Executive Coach & Writer
(based in Toronto, Ontario)
|Most of the psycho-linguistic innovations whose discoveries and testing are narrated in the book
derive from practice in pairs of the idea of an 'Emoto-Linguistic Elevator' (tm):
Four decades later Deborah Tannen was seeking to help men and women become more aware of the obstacles that
differences in their gender cultures present to their relationships. So, in her New York Times national best seller That's
Not What I Meant! she wrote: "People instinctively feel their ways of expressing things and of being polite or
rude are 'natural' and 'logical'. Without the vocabulary of metamessages, frames, and conversational style
and concepts presented here (in her book), these assumptions are hard to challenge." Was she referring to the
presuppositions, prejudices, and presumptions we all make without being aware that that's what they are?
In 2011, to examine the idea -- long held among both religious and philosophical leaders -- of human free will, Michael
S. Gazzaniga, director of the SAGE Centre for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara,
wrote "Who's in Charge?". His conclusions, drawn mainly from comparisons between the reactions and responses of
people with radically different brain structures -- namely patients of split-brain surgery and ordinary people who have
not undergone brain surgery -- are instructive for practitioners in many fields, but none more so than the law.
Concluding that our senses of self emerge from a module in the brain he calls 'the interpreter', a module his research
reveals to be what might be described as a fudge-prone make-sense addict, he argues that our usual uses of the word
'cause' become sources of error in judgments of accountability in social life. A Founding director of the MacArthur
Foundation's Law and Neuroscience Project, he writes "Every morning, the gnawing question every scientist asks
again and again is: Does that explanation I have for such and such really capture what is going on?".
In 2014, Canadian Steven Pinker ended The Sense of Style, his widely praised guide for writers of all kinds, in this
way: "There is no dichotomy between describing how people use language and prescribing how they might
use it more effectively. We can share our advice on how to write well without treating the people in need of
it with contempt." Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, was he warning that social ills always grow when we
judge people categorically?
Writing in the Fall of 2015 in a once 'tranquil' Toronto buzzing with discussion about what to do about terrorism, my
sense is that:
o Fromm's 1941-2 warning is still highly relevant today in that, after a long period in which disparities of wealth,
income, and access to justicial remedies were narrowing, English-speaking countries began in the early 1980s to be a
vanguard for these disparities growing to levels not seen before in the experience of almost anyone now alive
o The phenomenon of social stratification to which he drew our attentions is again an obstacle to accurate
problem-solving: our contributions to conversations seem to me again to be becoming screamingly presumptive and
prejudicial -- presuppositions of social hierarchy (derived from stereotypes of gender, age, race, religion, profession,
class, etc.) again trumping interests in learning from, and contributing to, each other's perspectives in a spirit of
o The tragedy of impaired accuracy in problem-solving can be mitigated if we consciously learn how to
modulate the additions of knowledge or wisdom we have drawn from searing past experiences.
Forgive the complexity of those long sentences! What I want them to do is raise key questions related to this: how can
we become sure, in those searingly challenging moments that always arise in collaborative problem-solving, that we
retain honest coherence with each other in the way we express the guesses, intuitions, perspectives, viewpoints, ideas,
and justifications that constitute our contributions to the finding of solutions? The theme of this book arises from a
lifetime of inadvertent mistakes in this field -- mistakes I have had to acknowledge in order to learn from them, forgive
myself and others, and then invent and re-invent ways to turn feelings of inadequacy, whether of shame or remorse,
into sensibly phrased curiosity.
