or those who provide them with some other pleasure. Hence also most of them are self-indulgent; for they spend lightly and waste money on their indulgences, and incline towards pleasures because they do not live with a view to what is noble."

7k. "Meanness is both incurable (for old age and every disability is thought to make men mean) and more innate in men than prodigality; for most men are fonder of getting money than of giving. It also extends widely, and is multiform, since there seem to be many kinds of meanness. For it consists in two things, deficiency in giving and excess in taking, and is not found complete in all men but is sometimes divided; some men go to excess in taking, others fall short in giving. Those who are called by such names as 'miserly', 'close', 'stingy', all fall short in giving.
What is common to them is evidently sordid love of gain; they all put up with a bad name for the sake of gain. For those who make great gains but from wrong sources, and not the right gains, e.g. despots when they sack cities and spoil temples, we do not call mean but rather wicked, impious, and unjust.
And it is natural that meanness is described as the contrary of liberality; for not only is it a greater evil than prodigality, but men err more often in this direction than in the way of prodigality as we have described it. "

7l. Magnificence: "It would seem proper to discuss magnificence next. For this also seems to be a virtue concerned with wealth; but it does not like liberality extend to all the actions that are concerned with wealth, but only to those that involve expenditure; and in these it surpasses liberality in scale. For, as the name itself suggests, it is a fitting expenditure involving largeness of scale."
The person who in small things spends according to the merits of the case is not called magnificent, but only the person who does so in regard to great things (as for civic projects or public welfare). For the magnificent person is liberal, but the generous person is not necessarily magnificent. The magnificent person is like an artist; for they can see what is fitting and spend large sums tastefully. For, as we have said, states of character are determined by its activities and by its objects.

7m. Now the expenses of the magnificent person are large and fitting. Such, therefore, are also the results. Therefore the result should be worthy of the expense, and the expense should be worthy of the result. And the magnificent person will spend such sums for honor's sake; for this is common to the virtues. And further they will do so gladly and lavishly; for begrudging spending is a stingy action. And they will consider how the result can be made most beautiful and most becoming rather than only how it can be produced most cheaply. It is necessary, then, that the magnificent person be also liberal. For the liberal person will spend what they ought and as they ought.

7n. The deficiency of this virtuous state of character is called stinginess / pettiness, the excess being vulgarity / tastlessness, which is excessive spending in order to make a grand impression instead of using it for public welfare. It is expenditures in the wrong circumstances and in the wrong manner, instead of the right amount spent on right objects. The person who goes to excess and is vulgar exceeds by spending beyond what is right. For on small objects of expenditure they spend much and display a tasteless showiness. And on all such things they do not spend for honor's sake, but to show off their wealth because they think they are admired for these things, and where they ought to spend much they spend little, and where little, they spend much.

The stingy person on the other hand will fall short in everything, and after spending excessive sums will even spoil the beauty of the result. And whatever they are doing they will hesitate and consider how they may spend least, and lament even that, for they do not enjoy using their wealth for the benefit of others. These immoral states of character are vices yet they do not bring disgrace because they are not harmful to one's neighbor, although they may be undignified and in poor taste.

7o. Magnanimity & Pride: "Pride seems even from its name to be concerned with great things; what sort of great things, is the first question we must try to answer." Aristotle refers to magnamity and "pride" as self-esteem, self-worth and honor, not as many view pride today. Pride these days seems related to a sense of belonging and superiority in regards to such things as national pride, political pride and selfish pride; not genuine internal pride which develops from noble and compassionate acts.
The virtuously proud person judges their behavior and actions in respect to the rightness of them; for they justly claim what is in accordance with their merits, while vain people go to excess and unduly humble and petty people fall short.

Magnanimity (high-mindedness or greatness of soul) is perhaps the greatest of the 12 virtues because it requires possession of all the other virtues, for high-mindedness is the quality of those who know they deserve glorious things (i.e., honor, respect, recognition, leadership positions) and actually do deserve them. High-mindedness, by definition, implies greatness; it is knowing that to which you are entitled and insisting on it, but it also involves maintaining high standards in all things and setting an example for society. A person who falsely claims honor is considered vain. A person who underestimates their own worth is small-minded and petty.
"Honor is the prize appointed for the noblest deeds; which is surely the greatest of external goods." Honors and dishonors, therefore, are the objects with respect to which the proud person is concerned, along with the rewards or punishments that are associated with such noble or ignoble deeds.

Now the proud person, since they deserve most, must be good in the highest degree; for the better person always deserves more, and the best person most. Therefore the truly proud person must be good. And greatness in every virtue is a characteristic of a magnanimous and proud person, thus they possess greatness of soul.
"If we consider a person point by point we shall see the utter absurdity of a proud person who is not good. Nor, again, would they be worthy of honor if they were bad; for honor is the prize of virtue, and it is to the good that it is rendered. Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues; for it makes them greater, and it is not found without them. Therefore it is hard to be truly proud; for it is impossible without nobility and goodness of character. As has been said, it is chiefly with honors and dishonors that the proud person is concerned."

"The proud person being concerned with honors; yet they will also bear themselves with moderation towards wealth and power and all good or evil fortune, whatever may befall them, and will be neither over-joyed by good fortune nor over-pained by evil."
But those without virtue who have such wealth and power are neither justified in making great claims nor entitled to the name of 'proud'; for these things imply perfect virtue. Such people become arrogant and contemptuous for without virtue it is not easy to bear gracefully the goods of fortune; and, being unable to bear them they consider themselves superior to others, they despise others and they selfishly do whatever they please.

7p. The proud person does not run into trifling dangers, nor are they fond of danger, but they will face great dangers, and when they are in danger they are unsparing of their life, knowing that there are conditions on which life is not worth having. And they are the sort of person that is happy to give benefits to others but are ashamed of receiving them; for the one is the mark of a superior person, the other of an inferior. And they are apt to confer greater benefits in return; for thus the original benefactor besides being paid will incur a debt to them, and will be the gainer by the transaction. It is a mark of the proud person also to ask for nothing or scarcely anything, but to give help readily, and they are given to telling the truth.

A proud person is unable to make their life revolve around another, unless it be loved ones or friends; for this is slavish, and for this reason all flatterers are servile and people lacking in self-respect are flatterers. Nor are they given to admiration. Nor are they mindful of wrongs done against them; for it is not the part of a proud person to have a long memory, especially for wrongs, but rather to overlook them. Nor are they a gossiper; for they will not speak ill about themself nor about another, since they care not to be praised, nor for others to be blamed; and for the same reason they will not become an evil-speaker, even about their enemies, except from haughtiness.

7q. The person who falls short of the golden mean of pride is unduly humble, and the person who goes to excess is vain. Now even these people are not thought to be bad (for they are not malicious), but only mistaken. For the timid, pusillanimous person, being worthy of good things, robs themselves of what they deserve and seems also not to know themselves. Yet unduly humble people are not thought to be fools, but rather excessively unassertive. Such a reputation, however, seems actually to make them worse; for every class of people will choose goals that correspond to their perceived self-worth, and these people stand back even from noble actions and undertakings, deeming themselves unworthy of such actions.
Stated another way, the person lacking in magnanimity and pride suffers from the vice called "pusillanimity" which means "smallness of soul." Whereas the magnanimous person seeks what is best, even if it is difficult; the pusillanimous person shies away from noble, arduous deeds because they may demand a lot out of them. They instead pursue the path of least resistance, opting for what is easy and least likely to expose themselves to criticism, not what is honorable. It is also defined as the quality of being timid and cowardly (not brave), being frightened of taking risks, or ignorance of human dignity. Nearly all of us suffer this from time to time, that is why it is so common.

Vain people, on the other hand, are fools and are also ignorant of themselves, for not being worthy of honor, they attempt honorable undertakings, and then are found out to be fake. They adorn themselves with clothing, grand furnishings and other symbols of riches and wish their strokes of good fortune to be made public, and speak about themselves as if they should be honored for these material goods instead of their virtues, or lack thereof.
In regards to the excess and deficiency of the virtue of pride and greatness of soul, excess humility (smallness of soul) is more the opposite of magnamity than vanity is; for it is both more common and worse. Pride, then, is concerned with honor on the grand scale, as has been said.

7r. Proper Ambition: There seems to be in the sphere of honor also, as was said in our previous remarks on the subject, a virtue which appears to be related to pride and magnamity, as liberality is to magnificence. That virtue is "proper ambition".
As in the taking and giving of wealth there is a golden mean and an excess or deficit, so too honor may be desired more than is right, or less; and should be earned from the right sources in the right way. We blame both the overly-ambitious person who attempts to gain honor more than is merited and from the wrong sources; and the unambitious person who is afraid or unwilling to be honored even for noble reasons. The ambitious person strives for more honor than they are entitled to while the unambitious person avoids honor, even for noble achievements, either from a false sense of modesty or because they do not properly judge their own worth.

But sometimes we praise the ambitious person as being a lover of what is noble, and the unambitious person as being moderate and self-controlled, as we said in our first treatment of the subject.
We praise the quality of the person who loves honor more than most people, but we may also blame them when we think they desire honor for selfish reasons that are not virtuous.
Since people desire honor both more than they should and less; therefore it is possible to choose a middle ground and do as one should, and this is the state of character that is praised as proper ambition. As is similar to most of the other virtues, it may be defined as desiring honor in the right amount, in the right manner, for the right reasons at the right time.

8. The virtuous person receives pleasure and satisfaction from being guided by their intellectual and emotional skills and does not typically have the distress of fighting their internal pressures that cause them to perform disgraceful acts or to choose dishonorable pleasure over what is morally right and just. A good and happy person delights in virtuous actions and is vexed at vicious ones, as a musical man enjoys beautiful tunes but is pained at bad ones.

Aristotle considered those who suffer distress from such internal disorders to be one of three types: Continence, Incontinence, and Vice (Evil). All three types experience some level of ability to fight their inner vices such as lust, pleasure, greed, power, dominance, anger, wrath, hatred, dishonesty, vengeance, laziness, self-glorification and other immoralities.
The person that is more successful than the average person at controlling their internal pressure to succumb to shameful acts is considered to be "continent". This type of person is not actually virtuous although they may appear to be to the casual observer.
The person that is less successful than the average person is considered to be incontinent. The incontinent person is like a city that votes for all the right decrees and has excellent laws, but does not apply them. They recognize and regret their lack of self-restraint but succumb to vices anyway.
The "evil" person is one who in most cases refuses even to attempt to do what an ethically virtuous person would do because they have become convinced that justice, temperance, charity, faith, empathy and other virtues are useless in their endeavor for pleasure, power, wealth, luxury and ego. They are driven "to pursue the pleasant thing at hand." Even though they are highly focused in their pursuit of these vices, they are deeply divided because their insatiable desire for more and more leaves them continuously dissatisfied, hollow, and subject to extremely low levels of self esteem and self respect.
All three of these deficiencies involve a serious lack of internal peace and harmony but the evil / vice person has the greatest potential to harm society, particularly due to their shamelessness and lack of other virtues.

9. Virtuous acts are not necessarily ingrained in human DNA and therefore require conscious choice, moral resoluteness and personal motivation. Human beings have moral responsibility for their actions. We ourselves share much of the responsibility for acquiring and exercising human virtues. We are creatures of habit which make it vitally important that we develop virtuous habits hopefully from an early age. If not we can still learn them once they are explained to us and then use our reasoning and rational soul to understand how important virtuous activities are to achieving happiness for ourselves and those around us. We can then also come to realize how our vices and drive towards lustful desires and immediate gratification can cause us such incredible personal harm, disgrace and destruction of our self-esteem and long term happiness.

9a. Responsibility: Praise and Blame

Aristotle states that we are responsible for our actions so that others can reasonably praise, blame or punish us. Praise is awarded to the one who works hard and possesses honor and virtue. Blame, condemnation and disgrace are assigned to a person who chooses vices such as immorality, laziness, lies and deceit, shamelessness, spitefulness, meanness, vulgarity, narcissism, corruption, lawlessness, unfairness, dishonesty, hypocrisy, etc.
Aristotle considers praise and blame to be voluntary or involuntary and we can either attribute them to a person or to other factors.
Involuntary acts are those for which a person is not necessarily responsible for because they are (1) due to a force of circumstances, (2) done as a result of external compulsion, threats, coercion or manipulation, (3) done out of ignorance, or (4) done in fear of greater evils or for some noble good.
Voluntary acts are those for which a person is responsible because none of these four extenuating circumstances exist. Praise may be given for acts revealing honorable character while personal blame may be assigned for acts exposing dishonorable character.

Regarding (1), force of circumstances, Aristotle uses the example of a ship caught in a violent and deadly storm. The sailors must throw goods overboard in order to save the ship. In this case the action is not fully voluntary and we would not blame the sailors for their actions. They fully addressed the imminent danger at hand and chose rational and life saving actions. There may be people who would claim that they were cowards and should have risked their lives in order to save the material goods they were transporting. There may be others that praise the captain for acting virtuously and thereby saving lives. As we live our lives we are required to deal with many circumstances and must choose our actions appropriately, and hopefully ethically. In this example, the captain and sailors would likely have been blamed if they had not taken the appropriate actions and thus caused unnecessary loss of life and the demise of the ship. Instead the captain and crew courageously addressed the life-threatening situation and rightly implemented protective actions such as battening down the hatches and choosing to sacrifice a certain amount of economic goods, which can be replenished, in order to save what is most precious and can not be replaced: human lives.

In regards to (2), external compulsion, threats, coercion or manipulation; a person may not truly be at fault because they were forced to do acts (or coerced to deceive others or not reveal truths) against their will due to threats to their reputation, health, safety of their family, finances (e.g., being fired from their job, sued in court, or imprisoned), etc. Thus it is the coercer(s) who should be held accountable and punished or disgraced for forcing someone to do something against their will or better judgment.

In relation to (3), ignorance, even if a person makes a poor decision due to ignorance, what decides good or bad character is how they react when the the truth is discovered. If we fail to repent or regret our harmful deeds, then we should certainly be blamed, even if the original choice may have been justified. Actual regret about the misdeed shows that we want to disown it, and prepares us to make up for it as best we can. An absence of remorse or the lack of an attempt to correct our misjudgment shows that we have a deprivation of virtue and shall be judged accordingly.
Some may conclude that an evil person is ignorant of the difference between right and wrong and their evil deeds are due to this ignorance and are non-voluntary and not reprehensible. This is wrong. Involuntary acts are the result of ignorance in a particular situation, but "universal" ignorance (ignorance of what is right and wrong) can never be condoned.
Children who make poor decisions due to ignorance and their lack of education on social norms may not necessarily need to be punished for every misdeed but should be educated on the desired virtues and recommended behavior for future decisions and actions. They should also be praised when they do conduct themselves in a virtuous manner in order to reinforce good behavior. This is how habituation is created in order to allow them to live a life consisting of virtuous activity and thus improve their chances of achieving life long happiness.

Lastly, (4) involuntary acts done in fear of greater evils or for some noble good. As with the other "involuntary" acts it may be debated whether such actions are voluntary or involuntary. Consider the example of a government employee who reveals damaging information against a tyrant or government officials in order to save lives, prevent a war, or expose unethical plans or illegal operations. The person is torn between going against the government and possibly breaking laws that prevent revealing government information; however their virtuous character requires them to release the information they know to the public in order to stop greater evils. These evils may include assassination, genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, crimes against humanity, illegal actions, unethical behavior, deceit, corruption, profiteering, political retribution, treason, etc. The person in this example did not intend to voluntarily reveal unethical or illegal activities but after discovering incomprehensibly disturbing information they felt compelled to inform the public. There will be some people who will see their acts as honorable since they were done for the greater good and the exposure of a perceived injustice, while others may see their acts as dishonorable and done out of spite or for personal gain.
In another example, a government employee may choose not to reveal "evils" they know about and instead merely "resign out of protest". In this case, the involuntary act does not directly divulge the injustices that were discovered. Thus the person protects themselves and their loved ones by not volunteering to release the information in their possession, yet signals that something unethical may have occurred and may need to be investigated.

As with all four types of involuntary acts, judgments of praise or blame will largely depend upon personal bias, beliefs and values regarding the perceived "facts" and the deep-rooted feelings involved.

When a person makes choices voluntarily they are responsible for their actions in ways that may be debated for those making "involuntary" decisions. If a person chooses actions which are considered honorable, especially if it helps increase the greater good of others, that person will often be praised and rewarded. If a person chooses actions which are considered dishonorable, dishonest and immoral, especially if it only serves their personal interest at the expense of others, that person will likely be blamed, disgraced and suffer some form of punishment.
Acts due to passion and desire are classified as voluntary, since irrational emotions are as much a part of human beings as rational thought, and that actions that form from passions and appetite are as much a person's responsibility as those they perform after a process of intellectual reasoning.

9b. Choice is closely aligned to virtue. While choice is the result of one's initiative, it is not the same as a voluntary act. Both young children and animals engage in voluntary actions, but they do not exercise choice. An act done impulsively by an adult may be voluntary, but it is not always the result of choice. Choice involves a rational principle and thought. Rashness and immaturity cause many people to react impetuously instead of choosing an appropriate response to a situation. Moral and virtuous adults learn to respond responsibly rather than to react hastily. As mentioned earlier, our emotions should not exceed the level at which we lose control of reason.

9c. Choice is similar but distinct from a wish. We can wish for the impossible but not choose the impossible; that would be silly.
Wish relates to the end, the good, the virtue; while choice relates to the means.
Together they are the main factors in moral purpose, and moral purpose is the most important element in a virtuous act.
For instance, we wish to be healthy, but we must choose the acts which will make us healthy. We can wish to be happy, but we cannot well say we choose to be happy unless we decide upon virtues that bring us happiness. In general, choice seems to relate to the things that are in our own power to control.

9d. Next we must discuss deliberation. Choice is a deliberate desire for things that are in our power and we reach a decision as a result of deliberation. Deliberation is concerned with things attainable by human action, not things outside our control. We deliberate not about ends but about means. For a doctor does not deliberate whether they shall heal, nor an orator whether they shall persuade, nor a statesman whether they shall produce law and order, nor does any one else deliberate about their end. They assume the end and deliberate how and by what means it is to be attained; and if it seems to be produced by several means they consider by which it is most easily and best produced. After careful deliberation we rank our options and make choices that may or may not help us reach our goals.

Proper deliberation involves contemplation of the ramifications, benefits and consequences of the courses of action available for us to choose. Our choices may be guided by either our wishes and desire for immediate gratification, or for the more virtuous person, by their moral purpose of developing their character thereby improving their chances of obtaining sustained "supreme happiness" via virtuous activities. Without ethics and virtues, sustained happiness is virtually impossible.

9e. The ends being what we wish for; and the means being what we deliberate about and choose; then our actions concerning means must be according to our choices and are considered voluntary. Actions are voluntary when an individual is free from external forces, but choice is something that is determined by ourselves. Freedom gives us the ability to select one course of action rather than another but the decision we make is internal rather than something that can be asssigned solely to external forces. Whether the decision is a wise and virtuous one is normally determined through the deliberation process.
When we choose a particular course of action we become responsible not only for the choice we have made but also for the consequences which come from it, good or bad. A bad act is often impulsive or chosen without much deliberation and is likely accompanied by negative consequences.
A good act is one that is chosen from a good motive, uses good means and is usually followed by positive consequences (realizing that outcomes can not always be accurately predicted in advance even with proper deliberation).
We may act with the very best of intentions but because of false or faulty information which has been provided to us the consequences of our actions may be harmful to our neighbors and loved ones. Before making important decisions we should anticipate as nearly as possible the probable consequences of each course of action and then select the one which offers the greatest amount of good and the least probability of evil and harm.
Our choices should not be guided simply by our short term wishes or desires. We must listen to what our rational soul and intellectual reasoning tells us will best align with our long term vision, and the honorable and ethical development of our personality. It is virtuous activities and virtuous character, chosen and developed through contemplation, that give us the best chance of achieving a state of sustained happiness and enlightenment. Remember that "good is good in any form or degree" and such actions further benefit and enhance our rational soul.

9f. Most of us have heard the phrase: "Do the ends justify the means?". This statement can be traced back to Niccolo Machiavelli about 1800 years after Aristotle taught about ends and means. This discussion is important because it helps to clarify the difference between those who choose a life of virtuous activity versus those that choose an amoral path in order to achieve their ends.
Machiavelli suggested that people seeking power and status should be keenly concerned with appearing as people wish to see them, even if it is completely contrary to who they really are and what actions they will eventually take, knowing that few of those that fear or admire them will ever discover the truth. He believed that lies and deceit are more important to gaining and keeping power than truth and decency. In addition, achieving the end result of having power outweighs the means such a person chooses regardless of whether the means are ethical, legal or causes pain or death to those under their authority.

According to Machiavelli, the ends always justify the means. Unlike the noble and compassionate princes portrayed in most fables, a successful ruler of a commonwealth, as described in Machiavelli's writings, is brutal, calculating and, when necessary, utterly immoral. He believed that telling the truth can be dangerous since "experience shows that those who do not keep their word get the better of those who do." Moreover, when leaders are not moral, it is important they deceive and lie to their constituents in order to keep up appearances. "A prince must always seem to be very moral, even if he is not." He tells the prince that in order to maintain power it is critical to keep up the appearance of being merciful, faithful, humane, upright, and religious.
In 1513, after being expelled from political service with the takeover of Florence by the Medici family, Machiavelli wrote his shrewd and conscienceless outline of what it takes to be an effective leader in "The Prince". It was his hope that a strong government (even if completely immoral) could return Florence to its former glory and make it great again.
Machiavelli's guide to power was revolutionary in that it described how powerful people succeeded (as he saw it) using unscrupulous means, as opposed to how many believed a moral leader should rule. Until Machiavelli's writing, most philosophers of politics had defined a good leader as humble, moral, decent and trustworthy. Machiavelli shed that notion, saying frankly, "It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot have both."

Aristotle would have had major disagreements with Niccolo regarding the twisting of his teachings on virtues, means and ends. The concept that deceit, brutality and immorality are justified means to reach certain ends, such as power and status, certainly seems to advocate evil, wickedness and corruption instead of virtue and nobility.
Fortunately, most governments, societies and citizens have rejected Machiavelli's philosophy and realize that the positive ends we wish for, and the positive means we deliberate and choose, have a direct effect on the prosperity, happiness, harmony and peace (PHHP) in our daily lives.
In his defense, Niccolo did make the intuitive observation: "I do not believe that divisions purposely caused can ever lead to good."
Perhaps he believed that "divide and conquer" may be a good strategy in war but is not beneficial in regards to political governance for the public good?

In conclusion, the means we choose may be more important than the ends we choose since how we achieve our ends establishes what our character is and eventually determines whether we become virtuous or vicious. Since virtuous activity is directly aligned to happiness, the means we choose are not only crucial to our happiness but also to the happiness of those around us.

9g. The exercise of virtue is concerned with means, therefore virtues are in our power to choose, and so too are evil and vices. For where it is in our power to act it is also in our power not to act. So if it is in our power to do either noble or immoral acts, and likewise in our power not to do them, and this is what being good or bad means, then it is in our power to choose to be wicked / vice or to decide to be moral, noble, virtuous and happy.

People are themselves by their negligent and uneducated lifestyles responsible for becoming vulgar or unrighteous, and as such make themselves responsible for becoming unjust or self-indulgent - for example by cheating, lying, boasting, spitefulness, bouts of drunkenness and the like; for it is actions chosen in regards to particular situations that create our character and disposition.
People who choose a lifestyle of continuous education and contemplation, especially in regards to ethics and virtues, have greatly improved opportunities to become courageous, sensible, just, honest, liberal, pleasant and magnificent. As such they are likely to be rewarded with internal self-esteem and external praise and recognition for the development of their virtuous character and disposition. The end result is often that of a successful and happy life surrounded by supportive friends, colleagues and loved ones.

10. Moral virtue requires moral action in a social environment. It can not be achieved strictly in a classroom. Aristotle believed ethics and politics are closely related, for politics is the science of creating justice in society so that all people can develop their full potential and live freely in the pursuit of wisdom and happiness. He believed politics was one of the most important of all arts and occupations due to the tremendous influence and impact on society.

10a. Moral excellence is concerned with pleasures and pains which are the main causes of evil or harmful actions. It is on account of pleasure that we do bad things, and on account of pain that we abstain from noble acts. Hence we ought to have been brought up in a particular way from our very youth, as Plato says, so as both to delight in and to be pained by the things that advance our virtues; for this is the right education.
The whole concern of both virtue and political science is with pleasures and pains; for the person who uses these well will be good, those who use them badly are considered evil or vice.
Punishment is inflicted by the application of pain, for it is a kind of cure, and it is the nature of cures to be effected by contraries; the opposite of pleasure being pain, the opposite of stress being relaxation and peace, etc. Thus pain (which could be disciplinary actions, social disgrace / shaming, monetary fines, removal from employment, impeachment, imprisonment, etc.) can be useful as a treatment for a person lacking in virtue or one who breaks rules or laws, refuses to adhere to socially accepted norms, undermines the constitution, or commits treason.

