When I was a paramedic, I thought it nice that people had the comfort of a religion or a belief.  Being raised Catholic (in recovery) I sometimes thought that according to the rules of the church, that a recently departed had a snowballs chance in hell of getting to heaven.  But it still seemed nice they believed that there was something better ahead.

I couldn’t understand why people got upset if they believed that the person who passed was moving on to a better place.  That’s when I realized they truly did not have this belief.  These were not tears of joy but rather tears of fear that this end awaits them.

My point is not about religion or belief.  That is a much longer blog series.  My point is pretending to have a belief or a faith but not showing the commitment necessary.  In fact, I see one faith that actually does what it says.  The radical Muslims do what their book says.  They are vilified for doing as they say.

While the religion of politics is rewarded with money and power for NOT doing what they say.  Go figure.


I had a few careers where I played with the big boys.  These specialists had either talent (baseball) or skill (emergency medicine) or expertise (neuropsychology).  To interact with these people gave me so much.  For the most part these individuals learned as much from me as I did from them.  At the time I did not realize this.  The point is they really knew something.

Then a series of bad life events led me to Cuenca Ecuador.  Here everybody knows everything.  There is not a single question you can drum up that does not have an answer on an expat forum.  They might not know the closest star to earth but they can tell you how the planets influence your personality and for an additional 10 dollars they can predict your children’s future.

I should be happy living among so much knowledge, but sadly I am not.  I hear cancer cures, benefits from shamans, hatred for both political parties, love/hate for the president of Ecuador and this information proves beneficial to me.  I listen.  I get on the internet and go to sites of studied knowledge.  I look up what I heard and voila I have solid information. But outside the peer reviewed information I show extreme caution as someone is usually selling something — an idea or a product that is heavily conflicted with what the science says. Quite often it is contrary to the local experts and there lies my benefit.  A story is born.  As an example I have a dear friend who rants and raves how untrustworthy the government is.  He just posted an article that says the U.S. government finally admits that marijuana kills cancer cells.  Forget the issue of marijuana.  What about trusting the government?  Now I should trust them because they agree with you?  I’m confused.

Why would a person say something that has a grain of truth but expand it into an absolute and be offended if you looked for information to support their claim.  You will not like my opinion because we all tend to do it.  (future blog)

I learned that the terms racist and misogynist to mean anyone who disagrees with a statement by the speaker.  I think this has long been an issue to man but the internet and social media illuminate this human desire to have THE ANSWER.

I recently read an article about alternative medicine.  I liked the energy of the article and commented on it.  The response I received from the author missed my point and defended THE ANSWER. I was looking to have an interchange of ideas, of intellectual debate, of a search for information Instead I got THE ANSWER I remember leaving my post doctorate with THE ANSWER.  I laugh when I think back to how stupid  that feeling was.  I say feeling because the feeling of being right has the same feel as being wrong.


As I maneuver through the internet looking for information I am frequently pulled toward a comment, a picture, a post.  I go to investigate and find myself on a page that I can’t easily get off.  I press a big arrow and find myself immersed in an ad.  I take a breath and look more carefully and select the button that will get me off this page and go to a page that looks threatening and really wants to know if I want to leave this page.  Why would I want to leave a page of ads I was tricked into viewing in the first place?

Well that’s one way things happen.  I worked in advertising and copy writing and know that ethics are merely suggestions.  I often think of a group of people sitting around trying to figure out how to make money FAST and without having to really earn it.  So one guy says we have to find something that nobody wants, is virtually free to us and then make it the next CURE ALL on the market.

“Apricot seeds!”  shouts one of the entrepreneurs.  We convince people that it cures cancer.

“But we don’t know that,” says a young man who will soon be cut out of the funding process.

“We’ll make up the study and find studies that suggest these results.  Alternative medicine and Shamanistic stuff can easily be exploited right now,” he adds.

So with a few computer designs, much copy writing and a credit card reception – a business is born.  It works off the theory that people will hear and believe what they want to and that ONE thing is all you need.  No need to change your lifestyle, to exercise or change your thinking.  Not for the $700 value not even the $299 additional program we will throw in, but simply for a fully refundable $59.99 you can receive  these ground up seeds we got paid to remove because they are poisonous this life saving, cancer curing offer that we took great diligence in preparing for your needs.

