The next intake of Thinking Instructor (TISOT) will be in March 2017.This new series includes The x10 Toolkit.

Click for Application details

Linda says:

I wasn’t fortunate enough to have any leadership training at work, although I was given leadership roles, so I really enjoyed this training. The most important thing I have taken away from it is the various ways to think about the thinking of those you are leading. It will open me up to different ways of thinking!

Nic says:

Leadership training had always seemed vague to me. My BVS is that leadership is simpler than I’ve been making it. The key difference I will take away is exactly what was taught. Create a pipeline for those I lead. Teach the skills of PTO and GBB. Doing this will make me a better leader and at the same time I can stop worrying about this ‘mystical’ thing called leadership.



If you enjoyed x10 THINKING and find it both interesting and useful in your life then you are qualified to apply for this elite training and mentoring program and have your name registered on SOT’s Roll of Thinking Instructors.

Thinking Instuctor training is leadership training and can be undertaken by any interested SOT member and is under the personal direction of Michael Hewitt-Gleeson.



If you can find a way to multiply your thinking skills by ten and also multiply your selling skills by ten, then you will also find that you have—as a result—multiplied your leadership skills by ten. This can be done through daily training and mentoring.

I look forward to personally working with you in this next class of Thinking Instructors SOT (TISOT). And, on the successful completion of your TISOT training, to present you with your TISOT Certificate.




How Can I Apply?

Application: If you wish to apply click here


Who Can Be A Thinking Instructor?

This training is not for everyone. However, there are no special qualifications or responsibilities for being a Thinking Instructor other than a genuine interest in thinking and in teaching thinking.

Many Thinking Instructors are school teachers, business people, sports professionals, parents and neighbours. There are four different types of Thinking Instructors:

Self: Those who simply want the training for themselves. Who want to practise the skills in their own life for personal advancement, cognitive skill and well-being.

Family: For teaching the skills to one’s family and friends and as a forum for family discussions to avoid conflict and deal with family crises.

Business: Sharing the skills with colleagues, workmates, associates and clients to solve business problems and explore potential commercial opportunities. Also to find ways to cut costs and increase revenues. To raise morale and communications through employee participation and involvement in decision-making.

School: Practising the skills in classrooms to accelerate learning and discussion skills and even, where possible, to teach THINKING as a separate curriculum subject.

SISOT Certificate - 4 semesters in ten months.

- What is Thought Leadership and Leadership Thinking?

Thinking is the skill of leading your self. Leadership is the skill of helping other people to lead themselves. Like all skills, both leadership and thinking can be learned and developed.

Thought Leadership and Leadership thinking include the collection of strategies, tactics and skills that are used to train anyone who wants to become a much better thought leader and leadership thinker.

- Personal Training

This is my personal approach to leadership. There are many ways to approach this subject and, since you are interested in it, you've no doubt got ideas and experiences of your own to contribute. 
- Act of Will

However, even if you like the training it still takes an act of will on your part to persist with the lessons, invest the time and do the DFQs.

- Leadership Mood

Try to make your leadership training as enjoyable and as much fun as possible. From a cognitive point of view, mood is very important. Choose to enjoy your training. Try not to think of it as a chore. The leadership attitude is like the attitude you have when approaching an honours course or membership in an A-Team. Doing the training is good. Doing it with a leadership attitude is much better.

School of Thinking Instructor training (TISOT) is not for everyone. I say this in the same way that we can say, in the military, that Green Beret, Navy Seals or Special Air Service training is not for everyone. It is elite.

Elite is not a bad word, it’s an aspirational one. – Aaron Sorkin

Only an elite few, compared to the many, are qualified for this training. The eliteness is not due to socio-economic, educational or any other factors. No. The training is elite because only the elite few have the self-motivation, self-esteem and self-discipline to start and finish this 10-month, daily program. It requires sustained commitment. Vision. Ambition. Energy. Curiosity. Risk-taking. And, the personal virtue of making and keeping a promise.

In return, the successful applicant will receive a matching commitment of superior education, sustained training and personal mentoring. This mutual commitment is a real promise to be kept.

The purpose of this rigorous and thoughtful application sequence is to give you time to think and to sort out those who can keep their promise from those who may be interested but are not seriously committed.

We don’t want to admit those who are thrilled for a month and then wilt away. There are already plenty of programs around for the dilettante, the tyre-kicker or the opt-in-opt-out-merchant. But there is no room for them in TISOT Training.

The style of TISOT training is QRH. The balance between Quality, Recognition and Humour. TISOT training is a unique curated experience for a limited number of people in each intake. For those who are admitted there is the promise of x10 results! And an exciting journey with a lot of fun and opportunity.