11. All human beings have the potential to become ethically virtuous and wise. In order to achieve these goals we should first develop proper habits in childhood and then acquire practical wisdom as maturing adults. This begins with learning to respond to situations with appropriate actions and behavior during our youth and eventually we rely less on others for guidance and we develop self-sufficiency as our reasoning skills and emotional intelligence improves. Aristotle states that the good person is one who finds pleasure and satisfaction in doing those things that are in harmony with his own good and also the good of others. A virtuous character consists of a good set of habits and it is not until these have been developed can one rightly be called a good person. While the virtuous habits are being formed a person is making progress toward a good life but they will not fully arrive until these behaviors and habits have become part of their nature.

12. Aristotle makes it clear that in order to be happy one must possess others goods as well such as loving and guiding parents, good friends, a minimum level of wealth, power and justice; and united citizens in a well-functioning society. One's happiness is hindered if a person is severely lacking in these advantages - for example, if one is extremely unhealthy or has lost family members or good friends through premature death. Aristotle reasoned that a person's virtuous activity will be to some extent diminished if one lacks an adequate supply of other goods in order to maintain happiness. Someone who possess few of these other goods will simply not be able to find many opportunities for virtuous activity over a sustained period of time. Regardless of our life situation, we ourselves share the majority of the responsibility for acquiring and exercising the virtues needed to achieve the greatest good: happiness.

13. Aristotle discusses three types of lives that he believed were especially significant: one is devoted to pleasure, a second to politics, and a third to knowledge and understanding (contemplation). Of the three, he believed that the contemplative, philosophical life was of highest value. A lifetime of study and education in order to actually attain practical and theoretical wisdom leads to the greatest chance of becoming virtuous and happy. It is the attainment of wisdom and adequate supplies of the other goods mentioned previously that provide for a lifetime of sustained happiness.

He thought that the life of a political leader was nearly as important as a philosopher because a person who possesses such qualities as justice, wisdom and greatness of soul is a person who could properly allocate the large resources needed to promote the common good for nearly everyone in the city, state or nation, regardless of their wealth, power or political affiliation. It is always a mistake to sacrifice the welfare of a large group in order to promote the interests of a smaller one. The true student of politics is thought to have studied virtue above all things; for he wishes to make his fellow citizens good and obedient to the laws. The average and sub-average politician has some major challenges because governance can be a busy life that is unlikely to provide adequate time for philosophical contemplation of ethical virtues, and is also subject to greed and corruption due to the great power in their possession. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Definition of politician (Merriam-Webster)
1 : a person experienced in the art or science of government especially : one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government.
2a : a person engaged in party politics as a profession.
2b (disparaging) : a person primarily interested in political office for selfish or other narrow usually short-sighted reasons.
Aristotle hypothesized that if politicians were able to be like Plato's philosopher-kings and utilize both philosophical and political skills the likelihood of corruption and abuse of power would be greatly reduced.

The third type of life mentioned is a life devoted strictly to physical pleasure and is quickly admonished because of its self-centered vulgarity. This type of lifestyle reveals a self-indulgent, bestial mentality, little better than that of brute animals.
"To judge from the lives that men lead, most men, and men of the most vulgar type, seem (not without some ground) to identify the good, or happiness, with pleasure; which is the reason why they love the life of enjoyment."
Aristotle concedes that physical pleasures, and more generally, amusement and entertainment of all sorts, are desirable in themselves, and therefore have some claim to be our ultimate end. But his discussion of happiness builds on his thesis that pleasure cannot be our ultimate goal. Pleasurable activities and entertainment will not be absent from a happy life since everyone has a need for both excitement and relaxation but they play a subordinate role because rest and diversion are needed in order to return to more virtuous activities with the proper energy and focus.

14. The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful for the sake of something else. Many wealthy people live very unhappy and lonely lives. Of the external goods, friendship and close family ties are considered the most important goods in order to achieve supreme happiness (similar to the sensory souls of animals). Money is not the root of all evil, rather it is the love of money and power that creates so much evil, harm and human misery.
"Don't get so caught up in making a living that you forget to make a life." - John Wooden
Aristotle disliked the accumulation of money because there is no limit to the amount of currency one can accumulate, leading people to indulge in an excess of self-gratifying pleasure and power with little concern in using it to help others and to benefit society.

15. There are three types of friendships: Utility, Pleasure & Goodness (true friendship), in ascending order of worthiness. The first two kinds of friendship are accidental, because in these cases friends are motivated by their own utility and pleasure, not by anything essential to the nature of the other person. Both of these kinds are often short-lived because the needs and pleasures of each person change over time.

A) Friendships of "Utility"; Self-interested friendship; friendship common for adults

These are the types of friendships where either one or both parties want something from the other. It may be access to other people, access to money, power, social status, reputation or other things of value. It may also be merely to escape loneliness or to become part of the in-crowd they want to join. It tends to be intellectual in nature. This type of friendship is often manipulative and may not last long. Whenever the benefit ends, so does the friendship. Aristotle noted this to be more common in adults. Many of us have experienced this type of friendship at one time or another. An example would be at college or a work relationship. You may enjoy the time you spend together, but once the situation changes, the relationship is over. If the "friendship" was manipulative, eventually most people realize they were being used and the relationship will end, sometimes with severe anger and resentment.

B) Friendships primarily for "Pleasure"; friendships for a moment in time; friendships common for children and younger people

This type of friendship can be very enjoyable while it lasts. It is emotional in nature. You probably remember these types of good times when you were a child or in your teens. You had friends that made you laugh, had sleep-overs with and went to parties, social functions or were on the same sports team. All everyone wants is to have a good time and forget any problems they may be experiencing. Before long though you realize that some of these friends are shallow and not there for you when you need help with your problems. They are off having a good time with others that will not "bring them down". All of us have most likely had this type of friendship. It is a normal part of life until we grow more mature and realize that we need more than just frivolous pleasure; we need meaning and purpose in our lives. We need people we can count on to be there for us when we need them and vice-versa. That leads us to the third type of friendship.

C) Friendships based on "Goodness" and virtue; True friendships; friendships that last a lifetime

The third type of Aristotle's friendships is the one you hope to find and nurture, a near perfect friendship. It is the rarest of all friendships. True friends like this don't come around very often unless you are willing to search them out and give them reciprocal friendship in return. These are the friends who truly appreciate you for who you are, in good times and bad. They are there to support and encourage you in your times of despair, sickness and grief. These friends are not trying to always get something of value from you. It is their personality and inner qualities that attract you to these good friends. They care about you and want you to grow and find happiness. This is actually the type of friendship you also want in a romantic relationship or long-term marriage.

If you can develop true friendships, you also get the best of the other two friendship types as well. You receive mutual benefits/utility and pleasure. The times you spend together are rewarding at all levels. By combing the virtues of two good people, you amplify the possibility of achieving even greater heights by being engaged in this amazingly beneficial friendship. Aristotle believed that virtuous relationships are a significant part of what makes life worth living.

It has been disputed whether the happy person actually needs friends or not. It has been said that those who are supremely happy and self-sufficient have no need of friends; for they have the things that are good, and therefore being self-sufficient they need nothing further, while a friend, being another self, furnishes what a person cannot provide by his own effort; whence the saying 'when fortune is kind, what need of friends?' But it seems strange, when one assigns all good things to the happy person, not to assign friends, who are thought the greatest of external goods. Surely it is strange, too, that a supremely happy person would choose a solitary lifestyle since man is a political creature and one whose nature is to live with others. Therefore even the happy person lives with others; for they have the things that are by nature good. And plainly it is better to spend your days with friends and good folks than with strangers or any chance persons. In conclusion, happy people need friends.

There are more details on friendship in section 2.14: Deep Friendships

Plato (pointing to the Heavens / Gods) and Aristotle (pointing to the Earth / Fellow Humans) in Raphael's "School of Athens"

16. Justice - Book 5

a) Justice can mean either lawfulness or fairness, since injustice is lawlessness and unfairness. Laws are established to encourage people and leaders to behave virtuously, so the just person, who by definition follows the laws, regulations and social norms, will also be virtuous. Thus justice is concerned with everyone's benefit, while injustice only benefits those who share the same bias. "Justice is whatever produces and maintains happiness and its parts for a political community."

b) Virtue deals with one's moral state, while justice deals with one's virtuous relations with their neighbors. Aristotle did not list justice in his table of virtues and vices because it is a special case. Since the behavior of justice is virtuous behavior, justice encompasses all the other virtues. Further, justice is not a mean between two extremes, as injustice itself is a single extreme and vice. True justice is complete virtue in relation to our neighbors and as such justice is considered to be the greatest of virtues since in justice every virtue is exercised. "In justice all virtue is summed up."

c) Justice is considered absolute virtue because he who possesses it can exercise his virtue not only in himself but towards his neighbor also; for many men can exercise virtue in their own affairs, but not in their relations to their neighbors.

d) Remember from earlier discussions that happiness stems from virtuous activities and now in Book 5, justice has been defined as the culmination of all virtues. With this reasoning, you can easily comprehend why it is nearly impossible to attain happiness without justice, whether it be in your personal life or that of a society. Just look around and notice how injustice and deceit in any society leads to division, chaos, violence, destruction and eventually economic decline. That is generally a reflection of either incompetent leadership, corruption, tyranny or other malfeasance.

e) Universal justice is that state of a person who is generally lawful and fair. Particular justice deals with the "divisible" goods of honor, money, and safety and involves the interaction of two or more people. Aristotle argues that decency is actually superior to justice. He claims that this is because a universal law sometimes falls short of being able to address every particular, and in such cases, decency makes up the deficiency in the law.

f) Political justice and domestic justice are related but different. Political justice is governed by the rule of law, while domestic justice relies on respect, tolerance and working out differences. Political justice is based in part on natural law, which is the same for all people, and in part on particular legal conventions, which vary from country to country and between and among cultures.
Political justice is considered to be served by laws and guidelines that tend to produce and preserve happiness for political society, not just the party of the current leader. "A leader who behaves for his own interests becomes a tyrant".
Domestic justice may be even more important than political justice since how we treat others is the one of the main themes of nearly all religions: What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.

In relation to political justice: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
In relation to domestic justice: "Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."
- Abraham Lincoln
President Lincoln was able to unite a bitterly divided country during a period of extreme social injustice because he was a person with great character and virtue; a true leader.

g) Laws of justice direct us do the acts of a brave man (e.g. not to desert our post nor take to flight), those of a temperate man (e.g. not to commit adultery nor to gratify one's lust), and those of a good-tempered man (e.g. not to strike another nor to speak evil), commanding some acts and forbidding others; and justly-framed laws and regulations reinforce virtuous and desirable behavior.

h) People mistakenly think that justice is an easy matter, as it simply requires obedience to laws. However, true justice comes only from a virtuous disposition, and those lacking in virtue are unable to perceive the just course of action in all cases.

i) Laws may not always be perfectly applicable. In particular circumstances in which the laws do not produce perfect justice, equity is necessary to mend the imbalance. Therefore, equity is superior to legal justice but inferior to absolute justice. Leaders that utilize police and military forces against their own people to create the illusion of "law and order", instead of using negotiation, compromise, compassion, public policy revisions and legislation to correct the real or perceived injustices, are often considered to be either unjust, corrupt, or both. Turning a society into a "police or military state" often creates even greater turmoil, chaos and dissatisfaction in a society, thus jeopardizing personal safety and civil liberties while simultaneously reducing law and order.

j) It is impossible to treat oneself unjustly. Injustice involves one person gaining at an others expense, so it requires at least two people. Even in the case of suicide, it is not the victim, but the state, that suffers an injustice.

k) Aristotle's concern was that the right leaders should rule. His concept of distributive justice is meant to ensure that the greatest power and privilege go to those leaders who exhibit the greatest virtue rather than to those who have the greatest wealth, the greatest military strength, or the most powerful associates.

l) If a leader works to only promote justice for those that support them (and thus they retain power and control) and disregards interest in promoting and ensuring justice for those that do not actively support them, that leader is not only considered unjust, but by direct implication is also without virtue and ethics, since justice is considered to be the utilization of all virtues.

m) Unfortunately those in the party with the majority power of the government on their side will often do nearly anything it takes (legal or otherwise) to maintain that power and control, which usually leads to the corruption of the government, the military, the police, the intelligence community and the judicial system, leading to the possible demise of the government and the country. They may use destructive and unethical tactics such as disinformation campaigns, withholding of damaging information, outright falsehoods, conspiracy theories, propaganda, nepotism, installation of unqualified personnel to high ranking positions, attacks on the media, attacks on health and science institutions, attacks on civil liberties, inciting fear and panic, inciting citizens to take up arms against each other, the use of military force against the citizens, subversion of foreign alliances, forming alliances with foreign adversaries, election fraud, voter suppression and the request for foreign interference in elections while attempting to discredit, imprison or inflict physical, financial or reputational harm on their political enemies.

n) Governments may govern for the general good or may only govern for the good of the rulers. Government by a single person for the general good is called a monarchy; for private benefit, "tyranny". Government by minority rule is an aristocracy if it aims at the state's best interest and an oligarchy if it benefits only the ruling minority.
If a society contains an individual or family of outstanding virtue and excellence, then Aristotle theorized that monarchy may be the best constitution. But such a case is very rare, and the risk of failure is great, for monarchy corrupts into tyranny, which is the worst constitution of all. In reality Aristotle preferred a kind of constitutional democracy, which he called "polity". It is a government in which rich and poor respect each other's rights and the best qualified citizens rule with the consent of all and with everyone's interest in mind.

In regards to whether tyranny is treasonous, Article Three in Section Three of the Constitution says:
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."
Sedition vs Treason: Sedition is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. Not all sedition is illegal, such as the right to protest (unless under a dictatorship). Treason is a violation of allegiance towards your country, especially betrayal in war, or providing aid and comfort to an enemy. Sedition may threaten the leaders, while treason threatens the entire country.

Aristotle continues with how the governments may be preserved. He recommends that the ruling party always be on guard against the beginning of constitutional destruction; always be wary of lawlessness, especially in its petty forms; never try to deceive the masses; treat everyone well and fairly with great respect to those of the other party; cultivate a state of emergency so that people will not attempt to revolt; prevent in-fighting between notables; be careful not to confer great promotions or significant withdrawals of honor too suddenly; ensure that the property qualification for office remains proportionate to the wealth of the city; prevent public office from becoming a source of profit; and offer special considerations to the poor and underprivileged.

Aristotle explains that a constitution is most likely to last if those holding office are loyal to the constitution, highly competent, and of good character. Additionally, it is essential that a majority of the people be in favor of the constitution and that the constitution refrain from becoming too oppressive. A middle ground (golden mean) is important in all things: extremism will very likely undermine the mandates of the extremists. Perhaps most important of all is the education of the citizens in the essence of the constitution. Being faithful to a constitution can then be liberating rather than enslaving, thus ensuring the longevity of the republic for which it stands.

o) Since true leaders, just like true friends, are rare, justice is not easy to obtain or hold on to. That is why power in a well-functioning democracy is split apart so that there are co-equal branches of government that work to reduce abuse of power, corruption, greed, favoritism, bigotry and discrimination while simultaneously improving the health, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people. The problem of injustice becomes amplified when a leader breaks with tradition, norms, guidelines, regulations and laws and thus gains control of several of the branches in order to consolidate power for only one party at the expense of other parties and the citizens. This is the beginning of tyranny and oligarchy which was common with kings and emperors. Perhaps the best way to combat such tyranny is to work together with alliances (foreign and domestic) to support the virtues of sustained democracy and the constitution.

Due to the difficulty of this subject matter on Aristotle's ethics and virtues, more additions, revisions, interpretations, explanations. and corrections will likely be coming shortly. Since happiness is the end goal of this entire curriculum, hopefully this section on ethics and virtues is as helpful, challenging, stimulating and enlightening to you as it has been to us. May virtue be with you.

2.21) Character Counts!

Beginning Monday, October 19, 2020, people around the globe are invited to help celebrate National Character Counts! Week.
Character Counts! Week is the biggest celebration of virtues, morals and character in the world.
CHARACTER COUNTS! was created by Michael Josephson and founded at the Joseph and Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics. Joseph and Edna were his loving and guiding parents.
First declared "National Character Counts! Week" in 1993, the U.S. President, U.S. Senate, State Governors, and officials around the world proclaim "CHARACTER COUNTS! Week" as the third week in October, starting approximately the third Monday. It is a time to highlight character education and the importance of modeling good character. Every year millions of citizens around the world participate. You can show your support by wearing the colors corresponding to the Six Pillars of Character.
The Six Pillars of Character are the core ethical values of CHARACTER COUNTS!
Articulated in the Aspen Declaration, these values were identified by a nonpartisan, nonsectarian (secular) group of youth development experts in 1992 as "core ethical values that transcend cultural, religious and socioeconomic differences".
Maybe every 3rd week of the month should celebrate Character Counts? ( 12 times per year ;) If this were to happen then the next character celebration and training week would be November 16 followed by December 21, 2020.


RESPECT - Tuesday - Gold
RESPONSIBILITY - Wednesday - Green
FAIRNESS - Thursday - Orange
CARING - Friday - Red
CITIZENSHIP - Saturday - Purple

Click Here to download the K-12 lesson plans: 466 page pdf

White House Proclamation on Character Counts Week, October 2020 pdf

2.22) Reality Theories

In an attempt to better understand the human condition and our relationship with "reality" it is appropriate that a discussion of reality be considered. Since humans have a rational soul and are thus able to ponder such ideas, it is highly beneficial to review theories and philosophies on the subject. Umwelt (a self-centered world based upon each species shared environment) is one such philosophy. Reality Tunnel theory is the first reality concept to be summarized here. It attempts to determine the difference between perception and reality. Since a firm grasp of reality is important to the success of relationships and society as a whole, it seems relevant that reality receives the attention it deserves.

1. Reality Tunnel: "Every kind of ignorance in the world all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles. We believe what we see and then we believe our interpretation of it, we don't even know we are making an interpretation most of the time. We think this is reality." - Robert Anton Wilson

1a. "A reality tunnel is a theoretical subconscious set of mental filters formed from beliefs and experiences. Every individual interprets the same world differently, hence "Truth is in the eye of the beholder". The idea being that an individual's perceptions are influenced or determined by their worldview.
The idea does not necessarily imply that there is no objective truth; rather that our access to it is mediated through our senses, experience, conditioning, prior beliefs, and other non-objective factors. The implied individual world each person occupies is said to be their reality tunnel. The term can also apply to groups of people united by beliefs: we can speak of the religious reality tunnels, the metaphysical naturalism (science based) reality tunnel or the political party reality tunnels."

1b. "A parallel can be seen in the psychological concept of confirmation bias - the human tendency to notice and assign significance to observations that confirm existing beliefs, while filtering out or rationalizing away observations that do not fit with prior beliefs, expectations and wishes. This helps to explain why reality tunnels are usually transparent to their inhabitants. While it seems most people take their beliefs to correspond to the "one true objective reality", Wilson emphasizes that each person's reality tunnel is their own artistic creation, whether they realize it or not."

1c. "For Wilson, a fully functioning human ought to be aware of their reality tunnel, and be able to keep it flexible enough to accommodate, and to some degree empathize with, different reality tunnels, different 'game rules', different cultures.
Constructivist thinking is the exercise of metacognition to become aware of our reality tunnels and the elements that "program" them. Constructivist thinking should, ideally, decrease the divide between our map of the world and that of the actual world (reality/truth)."

1d. "Metacognition is "cognition about cognition", "thinking about thinking", "knowing about knowing", becoming "aware of one's awareness" and higher-order thinking skills. The term comes from the root word meta, meaning "beyond", or "on top of." - Wikipedia

Perhaps the construct of "I think, therefore I am" should be adapted to: "I think about my thinking, therefore I am." It it also related to "watching the watcher", observing the observer, knowing yourself.

We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are. - Anais Nin

1e. In summary, reality is how the world really is. It is unbiased, does not vary from person to person and is not positive or negative. It is what it is. Our planet was once thought to be flat, because our perception of the horizon looks flat; and earth was considered to be the center of the universe (an ego-centric viewpoint). Rulers attempted to keep the truth hidden so that they could maintain power. Reality eventually prevailed, as it often does, and perceptions thus changed to conform to reality. It is easier to believe what others tell you than to put out the effort to discover the truth (reality) for yourself. The phrase, "you get out of it what you put into it" comes to mind.

Perception is how we comprehend reality and is subject to many factors including preconceived bias, feelings, cultural, religious and political values, misinformation and ignorance. The more extreme our perceptions are from reality / truth, the more likely a person or society will suffer hardship from these polarized beliefs. It adversely affects marriages, families, education, health, employment, government, unity, peace, prosperity, harmony, etc.

1f. Perception Is Not Reality: Just because you think something is reality doesn't make it reality.
Jim Taylor, Ph.D. - Posted Aug 05, 2019 - Psychology Today
"A key question to ask is: What's wrong with perception diverging from reality? What if I perceive the world in a way that is out of touch with reality? As with most things in life, this question demands a nuanced answer that involves degree rather than kind. For example, there is a psychological theory that posits what are called positive illusions, which involve holding a slightly inflated view of one's capabilities, which can have psychological and practical benefits (e.g., gives hope, enhances persistence).

However, if the perception deviates too far from reality when it shifts from mild illusion to delusion, it can be a liability (e.g., set unattainable goals, lack of preparation for a difficult task). In fact, a substantial disconnect between perception and reality can lead people to a complete inability to function (severe mental illness is an example).

1g. At a societal level, when different individuals or constituencies develop perceptions that are so far apart, one immense problem is that no common ground can be found. This disconnect is exemplified in our current political climate where people of different political stripes have such diametrically opposed perceptions that it becomes impossible to orchestrate consensus or govern. The result is paralysis (Congress) or hostility (hate crimes). Going to extremes, a massive divide between perceptions in a country would likely lead to a slow, but steady, disintegration of the institutions that hold a society together.

1h. The challenge we face with our own thinking, as well as the thinking of others, is how to ensure that perceptions remain close to reality. This alignment is essential for us to live in the real world, find consensus with others, and maintain the individual, governmental, and societal structures that are necessary for life as we know it to exist. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

a. Don't assume that your perceptions are reality (just your reality).
b. Be respectful of others' perceptions (they may be right).
c. Don't hold your perceptions too tightly; they may be wrong (admitting it takes courage).
d. Recognize the distortions within you that may warp your perceptions (seeing them will better ground your perceptions in reality rather than the other way around).
e. Challenge your perceptions (do they hold up under the microscope of reality?).
f. Seek out validation from experts and credible others (don't just ask your friends because they likely have the same perceptions as you).
g. Be open to modifying your perceptions if the preponderance of evidence demands it (rigidity of mind is far worse than being wrong).
The next time someone tosses that tired trope - "but perception is reality" - in defense of the indefensible, you stand up and tell them that it might be their perception, but it is not reality."
- Jim Taylor, Ph.D., teaches at the University of San Francisco.

1i. Perception is a choice. There are positive perceptions and negative perceptions of reality. People who decide to make predominantly positive choices regarding their perceptions tend to live happier, healthier, more satisfying lives. They suffer less anger, hatred, resentment, guilt, remorse and fear. They typically possess more empathy, hope, patience and moral virtues which help them build stronger relationships with family, friends, neighbors, casual acquaintances and other cultures.

2. Worldview Realities - Wikipedia

A worldview of reality is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the whole of the individual's or society's knowledge and point of view. A worldview can include natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative beliefs that can not be readily tested; and values, emotions, character, ethics, virtues and visions. Worldviews are often taken to operate at a conscious level, directly accessible to articulation, debate and discussion, as opposed to existing strictly at a deeper, pre-conscious or subconscious level.
Worldviews are based upon many different factors and your worldview of reality may be a mix of some or all of these elements, with some obviously having more influence on your perceived reality than others. The following are a few types of worldviews.

3. Cultural Worldviews: From across the world across all of the cultures, Roland Muller has suggested that cultural worldviews can be broken down into three separate worldviews. It is not simple enough to say that each person is one of these three cultures. Instead, each individual is a mix of the three. For example, a person may be raised in a Power-Fear society, in an Honor-Shame family, and go to school under a Guilt-Innocence system.

3a. Guilt-Innocence: In a Guilt-Innocence focused culture, schools focus on deductive reasoning, cause and effect, good questions, and process. Issues are often seen as black and white. Written contracts are paramount. Communication is direct, and can be blunt.

3b. Honor-Shame: Societies with a predominantly Honor-Shame worldviews teach children to make honorable choices according to the situations they find themselves in. Communication, interpersonal interaction, and business dealings are very relationship-driven, with every interaction having an effect on the Honor-Shame status of the participants. In an Honor-Shame society the crucial objective is to avoid shame and to be viewed honorably by other people. The Honor-Shame paradigm is especially strong in most regions of Asia.

3c. Power-Fear: Some cultures can be seen very clearly in operating under a Power-Fear worldview. In these cultures it is very important to assess the people around you and know where they fall in line according to their level of power. This can be used for good or for bad. A benevolent king rules with power and his citizens fully support him wielding that power. On the converse, a ruthless dictator can use his power to create a culture of fear where his citizens are oppressed.

