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Money for College?

Money for College?

This is a short one. A group of people who attempt to identify, put into sensible order, and provide instruction and guidance on college scholarship information requested that I add their hyperlinks to this site. Seemed fine with me, so I added a menu item titled “Launch Pad”. Here, you can find the links that were provided to me.

Check this menu item occasionally. Now that it’s there, I’m sure I’ll be adding other stuff–some of which will be of academic use and some of which will be of my own appreciation of the stupid, the bullshit, the odd or unusual, and punk rock.

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Punk Rock Psychology 2nd Edition: Read it , Learn it, Live it

Punk Rock Psychology 2nd Edition: Read it , Learn it, Live it

Dear Professor,

 

This book is my gauntlet, and it has been thrown with alacrity into whatever arcane and hallowed cerulean vapor in which your mind traverses. Although you possess the ability to conceptualize and develop programmatic conditioning procedures for an array of individuals, be they human or non-human, you either fail to see the educational conditioning of the modern undergraduate, or you volitionally ignore it. Do you remember being taught the Flynn Effect? Have you stayed true to your discipline and remained conversant in this research and the apparent emergence of its inverse? If so, you would know that an ever increasing number of traditional college students appear to remain in the concrete stage of cognitive development as they exit high school and enter the world of post-secondary education; a world in which they are ill equipped to understand, or make use of the material they are expected to learn (Shayer & Ginsburg, 2009).  Allow me to remind you that, while in the classroom, your charge and solemnn oath is to illuminate that which is veiled in ignorance. To be more precise, your job is to explain efforts made in understanding the human condition to people who still have difficulty thinking around corners, or creating an argument that would support their perspective on any given topic.

 

If the behaviorist is to be taken seriously, and behavior is goal directed, please clearly articulate your goal in requiring students to purchase textbooks that are beyond their ability to comprehend and then teaching from those texts. Is Vygotsky woefully errant in his proposition of the zone of proximal development? If that is the case, then please carry on as you were. If that is not the case, how do you formulate a justified true belief with regard to the logic, quality, and veracity of your instructional methodology?

 

Teaching non-human primates to memorize a list of vocabulary words is not a difficult undertaking. Teaching those same primates to engage in some form of behavior that wouldsuggest that they understand the abstractions of the words is impossible. In spite of this truism,you continue to lecture to humans as if they were some other species: Who was_____? What is________ ? Where is ________located? Identify the anatomical parts of the _______. At whatage does a person _________?  What class of drug causes _______? And on, and on, and on.This is an intellectual exercise with no purpose and a journey that leads nowhere. What I have attempted to do in writing this book is to allow students to intellectually engage with the world in which they live, consider the other worlds in which other people live, to ask questions and find answers that have substantive meaning; a meaning that they can articulate and defend. This book is my attempt to lead students into a world that is malleable and frequently difficult to understand coupled with the repetitive mantra of using critical thought as a means of creating and understanding. In other words, this book uses a language that students can understand while simultaneously holding them to a higher academic standard than did their experiences with former iterations of education. I encourage you to consider doing the same.

 

Very Truly Yours,

 

Scott D. Reeder

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Yale: The School for Microtards

Yale: The School for Microtards

Microaggression

Trigger Warnings

Safe Place

Apparently, all of you are familiar with these words/phrases. Here’s one that might come in handy as you righteously condemn the culturally ignorant and volitional evil-doers who frighten you so much: Critical Thinking.

Before I provide you with the meaning of critical thinking and the value that it should have in your everyday life, I feel obligated to point out the limitations and fatal flaws of post-modernism as a cultural phenomenon. As some of you may know, post-modernism is the ideological zeitgeist that replaced modernism. The single biggest difference between the two is the “narrative of the community” v. “the narrative of self”. In the modernist context, we identify as members of a larger group before, or as being more important than identifying as an individual. Thus, the modernist might say, “You can’t judge us”, while the post-modernist might say, “You can’t judge me”. This statement is predicated on the assumption (and it fucking well is an assumption) that I don’t know enough about you, your collective past, or your core values, attitudes and beliefs that would allow me to make accurate statements, or develop tenable opinions about you. If this is true, or at least true in your myopic worldview, then judgment must be withheld from everyone about everyone. Put another way,  you ardently seek a state of social anarchy, as this is the only logical end game of post-modern social philosophy…and yet you don’t seek anarchy. You seek to create a world that was originally imagined by Orwell, and no one would ever accuse him of writing transcendentally joyous rhetoric.

You’re at least bright enough to understand that having no system of codified rules would result in a quick and decisive eradication of you. No one likes an asshole. No one likes a whiner. No one is willing to suffer an asshole whiner for any longer than is absolutely necessary. Consequently, you would be the first to go. Ironically, you would probably cull yourselves from the herd because you’re so in love with the concept of your own narrative and being right. Your “safe place” would cease to exist, and you would be victims of “macroaggression” from the the betas with whom you currently associate.  That’s the fatal flaw of post-modernism: everything is right, so nothing is right; everyone is special, so no one is special; accepting everything (everyone) is tantamount to accepting nothing and no one.

Critical thinking is probably the one thing that keeps us, be that a community or a country, from imploding as a result of ideological genocide, which is precisely what you are attempting to impose. An extremely abbreviated description of critical thought is one’s ability to use inductive and deductive reasoning as a starting point in attempting to find truth to the extent that said truth can be defined. Critical though also involves the ability  to  objectively analyze information, to use your analysis with a definable and defendable intent or purpose, to be open to a) new ideas and b) the possibility that you might be wrong, and an allegiance to authenticity. It would never occur to adherents of critical thought to brainstorm words and phrases that might, under the perfect circumstances, be considered acts of microaggression because they are authentic people. This means that they have deep understanding of who they are and who they are not. Thus, words, no matter how toxic they may be, have an element of truth or are wildly inaccurate. In either case, the critical thinker sees an opportunity to be better at something or immediately dismisses what is heard because it completely fails to characterize them in any meaningful way. This is an important concept you might want to try really, really hard to understand. Words are only as (insert your adjective of choice) as you allow them to be. To feel hurt, marginalized, mistreated, or misunderstood are all choices you make of your own volition (no one forced you to feel these things).You could choose other emotional responses if you actually believed that other people are not in control of how your mind operates. Put simply, this infant-like insistence that no one should be allowed to hurt your feelings is actually a declarative, articulated by you, that tells the world that you would prefer that others live your life for you.

To build, staff, and appoint a Dean of Culture and Diversity is a statement of the University that language is more important that behavior. As a psychologist, I could not give less of a shit about what people say. My job is to determine whether or not the language and the behavior are consistent. Behavior doesn’t lie, so if there are inconsistencies between language and behavior, I will always focus on the behavior. Yale has demonstrated that it will consistently do the opposite. Thus, Yale is the new home for the Microtard; a place that embraces the fallacy of language as truth, and also a place that willfully dismisses behavior as having no real value or meaning.

Real life in the real world is a conveyor belt of judgment, emotional decision making, cronyism, heuristics (snap judgments made through ones own cultural lenses…meaning they tend to be pretty fucking inaccurate), manipulation, and rabid self-promotion. It isn’t fair, it isn’t pretty, and it has been this way as far back as our species has existed. You have two choices: Choice one is to know who you are based on constant and objective self-assessment, roll with the critical rhetoric directed toward you, find your niche and comfort zone, and then crush that shit. Choice two is to roll over, let the world tell you who you are, feel miserable, cheated, and -angry, blame everyone but yourself for what you perceive as failures, and whine until you die. Apparently, Yale prefers choice number two, and encourages its students to step in line and prefer the same. Ivy League my ass. I know 8th grade dropouts with far more refined cognitive skill sets and self-awareness than anything Yale proposes to offer in those areas.

 

PS

To the President of Yale.

Read a decent book on basic fucking leadership, take careful notes, and then force yourself to try make real some of the concepts covered within the text. Any dipshit can be a “yes-man”. You will probably really piss off some people in your attempt to be a leader. That is an inevitability. If you strive for more than mediocrity, and you have the sack to stick with it, you might actually succeed in living up to what’s in your job description. If you’d like some help with this, please feel free to contact me at any time.

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Faith and Reason

Faith and Reason

Recently, my mom asked if I would explain my concept of faith to her. Keep in mind that I was raised under the umbrella of a rather myopic and dogmatic brand of Christianity otherwise known as Baptist (with a healthy dose of evangelism tossed in). Like any kid who spends a lot of time in church, I believed the rhetoric without any hesitation. Kids are, among other things, stupid little creatures who will believe just about anything if it comes from a figure of authority. This is a completely predictable phenomenon given what we know about cognitive development.

I carried my untested and unrefuted belief around with me until I was capable of asking and answering the tough questions, as well as accepting that some things are unknowable. It’s important to recognize the difference between a belief and faith. A belief in something can be rooted in justification (empiricism); the Greeks referred to these things as justified true beliefs. I may not be able to deconstruct a belief to it’s basic component parts, and yet I can provide compelling evidence that the belief is true (so far as any “truth” can be proven). A belief can also be rooted in utter bullshit, and cannot be justified. We all have beliefs about ourselves, other people, and the world we live in that cannot withstand careful scrutiny. For example, I believe that US citizens live in an aristocratic democracy, not a democratic free republic (in simple terms, the former means that little Billy cannot grow up to be the president and the latter means that he can). There are all kinds of holes in my belief and still I adhere to it in spite of well constructed arguments that refute it. A belief often says more about the person who has it than it does about the content/context of the belief.

Faith is simply an unjustified belief that can be neither proved nor disproved. Religion is faith based. Materialism (otherwise known as atheism) is also faith based. There is no empirical evidence that suggests that a Creator exists, nor is there any empirical evidence that suggests said Creator does not exist. To have faith in a god alone, or to have faith in nature alone is, by definition, a faith based exercise. No one knows, no one can substantiate, no one can point to something that might be considered a justified true belief, no one can provide compelling empirical evidence, so we faithfully adhere to an idea that we already know cannot withstand any scrutiny at all. What’s interesting about faith, as opposed to a belief, is that it says more about the nature of faith than it does about the person who owns it. Richard Dawkins, along with most hardcore academics, strongly adheres to his faith in materialism. I strongly adhere to my faith in God. The main difference between us is not about materialism or God; it’s about the vehemence (think frothing at the mouth), or insistence with which we defend our faith. Dawkins and his crew get really hostile when challenged about their faith. I don’t feel an ounce of hostility when my faith is challenged (although, to be fair, there are a lot of religious people who go completely bug fuck when their faith is challenged). Thus, the issue is not about any particular person, the issue is faith as a standalone and elusive position one chooses of their own volition. It exists, people will talk about it, no one seems to argue the concept of faith, and yet nobody can provide an ironclad operational definition of the phenomenon we call faith. I think that it’s worth mentioning that a faith untested is not faith at all, it’s simply a stupid and horrifyingly ignorant unjustified belief.

