May 06

The Father Factor

On the Father Factor:

In “The Father Factor,” Stephan Poulter lists five styles of fathers — super-achieving, time bomb, passive, absent and compassionate/mentor — who have powerful influences on the careers of their sons and daughters.

Children of the “time-bomb” father, for example, who explodes in anger at his family, learn how to read people and their moods. Those intuitive abilities make them good at such jobs as personnel managers or negotiators, he writes.

But those same children may have trouble feeling safe and developing trust, said Poulter, a clinical psychologist who also works with adolescents in Los Angeles area schools.

“I’ve seen more people hit their heads on what they call a glass ceiling or a cement wall in their careers, and it’s what I call the father factor,” Poulter said in an interview. “What role did your father have in your life? It’s this unknown variable which has this huge impact because we’re all sons and daughters.”

Styles of fathering can affect whether their children get along with others at work, have an entrepreneurial spirit, worry too much about their career, burn out or become the boss, Poulter writes.

Even absent fathers affect how their children work, he writes, by instilling feelings of rejection and abandonment.

Mar 06

Thoughts on Myspace

I recently found out one of my friends is getting a divorce. They’ve been married about five years and have kids. I don’t know all the details of the situation and I don’t care to know. I’m a big believer in the idea that “it takes two to tango”. In other words, no matter what the circumstances, both people in a relationship bear equal responsibility for what happens. The good and the bad. That doesn’t mean if someone is being abused or mistreated that they’re responsible for that behavior against them. On the other hand, when someone is being mistreated it is often not the first occasion or indication of such negative behavior. We teach people how we want to be treated. That sounds like a Dr. Phil-ism, but I think it’s true. On some level, if you let people treat you like crap, that is acceptable to you. You either think that’s what you deserve, or you even want to be mistreated. Anyway, I don’t believe that there’s a good guy or a bad guy in any relationship. It’s almost always the case that each party is equally responsible.

That being said, this friend’s wife met a guy on Myspace. They started emailing and contacting each other and the result is that she’s leaving my friend for this guy she barely knows. According to my friend, this guy found his wife by contacting one of her friends who is also married with children. He was looking for single women with children and found her “by mistake”. So, this friend put him in touch with my friend’s wife and they went from there, and now they’re getting divorced. It’s a big mess and it bothers me.

What kind of world do we live in where random strangers can sort through thousands of people to find someone who meets certain characteristics? Is that something we really want to participate in? I don’t think Myspace is a haven for pedophiles and sexual predators, but there is something creepy about the whole thing. A bunch of human beings on computers who distill down their personality to what bands they like, and other loose touchstones like what sports teams they root for, or what TV shows they like. Maybe I just don’t get the social network thing. I’m fairly asocial. I do think it would be naive to assume that it’s an entirely positive thing. It smacks too much of unreality, or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it just lays bare the whole grasping social equation, the desire for human contact, because we can only be ourselves when we’re reflected in others.

Feb 06

Brokeback Mountain as slash fiction

From Steve Sailer’s heretical blog, Brokeback Mountain as slash fiction:

“Slash” is about 100% written and read by women — some lesbian but most straight. In fact it follows romance novel formulas very closely. One member of the buddy pair is more sensitive and feminine — physically a man, emotionally a woman — while the other is a conventional romance hero. With Kirk/Spock, it’s Kirk who’s the sensitive one and Spock who’s the cold, emotionally distant hero who discovers his true feelings at the end. Part of the appeal is that the guys end up having sex not because they’re gay, but because True Love conquers all.

Gay men aren’t any more interested in “slash” than straight men are in Georgette Heyer. [Who?] The real parallel to “slash” among straight men is girl-on-girl pornography, where women combine ultra-feminine bodies with implausibly guy-like appetites for casual sex. Presumably these women inhabit the same male fantasy land where hot babes are interested in cool guy stuff, like martial arts and field-stripping automatic weapons, instead of boring girl stuff, like relationships and feelings (whatever those are).

Both slash and girl-girl porn tell us a lot (maybe more than we’d like to know) about the chasm between male and female sexuality. but, apart from the physical activities, they have nothing to do with real homosexuality. It’s funny how many reviewers are so clueless about human sexuality they can’t figure stuff like this out.

Sep 05

Notes on male / female identity

In researching some ideas I had about rebelliousness (especially political) and father-absence I came across several provocative ideas related to the formation of male / female identity. In a review of THE CHURCH IMPOTENT: THE FEMINIZATION OF CHRISTIANITY by Leon J. Podles:

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Aug 05

Society and Psychopathy

Interesting discussion on the subject of psychopathy and the mind. Psychopathy as the “flipside” of anxiety:

James Blair: This is difficult to disentangle. We know that other pathologies – I mean, anxiety disorder for example, is associated with massively overactive amygdala activity, and if you treat anxiety disorder successfully, you’ll see a reduction in that amygdala activity. And in many respects, psychopathy is the flipside of anxiety disorder, and so potentially we’re imagining that there may be treatments that will allow us to boost that amygdala response, and so help these individuals out. But as regards whether it’s a fundamental problem caused by a specific set of genetic information, or whether it was caused by a particular environmental trauma, at a specific age; that question at the moment we just have no answer for.