4. Political Worldviews: According to Michael Lind, "a worldview is a more or less coherent understanding of the nature of reality, which permits its holders to interpret new information in light of their preconceptions. Clashes among worldviews cannot be ended by a simple appeal to facts. Even if rival sides agree on the facts, people may disagree on conclusions because of their different premises." This is why politicians often seem to talk past one another, or ascribe different meanings to the same events.

5. Belief Worldviews: A belief system is the set of interrelated beliefs held by an individual or society. It can be thought of as a list of beliefs or axioms that the believer considers true or false. A belief system is based around predominantly conscious beliefs.

5a. Belief systems became increasingly important to 20th century philosophy for a number of reasons, such as widespread contact between cultures, and the failure of some aspects of the Enlightenment project, such as the rationalist project of attaining all truth by reason alone. Some philosophers believe the problems extend to "the inconsistencies and failures which plagued the Enlightenment attempt to identify universal moral and rational principles"; although Enlightenment principles such as universal suffrage and the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" as drafted by the United Nations in Paris, 1948, are accepted, if not taken for granted, by many.

5b. Social norms are collective representations of acceptable behavior within a group, including values, customs, and traditions. These represent individuals' understanding, or worldview, in regards to what others in their group do, and what they think that they ought to do.

5c. Conventional wisdom is the body of ideas or explanations generally accepted as true by the general public, or by believers in a worldview. It is the set of underlying assumptions that make up the base of a body of shared ideas.

5d. Group polarization refers to the tendency for a group to make decisions that are more extreme than the initial inclination of its members. The phenomenon holds that a group's attitude toward a situation may change in the sense that the individuals' initial attitudes have strengthened and intensified after group discussion, a phenomenon known as attitude polarization. Psychologists have found that social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter demonstrate that group polarization can occur even when a group is not physically together. As long as the group of individuals begins with the same fundamental opinion on the topic and a consistent dialogue is kept going, group polarization can occur.

Research has suggested that well-established groups suffer less from polarization, as do groups discussing problems that are well known to them. However, in situations where groups are somewhat newly formed, group polarization can demonstrate a more profound influence on individual decision-making and perceived reality.

5e. Attitude polarization, also known as belief polarization and polarization effect, is a phenomenon in which a disagreement becomes more extreme as the different parties consider evidence on the issue. It is one of the effects of confirmation bias: the tendency of people to search for and interpret evidence selectively, to reinforce their current beliefs or attitudes. When people encounter ambiguous evidence, this bias can potentially result in each of them interpreting it as support of their existing attitudes, widening rather than narrowing the disagreement between them.

The effect is observed with matters that activate passionate feelings and emotions, such as political "hot-button" issues. For these issues where passionate polarization is found, merely thinking about the subject, without even contemplating new evidence, produces the effect. Social comparison processes have also been invoked as an explanation for the effect, which is increased by settings in which people continuously repeat and validate each other's statements, even if they are completely false and unsupported by any substantial evidence.

6. Religious Worldviews: The Christian thinker James W. Sire defines a worldview as "a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic construction of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being."
He suggests that "we should all think in terms of worldviews, that is, with a consciousness not only of our own way of thought but also that of other people, so that we can first understand and then genuinely communicate with others in our pluralistic society."

The commitment mentioned by James W. Sire can be extended further. A worldview with a fundamental orientation from the heart increases the commitment to serve the world. With the change of a person's view towards the world, he/she can be motivated to serve the world. This serving attitude has been illustrated by Tareq M Zayed as the 'Emancipatory Worldview' in his writing "History of emancipatory worldview of Muslim learners".

6a. A unidirectional view of causality is present in some monotheistic views of the world, with a beginning and an end, and a single great force with a single end (e.g., Christianity and Islam), while a cyclic worldview of causality is present in religious traditions which are cyclic and seasonal and wherein events and experiences recur in systematic patterns (e.g., Zoroastrianism, Mithraism and Hinduism). These worldviews of causality not only underlie religious traditions but also other aspects of thought like the purpose of history, political and economic theories, and systems like democracy, authoritarianism, anarchism, capitalism, socialism and communism.

6b. Medieval Muslim scholars devoured the works of Aristotle and Plato, and used them to develop a highly rationalistic philosophy based on a simple axiom: "there is only one God". Soon after, these Islamic texts were translated into Latin so that Christian philosophers like Thomas Aquinas could read them, and this brought about a revolution in Christian epistemology - Islamic style foundationalism proved to be extremely appealing to the Christians, who put their own stamp on the ideas of Islamic philosophers.

7. Linguistics Worldview: The Prussian philologist Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) originated the idea that language and worldview are inextricable. Humboldt saw language as part of the creative adventure of mankind. Culture, language and linguistic communities developed simultaneously and could not do so without one another. In stark contrast to linguistic determinism, which invites us to consider language as a constraint, a framework or a prison, Humboldt maintained that speech is inherently and implicitly creative. Human beings take their place in speech and continue to modify language, thought and reality by their creative exchanges.

8. Characteristics Worldview: While Leo Apostel and his followers clearly hold that individuals can construct worldviews, other philosophers regard worldviews as operating at a community level, or in an unconscious way. For instance, if one's worldview is fixed by one's language, as according to a strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, one would have to learn or invent a new language in order to construct a new worldview.

According to Apostel, a worldview is an ontology, or a descriptive model of the world. It should define and debate these six elements in order to achieve the greatest good:
a. An explanation of the world.
b. A futurology, answering the question "Where are we heading?"
c. Values, answers to ethical questions: "What should we do?"
d. A praxeology, or methodology, or theory of action: "How should we attain our goals?"
e. An epistemology, or theory of knowledge: "What is true and false?"
f. An etiology. A constructed world-view should contain an account of its own "building blocks", its origins and construction.

9. Weltanschauung and Cognitive Philosophy Worldview: In 1911, the German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey published an essay entitled "The Types of Worldview (Weltanschauung) and their Development in Metaphysics" that became quite influential. Dilthey characterized worldviews as providing a perspective on life that encompasses the cognitive, evaluative, and volitional (intentional, deliberate or conscious acts of free will) aspects of human experience.
Although worldviews have always been expressed in literature and religion, philosophers have attempted to give them conceptual definition in their metaphysical systems. On that basis, Dilthey found it possible to distinguish three general recurring types of worldviews.

9a. The first of these he called naturalism because it gives priority to the perceptual and experimental determination of what is, and allows contingency to influence how we evaluate and respond to reality. Naturalism can be found in Democritus, Hobbes, Hume and many other modern philosophers.

9b. The second type of worldview is called the idealism of freedom and is represented by Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, and Bergson among others. It is dualistic and gives primacy to the freedom of the will. The organizational order of our world (our reality) is structured by our mind and the will to know (subjective idealism).

9c. The third type is called objective idealism and Dilthey sees it in Heraclitus, Parmenides, Spinoza, Leibniz and Hegel. In objective idealism the ideal does not hover above what is real but exists within it. This argues against materialism, rejecting the notion that reality is solely subjective (subjective idealism) and that the existing world is merely the sum total of our mind (and other human minds, i.e. human consciousness), including our feelings, sensations, experiences and ideas.
Objective idealism adds that reality also includes an objective consciousness (pre-consciousness) which has existed before human consciousness and is independent from it; the world transcends the object and the mind of the observer and becomes part of the consciousness of the being. This third type of worldview is ultimately monistic and seeks to discern the inner coherence, connectedness and harmony among all things.

9d. Monism is the idea that all reality can be summed up or explained in one substance or single reality. Monism stands in contrast with both dualism, the idea that all things can be reduced to two opposing substances (good and evil, knowledge and ignorance, black and white, love and hate, etc.), and pluralism, the idea that there are multiple substances, realities, or gods.

9e. Monism has generally been discussed within philosophical circles as an idea that argues all things are derived from a single source. Yet monism has also been applied to religious discussions. Within religious debates, monism has generally been used to argue for pantheism, the belief that God is all. More specifically, pantheism argues there is no distinction between God and the created universe, resulting in the understanding that a rock, tree, animal, or person are all part of the one and have the same level of value.

The Seven Ages of Man - William Mulready, 1838

10. Dramaturgy (Drama Reality Theory)

Nearly everyone enjoys drama and theater. As William Shakespeare so eloquently stated:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances.
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages."

This drama reality theory of individual and institutional "micro-reality" is dependent on actors and their audience.

The presentation of ourselves to others is known as dramaturgy. Dramaturgy is a sociological perspective commonly used in micro-sociological accounts of social interaction in everyday life.
The term was first adapted into sociology by Erving Goffman, who developed most of the related terminology and ideas in his 1956 book, "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life". If we imagine ourselves as directors observing what goes on in the theater of everyday life, we are doing what Goffman called dramaturgical analysis, the study of social interaction in terms of theatrical performance.

10a. In dramaturgical reality, it is argued that the elements of human interactions are dependent upon time, place, and audience. In other words, the self is a sense of who one is in a "drama" emerging from the immediate scene being presented. Goffman forms a theatrical metaphor in defining the method in which one human being presents itself to another based on cultural values, norms, and beliefs. The goal of this presentation of self is acceptance from the audience through a carefully conducted performance. If the actor succeeds, the audience will view the actor as he or she wants to be viewed. A dramaturgical action is a social action that is designed to be seen by others and to improve one's public self-image.

10b. Overview:
The theater metaphor can be seen in the origins of the word person, which comes from the Latin persona, meaning 'a mask worn by actors'. We behave differently (play different roles) in front of different people (audiences). We pick out clothing (a costume) that is consistent with the image we wish to project. We enlist the help of friends, caterers, and decorators (fellow actors and stage crew) to help us successfully "stage" a dinner for a friend, a birthday party for a relative, a gala for a fundraiser, or a political rally. If we need to adjust our costume or wish to say something unflattering about some of our guests, we are careful to do so out of sight from others (backstage or offstage).

10c. In Frame Analysis (1974), Goffman writes, "What is important is the sense he [a person or actor] provides them [the others or audience] through his dealing with them of what sort of person he is behind the role he is in."
Dramaturgical theory suggests that a person's identity is not a stable and independent psychological entity, but rather, it is constantly remade as the person interacts with others. In a dramaturgical model, social interaction is analyzed in terms of how people live their lives like actors performing on a stage.
This analysis offers a look at the concepts of status, which is like a part in a play; and role, which serves as a script, supplying dialogue and action for the characters. Just as on the stage, people in their everyday lives manage settings, clothing, words, and nonverbal actions to give a particular impression to others. Goffman described each individual's "performance" as the presentation of self; a person's efforts to create specific impressions in the minds of others. This process is also sometimes called impression management.

10d. Goffman makes an important distinction between front stage behavior, which are actions that are visible to the audience and are part of the performance; and back stage behavior, which are actions that people engage in when no audience is present. For example, a server in a restaurant is likely to perform one way in front of customers but might be much more casual in the kitchen. It is quite possible that he or she does things in the kitchen that might be viewed as unseemly in front of customers.

10e. Before an interaction with another, an individual prepares a role, or impression, that he or she wants to make on the other. These roles are subject to what is, in theater, termed breaking character. Inopportune intrusions may occur in which a backstage performance is discovered by people who were not meant to see it. In addition, the audience for any personal performance can play a part in determining the course the performance takes.

10f. Within dramaturgy analysis, "teams" are groups of individuals who cooperate with each other in order to share the 'party line'. Team members must share information and coordinate their message (whether true or false) as mistakes reflect poorly on everyone. Team members also have inside knowledge and are not usually fooled by each others performances and may rebel against others.

Determining what is true and what is false is one of the most important tasks any human being faces. Our truth-determination skills, made up of many different parts of our consciousness, influences the course of our lives. People who do a good job at determining the truth (discovering reality by seeing beyond the drama) are often happier, better adjusted, and more successful.

There are seven important elements Goffman identifies with respect to the performance:
a) Belief in the part that one is playing: Belief is important, even if it cannot be judged by others; the audience can only try to guess whether the performer is sincere or cynical.
b) The front (or "mask"): a standardized, generalizable, and transferable technique for the performer to control the manner in which the audience perceives them. We all put on different masks throughout our lives.
c) Dramatic realization: a portrayal of aspects of the performer that they want the audience to know. When the performer wants to stress something, they will carry on the dramatic realization, e.g. showing how accomplished one is when going on a date to make a good first impression.
d) Idealization: a performance often presents an idealized view of the situation to avoid confusion (misrepresentation) and strengthen other elements (e.g., fronts, dramatic realization). Audiences often have an 'idea' of what a given situation (performance) should look like, and performers will try to carry out the performance according to that idea.
e) Maintenance of expressive control: the need to stay 'in character'. The performance has to make sure that they send out the correct signals, as well as silencing the occasional compulsion to convey misleading ones that might detract from the performance.
f) Misrepresentation: the danger of conveying a wrong message. The audience tends to think of a performance as genuine or false, and performers generally wish to avoid having an audience disbelieve them (whether they are being truly genuine or not).
g) Mystification: the concealment of certain information from the audience, whether to increase the audience's interest in the user or to avoid divulging information which could be damaging to the performer.

10g. Stages:
Stages or regions refer to the three distinct areas where different individuals with different roles and information can be found. There are three stages: front, back, and outside.

Front stage: Within society, individuals are expected to present themselves in a certain way; however, when a person goes against the norm, society tends to notice. Therefore, individuals are expected to put on a costume and act differently when in front of the 'audience'. Goffman noticed this habit of society and developed the idea of front stage.
In his book, "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life", Goffman defines front stage as "that part of the individual's performance which regularly functions in a general and fixed fashion we define the situation for those who observe the performance. Front, then, is the expressive equipment of a standard kind intentionally or unwittingly employed by the individual during his performance."

During the front stage, the actor formally performs and adheres to conventions that have meaning to the audience. It is a part of the dramaturgical performance that is consistent and contains generalized ways to explain the situation or role the actor is playing to the audience that observes it. The actor knows that they are being watched and acts accordingly. This is a fixed presentation. This concept can be seen in restaurants, in which the servers have to act much more proper and presentable in the dining room than they do in the kitchen.

Goffman explains that the front stage involves a differentiation between (a) appearance, which refers to the items an actor possesses that are a reflection of the actor's social status; and (b) manners, which refers to the way an actor conducts themselves. The actor's manner tells the audience what to expect from their performance.

10h. Back stage:
In "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life", Goffman explains that the back stage is where "the performer can relax; he can drop his front, forgo speaking in his lines, and step out of character." When all is said and done, and the individual returns to the back stage, they feel such a sense of relief that they know the actions that would not be condoned upon in the front stage are free to be expressed. In the backstage, actions are not to please anyone but the self.
Back stage is where performers are present but audience is not, hence the performers can step out of character without fear of disrupting the performance. It is where various kinds of informal actions, or facts suppressed in the front stage, may appear. Simply put, the back stage is completely separate from the front stage, and it is where the performance of a routine is prepared. No members of the audience may appear in the back, and the actor takes many methods to ensure this.

10i. Off-stage:
Outside, or off-stage, is the place where individuals are not involved in the performance. The off-stage is where individual actors meet the audience members independently of the team performance on the front stage.

Borders, or boundaries, are important as they prevent or restrict movement of individuals between various regions. Performers need to be able to maneuver boundaries to manage who has the access to the performance, when and how.

10j. Discrepant roles:
Many performances need to prevent the audience from getting some information (secrets). For that, several specialized roles are created.

There are different types of secrets that have to be concealed for various reasons:
a. Dark secrets: represent information about the performing team which could contradict the image the team is presenting to the audience.
b. Strategic secrets: represent the team's goals, capabilities and know-hows which allows the team to control the audience and lead it in the direction the team desires.
c. Inside secrets: represent information known by the team and are seen as something that is shared only with other teammates to increase team bonding.
d. Entrusted secrets: secrets have to be kept in order to maintain the role and team integrity; keeping them demonstrates trustworthiness.
e. Free secrets: the secrets of another, unrelated to oneself, that can be disclosed while still maintaining the role. Disclosure of such secrets should not affect the performance.

10k. Roles:
There are three basic roles in Goffman's scheme, each centered on who has access to what information: performers are most knowledgeable; audiences know only what the performers disclosed and what they have observed themselves; and outsiders have little if any relevant information.

10l. These roles can be divided into three groups:
Roles dealing with manipulation of information and team borders:
a. The informer: an insider (or pretender) who has team trust, is allowed backstage, but then joins the audience and discloses information on the performance. Positive examples: whistle-blowers, truth-tellers. Negative examples: spies, traitors, tattletale.
b. The shill: this role is an opposite of the informer; the shill pretends to be a member of the audience but is a member of the performing team. His role is to manipulate the audience reactions.
c. The spotter: a member of the audience who has much information about the performance in general. The spotter analyzes the performers, gathers facts, and may reveal information to the audience. Examples: food critic in a restaurant, reporters and journalists.

10m. Roles dealing with facilitating interactions between two other teams:
d. The go-between or mediator: usually acts with the permission of both sides, acting as a mediator and/or messenger, facilitating communication between various teams. Mediators learn many secrets, and may not always be neutral.

10n. Roles that mix front and back stage:
e. The non-person: individuals who are present during the performance, may even be allowed in the back stage but are not part of the 'show'. Their role is usually obvious and thus they are usually ignored by both the performers and the audience. Example: a waiter, a janitor.
f. The service specialist: individuals whose specialized services are required, usually by the performers. They are often invited by the performers to the back region. Example: hairdresser, body guards, accountants, lawyers, advisors, etc.
g. The colleague: individuals who are similar to the performers but are not members of the team in question. Example: coworkers.
h. The confidant: individuals to whom the performer reveals details of the performance.

10o. Communication out of character:
Performers may communicate out of character on purpose, in order to signal to others on their team, or by accident.
Common backstage out-of-character communications include:
Treatment of the absent: derogatory discussion of the absent audience or performers affecting team cohesion.
Staging talk: discussion of technical aspects of the performance, gossip.

Common frontstage communications out-of-character include:
Team collusion: between team members, during the performance but not endangering it. Example: staging cues, kicking a friend under a table.
Realigning actions: between members of opposing teams. For example: unofficial grumbling.

10p. Impression management:
Impression management refers to work on maintaining the desired impression, and is composed of defensive and protective techniques. Protective techniques are used in order to cover mistakes, only once the interaction begins. For example, relying on audience to use tact and overlook mistakes of the performers. In contrast, defensive techniques are employed before an interaction begins, and involves:
a. Dramaturgical loyalty: work to keep the team members loyal to the team members and to the performance itself.
b. Dramaturgical discipline: dedicating oneself to the performance but without losing oneself in it. Self-control, making sure one can play the part properly, rehearsal.
c. Dramaturgical circumspection: minimizing risk by preparing for expected problems. Being careful to avoid situations where a mistake or a potential problem can occur, choosing the right audience, length and venue of performance.

10q. Dramaturgy has been used to depict how social movements communicate power. Robert Benford and Scott Hunt argued that "social movements can be described as dramas in which protagonists and antagonists compete to affect audiences' interpretations of power relations in a variety of domains." The people seeking power present their front stage self in order to captivate attention. However, the back stage self is still present, though undetectable. This is a competition of power, a prime example of dramaturgy.

10r. A useful, and everyday way of understanding dramaturgy (specifically front stage and back stage) is to think of a waiter or waitress at a restaurant. Their main avenue of concern for them is "customer service." Even if a customer is rude, waiters and waitresses are expected to be polite ("the customer is always right") as part of their job responsibilities. That same waiter or waitress speaks differently when in the kitchen or break room. They may complain, mimic and discuss with their fellow peers how irritating and rude the customer is.

10s. Dramaturgy has also been applied to the emerging interdisciplinary domain of scholarly research known as technoself studies, which deals with human identity in a technological society.
In terms of blogging (specifically in fashion blogging), bloggers and their readers share a social setting in the form of an online platform. The blogger can build up his or her own persona and create an image of themselves that may be far removed from who they actually are in the real world - in other words, fashion blogging is an "authoritative performance" for one's style. A relationship is created between the blogger and the audience where the blogger is in control of how and what represents them, while the audience are spectators to this presentation of the blogger's attempt to control their perceptions. The blogger(s) may not even be from the country they claim to be representing. They may also be purposely presenting false information in order to sway the opinion of their audience.

10t. Regardless of whether the actors you follow in real life are bloggers, politicians, or media pundits, make sure that the information they are feeding you is based upon proven facts, evidence and truth. Otherwise you are merely an observer in a fictional play or a drama which can be very dangerous and harmful not only to yourself, but to society as a whole if a large audience believes in unsupported disinformation and lies. In other words, make sure you have facts to support your perception of reality. The truth will set you free. Reality is based on the ability and willingness to sort truth from deception.

11. Cognitive Bias Reality Theory

This reality theory attempts to explain why our personal construct of reality is often based upon our biases and is subjective, instead of what is real, truthful, factual and objective. We want to believe what we believe, instead of wanting to believe what is real. Our feelings and desires can dominate over our ability to use logic and sensibility. Of course this can cause us to lose touch with reality which may lead to all sorts of stress and problems being needlessly created in our lives. We often remain closed minded instead of being open minded. Which do you prefer?

A cognitive bias is a systematic error in thinking that occurs when people process and interpret information in the world around them that lead them to inaccurate conclusions. There are many different types of cognitive biases people experience that influence and affect the way we perceive and behave, as well as dictating our decision making process.
Because we are flooded with information from millions of sources throughout the day, our brain develops ranking systems to decide which information deserves our attention and which information is important enough to store in memory. These preconceptions are mental shortcuts the human brain produces to expedite information processing - to quickly help it comprehend what it is sensing. The problem is that the shortcuts and ranking systems aren't always objective because their architecture is uniquely adapted to our particular life experiences, perceptions, observations, beliefs, values and points of view.

In more technical terms, a cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own "subjective reality" from their perception of the data and inputs. An individual's construction of reality, which may not be based on truthful and objective inputs, tends to dictate their behavior in the world. A cognitive bias is a strong, preconceived notion of someone or something, based on information we have, think we have, or fail to have.

11a. Biases make it difficult for people to exchange accurate information or derive truths. A cognitive bias distorts our critical thinking, leading to possibly perpetuating misconceptions or misinformation that can be damaging to ourselves and others.

Biases lead us to avoid information that may be undesirable or uncomfortable, rather than seeking and investigating information that could lead us to more accurate and successful outcomes. Biases can also cause us to see patterns or connections between ideas that aren't necessarily there.

Cognitive biases can also lead to distorted and dysfunctional thinking such as conspiracy theory beliefs. Most people, regardless of whether they prefer conventional wisdom or conspiracy theories, often overestimate the percentage of people who agree with them, and underestimate the percentage who disagree. We tend to think our opinions are more widely held than they actually are.

11b. Once you know about cognitive bias, you may realize that people create their own subjective reality from their perceptions - and that their perceptions don't always reflect the facts or the truth of the situation. If you allow yourself to have cognitive bias, it can distort the lens you see the world through, leading to poor perceptions, irrational expectations and major lapses in judgment. Cognitive biases often have a devastatingly negative impact on the lives of those blinded by its effects. For example, in relation to medical complications, distorted thinking can cause people to ignore the advice and guidance of medical experts which may directly contribute to harmful outcomes and/or unnecessary premature death.

11c. Cognitive Bias vs. Logical Fallacy and Truthiness:

Cognitive bias is often confused with logical fallacy, but the two are not the same. A logical fallacy stems from an error in a logical argument, while a cognitive bias is rooted in thought processing errors often arising from problems with attention, attribution, memory, strong emotional feelings, and other mental mistakes.

Truthiness (Illusory truth effect): A tendency to believe that a statement is true if it is easier to process, or if it has been stated multiple times, regardless of its actual veracity.
Truthiness is the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the perceptions of some individual or groups of individuals, without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. Truthiness can range from ignorant assertions of falsehoods, to deliberate lies or propaganda intended to sway opinions in the favor of the person or group promoting dishonesty.

The concept of truthiness emerged as a major subject of discussion surrounding U.S. politics during the 1990s and 2000s because of the perception among some observers of a rise in propaganda and a growing hostility toward factual reporting and fact-based discussion. Michael Adams, a professor at North Carolina State University who specializes in lexicology, said "truthiness" means "truthy, not facty". The national argument right now is, one, "Who's got the truth?" and, two, "Who's got the facts?" he said. "Until we can manage to get the two of them back together again, we're not going to make much progress."

11d. Causes of Cognitive Bias:

As humans, most of us believe ourselves to be rational and aware. However, our minds often respond to the world automatically and without our awareness. When the situation demands it, we are able to put mental effort into making decisions, but much of our thinking takes place outside of conscious control.

In his book "Thinking Fast and Slow", Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman refers to these two types of thinking as System 1 and System 2. System 1 is fast and intuitive, relying on mental shortcuts in thinking - called heuristics - to navigate the world more efficiently. By contrast, System 2 is slow, introducing deliberation and logic into our thinking. Both systems impact how we make judgments, but System 1 is in charge most of the time.

