Thursday, June 30, 2005

Poisoned lives

"Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of thefact."
- Bertrand Russell

They take pride in their "success" at devoting their lives to their work, in effect at their sacrificing their lives for the monetary benefit of their employers or their business.

These people have learned, as children, that success in life is measured by the amount of wealth you have, the prestige of your occupation and your status in the social sphere of your community.

What they have not learned is the concept of quality of life.

We could teach that to their children or grandchildren, but it's too late for those who long ago adopted business success as a standard measure of life.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems' may be ordered now from book stores or online book sellers.
See for details.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Are you stupid?

"To succeed in the world, it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered."
- Voltaire

Whether by Voltaire's definition of "stupid" or one of modern usage, everyone is stupid. We are only capable of being knowledgeable on some subjects and having expertise on very few. Thus we lack knowledge and expertise on most subjects, which leads to the possibility for stupid behaviour.

The difference between someone who may be labelled stupid and one who should not be would be the willingness of the latter to learn what he does not know on subjects he needs to know about.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems' is available for order at book stores and online book sellers now.
See for details.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Minds on fire

"Man's mind is not a container to be filled but rather a fire to bekindled."
- Charles Kettering, American industrialist

An examination of the curriculum of any education system will confirm that its intention is to fill the minds of its young charges with stuff that may be regurgitated or manipulated in such a way as to pass tests.

"Teach to the test" is a mantra for teachers, indicating that their "success" as teachers will be judged not on how well prepared their children are to face the world and its rigors but how well they can do on tests on which both the children and the teachers are evaluated.

Except at the college and university levels, what children may one day do with the information and skills they learn is of little import in the classroom.

A TIA program will put growing and building well adjusted and well prepared adults in the forefront. These are what education was intended to do, to be.

Children who know what is ahead of them, why they should strive for it and how they can cope with problems they will face will not experience many of the diversions in their teens years that harm or destroy the potential of too many kids today.

No child of four years wants to become a drug addict, a murderer, a home invader, a divorcee, an emotional invalid or an agoraphobic.

These things are learned. We can prevent these things from happening.

Anything that can be fixed after it has broken can be prevented from breaking. That is never more so than with people.

Social problems are individual problems that affect whole communities by their sheer numbers.

If you don't help to change your community, no one else will. Right now, you know about Turning It Around, but others don't. Spread the word. We need your friends, family members and neighbours to help us.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic SocialProblems'
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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Written words cut deep

The best writing is rewriting.
- E.B. White, writer (1899-1985)

While this quote was intended as advice for writers, I would like to take it in a different direction.

The written word, especially written words penned for our loved ones or friends, has power far beyond anything spoken. When we write anything that might be taken as criticism by the reader, whether criticism is intended to not, we would do well to review, rethink and maybe rewrite our message before passing it to its intended recipient.

Spoken words may be forgotten and forgiven. Written words cut deeper and take much longer to heal.

Bad news of any kind might be delivered more gently by voice rather than by written word.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's epidemic Social Problems'

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Building better idiots

"[Computer] programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning."
- Rich Cook

This quote is a sociology lesson in itself. It would take two or three chapters of a book to expand on its meanings and implications.

However, let's ask ourselves why people allow themselves to become "idiots." This is an obvious retreat from reality, at least to a social scientist. It doesn't make sense, in the context of a whole lifetime. Reality, to the people who become the "idiots", is something they can neither comprehend nor cope with. So they escape into a virtual world they can deal with.

Let's teach the coping skills people need, at least to today's young children, so that they will not face the same need to evade reality as they get older.

This is not hard, my friends. We are simply not doing it.

As I have said many times before, anything that can be fixed when it is broken can be prevented from breaking in the first place. This is never more true than with people.

TIA does not want people to break. You do not want people to break.

Let's do something about it. Learn how at

Bill Allin
'Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems'

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A different look at rape

Rape is not about hormones raging out of control. People with hormone surges manage to get through their problem periods without engaging in anti-social behaviour, for the most part. (PMS and menopause wreak far greater havoc with their hormone surges than the hormones that urge people to have sex.)

Rapists are bullies. Bullies have poor self images, low self esteem. Bullies need love, but have no concept of how to get it in an acceptable manner.

Fear on the part of a woman attacked has the same effect on the rapist as fear on the part of a person attacked by a bear has on the bear. It makes the bear and the rapist more determined than ever to complete the task at hand, usually in a more violent fashion.

As counterintuitive as it seems, a rapist wants attention of a gentle and affectionate kind, more so than he wants to rape his victim. But his victim doesn't want to give him anything positive. So he determines to be violent to overcome resistence to what he needs.

A rapist, I believe, needs touching in the same way that everyone needs to be touched. Not just rapists, but most (if not all) people who exhibit anti-social behaviour need more gentle touching than they get.

Some get no touching at all. This makes them feel alienated, socially detached, from those around them. The situation dehumanises them because they have no idea how to achieve what they believe others around them are achieving, loving touch, and they have little understanding of their own need for touch.

Why do they have so little understanding of the basic need for touch? Because we don't teach about that need. We don't have mechanisms by which people can be touched in a socially acceptable manner when they need it, in ways that they need it, because we don't know how much people need to be touched.

Since we don't know about this need, we penalise those who violate the custom about not touching strangers. It's called assault, a crime in most places. Because of this law and the custom against touching others more than absolutely necessary, many communities develop social customs that forbid touching others, except for family members and in certain situations such as when greeting or comforting a friend.

Because of our ignorance about our own basic need for touch, we create circumstances that make anti-social behaviour a last resort for people who have no other way to tell the world that they can't cope with their alienation from it.

Rape, like other crimes of violation of the person, is a consequence of our unintentional alienation of already marginalised people from access to what they need to make their lives more normal.

Crimes of violation of the person will remain with us until we teach about this need that we have, about how to recognise symtoms of an unsatisfied need in others and socially acceptable ways of dealing with this problem (that is, of giving touch).

The problem is not rape so much as it is our ignorance of the basic human need for touch. Ignorance of any kind responds to teaching.

For more about social and community problems and solutions for them, see

Bill Allin
'Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic SocialProblems'

Friday, June 10, 2005

Climbing the ladder of life

"The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only hold man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher."
- Thomas Henry Huxley

Life is like climbing a ladder. There are those who want to stay where they are on the ladder--it's safe and comfortable, but they go nowhere, accomplish nothing. There are those who want to go down because they are afraid of what may be at the top--down is backwards, a direction the human brain cannot cope with.

Climbing the ladder of life is difficult. But that is what life is like. You can enjoy the scenery while you are climbing, but don't lose track of the fact that life is a great deal of hard work. Your reward is that you get to continue to climb, instead of stagnating or regressing, or falling off the ladder.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems'

Thursday, June 09, 2005

A few thoughts about rape

My experience with rape consists of what I have learned by watching TV documentaries and movies. I prefer to keep it that way. However, I have studied and considered what I have learned.

One of the questions that is always asked of rape victims is "Did you struggle to get away or to avoid the sexual assault?" If the woman did not struggle (or if there are no signs of injury caused by struggling on a corpse), police assume that the woman must have enjoyed the assault in some way. ("She wanted it or she would have fought the attacker.")

I now have a reply to this extremely stupid and profoundly insulting assumption.

Watch an animal that has been captured by a predator. This could be on a nature program on television or it might involve two insects in your yard. The prey animal seldom struggles, even as the predator begins to eat it alive.

Sometimes the captured animal will give a shake or two, but it seldom puts up a fight for its life. It somehow seems to resign itself to its fate, which is inevitably death. It lies waiting to die, as the carnivore eats it.

Why would a captured animal not fight to save its own life? I don't know. But my guess is that it suffers from some sort of shock. It has not been prepared to be in a death struggle, so it doesn't know what to do.

Sound familiar? It didn't have coping strategies or skills taught to it when it was young, so it became an easy victim when captured. This is exactly the situation I have described in 'Turning It Around' many times, where unprepared children become adult victims.

A woman who is captured by a predator rapist is in a situation similar to that of a captured animal. She is in shock and doesn't know what to do. She is afraid to move for fear that she will suffer physical harm immediately, just as the captured animal might be afraid of being harmed by teeth or claws while it is being held in a death grip.

A woman rape victim should not be assumed to give her consent because she does not struggle. She, like the captured prey, was not prepared to know what to do in the case of a rape attempt.

We can prepare children or young adults for potential rape situations. But we don't, usually, because we prefer to pretend that it will not happen to our children. We want to keep our children "innocent" about such topics. Some become prey.

As for the rapist, why does someone turn bad like that? That is easy to answer. A rapist is in a life situation with which he cannot cope, and has been for some time. He has not been taught what to do in the case of personal troubles. He has not been offered resources to call upon even if he knows what his problems are.

The rapist turns to one form of anti-social behaviour in much the same way as a drug addict, an armed robber, a murderer or a nervous breakdown patient turns to other forms.

The whole purpose of childhood in the rest of nature is for the young to learn about how to survive in the world. For many human parents, the purpose of childhood is for the children to have fun, to learn easy stuff, to enjoy the "best years of their lives."

This is wrong. Keeping children innocent of what life is really like defies all the examples shown to us by nature. Innocent children mean ignorant adults. Ignorant adults suffer and are often thought to be weak because they could not cope with their problems.

We need to teach parents how to teach children. We need to have a Turning It Around program in place in every community.

Tomorrow is too late. We need it today.

The longer you wait to help, the more people will suffer.

You can make a difference, but not if you do nothing.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Building your tomorrow

When considering how to create the rest of your life, don't act as if today were still yesterday.Yesterday is history and can never be recalled into being.

Today you are living the consequences of what happened yesterday. Tomorrow is the only part of your life over which you have some control.

To create the framework for tomorrow, don't look at what was or what could have been yesterday. Instead look at what could be for tomorrow.

By tomorrow, the joys of today will have passed. But so will today's troubles.

Only when you know what you want for tomorrow will you have the opportunity to make it happen. Work toward what you want, don't wait for luck to visit you.

If you want to make tomorrow better than today, work toward that goal. The Creator has no time to help those who will not help themselves.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems'

Sunday, June 05, 2005

What if nothing went wrong in your life?

What if nothing went wrong? Maybe everything we think that is anunfortunate twist of fate that negatively impacts our lives issupposed to happen to us. If we refuse to think of these things as bad, that they are really meant to be the way our lives are intendedto unfold, will they still be bad?

What if we didn't worry? If we believe that everything will happenthe way it is supposed to happen, why should we worry? You, me, each of us is too blind, too stupid to know if what we worry about or what we consider bad events are really to benefit us in the long run.

Think about this. The organism that you think of as being you isreally a collection of billions of organisms, all working in an unbelievably complex and sophisticated manner, with your personality added to that, to make a being that is beyond our comprehension to understand. Is it reasonable for you or me to think that whatever created such a compound organism would make it stumble through life, bumbling from one mistake or misfortune to another?

I am not who I am today because everything went right in my life. I am who I am because an incredible number of "misfortunes" befell me, because I have disabilities beyond even my understanding (for most of my life), because I kept wanting to be better.

My wanting to be better was all that was required of me for most of my life. Now more is needed from me. And yet, as I am required to give more, I find that I am learning more and faster than ever.

I didn't allow myself to get bogged down in misfortune and despair for long through my life. I won't allow myself to get despondent because of tragedy any more. There is a plan that I don't understand. Part of that plan made me who I am. Another part is guiding my future.

Worry and despair is within my control. I won't allow them to affect how well the plan for my life unfolds.

I accept each person who wants to be the way they are. I will help every person who wants to be better, to improve, to grow.

I don't control my fate, I just follow my guide. I am in touch with the source of creation. It's a feeling unlike anything I have felt in my life.

I will do my part to further the intention that the creator has for my people.

You may join me if you wish. I ask only that you want to learn and that you will tell others.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems

Friday, June 03, 2005

Should the majority be kept ignorant?

"The majority is by no means omniscient just because it is the majority. In fact, I've found that the line which divides majority opinion from mass hysteria is often so fine as to be virtually invisible."- J. Paul Getty

Majority opinion is relevant only when the subject involves common elements of belief or practice within a society. That is, when you want to know what a group of people believes, accept the statements of the majority.

However, when it comes to matters involving current events or current affairs, majority opinion may well be invalid because it may be based on manipulated data from the media, which might have come from a government or administration with a desire to mislead its public.

Some say that the public should never be consulted about anything because of their ignorance.

The only way around this distortion would be to teach young people how to find the facts about a news story, how to tell fact from propaganda and how to tell when an information source has twisted facts to portray its own desired objectives as the only possible course of action. This is not hard, but we don't routinely do it. It is taught in journalism courses, for example, so it could be taught to all young people in high school.

Who do you suppose would want to keep the public ignorant while they work their own will within government? And who makes the decisions about what is taught in schools?

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems