“Now is not the time to talk about gun control!”

According to Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of  Needs, our basic physiological and safety concerns need to be met before we can self-actualize or become who it is we want to be.  He also talked about the need to create synergistic world in his article, “Synergy in the Society and in the Individual”.

How does this relate to guns?  We all want a safe society, that should be the default.  If ALL we want is safety, NOW is the time to talk about guns. If we want more, “Now is NOT the time to talk about gun control.”  Let me share some thoughts…

Now is not the time to talk about gun control!”  has been the stance of politics after each shooting tradgedy.  Could that be correct?  Of course easy access to guns is a problem, however only eliminating access to guns does not create what we want, a more caring society.  If don’t use guns, aren’t there other ways to cause destruction?

Might it be more helpful to focus on how to make this a more caring culture?  We are all in this together, nobody gets out of here alive, and we can’t take it with us.  We could be lifting others up, rather than pushing them down and upon reflection, lifting others is actually selfish.

Selfishness is probably the best way to be selfish.  Bill Clinton explains with Stephen Colbert.

Helping other people live and be better, acting “selfless”, enables a better world plus the helper gets the beneficence of knowing they are part of the solution, a selfish benefit.  This action then creates a better world, a selfish, selfless, synergistic benefit.

If we did enact stricter gun control, how would we know if it worked?  How would we know if it produced any benefits?  Proponents would suggest less mass shootings would indicate it is a good policy.  While less mass shootings is good, really all that means is we didn’t drop below the status quo, not that the world is better than it was before.

This way of measuring a benefit suggests if NOTHING bad happens, it is a successful program.  Nothing however is not a benefit, it is just a non problem.  Better would mean more nurturing caring relationships, increased well-being, improved social dynamics, and a kinder world.  That would benefit everyone and everything.

Nate Silver along with many others explains we live in an uncertain world. Almost nothing that deals with human behavior is certain.  As Nate Silver describes in “The Signal and the Noise: Why so many predictions fail  – but some don’t“, he explains why and how we live in a probabilistic world.  The best we can do is increase the probability of desired outcomes.

Its time to start talking about the Idealized Outcomes we want to create and taking action to make it happen.  What kind of world should we create? What are the characteristics of our idealized world?

The characteristics of that desired world are the precursors. Precursors such as caring, love, kindness, a helping nature, service, thriving, satisfaction and well-being.  The benefit of this approach is that even when less mass shootings occur, which is good or even if no mass shooting ever occurs, we still benefit.  Our actions will have created a better world for all.

If we take the traditional approach of limiting gun access, which is wise, it would likely limit mass shootings but the overall outcome is just less bad, not more good.  We must do what can and should be done to create more good, not JUST less bad.

We should develop processes to create those desired precursors of  an idealized world.  Taking actions to make the world better means our actions will have desirable consequences, even if bad does not happen.  Additionally, efforts to create the idealized world will decrease the probability of undesired outcomes such as a mass shooting.

In other words, we should work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

This can be done by using this 4 step Paneugenesis Process:

1. Operationalize an Idealized Outcome – make sure all involved parties know what is to be created and be sure that it is better than what can be now. The outcome should have pervasive and reciprocal effects that carry meaning and impact to and beyond the individual.

2. Discover Precursors – what must exist now to make the idealized outcome a reality. Discover what skills, abilities, traits, environments are necessary and or  must exist to realize the idealized outcome. These precursors are conditions that must be created and are not currently present.

3. Optimize the Process – what must be done to create those precursors that will enable the idealized outcome and precursors to be created and realized.  Go do that now! Do what must be done to create and put in place the necessary precursors discovered.

4. Plot Progress – find measures that document and demonstrate progress is being made toward the creation of discovered precursors and or idealized outcomes. Progress measures that indicate movement of actions taken in your process are being made toward the creation of the new, desired reality.  Documenting progress is necessary to give meaning and purpose to the process and to help participants maintain motivation.

For information on how the model can be applied to health promotion, see this article.  You can also see the video below:

I look forward to enjoying a better world that you help make happen.  Thank you, we all benefit from your efforts.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!


Perspective Helps Clarify Relative Importance

I find it important to make sure I have perspective. For me it is important or I miss the issue.  By perspective I mean a point of view or a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something. By definition perspective is a true understanding of the relative importance of things or a sense of proportion.