We unconsciously "prefer" System 1 because it is applied effortlessly and doesn't require much critical or logical thinking. System 1 includes preferences we are born with, like our desire to avoid losses and stay away from bullies; and associations we learn, like the answers to simple math equations (quick: what's 2+2?) and the ability to read.

Meanwhile, System 2 requires attention in order to work, and attention is a limited resource. Thus, the deliberate, slow thinking of System 2 is only deployed when we're paying attention to a specific problem. If our attention is drawn to something else, for instance, the phone rings, System 2 is disrupted and our ability to discover the truth is hindered.
We may be able to return our attention to solving the problem using system II, and actually discover an epiphany or have an amazing eureka moment, but it still needs to be committed to memory before we are distracted again, or it could be lost forever.

11e. Signs of Cognitive biases:

Everyone exhibits cognitive bias to some extent. It might be easier to spot in others, but it is important to know that it is something that also affects your thinking. Some signs that you might be influenced by some type of cognitive bias include:
a. Only paying attention to news stories that confirm your opinions.
b. Blaming outside factors when things don't go your way.
c. Attributing other people's success to luck, but taking personal credit for your own accomplishments.
d. Assuming that everyone else shares your opinions or beliefs.
e. Learning a little about a topic and then assuming you know all there is to know about it.

11f. Key Takeaways:
Cognitive biases increase our mental efficiency by enabling us to make quick decisions without any conscious deliberation.
Cognitive biases can also distort our thinking, leading to poor decision making and false judgments which may lead to negative outcomes.

11g. What are the most common types of cognitive bias?

Researchers have cataloged about 200 cognitive biases. Listed below is a brief summary of some biases that can adversely affect your everyday life.
Six of the most common cognitive biases are confirmation bias, fundamental attribution error, hindsight bias, anchoring bias, the bandwagon effect and egocentric bias.

a. Confirmation bias is a bias of belief in which people tend to seek out, interpret, and recall information in a way that confirms their preconceived notions and ideas. In other words, people attempt to preserve their existing beliefs by paying attention to information that confirms those beliefs and makes people ignore or invalidate information that conflicts with their beliefs. This tendency seems more prevalent than ever, since many people receive their news from social media outlets that track "likes" and google searches, feeding you information based on your apparent preferences.
Confirmation bias can be seen in action in many facets of life, including what political policies one champions and whether one believes in a specific scientific explanation for phenomena like climate change or vaccines. Confirmation bias is one reason it's so challenging to have a logical discussion about polarizing hot-button issues. Our biases tend to over-rule our ability to see things as they truly are. Just as we hold strongly to our ego (sense of self) as a self-protection defense, we hold dearly to our baises so we don't have to admit we may be wrong and may not be seeing reality clearly.

b. Fundamental attribution error. This bias refers to the tendency to attribute someone's particular behaviors to existing, unfounded stereotypes while attributing our own similar behavior to external factors. For example, we might attribute a person being late for an appointment due to them being lazy or disrespectful, while if we are late for an appointment we might blame traffic, a sick family member we had to take care of, or some other external factor.

Fundamental attribution error is thus our tendency to explain someone's behavior based on internal factors, such as personality or disposition, and to underestimate the influence that external factors, such as situational influences, have on another person's behavior. We might, for example, explain the fact that someone is unemployed or needing food assistance based on their character, and blame them for their plight, with little or no empathy for them, when in fact they were recently laid off due to a sluggish economy beyond their control. Of course, there are times when we're correct about our assumptions, but the fundamental attribution error is our tendency to explain the behavior of others based on character or disposition and not external factors. This is particularly true when the behavior is perceived as negative.

c. Hindsight bias, the tendency, upon learning an outcome of an event - such as an experiment, a sporting event, a military decision, or a political election - to overestimate one's ability to have foreseen the outcome. With this bias, people overestimate their ability to predict an outcome beforehand even though the limited or false information they had at the time would not have led them to the correct outcome. It is colloquially known as the "I knew it all along " phenomenon.

Presented with two opposing predictions, most people are able to justify the likelihood of either outcome. For example, when asked whether people prefer to spend time with others who are similar or with others who differ significantly (in beliefs, background, political or religious affiliation, etc.), individuals can easily explain why either outcome is likely, often by drawing on conventional wisdom: some may claim that "birds of a feather flock together," whereas others may argue that "opposites attract" and can advance our awareness much further.
Once an experiment has proven support for only one outcome, however, participants often believe that the result was "obvious", and they minimize or do not even entertain the alternative reasoning, even if they had previously promoted that conclusion. The retroactive belief that the outcome was obvious from the start is hindsight bias.

d. Anchoring bias, also known as focalism or the anchoring effect, is the tendency to rely heavily on the first information you learn or are told when you are evaluating something. In other words, what you learn early in an investigation often has a greater impact on your judgment than information you learn later. This is very common in politics where politicians throw out "anchors" which may not be true in order to get people to believe their misinformation or false claims against their foes. By repeating these false anchoring statements many times they manipulate and exploit people's cognitive biases by knowing followers will likely dismiss facts and evidence which may be discovered later which refute their lies. The more times the anchor is thrown out, the more likely it will take hold in the minds of those that do not realize or care that they are being manipulated.

e. The Bandwagon Effect is a cognitive bias that occurs when people place a greater value on conformity than on forming or expressing their own opinions, which can result in irrational decision-making. Individuals may not explore alternative solutions or question the norm, due to agressive peer pressure. People tend to avoid ruffling feathers in a group in fear of being perceived in a negative way by other members, or people just assume that the right conclusion has been made since so many people agree with it.
If a group or organization is facing a serious external threat or is under a significant amount of pressure from other groups they tend to make more errors in their decision-making and may even repeat strategies that they know have been ineffective in the past.
The desire for cohesion in a group may lead to a tendency for its members to agree with the group without doing any critical thinking to reach their own conclusions. In this case, acceptance in the group becomes more important than using reasoning and logic to sort truth from fantasy.

f. Egocentric bias is the tendency to rely too heavily on one's own point of view and/or have a higher opinion of oneself than is justified. It leads to a skewed pattern of thinking which creates a distorted reality and appears to be the result of the psychological need to build one's ego. This type of bias makes people think that their influence and importance are greater than they actually are. They tend to believe they are better than average in intelligence, generosity, and other skills. It also limits people's ability to be empathetic because it causes people to mainly focus on their own emotions, therefore ignoring how other people feel.

Egocentric bias leads people to believe that outcomes that are in their favor are fair, while outcomes that went against their wishes are unfair or rigged against them.
People with egocentric bias may believe they deserve more than others when receiving positive rewards or achieving success. However, if that same group is instead receiving blame because they failed, this person would believe they deserved less blame than others and will refuse to take responsibility for their failure.

11h. Other key biases include:

a. Status quo bias refers to the preference to keep things in their current state, while regarding any type of change as a loss. This bias results in the difficulty to process or accept change.

b. Attention biases probably evolved in human beings as a survival mechanism. To survive, animals have to evade or avoid threats. Of the millions of bits of information that bombard the senses daily, people have to spot the ones that might be important for their health, happiness, and safety. This highly-tuned survival skill can become a harmful bias if you begin to focus your attention too much on one kind of information, while you disregard other kinds of relevant information because it does not conform with what you want to believe.

c. Dunning-Kruger effect: Psychologists describe this bias as the inability to recognize your own lack of competence in an area. Research has shown that some people express a high degree of confidence about something they're actually not very skilled at doing. This bias exists in all sorts of areas, from recreational sports, intellectual abilities (e.g. IQ), to medical diagnostic expertise.

d. False consensus effect: Just as people sometimes overestimate their own skill, they also overestimate the degree to which other people agree with their judgments and approve of their behaviors. People tend to think that their own beliefs and actions are common and justified, while other people's behaviors and beliefs are more deviant or uncommon.

e. In-group bias: This type of bias refers to how people are more likely to support or believe someone within their own social group than someone from another social group, regardless of the evidence that is provided.

f. Misinformation bias: When you remember an event, your perception of it can be altered if you later receive misinformation about the event. In other words, if you learn something new about an event you saw, it can change how you remember the event, even if what you are told is unrelated or untrue.
This form of bias has huge implications for the validity of witness testimony. Researchers have recently uncovered an effective way to reduce this bias. If witnesses practice repeating positive self-affirmations, especially ones that focus on the strength of their judgment and memory, misinformation effects decrease, and they tend to recall events more accurately.

g. Self-serving bias is an assumption that when good things happen to us we tend to credit our own internal qualities or habits, but when bad things happen we blame it on circumstances outside our control or things other people have done. This bias results in a tendency to blame outside circumstances for bad situations rather than taking personal responsibility.

h. Survivorship bias, or survivor bias, is the act of focusing on successful people, businesses, or strategies and ignoring those that failed. Because of this, we adopt opinions, structure businesses, and make decisions without examining all the data, which can easily lead to failure.
For every major success in the world, there are thousands of failures that started out with the same goal. But stories of failure are not as widely talked about as those of triumph, so they don't get as much attention. As we hear one success story after another, we start to overestimate the likelihood of being successful since we often don't take into account all the failures.

For example, in WWII, allied forces studied planes that survived being shot to improve armor placement. By neglecting bullet holes on lost planes, they missed armoring planes' most vulnerable areas. They focused on the planes that survived, where they would have learned much more by studying the planes that did not survive.
Take some well-known success stories for example, like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell and Mark Zuckerberg, all who dropped out of college. They went on to become billionaires, but most people who leave college early don't experience this same success. And while people can learn from the work ethic and habits of these individuals, you can't expect to achieve the same results by doing exactly what they did.
Survivorship bias leads to false beliefs of cause and effect. People believe correlation exists without considering all of the factors. Survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and achieved some level of success, while overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility. It is illogical to assume that dropping out of school improves your chances of becoming a billionaire. Most people believe that getting a good education improves your chances at success in life, regardless of whether you desire to be a billionaire or not.

* Side note since we are discussing billionaires: Andrew Carnegie argued in favor of larger government estate taxes (as has Warren Buffet) since he believed that transferring large fortunes to the next generation wasted money that could be used instead to help society (since it was also generated via society). He concluded that it was unlikely that descendants would match the exceptional abilities that had created the wealth into which they were born. He also surmised that dynasties harm heirs by robbing their lives of purpose and meaning.
He used his riches to build libraries, believing that it gave individuals that desired to improve their education and status in life the best opportunity to help themselves. *

i. Optimism bias is a disposition bias that may cause you to believe that you are less likely to experience hardships than other people and more likely to experience success. This bias also refers to how we are more likely to estimate a positive outcome if we are in a good mood. As with most cognitive biases, it can produce positive or negative results.

Optimism bias can encourage risky behaviors, like smoking and gambling, by causing us to ignore the potential for unwanted outcomes. It can also stop us from taking preventative measures, like buying insurance or wearing a mask.
Optimism bias on a larger scale was one of the core causes of the financial crash in 2008. Financial analysts and investors had unrealistic expectations of financial growth and success. Banks continued to engage in high-risk decision making and contributed to the growing economic bubble and its ultimate crash.
Optimism bias also negatively impacts our global response to climate change and the pandemic. We tend to focus on things we want rather than things we don't want. We also tend to feel like bad things may happen to others, but not ourselves. With both the pandemic and climate change, this can allow us to feel like the consequences of a deadly virus or environmental disaster will not affect us personally. It may be described as the "sticking your head in the sand" or "it will just magically go away" bias. As mentioned, it can and has been very damaging to our well-being and health, both financially and medically.

j. Pessimism bias may cause you to believe that you are more likely to experience hardships than other people are, and more likely to experience failure. This bias also refers to how we are more likely to predict a negative outcome if we are in a bad mood.
Pessimism bias can cause people to make irrational decisions and potentially lead to a variety of mental health issues and negative emotional outcomes. However, it can also have positive effects, such as encouraging people to increase their preparation for an upcoming event and help people improve their ability to cope with negative situations when they arise.

k. The halo effect bias refers to the tendency to allow our impression of a person, company, or business in one domain to influence our overall impression of the person or entity. This is a bias that arises when an opinion is formed from just a single characteristic of a person or company, whether positive or negative. When one sees a character trait they deem attractive, they assume the other aspects are also attractive. Advertising agencies use this bias to promote products that are sponsored by a famous person.
In another example, a consumer who is upset with the performance of an appliance that they bought from a specific brand is less likely to buy other products from that brand because of their negative experience with the first appliance they purchased.

l. Recency bias explains the phenomenon of remembering something that has occurred recently more easily than remembering something that happened a while ago. Recency bias is a memory bias which gives greater importance to recent events, such as your performance at work or the number of COVID-19 cases in your city or state in the past several weeks.
Some managers tend to over-value what the employee appears to have done in the last weeks or months, rather than looking at the entire period the evaluation is supposed to be based on. There is some value to doing this. One could argue that an employee who shows recent improvement is on the road to success, and therefore should not be penalized by things that happened 10 months ago. However, if the desire is to improve performance, rather than to reward or punish, it is useful to discuss past problems to try to ensure they don't re-occur. The recency bias can work both ways. Remember that recent behavior can be positive or negative, so managers with this cognitive bias may be rating your conduct as overly positively or negative, depending on what's most recent.
In the example of evaluating your city or states performance on reducing the spread of COVID-19 cases, recency bias is especially relevant because is shows whether people are following proper health guidelines or disregarding them for various reasons. If people are not following the advice of medical experts, the number of cases and the hospitalization rate will likely increase 3-4 weeks afterward followed by an increase in deaths, especially if ICU beds reach 100% capacity. Utilizing recency bias in a positive fashion may cause you to change your behavior and protect your neighbors and loved ones if the virus is currently getting out of control in your area.

m. Availability bias is the tendency of humans to think that things that readily come to mind are more important than those not easily recalled. It occurs when people overestimate the importance of the information that they have, think they have, or have been told without supporting evidence. Keep in mind the famous phrase "just the facts maam" when making important decisions.
Since people's way of thinking is often full of errors and biases, we need to stop making decisions based soley on intuition, gut feel and wishes because it makes them make the wrong ones. We need to reason and deliberate before we conclude. Many erroneous conclusions are based on our emotions. Despite people not always being as rational as we think we are, awareness of cognitive biases helps us make better decisions that are not based on incorrect information, interpretations and prejudices.

n. Conspiracy Theory bias is the tendency to believe that there is a vast, insidious network of people who are perpetrating acts in order to forward their own sinister agenda. The perceived covert but influential organization (the belief in an ambiguous "deep state" for example) is responsible for a circumstance or event. More specifically, as the British psychologist Christopher Thresher-Andrews puts it: "Conspiracy theories are unsubstantiated, less plausible alternatives to the mainstream explanation of an event; they assume everything is intended, with malignity." Conspiracy theories start with disbelief in conventional wisdom in favor of a kind of secret, malevolent, "real story" that's being hidden from the public through some cover-up.

Rarely do conspiracy theories have any factual scientific backing. If they do, their "proof" is often a lone article, a white paper published online, or a politician who is spreading disinformation or propaganda. Many conspiracy theories are also started by Talk-Radio shows, a Blogger, YouTuber or FaceBooker who "was told by someone who works at so-and-so." It could thus be termed as the "someone who works somewhere told me so" or "many people are saying so" phenomenon.

Some well known conspiracy theories are associated with the Kennedy assasination; the 1969 moon landing; the 9/11 plane bombings; the belief that vaccines lead to autism or tracking of individuals; the corona virus being a bioweapon engineered by the Chinese; the corona virus being caused by the introduction of 5G; and the belief that the 2020 presidential election was rigged by corrupt republican and democratic state officials. In all these cases there has not been any substanial proof provided (many have been proven as false), yet people with conspiracy bias still cling to them.

What drives conspiracy theories and their dramatic increase in the online and political universe?

"Fear and anxiety were reported as positive predictors of conspiracy beliefs. As people are anxious, fear a threatening situation, or have low perceived feelings of control over situations, they tend to conspiracies." This was found to be especially true in people who have a need to exert control over their environment - they like the feeling of being in control at all times. (Goreis & Voracek, 2019)

The study also found that people who have a strong motivation to make sense of things also tended to be more likely to have a conspiracy bias. Even if the explanations don't make any scientific sense, their lack of highly-specialized knowledge in the subject matter makes it easier to believe. People that suffer from numerous other cognitive biases and people who have narcissistic traits also tend to have a higher risk of suffering from conspiracy theory bias. "Narcissism is positively associated with paranoid thinking, as narcissists are perceiving the actions of others intentionally targeted against themselves. Conspiracies are appealing to people who lack confidence and self-esteem." (van Prooijen, 2016)

Those who aren't as able to engage in analytical or logical thinking, as well as those of lower intelligence will often turn to the simple connections that these theories offer (Lantian et al., 2017).
Anything that may threaten the status-quo of society also appears related to these beliefs. Groups whose identity is tied up in traditional societal values and protecting the existing socio-political status quo are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. These are, unsurprisingly, often right-wing authoritarian groups and those with a social dominance-orientation (White supremacists, for example).

It's not a stretch to consider that people who strongly believe in conspiracy theories may qualify for Conspiracy Theory Disorder (CTD). Taken from the research, the symptoms may be summarized as follows: (6 or more needed for a diagnosis)

(a) Feeling anxious or fearful all the time, for no particular reason.
(b) Inability to exert control (or feeling unable to control) the situation.
(c) A need to make sense of complex topics or unrelated events, even with little or no topical expertise or knowledge.
(d) A strong urge to make connections between a series of unrelated events or behaviors.
(e) A belief in paranormal explanations for scientific phenomenon.
(f) An overreliance on cognitive shortcuts, such as illusory correlations, confirmation bias, and hindsight bias.
(g) Low self-esteem and/or high self-uncertainty.
(h) A sense of not really belonging to any social group; isolation from others.
(i) A greater alienation, disengagement, or disaffection from society.
(j) A belief that the status-quo of society should be valued above all else.
The presence of the symptoms significantly impacts a person's ability to function in their daily life activities, such as socializing with friends, going to work or school, or maintaining positive relationships with their family and others. - PsychCentral.com

o. Empathy Gap bias affects both individuals and groups. It describes our tendency to underestimate the influence of varying mental states on our behavior and decision making process based on our current emotions, feelings, or state of being. The decisions and judgments we make when we are in a highly charged emotional state (hot state) are usually very different from when we are in a more relaxed and neutral stress free "cold state".

The empathy gap, also sometimes referred to as the hot-cold empathy gap, is a cognitive bias that leads to a difficulty in understanding the current feelings or emotions of others who are in a different mental state than ourself. This is a reference to two kinds of visceral states. "Hot" visceral states are when our mental state is influenced by hunger, pain, fear, anxiety, anger, sexual desire, exhaustion, or other strong emotions. These states can lead a person to feel "out of control" and act impulsively. A "cold" mental state is one that is not being influenced by strong emotion and is usually more rational and logical. When we are in either a hot or cold mental state, we fail to acknowledge the temporary nature of that mental state, and can't put ourselves in the mindset of another with a differing reality.
Empathy gap can prevent people from considering how certain mental states influence one's own and other people's behavior and judgments. Essentially, this means that when a person is happy, they have a hard time understanding the perspective or predicting the actions of themselves or others when suffering from a very stressful day, and vice-versa.

Hot-cold empathy gaps can be analyzed according to their direction:

Hot-to-cold: People under the influence of strong emotional factors (hot state) don't fully grasp how much their behavior and preferences are being driven by their current state; they think instead that these short-term goals reflect their general and long-term preferences and values.
Cold-to-hot: People in a cold state have difficulty picturing themselves in hot states, minimizing the motivational strength of emotional impulses. This leads to unpreparedness when visceral forces inevitably arise. They believe they will respond rationally but their emotions may cause them to react rashly leading to negative or devastating outcomes.
Either we over-predict how rational we will be, assuming we will be calm in tense situations, or believe that we will always feel as heated as we do when we are in a hot emotional situation.

Humans are ultra social organisms because we form and depend on organizations that extend beyond the individual. This social interdependence arguably evolved because group living, and its associated social functions, offered several reproductive and long term survival advantages, compared to living alone. In turn, these social functions necessitated the evolution of more sophisticated cognitive and emotional capacities, like logic, rationality, unified wisdom and ethics to enable thriving within a group context. Critical among these is our ability to empathize: the capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner reality of another person, while recognizing that their emotional experience is separate and may be very different from our own. Empathizing with others in distress is particularly important because it motivates behavior aimed at alleviating others' suffering, and this, in turn, promotes social cohesion, personal dignity and resource sharing among members of society.

From a day-to-day perspective, we associate empathy with the practice of compassion, and we think of it as rooted in "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another." Examining empathy can sometimes feel like a study of the opposite: all the complex and tacit ways that humans reveal how self-centered we sometimes are (which is a survival trait). When we look at the pain of others, our personal lenses can distort our understanding of their pain and suffering. In a group, we accord values and meaning to "our group", and diminish the value of those in other groups.
Yet despite these pervading instincts, there is reason to believe that our brains are wired to correct and counteract such behaviors. Through training and effort, at home, in schools, houses of worship and in society, we can learn to encourage empathy. It's time we called for a return to cooperation and empathy among many groups - in politics, education, religion, and research - to work together to understand and combat empathy bias.

Evidence suggests that empathetic response is influenced significantly by personal features (gender, childhood upbringing, trauma), by interpersonal factors (perceived fairness, justice, social stigma, discrimination), by cultural factors (interdependence vs. independence, preference for social hierarchy), and perhaps most importantly, by the social group membership of a person (race, sexual orientation, political or religious affiliation, etc.). Although empathy for one's own social group is particularly important and holds some long term advantages, the opposite side of this phenomenon, i.e., diminished empathy for the outgroup, poses profound challenges for our modern human world where a multitude of groups, ethnicities, and cultures compete for the same resources. By working together, societies can use imagination and creativity to use resources such as food, water and clean energy more efficiently while managing the planet so climate change does not reduce the supply of these life-sustaining resources.

*** Related News: Climate change jeopardizes our air, water, and food supply; spreads disease; and threatens our health and safety. Every year, wildfires force tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Millions of acres are destroyed by the flames, taking many families' homes with them. The world's rain forests, referred to as the lungs of the planet, are being slashed and burned in order to make room for beef production with the majority being sold to America.
The general scientific view is that any rise in global temperatures of more than 2 degrees Celsius would be catastrophic for the Earth - causing an increase in yearly natural disasters, a melted Arctic, and likely mass extinctions. When the entire planet is at risk, it takes the whole world to combat climate change. The Paris Climate Agreement's ultimate goal is capping the global warming rise this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius. While the 0.5-degree difference may not seem like a lot, it would dramatically impact low-lying nations and coral reefs.

U.S. President Donald Trump exited the Paris Climate Agreement as of November 4, 2020. As of December 2020, all 197 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have signed the agreement and 189 remain party to it. Of the eight countries which are no longer party to the law, the only significant greenhouse-gas emitters are the United States and Iran.
According to the United Nations, there are currently 195 sovereign states on the planet. If you include the two U.N. observer states, Vatican City and Palestine, there are 197.

Cost of the Paris Agreement: Research has shown that the cost of inaction outweighs the cost of reducing carbon pollution. President Trump claimed that the Paris Agreement would cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion by 2040 and 2.7 million jobs by 2025. However, one study suggests that the U.S. would lose as much as $6 trillion in the coming decades if it didn't meet the Paris climate goals. Global GDP is expected to decline by 25% if the world does not meet the goals laid out in the agreement. Additionally, the clean energy sector in the United States employs about 3 million workers - about 14 times that of the oil, gas, coal, and other fossil fuel industry employment. Further investments into clean, renewable energy industries could create more than 500,000 jobs by 2030.

Plant-based meat and lab-grown meat are two innovative examples of how people are working to help the environment, animals and the food supply.
What Is Lab-Grown Meat? Quite simply, lab-grown meat is meat grown in a factory. It is real meat, produced without slaughtering animals. Known by a variety of different names, including clean meat, cultured meat, cellular agriculture, supplemental meat, in-vitro meat, hand-crafted meat, sustainable meat, or zero-emission meat, this emerging sector aims to change and supplement conventional methods of producing animal products. The key goals are: (1) reduce the number of animals slaughtered for food, (2) reduce methane and CO2 emissions, (3) more efficient use of our water supply, (4) save our forests, and (5) create a more sustainable and ethical global food system. Fat and cholesterol levels in zero-emission cultured meat can also be controlled, leading to many positive health outcomes. E. coli caused from animal waste would be eliminated and so would the need for antibotics.

