” … Only later did you realize it was the rarest bliss.” ~ David Kanigan

Memory graphic

David Kanigan has this knack for finding exquisite quotations which are loaded with truth and insight.

If you don’t believe me, click the title for an excellent example:)

Then spend some time thinking back over your life and considering what the highs were … and whether you recognized them at the time.

While you are doing this, consider following Kanigan … it’s worth it.

Reflecting on what once was in the Heartland ….


Perspective …

Garage Sale“The difference between antiques and junk is who’s running the garage sale.”

Anonymous (Found HERE




Very appropriate questions for the weekend …

    Are you buying or selling?

    How does your function affect your perspective?

    How does that perspective show up in your behavior?

    What you gonna do about that? 

I’d stay and help you figure this one out, but I am off to hit the neighborhood garage sales.

Getting outside and seeking “treasure” in the Heartland ….


"I’m thinking here! I’m thinking here!” …

Thinking“The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.”

~ Bertrand Russell

 Critical thinking requires a certain finesse to the words we choose to describe what we hope to address.

One important reason to do so is so we clearly identify when something is a problem versus when it is an issue.  Ruggiero (2012) describes the difference as:

A problem is something that most of us can agree needs fixing …

An issue is what happens when we disagree about how to fix that problem …

In many cases, we confuse problems with issues at the start and then find ourselves arguing about solutions, because we are considering the situation from an issue perspective, and not a problem perspective.  I like to think of this as the difference between WHAT and HOW.

Warning:  Gross simplification of complex issues follows:

ME:   Should we increase federally-funded human services, especially in these times?

YOU:  Should we reduce federally-funded human services, especially in these times?

ME:  Do we need to specifically affirm the civil and political rights of various groups?

YOU:  Don’t we already have general protection and guarantees of rights for everyone”

ME:   If we reduce Social Security and Medicare, I can’t survive.

YOU:  If we do not reduce Social Security and Medicare, we’ll go broke.

In each case, a core problem exists, but the statements we make show that we have already chosen our positions.   Our opinions and our statements come from our belief that our position requires the solution we see as best.  Same thing happens with people in relationships when discussing personal topics, by the way.

A good problem statement shifts the emphasis to  “How can we …”

“How can we provide adequate human services, given economic restraints?”

“How do we insure the rights of all citizens?”

“How can we live within our means and still provide necessary benefits to those who need them?”

NOTICE:  Simply phrasing a problem as “How can we …” does not make the problem easier to deal with or more solvable.

It just helps us focus on a more even-handed approach and reduces the emphasis on our pre-selected positions.  Hopefully, any discussion which keeps “How can we …?” statements in focus will produce more creative and thoughtful analysis … or so the theory goes.

Maybe I should just ask” How can we encourage creative and critical thinking, while reducing partisanship and polarization?”

Chew on that one a while and get back to meSmile

Considering rephrasing almost everything I have said in the Heartland ….


Post Title inspired by Ratso Rizzo, a good friend with a nasty cough. 

For more on critical thinking, visit the Critical Thinking Community.  Read anything by Vincent Ruggiero, Richard W. Paul, or Linda Elder – several titles cited below, but many other books and articles are available:

Ruggiero, V. (2012)  The Art of Thinking: A Guide to Critical and Creative Thought (10th ed.)

Paul, R. W. (2012)  Critical Thinking:  What Every Person Needs to Survive ina Rapidly Changing World.

Elder, L. and Paul, R. W. (2014)  Critical Thinking:  Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional & Personal Life (2nd ed.) 


Remember When? … No, You Don’t

REminderElizabeth LoftusTEDTalk about false memory is quite the shared item lately …

The evidence continues to mount that our memories, which we continue to view as the official record of our lives, are not all they are cracked up to be.

As one of the many who tend to insist on saying things like “I remember what I said“, as though that makes my version of reality an inviolate truth to be enshrined for all time, I find the things we are learning about memory fascinating.

Memory is one of our perceptions and is similar to viewing something.  The police will always ask “Who saw what happened?” at the scene of an accident or a crime … and the lawyers will always destroy that same eye-witness testimony in court.  We are less in possession of The Truth than we are comfortable admitting. 

We remember what we think has happened …

We remember what we wish has happened …

We remember what we perceive has happened …

We just do not always remember what actually happened … Continue reading