In the psycholinguistic domain of communication, the one in which I found my passion in 1992, we know that everyone
relies on robotic habits (memes) -- at least occasionally. Although robotic responses save immediate energy,
absent-minded uses of language 'corrode' capacities for equitable human relations, and often so much that one or
another of the parties to an intended problem-solving conversation find themselves demanding either unlimited
independence or unreasonable self-entitlement. Such behaviour stalls or reverses the gains in quality of life that
advancing technical knowledge and intelligent innovations could otherwise make possible. So, can we make our uses of
words much more persistently devoted to the accurate problem-solving that meets the most serious needs first than is
usual in many circles (and cabals?) of influence and decision-making today? That's the challenge I want this book,
and its sequels in (organically?) related communication vehicles, to help us address convincingly.
|The conscious roots of Eye-Zen English include many sources. They are listed in the Eye-Zen
English logo, which appears below (along with 2 photos of the author -- (L) when ~5 in Andover,
England, and (R) on his balcony overlooking Georgian Bay, Ontario, in the summer of 2013):
|Here's the author's current suggestion for the book's jacket front cover:
|Latest Update: 160321
|English is by no means the only language in which conventional habits of word use precipitate bias
and distractions -- often unwittingly to participants -- in problem-solving conversations. The author
invites collaboration with writers and authors in other languages:
|IHXEN Book/Project Proposal
(confidential to friends of the author)
|Click on the lovely Queen Anne House
(where Angus had his boyhood reveries)
for access to the top dozen URLs of
Authentix Coaches' website. The essays
there contain the key thematic elements of
Angus' book/communication project.
|This page has been visited more than 400 times
|This project began when, encouraged by a client, I decided to convert
Authentix Coaches website from one designed to support my clients
-- small, specialized audiences -- to one attractive of attention among
'problem-solvers'. Having been a McKinsey management consultant in
my youth, I believe that problem-solvers often need insight into the
emotive attributes of automatic linguistic customs because these sway
our thinking, and often without our knowing. Need for such insight is
particularly acute when a problem cannot be solved by the efforts of only
one person. Such problems become intractable for want of certain kinds
of expertise. So my book's focus is what might be termed the
emoto-linguistics of collaborative problem-solving. By sharing with
potential participants in the project (mavens, friendly editors and
volunteer commentators), I expect to learn what I need to know to
decide which adventures and perspectives to thread through my book to
make it interesting and enlightening to a much larger, less specialized
Statistics for the website show it has continued to grow for over a
decade, albeit now slowly, and that attention by visitors when on the
site is generally increasing (latest average time on site is almost 10
minutes. Is the moment arriving when the economics of publishing a
book or e-book or video, or some combination of all three, can be
justified? Are the ideas and narratives of actual problem-solving
experiences applicable to a truly huge variety of intractable problems?
(For an intriguing example which came to light only recently, see this
|An 2+ min. video on the
main subject of this book
is available at this link.
Listed below are elements of my developing proposal to publishers for a book on the emoto-linguistics of collaborative
problem-solving. Feel free to download one or more of the files listed below to explore how you might participate.
Simply click on a file's [20YY/MM/DD] link, knowing I welcome feedback, either positive or decently negative, either by
email, or by phone at +1 (416) 406-0082, or by pre-arranged Skype call:
|All forms of inequality, particularly structural inequity that leaves its victims bereft of power
and hope, are much on the minds of those who fear society is about to shatter into a
thousand brittle pieces. If anything meaningful is to be done about this, we must first ask
the question: How do we unleash our passion to change without colliding with the values
that the social groups to which we belong -- our personal and corporate families, cultural
groups and ethnicities -- hold as deeply precious? We must find mobilizing words.
Mobilizing? Let's examine how words change the world, and let's start by reviewing four
authors who describe changes in modes of communication society since World War II.
Escape from Freedom was first published in 1941-2, a time when anti-fascist anger was
about to win a long and bitter battle over isolationism. Written by prison-reforming
psychologist Eric Fromm, it remains in print today. Its main theme is that, when human
beings meet, few if any of us can avoid deciding, in Fromm's words "who is the master
and who is the slave". An immigrant to the U.S. from Nazi Germany where an
authority-besotted fascist society customarily made such decisions exceptionally quickly,
his book drew attention to the reality that we 'escape' from a state of freedom of
expression and action in the degree to which such a hierarchy happens then to feel either
'normal' or 'safe enough'.