Agriculture is responsible for an estimated 51 percent of the world's greenhouse gases. A significant portion of these emissions come from methane, which, in terms of its contribution to global warming, is 25 times more damaging than carbon dioxide. The U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization says that agricultural methane output could increase by 60 percent by 2030. According to a new analysis by Greenpeace, cows, pigs and other farm livestock in Europe are producing more greenhouse gases every year than all of the EU's cars and vans put together, when the impact of their feed is taken into account.
According to an article in Environmental Science & Technology, "Environmental Impacts of Cultured Meat Production", lab-grown meat requires up to 99% less land for ranching as well as the land dedicated to growing the crops to feed livestock. This land can then be used to grow food for humans or for other uses. Clean meat also produces up to 96% fewer greenhouse gases and uses up to 96% less water compared to conventionally produced meat. And yes, the chicken tenders taste like chicken. Contributing to clean meat advancements are the big names investing in lab-grown meat companies, including Bill Gates, Richard Branson and conventional meat companies themselves such as Tyson Foods and Cargill.
There could come a time when the thought of factory farms and vast slaughterhouses are met with the revulsion they arguably deserve. Indeed, if clean meat fails to deliver on its promises, the world will have great difficulty meeting demand. This is why, for those interested in a healthier, kinder, and more sustainable world, clean meat may be one of the solutions we are searching for.
- Laura Bridgeman, November 11, 2020. SentientMedia.org/lab-grown-meat ***

[returning to Cognitive Biases]
The outgroup empathy gap

The outgroup empathy gap (also referred to as the intergroup empathy gap) is a cognitive bias that causes people to be more empathetic toward members of their ingroup than toward people in their outgroup. Essentially, this means that people are more likely to understand and share the mental state of those that they identify with and view as part of their social group. For example, the outgroup empathy gap means that people are less likely to show empathy toward people who are of a different race or who have a different political affiliation. When one group of people feels a decreased sense of empathy for another group, and a high sense of empathy for their own, it implies less motivation to help people from the "outside" group - even when they are suffering much more than your ingroup.

How to avoid empathy gap bias:

Emotions are incredibly powerful influences, which often supersede rationality and logic. This makes it difficult for us to avoid their impact on our decision-making, causing us to sometimes leave emotions out of the equation when making predictions. However, the empathy gap is a problem of not being able to correctly identify the power of emotions. Therefore to avoid the empathy gap, although we may not be able to shut off our emotions, we can become better at understanding their influence. We need to acknowledge the way that emotions distort our actions instead of pretending we are always rational decision-makers. By factoring emotions into our planning and evaluation process, we can gain advantage by understanding how they may influence behaviors and affect the outcome of our predictions.
We look to our current feelings and attitudes to give us an idea of how we might behave in the future, but depending on whether we are in a cold or hot visceral state, our actions may be very different. Just think of how you have responded to situations in the past when you were extremely angry versus when you had your emotions under control.

Since the empathy gap is a cognitive bias that we experience due to the way that our cognitive system works, it can be countered using the same debiasing techniques that are used in order to counter other biases. Such techniques include increasing your awareness of the bias, slowing down your reasoning process by using system 2 critical thinking, and increasing your personal accountability for the decisions that you make.

One technique for becoming better at predicting future reality is to ensure that we consider not only our future actions but our future mental states as well. Before being able to predict what we may do, we need to be able to predict how we may feel and behave during these situations.
You can use various techniques to reduce empathy gaps or account for their influence, including visualizing different mental states and perspectives, thinking about how others would act in similar situations, and considering past actions and outcomes.
It is almost impossible for us to avoid the influence of emotions on our behavior, so instead, it is important that we acknowledge their impact. The empathy gap is mostly an issue that causes us to incorrectly predict our future behavior, which means that understanding that the way we feel, not just rational logic, impacts how we act and we need to take emotions into account in our predictions.

Emotions are incredibly powerful influences, which often supersede rationality and logic. This makes it difficult for us to avoid their impact on our decision-making causing us to leave emotions out of the equation when making predictions. However, the empathy gap is a problem of not being able to correctly identify the power of emotions. Therefore to avoid the empathy gap, although we may not be able to shut off our emotions, we can become better at understanding their influence. We need to acknowledge the way that emotions distort our actions instead of pretending we are always rational decision-makers. We look to our current feelings and attitudes to give us an idea of how we might behave in the future, but depending on whether we are in a cold or hot visceral state, our actions may be very different.

p. The Ostrich Bias, or ostrich effect, takes confirmation bias one step further by consciously choosing to ignore undesirable information that is clearly present - often in hopes that if the information is ignored, it will go away. It is also known as the "sticking your head in the sand" phenomenon.
The ostrich effect is a cognitive bias that causes people to avoid information that they perceive as potentially unpleasant even though the information and resulting outcomes might actually benefit them.

This bias occurs in situations in which people have strong emotional ties to information they refuse to accept. Consider the ostrich bias when it comes to people's decisions regarding when to seek formal diagnoses when they're experiencing troubling health symptoms. One study found that people's fear of getting a negative diagnosis can lead them to ignore the health issues that they are clearly facing, even though learning the truth sooner rather than later may be critical to their long term well-being.

In another example, the ostrich effect can cause someone to avoid looking at their bills, because they are worried about seeing how far behind they are on their payments. Information avoidance can lead to detrimental outcomes in a variety of situations, so it's important to understand it.
In another case, sometimes people want to avoid finding negative information regarding their progress on their goals, so they simply stop looking for it. So, let's say your goal has to do with losing weight, but lately, your efforts have been lacking. If you think in terms of the ostrich bias, you will avoid weighing yourself or stop maintaining an honest food journal. This is because being cognizant of the information may force the person to face disappointments that are mentally easier to avoid.

There are some common ways in which people avoid information:

a. Physical avoidance. This initial form of avoidance involves making sure to avoid obtaining potentially unpleasant information in the first place. According to one study, people choose to avoid reading specific newspapers or magazines, avoid listening to specific radio or television shows and avoid having conversations with specific people in order to preserve their personal interpretation of reality. People who avoid unpleasant information tend to focus on extremist news sources that alter, filter and provide disinformation that aligns with their biases. They avoid fair and balanced news sources that present the facts and evidence-based truths.
b. Inattention. This form of avoidance involves not paying proper attention to information, after it has already become readily available.
c. Biased interpretation of information. This form of avoidance involves interpreting information in such a way that its unpleasant implications are ignored.
d. Forgetting. This final form of avoidance involves forgetting unpleasant information after it has already been processed.

Though the first of these approaches - physical avoidance - is the one that is most commonly associated with information avoidance in general and the ostrich effect in particular, each of these approaches represents a viable way for people to avoid unpleasant information.

The main reason why people avoid information is to avoid the unpleasant emotional impact that they expect it to lead to, at least in the short term, even if this avoidance will lead to a greater emotional cost later on. This means that people might avoid information if that news could damage their ego, since people have a desire to maintain a favorable view of themselves.

There are several things you can do to reduce the ostrich effect and stop avoiding information. First, both in general, and particularly before making important decisions, you should ask yourself the following:

i. Is there additional information that I can obtain that will help me make a more informed decision?
ii. If so, am I pursuing this additional information, or am I avoiding it?
iii. If I am avoiding this information, why am I doing so?

If your overall answer is that there is crucial information that you are avoiding because you don't want to deal with it, despite the fact that it could benefit you by helping you make a more informed decision, then you are likely being influenced by the ostrich effect.
If this is the case, the simplest solution is to actively push yourself to obtain this information, now that you recognize the fact that you've been avoiding it, and understand why you've been doing that. However, while this is the most straightforward method, it isn't always effective, because in some cases you might struggle to convince yourself to engage with information that you prefer to avoid.
If this is the case, there are several things you can do. First, you can use various debiasing techniques, such as creating psychological distance from the problematic information, that will help you pursue it successfully. For example, this could involve pretending that you're looking up the information so you can help a friend, rather than to address your own issue.
You can also ask assistance from a person who cares about you, and who can hold you accountable and make sure that you deal with the information that you need to deal with. This can be helpful in scenarios such as when faced with an important medical decision.
Finally, note that you can also use these techniques in order to help other people cope with their own information avoidance. For example, if you know that someone is predisposed to avoiding information that they should be looking it, you can help them by attempting to explain how addressing this information may actually benefit them in ways they had not considered.

Though the ostrich effect is generally viewed in a negative light, since it represents an irrational decision to avoid information even in cases where that information could lead to a positive outcome overall, general information avoidance isn't necessarily a bad thing, and there are situations where it can be beneficial.
For example, if you need to make a decision quickly, and feel overwhelmed by discovering more and more information that is unlikely to significantly affect your choice, deciding to avoid obtaining further information can be in your best interest.
Similarly, if you are committed to holding a certain stock in the long run and know that checking its performance constantly will make it more difficult for you to not sell it too early, then limiting your exposure to information about the stock could help you remain calm and maintain your position. As such, it's important to remember that it can sometimes be reasonable to intentionally avoid information, as long as doing so leads to better decision making, or offers some other benefit.

Though the ostrich effect often plays a role in people's decision making, realize that many well-adapted and successful people consistently pursue important information even if they feel that it's unpleasant. If the information can be useful to promoting your emotional or medical well-being, intellectual advancement, or economic situation, it should not be ignored.

q. Cognitive Dissonance is closely related to the Ostrich Bias and Confirmation Bias.
Cognitive dissonance, first described by the psychologist Leon Festinger in 1957, occurs when conflict emerges between what people want to believe and the reality that threatens those beliefs. The human mind does not like such inconsistencies. He suggested that people have an inner need to ensure that their beliefs and behaviors are consistent. Inconsistent or conflicting beliefs lead to disharmony, which people strive to avoid. This causes the mind to incorrectly alter some beliefs to make the perceived reality fit with one's preferred views.

People like to believe that they are logical, consistent, and good at making decisions. Cognitive dissonance can interfere with the perceptions people hold about themselves and their abilities, which is why it can often feel so uncomfortable and unpleasant. The ways that people resolve cognitive dissonance can contribute to unhealthy behaviors, poor decisions, relationship issues and negative outcomes.

The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the mental discomfort that results from holding conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. It refers to the mental conflict that occurs when a person's behaviors and beliefs do not align. People tend to seek consistency in their attitudes and perceptions, so this conflict causes feelings of unease, stress and discomfort. The inconsistency between what people believe and how they behave motivates people to engage in actions that will help minimize these feelings of distress.
As a result, they may try to hide their actions or beliefs from others, shy away from conversations or debates about specific topics, avoid learning new information that goes against their existing beliefs, and reject or explain away conflicting information. They may ignore scientific research, newspaper articles, or doctor's advice that causes dissonance. One example of this is by devaluing particular news sources by describing them as biased, false, liars or fake-news. Not surprisingly, the sources such people prefer may actually be completely biased and full of lies, disinformation and fake-news, yet they are unwilling to admit it in order to justify their view of reality. They tend to seek out support from others who share similar beliefs. They say things like, "everyone agrees with me" or "everyone knows this to be true". If they do not agree with evidence-based facts they try to convince themselves and others that the new information is false, often by suggesting that "everyone knows this is fake news". Notice that in many of these cases, dissonance resolution is unsupported by facts but relies strictly on opinions.

As people generally have an innate desire to avoid this discomfort, cognitive dissonance has a significant effect on a person's behavior, thoughts, decisions, beliefs, attitudes, values, mental and physical health.
Everyone experiences cognitive dissonance to some degree and it plays a role in many of a person's daily judgments and decisions but that doesn't mean that it is always easy to recognize. Some signs that what you are feeling might be related to dissonance include feeling anxiety, uncertainty, guilt, hatred, shame, embarrassment, stress and regret.

Although cognitive dissonance often has negative consequences, it can also help people change and grow in positive ways. Through awareness of conflicting beliefs and behaviors, people can address their habits and bring their actions in line with their values and beliefs. This helps to reduce internal and external struggles while creating more peace, love and harmony in our daily lives.

r. Illusory Superiority bias, formulated in 1991 by Van Yperen and Buunk, is a hindrance to the person or persons exhibiting it. It cuts them off from others and reality, and paints "out-groups" as lesser than themselves. Individuals degrade other individuals or groups with opposing views, and perceive them as less intelligent or less able to comprehend a specific point or idea.

This judgement interferes with learning, dialogue and the ability to unite within society.
Research has shown that people tend to have a high opinion of themselves and their own intelligence when comparing themselves to others. They say things like:
I'm actually smarter than most people; I know so much more more about this than that other group; Everyone is brainwashed but me and those that "know" what I know; My group is always smarter and better at making decisions than opposing groups; Those people are asleep and stupid! They need to "wake up" like I have.

Related topic: 1/18/21

How do you unify people?

You unify by reducing the divide. Heal the pain.

You unify by telling the truth. Be honest and transparent.

You unify by treating others with kindness, dignity and respect.

You unify by ensuring equal justice for all.

You unify by spreading love. Love your neighbor.

You unify by providing access to quality healthcare for all.

You unify by ensuring people have access to healthy food, clean water, air and energy.

You unify by sharing and distributing wealth and prosperity.

You unify by providing access to quality education so people can help themselves.

You unify by promoting the Golden Rule:

Wish upon others, what you wish for yourself.
Treat others as you would like others to treat you.

You unify by enabling people to seek Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

You unify by sowing PEACE!

What else would you add?

11i. Solutions to Cognitive Bias:

a. Be aware. The best way to prevent destructive cognitive biases from influencing the way you think or make decisions is by being aware that they exist in the first place. Critical thinking is one of the best ways to address and control cognitive bias.

b. Challenge your own beliefs. Once you're aware that your own thinking is heavily biased, continuously challenge the things you believe is a good way to begin the un-biasing process, especially when receiving new information. This can help expand your pool of knowledge, giving you a greater understanding of the subject matter. This is how wise people gain wisdom.

c. Consider the factors that influence your decisions. Cognitive biases involve making decisions without the relevant information, and this leads individuals to draw hasty conclusions that lead to mistakes. Mental biases are formed to fill gaps in the memories of individuals when the brain lacks data. By knowing there are factors that can alter the way we see, experience, or recall things, we realize that there are additional steps we must take when forming a judgment or opinion about something of high value to you. Don't rely only on the rapid gut feelings presented from System 1 thinking. Utilize logical System 2 thinking when faced with important decisions that will affect your happiness, success and increase your ability to have positive relationships with others and those you love.

In summary, you may recall from earlier discussions:

"Intuition comes very close to clairvoyance; it appears to be the extrasensory perception of reality." - Alexis Carrel

Understanding how cognitive bias affects your perception of reality can help reduce the ill effects of biased thinking. If you want to be more intuitive and clairvoyant in order to rapidly improve your life circumstances, you will need to develop your extrasensory perception of reality. That means utilizing both fast and slow thinking; combining both intuitive / creative thinking with logical / rational thinking.
Seeking the truth, discovering the facts, and improving perception is a lot like being showered in a glowing light after being shrouded in darkness for too long.

The next topic to be considered is intricately interconnected to reality, the field of Philosophy.

2.23) Philosophy

Why Study Philosophy and What do Philosophers Do?

There are four main branches of philosophy:

Metaphysics - The study of Reality
Epistemology - The study of Knowledge and Wisdom
Logic - The study of Reasoning
Axiology: Ethics & Aesthetics - The study of Values & Virtues (The 2 Big V's)

Which branch is your favorite?

1. Philosophy tackles some of the most challenging questions in life, and explains how to evaluate them using rigorous arguments. The study of philosophy exposes us to great debates on deep and important questions, and teaches critical thinking skills that last a lifetime.
"Philosophy develops intellectual abilities important for life as a whole, beyond the knowledge and skills required for any particular profession. It enhances analytical, critical, and interpretive capacities that are applicable to any subject matter and in any human context" - The American Philosophical Association

"I must study politics and war so that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy." - John Adams (a Founding Father who served as the first vice president and the second president of the United States, from 1797 to 1801)

2. "Philosophy" comes from Greek words meaning "love of wisdom". Philosophy uses the tools of logic and reason to analyze the ways in which humans experience the world. It teaches critical thinking, clear writing, comprehensive reading and logical analysis. It uses these tools to understand and improve the way we perceive and describe the world, and our place in it. Different branches of philosophy are distinguished by the questions they ask: Do our senses accurately describe reality? What is beauty? What makes right actions good? How can we identify bad reasoning and falsehoods? Is every statement either true or false? What does it means to "know" and be wise? How should we live? Is happiness the meaning of life?
These are philosophical questions, and philosophy teaches us the ways in which we benefit from answering these challenging and meaningful questions.
"The heart alone is not enough; without the discipline of one's mind the answer cannot be understood. For some, that is how the answer is most plainly heard. They are the philosophers." - Abraham Kaplan

3. The most important reason to study philosophy may be the enormous impact it has on our perception of reality. Rapidly improved perception and intuition is both liberating and stunning at the same time. To get there we must answer for ourselves provocative questions asked by the worlds greatest philosophers and thinkers. Philosophy involves asking the right questions, finding the right facts, using the appropriate methods, and applying rationality and logic. It involves critically examining the writings of previous philosophers, truly understanding their research and the reasoning behind their works, and possibly building on their theories by testing and improving these methodologies.

4. Philosophy is an activity people take advantage of when they desire to better understand themselves, the world they live in, and each other.
"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates
Those who engage in philosophy are continuously asking, evaluating, answering and reasoning about difficult, useful and meaningful questions in life. Here are a few of them:

a. What is reality? What does it mean to be human? How did we get here? What is the meaning of life? Is there a God? If so, is it the same God for all religions and cultures?
b. Are we responsible for what we do, or are we just helpless victims of our genes, environment, and upbringing?
c. What is the best sort of life to live? What kind of person is considered good?
d. What types of political institutions are best for humanity?
e. What is happiness? Can we hope to attain it? Is it what matters most in life? Can bad people be truly happy?
f. How should we balance our own desires, needs, and rights against those of others individuals? Against those of future generations? Against animals and plants?
g. What does it mean for one thing to cause another thing to happen?
h. What do we know and how do we know it? What is truth? Is anything true? How can we tell?
i. What is art? What is beauty? Does art have to be beautiful to be good?
j. Can we justify our judgments about the merits of a film, a book, a painting, a song, a constitutional document?
k. How do words come to have meaning?
l. What is the construct of time? Is time really real?
m. Can there be more than one right answer?
n. How do we judge what we know and how we know, or what to evaluate next?
o. What is the human mind?

By learning philosophy, you'll have the opportunity to grapple with these questions and discover what some of the greatest philosophers of the past and present think about them.

5. Philosophy enhances our problem-solving skills, our ability to organize ideas and issues, and our ability to distinguish what is essential and necessary from what is not.
It helps us to look at things from a variety of perspectives, to understand different viewpoints, and to discover the common ground between them.
You will learn how to critically examine your own views as well as those of others, and develop your ability to understand and explain meaningful subjects.
Philosophy trains us to distinguish good reasoning from bad reasoning (or lack of reasoning), and to constructively evaluate others' reasoning. It helps us develop good interpretive, comparative, argumentative, analytical, and descriptive writing and speaking skills which helps us to express our ideas in a clear and powerful way.

6. Philosophy's critical reasoning skills also provide the best defense against popular online conspiracy theories, falsehoods, fake news and altered digital content ... protects you from the hypocritical and unethical posturing of insincere politicians and the nonsensical prattling of extremist media pundits ... shields you from the deceptive claims of advertisers, spokespeople and untruthful government officials ... and enables you to see through unsubstantiated opinions and illogical postulations. A lie remains a lie regardless of how many times it is told, although repetition helps falsehoods gain a foothold in those who possess strong feelings and refuse to apply logic; while truth remains the shining light of a just and virtuous society.
May light prevail over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, love over hate, courage over fear, peace over anxiety, faith over hopelessness, truth over lies.

7. By turning our minds to the consideration of the most basic questions concerning reality, human existence and spirituality, we open ourselves to a world of possibilities for understanding the world and our place in it. By exercising our minds in the disciplines of critical and logical thought, we improve our ability to imagine, debate, and clarify the nature of a good and honorable life. Philosophy encourages and empowers us to discover what is really true and valuable, and to distinguish it from what is fake and frivolous. As Plato explained over 2300 years ago, (founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world), philosophy is liberating!

8. Metaphysics - The study of Reality

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality.
The word philosophy is derived from two Greek words. The first word, philo, means "love". The second, sophy, means "wisdom". Literally, then, philosophy means "love of wisdom". Each of us has an attitude toward life, children, politics, learning, and previous personal experiences that informs and shapes our set of beliefs. Although you may not be conscious of it, this set of beliefs, or personal philosophy, determines how you live, work, and interact with others.
The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that together mean above or beyond the study of the natural, of science. It has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle's works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics (ta meta ta phusika, 'after the Physics', another of Aristotle's works).

8a. Metaphysics studies questions related to what it is for something to exist and what types of existence there are. Metaphysics seeks to answer, in an abstract and fully general manner, the questions:
What is there?
What is it like?
What is real?
What is the origin of the world?
What is beyond the stars?
Consideration of reality as an external creation or an internal construct influences your beliefs and perspectives.

8b. Topics of metaphysical investigation include existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility. Metaphysics is considered one of the four main branches of philosophy, along with epistemology, logic, and ethics (axiology).

8c. Metaphysical study is conducted using deduction from that which is known. Like foundational mathematics, it tries to give a coherent account of the structure of the world, capable of explaining our everyday and scientific perception of the world, and being free from contradictions. In mathematics, there are many different ways to define numbers; similarly in metaphysics there are many different ways to define objects, properties, concepts, and other entities which are claimed to make up the world (our reality). For example: claiming that "electrons have charge" is a scientific theory; while metaphysics explores what it means for electrons to be, or are perceived to be an "object", possessing a charge (energy force) which is considered to be its "property", which exists in a topological entity called "spacetime" while interacting with our environment.

8d. There are two broad stances about what is "the world" studied by metaphysics. The strong, classical view assumes that the objects studied by metaphysics exist independently of any observer, so that the subject is the most fundamental of all sciences. The weak, modern view assumes that the objects studied by metaphysics exist inside the mind of an observer, so the subject becomes a form of introspection and conceptual analysis. Some philosophers, notably Kant, discuss both of these "worlds" and what can be inferred about each one. Some, such as the logical positivists, and many scientists, reject the strong view of metaphysics as meaningless and unverifiable. Others reply that this criticism also applies to any type of knowledge, including hard science, which claims to describe anything other than the contents of human perception, and thus that the world of perception is the objective world in some sense. Metaphysics itself usually assumes that some stance has been taken on these questions and that it may proceed independently of the choice - the question of which stance to take belongs instead to another branch of philosophy, epistemology.

9. Epistemology - The study of Knowledge and Wisdom

Epistemology is the philosophical study of the nature, origin, and limits of human knowledge. It is the branch of philosophy that considers how people come to learn what they know. Epistemology proposes that there are four main bases of knowledge: divine revelation, experience, logic and reason, and intuition. The term is derived from the Greek words episteme (knowledge/understanding) and logos (reason), and accordingly the field is sometimes referred to as the theory of knowledge and truth. Epistemology has a long history within Western philosophy, dating before Socrates and continuing to the present. Along with metaphysics, logic, and ethics (axiology), it is one of the four main branches of philosophy, and nearly every great philosopher has contributed to it.

9a. Epistemology raises questions like:
What is truth?
Do we really know what we think we know?
How can knowledge be made more reliable?
The knowledge of facts requires at least three conditions: belief, truth and justification. Justification is needed to ensure that the beliefs leading to the truth are justifiably or appropriately held with the backing of evidence, and not a matter of a lucky guess.

9b. While epistemology is the study of knowledge, ontology is the study of existence. Metaphysics is a very broad field, and metaphysicians attempt to answer questions about how the world is. Ontology is a related sub-field, partially within metaphysics, that answers questions of what things exist in the world. Ontology raises questions about what exists, what kinds of things exist, and what it means for something to exist. It's one of the most abstract branches of philosophy. It asks questions like "Does God exist", how big is our universe, is our universe the only universe to exist, is there life on other planets, and why are we here. Epistemology asks questions about how humans can gain knowledge in order to answer such abstract questions.

9c. Over its long history, different philosophers have focused on different facets of epistemology. Plato's epistemology was an attempt to understand what it was to know, and how knowledge is good for the knower. Locke's epistemology was an attempt to understand the operations of human understanding, Kant's epistemology was an attempt to understand the conditions of the possibility of human understanding, and Russell's epistemology was an attempt to understand how modern science could be justified by appeal to sensory experience. Much recent work in formal epistemology is an attempt to understand how our degrees of confidence about the knowedge we have gained are rationally constrained by our evidence.

10. Logic - The study of Reasoning

Logic is the science of how to evaluate arguments and reasoning. Critical thinking is a process of evaluation that uses logic to separate truth from falsehood, and reasonable from unreasonable beliefs. If you want to better evaluate the various claims, ideas, and arguments you encounter, you need a better understanding of basic logic and the process of critical thinking.

10a. Philosophy is divided into Logic, Epistemology, Ethics, and Metaphysics. Logic is a branch of philosophy because philosophy deals with wisdom, which correlates with reasoning, and you can't have wisdom without sound reasoning. Logic is defined as the way and manner in which people differentiate bad and incorrect reasoning (falsehoods) from good and correct reasoning (truth). In order to develop a wise philosophy you have to make use of your reasoning ability and that is where the study of logic is invaluable.
Logic is not a matter of opinion. When it comes to evaluating arguments, there are specific principles and criteria that you should use. If you use those principles and criteria, then you are using logic; if you aren't, then you are not justified in claiming to use logic or be logical.

10b. Logical systems should have three things: consistency (which means that none of the theorems of the system contradict one another); soundness (which means that the system's rules of proof will never allow a false inference from a true premise); and completeness (which means that there are no true sentences in the system that cannot, at least in principle, be proved in the system).

