Friday, January 19, 2018

December 28, 2018

Dear Reader,

It is no coincidence that when I perform one of my songs, I first play the melody and only then do I sing the song. The melody is an existing piece of music. I chose it because it sounds good, I resonate with it, and, it is easy enough for me to play on my recorder. When I hear some nice tune, I immediately know if I can play it or not. If I can play it, I like it so much that I am feeling inspired to write my own text to it.

In almost all my songs I sing about Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB). Occasionally, I also write something funny or obnoxious, but, even then, the melody was always selected first. Those are songs which illustrate the workings of Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB).

I perform my songs mostly alone and there is a reason. Only just today I am able to understand how my songs come about. I have my own way of working and I think it is because of that that people seldom invite me to play with them. Sometimes someone asks me, but not very often. I will try to play more often with others in the next year. The fact is, however, only a few people can play with me. Most people are too much into themselves. The music which I play is not about me, but about everyone.

Although I am not a great musician, I know when I get it right and when it sounds good. Often there is too much noise for me to perform well. I do better when people are quiet and attentive. At the Open Mike in Paradise, yesterday evening, there was no sound system as John Michael was out sick. Due to this a different situation had been created. The atmosphere was more intimate and more natural.

The text of my songs are only understood if people take time to experience my sound. Most people can’t play with me because they can’t have Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB); I can’t play with people with whom I can’t have SVB. If people were more attuned to me, I think we could play my songs together very well.

In the same way my performance works, so too works SVB; it is the melody which always comes first, the text comes later. To me, it seems as if the music creates the text. Those people who appreciate my music, they learn about SVB from the text, but those who don’t like the music, they find my songs pretty boring, as they are always about the same thing.

Each song is unique; it supports SVB in a way which no other song could. My melodies came from many different composers, who lived in different cultures. Their sound struck a chord in me and inspired me to write a text. Sometimes, when we are dealing with and ancient traditional melody, the composer of the song is unknown, but usually it is someone we have all heard of, like Mozart, Vivaldi or Bach. Each time I have sung my song, like I did yesterday night, I go and search again for a new melody. I spend hours listening to new tunes. It is amazing how much music there is, how many different audiences at different locations have appreciated these great works of art.

The melody tells us more about the function of our verbal behavior than the words we use. It is not the words which are some kind of vehicle that convey a message, but it is the sound which informs us about the emotional experiences which could only occur in certain circumstances. When people talk about the passion, they speak about someone’s ability to create a situation in which what he or she says makes sense due to how he or she says it. Few people know that our belief that our words can be filled with meaning or that our words express our thoughts, is based on the ignorance about the science of human behavior.

Usually, we don’t distinguish between spoken and written words as we consider our words as things, but behaviorism distinguishes between our spoken and our written words precisely because spoken and written words are a function different environments. Moreover, words which are sung, they are, of course, also a function of yet another environment than the words which are spoken or written. Also, it makes a big difference whether you listen to a song which is performed life or on your I-pod at the gym.

When I sing my song after I have played the melody, I have introduced my audience to the environment in which I would like them to hear what I want to say. I sing about what I want to say, so actually, there are three environments: 1) the environment in which I play the music without words, 2) the environment in which that same melody expresses words, and 3) the environment in which we talk and listen to the sound of the words we express, in which we engage in SVB.

All of this is needed to experience that in talking we are not, as speakers, using our words. Words are not, as is so often erroneously believed, tools or things we use. Words are verbal behavior, which is stimulated and reinforced under certain circumstances. Only if we pay attention to the sound of what we say do we experience that speaking and listening are behaviors, which in NVB occur at incongruent rates. Only in SVB, in which we listen to ourselves while we speak, can speaking and listening occur at the same rate.

Another important aspect of bringing attention to the sound of what we say is that usually we think we talk about the physical world (our car, our children, our house, our guns, etc.) or we think that we talk about something that has happened to us (some experience, some event or some development). When we do this, our words presumably represent our ideas, feelings, thoughts and experiences. By talking, we are trying to deal with whatever we think we are going through or whatever has happened to us. What nobody seems to notice is that in NVB, we behave verbally in such a way as if our words go from us to our environment.

We presumably describe things, we name things, we express what has happened or what is happening. We are so convinced that we speak about the reality and we think that we refer to our past experiences and we emphasize the importance of certain aspects of life, which supposedly are more important than others.

