Hubris For One: Because self-mockery is a task that should not be delegated.

I ate Karl Marx. Turned out to be a cupcake-sized task, so I mopped up Mohammed for the frosting. I’ve figured out how to kill Yelp and every Yelp-like cyst on the internet. And, also, I know how to disintermediate Disney.

What have you been up to lately?

I’ve got a fever. Can you tell? I’ve been filling this cistern for three years, and it’s about to overflow. I’ve got a little bit of big stuff and a lot of little stuff left to cover, but in two weeks and three days I’ve outlined the map back to a truly civil society.

There’s more, lots more, but that’s the headline:

Western Civ redeemed, details to follow.

My take: You’re not paying me enough. Get your friends to help, too. The whole world will be talking about this eventually, but I’m eager to hurry things along. Aren’t you?

Church, today:

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Love and reliability: Marriage takes to the sky.

The Unfallen, a novel of love and indomitability, available at

I may make church later this morning, just so I can laugh at myself. I’m getting ready to deal with the idea of reliability – which is what Driven/Sociable civilization both pursues and produces – but I felt like playing a little more playfully for now. So I happened to think of this extract from ‘The Unfallen’ about – ahem – reliability in marriage.

That’s what the whole book is about. The plot is girl-meets-boy. I didn’t know DISC when I wrote it, but DISC will out, anyway. The DISC summation is just this simple: Dc he and Di she find enduring happiness as Ds/Sd.

There’s an argument about art in here – a believable character ‘rings true’ to his DISC profile, an implausible one violates it – but there are all kinds of ThriversEd arguments here, including the fungibility of leadership.


From ‘The Unfallen’

Devin stood with Spencer as the car pulled away. He said, “Are you cold? Can you stand to walk?”

“I’m all right.”

“Let’s just walk, then. I learned how to think on the streets of Boston and Cambridge. I don’t always find the answer I’m looking for, but I can always walk my way to peace, to serenity.” They walked their way to the Harvard Bridge across the Charles – named the Harvard Bridge because the students of M.I.T. thought it was too badly designed to be called the M.I.T. Bridge. Elements of the more-or-less perpetual repair crew were out in their orange vests and traffic was backed up in both directions. The walkways were free, though, and they walked, one foot in front of the other, without speaking.

Finally Devin said, “Are you a boy or a man, Spencer?”

“I’m not sure I get that…”

“It’s yours to say. People will treat you like a boy for the most part, I guess. But if you decide you’re a man, and if you decide to behave like a man, who can stop you?”

Spencer grinned, his smile as bright as the sun. “There’s that, isn’t there?”

“I ask because I think it’s a (more…)

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Wanna see #ThriversEd in action, now, today, wherever you are?

What will you find at the skatepark?
All the motivation absent from school.

Photo by: Noah_Diamond

Go to the skatepark.

You’ll see a thriving Institute of Persistent Excellence composed entirely of peaceful, purposeful, playful volunteers.

Dutch Uncles and their adhocracies? Simultaneously abundant and evanescent.

Performances? Duh.

Accountability? Not just right here, right now, but enduringly: The skatepark ethos is reputation-based and hugely honor-bound. Responses to violations are immediate, clear-cut and universally-enforced.

The corollary, perhaps obvious only to me: Zero mutinies.

Most children learn nothing in school, but many of them learn how to live a more-human life at the skatepark.

Oh, but you don’t respect skaters’ values? How very snooty of you. They don’t like you, either.

So go to the skeet range, instead, or to the homebrew rocketeers’ blast-off event. Same culture, different gear.

What we call “hobbies” or “avocations” or “diversions” or “dissipations” are typically anarchies of self-and-mutual-education-without-coercion.

All of those things are ThriversEd. We’re just formalizing play to make it even more productive of human virtues and values.

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Why do children rebel so comprehensively against schooling? Why do rape victims fight back?

If you read my magnum opus yesterday, you know a lot more about ThriversEd than you did before. Here’s something I figured out only later:

Schooling : Education :: Rape : Love-making

The way we’ve done schooling so far – not just lately, but since the introduction of the classroom model of “efficiency” – has been a graduated consensuality in the same way that the rape college women protest is borne of partial-but-not-dispositive consent.

What would work better than coercion in – and to – the classroom? Why might work better than rape in your marriage?

Photo by: JOHNNY LAI

How do we know this is so? Duh. Rebellion.

Rancorous transactions do not recur voluntarily. Schooling is for its every victim every day more rancorous. Why must this be so? Escape is blocked. It’s a Cautious tyranny. You know, like rape. Thirteen years’ worth, at least.

Yes, it’s a purely metaphorical rape – mere coercion, not a visceral scourging. But a violation is a violation, and to to deny your own past violations by classroom bullies – both by the paid professionals their sadly-underfathered freelance enforcers – is to confess either to deceit or delusion.

Why do teachers have such a tough time with their charges? Why do all of them hate school – the kids and the teachers?

It turns out people don’t like to be raped, not even metaphorically and in bulk.

What would work better than coercion in – and to – the classroom?

Why might work better than rape in your marriage?

What could be more obvious, right?

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#ThriversEd: Snagging the wrench out of the works with self-improvement for the not-yet self-aware.

“You’re following all this, right?”Photo by: Daniel X. O’Neil

True confession: I can be fun to be around – for a while. But eventually I start to wear on almost everyone, because I can be juggling so many eggs, torches, bowling balls and chainsaws at the same time that everything turns into a blur for everyone but me.

Are we there yet?

If not, I can teach you the best-ever car game, guaranteed to drive everyone but you crazy. It’s called “What’s Annoying?” and it consists of asking that one question over and over again, with as many different flavors of spin as you can put on it, for as long as you can keep it up.

Seriously: I’ve been talking about these ideas in public for two weeks now. We’ve covered a lot of ground, but it’s kind of all over the place: Where I am now and where I want to be soon, but also every blue-sky way I have of thinking about these notions: TV, internet, Yelp-slaughter, global reconquest, etc. It can be hard to tell precisely what it is I’m juggling.

I can clarify at least that much, with text I wrote the other day:

“A Di is cultivating Ds in the victims of Cautious/Incandescent educationism.”

Oh, wait, that’s not clear, is it? If you’re not up to speed on where I am on DISC – and that’s a moving target, I’ll concede – you’re not going to get any of this. By now, I can diagnose and suggest repair strategies for any broken social machine. And that’s what the sentence quoted above is saying:

Education (and all of Western Civilization) has been crippled by the imposition of Cautious/Incandescent pedagogy in place of Driven/Sociable schooling. I’m undoing all of that – and building in defenses to keep it from happening again.

What’s hubris squared? I am become worlds, destroyer of death! Who could find that kind of exuberance wearing?

Someone – Heinlein? – said a school need be no more than a log with a student at one end and a teacher at the other. I like that, but I think the hierarchy (more…)

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What’s the Stone Soup game? In three quick minutes – what have you got?

You bring what you’ve got. I’ll bring what I’ve got. Together we’ll have a feast of the mind.

Photo by: Paul Joseph

Stone Soup is not just one of the earliest of the ThriversEd games, as with the Dutch Uncle game, it encapsulates much of what ThriversEd is: Performance, Accountability and Leadership, over and over again.

The game described in this short video – made to answer questions raised by David Brodie – is geared toward Toddlers, but the Stone Soup game works at any age. You’re soaking in it.


You might think that sounds like ‘Show ’n’ Tell,’ but the similarities are superficial: We’re much less formal, much less stressed, and much, much, much more frequent. ThriversEd is structured play, and Stone Soup is an easy structure for Toddlers to play in.

You may also note similarities to the Socratic style of instruction. We’re more formal than that, but you can see how this model of interaction – growing together by sharing in each other’s growth – will carry through as Toddlers grow into Children and then Adults.

There are other Performance games in ThriversEd – Family/Jam Band is one I’m dying to show off – but you could argue that, just as all ThriversEd activities are Dutch Uncle games, all of our Performance games are Stone Soup games.

Big things are made of little things. Lots of them.

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PEAK the Yelp-killer: How a few magic beans could change your evaluation of everything.

“Where’s my added-value?”

Let’s see…

I threw off a social network, but who who needs another one of those? Mine has recruitment, participation and retention incentives, where none of the others do – and no need for advertising and all the staffing that goes with it – but maybe that doesn’t amount to much of a difference.

I threw off a few smaller businesses and implied a bunch more: Branded-and-packaged versions of the ThriversEd games, a publishing house/content marketer, even a career plan for writing kid-lit best-sellers.

And throwing off a plan to influence one-third of all discretionary spending – “You know, for kids!” – seems like kind of a big deal to me.

Maybe not. The best question any prospective buyer can ask is, “Where’s my added-value?” Apparently I need to build more value into my efforts.

Rebuild education so it actually works?


Restore, refortify and renew Western Civilization?


How about I figure out a way to kill Yelp?

“Now you’re talking!”

Just teasing. Any dog can nose out a proximate meal, but only Bloodhounds go sniffing for more-distant victuals. Even so, an API built out of the PEAK matrix could eat Yelp, eat the ‘Like’ button and piggy-back on anything, recruiting new end-users and API clients as it goes.

I’m not even going to plot this out, it’s that simple. The dataset is just four one-to-five-star scores weighted to yield the overall score, along with the housekeeping details: Event, date, Dutch Uncle, evaluated, evaluator and perhaps a brief comment field. You could pack the whole thing into one net-packet – a microformat.

That’s just details, trivial and pointless unless the underlying strategy is right. The PEAK idea – everyone evaluates and everyone is evaluated – contains within it a lifelong habituated self-improvement praxis (but who needs that?), so evaluations of things – from restaurants to blog comments – could yield that same kind of trend analysis.

PEAK seems ideally brief to me, where the ‘Like’ button is useless and the long-form Yelp-style review rewards only corruption: Hyperbolic outrage or sweet, loving lies. Plus which, since kindness is the key to PEAK, unkind – hence, unreliable – evaluators will (more…)

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