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UCB Reinforcement

May 15, 2011 1 comment

Oh crap! I’ve done it again. I’ve scanned the horizon and found more evidence to further cement my Unshakable Cognitive Burden. I’ve started reading the classic “Human Side Of Enterprise“. It’s a classic because it was written in 1960 by Douglas McGregor and much of it remains relevant today – over 50 years later.

At the beginning of the book, Mr. McGregor asks his targeted audience, corporate managers, to truly “tune in” the next time they’re at a policy making meeting. By “tune in“, he means “listen to what hidden, implicit assumptions about human behavior are embedded within the discussions“.

Mr. McGregor asserts that the probability is high that policy discussions will be based on the assumption that those who will be affected by the policy are stupid, lazy, and not-to-be-trusted people. Has your personal experience indicated that he was, and still is, right?


March 28, 2009 3 comments

My Unshakeable Cognitive Burden

A few years ago, I first heard the phrase “Unshakeable Cognitive Burden”, or UCB. The UCB is a collection of deeply rooted beliefs, opinions, and values that color a person’s view of life. It serves as the foundation for his/her behavior. We all have a UCB, and we start unconsciously building it from the ground up as soon as we are born. If we remain unconscious and unaware of our UCB as we age, it starts to harden and stagnate.

The UCB is shaped like a pyramid where the lower layers become incredibly difficult to displace and replace over time as we innocently, but deliberately, filter out those circumstances and events and experiences that go against it. Since the top UCB layers are under less psychological pressure than the lower layers, they may be easy to displace and replace. However, depending on how unconscious and entrenched we are in our personal belief system, even the top layers can become immutable.


Trust me, it’s not good to have a UCB. I struggle with mine all the time. Rigid attachment to a UCB leads to a life of frustration, disappointment, and constant suffering. You get stuck in an arrogant, “I’m right and you’re wrong” binary mindset that can lead to violence or worse. Instead of living in the moment and enjoying life, you spend much of your time defending your UCB and attacking everyone else’s. It’s you against the big bad world. The Buddhists call this “the illusion of duality”.

The only way out of the UCB trap is to awaken to the fact that you’re living in a self-woven cocoon of lies based on “thoughts”. If you ever come to the realization that thoughts are just temporary formations of natural energy that arise out of nowhere in your consciousness, then your stance will soften and life will become lighter, breezier, and more peaceful. You will become more open and accommodating of others thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

So how do we awaken and become consciously aware? Is there a step by step procedure? I wish I knew. Do you?


Bitcoin Karen Dole Pants

March 22, 2021 Leave a comment

Before reading further, please consider that a dastardly potion of klonopin, opdivo, gabapentin, and cannabis chemicals are partially responsible for the inane content of the following post. Add in a dash of Hunter S. Thompson, Howard Stern, and Charles Bukowski, and you may get a glimpse into the awful nature of the force that poked at the keyboard during the construction of this post. The rest of the writing (dis)credit goes to BD00’s formally documented propensity for behaving like a total asshole and to his tightly-coupled co-author, the ever present Emperor Of All Maladies. The ever omniscient and omnipresent EOAM has been a constant co-author to BD00’s verbal spewings for what seems like forever now. Come to think of it, it feels like the EOAM has been dwelling in his head waaaay before the big C diagnosis.

While listening to another wise but whacky Herbert and Keiser Orange Pill Podcast, bitcoiner Mad Max brought up the name of one of the most annoying Bitcoin Karens on record, economist Nouriel Roubini. When Max launched into his Roubini rant, an image of Roubini in Bob Dole pants immediately came to mind, followed by a few other Bitcoin Karens outfitted in Dole pants. It was an uncontrollable, free association event that led to the creation of this NFT worthy graphic.

So that’s it. That’s the post. Pretty immature and cray cray, no? Why would anyone expect anything different from an insane Bitcoin Q. Maximalist like BD00?

Categories: bitcoin, Cancer Tags: ,

Man-Made And Person-Specific

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment

George Pransky taught (err, finally convinced) BD00 that all stress is man-made and person-specific. One person’s stress is another’s exhilaration. Nevertheless, environmental and situational factors probably do influence stress levels to some extent, no?

One would think that as one ascends the ladder in a hierarchical institution, his/her stress levels increase with rank, stature, and responsibility. This may be true in general, but there is some research evidence to the contrary:

No Sweat: Less Stress in Higher Ranks. “..this study suggests that those who manage others actually experience less stress — as measured through both biological and psychological assessments — than non-leaders. In fact, the stress level seems to go down as executives climb up the corporate ladder. Leaders with more authority, and more freedom to delegate day-to-day oversight, do better on this front than managers below them.”

The Whitehall Study. “The Whitehall cohort studies found a strong association between grade levels of civil servant employment and mortality rates from a range of causes. Men in the lowest grade (messengers, doorkeepers, etc.) had a mortality rate three times higher than that of men in the highest grade (administrators).”