Our words seldom if ever express the way in which our environment actually causes them. Due to how we were conditioned, we don’t realize that our verbal behavior doesn’t and can’t cause our reality and that only natural events, environmental stimuli, can cause our verbal behavior. The direction of our verbal behavior, therefore, is not from us (as speakers), to our environment (to the listeners), but from the environment (from the listener) to us (to the speaker)!!! Skinner defines Verbal Behavior (1957) as an indirect action; the listener is needed to mediate the consequences; that is to say, the listener is needed to reinforce the speaker. The reason that we appreciate songs which elicit emotional experiences is that music allows us to trace the environments from which our verbal behavior has emerged. By listening to beautiful music, it is as if we, as speakers, feel that we are finally being listened to….

December 30, 2018

Dear Reader,

Most likely you will not appreciate my strong opinion that I think that you don’t understand Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB). This is probably the main reason why hardly anyone knows about it. I do everything in my ability to let others know about SVB, but the reality is that only a few people are learning about it from me.

You would think that everyone would like to know about SVB, but this is not true. People are offended when I let them know that I know something which they don’t know. I can’t help it that things are this way: I am the only one who teaches SVB and unless people are learning it from me, they will miss out.

The few people, who know more or less as much as I do, are known to me, but not to you. They face the same situation as I do. (By the way, I don’t claim to know all there is to know on SVB, as I learn more about it every day in my conversations with others). My ability to write this text is a result of that. Those who experience and understand SVB will also have to let others know they know something nobody has yet properly explained (not even behaviorists).

This writing is not about explaining to you what SVB is (I do that in other writings)! This writing is to let you know that you don’t know what SVB is!!! Please, don’t be offended or fearful, just contact me and talk with me so that I can explain it to you. I promise you will not regret it; SVB will totally change your life!!! I look forward to engaging in SVB with you in 2018.

December 31, 2018

Dear Reader,

I can’t help it that you trust people, who can’t be trusted, but reject me, who is really reaching out to you. It is your loss, not mine, that you miss out on the opportunity to be engaged in ongoing Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB). I will reach others instead and I am not waiting for you.

The time that I was waiting for you is over. I wanted you to be open to me and learn from me, but, at this point, I don’t care about you anymore. Of course, I am disappointed, I want you to know how I feel. If you read this, you should know that I am talking about you.

Your Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB) is outdated, insensitive, unintelligent, superficial, superstitious, boring, phony and pathetic. If you would talk with me, you would agree. The only way you can continue with your malicious way of talking is by refusing to talk with me. I will immediately stop you from doing what you have been doing for lifetimes. My ability to do this has no relation to what you are used to. As you talk with me, you will know that what you were used to is a thing of the past.

Once you know about the SVB/NVB distinction, you will realize that there is no future anymore for NVB. Surely, you will still continue with your NVB, but it will never be the same anymore like it used to. Once you have tasted the possibility of ongoing SVB, you cannot go back to NVB.

After you have experienced how wonderful it is to engage in SVB, you will try to stop your own NVB even though you don’t know how to do it. Even though you will fail again and again, you will have to fail to in order to get it right and you will have to acknowledge each time you fail until you know how NVB works.

You don’t need to know how SVB works, but you absolutely need to know how NVB works. SVB is simple and self-evident, but NVB is a complicated mess. You can refuse to talk with me, but you cannot refuse to talk with yourself. There is a part of you which you are unable to talk or connect with, which you can only talk and connect with if you have SVB with me or with others.

You have thrown away the best part of yourself. I or someone else didn’t take it away from you, but you have squandered it, you have left it, you have abandoned it without even knowing what you have done. I couldn’t help but find it, as you are not the only one who did what you did. There are millions like you, who don’t know how to be at peace with themselves . You are nothing special; your loss is a sad, but common tragedy.

I am able to find SVB everywhere as nobody seems to want it. Don’t ask me to appreciate your NVB, to accept you, to validate you, to respect you or to support you. I don’t, I can’t and I will not appreciate your NVB. Your life is not my life. In NVB you cannot be alive, happy and conscious. I am not responsible for what you do to yourself and to others with your NVB.

You ought to be alarmed by what I write. If you are not alarmed, you are hopeless. If you take offense to me or to anyone else who knows it better than you, that is good, that means you are not totally gone yet. SVB will revive you from your lukewarm way of life. SVB reveals something you didn’t and couldn’t know. As we will talk, you will feel refreshing and positive energy.