10c. Logic investigates and classifies the structure of statements and arguments, both through the study of formal systems of interpretation and through the study of arguments in natural language. It deals only with propositions (declarative sentences, used to make an assertion, as opposed to questions, demands or sentences expressing wishes) that are capable of being true or false. It is not concerned with the psychological processes connected with thought, emotions, images and the like. It asks questions like "What is correct reasoning?", "What distinguishes a good argument from a bad one?", "How can we detect a fallacy in reasoning?"

10d. Few people in society today spend much time studying either philosophy or logic. This is unfortunate because so much relies on both. Philosophy is a fundamental component of all areas of human inquiry, while logic is the basis that underpins philosophy. Understanding the relation between logic and philosophy will help you grasp the importance of each.
Both logic and philosophy are exercises in thought, and both depend on individual reasoning for their success. While logic is the study of reasoning and does not usually concern itself with the meanings of its conclusions, philosophy seeks to solve problems using logical processes. This perhaps is the biggest difference between logic and philosophy: Logic looks at the process, philosophy desires the conclusion. Even so, these two disciplines are deeply intertwined and cannot be easily separated. Both of these disciplines involve using reasoning.

10e. In Ancient India, the "Nasadiya Sukta" of the Rig Veda contains various logical divisions that were later recast formally as the four circles of catuskoti. The Nyaya school of Indian philosophical speculation is based on texts known as the "Nyaya Sutras" of Aksapada Gautama from around the 2nd Century B.C.E., and its methodology of inference is based on a system of logic involving a combination of induction and deduction.

10f. Modern logic descends mainly from the Ancient Greek tradition. Both Plato and Aristotle conceived of logic as the study of argument and from a concern with the correctness of argumentation. Aristotle produced six works on logic, known collectively as the "Organon", the first of these, the "Prior Analytics", being the first explicit work in formal logic.
Aristotle was the first logician to use variables. This innovation was tremendously important, since without them it would have been impossible for him to reach the level of generality and abstraction that he did.
Aristotle defined logic as "new and necessary reasoning"; "new" because it allows us to learn what we do not know, and "necessary" because its conclusions are undeniable and clearly refute illogical arguments.
This conception distinguishes Aristotle's logic sharply from modern logic, in which rules of inference are thought of as permitting the reasoner to draw a certain conclusion but not as psychologically compelling them to do so. Aristotelian logic, after a great and early triumph, consolidated its position of influence to rule over the philosophical world throughout the Middle Ages up until the 19th Century. All that changed rapidly when modern logicians embraced a new system of mathematical logic.

10g. Aristotle espoused two principles of great importance in logic; the Law of Excluded Middle which defines that every statement is either true or false, and the Law of Non-Contradiction, that no statement is both true and false. He is perhaps most famous for introducing the syllogism (logic): A form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise and a minor premise which are asserted to be true, and a conclusion. For example, All humans are mortal, the major premise, I am a human, the minor premise, therefore, I am mortal, the conclusion. His followers, known as the Peripatetics, further refined his work on logic.

10h. Aristotle used logic to underpin his philosophy in developing the method of deductive reasoning and then applied those two concepts to science, metaphysics, ethics, and politics. Go back far enough and it's clear that you can't separate philosophy and logic; you can't have one without the other. Philosophy is based on the idea that you need to think clearly to grapple with the major (and minor) questions of reality; logic is the way to accomplish that invaluable task. People who fail to utilize philosophy and logic in their lives are at a severe disadvantage in their attempt to achieve long term happiness and success in life.

11. Axiology (Values): Ethics & Aesthetics - The study of Values & Virtues (The 2 Big V's)

Axiology [Practical Philosophy] is the science that studies human values and how they motivate human behavior and convey meaning to human life, and how these values are developed in a society.
It is primarily concerned with classifying what things are good, and how good they are. It seeks to understand the nature of values and value judgments. In a sense, it attempts to determine how valuable ethics and aesthetics are to creating a happy and meaningful life.
It attempts to define the value of music, art, objects, truth, wisdom, the mind, our beliefs, our being, our soul, our vision of the future, etc.
It is closely related to two other realms of philosophy: ethics and aesthetics. All three branches deal with worth.

Axiology is a necessary component of both ethics and aesthetics, because one must use concepts of worth to define goodness, beauty, or unattractiveness and therefore one must understand what is valuable and why. Understanding values helps us to determine the motives, goals, behavior and actions of individuals, governments and society.
Axiology mainly focuses on values and worth involving ethics and aesthetics but it also studies values and worth relating to religion, politics and governance, feminism, BLM, LGBTQ, poverty, homelessness, pollution, famine, and climate change (to prevent ecological suicide).

Innate to humanity is the desire for self-preservation and self-reliance. Like the animals, humans seek out food and shelter, and they desire reproduction. But there is another set of things we seek: truth, understanding, beauty, harmony, love and wisdom. These are different needs, different values that the animal kingdom does not concern itself with. We are spiritual as well as physical beings which is why the need for truth, love and beauty exists. In the study of religious ethics the answer is to simply return to the source of all value, God.

Axiology is the collective term for the philosophical fields of ethics and aesthetics which crucially analyze notions of worth, and is thus similar to the fields of value theory and meta-ethics. The term was first used by Paul Lapie, in 1902, and Edward von Hartmann, in 1908.
In the social sciences, value theory involves various approaches that examine how, why, and to what degree humans value things such as plants, animals, a person, an idea, a law, constitution or norm, philosophy, a physical object, a manufactured product (e.g. a cell phone), a work of art, music, or anything else.
From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

[The term "value theory" is used in at least three different ways in philosophy. In its broadest sense, "value theory" is a catch-all label used to encompass all branches of moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, and sometimes feminist philosophy and the philosophy of religion - whatever areas of philosophy are deemed to encompass some "evaluative" aspect.

In its narrowest sense, "value theory" is used for a relatively narrow area of normative ethical theory (things that are considered normal, proper and desirable) particularly, but not exclusively, of concern to consequentialists. In this narrow sense, "value theory" is roughly synonymous with "axiology". A traditional question of axiology concerns whether the objects of value are subjective psychological states, or objective physical states of the world.

But in a more useful sense, "value theory" designates the area of moral philosophy that is concerned with theoretical questions about value and goodness of all varieties - the theory of value. The theory of value, so construed, encompasses axiology, but also includes many other questions about the nature of value and its relation to other moral categories.]

In another theory, Pragmatic Ethics is a theory of normative philosophical ethics. In the concept of pragmatic ethics, an idea attains a positive value after becoming a successful route to an end. There is no guarantee that something is good or bad. Ethical pragmatists, such as John Dewey, believe that some societies have progressed morally in the same way that they have achieved progress in science.
In pragmatic aesthetics, an appearance achieves its value from group consensus. In the case of judgments, a person considers the wisdom of a group over that of a particular individual in the group.

Instrumental and Intrinsic value: People tend to reason differently about what they should do (good ends) and what they are capable of doing (good means). When people are governed by their values, they consider and deliberate about the ends they seek and they apply the criterion of intrinsic value (what is good and desirable). When they deliberate about the means they will use to obtain these "goods", it relates to the criterion of instrumental value (which are the most praiseworthy options to achieve the desired good). We can choose good ends using good means, or good ends using bad means. These choices are usually determined by our values and moral ethics unless they are made simply from rash and impulsive decisions (often using bad means).

Ethics: The Study of Behavior/Action (from the Greek 'ta ethika' meaning 'on character,' ) which was popularized by Aristotle in his famous manuscript and guide to living well, "Nichomachean Ethics" (dedicated to his father and son, both named Nichomachus). Ethics is concerned with virtue and morality; how one should live; and upon what basis to make decisions. It seeks to answer questions such as: What is a good life? What are the virtues needed in order to live a good life? What deeds are praise-worthy and honorable? What is required in order to achieve magnificence? How can one attain sustained happiness?
For a detailed review of the philosophy of ethics, see section 2.20 - Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness

Aesthetics: The Philosophy of Beauty (from the Greek 'aisthetikos' meaning 'sense/sentience' or 'aisthanomai' meaning 'to perceive or feel'.) Aesthetics concerns itself with the study of beauty, perception of beauty, critical reflection of art, culture, humanity and nature. It asks the fundamental question, "What actually makes something that is beautiful or meaningful, 'beautiful' or 'meaningful'?"
Aesthetics seeks to answer concepts such as, Why do we find certain things beautiful? Is there value in beauty? What makes something "meaningful"? What is the degree of aesthetic value of a thing, a person, a work of art, or a noble constitution? Can aesthetic value be objectively measured or ranked? How much are perceptions of beauty and worth influenced by culture, education, economic class, and religious, political and moral values? Can things of very different categories be considered equally beautiful? How does the inner beauty belonging to individuals, as represented by their compassionate actions, their virtuous ethics, their exemplary citizenship, their charity, their spirituality, etc. compare and contrast to the beauty in art, music, written works, theater, film, journalism and entertainment in general? What characteristics do they share that make them beautiful?
In our daily lives we distinguish between artistic judgments (the appreciation or criticism of an artistic creation) and aesthetic judgments (the degree of appreciation of any object or living thing; not just an artistic object). Thus aesthetics evaluates a much wider realm than merely the philosophy of art. Determinations of beauty utilize all of our sensory, emotional, and intellectual faculties.

The Ancient Greek philosophers initially felt that aesthetically appealing objects were beautiful in and of themselves. Plato and Aristotle attempted to standardize objectively the attributes that contribute to something or someone being considered aesthetically pleasing and therefore valuable to individuals, groups and society.
Plato felt that beauty in life incorporates proportion, harmony and unity among all parts. Aristotle considered the universal elements of beauty to be order, symmetry and definiteness.
The famous Sophist Protagoras argued that if one believes something to be "beautiful" then it is beautiful, and that all judgments are entirely subjective and in the eye of the beholder.
Immanuel Kant postulated that beauty can be objective and universal. He believed that some things are considered beautiful by everyone. (perhaps a flower or a butterfly?)
After the Dadaist art movement of the early 20th century, we discovered that not all artworks are even concerned with beauty but instead may merely be an attempt to evoke an emotional reaction.
John Dewey suggested that it is the process by which a work of art is created or viewed that makes it art. For example, a writer might create literature that they label as poetry, or a work of art, while another person that creates similar content, using similar words, may consider their work as journalism, philosophy or science. In another example, this website began with the intention of producing a love education study program but after months of progress it has evolved into more of a creative and artistic endeavor in an attempt to connect research and theories on love, ethics, philosophy and reality theories, with the new goal of uncovering the beauty of love and human existence.
Leo Tolstoy thought that what makes something art is how it is perceived by its audience, not the intention of its creator.

Art by culture:
Indian art evolved with an emphasis on inducing special spiritual or philosophical states in the observer, or with representing them symbolically.
According to Islam, human works of art are inherently flawed compared to the work of Allah, and to attempt to depict in a realistic form any animal or person is insolence to Allah. This has had the effect of narrowing the field of Muslim artistic possibility to such forms as mosaics, calligraphy, architecture and geometric and floral patterns.
As long ago as the 5th Century B.C.E., Chinese philosophers were already arguing about aesthetics. Confucius (551 - 479 B.C.E.) emphasized the role of the arts and humanities (especially music and poetry) in broadening human nature. His near contemporary Mozi (470 - 391 B.C.E.), however, argued that music and fine arts were classist and wasteful, benefiting the rich but not the common people.
Western Medieval art (at least until the revival of classical ideals during the Renaissance) was highly religious in focus, and was typically funded by the Church, powerful ecclesiastical individuals, or wealthy secular patrons. A religiously uplifting message was considered more important than figurative accuracy or inspired composition. The skills of the artisan were considered gifts from God for the sole purpose of disclosing God to mankind.
With the shift in Western philosophy from the late 17th Century onwards, German and British thinkers in particular emphasized beauty as the key component of art and of the aesthetic experience, and saw art as necessarily aiming at beauty. For Friedrich Schiller (1759 - 1805), aesthetic appreciation of beauty is the most perfect reconciliation of the sensual and rational parts of human nature. Hegel held that art is the first stage in which the absolute spirit is immediately manifest to sense-perception, and is thus an objective rather than a subjective revelation of beauty. For Schopenhauer, aesthetic contemplation of beauty is the most free that the pure intellect can be from the dictates of will.
British Intuitionists like the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671 - 1713) claimed that beauty is just the sensory equivalent of moral goodness. More analytic theorists like Lord Kames (1696 - 1782), William Hogarth (1697 - 1764) and Edmund Burke hoped to reduce beauty to some list of attributes, while others like James Mill (1773 - 1836) and Herbert Spencer (1820 - 1903) strove to link beauty to some scientific theory of psychology or biology.
- https://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_aesthetics.html

Rembrandt: Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, 1653

Click Here to view famous works of Art

At the broader metaphysical level, when we watch a play or a movie, are we judging the whole performance (the unity), or are we valuing separately the writing of the play, the subject matter, the directors role, the set design, the performances of the various actors, the costumes, the soundtrack, the special effects, the creativity & imagination, etc? Similar considerations apply to music, painting, photography, literature, teaching, etc.
Aestheticians also question what the value of art is. Is art simply a form of entertainment? Is it a way to show appreciation of life? Is art a means of gaining some kind of knowledge? Is it a tool of education or enculturation? Is it a reflection of religion, race, politics, culture or the level of evolution in a society? Does art give us an insight into the human condition? Does it make us more moral? Can it uplift us spiritually? Is the value of artwork for the artist different than its value for the audience? Might the value of art to individuals or subsets of society be different than its value to society as a whole? What can this diversity teach us and possibly help to advance us?

The contemporary American philosopher Denis Dutton (1944 - 2010) has identified seven universal signatures in human aesthetics. Although there are possible exceptions and objections to many of them, they represent a useful starting point for the consideration of aesthetics:

a. Expertise or Virtuosity (technical artistic skills are cultivated, recognized and admired)
b. Non-Utilitarian Pleasure (people enjoy art for art's sake, and don't demand practical value of it)
c. Style (artistic objects and performances satisfy rules of composition that place them in recognizable styles)
d. Criticism (people make a point of judging, appreciating and interpreting works of art)
e. Imitation (with a few important exceptions (e.g. music, abstract painting), works of art simulate experiences of the world)
f. Special Focus (art is set aside from ordinary life and becomes a dramatic focus of experience)
g. Imagination (artists and their audiences entertain hypothetical worlds in the theater of the imagination)

Axiology: Politics: The Study of Governance and Politics (from the Greek 'Polis' meaning 'city'). Politikos in Greek means 'that which has to do with the city'. Far from simply being concerned with running a government, however, Politikos also has to do with how to be a good citizen and neighbor, and what one should contribute to one's community. This branch of philosophy, like all the others, was first definitively examined and popularized in the works by Aristotle. It asks questions such as "How does one know what is good governance?" What is justice? Is justice possible for everyone? Can there be a justice that is unjust for some?

Particular moral disagreements between two parties should not always be taken to indicate a fundamental moral difference between the two parties. Sometimes, people can behave radically differently, support radically different policies, and make radically different claims about the rightness and wrongness of certain actions, all while sharing the same core moral beliefs and the desire to have their government succeed in serving society fairly. Common ground and compromises must be discovered so that the two parties can find ways to work together to solve disputes for the benefit of all. In the end, fundamental moral values will likely be stronger than the particular disagreements being faced.

In Greece between the 5th and 6th centuries B.C.E., it was thought that the only way to be truly successful was through the attainment of knowledge. Philosophers also began to recognize that there are differences between the laws and morals of society. Socrates believed that knowledge was the vital connection to virtue. He argued that morality and democracy are closely interrelated, if not critically dependent. His top student, Plato contributed to this understanding by establishing virtues which should be followed by individuals, senators and society.

With the fall of governments, values tend to become individualistic, causing skeptic schools of thought to flourish, ultimately forming a pagan philosophy, which, as has been suggested, helped form Christianity in order to combat the rise of non-virtuous pagan religions and hostile extremist factions. During the medieval period, Thomas Aquinas made the distinction between the natural and the supernatural theological virtues. This concept led philosophers to distinguish between judgments based on fact and judgments based on values, creating division between science and philosophy.

Which is the most critical of the four branches of philosophy?

Quite possibly logic. Logic is required in all the other branches, including the branch of logic itself.
Without starting with a solid foundation, how can you build a strong philosophical house of wisdom?
If you build upon false and shaky premises, your house will likely fall when the winds of change begin to blow.
As stated earlier, Logic is the science of how to evaluate arguments and reasoning. Critical thinking is a process of evaluation that uses logic to separate truth from falsehood, and reasonable from unreasonable beliefs. If you want to better evaluate the various claims, ideas, and arguments you encounter, you need a better understanding of basic logic and the process of critical thinking.

Traditional Philosophy is divided into Logic, Epistemology, Ethics, and Metaphysics. Logic is a branch of philosophy because philosophy deals with wisdom, which correlates with reasoning, and you can't have wisdom without sound reasoning. Logic is defined as the way and manner in which people differentiate bad and incorrect reasoning (lies and falsehoods) from good and correct reasoning (truth). In order to develop a wise philosophy you have to make use of your reasoning ability and that is where the study of logic is invaluable.
Logic is not a matter of opinion. When it comes to evaluating arguments, there are specific principles and criteria that you should use. If you use those principles and criteria, then you are using logic; if you aren't, then you are not justified in claiming to use logic or be logical.
Of course, there are scholars that may debate that logic is the most critical of the four branches and suggest that logic is merely the most common denominator in all the fields of philosophy, similar to how "value" is the common denominator in the fields of ethics and aesthetics.
There are many people that believe that ethics is the most important branch of philosophy because without ethics, morals and virtues, how can government and society function properly? Without ethics, and respected and observed norms, governments and societies spiral into chaos and eventually collapse.
Maybe ethics is the most important branch, but logic is the most critical to ensure that lies and falsehoods don't get in the way of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

2.24) Intuition2020.com - Discovering our 3 Brains

Intuition2020.com went online March 12, 2021

Intuition2020.com - Click Here

Intuition is defined as the ability to understand something immediately,
without the need for conscious reasoning.

Intuition 2020.com
"Your intuition is the most honest friend you will ever have." - Doe Zontomota

Intuition is the equivalent of 2020 foresight, similar to how fact based knowledge offers nearly 2020 hindsight. - Intuition2020.com

Some people believe that intuition is a worldly wisdom that few people can access.
Others believe that intuition is a uniquely feminine power.
It is time for these misconceptions to end.
We all have intuition!

"It might seem that some people have more intuition than others but it is potentially available to everyone.
Some people choose to develop it, others do not."
- Francis Vaughan, Awakening Intuition

"I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.
The only real valuable thing is intuition." - Albert Einstein

Intuition provides a new way of thinking, a new way of seeing and sensing the world.

When you change the way you see the world, your world changes.

1.1) Introduction:

Even people who believe they are logical, analytical left brained thinkers without any ability for using intuition will benefit greatly from developing this incredible, innate power. In fact, if you are truly logical, you will see the obvious advantages of learning to use the right hemisphere of the brain in your head, along with the brain in your heart, and the brain in your gut in order to maximize your combined intuitive brain power. It would be irrational to ignore researching such an advantageous gift that is just waiting for us to open, would it not?
Most of us want more "eureka" and "aha" and "i get it" moments in our lives, and developing and utilizing our intuition and subconscious mind are just two of the ways of creating more of these life-changing benefits in our everyday lives.

As mentioned above, Intuition is the equivalent of 2020 foresight, similar to how fact based knowledge offers nearly 2020 hindsight. Both can be wrong or misconstrued due to bias, ego, wishful thinking, selective memory, faulty information, and other factors, but when used properly, foresight (intuition/precognition) and hindsight (knowledge/rationality) are very effective tools in the advancement of what is good, positive and beneficial for us. Intuition is also critical in determining what may be destructive, damaging and potentially dangerous to our health and well-being. Thus, intuition is necessary to both help protect us from hardship and to guide us towards harmony, goodness, kindness, charity, unity, peace, success and happiness.

"Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity. Intuition tells man his purpose in this life."

We will not solve the problems of the world from the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. More than anything else, this new century demands new thinking: We must change our materially based analyses of the world around us to include broader, more multidimensional perspectives."
"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
- Albert Einstein

1.1.a) Intuition is similar to instinct but yet quite different. Instinct is a survival tool that comes partly from our rudimentary reptilian brain stem, specifically from the amygdala which is a small gland at the base of the left-brain and is the seat of the wounded self - it stores emotional memories that often get triggered in stressful situations. When instinct kicks in, we are not operating from thought or intuition but rather from survival needs, fear or intense emotion. It is what causes the "fight, flight or freeze" mechanism when we are in danger or extremely upset. An "amygdala hijacking" may also cause an intense reaction and cause a person to "see" red, setting off a chain of events within the next 15-30 seconds that can potentially ruin the rest of your life (or your relationship with another), depending on how you react to the stimuli. Hopefully we learn at an early age to thoughtfully "respond" rather than rapidly react when dealing with emotionally charged relationship issues. Another term for this is "mindfulness".

So there is a huge difference between instinct and intuition, and it is important to differentiate between them, especially right now with so much uncertainty on our planet.
Instinct is about Survival and swift reactions. Intuition is about Guidance and heartfelt responses.
Although the words, intuition and instinct may seem interchangeable to many people, they are not the same thing. Intuition is our ability to know something without reasoning. It is when we feel as if we know what is going to happen, or what to do without having any real facts. Instinct is a sudden, sharp reaction to a sense of danger or attack, while intuition is a more fluid, gradual message. In fact, intuition is precisely about flow and sensibility. The purpose of intuition is to inform us, guide us, to literally lead us to self-actualization and transcendence. Intuition can arrive as spontaneously as instinct but does not usually require such an immediate response or decision. Instead it is a feeling, a sense of knowing what is true versus what is not. It is a sense of knowing what the future is likely to be if you choose to follow your intuitive awareness. It is both the tool and the process of becoming all that we essentially are and nothing that we are not. It helps us become our Better Angel and avoid becoming the monster we claim to despise.

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

Instinct and intuition are not the same. The first one keeps you in prison. The second offers you the keys to your emancipation.
~ Roxana Jones

1.1b) Intuition is our inner guiding voice ("let your conscience be your guide"), our gut feelings, our heart-felt emotions, and a place of awareness that everyone can access and utilize without the need for direct logic. It is the bridge between the conscious and the subconscious, tying together both what we "know" and what we "feel" to be true. Scientists have repeatedly demonstrated how information can register on the brain without conscious awareness and positively influence decision-making and other behavior. Intuition, when developed, provides an incredible power that helps you boost your potential and achieve your grandest dreams and visions.

By learning to maximize the use of our 3 brains and our 6 senses, we will be better aware when we sense that something doesn't quite "smell" right, when something "feels" wrong, when something seems sour in our "gut", or when we just "know" that things are amiss. When we get "chills" up our spine, it is our amazing senses telling us to pay attention. We must not depend solely on our logical, and often dominating left brain. If we can truly say we are using all our senses and capacities in identifying the best paths forward, instead of merely choosing the most "logical" paths, then we can truly claim we are being both sensitive and "sensible".

"Come from the heart, the true heart, not the head. When in doubt, choose the heart. This does not mean to deny your own experiences and that which you have empirically learned through the years. It means to trust your self to integrate intuition and experience.
There is a balance, a harmony to be nurtured, between the head and the heart. When the intuition rings clear and true, loving impulses are favored." - Brian L. Weiss

Learing to use this power will quickly help you understand and control your emotions better; reduce inner anger, hatred, resentment and non-forgiveness problems; and reduce superiority complexes and other cognitive biases that may plague you. Often we don't even realize we are suffering from these issues. This will increase your mental well-being and happiness, your relationships with nearly everyone you interact with, and likely improve your economic prosperity and physical, emotional and spiritual health.

"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

1.1c) Imagination is nearly synonymous with Intuition. Whereas logic can only take us so far in advancing our evolution as human beings, imagination, creativity and intuition provide the directions and inspirations that give our "servant" rational mind something to work on. Maybe it is time for all three of our brains to finally come together in order to rapidly amplify our intuition. With proper training and awareness, we can better utilize our three genius brains; the vast neural network we have within us. Combining this with an improved understanding of the functions of our left (logical) and right (creative) hemispheres in the head-brain; our intuitive (nonlocal) heart-brain; and our mood-altering gut-brain (which seems to provide many needed chemicals for our happiness), we have the opportunity to advance our consciousness as a species.

"Listen to your intuition. It will tell you everything you need to know." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition." - Steve Jobs

"You must train your intuition - you must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide." - Ingrid Bergman

"Man, surrounded by facts, permitting himself no surprise, no intuitive flash, no great hypothesis, no risk, is in a locked cell. Ignorance cannot seal the mind and imagination more securely. - Albert Einstein

Question: How did you develop your logic and rationality? You probably educated yourself, practiced it, learned from your both your successes and mistakes, and hopefully became proficient at using rationality to sort out truth from lies; facts from fiction. Intuition and utilization of your subconscious - sometimes called your "non-rational mind" - is no different. Granted some people are "lucky" and more gifted with either logic or intuition than others, but as the saying goes, "Luck is the laymans term for Genius". Genius actually comes from the application of education, motivation, practice, hard work, determination, vision and intuition; not from pure luck.

