Is talking to yourself recommended?

Lifestyle self tutoring: the tutor inquires about an age-old habit.

When I’m alone, I often talk myself through tasks. I’m sure it’s beneficial, so did a little research.

Apparently, there are experts who agree with me: talking to yourself organizes and directs your process, and even increases your engagement.

If you’re alone, I guess you could ask yourself: Should you talk to yourself more?

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Psychology: what is monomania?

Self-tutoring about psychology: the tutor mentions the term monomania.

monomania: fixation on a single topic.


Mish, Frederick C (editor). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Gilmour, Lorna (editor). Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Psychology: Who is guilty?

via Daily Prompt: Guilty

Guilty is such a loaded term, I looked it up before starting to write. Concisely and unequivocally, Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus (HarperCollins, 2006) defines guilty:

guilty (adj):

having done wrong.

When I was a child, people often made me feel guilty, not because I was, but to maintain control over me. With that aim, guilt is used by individuals and institutions everywhere. The reason is simple, and stated, as I recall, by the Smoking Man in X-Files:

When you can ease a person’s conscience, you can take their freedom away from them.

Therefore, via manipulation, a person can feel guilty without being guilty. The reverse is true as well. I watch people neglect their commitments and infringe the rights of others without consideration. Those people are guilty – they just don’t feel guilty.

Confusion about whether someone is guilty, especially nowadays, seems to spring from its legal definition, which might be more like so:

guilty (adj):

provably responsible for a crime that’s been brought to court.

Many people apparently believe that if they can get away with an offence, they’re not guilty of it. Everyday rudeness, therefore, can be committed without guilt, since it’s not illegal. Moreover, a murder can be committed, but if no evidence against its perpetrator exists, they remain “not guilty.”

Yet, the perpetrator is guilty. Being rude is wrong, so having been so, the offender is guilty. Similarly, the murderer is guilty, whether the court finds them so or not.

If you’re religious – which I am – “guilty” and “not guilty” are probably easier states to distinguish; God knows, after all, what you did. I don’t necessarily believe in heaven vs hell, reward vs punishment, and so on. Much more directly,

if God knows you did it, then you know.

God might be like a blank piece of paper, the sin like a blot of ink thereon.

As a parent, and as a person, I’m guilty of countless wrongs. (Hopefully) I commit fewer now than when I was younger, because I understand better, today, what is wrong. I feel guilty – yet, unlike when I was a child, it’s not a bad feeling. Rather, it’s the truth that helps me navigate life, going forward.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane Campbell River, BC.

Psychology: recognition

More self-tutoring: the tutor discusses a group dynamic.

I’ve been traveling as a chaperone lately. Not often do I spend time on the road with a group, but this weekend I am.

An absolute necessity, when moving in a group, is that it stays together. Yet, with many other groups around as well, getting lost in the shuffle can happen. How do people avoid it?

One rule of thumb I’ve relearned this weekend is to notice a “key character” – often someone who wears a distinct coat or accessory. They’re easy to spot, which their cohorts soon realize. The entire group might be drawn – and kept – together by their recognition of that peculiar hat, shirt, shoes or coat worn by that key character. Just as likely, the key character doesn’t even realize they’ve become the lynchpin.

Recognizing a peculiarity of one of my groupmates, then seeking it and staying near, is how I got by as a kid. I’ve relearned the habit on this trip.

Thank you to all who wear distinct hats, coats, etc. You likely don’t realize how important you are:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Psychology, lifestyle: what is eustress?

More lifestyle self-tutoring: the tutor shares the term eustress.

eustress noun:
a good kind of stress. An example of eustress is the anxiety one might feel while trying to set a new best time for a 5K run. Another is the elevated level of concern one might feel studying for – and then writing – an important exam.

Typically, eustress surrounds a situation the person voluntarily embarks. Furthermore, it likely has a decisive ending. The person perceives a benefit, so is willing to risk effort and uncertainty to gain it. The person believes that, by applying their own wherewithal, they are able to accomplish the objective.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Psychology: memory, part 0: why memory might be inaccurate

More self-tutoring: the tutor does initial probing about memory accuracy.

I’m sure I recall having confident memories that turned out wrong when I compared them to other evidence.

Today I read an article from the The New Yorker, by Maria Konnikova, in which she confronts the idea of inaccurate memory.

My understanding of Konnikova’s message is that when you have an emotionally charged memory, your awareness that it happened is strong, but you recall its surrounding details less particularly. However, you think you know virtually everything you experienced, since your memory that it happened, being emotionally fueled, is so strong.

So, with an emotionally important memory, while confidence that it happened might make sense, recall of its surrounding details is perhaps less trustworthy.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Psychology: Hallucinations: do they happen in ordinary situations?

With so much coverage these days about paranormal topics, I get immersed in self-tutoring. The tutor comments about the phenomenon of hallucinations.

Often, when someone mentions seeing something they can’t explain, you hear others say, “They probably just imagined it.”

I’ve never been a believer that people typically “just imagine” seeing things. Rather, if they are a truthful witness, I usually believe they saw something – probably something very similar to what they describe, if not exactly it.

I read a few articles about hallucinations today. One points out that, in fact, a hallucination may well be the brain’s filling of details in a picture it deems incomplete or unreal.

The idea of the article seems to be that people are much more likely to hallucinate something they expect to perceive, rather than something surprising.

Therefore, when someone (who is, once again, a truthful witness) does report seeing something surprising, but the situation seems, else-wise, to be normal, they (it seems to me) likely did see something surprising. It may not be exactly as they report, but surprising nonetheless. The brain’s tendency seems to be to hallucinate normal over top of abnormal, rather than the other way.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Computer science, English, philosophy: what is a schema?

Tutoring academic subjects, meanings are so important. The tutor shares ideas about the meaning of schema.

a description of a particular subset of reality. The schema will include members of that reality and their properties. It will also include the relationships between them.

A schema might often be shown as a diagram, table or flowchart in order to express the relationships among its members.

A truly good schema will not only describe reality accurately, but will suggest possible relationships before they have even been realized. Hence, schemata (plural of schema) are used not only for teaching, but also for research.

Mish, Frederick C. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Psychology, probability: a parking game

Tutoring probability, you can imagine so many everyday examples. The tutor shares one.

This morning I went to pick up some groceries.

I like to load groceries through the rear door of the van. However, I also like to drive forward from a parking space, rather than backing up.

I arrived at the supermarket early, so there were many free parking spaces two deep: you could park in the first one or glide through to the second one, which faces an exit lane.

So here are the risks of the game:

  1. Park in the first row, forwards: you have definite access to your rear hatch but you will have to back out if someone parks in front of you.
  2. Park in the second row, forwards: you can definitely drive out forwards, but someone may park behind you, blocking your rear hatch.
  3. Park too close and the relevant possibility above (1 or 2) is much more likely; park further away and it takes longer to walk in and return (and I was, as always, in a hurry).

I opted for a fairly close spot and parked in the second row for guaranteed forward exit. However, I left two empty slots closer to the store. Would someone park behind me?

When I emerged, no one had parked behind me. However, someone had parked right beside me in the same manner as I, one space nearer the store. Obviously, they are willing to move a little closer to the edge.

Did someone park behind them? Who knows:) It’s interesting that they seem to calculate the situation very similarly to how I do:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: agoraphobia

More lifestyle self-tutoring: the tutor shares some reflections about his new favourite phobia, and his own possible ensnarement therein.

To some degree, I assume, we all face anxiety. Some people truly don’t seem to, but perhaps that’s just poise. I freely admit that I do get anxious sometimes, for no reason at all.

Agoraphobia I’ve heard of, but only today did I finally look up its meaning:

agoraphobia: tendency to avoid particular settings for fear of trouble or embarrassment that may happen there. The trouble typically means social difficulty, such as being trapped in a line-up.


I find it hard to imagine someone who doesn’t try to avoid situations of trouble or embarrassment.

I’ve got a bad case of agoraphobia. My family particularly notice it; here are some of my symptoms:

  1. I typically avoid travelling because I don’t like long waits, line-ups, being stuck in a plane for 6-10hrs, etc.
  2. I avoid parking in crowded lots, choosing instead to park further away where there’s more room. (This tendency my family really notice. My wife and younger son think it’s lame.)
  3. I try to avoid grocery shopping at peak times. (I went up one time during lunch break – I learned my lesson.)

In a given situation, agoraphobia can self-generate. Suppose, for instance, you go to a store at peak time. Naturally, you get trapped in a line-up. If you’re like me, now you feel embarrassed, standing there in line, because I should have known better than to shop at that time. If I’d been just a little more agoraphobic, I would have thought twice and planned the shopping better, so it happened outside a busy period.

In a way, it’s embarrassing to talk about this, but it’s also liberating. I’m just glad it’s out in the open:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.