Straw man


“A straw man is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue.
The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern:

  1. Topic A is under discussion.
  2. Topic B is introduced under guise of being equivalent to topic A.
  3. A participant (usually the one who introduced B) attacks B, as if it were A.”.

(from Wikipedia)

The People Pleaser Pattern


“If you have a People Pleaser Pattern, you often try to be who others want you to be, to agree with them, to fit in.
You may not be consciously aware that you are doing this, but there is a part of your psyche that wants to please others in order to avoid reactions that you are afraid of.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you always act compliant.
Even when your pleasing part is activated, there may be other parts of you that feel other things.
While you are being pleasing, another part of you may be feeling ashamed of this, and eventually this part may speak up.”.

(Jay Earley)

The Pattern System. By Jay Earley.

Categories : psychology

Nothing Exists


“The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.”

Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing.
Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry.

“If nothing exists,” inquired Dokuon, “where did this anger come from?”

Nothing exists, from 101 Zen Stories.

Categories : psychology

Responsible Thinking


“A person can be highly intelligent, sane, and honest and still be totally wrong.”.

“Someone once told me a story of a high school that had a problem that it’s parking lot wasn’t big enough to accommodate all the students who wanted to park their cars there.
In response to the complaints, the principal said:
“If you get here early enough, there are always plenty of spaces!”.
(Bob Korn, Zero-Sum Games)

Responsible Thinking: “An investigation into critical thinking, the methods of science, and the problem of false beliefs.”.
By Bob Korn.

Categories : psychology

The No Asshole Rule


“One of the main ideas on the book is that acting like a demeaning jerk isn’t just a personality characteristic that some people have and others don’t.
There is a lot of evidence that, when any of us are around nasty people, we – without realizing it – start mimicking their nastiness, and suffer from asshole poisoning as well.
Management gurus are constantly ranting about the importance of commitment.
But if you work with people who treat you like dirt, they have not earned your passion and commitment. Practice going through the motions without really caring.”.
(Robert Sutton)

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t.

Categories : books, psychology

The Phobia List


“Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.”.
(German proverb)

“It started in a bar one afternoon.
We were trying to think of the name of a phobia and couldn’t think of it.
I looked for it when I got home and started writing down the ones I found.
Pretty soon it was a fairly decent list. Last count was about 530.”.
The Phobia List, by Fredd Culbertson.

Categories : psychology



“These pages provide information about a variety of informal fallacies.
Put roughly, a fallacy is a mistake in reasoning.”.
(Michael C. LaBossiere)
For example:

Appeal to Common Practice

“If what is moral is determined by what is commonly practiced, then this argument:

  • Most people do X.
  • Therefore X is morally correct.

would not be a fallacy. This would however entail some odd results.

For example, imagine that there are only 100 people on earth.
60 of them do not steal or cheat and 40 do.
At this time, stealing and cheating would be wrong.

The next day, a natural disaster kills 30 of the 60 people who do not cheat or steal.
Now it is morally correct to cheat and steal.

Thus, it would be possible to change the moral order of the world to one’s view simply by eliminating those who disagree.”.

Reasoning: Fallacies, by Michael C. LaBossiere, from Opifex Phoenix.

Extract reproduced under ©Dr. Michael C. LaBossiere.

Categories : psychology



“Since at the beginning of an attraction that will become limerent, you feel both free and happy
(you walk on air), it is hard to resist once it starts.”.
“….And although it resembles a disease in some ways, I see it as a normal adaptation, an instinctual reaction, if you will, that through the course of evolutionary history proved valuable to species endurance.”.
(Dorothy Tennov, Q and A on Limerence)

“an involuntary cognitive and emotional state in which a person feels an intense romantic desire for another person.”.
(from Wikipedia)
Categories : books, psychology

This is Your Brain on Music


“In the summer of 1969, when I was 11, I bought a stereo system at the local hi-fi shop.

It cost all of the $100 I had earned weeding neighbor’s gardens that spring at 75 cents an hour.
My father made me a proposition: he would buy me a pair of headphones if I would promise to use them when he was home.

Those headphones changed the way I listened to music forever.”.

This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession , by Daniel J. Levitin.

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Categories : books, psychology

Dark Star


“The only thing that exists is myself.”.
(Bomb #20 in Dark Star; John Carpenter, 1974)

Dark Star: A Science Fiction Adventure.
A screenplay by John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon.

Categories : movies, psychology