Frugality ≠ Morality

Evidence suggests “Reason” is powerful and it is what has enabled humans move toward a more just society.  The most recent example of the power of reason happened for me when a new perspective was presented to me about charity.  I had always thought it was important for my money to go for the cause, not the overhead.  With powerful data, Dan Pallotta (in TED Video below), demonstrates how frugality does not mean morality and that spending money for a charity’s overhead is important and necessary. Reason, therefore, as presented by Dan Pallotta, demonstrates there may be better ways to raise money for worthy causes.

Violence prevalence is something that may be the most misunderstood concept because of our 24 hours news cycle that highlights the opposite.  Reason and data demonstrates we are a far less violent society today than in the past. Startling and convincing data outlined by Steven Pinker: The surprising decline in violence in the TED Video below, explains why we are safer.

The above presentations have demonstrated the power of reason.  If you want to argue the point, doing so suggests reason has the power to change minds. The value of reason was clarified and reinforced in the excellent cartooned TED Video by Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reason. I encourage you to watch.

As demonstrated, reason has the power to alter our way of thinking and can help us create a better world.

For me, one of the most powerful TED presentations was this 2005 presentation,Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice where he used reason to challenge the dogma that having more options was good.  If you have seen it before or not, I strongly recommend his presentation and book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

I look forward to hearing how “Reason” will help you generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Make it a Great Week for Everyone and Everything!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:

We can Shape Perceptions

So much of what we do is shaped by what we perceive. Our perception is our reality. Most theories used rely on  perceptions – perceived threats, perceived risks, perceived benefits and most importantly by perceived consequences. We generally are only willing to take action if we perceived positive consequences are possible. Government, society, media, and leaders of organizations shape our perceptions.

As I tell my students, if people you work with are not interested in taking action to improve their lives or to work hard, then these people don’t have  clear perception of positive consequences is possible. As Abraham Maslow made clear, man is motivated to make progress and met needs are unmotivating. It is our job as health professionals to clarify the positive progress that is possible and to show them how to make and document progress.


The idea of progress and perception confusion was driven home to while reading Steven Pinker’s 2011 book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violences Has Declined“. Though I have not finished the book, it is long, the premise is to document how we are significantly less violent now than we have been. That premise is hard to accept with news that highlights violence.He works to rectify this misleading perception in the first chapter. To me what made his point best was when he provided an imaginary 1976 Commencement speech. I encourage you read this speech and reflect. If you are like me, it will help shape your perception:

1976 Commencement Speech

“Mr. Principal , members of the faculty, family, friends, and Class of 1976. Now is a time of great challenges. But is also a time of great opportunities. As you embark on you lives as educated men and women, I call on you to give something back to your community, to work for a brighter future, and to try to make the world a better place.

Now that we have that out of the way, I have something more interesting to say to you. I want to share my vision of what the world will be like at the time of your 35th reunion. The calendar will have rolled over into new millennium, bringing you a world that is beyond your imagination. I am not referring to the advance of technology, though it will have effects you can barely conceive. I am referring to the advance of peace and human security, which you will find even harder to conceive.

To be sure, the world of 2011 will still be a dangerous place. During the next 35 years there will be wards, as there are today, and there will be genocides, as there are today, some of them in places no one would have predicted. Nuclear weapons will still be a threat. Some of the violent regions of the world will continue to be violent. But superimposed on these constants will be unfathomable changes.

First and foremost, the nightmare that has darkened your lives since your early memories of cowering in fallout shelters, a nuclear doomsday in a 3rd world war, will come to an end. In a decade the Soviet Union will declare peace with the West, and the Cold War will be over without a shot being fired. China will also fall of the radar as a military threat, indeed it will become our major trading partner. During the next 35 years no nuclear weapon will be used against an enemy. In fact, there will be no war between major nations at all. The peace in Western Europe will continue indefinitely, and within five years the incessant warring in East Asia will give way to a long peace there as well

There is more good news, East Germany  will open its border, and joyful students will sledgehammer the Berlin Wall to smithereens. The Iron Curtain will vanish, the nations of Central and Eastern Europe will become liberal democracies free of Soviet domination. The Soviet Union will not only abandon totalitarian communism but will voluntarily go out of existence. The republics that Russia has occupied for decades and centuries will become independent states, many of them democratic. In most of the countries this will happen with not a drop of blood being spilled.

Fascism too will vanish from Europe, then from much of the rest of the world.. Portugal, Spain, and Greece will become liberal democracies. So will Taiwan, South Korea, and most of the South and Central America. The generalissimos, the colonels, the juntas, the banana republics and the annual military coups will depart  the stage in most of the developed world.

The Middle East also has surprises in store. You have just lived through the 5th war between Israel and Arab states in 25 years. These wars have killed 50,000 peopled recently threatened to drag the superpowers into a nuclear confrontation. But with in 3 years the president of Egypt will hug the prime minister of Israel in the Knesset, and they will sign a peace treaty that will last into the indefinite future. Jordan too will make a lasting peace with Israel. Syria will engage in sporadic peace talks with Israel, and the two countries will not go to war.

In South Africa, the apartheid regime  will be diminished, and the white minority will cede power to the black majority. This will happen with no civil war, not bloodbath, no violent recriminations against former oppressors.

Many of these developments will be the results of long and courageous struggles. But some of them will just happen, catching everyone by surprise. Perhaps some of you  will try to figure out how it all happened. I congratulate you  on your accomplishments and wish you success and satisfaction in the years ahead.”

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker