The Inherent Conundrum of Operant Behavior
Thoughts, wanderings and questions. Often contradictory, but almost always within the shroud of my world.

Monday, June 21, 2004

A simple quote 
I used to really like quotes, and knew quite a few. Over the years however I've tended to be a bit distracted and not really paid much attention. But the other day I heard one that I thought was really amusing:

"Announcing your intentions is a good way to get God to laugh".


Friday, June 18, 2004

Now even the schizophrenic are trendy 
I find it extremely amusing that the affluent part of society have finally caught up with the trend launched by those who wander aimlessly around the street asking passersby for change. After all, I'd wager it hasn't been that long since you did a double-take where you noticed someone was having a conversation, but no one else was near them. The only discernable difference between that person and the homeless one, is that the former just happened to have a wire dangling from their ear.


Thursday, June 17, 2004

Driving while talking on a cell phone 
First off, I'll freely confess right off the bat: I've done it. And no, I didn't pull over to the side of the road. Just the other day in fact while I was talking on my phone and driving in traffic, I cut another person off.

I think that cell phones are just another scapegoat in a long line of scapegoats. Growing up, it was all these foreign cars that were smaller than the American tanks, and were able to zip around traffic. Then it evolved into 'women drivers'. Later it was something else, etc. etc., until we come to today and the hot topic is the phone.

Most people drive pretty much the same whether they are by themselves, have passengers, or a phone attached to their ear. Really, go ahead and every time someone does something idiotic, look to see if they are using a cell phone. There will be some, but it probably won't be as many as you think. Now count your self, because while you were paying attention to everyone else, you probably did something to make someone else mad.

It's just easier to blame a person's sex, race, nationality or an inanimate object, than to deal with the real issue -- People's driving skills are abysmal.
So all this controversy, blame and legislation just isn't going to make it any safer to get out there on the road. There are just too many other distractions.. For example, assuming you weren't on a cell phone this morning on the way to work, can you remember your entire drive in? Most likely not. Sure, there will be parts that you can easily recall, like that time the blue SUV suddenly stopped for no apparent reason. But think about the drive where nothing happened. Were you thinking about work, home, kids, etc. during this time? Most people, especially on routine things like driving to and from work, are on auto-pilot. So putting a phone in their hands is simply a substitute for some other distraction.

And as for me cutting off someone, the phone had nothing to do with it. The other person going 40 in the left lane of a freeway had a lot to do with it though.

But hey, I'm still going to avoid that woman driving a small car, while applying make-up and talking on the cell phone as the 'baby-on-board' hang tag sways in the back window. You've got to draw the line somewhere after all.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Whenever you see a list of problems in the workplace or home, lack of communication is always right near the top. There are volumes of books written on the subject, various speakers tour on it, and there are numerous workshops available. All this just to get us to express what we really mean.

And people still don't get the message.

I walk constantly past double doors that have a sign on each proclaiming 'Keep Out' on the fist line, followed by 'Authorized Personnel Only'. So that when you read it as it's written -- Keep out authorized personnel only -- it makes no sense. I always have a tendency to walk in so that someone can tell me that I'm not authorized, and I can reply "I know, that's how I got in". Now that would be a good example of misplaced misundersandings.

There are signs just like that all over the place. Simply placing 'Keep Out' on a door is straight up confusing to me. First off, it's a door. If it's not to be used, then how about just locking it? And does that person who slapped the sign on the door really think that it will deter people from entering? If that really did work, then I'd get one for my front door.
But really, if you wanted to convey an accurate sentiment, how hard would it be to simply put up a sign that read: 'Entry for Authorized Personnel only'?

Then there is another door which I frequently use that to the right states: 'No entry', and to the left has an electronic badge reader and a plaque above it that says 'Authorized personnel only'. Talk about mixed signals.

But this problem is pervasive all around us. I just know I will be heading off to jail one day when the officer pulls me over then asks, "Have you been drinking" and I say 'yes'. Of course my bail is going to increase when the judge asks me if I've taken any drugs and I say 'yes'.
Never mind all that I may have had was water and an aspirin.


About Operant Behavior

Stimulus Response is really about the environment, and how the environment reacts. This envrionment may be as broad as the universe, or as egocentric as a single individual's brain waves.


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