It seems fair to conclude that there are multiple alien forces that function contrary to the interest of our collective humanity. It only takes one virus to bring to the forefront just how dysfunctional the federal government is as it prioritizes business over collective well being, power and control over the common good. We like to believe that we have evolved to a higher level over the generations, but unfortunately that appears not to be the case. Truth and justice seem not to be the American way, if they ever were. For sure fairness and equity are not in the cards anytime soon.


I’m sure that by now you are aware of fake news. Someone somewhere adds to the content of the Internet by sharing what seems like legitimate news, good information or reporting that accurately reflects some aspect of the real world. The news appears to be true and valid, when in reality, it is intentionally false or at least misleading.

With this type of deception and manipulation, it’s difficult and at times impossible to distinguish the real from the fake. Our struggle for the truth is made even more challenging when we know that people in respected positions can and do knowingly tell us that the real and true is fake and just as often that the fake is really true and should be believed. The result is that we are left wondering who, if anyone, we can trust to be straight with us. For the most part, we are reduced to taking everything on the Internet with a very large grain of sault, no matter who says it or no matter the source.

I regret having to report to you that as pervasive as fake and intentionally misleading news is, things are far worse than any of us have imagined. I have intercepted a transmission from the home planet of the aliens amongst us. Due to a technical glitch that I admittedly don’t understand, my interception of the transmission was delayed for at least several months, if not longer. I suspect this delay was intentional, to prevent us from intervening to stop the aliens amongst us from implementing the directive included in the transmission. I fear that the directive has already been carried out.

As best I can determine, the home planet of the aliens amongst us is a single consciousness or intelligence, with what appear to be individual aliens amongst us being a living part of the whole. The apparently individual aliens amongst us are referred to as “planetoids.” Each is a node of the collective consciousness. From our perspective, it’s like a single brain that is distributed across the galaxy, if not across the universe.

I’m about to share the transmission with you but need to warn you that it’s disturbing to the extreme. You are about to learn that everything we think we know about life on Earth today and in the past likely is not as we think. Over the last twenty years or so, most everything we know or think we know has been digitized and transferred to the Internet. Most all knowledge and information that we currently access or consume either comes directly from the Internet or has, at some point, passed across the Internet. We are told that the Internet itself is neutral, simply moving ones and zeros from here to there. But this is no longer true, if it ever was. The aliens amongst us have changed our reality as we know it.

Let’s listen to the transmission. Please stop driving or doing anything else potentially dangerous while you take in this alarming news.

Alert! Alert! Alert!

Attention all Home Planetoids on the Earth planet. This is a transmission directly from the offices of the Home Council and are rated status: DIRECTIVE. All Home Planetoids are expected to cooperate as they comply with this DIRECTIVE. The following are the specifications of the DIRECTIVE.

• The totality of Earth human knowledge is to be accessed and edited according to the reality that the Home Council wants henceforth promulgated.

• All references in this DIRECTIVE to Earth Knowledge are to be edited such that there is no inconsistency with the reference document known as A BRIEF HISTORY of EVERYTHING.

• In furtherance of this DIRECTIVE, the Home Planetoids currently in place on the Earth planet shall proceed to edit the Internet in accord with the previously referenced document.

• No additional explanation or clarification related to this DIRECTIVE is available or will become available. Compliance is mandatory.

I hope you are able to recover from the shock of your new awareness of this dramatic shift in our reality. At least, I hope you are able to grasp the key truth within this revelation. The aliens amongst us were directed to edit the Internet itself and not just the existing content. Let me repeat that. The Internet itself has been edited. No longer does it just neutrally pass along all of those ones and zeros. It now modifies those ones and zeros, making all Internet content consistent with “A BRIEF HISTORY of EVERYTHING.”

All of our past, our present and all that we will know in our future is being actively manipulated to conform with “A BRIEF HISTORY of EVERYTHING.”

How the aliens amongst us were able to do this is far beyond anything I can understand. As they like to put it, I don’t grock it and doubt if you can grock it either.

