Announcement Dec 2015


Posts to this blog will be sporadic in the future.

I started this blog years ago. I love posting here. The problem is that my business, Humanist Learning Systems, is starting to take off. This is great. The problem is that it leaves me with less time to write on topics unrelated to the business.

So, I can no longer commit to writing here regularly. I will still be posting things, when I am moved to and have something to say. But I won’t be doing it regularly.

The good news is that I still have my Happiness thru Humanism blog that I post at twice a week.

You can also join my newsletter and get essays written just for people on my mailing list.

And, if you haven’t already, consider taking one of the courses over at Humanist Learning Systems. There are lots of free courses and some that you have to pay for. But most of my creative energy is being put into creating content for that site.  So please join me there.

Thanks for your support and thanks for your continued support. And again, there will be things posted here on occasion, just not weekly.

Reflecting on my Father

Reflections of my father

My dad was an extraordinary man and a lot of the way I think of things is a direct result of his influence on me.

Christopher Shaw - brilliant gentle human being

My dad would not have called himself a Humanist. But he was a good and gentle man in the finest sense of the term. He was also brilliant. And that’s not just me saying that, that was the most common comment we received in condolences and memories we received from his coworkers and friends after his death.

He had a very quick wit and loved to play with words and was definitely an intellectual, which the urban dictionary defines as someone who has found something more interesting than sex and alcohol, but which actually means someone who likes to engage in deep thinking.

Continue reading “Reflecting on my Father”

It can happen to you

It can happen to you

Health problems can happen to you, so stop pretending you are immortal.

Fear is rarely rational

In order to live a happy and fulfilling life, you have to be alive.  Ideally, you should be healthy too as it’s hard to be happy if you aren’t healthy. It’s also hard to dedicate yourself to helping others if you don’t have the physical ability to do so.

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A Realistic Approach to Bullying

Realistically Dealing with Bullying

There is no magic way to get rid of bullying. It’s time to get real.

A fairer more just world isn't going to happen on it's own. Humanism

Ever since I wrote my book, The Bully Vaccine (, I’ve become more and more enmeshed in the anti-bullying world.  And the thing I’ve noticed most is that people looking for help, rarely seem to get the help they need despite there being a lot of anti-bullying resources available on the web and in schools etc.

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Suicide and Relational Violence

Suicide and Relational Violence

Image: photostock /

The insanity of abusive relationships is not something you can understand if you haven’t experienced them.

I’ve wanted to write this essay for a while now. I’ve put it off because it brings up some painful memories for me. A couple of years ago an up and coming Bollywood actress named Jiah Khan committed suicide. She left a 6 page suicide note addressed to her live in boyfriend. While the note is painful to read – what I am going to say next won’t make sense until you read it. It is in English. (

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Pride and Accomplishment

Pride and Accomplishment

Don’t let your pride get in the way of you getting things done.

Change isn't Easy

I have been working out of the library recently. My son is in a half day camp and it’s easier to work in the library than it is to drive home and back.  But I don’t always get my work done. Sometimes I talk to people. One day a homeless vet decided I was safe enough to poor his heart out to. He seems like a really good guy despite his tears.

Why is he homeless? Well, like most of us he fell on hard times.  This is a man who served his country and did things that he isn’t proud of.  He clearly has trauma and guilt related to his service in Vietnam.

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Retaliation and Revenge

Retaliation and Revenge

We have all been wronged at some point, but that doesn’t mean we should seek revenge.

Don't be such an elbow

One of the reasons it is so difficult for managers and teachers to deal with bullying and harassment is that it looks so much like conflict.  Most people, when they are hurt get mad. Anger is a defense mechanism (see: Managing Anger in Yourself and Others by Dr. Leon Seltzer –

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Strategic Planning – for Success

Planning for Success

It isn’t that hard to think through potential consequences. The more you think, the more successful you will be.

We need to work past our current problems

I was contacted the other day by a guy who wants to form a Humanist political party. He apparently was unaware that a Humanist Party already exists, because he apparently didn’t bother to google the words “Humanist” and “Party” together. In other words, he had a great idea and wanted to get it off the ground and instead of doing any research, decided to promote the idea and see if anyone would help him.

Here’s the problem with that approach. It doesn’t work. Why, because it isn’t thought through.

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Are you starting from scratch?

Constructing an Ethical System from Scratch

Becoming and adult when no one teaches you how.

Who I am matters. Who I want to become matters more. Humanism

I don’t know about you, but I feel like a fraud. A lot. Mentally, I’m still 12 years old. When my son’s friends are in the house, I have to remind myself, wait – I’m the adult here. How the heck did that happen?

At the ripe old of age of 48 – I should have my sh*t together already. And mostly I do. Actually, I’ve pretty much been functioning well now for almost my entire adult life.

I was lucky – I had parents who helped me develop a good ethical system and who taught me how to think and make good decisions based on that ethical system so that when I’ve had to make decisions on my own, I’ve done a pretty good job of it. So while I might feel like a 12 year old fraud pretending to be an adult, the reality is I’m a pretty good adult.

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What’s your reason?

Using Reason to Your Advantage

Everything happens for a reason. What are your reasons?

We need to find a way to work past our problems

There is a meme going around the internet – everything happens for a reason and sometimes the reason is that you were stupid and made a bad decision. Can’t argue with that.

Given that things happen for a reason and that sometimes the reason is because we made a bad decision, we should probably try to stop making bad decisions.  This is easier said than done. Which is why using your faculty of reason is so darned important.

Reason is defined as: the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.  There is a reason why this definition of reason (ie: the power to think) is tied linguistically to the definition of reason as causal.  Reason is both the thought of whether we should do something and the act of actual doing that causes whatever it is to happen.

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