Emotional Intelligence | Stevehein.com

The APA and its "Guidelines"

"Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves
and be their own judges obey the rules."
Hermann Hesse (1)

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Here is a quote from Jack Mayer's website (from this article)

ABOUT PUBLISHING THIS MANUSCRIPT ON THE WEB: A copyedited version of this manuscript is scheduled to appear in the journal Emotion. Copyright is by the American Psychological Association. According to APA guidelines on internet publishing (http://www.apa.org/journals/posting.html), the article can only be posted on the author's web site; "the posted article must carry an APA copyright notice and include a link to the APA journal home page; APA does not permit archiving with any other non-APA repositories; APA does not provide electronic copies of the APA published version for this purpose; and, authors are not permitted to scan in the APA published version." Please help us by abiding by these guidelines and not posting the article elsewhere. Please refer to that APA web site (http://www.apa.org ) for more information. Thank you!

When I read the words American Psychological Association, the first warning sign is "American", the second warning sign is "Psychological", the third warning sign is "Association."

Now let's think about this group of people and ask ourselves: Do they really want to help people? Or do they want to hang on to as much power and control as they can? And make as much money by selling their journals as they can? And let's compare there "guidelines" with what I actually do in practice.

But first, let's talk about what guidelines are. Are they the same as rules? I myself have used the term guidelines. When I use it I mean something which serves to guide me, to help me stay on the path that I want to be on, let's say. Or to help others stay on, or near the path. Let's think about a guide in the forest. Or in the jungle, since they really have jungles here in Peru. I'd probably want a guide who knew the jungle if I were to venture in. I'd probably feel much more secure. But I would also like to talk to this guide and say "You know what, I'd like to walk over that way, what do you think?" Or, "I'd like to rest here for a while, or stop for a while to write, or take pictures."

But let's say my guide was a jerk. Let's say everytime I wanted to do something he would say "No, you have to do this. You have to do that. You must follow me. You mustn't keep asking me questions. You can't have any of your own ideas or do anything you want to do, or change my schedule or my trip in any way."

And let's say he punished me everytime I did something he didn't want me to. Anytime I didn't follow his "guidelines". I'd start to really hate him probably. And I would want to get away from him as fast as I could and I would never use him again. And I would probably write about what a jerk he was and how I felt. I would probably write, "I felt controlled, threatened, punished, disrespected."

So now let's look at the difference between guidelines and rules. Most of us know that when you break a rule, anyone who has power and likes to push you around to help themselves feel more powerful, important, in control and secure will punish you. But what about guidelines? I have set up guidelines for myself before. They help guide me and help me make decisions more quickly. For example, if I am having a conflict with someone, one of my guidelines is to ask them how they feel and ask them how much they feel understood by me from 0 to 10. But I don't punish myself if I don't always do that. Instead I try to do it the next time, if I still think it would be helpful.

So basically one important difference between rules and guidelines is that if you break a rule, you get punished, or at least you are threatened with punishment. But as I see it, you don't get punished for not following a guideline.

So what does the APA have really? Guidelines or rules? What will happen to Jack and is colleagues if they do anything that is forbidden in the APA guidelines? Well, I don't know for sure. But I do know this. Jack Mayer has told me before that one reason he doesn't let me copy more of his articles onto my website is because the journal publishers forbid him from publishing his writing anywhere but in their journals. So I would ask again, "do these people really want to help people?" Or do they just want to make money by selling their journals?

And I would ask you to look at what I do. I give away nearly everything on my site. I tell everyone who writes me and asks permission to copy my stuff, "Sure, I'd just appreciate it if you give me credit or give me a link." I have never told anyone what they "must" do, or threatened them if they don't do what I want.

But Jack has told me that if he doesn't follow the journal rules, they won't publish his papers the next time. And Jack likes to have his papers published in academic journals. This is how he was trained to think. He has been trained to think it is important to have your work published in academic, peer reviewed journals. But I would like to point out that my writing is not published in anyone's academic journals, and yet my site is number one on emotional intelligence and on several other things. (Like invalidation, feeling words, teacher student contracts. - see I'd like them to do a bit more thinking about why my site is number one and why they entered the field of psychology in the first place and what their motives really are.

I would say that if someone really wanted to help people, they would want as many people to read their writing as possible. And I would also add that if they really believed their writing was helpful and important to the world, they would feel strongly that no one try to tell them that they can only write in one little journal which hardly anyone will ever read.