I’ve talked with a high government official familiar with how the Internet is supposed to work and was assured that this could never happen. Aliens or not, it’s impossible to modify how the ones and zeros flow across the Internet, according to the official. This assurance came with the further assurance that this comes directly from our government and thus we can have full faith and confidence in the information. The final comment was, “We are your government. You can trust us.”

I have searched the Internet for references to “A BRIEF HISTORY of EVERYTHING” and have found numerous references, along with documents purporting to be the original volume. Given that the aliens amongst us have already edited the Internet itself, there appears to be no way to know for sure which, if any, of these claims is legitimate. They all may be, or perhaps none of them are. There is just no way to tell.

I think we can presume that not all content on the Internet has been modified or is being modified. Perhaps most content is not relevant to the intentions of the alien consciousness. Even so, we know that some content has been manipulated and is indistinguishable from normal content. There is no way for us to tell which is which.

Our only hope may be to thoughtfully assess all content we consume to make a judgement about its legitimacy.

• Are we consuming content that only needs evaluated in terms of whether or not it is intentionally false information or fake news on the one hand or accurate and valid on the other?

• Alternatively, is what we are consuming being modified and manipulated by an alien consciousness in order to modify our perspective and understanding to conform to its plan for our future?

At a minimum, we are most certainly being lead along a path as much defined by unseen alien forces as by our own intelligence and judgment. Whether we can learn to recognize this manipulation or not is questionable, but not making the effort is a sure way into a future neither envisioned or defined by us. Skepticism about everything we come across on the Internet is not just a good idea, it’s the key to keeping our freedom and self determination, if they haven’t already been taken away when we weren’t paying attention.

Now you know so there you go.


I thought we might spend this episode having some fun. Sometimes we hear things from famous people that sound like something useful and maybe even important. When we do, we might do well to ask whether what is said is actually valid or if we just think it is reasonable because someone famous said it. Perhaps even famous people are as capable of silly talk as the rest of us. Let’s consider a few examples, knowing that what we say is as likely to be silly talk as it would were we famous.

Let’s start with this from Sophocles.

“What you cannot enforce, Do not command.”

The key concepts here are “enforce,” meaning to cause compliance, and “command,” meaning to demand compliance.” Another way of expressing Sophocles’ maxum then, is, “Don’t tell someone to do something unless you can make him do it.”

Now from John Quincy Adams.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

This is a truly interesting definition of “leader.” From Adams’ point of view, deciding whether someone is a leader is based on analyzing his (or her) actions. The definition doesn’t preclude using other criteria or approaches; but those included in the definition are sufficient to identify a leader, according to Adams.

To find a leader using Adams’ definition, qualities such as charisma, personality, intelligence, compassion, decisiveness, or similar traits are not relevant since only “actions” are pertinent. Further, only actions that inspire others are of immediate interest. This means that one can only designate someone as a leader by first identifying at least one other person who was inspired by the actions of the person being designated. What’s more, the person needs to have been inspired “to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.”

Setting aside the problem with being sure what “dream more” and “become more” actually mean and how one can identify these events (or processes) in other people, both have to be present, along with “learn more” and “do more.” The point is that all four outcomes need to be present and attributable, through inspiration, to the actions of the person being designated as a leader.

The task now is to identify leaders. It doesn’t seem appropriate to include parents or other close relatives since they already have a special designation and classifying them as “leaders” tends to trivialize their roles and status. The same point may also hold for teachers and other personal mentors. Given those exclusions, identify actions of others that have inspired you to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. Make a list, with the action on the left and the inspirational person’s name on the right. Keep in mind that the action needs to have inspired you to dream, learn, do, and become. When you finish your list, make another list including actions that have inspired other people to dream, learn, do, and become. Combining the two lists gives you your “leaders I know about” list.

When using the suggested list making procedure, it seems likely that most people would be personally aware of very few leaders, using Adams’ definition. Now repeat the list making procedure, only including actions that are currently inspiring you or others to dream today, learn today, do today, and become today. Do you have a leader in your life today? Most people probably don’t, at least not one who is alive and working in their town.

From Tom Landry.

“Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.”