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May 05

Personality Test

As I’ve mentioned before, my Myers-Briggs “personality type” shifted as I got older to ESTP. It is my contention that whatever your type you should like it since personality is a reflection of conscious decisions about how to think, feel, and behave. Here is some good information on my type from a statistical point of view:

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Mar 05

Altruism and punishment

Very interesting stuff on the evolution of altruism. What is the evolutionary incentive for acting in ways that do not benefit the individual? From the New Scientist via Life With Alacrity:

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Mar 05

Analogies and metaphors

Life fascinates me, people fascinate me. I want to know and understand things and thereby help fix things, remove poisons, untwist knots. But, why do I want to “fix” things? I’m not sure.

Today I have been thinking about addiction and escape. Why people cling to their addictions for fear of themselves. In composing my thoughts tying extraversion to sadism, introversion to masochism, I reread some Weininger. His ideas on sadism and masochism are profound, although in his view sadism and masochism seem to be terms of expressing duality especially as relates to male/ female nature.

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Feb 05


It seems like everyone has an escape mechanism, an addiction of some sort. The desire for or relief from sensation. Something to dampen, mute, or divert. Addiction is the eroticism of feeling itself, not just bodily sensation, but also emotional sensation. Many choose to feel anything rather than nothing and push themselves up or down with sensation. When emotion drains away what do you have left? More to the point, when you strip away the emotion what is left of you? Our feelings and emotions anchor consciousness.


  1. What do you use to escape?
  2. Where do you seek relief? In activity? In knowledge? In memory?
  3. Why do you seek escape? What from?

Many of my habits have a impulsive nature. For example, a number of my activities have to do with desires for control, predictability, and stability. Why do I read the news so often? Why do I try to know as much as I can about so many different things? The thirst for knowledge and understanding can represent a desire for control, especially control of experience. I do not deal well with unknowns. Knowledge is not power, although it provides the sensation of power and control. But, what can be known and what are the limitations of knowledge? What we try to know dispels the maddening intangibility of the unknown. It lends a false sense of definition and order to a universe of incomprehensibility.

I feel the same way about history and the past. People who fear powerlessness idealize the past and imbue it with sentiment and importance at the expense of the elusive being of the present (action-oriented responsibility?) and the yet to be of the future (forethought-oriented responsibility?). In a real sense, the past is powerless to your own perception and can be manipulated and fetishized. The past imposes few responsibilities, while the future and present dictate volition.

I’m not sure if I’m making myself clear. I’ve just been thinking out loud. Here are some semi-related psychology links I found today that are worth reading:

  1. A psychoanalysis of gambling and gambling addiction
  2. For the Worst of Us, the Diagnosis May Be ‘Evil’ Dr. Stone represents another attempt at defining the incomprehensible, in this case “Evil”:

    Researchers have found that some people who commit violent crimes are much more likely than others to kill or maim again, and one way they measure this potential is with a structured examination called the psychopathy checklist.

    As part of an extensive, in-depth interview, a trained examiner rates the offender on a 20-item personality test. The items include glibness and superficial charm, grandiose self-worth, pathological lying, proneness to boredom and emotional vacuity. The subjects earn zero points if the description is not applicable, two points if it is highly applicable, and one if it is somewhat or sometimes true.

Jan 05

More O.W.

I’m keep coming across good passages from Otto Weininger’s Sex and Character. Bear with me:

On the self and others, individualism and universalism:

It is easy to give proofs. Only brutalised criminals and insane persons take absolutely no interest in their fellow men; they live as if they were alone in the world, and the presence of strangers has no effect on them. But for him who possesses a self there is a self in his neighbour, and only the man who has lost the logical and ethical centre of his being behaves to a second man as if the latter were not a man and had no personality of his own. “I” and “thou” are complementary terms. A man soonest gains consciousness of himself when he is with other men. This is why a man is prouder in the presence of other men than when he is alone, whilst it is in his hours of solitude that his self-confidence is damped. Lastly, he who destroys himself destroys at the same time the whole universe, and he who murders another commits the greatest crime because he murders himself in his victim. Absolute selfishness is, in practice, a horror, which should rather be called nihilism; if there is no “thou,” there is certainly no “I”, and that would mean there is nothing.

There is in the psychological disposition of the man of genius that which makes it impossible to use other men as a means to an end. And this is it: he who feels his own personality, feels it also in others. For him the Tat-tvam-asi is no beautiful hypothesis, but a reality. The highest individualism is the highest universalism.