About the Discerner

Chief Discerner

Chief Discerner

My primary interest in writing is to provide insight without resorting to incite. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) I’m positively motivated by authenticity, originality, individuality, nonconformity, creativity, cooperation, perspective, and sportsmanship. In 2011, those traits aren’t necessarily “low-hanging fruit” so I’m also motivated to write upon exposure to posers, lemmings, deceivers, dividers, hypocrites, power corrupters, image-is-everything’ers, conventional wisdom worshippers, Elmer Gantrys, holier-than-thou’ers, and whatever-it-takers.

I’ve written a book to explain a methodological approach to thinking that I’ve found useful and necessary, Here’s Something About General Semantics. I’ve written dozens of articles about General Semantics for quarterly journals that focus on topics like critical thinking, media analysis, criticism of advertising and public relations, and the behavioral implications of language habits. For two years I wrote a quarterly column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on topics as diverse as learning my best friend from high school was gay to criticizing TCU (my employer at the time) for canceling an appearance by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright to shedding light on the deceptive public relations campaign by Chesapeake Energy in North Texas to pointing out the ironies of President Bush, Vice-president Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld speaking to service academy graduates about “honor.”

Speaking of which, I wrote a one-act play before I graduated from one of those blue-suited academies. That play, The Unveiling of Ourselves, turned out to be a prescient preview of a topic that I continue to pursue. Some of these pursuits can rightly be considered as trivial, such as a series of radio commentaries I wrote in 2001 on the subject of Lucid Dating for Adults, which spawned a continuing education course I taught at SMU and TCU. More seriously, earlier this year a journal for career planning and adult development professionals published an essay I wrote, “Eight Passages for Uncertain Career Journeys.”

After moving to Santa Fe in 2009, my writing efforts have been focused on the serious: academic writing for an Educational Psychology graduate program at UNM (completed in spring 2012); blogging about Santa Fe concerns like the CHRISTUS ‘merger’ with St. Vincent Hospital and efforts to thwart the growth of wireless technology; and my first historical novel about a teenager from West Texas who gets pregnant in 1942, is sent away to live with relatives until her “situation” resolves, and ends up in Santa Fe working with people who work on the Manhattan Project. (See the Box1663.com link.)

I stress the importance of differences. One critical aspect of wisdom, or intelligence, or “expert-ness” is the ability to differentiate, or discern, between this and that. We each have varying degrees of “expert-ness” in everything we do … from our sensory abilities to taste and discriminate (sweet from sour, types of wine, blends of coffee), to our cognitive abilities for expressing ourselves, solving problems, self-awareness, etc. “We discriminate against people to the degree we fail to distinguish between them.” Northwestern University professor Irving J. Lee said that in 1952. I’m trying to say it and demonstrate it through the means and applications of this blog, particularly with respect to issues and concerns that lend themselves to careful, deliberate, critical evaluation and discernment.

So please, DiscernThis!