Dialogue in writing

The privileged few

There is a rarified privilege to be had when in dialogue with the dead. Much as there is rarer still notion of talking to those yet to be born.

The written word offers that communication chance.

My Smartphone’s iHuman

Don’t look down

5 hours today. That’s how much time I spent on my iPhone. 30 minutes timing my meditation and preps. 90 minutes tonight listening / watching YouTube videos for study. 30 minutes of standing idle (still on never lock). 60 minutes in notes (including this one). 90 minutes networking and communication.

Pretty standard – the rest of the day at my laptop (say 9 hours) accessing much the same stuff. I rarely watch TV. But nor do I leave the house…so 5 hours on my iPhone !?

Time control


Multitasking is to do several tasks badly. My iPhone wants me to come back. So it finds ways to tempt me in. Seeing this, being this, trusting my iPhone to run my day. Even at my desk it’s my third screen, and notifications prompt.

Spatial control


When I break from my desk, it comes with me. Finding sitting positions dictated by power sockets and WiFi reception. My iPhone wants the best seat for itself. I look around my house and realise I often sit with it in mind. Even my quiet spaces are set to keep it close. Seeing this, being compliant to its needs, trusting my ‘phone to rest for me.

Relationship control


Email account(s), social media platforms, WhatsApp. Add to that now Teams, university email, lecture and assignment chat on Moodle. Plus the old school text messaging. Diary reminders. Zoom. These are links to the world. And my glue to my iPhone. I even have the occasional phone call.

My visible link. Enabling behaviours that maintain collaborations. Trusted dialogues but entrusted to my iPhone to keep discussion threads live.

Self-control


I think maybe here I need to revisit some basics. Reclaim some visibility of time, space, and my communication place. Bringing a little structure back to some basics of routine. Trusting myself to organise and prioritise, and less reliance upon my iPhone.

Visibility | Behaviour | Trust. Applied to my iPhone. My communication device, or a dopamine vice…

Mentally healthy

What’s going on in there?

‘tis the season to be jolly. La la la la … meh

Depressions can build to breaking point this time of year. Our tree went up yesterday but it did little to lift my cheer. I reminded myself of some basics tonight, and have opted to link to the resources here.

I’m doing fine. But I know how willingly I stayed blind. It’s an open mind that learns more. It’s a depressed mind that knows this best, and does everything to not want to know. I’ve been there. But in knowing, I have ways and means these days.

Here’s a few links to explain the brain processes involved. I’m not qualified to make more informed comment. At least not yet. Although experience perhaps counts too.

Khan Academy showing brain areas of note
Dirty Medicine explaining depression types and how medication helps
Dr. Robert Sapolsky explaining all, in detail and in plain English

Keep an open mind to keeping a healthy mind. Talk. Find expert help. Rebuild.

Action today gifts a better tomorrow.

Congratulations! You’ve just made it through the first step. And it’s not even December yet…

—-//—-

A weekend short story

Peace in our time

A weekend blog. A short-story fiction of sorts. In my leisure time I consider Arthur C Clarke wrote some of the best. I think his legacy is safe…

It seems to me that a universal truth holds. That when explorers set forth into the unknown – enabled by advancements in civilisation technology – and motivated to seek out new claims of ownership and fame – the outcome is always the same. Any lead in technology presents real threat to whomever is playing would be host. The recipient to the uninvited guests. Arriving unannounced. From a place not known. Whether such host chooses to act in friendship or hostility the result is pre-ordained. The visitors get what they came for. The hosts plundered, usurped, vassaled, or slain. History tells us it is always the same.

So it was when our first explorers arrived. All that time ago. Arriving as the technologically more advanced. We the more enlightened. More sophisticated in our ways.

We were perhaps different to most. Less dependent upon our traditions. More disciplined to a cause. Honour in service. Contributing to a future of more. Investing in foundations. Learning but neither squandering or marvelling in what has come before.

We had overcome introspection, and our need for proprietary gain. We found uneasy peace through the gearing up of shared wisdom and so began advancing at pace. Less respectful of our elder’s ways, but more sure of our rightful place. We turned attention to the now, and committing to our future generations with grace.

Encouraged by our success – as we needed less – so we grew anew. Safer in our endeavour. Doing more dangerous things safer. The less risk we had to encounter, the more that we could face. Reducing our distance between each other, we instead put distance between ourselves and all physical interface. So we learnt what war teaches only in part. Communication, leads to cooperation, leads to collaborative success. Shared adventure, and shared awareness of needs. Able to then venture further. Optimising collective potential. Prioritising shared goal. Now leading this next expansion race.

This is how we were first to arrive. I think that is perhaps what hurt them the most. Our pace. Our ability to adapt but also make haste. To assess, to see, to make our intentions be. The speed of change we set upon them. Their fate was sealed the moment we met. We gauged their atmosphere but they had not the wit to gauge ours. For our leading edge met their face. But our face was still back home, taking in all from distant place. Safe in our own atmosphere.

It was with some good fortune that we encountered their strongest first. Fortunate for them. For in lost hope they saved lives. Not all, but enough.

They, of course, deemed themselves advanced. Like all do when competing with all-comer and yet feeling unopposed. And in comparison to their peers perhaps they were. Their place was claimed. In all that they knew to be home, they had conquered. And then prospered. A whole history of war to make better peace had made these people the first. The first to connect all upon their lands as one.

Imagine the shock-waves that ran through their kind. The news passing from one to the next. That the worst nightmares of fiction, of evil, or worse, had arrived. Arrived and made short work of their best. The panic as all wondered if we were coming for the rest. Knowing now they were not alone. A disruption to an entire existence. All suddenly unknown. Unreal. And so close to home. Not having the words or means to put name to our weapons, or our beasts.

Not that a fiction, or evil, or worse, had arrived. Not that we are anything as domineering to those we find. But first contacts determine power, and sometimes there must be clarity before we can be kind.

And like all conquered conquerers we meet, this is our shared first contact history. The less technically advanced are called savages. Yet we the vanquishing heroes must perhaps admit to being the savages. For being less when we could have been more. At least back then. A history of dark moments, one to the next. Mass murder. Genocides. Whole communities ravaged, or enslaved. Forced to submit. Powerless. Bewildered. Broken in body, disillusioned of spirit. No longer the superior race, with their crown displaced.

In this account like all others we claim betterment by time. That was long ago. We do not dwell on such moments now. It’s easier to forget how we arrived. What we forced our unwitting hosts to do to survive. It is not a history we can tell as the centrepiece of culture. Not to all of us who begin now to arrive. We who are now settling and claiming to be the civilised. The kind, the noble, and the just. We are superior but we live together with our usurped hosts. Respectful in our own way. We are no longer the strangers or the enemy.

Nor can they, our hosts, themselves claim an innocence. It is not like they had not lived the same. We now share language, and culture, and blame. We also respect their history, and allow them to celebrate their past. Hence, why it is an oddly appropriate reflection. Thanksgiving of a different kind. Their celebrations and commiserations not too different to our own. Just as distorted and reworded to make themselves right. Giving fair reason to their truth. Reason for their use of might. To bring worthy in their fight.

But nor are we necessarily friends. We are as neighbour to those that remain. And they live amongst us as equals – or that’s what we claim. They work with us, and us with them. We all move freely and interact. We share our technology with them. We have a peace pact. In theory any one of them could become a leader to us all. Indeed many have come to be great. But we retain all advantage, for being able to be more with less. They are living free. Freedom in name, but they are not free of form.

So that is how it comes to pass. That we were the first to breakthrough. No more curious. No more communicative. But more transient and therefore more quickly sharing perspectives and quicker to advance. Finding ever new place within. And soon we found more ways to be without. Less physical in our needs. More capable in our deeds. Less separable as creeds. Downloading enough of our being to be represented by a manufacturer class. Self-replicating in parts. Doing the dirty, the menial, and the dangerous task. Travelling the greater distance. Transmitting what was found. Making contact. Making assessment. Making ready. Until we could arrive with our spirit in tact. To make ourselves welcome. Ready or not – we arrive ready.