I am here to support you in being happy, to stimulate you to listen to yourself while you speak and to live the life you want to live. I am here to have SVB with you in which we both know we engage in genuine conversation. I am here to let you know that the difference between SVB and NVB is the difference between a conscious and an unconscious way of life. I don’t care about your fame, power, laws, wealth, degrees, books,, weapons, morals or your so-called achievements. I am here to stop your NVB and to put a permanent end to the misery it has created.

January 1, 2018

Dear Reader,

In the same way that there is always something to say, there is also always something to write. There would be so much more to say and to write if only someone would encourage us to say what we want to say and to listen to ourselves while we speak, so that we can actually experience and enjoy what we are saying and if that same person would also encourage us to write about that experience, so that we will read what we are writing, read while we are writing and experience the joy of writing what we want to write, what are able to write and what are able to say.

The relationship between speaking and listening and reading and writing has gotten lost as we, as speakers, don’t listen to ourselves while we speak, but want others to listen to us, and, as we, as writers, want other readers to read what we presumably are saying, but we don’t read our own work, except with a lot of judgements and self-criticism. As we participate in social media, we write more nowadays than before, but we still have a sense of shame around enjoying our own verbal behavior. Our only short-lived relief is when other people approve of it, by liking it or loving it.

This written kind of validation, however, this kind of attention, which is also expressed by all sorts of official papers, diplomas, certificates and contracts, is the wrong kind of attention. It may bring us status and fame, we may sell a lot of books and we may end up being influential speakers, leaders, opinion-makers and trendsetters, but none of this ever results in the kind of speech in which we can all be totally content.

Sadly, almost all our speaking and writing behavior is a function of something which isn’t right, something which is wrong, something which is lacking or lost. Although, of course, also this writing is about the joy that has gotten lost in most of our speaking and our writing, this writing is caused by my joy of speaking. Most people probably will readily dismiss this in the same way that they dismiss my joy of speaking, in the same way that they dismiss their own joy of speaking.

My joy of speaking and writing has made me speak and write more as I know about the way of speaking and writing which I call Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB) and, which my friend Richard Weismann recently described as Sound Writing Behavior (SWB). Most people unfortunately don’t engage in SVB and SWB, but they mainly engage in NVB and NWB. Nobody is to be blamed for this, as we are all conditioned by our current environments to be and to remain like this.

Most people don’t know we can only learn about NVB by engaging in SVB. We can only recognize and not be bothered by NWB if we have engaged in SVB so that we recognize the SWB which is, of course, always about SVB. People get depressed reading so much NWB these days as they have acquired the self-defeating belief that SWB can lead to a decrease in NWB and that trying to have SVB, trying to have nice, good, intelligent, meaningful, respectful, open, sensitive, peaceful, effective, stimulating, joyful conversation, will decrease NVB and increase SVB. This is absolutely wrong; we have never increased our SVB by trying to have it and we have never increased our SWB by trying to have more SWB with those who only keep writing about more and more NWB.

Once we find out about the SVB/NVB distinction, we realize that even our greatest writers have written what they wrote as they too didn’t and couldn’t engage in SVB. In other words, they have only tried to produce SWB and NVB has only continued to produce more and more NWB. Surely, many of these supposedly wise men (yes, they are mostly men!) have been the founders of various religious traditions and philosophies, which have perpetuated nothing but superstition and human catastrophes. None of our scriptures or sacred texts could create a world in which people would happily engage in ongoing SVB.

Our written books didn’t and couldn’t produce any SVB. They were all NWB, which derived from the author's involvement in NVB. References which were made about SVB were always wrong descriptions of what SVB is. During SVB we are not trying to have SVB; when we produce SWB, we are not trying to produce SWB. To the contrary, when we engage in SVB, we thoroughly enjoy it because it is possible and as we write SWB, we delight in writing and reading SWB, since we are absolutely sure that it is our written version of SVB.

January 2, 2018

Dear Reader,

Your unwillingness to explore this, your inability to acknowledge this, your tendency to think that any speaker is having Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB) or Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB) by him or herself, is, of course, perpetuated by our NVB. In SVB we would explore this, acknowledge this and agree on this, but SVB keeps being made impossible due to our history with NVB. Rather than saying that there is something wrong with our history of NVB, it is more effective to fully acknowledge that this history is really there and is making us believe in many things which aren’t true. 

Let me tell you about the great paradox of SVB. Once you discover that SVB is possible, you will be amazed about the fact that nobody is having it. You will be infuriated, overwhelmed, saddened, frustrated and disappointed that everybody keeps backing out of it. Each time this happens, you again engage in NVB, but as your understanding about SVB increases, your NVB private speech decreases and you will find you are less and less upset that nobody cares about SVB.

