Rich Wermske

Rich Wermske

My pedigree and bona fides are published elsewhere. That said, I respect that a few may wish to learn more about the private person behind the writing.  While I accept I am exceptionally introverted (tending toward the misanthropic), I do enjoy socializing and sharing time with like-minded individuals. I have a zeal for integrity, ethics, and the economics of both interpersonal and organizational behavior.

The product of multi-generational paternal dysfunction, I practice healthy recovery (sobriety date December 11, 2001).  I am endogamous in my close personal relationships and belong to a variety of tribes that shape my worldview (in no particular order):

☯ I participate in and enjoy most geek culture. ☯ I am a practicing Buddhist and a legally ordained minister. I like to believe that people of other spiritual/faith systems find me approachable.  I am a member of the GLBTQA community -- I married my long-time partner in a ceremony officiated by Jeralita "Jeri" Costa of Joyful Joinings on November 18, 2013, certificated in King County, Seattle WA. We celebrate an anniversary date of February 2, 2002.  I am a service-connected, disabled, American veteran (USAF).  I am a University of Houston alumnus (BBA/MIS) and currently studying as a post baccalaureate for an additional degree in Philosophy and Law, Values, & Policy.  I am a retired Bishop in the Church of Commerce and Capitalism; the story arch of my prosecuting and proselytizing the technological proletariat is now behind me.  I am a native Houstonian (and obviously Texan).  At 50 years old, I am a "child of the sixties" and consider the 80's to be my formative years.

As I still struggle with humility, I strive to make willingness, honesty, and open mindedness cornerstones in all my affairs. Fourteen years of sobriety has taught me that none of "this" means a thing if I'm unwilling, dishonest, or close minded.  Therefore I work hard on the things I believe in --

  • I believe we can always achieve more if we collaborate and compromise.
  • I believe that liberal(ism) is a good word/concept and something to be proud to support.  The modern, systematic corruption of liberal ideas is a living human tragedy.
  • I believe in a worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The pragmatism of this site and my journey is rooted in both classical and social liberalism.
  • I believe in democratic elections and institutions including a media free of commercial and governmental bias.  Liberty and equality perish when a society becomes uneducated and/or ill-informed.
  • I believe in diversity of life and ideas.  Life and ideas can only flourish when the gene pool is vast and abundantly differentiated.
  • I believe in advancing balance in civil, social, and privacy rights such that all of humanity is continuously uplifted.
  • I believe in separation of church (spirituality) and state (governance) -- with neither in supremacy nor subjugation.
  • I believe in private (real or tangible) property explicitly excluding ideas, knowledge, and methods; such non-tangibles, by natural law, being free for all humanity and emancipated at conception.

While change and the uncertainty of the future may be uncomfortable, I do not fear the unknown; therefore:

    • I believe I must be willing to make difficult choices, that those choices may not be all that I desire, and that such may result in undesirable (or unintended) consequences;
    • I believe we must be willing to make mistakes or be wrong; and I am willing to change my mind if necessary.
I undertake to abide the five precepts of Buddhism; therefore:
  1. I believe it is wrong to kill or to knowingly allow others to kill.
  2. I believe it is wrong to steal or to knowingly allow others to steal.
  3. I believe in abstention from sexual misconduct.
  4. I believe it is wrong to lie or to knowingly allow others to lie.
  5. I believe in abstention from non-medicinal intoxicants as such clouds the mind.

Suicide, major depression, borderline personality, and alcoholism are feral monsters ever howling at my doorstep. However, despite my turbulent and tragic past, rare is the day where I have to rationalize, defend, or justify the actions of that person I see looking back at me in the mirror...

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Here he rejoices, hereafter he rejoices.
In both states the welldoer rejoices.
He rejoices, exceedingly rejoices,
perceiving the purity of his own deeds. (16)

Here he grieves, hereafter he grieves.
In both states the evildoer grieves.
He grieves, he afflicted,
perceiving the impurity of his own deeds. (15)

Even as rain penetrates an ill-thatched house,
so does lust penetrate an undeveloped mind. (13).
Even as rain does not penetrate a well-thatched house,
so does lust not penetrate a well-developed mind. (14).

Friday, 03 June 2016 18:19

Thinking About Thinking

I am more like Nikola Tesla than Albert Einstein. Tesla thought up extraordinary new technologies, but the real test was whether or not those inventions actually worked. Einstein, on the other hand, saw patterns in the outside world and mulled over them until he ‘culled from the herd’ everything but the most internally consistent reasons. Tesla could point to the invention. Einstein had to point to the math.

Like most people, I have a dominant cognitive function -- my mind’s first point of contact and the primary lens through which everything Dark Treegets filtered. My dominant process is technically called Introverted Intuition. Introverted intuition is a learning function (technically called a “perceiving function”), and works by watching one’s own mind form patterns. After years of use, eventually an introverted intuitive begins to see the ‘pattern of the patterns’ and begins to understands that what is happening inside of themselves cognitively is also happening for other people.

Why do you want to know?

For me, there is no such thing as data separate from the person holding that data. That is to say, my perceptions will always color the information I carry and so data is never perfectly ‘clean’. This is why I will frequently counter an inquiry for a piece of data with a question (such as), “Why do you want to know?” I'm not challenging your need to know -- I'm in desperate need of context. The context changes the content, and so if I don’t know why you want to know I can’t produce appropriate data/response.

While, I recognize that this can be most infuriating for some people, you need to know that your concerns in this regard matter very little to me. That said, I can be pressed to deliver without context. In such circumstances; however, the results are on you. I easily wash my hands of your inability or unwillingness to effectively communicate or define requirements. Side note: This is why I very often vet people for their social usefulness, not the data they hold (unless it is the data that makes them useful).

Emotional Intelligence

I can come across as arrogant; however, I urge you to look below the perceptive to the thinking patterns underneath the affectation. For me, there is little to no insecurity about being ‘right’. My ego is not pinned to such a metric. If you don’t agree with me, I may debate with you about it. I may want (for your sake) for you to agree, but ultimately I understand that perception defines reality and you may just be seeing things fundamentally differently. I am comfortable that proof is in outcomes and I know that you/I will come to learn how wrong you/I are when events play out.

That said, I have a well-guarded, secret insecurity. I am surprisingly sensitive and anyone I allow to get close to me can cause great suffering and/or harm. This is my superhero vulnerability. It is very disconcerting for me to know that I am wired to be sensitive without the benefit of commensurate (natural) emotional intelligence. As a result, the arrogant front you may perceive has nothing to do with deflecting being "wrong." Such an outward affectation is specifically intended to deflect against the hurt and pain another person potentially represents. It’s a true wall, an impenetrable domain around my inner psycho-social-sanctum that you may or may not ever be invited into.

That wall was much thicker and impenetrable in my youth. As I crest 50 years, I understand that my personal happiness is directly linked to their willingness to be vulnerable. I am still be protective, but I'm not so nearly closed off universally as I was growing up. Now, I feel I have healthy boundaries which allow special people in, who are the lucky recipients of my extraordinary understanding. 8^)

I feel I have a pretty good conscious relationship with my emotional side. I have a few blind spots, but I would characterize them more as pet-peeves or operative misbehaviors. I am generally very aware of how things are impacting me emotionally, although I admit that I don’t always know what to do about it. Historically, my inappropriate ways of handling deep stress showed up as childlike self-indulgence. I rarely ‘temper tantrum’. I am more likely to get prideful as a first line of defense, and then move on to sulky and mopey. I may get angry, though this will generally be a controlled internalized version of the emotion (unless it is spastically redirected fear, pain, or doubt).

How do I think?

I make decisions based on impersonal, analytical criteria. Consequently, it is functionally critical for me to be intellectually honest (at the very least, with myself). However, since I lead with an intuitive process, I give credence to creative internal thought. It is important to understand that I am not scanning for data that could be ‘wrong’, I am scanning for new patterns that could be ‘right’. For this reason, I must pair my intuitive intuition with a "Co-Pilot of Extraverted Thinking." The only way to truly know if those patterns have merit is if they play out in the ‘outer world’. If they work, fabulous! That was a great new pattern. If they fail, then it’s back to the internal drawing board (or, quite likely, on to other, more stimulating thoughts).

Wednesday, 01 June 2016 16:06

Caring For The Introvert

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves conversations about their ideas or feelings, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but often seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice? If so, do you redouble your efforts to draw him out? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Tell this person he is "too serious," or ask if he is okay?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren't caring for him properly. Science has learned a good deal in recent years about the habits and requirements of introverts. It has even learned, by means of brain scans, that introverts process information differently from other people (see the abundant references below).

In the unessential they imagine the essential,
in the essential they see the unessential –
they who entertain (such) wrong thoughts
never realize the essence. (11)

What is essential they regard as essential,
what is unessential they regard as unessential –
they who entertain (such) right thoughts,
realize the essence. (12)

He who is stained (with defilements)
without self-control and truthfulness,
is not worthy of wearing the yellow robes. (9)

He who is purged of all stain,
is well-established in morals and
endowed with self-control and truthfulness,
is indeed worthy of the yellow robe. (10)

Whoever lives contemplating pleasant things,
with senses unrestrained, in food immoderate,
indolent, inactive, him verily Mara overthrows,
as the wind (overthrows) a weak tree. (7)

Whoever lives contemplating "the Impurities",
with senses restrained, in food moderate, full of faith,
full of sustained energy, him Mara over-throws not,
as the wind (does not overthrow) a rocky mountain. (8)

The others know not
that in this quarrel we perish;
those of them who realize it,
have their quarrels calmed thereby. (6)

Hatreds never cease
through hatred in this world;

through love alone they cease.
This is an eternal law. (5)

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