Personal project to benefit animals

Over the last months I have been working on a personal project of a cause that I care about. Helping more dogs and cats and other pets to get adopted and not fall through the cracks and be destroyed due to overcrowding in local shelters. Petfinder is an organization that a lot of smaller shelters work with and provides an xml api to their data that other developers can use. I have three sites which are based on the same source code and same data, one nyc-adopt-a-pet.com which has all the information, nyc-adopt-a-cat.com which has a filtered data set which is for shelters that have cats or specialize in cats and nyc-adopt-a-dog.com which has the same for dogs.

This project has been important way for me to help others, sometimes helping humans has been frustrating in many ways, for instance in many ways volunteers are not allowed to do very much, and can only help in very limited was, where there may a great need, and then also dealing with people who frustrate. It is easier to love animals and feel less frutrated. I would love to be involved with some of the shelters, but my time is limited and I already have two adopted animals I care for and can’t really take in more, in some ways working on this allows me to keep my distance but help.

I have hoped that I would be able to find volunteers to help work on this project, for instance with outreach and promotion, which I don’t do well, being a bit of an introvert doing promotion and outreach is hard. I have also wanted to have others involved with generating content and raising money to help with advertising. This has been frustrating, I think people are more interested in working down in the trenches.

For those interested in more technical information on the project…

Graduation!

Congratulations to All Graduates!!

A gifted young lawyer friend of ours just graduated from Law school. Now working on passing the bar. She reminded me about how boring and pointless it can feel studying when you already know the material and it’s all repetition. We wish her well with her work in the future, and think she will do great.

My partner’s god son and gifted grand nephew just graduated from high school in California. It was wonderful to see him at his graduation, Cum Laude. It’s actually really important in that many members of his family didn’t graduate high school and few went to college. He will be off to college. He wants to go to medical school, we wish him well.

Book Review: Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength

After reading the last book on introversion which was a real disappointment, I ordered this book Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, which I enjoyed Immensely.

This book is written by psychologist Laurie Helgoe, PhD. and is a very enlightening book, not nearly as strident as quiet about the extroverts. It is actually surprising according to research by the developers of the Myers and Briggs personality test, that introverts may actually be slightly in the advantage. It may well be that over the last years the stigma associated with being an introvert is starting to lift. Being an introvert might be cool. In some ways there may be more introverts who are very social who you wouldn’t think are. Of course there are also the Shadow Dwellers, who can seem more asocial or people such as the goth teens, who may have been victims of abuse, which are she shadow in Jungian terminology. These people can also include your geek types.

She also refutes what people may mistake about introverts: We are not antisocial, but some may be asocial. The difference is substantial. A person who has an antisocial personality disorder is a person with real problems that don’t have positive outcomes. A person who is asocial may just not enjoy interacting with people much. Extroverts may think we are snobs, but is not nearly the truth, perhaps it’s just an incorrect interpretation.

For those who are not aware of Carl Jung’s Personality theory, the positive potential in introversion has been found in his work. Jung would suggest that we all have both introvert and extrovert aspects of our personality, how much of each is what matters. She suggests that being able to accept the opposite and try to use some of it is a good thing. Yes we need time alone to recover, and you don’t need to love parties, but putting yourself out there a little more can be to your advantage. The shadow in Jung’s work is the dark side that we don’t show in our personality, with the caveat that what we don’t accept and embrace may come out in a odd way.  an example of the shadow is you may have a person who seems kind, but turns out to be abusive.

She suggests our real power is in what’s inside us, in our inner world.  the majority of the book is focused on us, our strengths, and how to have a good life.

 

Loneliness/Isolation

I love to listen to my podcasts on the way to work. I love science oriented ones and I have found a lot at abc.net.au. It’s surprising the US doesn’t have anything like this of this quality. Well I was listening to a show All In the Mind I have mentioned earlier and there was this discussion about chronic loneliness and isolation.

The Show was based in Emily White’s book Lonely: A memoir. You can also read more on their blog. It was an interesting thought provoking show about this problem, which raised issues for instance stigma against people struggling with chronic loneliness, the assumption that if you are lonely than you are unattractive, you caused your problem, etc. which can be totally false. Raising this as an issue can set one up for ridicule. It also raised real health risks for people who struggle with this, including overall health, immune function, anxiety, sleep, heart health and other complications. It was interesting the familial link that had been found. If you have a parent who has been chronically lonely, than it may be a problem for the children as well, and as many as 15% of the population may deal with these issues.

This has been a challenge for myself at times, during times in high school, early in my adult life and during a 2-1/2 year unemployment period after 9/11 I was really struggling with this problem. Yes I got out and later when I was unemployed, I had places to go to be around people, but it’s really hard when it goes on for a long time. I am a moderate introvert and at times shy, though also quite bold. Sometimes it has been hard to go out and meet people new.

I think for gifted people this can become a problem, simply because of the decreasing number of people you can truly relate to drops substantially, simply from a statistical analysis. Considering the bell curve and the number of people left at the edges, simply being gifted brings you to 2% of the population, and as intelligence goes up, the number of people decrease, and then the specific sub-groups and where you happen to live enters into it. For instance living in a small town like I did can be a real problem.

I Plan to review this book next week, please check back next week.

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast: All in the mind

All In the Mind.

Coming out of Australia from ABC Radio National is one of the smartest, most intelligent conversations on radio. This one features and specializes in the Brain. This podcast discusses research on the brain as well as new and old stories and media.

Full Program Podcast.

Text RSS.

Blog

All On the Mind can also be found on ITunes.

You can also download back stories in MP3 format.

Book Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain led to the article in Time Magazine  What if Introverts Ruled the World which I discussed in my most recent article.

This book is like the Black Power movement was to African Americans, to Introverts. In fact she starts out with Rosa Parks as the Introvert, that the civil rights movement depended on. She argues that the world is dominated by Extroverts and as recent as the 1920s the world became more dominated by the Extrovert Ideal as she put it. I would argue that it has been present long before. The work world has been dominated by extroverts and the ideal, that everyone should be extroverted and gregarious has been inculcated into people, those introverts found to be maladjusted. There is a degree of truth to her suggestions.

She spends far too much time on the Extrovert Ideal giving far to much space to people like Tony Robbins going into the whole experience like in some ways sounds like she is a fan. Being an introvert myself, I would find it extremely difficult to sit through and be part of that whole malarky. He is a slick salesman. Then she moves on to Harvard Business School and Saddle Back mega church. Her annecdotes are interesting, the research insights interesting, but the focus on the Extrovert Ideal in some ways winds up leaving me feeling inadequate, frankly I have little interest in that world.

Another problem I have with the book is it doesn’t take into consideration the Giftedness part of the equation, given that many gifted people are Introverts, it’s as though she only sees the world in white, black and gray in the middle, not a multi-dimensional, colored picture. Unfortunately as well, much of the research and researchers are old and dated.

Introversion vs Extroversion

The difference between Introversion and Extroversion is Introverts find energy and nurturing from within, where extroverts find it in the outside. Research suggests that more gifted people are introverts and the number of introverts is smaller than extroverts. Carl Jung, the gifted psychoanalyst first identified in his personality theory the polarities as a statement of how people are.

Recently Time Magazine had on it’s cover the Title What if Introverts Ruled the World with an intro from Richard Stengell. The real article by Bryan Walsh was based in a book by Susan Cain Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking raised a lot of questions about the way the world works and the advantage that Extroverts have with the real difference in who Introverts are and what they can do.

At first it seemed somewhat silly, such as you too can be Steve Jobs, like frankly I would never wish to be someone that difficult, but also a kind of cheerleading, but most problematically it left giftedness out of the equation. In reality Susan Cain’s book gives more power to the introvert Steve Wozniak, who Steve Jobs could not have succeeded without.

Frankly there is a tendency on the part of extroverts to malign introverts and discriminate and it can be far easier to be an extrovert. Many jobs which require a high amount of work with the public as well as sales and out going, is better for the extrovert. The Introvert will be the gifted person who can tell you how the system works and make the system do things nobody thinks it could, so sometimes we introverts need to toot our own horns.

Two well regarded tests, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI and the Kiersey Temperment Sorter can help people identify for themselves what type they are. There are 16types, a type being a 4 letter code, each letter designating a polarity i.e. I for introvert or E for Extrovert; N for Intuitive or S for Sensing, T for Thinking vs Feeling and F for feeling; J for Judging vs P for perceiving. These are preferential attitudes toward information and the world, they in no way should be seen as criticizing one type or another. Any type is equally valid and acceptable, it’s really the problem to understand your own type and others and to learn how to communicate with them.

Another book Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength by psychologist Laurie Helgoe Ph.D. also encourages and empowers Introverts.

I have taken the MBTI and the Kiersey a number of times, and over the years, I have moved from Extrovert to Introvert. I suspect I haven’t changed in personality, but just more accepting of myself, and likely answered with the more socially acceptable answers to the test. One of the challenges of the tests is that the test taker can answer in a way that they think others want them to, which can lead to faulty conclusions.

