“Dr. Mark Goulston: Life Lessons from a People Hacker”

A really good podcast and interview, though it may seem to start off a little odd. His first story/examples provided might seem off-putting to some initially, but stick with it. His following stories and examples add a great deal of clarity to his position while veering off into other areas where Dr. Mark’s personal and professional experiences unfold a rich and interesting perspective.

I’ve now added three of his books to my wishlist.

As for his talk on “terrorism”…what can I say? His is a perspective impacted by the military and government through his past employment ventures. I can understand that. It’s true that terroristically-inclined persons will continue to exist. Though I don’t believe the major global powers could focus enough military and police attention onto citizens or foreigners in order to completely stamp out all “terrorist” acts. Not possible. Though the man’s right that acquiring and enlarging our empathy so as to better relate with one another can do wonders. Feeling misunderstood is a terrible plight, particularly while living in what can feel like such alienating times. I get it.

Just that I also understand that stamping out all forms of malicious violence would require either eradicating or completely overhauling all human beings, and those aren’t the outcomes I’m open to. Some folks see social and/or biological engineering projects as hopeful and promising, but I cannot be counted among them. And policing by itself can only go so far and do so much. Preemptive precautionary measures walk a very fine line against invading individual privacy and trespassing against the rights bestowed upon us by the Constitution as American citizens. To effectively throw out those rights by trampling upon them will most certainly open up a pandora’s box of its own.

Yes, humans are all potentially dangerous. Sanity isn’t static or even easily definable. I’m under the assumption that we’re all crazy to one degree or another, and outside appearances, impressive resumes, and whatever else can’t always alert us to who’s who. We all wear masks, at least while out in public. Some masks appear more stoic than others. Some people have mastered the art of outwardly appearing gentle, kind, fun-loving, helpful, sweet — doesn’t mean that’s necessarily who they really are behind closed doors. Male or female, doesn’t matter. Humans are a tricky lot.

But nearly all of us do crave and need bonds and connections and love. We are a social species, no getting around that. And this is why we also can’t help but be a manipulative species as well. No judgment intended either way in stating that, just noting the obvious.

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