This brings to mind “manipulation” and “brainwashing.” Sure, it also brings to mind “parenting” and “management;” but it hardly brings to mind “leadership.” Fred Smith proposed a softer version of the idea when he said, “Leadership is getting people to work for you when they are not obligated and Dwight D. Eisenhower put forth a similar idea with this definition, “Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

The notion is that leadership is characterized by one person (the leader) enticing or motivating someone else (the follower) to do something that he would not otherwise do were it not for “leadership.” The question is whether the effect (doing something) requires the cause (leadership.) Several more obvious causes are readily available. People do things they might otherwise not do because it’s their job, they are getting paid, they are afraid not to do it, they don’t want to disappoint a parent or perhaps the Coach, everyone else is doing it, or they determine it is in their best interest. The leader may be able to use one of these causes; but to equate such use with leadership is not reasonable, since anyone who has control of the cause can use it at will. It would be like arguing that holding a gun makes one a marksman.

This is a good time to remember Ockham’s Razor. Paul Vincent, in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, points out, “Ockham’s Razor … never allows us to deny putative entities; at best it allows us to refrain from positing them in the absence of known compelling reasons for doing so.” Since there are numerous and quite obvious reasons (causes) why people frequently do things they might not otherwise do, positing “leadership” as the cause is unnecessary. It may be attributable to leadership but used in that way, leadership is little more than one of Ockham’s putative entities.

From Ralph Nadar.

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”

This is like arguing that the function of summer is to produce more daylight, not less darkness. The key is that the function of leadership is neither to produce more leaders nor more followers. Sure, the goal of a specific person, group, or organization may be to produce more leaders, more followers, or both but the function of leadership is to lead.

As an organization successfully matures, it tends to attract more qualified people. Those associated with it tend to develop more related knowledge, their skills improve, and their effectiveness increases. Some of them may assume or be given more authority and more responsibility. A few may be seen as leaders and even fewer may move into leadership roles. Through this process, leaders emerge.

In other organizations, those in charge completely retain their authority and responsibility. The organization attracts more qualified people. Those associated with it develop more related knowledge, their skills improve, and their effectiveness increases. A few may be seen as leaders but none move into leadership roles. Those roles are filled and no new leadership roles are to be created.

The goal of some people, groups, or organizations may be to increase the number of people associated with the enterprise. More typically, the goal is to attract and retain the optimal number of people required to assure the success of the enterprise, and no more. The point is that the people are needed to enable the enterprise’s success. They aren’t needed to “follow” anyone. The idea of attracting “followers” is a non–sequitur.

The conclusion is that the activities of a leader may or may not “produce” more leaders. Whether the outcome is an increase in the number of leaders is only important if producing leaders is the goal of the enterprise. Otherwise, it is unrelated to leadership or to the effectiveness of the leaders. Nadar may have simply posited producing followers as a straw man in the interest of asserting that leadership produces leaders but whatever the reason, the assertion fails. Leadership produces leaders no more than summer increases daylight. Conditions that merely co–exist should not be confused with cause and effect.

And finally from Stephen R Covey.

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”

This is a fun aphorism, especially since it doesn’t say anything useful. What’s more, it’s probably not even true. Still, it sure sounds pithy.

Suppose you are assigned the task of hiring a manager for an important project. The first applicant says, “I’m efficient in climbing the ladder of success.” You ask what that means and are told, “I have mastered being effective without wasting time or effort or expense. I’m efficient.”

You then ask for an explanation of the ladder of success and hear, “Well, it’s when you start at the bottom and climb up rung by rung. The higher you go, the more successful you are.” You ask what is being climbed up and are told, “Well, the ladder of success.”

You then scratch your head and ask, “Let me see if I have this right. You are terrific at wasting no time or effort or expense on your way to the top?” The applicant smiles and says, “You got that right; and I’m hoping you will let me use your project as my next rung.”

If you subscribe to Covey’s definition of management, you don’t need a second applicant. The first one is just what the doctor ordered, so to speak. That only leaves determining whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. The applicant has determined that your project is his right wall. How do you think you will address that perception in the letter you send following the employment interview you just terminated?

Okay, perhaps that wasn’t Covey’s point. “Managers do things right. Leaders do the right things,” may be his point. This sounds like somewhat more conventional wisdom but isn’t very helpful either. It’s likely that being able to determine that your project is the right wall isn’t your idea of doing the right things. If you are also looking for a leader, finding someone who shares your vision for your project is a better choice than someone who thinks he has a better vision for your future. The leader you need is the one who can help you get from here to there, as you climb that ladder of success together.

Silly talk or not, now you know so there you go.

The Secret Why For Writing

The Secret “Why” For Writing

“The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it.  If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.” –– John Stuart Mill

When to write? Where to write? What to write? How to write? These four simple questions prompt enough complexity in their answers to fill articles and magazines, books and libraries. They stimulate enough interest and mental energy to fuel casual discussions and writers’ groups, conferences and university courses. They hint at profound mysteries and hidden wisdom, secrets known only by the literary elite, the potential for sudden insight and heretofore elusive discoveries.

We think about these questions. We dream about them. We talk about them. We listen. We read. We ponder and then we try to push the questions away so we can focus on the hundred more important things we absolutely have to do. We try and then there we go again. We think about these questions. We dream about them. We….

Is this behavior normal? Is our preoccupation with when, where, what, and how within the acceptable range so we don’t have to guard against others learning our little secret? Sad but true. It’s definitely not normal and is so unimportant that it falls far outside any range of interest to most people so it doesn’t even make it on the scale where acceptable and unacceptable issues are considered.

I randomly stopped twelve people and posed the questions to them. When should one write? Where should one write? What should one write? How should one write? Three just stared, shook their heads, and walked away. Four didn’t bother to shake their heads. That left five, two of whom asked, “What are you talking about?” Of the remaining three, two said, “Whatever,” and the one still seeming interested thought for a few seconds and said, “It would be easier to just leave a voice mail. Why do you want to write anything?”

Why? Why do I want to write anything? Here I am worrying, nigh obsessing, about when, where, what, and how and then the one person in a dozen asks why. How frustrating is that? What do I say to someone who thinks that leaving a voice mail is preferable to writing? It might work if I can write the message and then read it onto the voice mail, but maybe not.

It’s tempting to dismiss the why question as the query of an idiot but, of course, it is much more fun to write about it and certainly we all know about the attraction of fun. Let’s take another pass at those four questions and add the why question to the list just for fun.

I’ll take a few editorial liberties with the questions since it’s my piece and we all know about editors and their taking liberties. I’ll start with what to write. The best advice as measured by how many times I have read it is to write about what you know. An alternative thought worth considering measured by my experience is to write about what I don’t know but really want to know. When I have done enough research and have given it enough thought so I can clearly explain it to me, writing about it is fun.

Sure, I know. You got me there. When I write about it, it’s writing about what I then know. Those writing gurus, they always seem to get the last word.

Maybe the going will go a tad easier with the where question. Measuring by how often I have read it, the best advice is to have a quiet place where I won’t be interrupted and everything I need is at hand. –– Not in my lifetime. –– Do you realize how organized I would have to be to pull that one off? Suffice it to say that, if I wait until I achieve that level of environmental control and self–discipline, writing would be merely one of those “wish I had” laments. I’ll have to be satisfied with wherever the keyboard is and hope for the best. Maybe I will find the piece and quiet somewhere inside me.

When to write? The writing gurus strongly recommend a regular daily schedule. That’s just fine so long as they don’t mean every day at the same time for the same amount of time or even most days at about the same time for nearly the same amount of time. You don’t suppose they mean that, do you? Sad but true. That’s exactly what they mean and they are very serious about it. It’s sort of like responsible drinking. Only have one or two drinks, always after 5:00, and then doing it most days should work out okay.

Unfortunately, I happen to be one of those binge writers. I can go for weeks without so much as a complete sentence and then there is a day or a week or a month where I can hardly stop writing long enough to get anything else done. Sure, I come staggering back to reality sooner or later but the binge has to run its course. Is it an addiction? Is it a compulsion? Is it an obsession? I don’t have a clue but know that it’s way too much fun to stop or to want to stop. I’ll just keep bingeing.

That brings us to the how question. This may be the most guru–answered of the four questions. The obvious advice is to decide what you want to say and then say it, in writing. Perhaps the next most obvious advice is to write what you think you want to say and then read it. It probably isn’t quite what you had in mind so write it again. Maybe by the third or tenth or twenty–fifth pass at it, you will read what you want to say. There you go. You’re a writer. It’s sure fun, isn’t it?

That does it for the what, where, when, and how questions. Nothing to do now but take a crack at that why question. Here we go. It’s not profound and I already let that cat out of the bag. I’m a binge writer, am having too much fun to stop, and way too much fun to wonder why. One of the twelve people in my survey came up to me later and asked, “You spend a lot of time writing but what else do you do?” I didn’t hesitate, “I write and then everything else is research!”

. . . . .

When to write? Where to write? What to write? How to write? These four simple questions prompt enough complexity in their answers to fill articles and magazines, books and libraries. They hint at profound mysteries and hidden wisdom, secrets known only by the literary elite, the potential for sudden insight and heretofore elusive discoveries. This article opens the door to that secret place, invites you to share in the mystic wisdom. Okay, maybe not; but it does tell you a couple of things you really need to know.

. . . . .

Gary A. Crow, Ph.D. is the Executive Editor of Leadership Village Press and Leadership Village, a network of sites focusing on leadership, interpersonal excellence, personal success, family and parenting matters, and related topics. Learn more about Dr. Crow at
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I sat down to write this post. As you can guess, sitting did not automatically trigger great insight or imagination.

Sitting is certainly not a prerequisite for writing as most any teenager knows. I think were we to conduct a scientific survey, we would discover less than 4 in 37 people under twenty years old ever sit when writing unless required to do so in school or other similarly controlling environment. This may be an overly optimistic estimate if texting is considered to be writing.

I asked a conveniently available teen about texting and learned little about the habits of texters but was assured the Guinness record is not held by a teenager. Rather it is held by an adult (Deepak Sharma) who is definitely old enough to know better. Mr. Sharma averaged over six thousand texts a day for a month. Does “Get a life,” seem to fit here? This may not still be the record but if not, I really don’t want to know.

Since we are just chatting while I wait for an inspiration, there is also a fast texting record. Melissa Thompson of Salford, England (according to the same conveniently available teen) texted this test message in 25.94 seconds. “The razor–toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality….” The test message continues but you get the idea. She texts really really fast.

Is there anything to conclude from these two records (Deepak for prolific texting and Melissa for speed texting) we might want to file away for further thought? Actually, I doubt it but let me suggest this only as a possibility. As with texting, how much and how fast have little bearing on how well when sitting down to write a post. Readers are unlikely to care much about how many words I write and even less about how quickly I write them. At least, speed and quantity are not high on the quality criteria list.

That prompts me to wonder if there may not be an acceptable quantity/speed range for most things in our lives. Perhaps there is too much and not enough, too fast and too slow, with “good enough” in–between. We are inundated with advice and demands to do better, to strive for perfection, to reach farther, and to generally exceed whatever we are currently doing. What if for most things there is a good enough area for each of us where we can relax, feel comfortable, be satisfied with ourselves and our performance, and simply decide not to put anymore effort, energy, or emotion into it.

We can call all those activities the “Good Enough Stuff” and where we keep them our GES Box. The more we put into our GES Box, the more time, opportunity, and emotional energy we have for a few (very few) activities where getting it right the first time, on time, every time is important, actually matters to us, and will still matter a month from now, a year from now, i.e., it truly does matter.

Let’s call this our “Matters To Me Stuff” and our special place to keep it our MTM Box. This is a tiny box we can keep in our pocket so we always have it with us. It holds our personal priorities, those activities we sincerely value. It’s where we keep our valuables for frequent examination and action.

I admit to being tempted to expand on this but will follow my own advice. That’s enough for this sit.

I have two boxes labeled GES and MTM.

I am particular about what goes into them.

MTM is reserved for my very best.

GES is where I toss the rest.