I am very capable of having conversations with people and working in groups, the point to be taken, is this can be exhausting and can be draining and I need time for myself. I need my quiet. I have often been puzzled why I can’t do certain social tasks which require one to be more socially outgoing, and frankly it’s not me, and I have been I guess working very hard to be something that I am not, which is not the best thing for myself.

Mourning Whitney Houston

Last night February 11, 1012, the tragic news that Whitney Houston, the very talented singer died tragically at age 48.

Whitney was a singer, an actress, a film producer.

As of this time, no cause has been identified of her death and nothing seemed obvious. Rumors have abounded about substance abuse, as she has been in recovery, but nothing is known at this time.

Normally I would not include such a performer in this blog, as though she is very talented, I am not certain about how well she fits into the Gifted world.

In common parlance, someone can be said to be gifted if they have talents, but it is not what this blog is about. This blog is about giftedness related to high intelligence.

David Kennedy Polanco: Up and Coming Gifted Author

David Kennedy Polanco, who recently published the new collection of short stories Bellicose Boys was brought up in Boyle Heights (East-LA) California, wanted to become a writer since he was a child. David is Mexican-American with a pride in his Spanish heritage (a devotee of Octavio Paz), as well as his American Roots (his Grandfather was decorated numbers of times in World War II). As he has said, his ancestors were in California before it was a State. Growing up in the LA area, films were an important part of his experience, as were the characters he grew up with.

Early, David was the editor and co-founder of a Hollywood Fan magazine Remembrance which included interviews with many classic stars, including Gregory Peck and Katherine Hepburn. His favorite films include: The Letter and The Whales of August.

He is a gay man living in New York City since 1990, an animal advocate and avid football fan of (USC and Harvard) and enjoys reading classical literature and poetry. David started writing his first in 1985. Eventually this evolved into the Off Broadway play Fireworks! in which he introduced his unique character Harvard. Siouxsie and the Banshees has been an influence in his creativity.  This was later a screen play. He wrote, directed and acted in his second work A Playground Twist, which also appeared on Off Broadway, which is the story about the adolescent relationship between Harvard, the Gifted Gay adolescent/adult Mexican-American and his white love a high school football star who can never be open about his sexuality. Harvard of course is open and accepting courageous about himself. After they breakup, the football star dies in a foreign war.  It is a unique story which deals with, self-acceptance, athletes, and soldiers. His next work The Stranger Inside deals with the darker side of ourselves. His latest work is Bellicose Boys.

Racism and Brilliant People

It’s always painful to realize that people you admire and appreciate have flaws and limitations, but it has come to my awareness that people of real intellect can also be incredibly arrogant and engage in Racism and other stupid practices. While preparing to write the article on Morrissey which I recently published, I was doing research on my subject and discovered some real racist actions on his part. At first, I considered deleting the post and never publishing it, but decided to address the issue more head-on.

Later my partner and I were watching a PBS series that the British constitutional historian, David Starkey did called The Monarchy which is very intelligibly researched in deep historical detail through many and many years. One can appreciate the work that went into his work, and his perspective as well as the presentation. It was also very disappointing to discover, when reading his biography rude, and arrogant behavior and Racism, saying the lower classes in England were becoming like the “Blacks.” How can someone characterize whole groups of people like that?

Of less intelligent and more ignorant people, I would not be surprised, in fact I suspect the extremes of racism, for instance like the KKK, the Klans, The Aryan Nation, etc., are examples of ignorant people who have limited intelligence, are frustrated by their own limited skills and lack of education, and the economic challenges that come from these realities.

My mother also Gifted who wound up with an Ed.D in Special Education, who had worked with the handicapped for years grew up in Philadelphia, PA. Her father was a a cop who rose to be captain of detectives during the bad years. She remembered stories with his Racism. He had a limited education, but was intelligent. He retired, and years later got a second Dachshund, which he named “Tar Baby,” a clear racist reference. My mother was furious and the name was changed.

People can take offense to racism, because it offends our basic values and sensibilities and affects people we know or have known, but it’s important to consider the science around racism and stereotypes, which set racism in motion.

Racism is not the only type of prejudice, and one can add homophobia, sexism, classicism, antisemitism, ablism, agism and other isms, as well as xenophobia or fear of the other.

In social Psychology and Cognitive Psychology thinking suggests that stereotypes arise from our brain’s tendencies to use heuristics or shortcuts which help us manage information overload. The problem is these heuristics help our brains process much information, but causes us faulty thinking at times. Along with this, our brain also from the same mechanisms favor those of groups like us, and fears groups who are different from us. This is called the ingroup/outgroup bias. Given this, we are all susceptible to stereotypes and prejudices, and even racist tendencies. We need to rise to our best selves, and challenge our own tendencies toward stereotypes and prejudices, and challenge those of those around us.