Psychology of the Base: Why Do Some Canadians Still Support the Harper Government?

I believe that all the important problems of war and peace, exploitation and brotherhood, hatred and love, sickness and health, misunderstanding and understanding, the happiness and unhappiness of mankind will yield only to a better understanding of human nature. […]
Psychology should be more humanistic, more concerned with the problems of humanity, and less with the problems of the guild.
A. H. Maslow. Toward a humanistic psychology

There will be a general federal election in Canada On Monday, October 19th. The international press and even the leading conservative Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail, have been extremely critical of our prime minister, Stephen Harper. According to polls, the vast majority of Canadians want to replace this government. But because of our “first past the post” electoral system, the Harper Conservatives might still be returned to power.

Given the glut of well publicized facts about the Harper Tory record, and given the viability of the Liberal Party and New Democratic Party (NDP), it is difficult for me to fathom how Canadians, some of them our esteemed friends, would still support the Harper Conservative government.

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Is This Information Sufficiently Helpful?

In Cognitive Productivity I described several illusions and biases that interfere with our ability to leverage knowledge resources. The first set of illusions is to over-estimate or underestimate the “helpfulness” of a knowledge resources.

Illusions of Helpfulness of Information

Selecting the right resource to process is critical to the development of effectiveness. Continue reading Is This Information Sufficiently Helpful?

Romantic Love (Limerence): A Workshop on Emotion

I’ve begun to offer a pair of workshops on emotion that focus primarily on romantic love, technically known as “limerence”. The first workshop is designed primarily to enhance participants’ understanding of their emotions, whereas the second is focused on “relating to” their emotions. This post is about the first workshop.

Why Understand Limerence (Romantic Love)?

So what does limerence have to do with cognitive productivity? As I argued at length in Cognitive Productivity, to learn effectively we must not merely develop dry, cognitive mechanisms and representations (the substrate of memory, skills, etc.). Otherwise, we will at most develop an “inert” storehouse of knowledge, as Alfred Whitehead put it. We must rather change ourselves affectively: develop inclinations, feelings, desires and tendencies to apply what we’ve learned. To this end, it helps to understand emotions.

Furthemore, emotions generally, and limerence in particular, can directly promote productivity and creativity. (Beethoven’s may have been fueled by his unrequited love. There are countless similar examples. Compare the reference to The Mating Mind below.) Emotions can also, of course, destroy our ability to focus.

Continue reading Romantic Love (Limerence): A Workshop on Emotion