Which reminds me. Back a few years ago I was a very strong supporter of the work that Jack and David and Peter Salovey were doing. I think it is fair to say I helped make them a bit more famous. They were only writing in academic journals. And I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what they were really saying and decode it from Phidish to something close to English so people without PhD's in psychology could get something useful from it. But you know what? Neither Jack nor Peter nor David has ever thanked me publicly for what I did. And now, it seems, they don't want to be associated with me. Okay, I understand this. But I have some lost respect for them because of it. And I feel unappreciated. So I don't feel too loyal to them anymore. I don't feel disloyal either because I never took any oath to defend their work or the field of EI or whatever. In fact, I feel loyal to what they call the "field" of emotional intelligence.

To me the term "emotional intelligence" does mean something. It means those who are interested in the concept because they want to understand human beings and learn ways for us to all get along better and stop killing each other and stop creating so much pain in our children and teenagers that they grow up to do things like a) try to kill themselves b) use drugs c) get drunk d) distract themselves with endless movies, sitcoms, soap operas, best-selling novels and, animal hoarding. So anyhow, back to the field of EI and my loyalties. I don't like the word loyal much but I can't find a better one just yet. Maybe let's say integritous. Acting with integrity. I do believe in the concept of emotional intelligence. I believe it is very important to our lives today and to the future of humanity. But I feel a loyalty to something higher than the so called field of EI. I feel a loyalty to the children and teenagers of the world. I feel obligated to do whatever I can to help them. For example, I am criticizing David and Jack, people I like and admire in a lot of ways, and people I don't want to hurt personally, because I don't want young people to become like them. I don't want young people who are as passionate as David was and is to one day start wearing suits and ties and one day become marketing managers in big USA companies. I don't want them to buy expensive houses and expensive exercise machines and make their kids dress up to go to religious functions. And I don't want people as smart as Jack Mayer is to feel afraid of breaking APA "guidelines." And I want people who are like young Jack Mayers to believe in themselves more and not just do all the traditional things which give so many people such a comforting sense of security.

I want young people to see all these psychologists and psychology programs as I see them. I want them to see through all the bullshit and fancy words, for example. I want young people who care about other people to go out and do something on their own to help people. I don't want them wasting time and money in universities where they will be led further and further from the feelings that connect them with children and even with the feelings that they had themselves once as teenagers.

I want young people to stay young. And I believe the way you do this is to stay away from universities and even highschools that prepare you for universities or for getting jobs. And by playing with kids and really enjoying them and feeling amazement at how beautiful they are when they are young. And by seeing how happy they are and how forgiving and resilient they are. And how much they like to learn and how much they like to teach. And how proud they are when they learn something and can do it well, and how proud they are when they learn to do things by themselves. And what they feel like when someone tries to control them. And how easily they feel better when they cry and you give them a hug. And how creative they are, and how just... wonderful they are in every way.

And you stay young by hanging out with teenagers and asking them questions and listening to what they have to say. By taking what they have to say seriously. By giving them a chance to complain about their insecure, controlling teachers and school directors. By asking them how much they feel understood by their own parents. By asking them what love means to them and how they would stop wars and how they would help poor children. Teenagers around the world consistently give me much better answers to these kinds of questions than adults do.

Adults are killing each other and training people to kill each other. Children don't do that. Teenagers don't do that. Adults do. Do you really want to be like adults? Adults manufacture guns, cigarettes, alcohol. They market it. They make a lot of money from it. And they use the money to buy big houses and exercise machines. And suits and ties and expensive watches.

Little kids would not think of putting on a tie to go out and play. Why do adults believe ties are so important? Around the world all the men who are trying to feel important are dressing like George Bush. I am not sure who came up with this idea of suits and ties, but I'd say it is time we drop the custom and use all that money to buy books for countries like Indonesia and Peru. And the amount of money females spend on cosmetics and on changing the color of their hair is, to me, an embarrassment to the human species. A child does not care what color someones hair is. A child does not care what someones fingernails look like. Why do adults think these things are so important?

I have said this before, and I am sure I will say it again. Let's try something new. Let's try looking a child's values. Let's try asking children how they feel about things. And for those who believe in gods, I have a question for you. Who is closer to your idea of a god? A child playing in the sand on the beach or a business manager? A child, or a PhD in psychology? A child, or the President of the United States?

S. Hein
January 24, 2005
Jaen, Peru


1 - This is a quote from Hesse's book, Demian, page 53