Audio Attitude Exploring situational influence on attitude and behavior.

May 5, 2008

Attitude of Wright and Wrong

Filed under: Video,view — Tags: , , , — Brian @ 7:35 am

On matters of reality we attribute differing views as opinion when it comes to ice cream flavors. On matters of religion, family, country, identity, and life, we attribute views different than ours as threatening, ignorant, or psychotic. The following perspective will no doubt rattle people who have decided Wright is wrong. If this is you, I challenge you to be a little rattled.

“[Reverend] Wright’s offensive opinions and inflammatory appearances are judged differently (than John Hagee, Pat Robertson and Billy Graham). He doesn’t fire a shot in anger, put a noose around anyone’s neck, call for insurrection, or plant a bomb in a church with children in Sunday school. What he does is to speak his mind in a language and style that unsettles some people, and says some things so outlandish and ill-advised that he finally leaves Obama no choice but to end their friendship. We are often exposed to the corroding acid of the politics of personal destruction, but I’ve never seen anything like this — this wrenching break between pastor and parishioner — before our very eyes. Both men no doubt will carry the grief to their graves. All the rest of us should hang our heads in shame for letting it come to this in America, where the gluttony of the non-stop media grinder consumes us all and prevents an honest conversation on race. It is the price we are paying for failing to heed the great historian Jacob Burckhardt, who said “beware the terrible simplifiers.”

Bill Moyers

See the rest of the 6.5 minute piece below.

February 4, 2008

Capitalism Jumps Aboard

Filed under: Video — Tags: , , , , , , , — Brian @ 8:24 am

Unbelievable. Pretty soon, we’ll be able to buy unity at Walmart.

February 2, 2008

On Attitude, Fear, and Change

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — Brian @ 1:47 pm

We humans love to think our attitudes represent an accurate understanding of reality. Unfortunately much of the time our attitudes are products of snap decisions by our brain in response to subtle cues in our surroundings that we never realize exist. This is especially true of judgmental or negative attitudes. The stronger the attitude, the less likely the attitude is based on awareness.

It is no secret I am supporting Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for President. But, I want to clearly state my appreciation for Hillary Clinton. I have no doubt that any candidate will have a very tough time. The challenges a President faces continue to expand. I am confident Hillary Clinton is ready and fully capable of doing a fine job as President.

But, there is more at steak than choosing a President. This country is badly fractured by ideology and crippled by fear. Nobody expected a candidate could embrace the entire country and change the conversation to one of empowering each of us to become what we can if we learn to build each other up rather than tear each other down. We have a candidate in Barack Obama that is special. He moves people who would not be moved. He has a gift of connecting and exciting people like no other candidate for President in my memory has had. People are excited about themselves, not against a target.

A good test of attitude is whether it pushes us away from something. If so, it is fear based. Most fear is irrational.

Fear is the challenge we all face in this election. We humans are prepared to do anything and think anything if we are afraid enough. Fear of losing the chance of having our first woman President. Fear of assassination. Fear of tax and spend foolishness. Fear of a black family in the White House. I ask anyone with hostility against a candidate to dig real deep into their attitude and come up with the source of repulsion. I suggest the source is fear, and not rationality.

Fear will destroy America if we keep riding our hostile attitudes to the polls.

Please watch the candidates. If you notice yourself making a sarcastic remark, dismissive statement, or feeling mistrust about this or any candidate I challenge you to diligently face the fear fueling it. Get to know your fear very well and decide if it is based on fact or based on reaction before you vote. I will continue to try to do the same. Good luck to us all as we choose the candidate we think will help us heal and excite us to be our best.

January 4, 2008

Eat Brussel Sprouts or Skip Dessert: Attitude and Dilemma

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , — Brian @ 11:58 am

Though I never left the table hungry as a kid I was never satisfied when my mom served Brussels sprouts for dinner. Mom was a parent who believed in giving her children informed choices. When Brussels sprouts were featured at dinner I was able to practice negotiation skills even though my best efforts got me no place. Each time I got a simple choice – to torture my palate, or leave the table and and skip dessert. I learned to live without dessert.

brussels sprouts

Perhaps experiencing these existential dilemmas at a young age helped me develop tolerance for multiple outcomes. Struggles viewed in this way are not catastrophes, bad luck, fate, or events of anguish. They are dilemmas of choice. And how we struggle with these dilemmas reveals who we are deep inside. So as I learned to make choices in little dilemmas instead of launching into hysterics or shriveling into self-pity. In essence I developed a belief about my world that everything works out and helps fuel my attitude as I move along.

Did you notice the “attitude” word? May I offer a definition? Attitude is not a smile or a snarl. Attitude is how we automatically respond to situations based upon millions of tiny little realities we have over time constructed for ourselves. How someone wrestles with little dilemmas tells us more about who and what they are than any psychological test or “facts” you might think you “know” about them. Such facts tend to be items that fit into our own constructs of reality and are generally a poor way to size up a person.

Dilemma triggers attitude. Core beliefs fuel attitude. Despite our desire to think we’re in control of all this we usually just go along for the ride.

Political seasons are a smorgasboard of human attitude. I have a taste for political seasons. As I watch the candidates I look at their style of speech, body language, defense mechanisms and, of course, how they struggle. Yes, I am interested in their policy positions, but I have yet to find a candidate whose policy positions are exactly mine. So instead I focus on their attitude. Is their attitude consistent with their stated positions? If so, is their attitude toward the people and constitution of this country one of respect?

Now I face a dilemma. This January 15th I will be served a plate of Brussels sprouts. I get to decide between voting for a candidate with an attitude I distrust whose name is on the ballot or vote “undecided.” Should I vote for “undecided” on the chance enough voters in Michigan will do the same with the hope that, in such a case, the delegates will vote for my choice of candidate whose name is missing?

Is this a catastrophe? Should I become hysterical and rant and rave at the Michigan party leaders for making this silliness happen? Should I fire off angry letters to the Edwards and Obama campaigns? Should I stay home and give up on the political process? Should I weigh the cost/benefit and focus on the benefits of making a choice? Based upon what you know about my own attitude, what do you think I’ll do? What would you do?

Photo credit: MassDistraction

« Newer Posts

Powered by WordPress