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People-Appraisal Judgments and the “True Nature” Myth

Over the past 40 years I have, as a clinical psychologist and researcher, been studying human nature, the judgments we make about each other, and the consequences of those judgments on our emotions and relationships. I’ve gained deep insights about a very common psychological phenomenon I call “people-appraisal,” which occurs when we make judgments, typically without conscious awareness, about the intrinsic worth and goodness of people. In doing so, we are assigning a value to what we believe is a person’s true nature.

This judgmental tendency is a root cause of divisiveness among people which manifests in problems at many…


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Material (physical) entities cannot exist without boundaries (borders, perimeters). Sounds simple, but a deeper look into physical boundaries is key to understanding essential elements of our reality and existence. This article presents a thought experiment that examines reality to reveal an incredible mystery science cannot explain.

Mystery of Hand on Table


Image credit: https://aeon.co

Reality could not possibly exist without this fundamental concept!

What‘s a “Fundamental Concept?”

I contend that there’s a single concept (a mental abstraction, principle, idea, notion, conception) that’s fundamental to the reality we experience. The concept is fundamental because it is the :

  • Essence of our Universe’s creation and evolution
  • Primary requirement for the emergence of everything from nothing.

To identify this fundamental concept, let’s begin by examining the very earliest moment of our Universe.

In the Beginning: Cosmic Inflation and the Big Bang

The Cosmic Inflation theory states that, in the early Universe, the Big Bang was preceded by very brief period when the fabric of space was bound up with energy:


Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Defining what this mindset is, how it affects people’s lives, and what to do about it

People-Appraisal, like other mindsets, consists of a belief related to a set of emotions and behaviors. It involves a mental process believed to determine the goodness and worthiness/worthwhileness of people. The People-Appraisal process and its consequences are examined in this article.

People-Appraisal has been developed, cultivated and promoted by cultures around the world for ages. It’s taught to children by their parents and teachers. It’s a primary lesson of certain religions. It’s incorporated into government laws and societal values. …


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In the midst of a worldwide threat to our ways of life, it’s a good time to ask meaningful questions about our existence, such as the purpose of life.

There are two perspectives by which to define the fundamental purpose of all life: Logic only and logic plus metaphysics, while embracing relevant scientific knowledge. I’ve been pondering the question of life purpose for decades and present a proposal below that defines it from both perspectives.

Logic Only Perspective

From a purely logical point of view, the fundamental purpose of life is the one thing all forms of life have: Experiences.

The concept of…


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And all other forms of prejudice and discrimination

The primary reason for racism, ethnic prejudice, gender discrimination, etc. is the perception that there are different “types” of people; some types are superior and more worthy than other types.

It is a main reason for the attacks aimed at Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, “the elites,” and others, as well as conflicts between conservatives and liberals.

It’s built on a mental framework, a mindset, that the true nature of people in the groups to which I identify (my “in-groups”) are superior to those in certain other groups (the “out-groups”).

The thoughts and perceptions in that mindset reflect these beliefs such…


Image by John Hain from Pixabay

How our adaptive and maladaptive mindsets affect our thoughts, emotions and behaviors

In a previous article I discussed the power of mindsets. In this one I define different mindset types and compare two primary groups of mindsets: adaptive and maladaptive mindset types.

Primary Mindsets Types

Mindsets can be broadly categorized in two primary groups defined as adaptive (sometimes called “growth”) and maladaptive (sometimes called “fixed”).

Adaptive mindsets foster greater (short and/or long term) life satisfaction and wellness because they are characterized by rational patterns of thinking. They promote beneficial behaviors and supportive emotions.

Maladaptive mindsets diminish or prevent (short and/or long term) life satisfaction and wellness because they are characterized by irrational/faulty patterns of thinking…


Image by John Hain from Pixabay

How our mindsets control the way we think, feel and act

In a previous article I defined mindsets as types of cognitions (perceptions and thoughts). They are similar to cognitive schemas in that they both:

  • Consist of mental frameworks that include ideas, beliefs, biases, judgements, attitudes, heuristics, observations, interpretations, intentions, intuitions, etc. These mental structures help us organize and make sense of our experiences.
  • Are developed, cultivated and promoted by our experiences throughout life and are deeply ingrained in our way of thinking.
  • Strongly influence our emotions and behaviors in reaction to those experiences.
  • Have a major impact on our psychological wellbeing and physical wellness.

This article focuses on explaining why…


Image by John Hain from Pixabay.jpg

The Foundation of our Perceptions and Thoughts

A Mind is a concept that defines the functions of consciousness that enables and processes the elements of experience that are mediated by the brain, nervous system, and/or sensory organs.

A Mindset is a cognitive (mental) framework that’s “installed” in our mind to help us process every single piece of information that we receive from our surroundings. It includes the mental activities/functions of cognition comprised of:

  • Perceptions are an aspect of subjective sensory-based experience that includes awareness, recognition, discernment, and the comprehension/understandings of internal and external sensations/stimuli; they can be illusionary, imaginary, or objectively verifiable.
  • Thoughts are non-spoken (nor written)…


First Person

What does an 11–year-old do after he sees a UFO with his own eyes? He becomes a clinical psychologist and understands why few people will believe his story.

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

The Summer of ‘61

This was the summer that the Mercury program’s Gus Grissom, piloting the Liberty Bell 7, became the second American to go into space (even though it was a sub-orbital flight). The mission is doubly famous in space history because, upon splashdown, the hatch prematurely opened and the capsule sank.

Space may have been embedded in the nation’s thoughts back in the summer of 1961, but it wasn’t on mine.

It was a just a late summer afternoon and I was 11-years-old, just doing my daily errands by taking out a bag of garbage from my house. We lived in the…

Steve Beller, PhD

I’m a clinical psychologist and software architect focused on understanding the intricacies human nature, mind, consciousness, thought, emotions and experience.

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