And so it goes, a culture of purchasers and the wolves that answer the bleats of the sheep.


I have an understanding of reward and punishment.  When I did a year long internship at the City of Miami Juvenile Justice Center I received my first IQ over 100.  Up until that time I thought 100 was the limit.  There is a correlation between elevated IQ and success in life (depending on how you measure success).  Likewise there is a correlation between low IQ and crime as I learned through a years worth of testing and a dissertation on psychopathy.

Over the following 31 years I found very successful people who had average IQs.  Their success came in understanding that other people might not figure out what is going on.  For example, I have a friend who believes in astrology and in energy fields.  That’s great.  I figured that we could exchange some ideas.

Well when she did not know he closest star to earth or the order of the planets let alone their moons, I  realized that she pretended to have an expertise.  When I was the newest faculty member at Florida Atlantic University I received the courses that everyone dreaded to take as well as teach.  These included Test Construction and Research Design.  I decided to make these courses interesting.  One thing I can say, I sure learned a lot.  These courses were fascinating.

How to trick people with test questions, how to ask questions in a manner that will end in a result you want, how to tell the truth but mislead.  Wow!  All the things that you see in politics and on the internet.

So I want to share some of these things with you.  I looked up Bloom’s taxonomy from my lectures and found his theory, that always fascinated me, to rekindle my desire to understand why people say or post such ridiculous statements.  In short the theory goes you can’t APPLY something you don’t COMPREHEND/UNDERSTAND and you can’t UNDERSTAND something you don’t KNOW.

I’m sure that asking a baseball player the physics of a curve ball might lead you to the conclusion that he could not possibly apply what he doesn’t know let alone comprehend.  But he hits the ball out of the park.  Does this prove Bloom’s taxonomy wrong?

Actually no.  The knowledge and comprehension are not limited to physics formulas. We tend to learn by trial and error in many things.  There is experience and practice that also lead to application.  So repetition with success and failure fine tunes the application of hitting the baseball, driving a car, or reading.

However there are some basic pieces of knowledge that must be addressed in any field.  Like the weightlifter who keeps lifting weights sees his muscles grow and this is verified by other weightlifters and an understanding comes into the literature from science that explains this phenomena.

This does not apply to astrology.  Although it may be true that the celestial bodies may influence personality, one would have to first know where the bodies are in relationship to one another.  Then one would have to be able to show the influence these forces had on one another and then as my teaching explained, one would have to set up an experiment and measure these characteristics in people.

OR you could just make it up and put in charts that have no meaning but convince people they do.  This begins my series on how to maneuver people.  Next we will learn how people are led to vote.  That is assuming that your vote is even counted.

When you age you delegate naturally

I noticed that people retired here in Cuenca, Ecuador lead a relaxed life.  I am contrasting this relaxed life with a pace that is accelerated in the states.  For example, most North Americans here don’t have a car, in fact, you don’t need one.  The point being there is no demand for car insurance, gasoline, parking, garage and maintenance.  I see these luxuries in the U.S. as stresses.  We do not have these stresses.

We have a new stress.  The stress of not doing.  I believe anyone retired anywhere has this stress.  Lucky for some there are many things to do.  I see many gringos take on volunteer hobbies and activities. (this is an issue that must be dealt with in a future blog).  I hear of many marriages coming to an end either as a result of face to face after retirement in a strange culture or I don’t want to live here even if you do or I don’t like facing real life so let me go home and influence the kids.  There are more reasons but these top the list.

My point is that each age group has a different focus.  When not retired you focus on work.  When retired with money you focus on travel.  When retired without money you focus on survival.  When married your focus is different than single.  Regardless, the backdrop is a different culture.  Heating and A/C are an issue for some while a pleasure not to deal with for others.  Health concerns are an issue for all and magnified when exposed.  Language tends to be the major problem.

But in these differences, the North Americans tend to band together to offer support and comfort.  Some are pure entertainment as childish thinking and behavior always is.  I would like to share my experiences in each of the aforementioned topics.  However it would be from a single retired psychologist with a fixed income.  Those who are married with money will not see it this way.  My sister in Florida cannot understand why I just don’t buy a new one.  I learned to plan my meals and not pick up tabs anymore.

In all this change is ME.  I see how I react, I have no one but myself to discuss these issues and I am ALWAYS amazed at the response from others.  Ah but I learn.