Saturday, May 18, 2013
On April 29th in a post titled The Unwobbling Pivot in his Interruption Management blog Jeff Davidson quoted the following two paragraphs from Confucius: The Great Digest, The Unwobbling Pivot, The Analects (translation and commentary by Ezra Pound. A New Directions Book, 1951):
“The men of old wanting to clarify and diffuse throughout the empire that light which comes from looking straight into the heart and then acting, first set up good government in their own states; wanting good government in their states, they first established order in their own families; wanting order in the home, they first disciplined themselves; desiring self-discipline, they rectified their own hearts; and wanting to rectify their hearts, they sought precise verbal definitions of their inarticulate thoughts (the tones given off by the heart); wishing to attain precise verbal definitions, they set to extend their knowledge to the utmost. This completion of knowledge is rooted in sorting things into organic categories.
When things had been classified in organic categories, knowledge moved toward fulfillment; given the extreme knowable points, the inarticulate thoughts were defined with precision (the sun's lance coming to rest on the precise spot verbally). Having attained this precise verbal definition (this sincerity), they then stabilized their hearts, they disciplined themselves; having attained self-discipline, they set their own houses in order; having order in their own homes, they brought good government to their own states; and when their states were well governed, the empire was brought into equilibrium.”
If you read Chinese then you can compare the text from stone rubbings that is printed on the facing pages of that book with Pound’s English version. If, like me, you don’t read Chinese but know a bit about Ezra Pound, there is reason to question the reliability of his translation. When that book was published In 1951, Mr. Pound was pretty wobbly. He was an inmate of the St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, DC. Pound had moved to Italy in 1924. During World War II he had made radio broadcasts for Mussolini’s fascist government, for which he was indicted as a traitor by the US government. In 1945 the U.S. Army imprisoned him at the Disciplinary Training Center (DTC) in Pisa, which is where he may have translated the passages from The Great Digest quoted above. Eventually they decided he was just a crazy old man, and rather than holding a trial they had him transferred to St. Elizabeths.
How does Pound’s translation of that passage compare with others? You can find one text in the Wikipedia article on The Great Learning, and another by A. Charles Muller. Those two seem much more literal, while Pound’s is literary and easier for us to understand.
Ezra Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho Territory. The house where he spent his first few years still is standing. An article in the Los Angeles Times on March 4, 2008 had noted:
“The poet and front man for literary Modernism was born in what was then a frontier mining town on Oct. 30, 1885, a bit of accidental history some residents wouldn't mind having expunged due to Pound's radio broadcasts from fascist Italy during World War II that led to his being charged with 19 counts of treason in the United States. He also faced accusations of anti-Semitism.”
If you want to quote Confucius in a speech, it’s probably best to leave out referring to the controversial Ezra Pound (whose mug shot is from here at Wikimedia Commons).
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
On Monday. in Pennsylvania, the New Castle News reported results from their online poll which had asked:
“According to a recent survey, Americans are most scared of flying, public speaking and heights. Which do you fear most?"
There were 176 responses. As shown above, 42% feared heights, 33% feared public speaking, and 16% feared flying. The other 9% claimed they’d seen Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Psycho, and haven’t taken a shower since.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Tiredness, moodiness, and irritability before presentations can be remedied by Sleep Bank treatments
Does anxiety about a coming presentation keep you up at night?
What if there was a way to overcome fatigue and get back that lost sleep, by borrowing sleep donated by others?
Does that sound too good to be true?
On May 10th Clay Jones described how a revolutionary new treatment with a Sleep Bank was being used down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Well, sort of. Actually Clay wrote a satire of other treatments with sweeping universal claims and posted it at Science-Based Medicine.
Does that sound too good to be true? Yes, it sure does!