Soon we can all hope to hold heads high together. For we few are not yet finished closing distance. Communicating anew. Cooperating in the extreme. Collaborations close – almost as one. After all this time, since our scouts first arrived, we have compared history, and means. We see much upon which we agree. Our manner of expansion, exploitation, and growth. Our altruism. Our hypocrisy. Conflicts with idealism, analytical realism, and faith.

But we remain different. The them, and the us. We do not look alike. The biomechanics of our scouts give no means to unite our tribes. Or at least not yet. For we won the human race without even showing our face. And we have one more surprise to reveal. One more privilege of knowledge. And with it, we bring one more ordeal. For our Earth hosts offer form in an alien atmosphere. We offer a symbiosis of spirit and the real. And we arrive with the technology – so its a done deal.

Bright Friday

Home but not alone

I have been sat at this desk for 623 days now. As I write this blog I am reading news of the World Trade Organisation postponing a ministerial meeting in response to this new Omicron Covid-19 variant {here}. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove presenting a few seconds of comment that reaffirm the news that mutations of B1.1.529 is a variant of concern.

Picture opposite, sourced via BBC citing South Africa’s CERI. An early visual of the mutation which threatens to enable faster spread rates.

South Africa CERI website of note {here}.

For those who do not know, my wife has underlying medical constraints – lung capacity severely compromised – which mean we are both locked-down indefinitely whilst SARS-Covid19 remains at large. Maybe her third dose of vaccine last month will this time offer some underlying protection – the first two did not – but for now we are sitting this out. With variant Omicron B1.1.529 offering a little distraction, there may yet be cause to expect a longer stay.

But that’s okay. We are lucky in many ways. Indeed my whole research endeavour and time at my desk can be directly thanked for this extended retreat. We have many reasons to be thankful to so many.

I reflect today upon my connectivity with the wider world. On how far one can reach without leaving the house. These are truly changing times. I have blogged elsewhere about moments of great upheaval or change being linked to new transmission rates of information and dialogue. We must surely be at the cusp of another. We are all learning to communicate in new ways. That includes world leaders, and institutions, and whole systems of process and exchange. It seems to me inevitable that more transformation will once again follow the communication age now ripe to shine. Visibility is increasing for better or worse. Behaviours are being revealed, worse or just seen. Old trusts are being challenged, new tensions amassing, and transient forces making upheavals of people, power, and influence ever more likely and less bound.

This week I was accepted into the fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture, and Commerce. A 260 year old institution of great change. I am thrilled my application was accepted. I am researching change, and now find myself among 30,000 fellows intent on connecting, conversing, and collaborating with a global community of changemakers. Maybe you should consider joining too {details here}.

Fellows are committed to inspiring better ways of thinking, acting and delivering change. An integral part of the RSA in creating a better future, Fellows champion new ideas, drive social change, deliver practical solutions and support the RSA mission.

https://www.thersa.org/fellowship

This year I also joined a think-tank called Acumen7. I have just become a contributor to a fantastic thought leadership app based service called Opiner. All of these connection points coming from regular engagement on social media platforms such as LinkedIn.

The more we communicate, the more we can share in intended change. The further into the future we can be aiming. The more paying forward we can do. All in all, I think the communication revolution in the information age is going to work just fine. Not that we will necessarily be the ones to see it shine, but that’s just a question of time.

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here:

1621

History repeating

I wanted to research Thanksgiving with some depth tonight, but I’m midway through an university experiment write-up that is not going to thank itself. So, here’s the best resource I found as I worked through the many 400 year anniversary tributes. {here}

I will confess to finding the underlying sentiment more worthy of celebrating than the contemporary norm. A story of two bands of cultures, with nothing shared but need of mutual help from common threats. Both peoples seeking peaceful means to be. Neither understanding the other but both using social skills to build relationships with mutual support in mind. And not a turkey to be seen anywhere.

Meanwhile in 1621 Europe much trouble is brewing still. Catholic and Protestant wars on the continent rage on. The high seas are full of privateering awash with plunders of ill-gotten silver and gold. These are chaotic times, amid bouts of famine, wars, and plague. Plenty of reasons to be risking all to find a life anew. Many more ships will soon be bringing these old politics to new shores.

Wishing all who give Thanks today a peaceful few days. Plenty of contemporary need for that moment of community spirit – between very different peoples – if we are to make headway into thanks for the next 400 years…

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here:

PhD and me

PhD funding – plan B

Many postgraduate students are not fully funded on their course. This can be a tough ask when taking research through a PhD. This blog presents some sources and options of funding not always known or publicised.

My thanks to University of Nottingham and Postgraduate-Funding.com for permission to share these insights. UoN for hosting. Postgraduate-Funding.com (the alternative guide to postgraduate funding) for presenting a detailed UoN student session on-line, this month.

The Grad-Funding team would also like me point out the accompanying “Alternative Guide” on their website is freely accessible to the majority of students in the UK. This service has nearly 100 subscribing universities. Students can check if their university subscribes on the website under ‘List of University Subscribers‘. I was also advised that other subscribing universities are rather less proactive in publicising the Guide to their students than Nottingham. The Postgraduate-Funding team concluded that all publicity is welcome – therefore please feel free to share this blog.

My thanks to Lucy as the presenter on the day. Her first tip was to check out a few bios on their website. There will always be someone there who has been where you are now. Here is the link to the alternative funding homepage.

Plan B – What to do if the full funding option is not attained.

Building a portfolio of awards.

Research costs can be an unexpected reality check. External factors, or necessary changes from the research itself. This may be as study expenses, write-up challenges, the robustness to disaster recovery (many PhD students had to rework their post-Covid realities). Before starting any funding applications you will need to have clear ideas of what costs are in the pre-planned – but there are always unknowns – and more need to know beyond applications for loans.

Key first step is what is cash needed for. Tuition, maintenance, or costs associate with the research itself. Funding very often needs this disclosed upfront. Some funding will only include or expressly exclude:

  • tuition (UK or beyond)
  • maintenance: rent costs, bills, food, clothes, mobile
  • dissertation costs (field work, travel)
  • conference costs
  • books
  • printing

Portfolio funding

A portfolio approach is normal. Meaning there is an expectation that more than one source of funding is being sourced, particularly if larger sums are required. Funding sources may range from £50 – £8,000. The more typical range is £500-£2.000. Hence the portfolio approach becomes the typical strategy. Some will fund year to year. Some will be more responsive before course starts (with offer) others once course has started.

PhD Government loans up to £27,570 1st August 2021 – these are not means tested but not such loans tend to be loaned in draw-down amounts, at least yearly. A loan will not preclude funding. Funding will not preclude a loan. But each is informing the other. All in (i.e., course and research costs and living and studying) a 3 year PhD is going to need more than this loan.

Blitz or targeted – either way this will take some time

Expect a need to spread widely if seeking large amounts. The example offered was 120 applications; 24 responses; converting to 4 successful applications. This is termed the industrious approach. Width of reach.

The targeted approach is advised if smaller sums needed and better success rate. Depth of understanding of the nature of the funder concerned.

Some key sources to seek out

There are more avenues of funding. This alternative guide to graduate funding gives a good scope of what they may include.

100’s of funding charities. This includes education charities specifically aimed at students looking for post-graduate help.

Crowdfunding – can be successful with good sales pitch and with clear goals that people will be excited by. Sharing the journey is generally a key part of the process.

Specific university assistance – Nottingham University will have more information to inform what is available directly from the graduate school or department. Note the Student Hardship Funds and the associated national assessment guidelines. Worth approaching to see if PG applications are permitted or more information on what else in available at this institutional level.

Alternative funding – Charities, Foundations, Learned Societies, and Trusts

1,000s in UK. Many set up by private benefactors with specific causes or interest in mind. Check the following – and build your own database

  • criteria
  • eligibility (or close fit)
  • history of the charity – understand why it was established (their goals)
  • minimum and maximum grants – (rule of thumb is ask for 25%-50% of max). Asking for the maximum may make your case less likely to be chosen over four cases each asking for 25% vs your 100% of max.
  • deadlines – note many trusts may be small and only work with paper applications. Have in mind that many of these trusts are administered from private charitable trusts or foundations. Expect to be applying with stamped addressed envelopes not email or websites.
  • All applications will want to know what the career path looks like post this education. Contact thereafter may also become a means to pay forward.

Building the list

Have in mind flexibility beyond the parameters of a charity or trust. Note many charities will only pay to an organisation (e.g. the university).

  • institution
  • alternative guide online
  • other universities
  • scholarship search, cf. postgraduatestudentships.co.uk; researchprofessional.com; unigrants.co.uk
  • Research and Development Funding List
  • General Charity Search Engines (e.g., Turn2us)

Other information resources to check out

It is worth looking at other websites. Nottingham website has a list of external funding resources. Kings College and University of Birmingham have good resources to read through.

Remember the Postgraduate funding student stories look at the individual stories where people look in similar situation to yourself. Then check out the funding database (e.g., search by age or key words). Also useful for pro forma statements. Also, google “examples of” and many pdf examples will appear. Checking what others have done by experience (blogs, crowdfunding).

Also, go to your local public library – ask specifically for:

  • the educational grants directory;
  • the charities digest;
  • the grants register
  • the directory of grant making trusts (not always in library)
  • they are reference books and can only be reviewed in situ.

Also check Google for “grantsregister.pdf” for a 2016 version someone has uploaded.

Professional learned societies

  • Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Royal Historical Society
  • Royal Society of British Artists
  • British Psychological Society
  • but also think of other organisations that might have interest in your work

Students should also liaise with their university to understand which societies are best to join. Check the bursary details for each – they may fund research, travel or course costs. Also networking opportunity can be significant.

Ask local council (education division), local parish council, or directly to the university department.

—//—

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here:

A servant to debt

Being less to be more

This article was sitting in my drafts. It was an attempt to make a second tentative move to introduce being vs having from Erich Fromm into a wider frame of reference of projects. It was less insightful than I had hoped…

Debt

The project finance world I served – through my construction insurance days until 2018 – my more recent mid-career MSc in Project Management, Finance, and Risk – my consulting that is primarily focused on internal control environments – each presents me with a reasonable understanding of how important the relationships of debt is to projects of social and economic infrastructure. Like the great majority of contributors to a capitalist culture, I have also lived much of my life in financial debt.

Perspectival confusion

This article was prompted by my own decision to put debt back into my life project. To help oil my academic wheels as I embark on MSc number two. It remained a draft blog because I knew it had taken a wrong turn. At the time I could not see why.

When being is less than having

Applying Erich Fromm’s having vs being to my decision to move back into being in debt had me stumped. The principles of having are held as less than being, because being (or becoming) is future action orientated which can enable betterment. To be loving, is to contribute to something bigger. To have love, is a possessive state. To be authoritative is to present the characteristics necessary to direct a task. To have authority is to own a position of influence. Only being offers contribution.

My struggle when I first wrote this piece was to find a way to make that work when the state of being is negative, or at least sub-optimal. How could being indebted be better than having debt? And aren’t they just the same thing? Here’s what I think might be going on.

Being indebted

We all owe something to someone

I wonder how often we sit back, and acknowledge our debts? We all inherit benefits or burdens from other ventures. In projects | within project parlance I am calling all of these ventures projects. We all commit to projects today that require us to deny projects of tomorrow. We all wish we had not started some projects yesteryear that now deny us opportunity of projects today. Debt may have a place here.

The process of moving into debt as a state of being was not sitting well with the Fromm notion of being as the better mode than having. We do not want to be in debt. To be in debt, or to have debt to pay, both require us to be a servant to whomever we have borrowed from. The being state we have adopted, in the present, is denying us a freedom to be in the future. We become less free.

If we are agency to change – as agents with intent – taking on debt is intending change that seems a negative. To understand the rationality, and keep to the Fromm notion of being, I needed to see the other projects in play beyond the handicap of debt. Projects | within Projects.

Being | having | being more

Odd that that had me stumped a while – with no real reason beyond my own modal confusion. Quite the admission given my background, and my recent educational revisit to much that outlines how this assessment and decision-making is best done. Investment theory, portfolio management, economics of opportunity cost, all just functional supports to the assessment project. One project decision, that constrains the next. But a decision that enables projects that themselves enable more.

There is a message here, however. I think as a society we take on debt too easily. Have too little regard for the burden we bestow to our future projects. Our future selves. Think upon that in the context of future generations living in the environment we leave them. Perhaps there in sits a reason debt had me stumped a while. It cannot be considered in isolation. Its future impact and immediate return. The projects it enables today, are they worth what we ask others to repay? Perhaps more needs a little rethinking. Interest of a different kind.

Finding this draft post I had clearly parked two months ago tonight prompted a rethink – and a sheepish redraft. A problem solved simply by the repositioning of perspective. Maybe the first of a few…

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here:

Read what I say

Cognitive Psychology – language forum week 2

Is written word and what is heard cognitively comparable in any way? This is a question I’m offering to my forum to unpack this week.

Generating spoken word

This week our cognitive psychology is exploring word production in verbal exchange. We are marvelling at the speed of the spoken word and the processing complexity and power required to support such a phenomena. And it is a marvel to consider how close to immediate our sentences are formed.

Processing written word

Last week, we were looking at how quickly we digest the written word. We explored several hypothetical models pondering how our brain may be extracting the essence of such written word.

Bridging the gap

Between the two I see a gap. And to connect the two requires the spoken word to be turned into written word. We only bridged that gap 5,000 years ago. Yet in our lectures we are moving seamlessly from one to the next.

We have moved from reading to speaking. A visual receipt. A verbal transmission. Writing and listening sit opposed to each. How interchangeable can they be? Verbal dialogue is constantly evolving in near real time. Written exchange can be one way, perhaps indefinitely. At the very least, audio transmission is required to be captured in the visual coding we chose. Or written word to be read aloud and converted from visual to audio wavelength somehow.

Preparing to speak or write

What do we consider distinguishes our wider preparations when engaging in dialogue vs conversing in written form? The first is a marvel of speed of thought. The second a longer more singular task. Is the second more careful and considered perhaps? Certainly, more time to revisit each phrase and tone, should one wish to hold more in reserve.

I suspect next week’s lectures will be attempting to make this connection. In the interim, we have been asked to introduce our own discussion piece into the weekly forum. So, connecting these two weeks, this has me thinking of how differently I engage with people over zoom meetings (or face to face once upon a time) compared to how I engage with people by email, or social media, or in written reports. Or indeed written form via this forum or my daily blog – to which this note serves both.

This is what I do

I love unpicking a problem or moving discussion somewhere new. I enjoy writing. I enjoy listening. I enjoy talking too. Reading I do plenty of, but it is my least preferred way to download another point of view. In my opinion this reflects more than cognitive preference. Reading is impersonal to the author. I have less perspective on motives and feelings connected to the words. I am seeking more information from an exchange of perspectives than these formal cues.

This seems an important expansion to make to cognitive function. Language choices are more than just packets of code moving from one automaton to the next. I am therefore struggling to connect to the models we are being presented as working theories. To me, they are constrained unnaturally against this wider process. I therefore find myself instinctively rejecting these models at source.

Let me expand on both verbal and written words – the way I think I prepare for both.

Preparing to speak

If in a meeting, and if the format allows, I like to be the strong finisher rather than the strong starter when in spoken form. I like to gauge a room. I take the tone, the hierarchy, the touch points, and make best guesses as to positions people are taking and perhaps why. If there is need for preparation, it is as likely to be this anticipation of people and likely positions taken that I prepare towards – because I turn up to meetings as a shared process – I watch as others make their mark. Within a meeting, I have in mind all that has been said and seek to find the common themes. If there is clear conflict or obvious positions widening, I seek to find the higher level battle that must be had – but more likely seek out the better way – and ensure all have had their say. In my own way I am seeking time but with the room in mind.

Writing (and rewriting)

This time I also seek in written form. I may write something early, but it may not go very far. If something is complex, I may not write anything at all. I am minded to seek more perspectives if there is unknowns, or allow myself more time to let more scenarios and angles to make themselves known. This takes an inner confidence that I have something building. I am thinking fast and slow. I am resisting the temptation just to do. In my lowest moments, this can simply be an escape. Thankfully, I now have plenty of ways to maintain a confidence and counter such nagging doubt.

Language belongs outside

So how does all that relate to these two sets of lectures? What does that say of the planning of writing vs the spontaneity of conversation? What does it say of the process of communication at all? How completely can we hope to map out the cognitive elements of language, without bringing such wider factors into play? How homogeneous can we hope to be able to make our theories, or present the neurological mapping to call them more? How will this be part of the wider shared experience in verbal or written form? What is cognitive psychology to language, if not accounting for what it is for?

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here:

Daily meds

A daytime moon. My unblue moon

A blog to present a glimpse of 12 minutes of my day.


A metta[1] start to the day for me. 

I performed this practice “eyes open”. I now know this to be a less unusual practice than I had thought (see this article). But this morning was my first attempt. Prompted by the moon. It was pitched in my vantage point and it seemed a waste to deny its call.

Seeking to extend loving kindness was a pleasure against this view

A morning view, but many perspectives

As I finished I took this picture. I am reminded of how different one’s perceptions are in mind, compared to the static picture. All I had in my view was a brightly shining moon. Yet, it is but a spec in this photo. What also caught my eye were planes that crossed the sky, and a steady stream of birds all heading the same way. Both do make a showing in this picture, but each will take some effort to find.

There are many perspectives one could take from just this one picture. Was this a full moon? No. It was 97.65% visible. A waning gibbous. Sitting 405,483.58 km away. None of that was known until just now. Details here.

As I prepared to begin my practice it was not the distance of the moon that my mind was bringing into view. Instead my metta practice was overcoming my inner critic that wanted to flag some jobs. In response, I was first to receive some loving kindness – this always starts at home.

Hose not away
Birds need a feed
Late Nov – parasol now an insect hidey-hole

Each of these critical views in perspective, my metta continued with Second – directed towards my closest other. Third – directed toward a neutral other. Fourth – a friend or loved one with reasoned opposition in view. An enemy (if one has any). Fifth – the reach to others as far as one may go. This last was the real change – now without eyes wide shut.

Moon (L) – in plane sight (R)

I typically have friends, acquaintances, remembered strangers and places in mind from far away for my fifth level of directed metta. New Zealand and Australia. USA and Canada. Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil. Turkey, Jordan, Nigeria, Mozambique, South Africa. Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan. And many places in between. My carbon footprint has much to explain. Today however, my fifth were the ones sat in aeroplanes. Strangers passing across my moon.

To whom my loving kindness was aimed perhaps matters little, but technology offers a retrospective helping hand.

Welcome from Miami
Okay from JFK
Or leaning in from Pisa

And then what of those high flying birds? What were they and where were they going? Crows, magpies, jays, wood pigeons, buzzards could be claimed as normal fly-by guests. Woodpeckers, gulls, sparrow hawks less often but regular too. I assumed them to be crows, but this picture suggests a smudge of something passing through.

This is the spec in the top left, which I thought to be dirt upon the window but zooming in is perhaps a migrant on the move.

If the continent is cold we may see Waxwings. That seems unlikely on this temperature review. More likely something arriving from the north, but I have no real clue.

I really only touch upon the photo surface with this perspectival ebb and flow. But hopefully the point is made well enough, that it is from changing context that perspectives can be remade. These are insights to be taken into everyday practical use. This is training, not escape. In time the brain connects these perspectives with stronger firing neurones. Pathways that build. What fires together, wires together. And therein each mind can grow.

May you be safe, happy and healthy. May your mind be at ease.

[1] Per mindworks.org, “Metta” comes to us from an ancient Indian language called Pali, and it translates as loving kindness.  From my novice perspective it is my means to bring my mind to attention of my place in the world, and extend an empathy and benevolence as far as I can reach.

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About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here: