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All Blog Posts Tagged Technology

Four Pages Regarding a Biological Basis of Evil: Introducing My Most Important Work to Date

March 15th, 2012 by Howard Ditkoff

Background information on a group of pages that deeply explore evil, its possibly malicious origins emerging from biologically-based empathy and conscience-reducing psychopathology and its role in the evolution and complications of tragic, seemingly intractable problems and suffering at all levels of our world’s systems. These pages, integrating a range of source material, consider and attract attention to evil’s cyclic, manipulative and deceptive dynamics and its contribution to and exploitation of modern civilization, its structures and technologies, and, in turn, much of its dysfunction, abuse, trauma, corruption, absurdity and injustice. They also discuss our best understanding of the variation in people’s responses to these phenomena and their implications for nearly every area.

Furthermore, the pages advocate for an objective, scientific and medical approach to studying harm, highly valuing critical thinking and investigation, technical insight, psychological knowledge, precise and widespread dialogue and modern wisdom. They urge us to enhance reform efforts by better identifying leverage points and cooperatively developing optimal strategies for transcending challenges and resistance and preventing, assessing, reducing and healing from vicious cycles. And they point the way toward the establishment of new healthy, sustainable forms of human systems, more conscious of and immune to pathological influences and capable of flourishing with creativity.

This work is the culmination of a lifelong progressive quest – fueled by an uneasy sense about our world and concentrated through the discovery of what may be the most important book you’ll ever read – to understand issues of ethics and power. Learn about the very personal stories that coalesced in its development.


Optimistic Unlearning and A Belief in
Infinite Flexibility =/= Adulthood

February 6th, 2011 by Howard Ditkoff

Today I was given a copy of an article from the February 5, 2011 Wall Street Journal by Matt Ridley entitled “A Key Lesson of Adulthood: The Need to Unlearn”. The title certainly struck me as important for two reasons.

  1. The need to unlearn has been a central theme in my life. I spent much of my twenties unlearning a tremendous amount of what was fed to me as truth growing up. And through my writing, coaching, activism and promotion of the work of various change agents such as Daniel Quinn (whose book The Story of B focuses on just such an unlearning process), I have long championed the importance of being willing to question dogmatic beliefs.
  2. We live in an incredibly destructive, unsustainable culture that is driven by the actions of hypocritical adults who act on the world stage in greedy, violent ways that, at home, would get their own children sent to their rooms – if not worse. So I am always fascinated to read commentary by this culture’s adults on what “adulthood” in such a society is considered to really be about.

And so I dove in. Read the rest of this entry »


Emotional Responses to the Andrew Meyer & John Kerry Incident: A Psychological Study in Issues of Power, Anger and Authority

September 20th, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

In just the latest demonstration of how widespread video and web 2.0 technology is democratizing our media and revealing previously underexposed sides of our culture, much of the country has already seen footage of student Andrew Meyer being held down and tasered by police after rather angrily confronting Senator John Kerry with some controversial questions at a forum and resisting arrest. But more fascinating to me than the event itself have been the strongly emotional responses, both by those defending Meyer and those defending the police, which indicate the extent to which the incident evokes, for many of us, past experiences, defense mechanisms and projections revolving around issues of power, anger and authority. In this post, I discuss my view of this controversial story in the context of our current social state and the possible psychological and developmental roots of the actions of Andrew Meyer and the police, as well as people’s various responses.


My Scheme Team Dream: Partners Wanted for Shaping and Changing The World

September 19th, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Scheming – or creating schemas – helps us shape a clear understanding of how the various parts of systems relate and connect. It then empowers application through developing strategic, intriguing, and often subversive plans to create innovative change in the world – for better or for worse. After a period of undefined frustration, a discussion with a friend helped me pinpoint my recent lack of partners with whom to co-scheme as the root of my dissatisfaction.

In this post, I discuss what scheming means to me and its central role in my worldview and throughout my life in areas ranging from math, medicine and sports to relationships, politics and business. I explore key examples of special shared moments, evolutionary factors and enviably successful teams that explain the excitement and rewards of co-scheming. And, in the service of initiating connection and dialogue with dynamic new “partners in crime,” I describe the similar and complementary assets and qualities that I and they would ideally bring to such an emergent and generative partnership. Read my thoughts on the process and goals of co-scheming at its best and consider whether you might be one of the fellow co-schemers I’m looking for.


The Challenges of Accepting Civilization as Unsustainable and Unhealthy

August 27th, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn in 1997 first exposed me to the idea that civilization is an inherently unsustainable and unhealthy social structure. But it took further reading of works by Quinn and Derrick Jensen, along with greater experience, to help me increasingly incorporate this understanding into my life. Most recently, Jensen’s work Endgame impacted me with a particularly convincing presentation of civilization’s shortcomings from the concrete and powerful perspective of physical resource dynamics.

In this post, I examine the paramount importance of internalizing the implications of our social structure’s fundamental flaws, the experience of facing the impact of this understanding, why it is to difficult to fully internalize, the variety of ways that people respond to the issue, and how my growing acceptance of it has influenced my life journey. I then discuss the process of finding our optimal roles in the re-emergence of health and sustainability and the invaluable role of community and support as we do so.


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