It all comes down to “control“. If you believe (like BD00 does) in William T. Powers’ Perceptual Control Theory (that every living being is an aggregation of thousands of little control systems interconnected for the purpose of achieving prosperous survival), then the results make sense. It’s simply that people in the higher ranks have more “control” over their environment than those below them.

Stress Curves

Of course, take this post (along with all other BD00 posts) with a carafe of salt. He likes to make up stuff that confirms his UCB by carefully stitching together corroborating evidence while filtering out all disconfirmatory evidence. But wait! You do that too, no?

Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day. – Bertrand Russell

He Said, He Thought, He Said, He Thought

September 30, 2012 3 comments

In “Get Rid of the Performance Review!: How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing–and Focus on What Really Matters“, Sam Culbert provides several, made-up, boss-subordinate exchanges to make his case for jettisoning the archaic, 1900’s “annual performance review“. For your reading pleasure, I lifted one of these depressingly funny exchanges out of the book and transformed it into a derivation of Chris Argyris’s terrific LHS-RHS format. It’s long, and it took me a bazillion years to recreate it on this stupid-arse blawg; so please read the freakin’ thing.

Did you notice how both the boss and the subordinate suffered from the ordeal? But of course, you don’t have to worry about experiencing similar torture because the “annual performance review” at your institution is different. Even better, your org has moved into the 21st century by implementing an alternative, more equitable and civilized way of gauging performance and giving raises.

In his hard-hitting and straight-talking book, Mr. Culbert, a UCLA management school professor and industry consultant firebrand (he’s got street cred!), really skewers C-level management. He fires his most devastating salvos at evil HR departments for sustaining the “annual performance review” disaster that sucks the motivation out of everybody within reach. And yes, he does provide viable alternatives (that won’t ever be implemented in established, status-quo-loving borgs) to HR’s beloved “annual performance review“. Buy and read the book to find out what they are.

Note: Thanks Elisabeth, for steering me toward Mr. Culbert’s blasphemous work. It has helped to reinforce my entrenched UCB and the self-righteous illusion that “I’m 100% right“. But wait! I’m not allowed to be right.

Bankrupt Models

August 17, 2012 1 comment

In his paper, “The Dispute Over Control Theory“, Bill Powers tries to clarify how Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) differs from the two main causal approaches to psychology: stimulus-response and command-response. In order to gain a deeper understanding of PCT, I’m gonna try to reproduce Bill’s argument in this post with my own words and pictures.

The figure below represents a PCT unit of behavioral organization, the Feedback Control System (FCS). An FCS is a closed loop with not one independent input (e.g. stimulus or command), but two. One input, the reference signal, is sourced from the output function of a higher level control unit(s). The second input, an amalgam of environmental disturbances, “invades” the loop from outside the organism.  Both inputs act on the closed loop as a whole and the purpose of the FCS is to continuously act on the environment (via muscular exertion) to maintain the perceptual signal as close to the reference signal as possible. As the reference changes, the behavior changes. As the disturbance changes, the behavior changes. Since action is behavior, the FCS exhibits behavior to control perception; behavior is the control of perception.

The figure below depicts models of the stimulus-response and command-response views in terms of the PCT FCS. The foremost feature to notice is that there is no loop in either model – it’s broken. The second major difference is that neither model has two inputs.

In the Stimulus-Response model, the linear, causal path of action is: Stimulus (a.k.a Disturbance) ->Organism->Behavior. In the Command-Response model, the linear, causal path of action is: Command (a.k.a Reference)->Organism->Behavior. Hence, the models can be reduced to these simple (and bankrupt) renderings of a dumb-ass organism totally under the control of “something in the external environment“:

So, you may ask: “How could our best and brightest minds in psychology and sociology gotten it so wrong for so long; and why don’t they embrace PCT to learn how living systems really tic?” It’s because they erroneously applied Newton’s linear cause-effect approach for the physics of inanimate objects to living beings and they’ve thoroughly crystallized their UCBs into cement bunkers.

When you push a rock, there is no internal resistance from the rock and Newton’s laws kick into action. When you push a human being, you’ll encounter internal resistance and Newton’s laws don’t apply – control theory applies.

Compounding the difficulty has been a surprising tendency for scientists who are normally careful to know what they are talking about to leap to intuitive conclusions about the properties and capabilities of control systems, without first having become personally acquainted with the existing state of theart. If any criticism is warranted, it is for promulgating statements with an authoritative air without having verified personally that they are justified. – Bill Powers

D’oh! BD00 takes major offense at Bill’s last sentence.

What Do You Do?

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

While perusing Dan Pink’s FLIP-Manifesto, point number 5 triggered a “WTF?” moment within my being:

Outraged” at Dan’s audacity to attack one of the pillars of my UCB (the burning desire to continually search for personal passion), I navigated directly to the blasphemous pages that rationalize his assertion.