I often write about perspective, such as Perspective May Create and Frame How People View EventsEnlightening Evolutionary Perspective on Health, and others here and here.  I also recommend Gladwell’s Fascinating Revisionist History Podcasts which is great at providing perspective.  I read and often use the daily comics to gain perspective, such as:

 With regard to the Confederate Statue Debate, a foreigner John Oliver provides perspective in his show, Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.  For me this clarified the issue, please share your thoughts…

Clean Energy Future Benefits Everyone & Everything!

Generating and using clean, renewable energy is a way to practice paneugenesis because doing so generates comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.   Using clean energy creates good jobs that create a positive ripple that will power our lives.

I am even more convinced of the need for clean energy from reading “Merchants of Doubt” which accompanies the documentary you can access here and in this post: Do Not Let Deniers Doubt Dissuade.  The book outlines the systematic way industry and government have attacked and discredited good science.

We can help this by urging Duke to move to clean energy.  Although it will require change, moving to clean energy would be a smart and profitable move for Duke.  To learn more you can read “A Pathway to a Cleaner Energy Future in North Carolina” and watch the video below.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Reducetarian: Great Info, Contradictory Title

Reducetarian Solution: How the Surprisingly Simple Act of Reducing the Amount of Meat in Your Diet Can Transform Your Health and the Planet

I previously posted about this book, The Reducetarian  in this post, Interesting Article – Thoughts?. Now I have read the book.  It is good book. It provides great overview of the many issues related to our food choices. After reading it is clear how making plant food choices help improve the environment, our health, the life of animals, the life of food workers and so much more.

The book contains over 60 short essays from experts, mostly authors of books, on many areas related to climate and food choices. My only concern is the name, “Reducetarian”. Committing to Reduce… infers giving up some things and that makes change difficult.

The issue of difficulty taking action when it is perceived as deprivation was even addressed in the essay by Bee Wilson, author of the book, “Consider the Fork”. In the essay, she explains that if a mindset of deprivation is created it may also to lead to anger and this makes change cumbersome.

The point of Bee Wilson’s essay, which I also promote, is we must recast the mindset toward seeing plant strong food choices for what they really are: better, more tasty, less expensive, and superior in many ways especially for how they promote personal and planetary well-being.  This means we must move away from the traditional mindset of deprivation or reducing, as promoted by meat and dairy industries.  This then is another example of what must be “Undone“.

Choosing plants more often for food helps people feel better.  Making plant food choices also contributes to a healthier planet and this means these choices provide an emotional gain, because we are contributing to a solution.  These actions, therefore, keep on giving.  

It must be understood, a plant strong diet is the best choice to make because it provides the most benefits. I encourage all to read and share your thoughts.  Make it. a great week.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

The Impact of Choosing to be a Giver or a Taker…

In memory of the unconscionable event from September 11, reflection is good.  What does it all mean?  Why do these things happen? Meaning in life seems vital and some suggest it is predetermined.  For me that would be troubling because, as dramatist Israel Zangwill said:

   Take from me the hope that I can                     change the future and you will send me mad.”

— Israel Zangwill

Like most people, I want my actions to have a positive impact.  I therefore practice  and promote paneugenesis which is to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions s so everyone and everything benefits.

For me the practice of paneugenesis gives me meaning and purpose, and many agree.  I have posted some other thoughts about this, including that it is all meanlingless at Its All Meaningless! Here is How to Create Meaning!.  I also looked at our biologic basis in Biology & Evolution Make Us Selfish, Selfless, & Synergistic and discovered how people make meaning in the inspiring experience we had: Dad Our House is on Fire!…People are Amazing!.

Revisiting this issue, it appears all meaning is human created, but we do have a predetermined purpose.  It appears our shared predetermined purpose relates to our relationship with everyone and everything.  As Jane Benyus explained, life is about making life more livable (see We are Just Talking Apes).

In this view, the question we must ask ourselves is if we area giver or a taker.  Below is Adam Grant’s TED talk about the impact of this choice.  Enjoy & Make it a Great Week!


Article: Going on Offense to Enable Health Gains Published

With my wonderful colleagues, Dr. Mike Felts, Dr. Beth Chaney and Madison Johnson, we published an exciting paper, Going on Offense to Promote Health Promotion Gains.  This link takes you to the Art of Health Promotion publication.  Our article is on pg. 451-453.

The article explains how we can go on offense to go after and get better well-being and health so we can experience progress toward a more fulfilling life.  This offense to complements our traditional and ubiquitous defensive approach to health.  Traditional methods generally wait until something is wrong, then work to correct that problem.

The article explains this using theoretical supporting reasons from the Risk Homeostasis Theory(RHT) and Feature Positive Effect(FPE).  RHT outlines that eliminating risks just shifts the type of risk and it is not enough to create a better life.  In addition, according to  FPE, a better life is more likely caused by something that is present, such as achievements, more so than the absence of something bad, such as risks or problems.

This paper is exciting for us because it introduces the neologism, “paneugenesis”(neologism is a word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use) .  The Paneuegenesis process is actions, by individuals, groups or organizations that create the best outcomes for all parties, with a byproduct of pervasive reciprocal positive benefits.  In other words it is about creating better relationships with people, organizations, and the environment.  Paneugenesis is the process of generating comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

To operationalize or to provide a guide about how to apply paneugenesis for health promotion, the article provides a Logic Model using Paneugenesis as its guide.  As noted in many of my posts, the paneugenesis process can be applied to most settings to generate comprehensive benefits by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.  The model and video explaining the model are below.

Below is a video to explain how the Paneugenesis Model can be applied to health promotion.

Make it a Great Week.







Perspective May Create and Frame How People View Events

We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort.        – Barack Obama

Without getting political, this post is about how a perspective may support a world view.  In other words, what we chose as our focus, determines what we see.  This point is illustrated in these “scholarly” comic strips from Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman’s “Zits”  and Bill Keane’s “Family Circus”.

This point was also driven home during our faculty convocation on this past Friday.  Our Chancellor, Cecil Staton, provided fantastic opening remarks about the future we are working to create and the possibilities.

With a colleague, we attended our convocation.  While we both work in health education and promotion, my perspective or main focus is on enabling thriving and his main focus is on prevention.  Both of us agreed it was a fantastic, motivating and educational event.

In watching the event, I was impressed with how well Dr. Staton was speaking without referring to notes.  He was smooth with transitions and was able to recite facts displayed on the slides without looking at the slides.  I then noticed that in the back of the room there were monitors that had a running script.  I thought, wow, that is great and that demonstrates to me how a teleprompter is an effective aid or precursor to providing a powerful presentations.

My colleague also noticed the teleprompter in the  back.  His reaction however was to then compare the words on the screen with what he was saying to see if they matched.  To me this was revealing for several reasons:

  1.  My colleagues approach, comparing what was on screen to what was being said, was much more difficult and took more work.
  2. If there was a discrepancy it would be noted as a problem.  In reality the discrepancy may have been an improvement.  For instance, the Chancellor may have adjusted to use more descriptive words than what was on the script similar to what President Clinton did when he went off script and delivered a more effective presentation.
  3. Also, if there was no discrepancy, the presumption would be that it was a good presentation.  However, his method of reviewing the presentation, comparing the words on the screen with what was being said, interfered with his a ability to hear the presentation which would compromise that conclusion.
  4. These methods demonstrate a different desired outcome, a not bad or more good outcome because of the different perspective.
My focus was on what were the causes of his success while my colleague was interested in discovering what may be wrong.  These unique starting points have potentially marked influences on how we approach our jobs, relationships, and life, an issue I will briefly explore in this post.  
In relation to current events, as discussed by Thomas Friedman’s columns, my reading suggests he has an idealized outcome perspective that shapes his world view.  In his August 16th, 2017 column, “Charlottesville, ISIS and Us“, he explains:

…I am a pluralism supremacist…How could I not be? I look around me and see our Air Force chief, who is of Eastern European Jewish descent, reporting to a woman Air Force secretary, who was among the early women graduates of the Air Force Academy and whose senior aide is an African-American woman lieutenant colonel. The base commander here in Qatar, overseeing the whole air war, is of Armenian descent, and his top deputy is of Lebanese descent…

In other words, he is looking for and found reasons why things were working so well

In his August 20, 2017 column, “Be Strategic, Not Impulsive, on North Korea” he suggests a strategy that would in the end benefit North Korea, the US and the rest of the world.  His perspective does not lead to a strategy that would just penalize North Korea.  In his column he explains:

…How? The best place to start is by putting on the table a clear, formal peace proposal so the world — especially South Korea and China — see that America is not the problem…What should the American proposal say?…we would establish full diplomatic relations; end the economic embargo and sanctions; and provide economic assistance, investment and a peace treaty to replace the 64-year-old armistice agreement (if they denuclearize)…It’s called the art of the deal…

…Such a proposal would give the initiative to us, rather than us waiting for China to rescue us with pressure…Indeed, it would give the Trump administration the moral high ground with everyone…

To me this perspective provides a way to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits – especially us.  We benefit not just from the results, we also benefit by knowing we are helping to cause the solution and are not part of the problem.

Make it a Great Week.

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