As you no longer dread and try to change the reality, you become slowly, but surely, aware of the colossal truth that you are alone! Your aloneness has always been distorted by your involvement in NVB. For a while, your were still thinking that SVB would solve all your problems and negative feelings having to do with aloneness. By having genuine interaction with others you believed your aloneness would dissolve.

Everyone has an ideal they believe in and often these ideals are expressed as spiritual aspirations. We may not know about SVB, but we have a sense of what is possible if we would get along in peace and harmony. Once we understand how SVB works, we realize that nobody wants it as it can only be had by those who are willing to accept that they are and remain alone with themselves. The connection we make with each other during SVB doesn’t change anything about our aloneness, except that it makes us more aware about it in a way that we no longer will try to change it.

Our SVB with others (public speech) has inevitably resulted in SVB with ourselves (private speech) and this is the only way in which we can come to terms with our aloneness. There is, however, an important difference between expressing private speech publicly in SVB with others, who can then respond to it and expressing private speech publicly in SVB, but only to ourselves, so that we ourselves can then respond to it.

SVB reveals to us there will always be an end to or a limitation of expressing our private speech to others publicly, but there is no end to expressing our private speech publicly to ourselves. Unless we die, we will continue to have a conversation with ourselves. Our exploration and knowledge of our conversation with ourselves is, of course, only as real and useful as our exploration of our conversation with others has been.

January 3, 2018

Dear Reader,

Today 2018 is still new, but soon it will be old again. The jolly hype of the ‘Happy Holidays’ dies down and everything will be back to normal. People only seem to have an occasion to be nice to each once a year. We are not allowed to have ‘too much of a good thing’ and although we have had a little bit of Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB), it wouldn’t last, no matter what our new year’s resolutions might have been.

People generally don’t realize that their behavior is determined, not by an autonomous self, but by the environment which stimulates and maintains it. Time magazine had as the ‘Person of the Year’ the many women who spoke out against sexual harassment. These women are temporarily elevated to hero-status as they have endured and overcome great adversities. However, anyone who knows about the science of human behavior can see the problem involved with the #metoo-campaign: we only celebrate negatively reinforced, but not positively reinforced behavior.

Obviously, speaking out and speaking up is a form of counter-control elicited by aversive behavior control. Thus, the whole issue of ‘pushing back’, ‘raising your voice’ and ‘speaking truth to power’ always involves NVB. People like to believe that change is happening, but in reality NVB continues at a higher response rate than before. The good thing is that these powerful people got called on their abusive behavior as people nowadays talk more together on social media and felt supported to acknowledge what is really happening.

Social media can play a big role in bringing about real change if people begin to understand the difference between SVB and NVB and their written counterparts Sound Writing Behavior (SWB) and Noxious Writing Behavior (NWB). The difference between these two ways of talking and writing matters as SVB and SWB are controlled by positive reinforcement and NVB and NWB are controlled by negative reinforcement. Many other behaviors will change once we create and maintain the environments which allow us to shift our NVB and NWB to SVB and SWB. This change in the way in which we communicate heralds he end of mankind’s unaddressed, misunderstood, destructive cycle of aversive control versus counter-control.

January 4, 2018

Dear Reader,

The person who discriminates Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB) and Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB), of course, is also capable of recognizing the written version of SVB, Sound Writing Behavior (SWB) and the written version of NVB, Noxious Writing Behavior (NWB).

To those who discriminate SVB and NVB it is obvious that someone with a history of reinforcement who is more capable of engaging in SVB, has an entirely different behavioral repertoire than someone, who, due to his or her history of reinforcement engages more in NVB. 

As we become more familiar with the great difference between SVB and NVB, we will find it pragmatic to also speak of Sound Singing Behavior (SSB), Sound Gardening Behavior (SGB), Sound Cooking Behavior (SCB) and Sound Studying Behavior (SStB) as well as its opposites.

Noxious Singing Behavior (NSB) would involve singing in which the singer is trying to impress the audience, but is not him or herself enjoying to sing; noxious Gardening Behavior (NGB) is the kind of gardening which is viewed by the gardener as work rather than as an opportunity to enjoy being in nature; Noxious Cooking Behavior (NCB) is the slamming together of a meal without love or care so that we can stuff ourselves with food; and, Noxious Studying Behavior (NSB) is when the student studies out of fear of failing, but not because he or she is interested in the topic which he or she is studying.