I discovered that Dan is right. In lieu of  wrestling with an “endless self-examination and searching for some inscrutable holy emotional grail“, ask “what do I do?” instead of “what is my passion?“.

What do you think? More importantly, “what do you do“?

Categories: spirituality Tags: , ,

Reckless Meritocracies

November 26, 2011 1 comment

Being a staunch advocate of democratic meritocracy, when I stumbled across the title of this potentially UCB-loosening op-ed by Ross Douthat; “Our Reckless Meritocracy, I dove right in. I was intrigued by the use of the word “reckless” in the title.

Ross commences his opinion piece by telling the rags-to-riches-to-rags story of Jon Corzine:

  • Boy grows up in rural Illinois
  • Boy’s grandfather was a farmer who lost everything in the great depression
  • Boy graduates from Illinois state university
  • Boy goes into Marine Corps
  • Boy gets MBA
  • Boy works for regional bank
  • Boy works for Goldman Sachs
  • Boy becomes Goldman Sachs CEO
  • Boy serves in US senate
  • Boy serves as governer of NJ
  • Boy returns to Wall St. as CEO of MF Global
  • MF Global files for bankruptcy after “mislaying” $600M
  • Boy resigns in disgrace (but with plenty of dough in the bank)

Ross uses this lead-in to postulate that the US has “created what seems like the most capable, hardworking, high-I.Q. elite in all of human history – and we’ve watched this same elite lead us off a cliff“.

Ross then theorizes on how catastrophies are perpetrated by the rich and powerful in reckless meritocracies, hereditary aristocracies, and one-party states:

  • Hereditary aristocracies: debacles caused by stupidity and pigheadedness
  • One Party States: debacles caused by ideological mania
  • Reckless Meritocracies: debacles caused  by hubris

Relative to the other two forms of governance, at least scores of little people aren’t physically massacred in reckless meritocracies. They’re simply thrust into poverty. The real genius of reckless meritocracy is that when a meritocrat falls, he/she isn’t beheaded. At worst, he/she goes to jail. At best, he/she gets away with a huge bag of loot.

So, what’s a democratically run institution to do? Mr. Douthat rightly states that “it will do America no good to replace the arrogant with the ignorant, the overconfident with the incompetent“. (Didn’t you see the movie “Idiocracy“?)

We need intelligent leaders with a sense of their own limits, experienced people whose lives have taught them caution. We still need the best and brightest, but we need them to have somehow learned humility along the way. – Ross Douthat

If you made it thus far into this post, you may be wondering why BD00 is wasting your time by simply parroting Ross Douthat in yet another meta-blog post? It’s because BD00 wanted to display his fledgling UML skill again:

But wait!  It may ironically be because of BD00’s own personal lack of humility and the fact that BD00 gets off on reading funny spammer comments like these:

Misconceptions And Truths

November 21, 2011 2 comments

In the modern world the stupid (like BD00) are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. – Bertrand Russell

Thanks to multi-fish-name dude, I was introduced to the hilariously serious work of David McRaney. In his terrific book, “You Are Not So Smart“, David starts off each chapter with a pair of misconception-truth assertions. He then proceeds to make his case by skillfully citing and summarizing a multitude of psychological studies.

Here’s a sampling of several misconception-truth pairs that I hope will get you to consider helping David out and buying his book:

Of course, being the self-smug, smarty-pants, know-it-all that he is, BD00 held none of the misconceptions and knew all of the truths before buying the book. Mr. McRaney’s work simply added another layer of concrete to the sarcophagus that holds the BD00 UCB comfortably in place.

Full disclosure and hidden agenda: The real reason I’m promoting Dave’s work is because he’s got the funniest web site marquee on the planet:

So what d’ya think? Should I ask for permission to change the “meh” banner on this blog from this boring and bland image…..

to this YANSS derivative….

Unfriendly Fire

October 29, 2011 2 comments

In Nancy Leveson’s new book, “Engineering A Safer World“, she analyzes (in excruciating detail) all the little screw-ups that occurred during an accident in Iraq where two F-15 fighters shot down two friendly black hawk helicopters – killing all aboard. To set the stage for dispassionately explaining the tragedy, Ms. Leveson provides the following hierarchical command and control model of the “system” at the time of the fiasco:

Holy shite! That’s a lot of levels of “approval required, no?

In typical BD00 fashion, the dorky figure below dumbs down and utterly oversimplifies the situation so that he can misunderstand it and jam-fit it into his flawed UCB mental model. Holy shite! That’s still a lot of levels of “ask me for permission before you pick your nose“, no?

So, what’s the point here? It’s that every swingin’ dick wants to be an esteemed controller and not a low level controlleee. Why? Because….

“Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid.” – Bertrand Russell

People who do either kind of work can be (but perhaps shouldn’t be) judged as bozos, or non-bozos. The bozo to non-bozo ratio in the “pleasant” form of work is much higher than the “unpleasant” form of work. – BD00

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