The beauty of intuition is that it can be developed and used in real-life situations in a relatively short period of time compared to how long it takes to learn math, language, reading and writing. Once you begin to realize the vast benefits that intuition provides, your desire and ability to develop it more deeply will likely happen quickly. Intuition is a developed and refined skill that provides benefits for the rest of your life with a relatively short learning curve. Not only that, it is enjoyable, amazing and entertaining, whereas most people feel that math and science are not nearly as fun, although they are necessary if your want to balance your checkbook or become a scientist, doctor or engineer. Every soul can benefit nearly immediately from intuition!

As Henri Poincare, French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and philosopher of science says, "It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover."

"The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them." - Albert Einstein

Intuition - A Key to Finding Happiness and you Already Have It. Use It! Unlock the Door.

Our definition of Intuition is best explained as the sum of observation, emotional perception, re-collection, contemplation and interpretation. Intuition provides solutions to problems that would be out of our grasp using logic alone. This implies that we must be willing to take a leap of faith in order to step beyond the ordinary. It is exactly this leap of faith that releases us from the chains of the past and propels us into the future. Facts and logic are essential to finding the truth but without using intuition to sort out the "facts" from the fiction we might as well have machines making our decisions for us.

"Highly developed intuition gives you all kinds of information you wouldn't normally have. This isn't the brain analyzing; this is nonlinear knowledge. It's a second kind of intelligence. You want to use both."
- Judith Orloff, MD, professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of Dr. Judith Orloff's Guide to Intuitive Healing

In order to become proficient at using intuition all we really have to do is start following it. First try using intuition on small, non-important issues and as you begin to realize how accurate intuition is, move up to more beneficial issues. Learn to perceive using all your senses. Spend some time just listening, watching, smelling, touching and "feeling" your surroundings. Try to find the metaphors in your dreams and find out what they are telling you. Try guessing someone's thoughts by looking at their expressions. Try to imagine what your life would be like if you used your latent intuition to solve your most difficult problems instead of using logic alone; and all of the sudden you started making better decisions and started getting better results. That would be fantastic, wouldn't it? Or maybe you just want to stick with rationality and ignore this "magical" power? :)

The only caution about intuition is to be careful not to confuse strong emotions for intuition. Emotions are a big part of intuition but they can also lead to biased conclusions. Make sure your emotions are under control before making rash decisions based on "intuition". It is suggested that you don't quit your day job in your first intuitive attempt. Your intuition may be telling you that you need to find something more creative and rewarding in life, but you probably want to start slowly and discover the difference between your strong emotions and your strong intuitions before making drastic decisions that can set your life backwards instead of forward.

As we learn to follow our intuition our happiness and peace of mind will increase accordingly. There will no longer be the need to get angry with ourselves for not doing what we knew we should have done because we actually "do" what we should have done. This reduces both our internal and external wars. Used regularly, intuition will increase your happiness, contentment and prosperity.

"One who scorns the power of intuition will never rise above the ranks of journeyman calculator." - Albert Einstein

2.24: 2) Types of Intuition

A primary definition of intuition is the ability to understand or know something without conscious reasoning.

There are at least three types of intuition:
1) Implicit Knowledge.
2) Energetic Sensitivity.
3) Nonlocal Intuition.

1) Implicit Knowledge uses both the left and right hemisphere of your head-brain and also any memories stored in your heart-brain and gut-brain. It uses more stored memory and facts than the other two types of intuition in analyzing and reaching conclusions.

2) Energetic Sensitivity is when you "tune in" to your surroundings using all your senses and brain centers. It probably relies more on the heart-brain and gut-brain over the head-brain for its inputs.

3) Nonlocal Intuition appears to rely predominantly on the heart-brain. It seems to be a "knowing" that comes out of thin air. It may be the closest to the primary definition of intuition - the ability to understand or know something without conscious reasoning. By learning to develop and utilize all three types of intuition, we can accelerate our intuitive powers much faster. Merely by recognizing that we have 3 types ensures that we don't neglect any of them and that we choose the appropriate training practices in order to focus on the type of intuition we want to take advantage of in order to solve daily issues we may be facing.

2.24: 3) Intuition Definitions:

"A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something." - Frank Capra

What exactly is intuition? You may believe it's a supernatural force, or simply the brain analyzing facts at a subconscious level and sending you "hunches" based on that analysis.

Here are some definitions:

Intuition is defined as the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.

There are at least three types of intuition: Implicit Knowledge, Energetic Sensitivity and Nonlocal Intuition.

Intuition is the faculty of knowing or understanding something without reasoning or proof.

An impression or insight gained by the use of this faculty.

Intuition is the voice of your Soul. The same Divine Intelligence that is at work in the greater Universe is also at work within you.

"If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration."
- Nikola Tesla (discussing intuition, particularly Energetic Sensitivity)

"Intuition is seeing with the soul." - Dean Koontz

Intuition is "knowing" something without being able to explain how you came to that conclusion rationally. (Nonlocal Intuition)

Intuition is a form of knowledge that appears in consciousness without obvious deliberation. It is not magical but rather a faculty in which hunches are generated by the unconscious mind rapidly sifting through past experience and cumulative knowledge. (Implicit Knowledge)

The power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.

Intuition is the light that speaks through to your conscious mind.

Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without recourse to conscious reasoning.

"Our bodies have five senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing. But not to be overlooked are the senses of our souls: intuition, peace, foresight, trust, empathy.
The differences between people lie in their use of these senses; most people don't know anything about the inner senses while a few people rely on them just as they rely on their physical senses, and in fact probably even more." - C. Joybell C.

"Intuition comes very close to clairvoyance; it appears to be the extrasensory perception of reality." - Alexis Carrel

"There is a universal, intelligent, life force that exists within everyone and everything. It resides within each one of us as a deep wisdom, an inner knowing.
We can access this wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom through our intuition, an inner sense that tells us what feels right and true for us at any given moment." - Shakti Gawain

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why." - Albert Einstein

"You have two brains: a left and a right. Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words. Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of 'whole things,' and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters, or words."
From The Fabric of Mind, by the eminent scientist and neurosurgeon, Richard Bergland.

In addition we can learn from the Nobel Prize-winning work of Dr. Roger W. Sperry, (1913-1994), the eminent neuropsychologist and neurobiologist at CalTech in Pasadena. His work focused on the lateralization of verbal, analytic, sequential functions, which, for most individuals, are mainly located in the left hemisphere; and the visual, spatial, perceptual functions, mainly located in most individuals' right hemisphere. In Sperry's words, each hemisphere is:
". . . indeed a conscious system in its own right, perceiving, thinking, remembering, reasoning, willing, and emoting, all at a characteristically human level, and . . . both the left and the right hemisphere may be conscious simultaneously in different, even in mutually conflicting, mental experiences that run along in parallel." - Roger W. Sperry, 1974

Massimo Pigliucci is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York and in his book "Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life", he cites some of the recent research on intuition and how it can be improved:

"One of the first things that modern research on intuition has clearly shown is that there is no such thing as an intuitive person tout court. Intuition is a domain-specific ability, so that people can be very intuitive about one thing (say, medical practice, or chess playing) and just as clueless as the average person about pretty much everything else. Moreover, intuitions get better with practice - especially with a lot of practice - because at bottom intuition is about the brain's ability to pick up on certain recurring patterns; the more we are exposed to a particular domain of activity the more familiar we become with the relevant patterns (medical charts, positions of chess pieces), and the more and faster our brains generate heuristic solutions to the problem we happen to be facing within that domain."

Just like critical thinking, intellect, emotional intelligence, creativity and memory, your intuition is a mental muscle you can strengthen and use to create success and become the best possible version of yourself.

Your subconscious mind is a source of your hidden genius and will always provide you with the knowledge you need to move forward in the right direction.

Intuition is available to anyone with half a brain (access to the right half of their brain, that is.) It is developed and refined by recognizing this fact and by doing certain tasks that help it develop. The reason that activities like drawing, meditation, daydreaming, taking a walk in nature, or enjoying a relaxing shower or bath are so important for intuition is that these types of activities shut down the "always chattering" left side of the brain and allow access to our intuitive right brain. Just try meditating for 5-10 minutes and notice how many times your bossy left brain tries to take over and remind you to get back to "non-relaxing" and start stressing about cleaning the house, getting back to work, or some other left brain chores, etc.
To truly utilize your intuition and subconscious mind, you must learn to turn off the dominant logical left hemisphere for a while and listen to and gain trust in your intuitive soul.
The great thing about using and following your intuition is that you finally start doing the things you knew you should have done instead of regretting the fact that you ignored your intuition all of these years and suffered the consequences of not listening to it. This is when you finally understand the phrase, "Let your conscience be your guide."

The right brain provides us with the emotional, creative and imaginative support and structure that we need in order to find joy, meaning and happiness in our lives. It causes us to value integrity, ethics and morals instead of merely focusing on making money and gaining power over others.
Ideally we want to develop whole-brain thinking, utilizing both the analytical left brain and the emotional and creative right brain. That is why Betty Edwards book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" was such a tipping point in our understanding of creativity and intuition and changed the perspectives of so many people who read it and became whole brain thinkers; including us. Unfortunately many schools minimize or eliminate the arts and personal development training from their education programs due to economic cutbacks and lack of understanding of the importance of a balanced individuals. They tend to focus nearly exclusively on math and science, believing that these things are what creates economic success in life.

"At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.
What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself." - Alan Alda

Why should we care about intuition? What makes it so valuable that it merits scientific study and should compete with our analytical brain for equal power and time related to our decisions, behaviors, and beliefs?

If you keep doing what you have always done, you will likely keep getting the same results. Intuition development will cause you to diversifying your training and provide you with new experiences which will benefit you. Your knowledge and choices in one area of your life will naturally affect other areas of your life. If you can give yourself exposure to different thoughts, perceptions, inputs, training, experiences, vocations, stimulation, travel, vacations, exposure to various cultures, etc., you can then use those sets of mental activities and experiences in different elements of your life. This will enable you to become a more multifaceted person with improved powers, skills and abilities that will in turn help you make better decisions in life, resulting in better outcomes that will increase your peace and happiness.
You can choose to ignore or disregard intuition, thinking it is silly or frivolous, but doing so is perilous to your health and well-being.

"Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born." - Nikola Tesla

2.24: 4) Benefits of Intuition:

Here are just a few of the benefits of developing your intuition:

It helps you to develop your ability to focus on what is most important.
It reduces stress by helping you identify and handle problems more efficiently.
It supports and augments your analytical brain in decision making to help you make better decisions faster.
It produces better results than using logic alone.
It will make your comprehension more accurate.
It makes you more sensitive to the energy (both positive and negative) of your surroundings and the people in a particular space.
It improves your relationships when you "tune in" to the feelings of yourself and others.
It keeps you safer as you become more aware of potential danger or threats.
It reduces suffering from making unnecessary mistakes.
It boosts imagination and creativity, while at the same time, imagination and creativity boosts intuition.
It helps you get clear on your true purpose and calling in life.
It allows you to be open to new ideas that can lead to success.
It boosts your confidence in your own judgment and wisdom.
It makes you a more moral, ethical and virtuous human being.
It makes you feel like a more integrated, authentic person.
Above all, it will absolutely increase your well-being and happiness.

"Intuition is the key to everything, in painting, film-making, business - everything.
I think you could have an intellectual ability, but if you can sharpen your intuition, which they say is emotion and intellect joining together, then a knowingness occurs." - David Lynch

www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/intuition - article on intuition

Psychologists believe that intuition relies on powers of pattern-matching, as the mind combs experience stored in long-term memory for similar situations and presents in-the-moment judgments based on them. The automatic information processing that underlies intuition can be seen in the everyday phenomenon known as "highway hypnosis," which occurs when a driver travels for miles without a conscious thought about the activity of driving the car.

Is intuition the same as gut feelings?

Intuition is often referred to as "gut feelings," as they seem to arise fully formed from some deep part of us. In fact, they are the product of brain processing that automatically compares swiftly perceived elements of current experience with past experience and knowledge, and they are delivered to awareness with considerable emotional certainty. How do gut feelings relate to first impressions?

Intuition, like first impressions, serves the brain's need to predict and prepare for what will happen next. First impressions are rapid, holistic assessments of people based on subtle perceptual cues and judgment of intent to help or harm. Both rely on automatic processes and, as rapid evaluation systems, both are subject to error, especially from biases we hold.

Is intuition a sixth sense?

Because human survival depends on avoiding danger, our mental apparatus is wired to be especially sensitive to signs of danger and to register them before we can recognize and act on them. That knowledge is a product of the brain's built-in negativity bias and can feel intuitive. However, it is not always accurate, as the early warning system errs on the sides of false alarms.

When to Trust Your Gut

Our gut feelings are often correct, but we tend to attach a certainty to them that they do not always merit. They do tend to be more accurate in some domains of experience than others, such as in the formation of first impressions. Intuition is also often valuable in detecting deception and other forms of danger, and in detecting sexual orientation.

Should I trust my intuition?

Gut feelings do have their value in complex decision-making. Studies of top executives show that even after they analyze mounds of data, the information does not tell them what to do; that is where intuition is a guide. People typically cite rational-seeming criteria for their actions and do not disclose the subjective preferences of feelings that arise spontaneously.

Is my intuition always right?

Experts find that intuition, no matter how right it feels, is more reliable in some areas of activity than others. For example, it can help you generate new ideas or new figures of speech, but don't count on it for comprehending vocabulary, where reflective thinking better fits the task. Many situations actually utilize a combination of intentional reflective deliberation and automatic intuition.

Most of us have heard the phrase, "women's intuition". Scientifically speaking, boys tend to specialize in one side of the brain (usually the left, where their verbal skills are often located) while girls tend to develop both sides of their brains simultaneously.

So what are some of the best ways to develop and improve your intuition?

Intuition is not arrived at by thinking, not by logic. It's arrived at in a way that we cannot explain. It is closely related to creativity and inspiration. Inspiration also comes from that place. It is given to you. It is given to all great artists, musicians, writers, and even great scientists who made deep discoveries that were revolutionary - like Einstein. Einstein had a 'sense' of his theory of relativity. Before he could fully prove it, he already knew it was true. It was intuition that came to him. Of course, he had done a lot of thinking before that happened.

Sometimes you have to do a lot of thinking, and then suddenly, thinking doesn't get you anywhere anymore, and you stop thinking, and you go out and take a few deep breaths. Or you go out into nature and sit under a tree. And suddenly, intuition is there. Something you couldn't have arrived at through thinking.

It's vital for every human being to contact that place within, where intuition arises, because otherwise you are confined to the limitations of your conceptual mind.

That's what we call intuition. Realize that this is at the basis of all creative activities, all truly creative activities. Perception is something that comes from the outside, and intuition comes from the inner. It comes from you. It is essentially one with who you are, intelligence itself.

The easiest way to develop intuition is to develop the ability to be still at times. Rather than "trying" to develop intuition, go to the place where all intuition arises. You don't need to worry about becoming more intuitive if you focus more on being still. Not necessarily for long periods of time, but have moments of stillness in your life, so that every day is interspersed with moments of stillness.

Are some people more intuitive than others?

Intuition is a thinking style, and people differ in the degree to which they rely on intentional reflection on the one hand and automatic knowledge on the other. In addition, people differ in a specific facet of intuitive ability, namely implicit learning, or the capacity for taking in complex information without being aware of having learned it. Too, some people have more experience and expertise stored in their memory database against which current perceptions can be matched.

Is learning intuitive?

Learning relies on memory input and retrieval, and although the mechanisms of memory operate outside conscious awareness, most often deliberate effort is needed to acquire the information to be stored in memory. In fact, intuition is not a good guide to how well you are learning something. Intuition suggests that long stretches of studying or practice are best for learning, when evidence indicates that studying in shorter chunks is more effective.

Can I improve my intuition?

It is possible to hone your powers of intuition. To some degree, intuition stems from expertise, which relies on tacit knowledge. Strengthening intuition requires making use of feedback, comparing the real-life outcomes of situations with the intuitive decisions you made. Even so, being highly intuitive in one domain of experience doesn’t guarantee reliability in every area.

"My brain is only a receiver. In the universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration." - Nikola Tesla

"Intuition is always right in at least two important ways:
1. It is always in response to something.
2. It always has your best interest at heart."
- Gavin de Becker


2.24: 5) HeartMath:

"As more of humanity practices heart-based living, it will qualify the 'rite' of passage into the next level of consciousness. Using our heart's intuitive guidance will become common sense - practical intelligence."
Doc Childre, HeartMath founder

We often hear ourselves or others say, "My mind thinks one thing, but my heart feels another." Through many generations, we have heard and been told to listen to our heart when discerning the things that matter. As parents, many of us have advised our children to listen to or follow their heart when life's meaningful decisions pop up. So, a lot of people feel the heart is a far more effective source of guidance than what our minds alone can offer us. HeartMath calls this the intuitive heart.

More and more people sense the heart is connected to a higher-capacity guidance system for creativity, clearer decisions and choices and especially for deeper, more caring relationships with others. Evidence for this is the many thousands of people in a variety of cultures who are benefiting from this deeper heart connection.

While science can help show us the way, science does not make the ultimate decisions on how we live our lives. We make those from within our intuitive hearts. Below, we share some of the science in research HeartMath Institute (HMI) has conducted to help explain the heart-intuition relationship and how this can benefit us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

A primary definition of intuition is the ability to understand or know something without conscious reasoning. Of the three types of intuition: Implicit knowledge, Energetic sensitivity and Nonlocal intuition - HeartMath researchers decided to study nonlocal intuition.
Nonlocal intuition cannot be explained by past or forgotten knowledge/implicit processes; or by sensing environmental signals/energetic sensitivity.
The physical heart appears to be connected to a field of information not bound by the classical limits of time and space. Ancient mystics, philosophers and great thinkers had it right: The heart's wisdom can help us discern our issues, communications and decisions more than we know. Becoming heart-coherent and practicing simple techniques can change everything by helping us access much more of our intuitive intelligence.
We have been seeking this intelligence through the centuries.
Is it a portal to our higher capacities?

Heart intelligence is the flow of awareness, understanding and intuition we experience when the mind and emotions are brought into coherent alignment with the heart. It can be activated through self-initiated practice, and the more we pay attention when we sense the heart is speaking to us or guiding us, the greater our ability to access this intelligence and guidance more frequently. Heart intelligence underlies cellular organization and guides and evolves organisms toward increased order, awareness and coherence of their bodies' systems.

Throughout much of recorded history, human beings have understood that intelligence, the ability to learn, understand, reason and apply knowledge to shape their environment, was a function of the brain in the head.

There also is ample evidence in the writings and oral traditions societies passed down through the generations that they strongly believed in an intelligent heart.

Research into the idea of heart intelligence began accelerating in the second half of the 20th century. During the 1960s and '70s pioneer physiologists John and Beatrice Lacey conducted research that showed the heart actually communicates with the brain in ways that greatly affect how we perceive and react to the world around us. In 1991, the year the HeartMath Institute was established, pioneer neurocardiologist Dr. J. Andrew Armour introduced the term "heart brain." He said the heart possessed a complex and intrinsic nervous system that is a brain.

Today, more than a half century after the Laceys began their research, we know a great deal more about the heart:

The heart sends us emotional and intuitive signals to help govern our lives.
The heart directs and aligns many systems in the body so that they can function in harmony with one another.
The heart is in constant communication with the brain. The heart's intrinsic brain and nervous system relay information back to the brain in the cranium, creating a two-way communication system between heart and brain.
The heart makes many of its own decisions.
The heart starts beating in the unborn fetus before the brain has been formed, a process scientists call autorhythmic.
Humans form an emotional brain long before a rational one, and a beating heart before either.
The heart has its own independent complex nervous system known as "the brain in the heart."

Although scientists say it is clear there is still much to learn, future generations may well look back and cite another important discovery as one of the most pivotal of the 20th century. The HeartMath Solution, the book that details the program used by hundreds of thousands of people to access and utilize heart intelligence to improve their lives, discusses this discovery.

"Researchers began showing in the 1980s and '90s that success in life depended more on an individual's ability to effectively manage emotions than on the intellectual ability of the brain in the head," says The HeartMath Solution, by HeartMath founder Doc Childre and his associate and longtime HeartMath spokesman Howard Martin.
This discovery naturally resulted in people wanting to know how to infuse emotions with intelligence.

Scientists at the nonprofit HeartMath Institute, which had been conducting research into heart intelligence and emotions posed the theory that "heart intelligence actually transfers intelligence to the emotions and instills the power of emotional management," the book explains. "In other words, heart intelligence is really the source of emotional intelligence."

"From our research at the HeartMath Institute, we've concluded that intelligence and intuition are heightened when we learn to listen more deeply to our own heart. It’s through learning how to decipher messages we receive from our heart that we gain the keen perception needed to effectively manage our emotions in the midst of life's challenges. The more we learn to listen to and follow our heart intelligence, the more educated, balanced and coherent our emotions become. Without the guiding influence of the heart we easily fall prey to reactive emotions such as insecurity, anger, fear and blame as well as other energy-draining reactions and behaviors."

Early HeartMath research found that negative emotions threw the nervous system out of balance and when that happened heart rhythms became disordered and appeared jagged on a heart monitor. This placed stress on the physical heart and other organs and threatened serious health problems.

"Positive emotions, by contrast, were found to increase order and balance in the nervous system and produce smooth, harmonious heart rhythms," Childre and Martin wrote. "But these harmonious and coherent rhythms did more than reduce stress: They actually enhanced people's ability to clearly perceive the world around them."

- HeartMath Institute

2.24: 6) Our 3 Brains:

Use your intuitive brains (all 3 of them) and realize that not all of our genius, our wisdom originates between our ears.
The left hemisphere does the heavy lifting, the rote logical mathematics and deductions, but the right hemisphere of the brain does most of the creative, enjoyable, emotional, intuitive processing. The logical left hemisphere tends to do most of the bossing us around since it is in control of the ego and our logic center, but when we finally realize that the logical hemisphere should be the servant and not the master, our consciousness will evolve. We need our intuition, our soul to take a leadership position in our lives instead of being minimized by our overbearing egoic mind. Logic is a tool to be utilized, not the wise genius that should be governing us.

"Genius is 1 Percent Inspiration and 99 Percent Perspiration."
This is a famous quote attributed to Thomas Edison, a famous and prolific American inventor. The idea that hard work is the most important aspect of new inventions existed before Edison gave his quote, however.
The idea behind this quote is that it is easy to have a good idea, or a creative insight. However, to follow through with that idea, and turn it into a reality, takes a level of patience and dedication that few people have. In reality, "Intuition and inspiration" must collaborate with "logic and rationality" (the left and the right), (the yin and the yang) on a constant basis in order to achieve maximum results and achieve our visions.

What this is telling us is that in order to achieve phenomenal success in life, we need both creativity and hard work in order to reach lofty goals. The point is to realize that just hard work relying predominantly on logic and rote mathematics and science can be a slow and arduous process. By mixing in more intuition and creativity, perhaps using 20-30% intuition, we can reduce the menial hard work to under 70-80% and achieve our goals much faster and easier with far fewer mistakes. Maybe we can eventually get closer to a 50-50 relationship between hard work and intuition?! There is nothing wrong with hard work, but there is certainly a beauty in inspiration and creativity. Just ask Mona Lisa why she is smiling :)

Brain Hierarchy:

The Left-Hemisphere Cerebral brain in your head is the logical, rational "servant" brain.
The Right-Hemisphere Creative brain in your head is the Intuitive, Imaginative brain where many of your great ideas and "Aha" moments come from.
(these two hemispheres coordinate with each other to create knowledge/experience based intuition (one of the three types of intuition).

The "triune brain" is made up of three areas within the left and right hemispheres of the brain in your head.
They are comprised of the reptilian (instinctive, regulatory brain), mammalian (emotional, intuitive brain), and the outer cerebral cortex (the logical brain).
No doubt these three brain sections send and receive signals from the heart brain and the gut brain. If functioning properly, these electrical signals help protect us from harm and help us evolve as human beings.

Intuition is Power

2.24: 7) Intuition Development and Training:

The following is a list of procedures and activities which can help you develop and strengthen your intuition and provide deeper access into your very helpful (and sometimes seldom used) subconscious mind.
The main point is to find the best methods and practices that you enjoy and find helpful in order to develop your sixth sense. Although it takes some effort to improve your intuition, it should be both fun and rewarding so that you to truly comprehend how vital intuition is to a happy and successful life.
Specific details about the use and importance of each of the following 50+ methods will be discussed at the end of this list, along with some intuition exercises.

