More thoughts on David Caruso and his professional work

One day in my eariler writing about David I said he is "too patriotic, too insecure and too religious" to be helping design a test of emotional intelligence which is being used around the world. And I would add that, in my opinion, he is "too American." I'd like to explain what I mean by each one and talk a little about why the values and beliefs of an EI test designer are important. I will also talk about

But first I'd like to show you what I wrote in my journal writing this morning when I started thinking about criticizing David and his work.

It is harder to attack someone you like. Someone you care about. Someone you have compassion for.

Now it is really starting to hurt. But I have to do it. It is what my heart tells me to do.

Ok, let me go on and try to do this in a more compassionate way than I have been writing recently. I'd also like to challenge David and his colleagues to help me in my critique of their test. I believe to really design the best possible test of emotional intellience it would help them to stay open to, and even seek out, crititism. I will be asking them for information soon about their tests. I remember how David felt about Goleman not giving them the research data they asked for when they were trying to critique his test. I hope that I won't run into the same problem, but I am afraid I will.

Though some of my critiques and the way I say things has got to be a little scary for them, I encourage them to think about what is really best for humanity. David and I have talked about this as being our highest goal. I hope that we still share this common goal, but I know that there is also the natural survival instinct to protect oneself when feeling attacked. So I am going to try not to be so attacking in my comments and instead try to give more constructive, less opinionated criticism. That is hard for me to do though, so if anyone can help me out here, I would appreciate it. Yet no matter how nicely I say things, there is still the issue of the insecurity of the test designers, which I discuss below.

As I write this section I am going to try not to "yell". I will let David tell me, though, whether he fells yelled at. He told me this is a little how he felt when he read some of my writing. I don't want to stir up these feelings, but he is the one who has to tell me whether I am more "effective" (with a smile) in reaching my goal of him not feeling yelled at.

S. Hein
Feb 11, 2005, with updates on Feb 26, 2005

Too Patriotic

Too American

Too Insecure

Too Religious

Values, Priorities

My cousin Marie

More of my comments, feelings

Sarah's comments

Too patriotic

When I was at David's house the second time, he was working on a presentation about EI for businesses in Japan. He showed me the slide show he was preparing for them. He opened the show with flashy presentation of the American flag. I suggested he tone it down a little and he did. He actually changed the slide a little to put the Japanese flag more in balance with the American flag, or to make the Japanese flag show up first - something like that. But he got a little defensive and said something like "The Japanese like the American way of business. And people are standing line in Saudia Arabia to go to McDonalds."

This and other little things tell me David is very patriotic. Even the fact that he thought of putting flags on a presentation about EI says quite a lot to me. Maybe he was trying to show unity between the US and Japan, I don't know. But the memory of this still bothers me.

I think David would be the first to tell you he is very patriotic. I believe, though, that this interferes with his ability to receive criticism For example, in my writing on this site I have been criticizing the USA quite harshly. I think it's natural that this would reduce how open he feels to cooperating with me in critiquing his work.

I will go further and say that I believe anyone who feels "patriotic" is a bit of a danger to the world. Let me explain. They are a danger to the world because they are not taking a global view. I would also say that feeling "patriotic" is a warning sign. A person who feels patriotic is probably very biased towards their own country's view of things. I think it's pretty clear that people from different countries are killing each other largely because the governments in each country have brainwashed the people to be "patriotic" and want to "die for their countries."

I have seen this recently in Peru and Ecuador, two countries much too poor to afford the luxury of a war. Yet these countries both spend a lot of money on the military and they both blatantly brainwash patriotism in the school system, starting with the 6 year olds and going all the way through highschool. The national song is sung either every week or every morning, depending on the school. Here is one picture of young children in a primary school lined up like soldiers ready to sing the national song of Peru. The woman in the front is a student teacher. The student teachers here have to wear uniforms and name tags.

Here is a picture of the same thing in a highschool


By the way, like in the USA during the "Pledge of Allegiance", they have to put their hands over their hearts when they sing. I saw two men walking around hitting students in the back of the legs with sticks, whoever wasn't standing straight enough and quiet enough. The students had to stand like this for about 45 minutes, in the hot sun. It was so hot students were putting their notebooks over their heads to try to block the sun. In the picture above, in the upper left hand corner, you see an example of this, even though the student is surely not supposed to be doing this. The student knows what is more important, though. She listens to her own body and not the voice of authority. Although she is trying to do both, as you can see, she does have her hand over her heart! Here is a close up.


The teachers, by the way are in the shade.

And now literally as I am writing these words a group of soldiers in training go running through the streets of the small town where I am writing today, singing out in unison.

But back to Peru and Ecuador. These two countries were at war a few years ago. They had a small fight over the border. Now their governments use this as an excuse to give military type training to all the students in both countries and also spend huge amounts of money on the military when it could be much better spent on libraries. All males in Peru also have to spend two years in the military.

Instead of countries and patriotism I much prefer the message behind John Lennon's song, "Imagine."

Too American

What do I mean when I say David is "too American?"

I mean he has adopted the American values. Such as Efficiency. Effectiveness. Goals. Productivity. Profits. Money. Products. Competition. Materialism. Appearances.

I believe the questions he asks will reflect his values. For example, I value children, teenagers, freedom, emotional validation, emotional honesty. If I were to design a test of EI, similar to Jack and David's, I would ask questions that have to do with all of these.

I am still not sure about who came up with the "right answers" for the MSCEIT and how. But whoever came up with what they think are the "right" answers, you can be sure that those answers will reflect the culture that the answer givers are from. This is not like a math test where it doesn't matter if you are from England, France, Germany, Italy, Iraq or the USA. 2+2 is 4 in all places. But I feel quire sure that the "right" answer the experts come up with on a MSCEIT type test will differ depending on the country the "experts" are from. (I also believe children and teenagers would come up with different, often better answers than the "experts.")

I would still like David to supply me with a list of the "experts" used to score and, possibly, create the answers, for the MSCEIT test. As of February 2005, he has not responded to this request. Maybe he has missed it in the middle of all my ranting and raving. But I will be making a more formal request for this and other info later. I believe the world needs to know exactly how this test was created and how it is scored. I am not satisfied with what the authors have provided to the public so far. To me, the concept of emotional intelligence is vitally important. I believe it is literally the difference between life and death. That is one reason I am going to keep challenging David to respond to my criticisms and questions.

See also this note on values

Too insecure

If a researcher is too insecure:

They will feel personally attacked if you criticize their work.

They won't help you criticize their research.

They won't supply you with information you ask for.

They won't invite you into their research laboratory to have a look for yourself, nor into their homes.

They will be afraid you will find things you can use against them.

Also, an insecure researcher who comes up with a theory or a test might say, "I like my theory. I like my test." But if they are insecure, they probably actually have doubts about their own work. So they don't really feel secure about it. And because they are personally insecure, they are afraid to tell you the truth: that they have doubts.

By saying, "I like my theory. I like my test", they don't have to listen to your critique of it. They turn off their ears, close their minds to protect themselves from the pain of hearing something which feels like disapproval, rejection. These are things they got too much of when they were growing up so they are afraid of these feelings. They hurt. So they close their minds, turn off their feelings.

David said he thinks the MSCEIT test has value. Maybe so. But is it a test of EI? I am not convinced.

There are too many things I don't like about it. (see Maybe it gives us some idea of a person's EI, especially a business person's or an American adult's, who has been brought up with more or less the same values as the test designers, but I don't think it is a universal, objective measure of someone's inborn EI.

So what would help me feel better?

If they were calling it something else. Like an "American test of emotional problem skills", then the world would have a better idea the test was created in America, by Americans, and the rest of the world could be the judge as to whether they wanted to use the test given those facts. (See "My feelings about the USA")

I would also feel better if David wrote publicly about the weaknesses of the test and added some of my comments about it to his website.


Too religious

David was raised a Catholic and converted to Judaism after he married his wife, who is Jewish. (note to dc)

I, on the other hand, am strongly opposed to both the Catholic church and the Jewish beliefs. This could make David feel a bit uncomfortable, a bit threatened, a bit defensive when he seems me criticizing these and other religions. All of those feelings would probably reduce how open he feels to helping me critique his work, as I pointed out in the section on being too patriotic.

Also, David wrote to me recently and said, basically, that he won't collaborate with me if I don't change what I said about Goleman. He said, among other things, "It's not my style." But this, to me, is almost seems like saying, "If you don't have the same beliefs and values I have, then I won't work with you. In other words, to dramatize this point, it would be a bit like saying "if you are not Jewish, I won't work with you." (note)

It is clear that David and I do not share all the same beliefs and values. Yet, I do believe we both are interested in what is best for humanity. And I believe our differences can be used to help each other and help humanity if we continue our dialogue and try to understand each other's views and reasons for them.



David also said it was like watching a robbery and doing nothing. To me, though, David is standing by doing nothing while his government is killing, or murdering, if you want to use that word, people in Iraq. And while teenagers are killing themselves in his country because of, among other things, their emotionally incompetent parents and lack of freedom and emotional need fulfillment in the American schools.

I don't want to prove David is a hypocrite. I want to help him take a closer look at his values and feelings and think about what really bothers him and why, then let me know what he has come up with.


Values, priorities

On the day of the baseball game, if I am not mistaken, David told his son something like "right now you need to get in the car so we won't be late for the game." To me this tells me that, in that admittedly very small snapshot of David's life, David was placing a higher value on getting to the baseball game on time than he was on his son's feelings. Now I am sure that this is not representative of David's relationship with his son, I am just using this as a very small example of a conflict in values. If a parent consistently gave this message to their child or teen, and unfortunately many do, then there would be pretty serious problems in the home, I'd say.

The reason I bring this up at all is just to give us a chance to think about values and priorities inside the home and inside a culture. Honestly, there is no culture in the world which I have found yet where a child or teen's feelings have a higher priority than being on time for something. And to me this is very, very sad. Sad and discouraging. About the only thing I can do is write about this kind of thing and hope I get a few people to really think and really question their values.

Somewhat connected, is a short story about my own cousin, Marie.

But back to David. I want to give him and everyone else a suggestion. What else could a father say in the situation where the father wants to get someplace? I suggest he could say, "Son, I am afraid we are going to be late. Could we talk about this in the car?" Then the father would have to accept the son's answer and not pressure or force the son to get in the car if he didn't want to. This is in line with one of my fundamental beliefs that we need to change the balance of power inside homes and schools to give the young people more decision making power.


My cousin, Marie

Marie was also raised in a Catholic home. Once at her house she was getting ready to drive her teenage son to a tennis match where he was competing. They were running late and she said, "Hurry as you have never hurried before in your life." Then when we got in the car she was driving over the speed limit to get there. And when we did get there, we had to stand around and wait.

Here in Peru I have noticed how many times parents shout "hurry, quickly, run." I think this is something about the Catholic culture. A culture of fear, fear of getting someplace on time, being punished, missing out on something. Everything seems urgent in insecure families and societies. That is the best way I can describe it right now. In my experience, anyone raised in a Catholic home is going to grow up, and has grown up, insecure.


More of my comments, feelings

I have mixed feelings about this section. As I said, my heart tells me I have to publish it. Yet I feel sad because I feel sure David will again feel personally hurt and maybe betrayed again. Maybe he will be upset with himself for talking to me the other night, for ever inviting me to his house. I am afraid of not hearing from him, afraid of his rejection, of the loss of his friendship. I feel sad I can't make all of this a bit lighter. My heart feels heavy. It is all so serious to me. Is that an "appropriate" feeling, or should I try to put myself in a different mood?

I don't feel very comfortable about this idea that David has proposed at times, that we think about what kind of mood we want to be in so we can accomplish a goal, then try to put ourselves in it. It seems too mechanical, too inhuman. I don't know. I can see some benefit to it, but my feelings are so strong that to try to intentionally change them would be, to me, somehow dishonoring them.

I feel pretty confident about everything I have written here. I feel open to feedback from anyone who wants to write. I feel a desire to know how David feels about this section, whether he feels less "yelled at" more willing to keep working with me, willing to share more of the research methods with me, like the list of the 'experts' and a copy of the MSCEIT youth version.I feel a bit of pressure/stress released from me by getting through this. It has been several hours in the writing. And a few times I wanted to put it aside and go outside and relax, go walk along the river, go talk to some kids.

I feel a need for feedback. I would like to hear from people to hear if they find this section useful, if they find it objectively and fairly written, or if it seems too much like a personal attack. David is not Daniel. I want to treat them very differently. And one day, should Daniel ever show me he is a human, then I would feel more open to input on what I have said on his page.

So anyhow, if you want, write me.

Steve Hein
Feb 11, 2005
Pedro Ruiz, Peru

DC - I would like to say "They are raising their children under the Jewish belief system" - r u okay with that? I think it's relevant, but if you want, I will leave it out.

Sarah's comments

About what you wrote about David.. I like it. I don't think you sounded arrogant. I think this is less hurtful than the one thing you wrote before you realized how arrogant you sounded. I liked the part where you said that when David was telling his son to get in the car cuz they'd be late for the baseball game wasn't representitive of their relationship. The fact that you said that will probably make David feel less hurt or threatened since you're not saying he's a bad parent, just that he could have said it a different way. When I read what you suggested he say (I'm afraid we'll be late can we talk in the car?) I thought to myself, if only David didn't have such american values he'd probly be able to stop and say to himself, how important is it that we actually get to the game? It's just a baseball game!

Feb 11, 2005