So, mom, I have a battle tested faith in God as the creator, the arbiter of what we will come to know as truth, and as my steadfast and not always wanted companion. I talk to God multiple times every day. God never answers or responds to my comments, questions, appreciation, or observations. I’m cool with the arrangement we have, although I find it really difficult to not throat punch the dipshits who reference a Holy response as an incident (I prayed long and hard for _______________ and then this thing happened, so I know Baby Jesus is real). I talk to my creator just as I would any friend, which means I will say, “Seriously? That’s some fucked up shit, and thanks for putting me on the receiving end of it. I get that You have a grand plan and all, I’m merely pointing out that You could have easily handed this one to someone else.” I like my faith, which allows me to like God in a way I don’t think many people do, or could understand. I’ve stood at the abyss and nearly fell into it on more than one occasion. The abyss didn’t look back, it just sat there dark and waiting. I know that one day I’ll get sucked into it, and that’s fine. Until then, I’ll try to be the closest iteration of myself that breeches the wall of authenticity and adheres the the 11th Commandment (the one given to the apostles at the last supper) as much as I can given my enormous and breathtaking fallibility.

So what does faith mean to me? I’ve already paid multiple visits to Hell. I will not be spending any time there when I’m dead (although I’ll probably be neighbors with people I thought were dicks on this mortal plain). He does have a sense of humor–one look at an armadillo or a kangaroo should suffice as evidence for that statement.

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Better You

Better You

I see this stupid slogan around this time every year. In some cases, it simply refers to adopting a healthier lifestyle. I’m cool with that, and I know the discipline and hard work that is a part of this process. In other cases, people within my own profession will make this statement. They should be ashamed and publicly flogged for assisting in the ongoing marginalization of counseling and psychology as an actual science.

First, a “new you” suggests that the current you sucks and is in need of change. This is a blanket assumption; one that should never be made by people in my line of work. It’s entirely possible that the current you is just fine, not something that is worth the effort to change, and can potentially cause more harm than good should the change be undertaken simply because the change leads you further away from who you really are.

Second, and related to the first, is the idea that before you can change you, you might want to know who you are. When I ask the question. “Who are you?”, I always get responses of what a person does (father, mother, sister, brother, parent, occupation, religious affiliation, etc.). There are internal reasons people have for wanting to be the things that they do, we (counselors and psychologists) just tend to avoid that line of reasoning with people. It’s hard, messy, confusing, and frustrating. I understand that you are different things. I don’t understand your reasons (attitudes, beliefs, and values) that act as the engine that drives the mechanism (you). I can understand these things when I am told, so I have a responsibility to challenge your reasons in an effort to allow both of us to better understand the real (authentic) you.

An example of this might be you wanting to be a better parent or employee. How does this relate to your core values, beliefs, and/or attitudes? How do you define “better”? In other words, how would you know that you are changing in a positive way, and by whose stick would you measure this? What has led you to believe that you want to change these things? You, or forces outside of yourself to which you are giving more power and control than you are willing to give to you?

Third, the language you use about becoming a “new you” is a setup for failure, self-deprecation, and more frustration. People (you) tend to use language that includes words or phrases such as, “I need to…”, “I have to…”, “I should…”, “I never…”, “I always…”, etc. This kind of self-talk puts you into a pass/fail scenario, and you’ll usually fail (see the first sentence in this paragraph). A more accurate and healthy internal narrative uses the words “want” and “don’t want”. This allows you to have a bad day without being a failure–you simply wanted (to do) something more than you wanted to change on that particular day. No big deal. Everyone experiences this and tomorrow is just another opportunity to re-prioritize what you want.

Last, a “new you” may take way fucking longer than a year. Think about how old you are and know that that’s how much time you have had to be the you that we all see. One hopes that it won’t take that same amount of time to change, although it might and that’s fine. You’re trying, and you will continue to try until you’ve arrived or decided that the change you seek isn’t worth the effort or isn’t really about you; its origin lies somewhere out there and you accidentally bought the bullshit until you decide to stop paying for it.

New year? Yeah, we’ll get those until we die. Big deal. New you? Maybe, and you may not get it before you die. As long as you’re trying, and know the reasons you have for making the time and the effort, the word “new” can be chucked and replaced with “better than…”. I think that might mean a great deal more than “new”.

Keep the fire stoked when you can and welcome to 2017 (assuming you’re not Jewish, in which case welcome to 5778 in Tishri).

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