1. Practice Meditation, Prayer, Yoga, Tai chi, Deep-Relaxation and / or Martial Arts.

2. Utilize Creativity: drawing, painting, ceramics, writing, music, photography, video, etc.

"It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception." - Albert Einstein

3. Utilize a Master Journal / Doodle Notebook.

4. Recognize when your intuition speaks to you.

5. Listen to your body, especially your gut feelings and strong emotions.

6. Record and interpret significant dreams.

7. Observe your energy levels. "Tune in" to yourself. Is your energy positive or negative at this moment in time?

8. Feel the energy of other people and your surroundings. "Tune in" to others and the environment.

8a. Practice sensing into people before you know them.

9. Take a relaxing shower or bath.

10. Listen to relaxing music.

11. Sing, hum and dance.

12. Smile. Enjoy life.

13. Predict outcomes of future events.

14. Reflect on past intuitions, hunches and predictions and learn from both correct and failed assessments.

15. Record sudden feelings, ideas and "aha moments" into your intuition journal or cell phone notepad.

16. Pay attention and utilize first impressions. They may not always be right but you will be surprised at how often they are.

17. Use all your conventional 5 senses, which will assist in developing your sixth sense, intuition.

18. Learn about auto-hypnosis and relaxation techniques that assist in auto-hypnosis.

19. Take a break or a Time-Out.

20. Use creative visualization.

21. Envision conversations with various wise mentors. What would you ask them? What would they tell you?

22. Utilize thought experiments, as Einstein did.

23. Don't fight your intuition. Release your resistance.

24. Purposely utilize and develop your subconscious mind.

25. Don't confuse intuition with wishful/fearful thinking.

26. Escape from your daily routine occasionally.

27. Spend time in nature.

28. Learn from the past.

29. Live in the Present.

30. Anticipate the future.

31. Feel more, think less.

32. Align with your values and morals.

33. Use a breathing practice. Breathworks.

34. Train your intuition.

35. Learn to trust yourself.

36. Dedicate time each day to devote to focusing solely on your intuition, especially when facing difficult or important life-changing decisions.

37. Take immediate action.

38. Chop wood, Carry water.

39. Watch sunrises and sunsets.

40. Observe a candle in the dark.

41. Try Aroma Therapy.

42. Try Sound Therapy.

43. Try Visual Therapy.

44. Try Taste Therapy.

45. Try Touch Therapy.

46. Try Intuition Therapy. Ask Questions and Listen Quietly for the Answers.

47. Utilize "The Law of Attraction".

48. Learn about Chakras.

49. Learn about Reiki.

50. Daydream.

50. Recognize yours and others internal and external biases.

52. Learn to project yourself above the scene.

53. Utilize Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's).

54. Utilize Problem Solving Methods (PSM's).

55. Utilize Manifestation and Mindfulness.

56. Utilize Massage Therapy.

57. Practice Reflexology, Acupressure / Acupuncture.

58. Talk to Your Higher Self, your "Better Angel".

59. Be Yourself. Everyone else is already taken. - Oscar Wilde

Detailed analysis of above section:

1. Meditation, Prayer, Yoga, Deep-Relaxation, Alone-Time.

There is a good reason that this is listed first in the 50+ methods to develop and access your intuition.
Try to spend a minimum of 3-10 minutes per day doing one or more of these activities each day, especially meditation and prayer. You will advance your intuition much faster if you can allocate 30 to 60 minutes several days per week, but if that is too much for you at least try to find 5 minutes or so each day to help your soul find peace.

"Meditation brings wisdom.
Lack of meditation leaves ignorance."
- Buddha

Meditation is one of the best ways to put you in the space of receiving intuitive guidance. This is because when your mind is still, you have the ability to filter out unnecessary thoughts in order to access that quiet, still, intuitive mind.

What is a Mantra & How to Use it for Intuitive & Creative Power - Motherhoodcommunity.com:

What does it mean to master a mantra?
"When you have repeated it so much, so often, and so well, that you hear it within your being, and it comes handy to you."
- Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini yoga teacher and author

If you've gone to a yoga class that started or ended with a collective Om (Aum) then you've already been exposed to mantra practice. Ancient yogis have used the power of mantra for thousands of years as a form of mental training and spiritual practice in order to access higher states of consciousness and deepen intuition.
High-profile seekers like Apple founder Steve Jobs and artist/singer Tina Turner have also turned to mantra meditation as a way to strengthen inner wisdom and creative power.
What the practice does: "It helps you to feel better. It helps you to think different… I would say it helps you think correctly. That means you can help yourself get the things you want." - Tina Turner on her Buddhist mantra chanting practice.
You can use this tool in your daily life to become more inspired, calm, balanced, insightful, and creative. Here's everything you need to know to get started with your own personal mantra meditation practice.

What is a mantra? The word mantra is comprised of the Sanskrit roots 'man' which means mind and 'tra' which means vehicle or instrument. A mantra, then, is a vehicle through which you can shift your mental and emotional state. It's an ancient tool that helps you dissipate mental noise and negative thoughts so you can hear your inner wisdom more loudly and clearly.

Many ancient mantras have roots in Hindu and Buddhist traditions as well as Jainism. Sanskrit mantras are found in Vedic/Vedanta sacred texts such as the Upanishads and the Rig Veda. According to these texts, mantras are powerful sacred sounds and sound vibrations best recited repeatedly to aid in cultivating presence, focus, understanding, and insight. Seed mantras called 'Bija' mantras ('Bija' is the sanskrit word for seed) are short sounds vibrations that are used as a way to fertilize your consciousness and mind. The most common Bija mantra is Om (Aum).

What is NOT a mantra? While words like "I am safe" or "I am worthy of feeling good" are powerful in their own right and are also useful for effecting mental and emotional shifts, they are not mantras, they are affirmations. They can certainly be used in conjunction with mantras but don't confuse one for the other. Intentions like the ones we set at the beginning of a yoga asana class or a yoga nidra meditation session aren't mantras even though it's easy to confuse the two.

Common mantras are: Om (Aum) - This sound vibration is said to channel the primordial sound of the universe. It's also the base for other common mantras as you'll see below.

Om mani padme hum - The mantra of benevolence and compassion. It means "The jewel is in the lotus."

Om namah shivaya - Means "I bow to Shiva." Shiva is one of the three main Hindu deities. In yoga practice, we use this mantra to help us connect to our true Inner Self. This Self is the part of us that's wise and intuitive.

Om shanti shanti shanti - "Peace, peace, peace." This mantra is an invocation for inner peace - peace of mind, peace in the body, and peaceful speech.

How do you use a mantra?
There are several ways to use a mantra. In meditation techniques such as Vedic meditation and Transcendental Meditation (TM) a mantra is repeated silently and internally as a means of overriding thought waves to enter deeper states of consciousness. The practice of repeating a mantra either silently or aloud is called 'Japa' in yoga practice. Ancient yogis believed that repeating a mantra 108 times amplifies its power. For them, it's like a code for awakening and self-realization. Vedic mathematicians considered the number 108 a number representing the wholeness of the universe and spiritual union. You can use mala beads (like prayer beads) to help you stay present and keep track of the 108 cycles, but it's not a necessary part of mantra meditation. And you don't have to repeat a mantra 108 times to reap its benefits and effects.
The main idea is this: Keep your mantra practice as simple as possible. Do whatever works best for you. Do whatever is easiest to help you practice daily. If, for example, repeating a mantra three times works for you, then start there.

A special mantra for increasing intuitive and creative powers: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo
The intuitive voice within is real. It's an inherent superpower we've all been gifted with, we've just forgotten how to use it. Intuition is like a muscle, if we work with it and use it regularly it will strengthen over time. By consistently using a powerful mantra known as the Adi Mantra we can work out our intuitive muscle. The sound currents of this mantra have the potential to shift your state of consciousness and help you unlock your inner wisdom, intuitive knowing, and creative inspiration. It's short and simple, which makes it easy to remember: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo

Adi Mantra Meaning: Ong: Infinite Intelligence + Creative Wisdom (Universal Vital Force Energy).
Namo: to bow or to call upon with an open heart and willing mind.
Guru: wisdom, source of transformative knowledge, teacher.
Gu - ru: broken into two parts: gu = darkness, unconsciousness. ru = light, consciousness.
Guru dev: the Divine teacher within, inner knowing, insight, your higher self.
In Kundalini yoga it's customary to begin every practice by chanting the Adi Mantra at least three times as a way to 'tune in.' The act of intentionally and consciously 'tuning in' to the space in and around you helps to create a demarcation point between what has been (the past), and whatever will be (the future).
Energetically, tuning in with the Adi Mantra functions much like hitting the reset button where you wipe the slate clean and begin anew. Your intuitive voice cannot be heard in the midst of fear and anxiety. Intuitive wisdom can only come through a calm and grounded mind.
By using this mantra you can increase inner calm and inner knowing: Ong Namo: I bow to the Infinite Intelligence and Creative Wisdom. We bow with an open heart and a humble mind. We bow to the infinitely wise and intelligent life force energy that flows through all things. We bow as a symbol of surrender and devotion.
Guru Dev Namo: I bow to the Divine Teacher Within. We bow to the transformative knowledge and insight that is within us. We bow to our higher selves, the embodiment of our fully expressed potential. We surrender to the process unfolding We open our hearts to trust in our ability to access the answers we seek within.

Transformative knowledge is required to guide and support the process of human/social transformation. We need ideas like "new age" to inspire our creativity, "social healing" to validate our new style of activism, and "inner to outer" to explain the dynamics of transformation. Transformative knowledge can assist people to actualize their personal and group potential for achieving shared growth and well-being.

See more at: https://motherhoodcommunity.com/what-is-a-mantra-how-to-use-it-for-intuitive-creative-power

2. Creativity: drawing, writing, painting, music, etc. Creative activities like drawing, painting, writing, doodling or anything that you find creatively stimulating puts you in a state of “flow” where time stands still. You are lost in the activity and feel free of distractions and worries. Notice when you loose track of time, hours seem like minutes and you wonder how time passed so quickly.

When you are in this state of flow, it is similar to the meditative state. Your mind is receptive to ideas, insights, and awareness that you might not experience in the rapid and busy pace of daily life.

A great way to develop your intuition is by learning to draw. Sounds strange but it really works. We highly recommend the fabulous book by Betty Edwards, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." It may have more importance regarding utilizing the right / intuitive / creative side of the brain than it does about learning to draw, although learning to draw and be creative is a helpful and fun thing to learn also. It turns out that the act of drawing turns off the left logical brain and allows the right intuitive brain to take full control, giving us access to "knowledge" that is normally hidden from us by the usually dominant left brain.

Through art, writing, music, dance, etc, you can gain access to emotions, desires and potential solutions to problems that you may not be consciously aware of.

3. Utilize a Master Journal / Doodle Notebook which includes the following journals:
Morning Pages journal; Dream journal; Intuition / Eureka journal; Daily Diary; "Goals, Visions and Plans / Strategies" journal; To-Do Journal, Fun Stuff / Recreation Journal; Arts & Crafts Journal; Doodle Journal and other Journals you may want to record.

Morning Pages journal ("stream of consciousness" writings).
Dream journal (record and interpret your significant dreams).
Intuition / Eureka journal ("Aha" moments).
Keep a Diary (daily journal of significant events).
Start a "Goals, Visions and Plans / Strategies" journal (what matters most to you and how will you achieve your goals).
Utilize a To-Do Journal - "What do I want to do today" (a collection of your To-Do Lists).

Constructive Journaling, or writing your "Morning Pages" is the process of recording your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. If you struggle with self-esteem, anxiety, stress, or depression, keeping a journal can be very helpful. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.

Journaling helps to identify negative thoughts and behaviors. By clarifying your perceptions, thoughts and feelings, you will get to know and understand yourself better. Journaling allows us to look at our lives from an "outsider" perspective even though we are looking inward. Thus we have the opportunity to "counsel" ourselves without having to share uncomfortable personal issues with a true counselor/mentor. This can give you new perspectives that can help you achieve the goals and dreams you have established, possibly by writing them in your journal also. There may be times when you may need outside guidance or counseling, but having a journal will likely help with being able to better express your concerns and issues with someone qualified to assist you in addressing and resolving those challenges and opportunities.
Many mental health experts recommend journaling because it can improve your mood and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. Studies support this and suggest journaling is good for your mental health. It may also make therapy work better.

Morning Pages also help you keep track of what is going on in your life, both positive and negative. When life seems extra chaotic, Morning Pages can help you sort out things going on in your life so they don't seem so out of control. Just jotting down a few events and situations and writing down some feelings about them can be a type of release to free up your bottled emotions. Then you can move on with your day and hopefully be more at peace.

Morning Pages are not just for the morning hours, although getting your thoughts and feelings released in the morning can be particularly beneficial during the rest of your day. It can be a safe place to record epiphanies, crazy ideas, concerns, sadness, hopes and fears all throughout the day and night. Consider this: We all have three sides to our personality.
1) The side we show the world.
2) The side we only show to close family and trusted friends.
3) The side we only show to ourselves.
By writing down your impulses and self-expressions, and all the other things mentioned here, you are getting to know the side you usually only show to yourself. You have the chance to become a better friend to yourself by sharing your inner secrets and most sincere thoughts with yourself.
Since you spend more time with yourself than any other person in your lifetime, perhaps it is a great idea to develop a true love for that person: Yourself. Journaling can help you get there.

Twelve things Journaling / Morning Pages can be helpful with:

1) Keeping your thoughts, perceptions and feelings organized and making them more accessible in order to work on them. This will help with self-reflection and personal growth.
2) Providing a place to record both successes and failures, thereby allowing you to evaluate what went right and what went wrong.
3) Reducing stress by relieving bottled-in pressure. Instead of yelling, fighting and screaming to release stress, anger and depression, release these feelings onto paper (or your cell phone, computer, iPad, etc.). This will improve your chances of dealing more appropriately with your relationship(s) and the outside world.
4) Providing a place to record ideas, sadness, fears, hopes and dreams.
5) Providing a place to set your goals and the corresponding plans and strategies to achieve those goals. "A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
6) Providing a place for creative writing, drawing and doodling.
7) Providing a place for your "To-Do" list, as well as your "I Accomplished This" list.
8) Improving your writing and self-expression skills.
9) Improving your memory by recording a visual document of your daily / weekly events, plans and appointments. Part of our problems come from forgetting things that could have been remembered if we had simply taken the time to write them down, thus reinforcing them in our memory bank and on paper.
10) Keeping you on track and focused on the things that are most important in your life.
11) Providing a place to record your gratitude journal. Things you are grateful for each day.
12) Providing a place to get to know yourself better and develop a deeper love for yourself.

In a sense, journaling can be a form of meditation, prayer, understanding and planning, thus satisfying your spiritual, emotional and logical sides of your being.
As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, "We are human 'beings', not human doings."

What else might Morning Pages help you with?

- Special thanks to Julia Cameron for her introduction of Morning Pages in her book "The Artist's Way". This concept has been extremely valuable to many people.
"The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is a daily practice called Morning Pages."
"Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages - they are not high art. They are not even 'writing.' They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind, and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow."

Three pages may be a bit long for the average person who does not aspire to be an artist, but her concept combined with journaling makes for a wonderful tool, especially for those periods in your life when you need direction, understanding and clarity. Realizing that creativity and intuition are directly interconnected might help you understand why expressing your feelings in your journals is such an important step in developing and utilizing your intuitive powers.

4. Recognize when your intuition speaks

First of all, in order to be able to use your intuition, you must able to recognize it when it speaks to you. Intuition usually isn't loud or demanding - it's subtle and communicates in different ways for different people.
Intuition speaks to you in many different ways: through words, images, dreams, flashes of brilliance, premonitions (a certain knowing of what is ahead), emotions (such as euphoria, joy, love, hate, disgust, distaste, etc), and physical sensations such as goose bumps, blushing, power sensations, moodiness, chills, sweating, nausea, headaches, stress or exhaustion. When certain sensations become obvious to you, pay attention and attempt to record them to your permanent memory in your hippocampus or in your written journal so that you can retrieve and utilize this powerful information.

For example, you may receive visual messages, such as images that appear in quick flashes or visions that unfold slowly, like a movie.

Your intuition might speak to you as a hunch, a thought, in words or phrases. You can also enter into a dialogue with your intuition to get more information and clarity. Merely ask and wait for the answers to arrive. It may take minutes, hours or even days, but as your intuition improves, the answers will come faster and become more astounding.

Alternatively, your intuition may speak to you in physical sensations, such as goose bumps, chills, discomfort in your gut, a feeling of relief, or a sour taste in your mouth.

You may receive intuitive messages through your emotions, such as feelings of uneasiness or confusion when your inner wisdom is steering you away from something - or feelings of euphoria and profound peace when you're being guided down a path that will lead you to greater personal joy and abundance.

Sometimes intuition messages are simply a deep sense of knowing and certainty. If you've ever felt that you knew something to be true in the depths of your heart or soul, chances are it was a message from your intuition.

Have you ever noticed that your mood changes suddenly? Or you walk in a room of people and feel uneasy?

Remind yourself to pay attention to these shifts in mood, and once you are aware of them, ask yourself why you are feeling this way. Close your eyes, and ask yourself, What is this feeling telling me? Then wait for an answer.

It may not arrive right away, but at some point you'll have an insight into your mood change. The key is learning how to use these insights to manage your life in order to minimize negative people or circumstances.

5. Pay attention to your dreams.

Dreams are your subconscious mind's way of processing information and dealing with internal stress, repressed feelings, unacknowledged longings, hopes, fears, desires and more.

Dreams are a graphic example of what is going on deep inside our minds. The sleeping brain has no logical language so it shows us "videos" which often mimic events going on in our lives or thoughts. The dreams do not make sense unless broken down into their metaphoric components. For instance, a dream where you can not move or escape might indicate you are feeling helpless in your day to day life. Find a way to gain control. Dreams where you are carrying heavy loads may indicate you are overwhelmed and need help. The key is to view the dream in broad terms and not get stuck on details. Conduct dream interviews with yourself or others and try to remember important feelings, events, settings, phrases, objects, people, colors and ideas. What you remember most can give you clues to resolve problems you may be consciously unaware of. Ask yourself questions about the important items remembered and see if they somehow relate to past, present or future events in your life. It may take hours to days to be "sure" of what insight has just become available to your conscious mind but if you want to improve your intuition and happiness, this is one of the best and easiest ways to do it.

Realize that your dreams are a direct link to your subconscious mind, in a way that is often quite different than utilizing intuition in a wakeful and alert state of mind. Dreams happen in a gamma or delta state of mind while intuition often happens in an alpha or beta state of mind.
Your dreams reach deeper into the mind and are non-linear in dramatic ways. They jump all over the place and seldom make logical sense. That is because the subconscious does not speak in a logic manner. It reveals to us images, feelings, and concepts which when we view them using the logical left brain, they often don't make any sense! But when you take the major details and break them down and interpret them, they will usually tell you everything you need to learn from the experience and break the "dream video" into useful and productive results.
What you really want to do with especially significant dreams is to record them immediately by either listing the key points in order of appearance, or by doing a stream of consciousness writing in your dream journal so that you can analyze and interpret later. The dream won't make any sense when you write them down initially, in fact if they do then you are likely not recording it correctly but rather filling in blanks that help it make sense to you, yet you are messing up the true meaning by trying to make logic sense instead of just recording what what you were actually revealing to your self in the dream.
Remember that the subconscious mind speaks to us in metaphor, symbols and emotions, not logic and reason. Thus our dreams do not speak to us in the same way a chronological movie does. It is by its very nature, disjointed and confusing. Yet after your record it accurately and in as much detail as possible, you can then discover the true meaning of what it was trying to reveal to you. You look for the deeper meaning in the important points. How does it relate to what is going on in your life currently. What does it tell you about significant events from your past. What does it reveal about your hopes, fears or desires of your future? How can you benefit from what it is trying to tell you?! Thus our dreams can be viewed as our soul trying to teach us something we need to know. By ignoring them or brushing them off as weird and quirky, we lose a huge opportunity and advantage to improve our life condition and discover potential eureka events. For instance, the benzene ring was discovered by a scientist who dreamed of a snake chasing it tail. He could have wrote that vision off as a scary dream because of his fear of snakes, or he could have viewed it as insight into the organic structure of something he was struggling to understand with his left brain. Fortunately he understood that his right brain subconscious mind was trying to show him the answer in pictures that he could comprehend using his logical mathematical left brain. Dreams are often symbolic and offer deeper messages than the strange and convoluted nature of a dream reveals on the surface. Read about common dream symbols so you can better understand the meaning of your dreams and what your intuition might be telling you through your dreams.

6 thru 60 coming soon.

2.24: 8) The Science behind Intuition - coming soon

2.24: 9) How can you Improve your Intuition - coming soon

Intuition2020.com went online March 12, 2021

Intuition2020.com - New Intuition Website - Click Here

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May 10, 2020: Love Ed 101: Curriculum framework and content writing begins.
May 27, 2020: Love Ed 101: Website construction begins.
June 7, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.1 thru 1.10 1st draft nearly finished.
June 10, 2020:Love Ed 201: 2.1 thru 2.5 1st draft.
June 14, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.6, 2.7
June 19, (Juneteenth) 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 1 - 7
June 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 8 - 10
June 26, 2020: Love Ed 101: Foreward & 1.1, Rev. B
June 28, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.12 - 10 Types of Intimacy
June 29, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Method: 11
June 30, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.13 - 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make
July 3, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.9 - Goal Setting Methods: 1 - 5
July 4, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.18 - Creating a Master Journal to Support your Personal & Relationship Growth
July 5, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.18 - "Certificate of Excellence" for being part of the first class, the first 10,000 viewers, June 2020.
July 6, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.11 - LE-101 Quizzes and Final Exam.
July 6, 2020: Love Ed 101: LE-101 1st draft completed, Sections 1.10 thru 1.11
July 6, 2020: Love Ed 101: LE-101 Diploma available for download.
July 9, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.17 - Creating your Personal and Relationship "Vision and Mission" Statements
July 11, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.10 - Choosing the Best Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to Solve Problems and Issues
July 16, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 12 - 13
July 19, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Creating Action Plans using PSM Tool #10 (Rev. B)
July 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.11 - Creating Implementation Plans (IP's) & Applying them to Improve your Relationships
July 30, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.14 - Deep Friendships
August 6, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.19 - Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's)
August 13, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.15 - Family Relationships
August 17, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.3, Rev B - Types of love
August 23, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20 - Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness
August 29, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20 - Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness - #16 Justice
September 4, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.7, Rev. B - Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself" - The Golden Rule
September 18, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, 9a - Virtues: Praise and Blame
September 22, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, 6c - Unified Wisdom Theory
October 12, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: Revisions to 5a, 10a & 14
October 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.21) Character Counts!
October 26, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 9b, 9c, 9d & 9e - Choice and Deliberation
November 1, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 9f & 9g - Machiavelli's "Do the ends justify the means?"
November 18, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7a & 7b - Courage and Temperance
November 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7d thru 7k - Liberality & Generosity
November 26, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7l thru 7n - Magnificence
November 27, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7o thru 7q - Magnamity & Pride, 7r - Proper Ambition
December 1, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22, Reality Theories: Reality Tunnels
December 3, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22, Reality Theories: Worldview Realities
December 4, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22, Philosophy: Metaphysics
December 7, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22, Philosophy: Epistemology
December 8, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22, Philosophy: Logic
December 11, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22, Philosophy: Axiology (Values): Ethics & Aesthetics
December 13, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.23, Philosophy: Introduction to Philosophy
December 20, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22, Reality Theories: 10a thru 10t - Dramaturgy (Drama Reality Theory)
December 24, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Method: 14 - Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC-PSM)
December 26, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.22 - Reality Theories: 11 - Cognitive Bias Reality Theory
January 7, 2021: Love Ed 201: 2.22 - Reality Theories: 11h (n thru q) - Cognitive Bias Reality Theory:
Conspiracy Theory Bias, Empathy Gap Bias, Ostrich Bias & Cognitive Dissonance
February 9, 2021: Love Ed 101: 1.1 - (m) Love, Actually: The Science behind Lust, Attraction, and Companionship
March 12, 2021: Love Ed 201: 2.24 - Intuition2020.com: Discovering our 3 Brains

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Peace Education 101.com

Printable Documents:

Click Here to print or download the Personal / Relationship Questionaire, June 12, 2020, Rev. G

Printable version of the "Check List" and Balance Wheel - Click Here

Click Here to print all Problem Solving Methods - PSM's: July 16, 2020, Rev. F

Click Here to print the Problem Solving and Goal Setting Flow Charts : June 21, 2020, Rev. A

Click Here to print the "10 Types of Intimacy" : June 29, 2020, Rev. B

Click Here to print the Goal Setting Methods - GSM's: July 9, 2020, Rev. B

Click here to print the Quizzes and Final Exam for Love Education 101: LE-101, sections 1.1 thru 1.10 : July 12, Rev. B

Click Here to download, save, edit and print your Diploma and Certificate of Excellence for being among the first 10,000 visitors to review and study the online course, Love Education 101, in June 2020. You can also download the Certificate for being part of the first 25,000 study group during July 2020, being part of the first 50,000 visitors in August 2020, and being part of the first 100,000 visitors in September 2020 : September 28, 2020, Rev. D

This Love Education curriculum is free and available to everyone, as such this text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (Open-Source.); additional terms may apply. For more information visit: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

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