Chaos, Negative Emotions, and Creativity

Those nasty negative emotions. If only we could just do away with them, right? But they have value, and they show up more in creative (right-brained) thinkers. Here’s why they are both valuable and in larger quantity in creative types, according to Jordan Peterson:

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Redefining Reality in Six Minutes

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Competency Matrix

In my all-time most viewed post, Serotonin and Social Status, I inquired as to whether there are mindsets that protect us from societal influences on serotonin levels. Five years later I finally attempt to answer that question with Does Competency-Awareness Drive Serotonin Levels?

Jordan Peterson posits something like (I’m paraphrasing), no one knows the upper limits of the benefits we might incur through maximizing our competency. With that context, here’s this post.

WHO AMONG US is maximally competent? Who can say they cannot become more competent than they are now? Clearly, the answer to both questions is no one.  So we all share the same goal: increasing our own competence. Competence at what? Well, how about the biggest challenge of all: life itself. So the question that follows that is, what does it take to be competent in life? And, could virtue be a synonym for key competencies?

Here’s a short (no doubt incomplete) list:

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Malevolence, Forgiveness, Acceptance, Buddhism and Christianity

Panel of hell (detail), Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1480-1505, oil on panel, 220 x 390 cm (Prado)

Jordan B. Peterson is known for an ostensibly uncontroversial position: the reality of malevolence and malevolent people. This position seems at odds (he says as much) with Buddhism’s perspective that Evil is essentially ignorance. Buddha taught (quote TBD) that evil is born out of ignorance, and that perspective instructs us on how to vanquish evil (knowledge!) Might Jesus Christ agree with Jordan, that Buddhism is fundamentally flawed because it casts evil as an epiphenomenon rather than fundamental to the nature of humanity?

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

— Luke 23:34

Christ here strongly suggests that malevolence is born out of ignorance, which is his justification for the need for forgiveness.

It is a reasonable proposition that Christ and Buddha were saying the same thing in different ways.

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Mac OS X vs Windows XP

Back in 2002, I created, and when I shuttered the site in 2005 (due to personal matters), the downloadable pdf of the site had received over a quarter of a million downloads, and that’s just the pdf. Continue reading

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Does Competency-Awareness Drive Serotonin Levels?

Back in 2013, I wrote what I didn’t know would become my all-time most popular blog post, Serotonin and Social Status. In that post, I posed this question:

“Are there mindfulness strategies that might moderate against ‘societal’ influence on serotonin? Meditation? Yoga? Is there such a thing as self-confidence that does not peg its worth to external factors, and might that help? Such strategies would put me at greater command of my serotonin levels, rather than being solely at the mercy of others regard for me.”

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Super Human Now in Paperback

Just in time for Christmas!

Hardcover and Paperback

Super Human is now available in paperback ($12.95) from Amazon:

Super Human

If you prefer eBooks, you can pick it up for just $2.99 from Amazon and Apple Books. If you prefer hardcover, message me.

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Coming Back Around

As an oil painting BFA candidate in 1987, I made this painting. It no longer exists, because a senior student shamed me for liking comics; I’m pretty sure I painted over it. The world is not worse off that this painting is no more, but it struck me that the Super Human theme was capturing my attention way back then. Then, ostensibly, I lost interest in it until just this year. Or did I? Maybe it’s been percolating in some deep recess of my brain for all this time. Or, if you are inclined to believe in precognitions, perhaps way back then on some level I knew this would become significant to me.
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Super Human: Out of Time

This week I started working on my new novel Super Human: Out of Time, the sequel to Super Human.

The idea for the sequel was born out of a recent tragedy. Anxiety is a theme in the first book, and it explores the reframing strategies I’ve used with some success in my life. A childhood classmate of mine read Super Human and told me she wanted her young adult son to read it because she thought he’d find those strategies helpful. Tragically, since that conversation, her son unexpectedly passed away.

I cannot pretend to understand what her family must be going through, but the news hit me hard. I wanted to extract some meaning and value from this horrible event; I hope I can facilitate something good coming from something very, very bad. So, Out of Time will examine human despair, hopefully in a way that sparks useful thinking.

If you haven’t yet checked out Super Human, treat yourself to some thought-provoking, inspirational science fiction today:

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Lying Down on the Job

I think my editor is in bed with Staples.

Chase Lounge

Speaking of Staples, I want to thank Dawn and Arianna, managers in Staples Printing Services in Stratham, NH, for their excellent customer service. Your efforts have helped me achieve my dream, publishing my first novel, Super Human:

You can also find it on Facebook:

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