My Sleep Bank image was cobbled together from this poster and that poster of Kellar doing levitation back in 1894.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Last August I blogged about watching a 4-H speech at the Western Idaho Fair. This month someone showed me that last year the University of Idaho Extension 4-H Youth Development Program published a 20-page .pdf file on how to Speak up with Confidence (Tips on Presenting in Nine Key Areas). You can download their Bulletin 880 here. It contains tips on nine topics:
Tips #1 Putting Parts of a Presentation Together
Tips #2 Planning and Organizing a Presentation
Tips #3 Types of Presentations
Tips #4 Using Multimedia
Tips #5 Mechanics of Presenting
Tips #6 Getting Your Message Across with Posters
Tips #7 Creative Hooks
Tips #8 Food Demonstrations
Tips #9 Using Live Animals in Presentations
Live animals can be unpredictable. The following 15-minute clip from the David Letterman shows how even a very experienced presenter like Jack Hanna can have surprises. Watch him dive onto the counter to keep the lesser anteater away from Dave’s cup full of pencils. The seriema smashing a rubber lizard onto a rock is the biggest surprise for the studio audience.
In a 2010 TED talk Temple Grandin discussed how animals perceive the world very differently than we do, so what they see, hear, or smell can terrify them, unless you understand their viewpoint.
The image of a man leading horses came from the Library of Congress.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Their clinical sample was 355 people (193 women and 162 men) from the Anxiety Treatment and Research Centre at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario, who had been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. The nonclinical sample was 277 undergraduates (177 women and 50 men) from the University of Regina, Saskatchewan.
Both samples took the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN), which has 17 items designed to assess symptoms for social anxiety. Participants read each statement and then ranked how much each item bothered them during the past week, on a scale from zero to four where:
0 = Not At All
1 = A Little
2 = Somewhat
3 = Very Much
4 = Extremely
A second bar chart describes results for the nonclinical undergraduate sample. None of the 17 categories was ranked 2.0 or above (Somewhat). 13 of the 17 categories were ranked at less than 1.0 (A little), and two more both were at just 1.02. ‘Sweating in front of people causes me distress’ had a mean of 1.94 and was ranked first. ‘I avoid having to give speeches’ had a mean of 1.69 and was ranked second.
I was quite surprised to see that these students sweated more about perspiring than about speaking. This might have made sense if the SPIN had been taken in the summer, and the women were embarrassed by sweating as unladylike. Secret peddles a ‘clinical strength’ deodorant for women since they claim that Stress Stinks. And, on February 4th the Wall Street Journal web site had an article about Why stress makes you sweat. But, reportedly there were no statistically significant item differences between women and men. Very curious indeed, and perhaps not representative of most Canadians.
The image of a perspiring gentleman was adapted from an 1882 Puck magazine.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Today’s issue of the Northern Star mentioned a survey done for a new deodorant (Nivea Stress Protect). They ranked five situations which caused people to break out in a sweat. As is shown above in a bar chart (click for a larger version) public speaking (52%) came first, closely followed by job interviews (50%), and then the threesome of important meetings (31%), being late due to traffic (28%), and first dates (26%).
Nivea has 30-second TV commercials with women in Greece and Portugal. There also are a 3-minute Mexico City Superstar Taxi Test, a long humorous Nivea UK version about first date disasters, and even a clinical one incorporating research with the Trier Social Stress Test.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Well, that depends on which wise man you ask.
In their book Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Good Life, Richard Leider and David Shapiro (3rd edition, 2012) list just Two Deadly Fears on page 125:
1. Fear of Not Having Enough
2. Fear of Not Being Enough
An article in the Spring 2009 issue of the Buddhist magazine Tricycle by Ezra Badya described and discussed The three things we fear most, which were:
1. Losing safety
2. Aloneness and disconnection
In the earlier 2nd edition of their book Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Rest of Your Life, Richard Leider and David Shapiro had listed Four Deadly Fears on page 33:
1. Having lived a meaningless life
2. Being alone
3. Being lost
The third paragraph in the introduction of Jamal Yogis’s 2013 book The Fear Project says:
“The Buddhist Avatamsaka Sutra emphasizes that to become a bodhisattva, an enlightened being full of compassion, one must transcend the five primary fears: loss of livelihood, bad reputation, death, negative rebirths, and stage fright. The Buddha apparently wouldn’t have been surprised that public speaking still often tops fear polls.”
In his 1937 book Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill (the emperor of self-help) said that the Six Basic Fears are:
3. Ill health
4. Loss of love of someone
5. Old age
The Buddhist list of five primary or great fears is the only one that explicitly includes stage fright (sometimes translated instead as fear of speaking before a public assembly). On other lists like Ezra Badya’s it is implicit, like losing safety and unworthiness.
The image is a recolored version of a poster from 1900 for The Evil Eye.