For admittance, there are three next steps:

  1. TISOT Notes: Make sure that the content of this training is for you. To summarise, TISOT Training is THINK + SELL = LEAD. The training has two parallel streams: x10 Selling and x10 Thinking. Whether your own interest is commercial, social, life or service to others, being able to think outside the square and being able to sell and communicate your ideas to others are the joint faculties of leadership. Take the time to read the TISOT Notes which summarise the x10 Toolkit. Read these notes several times and really think about these x10 tools and what it will mean in your life to be skilled at their application towards your goals and aspirations. The time you spend in this preparation will be a valuable investment.

  2. This is a tough leadership course. Chances are you wont’ graduate. However, if you would like to be considered for TISOT Training, please email me directly and give ten reasons (essay form or bullet points) why you think you will benefit and how you plan to approach this training and why you believe you will sustain your commitment for ten months. Take your time with this and enjoy the thinking required to articulate your desired future. You may wish to discuss your business or career aspirations and how you feel this training can accelerate your progress. You may have a social project and you need help to achieve results. You may want to find greater happiness and fulfilment in life in solving problems. You may want to be more competent and useful in serving others. Here are some of the proven benefits of TISOT Training.

  3. You will receive a personal response to your application. If successful, you will be admitted to the next Intake and issued an invoice for payment of the TISOT Tuition Fees of AUD$1000. This fee covers all training for four semesters totalling ten months. Take the time to read the TISOT Notes which summarise the training content.

With very best wishes for your happiness and success and I look forward to mentoring your x10 progress,


Please read carefully and consider the implications for your own life and career:

TISOT Training includes training on the use of the x10 Toolkit. The x10 Toolkit consists of The Ten Tools. Five of these tools are for x10 Selling and five are for x10 Thinking. TISOT notes on the x10 Toolkit are included here:

The x10

The BSP 

BSP = (pronounced B.S.P.) stands for Big Sales Problems. 

In addition to x10 Thinking, an important stream in the certified Thinking Instructor SOT (TISOT) training is x10 Selling. x10 Selling focuses on how to multiply sales by ten! x10 Selling explores ways to increase sales results using the disruption and innovation methods of science. 

In particular, x10 Selling focuses on creating R&D solutions to the four BIG sales problems. These are the main hazards that prevent x10 Selling. These are four daily sales problems that every business needs to solve in order to survive and to grow:
  1.  Too few WOMBATs 
  2.  Too few REFERRALS 
  3.  Too few REPEATS 
  4.  Too low NPS
BIG Sales Problem Number One is ‘Too few WOMBATs’. WOMBATs are new customers that have been replicated by your existing customers. 

WOMBAT = Word Of Mouth Buy And Tell. When one of your satisfied customers replicates another satisfied customer, that’s a WOMBAT. 

WOMBATs replicate other WOMBATs. These are, of course, the most profitable and prized customers of all. WOMBATs are least costly to acquire. They are the least price-sensitive. They buy more and more often. They are more interested in new products and offers. They are most likely to do repeat business. And, they are the most likely to replicate themselves creating other WOMBATs. 

If you are not getting new WOMBATs every day then that’s a real business hazard.

BIG Sales Problem Number Two is ‘Too Few REFERRALS’. The second most profitable business comes from referrals. Because they are more likely to buy they are less costly to acquire. 

They are more likely to become WOMBATs. Referrals have a high lifetime value to your business. They are higher quality customers. Referrals are more likely to want to do repeat business. 

Not having a daily flow of healthy referrals is a business survival hazard.

BIG Sales Problem Number Three is ‘Too Few REPEATS’. Unhappy customers defect and do not give repeat business. 

They are not loyal and they tell others. They have short and less profitable relationships with your business. If salespeople are not servicing existing clients well they do not do repeat business. Losing a client doubles the acquisition cost and minimises profits and shareholder return. 

Too few repeats also reduces the liklihood of referrals and WOMBATs.

BIG Sales Problem Number Four is ’Too low NPS’. 
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the current customer-relationship metric used by F500 and ASX100 companies like GE, Google, QANTAS and Macquarie. 

The score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. On a 1-10 scale the NPS question is asked: How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague? 

GE demonstrated their NPS commitment by mandating up to 20% of annual bonuses of senior executives would have an NPS connection. How does your current NPS compare with your competitors? 

If the answer’s “not well” then that’s a BIG sales problem. 



The NewSell Switch - uncheck2check!         

The newsell switch is designed in the form of a powerful app for your brain to help you organise, in a strategic way, the simple but fundamental physics of all business transactions. The switch is uncheck2check — from UNCHECK to CHECK. In any business transaction there are three basic situations: CHECKMATE, CHECK and UNCHECK.

- CHECKMATE: Beyond the uncheck2check switch is CHECKMATE — the outcome which signifies victory! In business, CHECKMATE is when the customer says YES. CHECKMATE is known traditionally in selling as ‘the close’. CHECKMATE is a decision which takes place in the brain of another person (the customer) so that decision, by definition, is outside your control. This is a fact of scientific reality, the acknowledgment of which is a fundamental principle of newsell. The Theory of Newsell: is: the customer closes the sale. CHECKMATE is when a customer signs the order form, or when a buyer accepts the deal. In show business, it’s when you get the part you auditioned for. Socially, it’s when the date you asked for says YES. The main strategic feature of the CHECKMATE situation is: the salesperson cannot control it.

- CHECK: The situation that must come before CHECKMATE is when the switch is turned ON and is called CHECK. CHECK is the position of the newsell switch which makes it possible for CHECKMATE to happen. In business, whether by voicemail, email or in person, CHECK is the moment of ‘customer contact’. CHECK is when it is possible for the customer to say NO or YES. Without CHECK there can be no CHECKMATE. CHECK is simply another word for ‘customer contact’. CHECK = CUSTOMER CONTACT= CHECK. CHECK is the penultimate state, the set-up move for CHECKMATE. CHECK is that state of the customer’s brain when it becomes possible for them to say YES or NO as a result of a contact from you. In other words, the customer’s brain has been stimulated by a contact from you (CHECK) and so they will respond by deciding whether to act or not to act — YES or NO. CHECK is when you ask the customer a question. It’s when you mail the proposal, or when you send the email. CHECK is the activity you can use to manage the attention of the customer. CHECK is the quintessence of business. In newsell, CHECK is the new metric, the fundamental unit of measurement. The special strategic feature of the CHECK situation is: only the salesperson can control CHECK. Today’s check moves? Tomorrow’s check moves? This month’s? This quarter’s? Next?

- UNCHECK: Lastly, the OFF position of the newsell switch is UNCHECK. UNCHECK is whenever it is not possible for the customer to say NO or YES. UNCHECK is whenever you are not in contact with a customer (like now while you are reading this lesson). UNCHECK is the state of the customer’s brain when it’s not possible for them to say YES or NO. UNCHECK is the state of the customer’s brain when it is just not attending to your offer. Therefore, in business, UNCHECK is any moment when the customer cannot say either YES or NO because he or she is not, at that moment, in CHECK from a salesperson. UNCHECK is all other business situations. Most of the time, we are in UNCHECK. UNCHECK is the groundwork, the preparation, the foundation of your business or career. The business of business is to escape from UNCHECK (EFU) and using the newsell switch — uncheck2check — is how we do it. To multiply your business by ten you simply multiply the EFU switch by ten. 24/7/365. The paradox of UNCHECK is this: while you cannot build a business without UNCHECK, you cannot build a business with it! 


THE DVR = DOLLARIZATION. VALUATION. RETURN.                             
DVR:  What is the real value of x10 thinking and x10 selling?         

DVR stands for Dollarization. Valuation. Return.

When doing x10 thinking we are focused on creating real x10 value that was not there before the intervention. Using the value-creation tools of x10 thinking is how we do this: the cvs2bvs thinking switch, the uncheck2check selling switch, the GBB, EFU, TPF and the rest of the x10 toolkit. However, it is necessary to pay deliberate attention to the measurement of this x10 value. So we add this tool: the DVR.

DOLLARIZATION: The translation of the benefits of x10 thinking and x10 selling strategies into the financial impact in dollars that these strategies have on the client is what we mean by dollarization. For example, multiplying a specific KPI by ten may be dollarized at $150,000 pa or $450,000 over the next 3 years. Or, a B2B product or service may decrease a customer’s maintenance costs by 3%. This can be translated into dollars per annum over one, two or three years. Dollarization is a financial skill that can be learned and practised.

VALUATION: In this context, valuation is an extension of dollarization. After dollarizing, what has been the impact on the valuation of the asset? What is the added x10 value for a business’s future cash flows? In a new venture or start-up situation, what is the potential for success, growth, and, eventually, possible profits? The degree of difficulty in calculating a valuation can vary but the extra effort is worth it.

RETURN: What is the gain from an investment of time, energy or capital? The gain is called the return. There is a continual virtuous cycle between INVESTMENT > RETURN > INVESTMENT. The better the return from a previous investment the better will be the next round of investment. For example, if an investment of $1 million produces a return of $200,000 then (in a 50/50 split) $100,000 can be returned to investors and an extra $100,000 can be re-invested into the asset. This may also apply to investments of time and energy. If one hour is invested in doing a DVR and the return from this time and effort is dollarized and translated into valuation then it may make sense to do further DVRs. What will be the return for your business if you do ten DVRs?

‘Doing a DVR’ is the deliberate effort you make–using a DVRx10 sheet–when you map out how the return can be ten times the investment … or ROI x10.


CPV: Escaping from your own point-of-view            

CPV stands for Customer Point of View.

When doing the x10 thinking app, it was the enlargement of the situation–the broadening of perception–from the point of view of you, the thinker, that was the focus. But many thinking situations involve other people as well. The viewpoints of these other people are also part of the situation and need to be considered. Although they seem to be in the same situation, they may look at things very differently.

Thus another person may see different alternatives, different choices and different options. In fact, when other people do an x10 they may come up with different points because they are in a different position to you. Certainly the customer is in quite a different position to that of the salesperson.

Being able to look at and understand another person’s point of view is a very important part of the thinking process and so a deliberate effort may have to be made to see another point of view. In the case of the customer this deliberate effort is the CPV. It may apply to a customer’s point of view or to customers viewpoints in general.

As a thinker, once you can escape from your own viewpoint (cvs), you can not only take other people into consideration but you may even come up with a useful new way of looking at the situation (bvs). The CPV is an antidote to selfishness. Instead of a general vague feeling that other people like customers matter, there is a deliberate attempt to do a CPV.

The skill of the CPV is finding out how the view of another person in the SAME situation may be quite different. If it is just assumed that any sensible person would have the same view in a certain situation, then no effort at all will be made to do a CPV.  All the thinking that you do for yourself, the customer may be doing for herself–but differently!



The RPV answers the question: how do customers replicate?      

RPV stands for Replicator Point of View.

As a thinker, once you can escape from your own viewpoint (cvs), you can not only take other people into consideration but you may even come up with a useful new way of looking at the situation (bvs). In selling, the oldsell strategy was seller-centered. The dominant idea was to “close the sale”. In newsell, the strategy was customer-centred. The dominant idea was to “start the sale”. The switch was to look at the transaction from the customer’s (or customers’) viewpoint, not merely from the salesperson’s or the sales manager’s viewpoint. The goal was to start the relationship not to end the relationship.

In WOMBAT selling we go one step further. Here the strategy is replicator-centred. The dominant idea is to “replicate the sale”. The switch is to look at the transaction from the replicator’s viewpoint, not merely from the seller’s or the customer’s viewpoint. The switch is to go beyond the “close” and even the “start” … to the “replication”.

WOMBAT selling is when a satisfied customer replicates another satisfied customer. And so on.

What is the replicator (meme) that is good at getting itself copied from customer brain to WOMBAT brain? Some memes are better than others at getting themselves copied from brain to brain. Some spread further. Some acquire more brains than others. Some just die out. As replicators, memes derive power from their success at replicating. From brain to brain. From Facebook page to brain. From email to brain to text to brain to customer to Facebook page to WOMBAT etc.

In meme wars, like social media or the marketplace, those memes that are better at getting themselves copied are the winners and those that are not are the losers. This means memes have two main ways to win: increase ‘my’ copies and/or decrease ‘their’ copies. Replicators derive their power from high marks out of three traits: fidelity, fecundity and longevity;

— fidelity means a true copy that is faithful to the original. It is clear and precise. It is reliable like a Xerox.

— fecundity means a potent copy that is capable of multiple replications. It is fruitful and yields an abundance of copies like a McDonald’s franchise..

— longevity means a lasting copy that will go the distance. It is robust and tangible like a time capsule.

Just another reminder, memes really have no wit nor will to do this or that; they have no intention or personality any more than does a virus. In other words, they’re not aware of their effect, they don’t know what they’re doing — they just do. They are just code. However, as a strategic thinking skill, the RPV is the deliberate attempt we make to personify the meme so we can think about and understand and see transactions from the Replicator’s Point of View.


THE GBB: How To Escape From Our CVS      

G    =    GOOD.   
The good things about an idea — why you like it.

B    =    BAD.      
The bad things about an idea — why you don’t like it.

B    =    BETTER. 
What could be much better about an idea — how you can evolve the idea or add more value to it.

EDWARD DE BONO says, “The most difficult feat in thinking is to escape from our point-of-view”. MAX PLANK says, “Science advances research by a series of funerals”. But why wait that long? Everyone agrees that we should all be more innovative. We should be more agile, more decisive, more efficient, adaptive, and more productive. But we invest so much in the defence of our cvs.

Why don’t people THINK? How often have you heard that question? It is easy to say to someone, “Why don’t you be more broad-minded?” But it is not so easy to actually do it. This is because it is impossible to focus attention on general attitudes like the ones mentioned above. They sound great as slogans and battle cries but have proved to be of little value as operating tools which can actually be practised and used. However, a GBB is specific software for your brain. It is possible to ask someone “Do a GBB on this suggestion” and the person then takes pride in the skill of being able to deliberately see the Good, Bad and Better points in the situation. They can become instantly innovative!

Instead of just saying that you like an idea, or you don’t like it, you can use a GBB. When you use a GBB, you give the good points, the bad points, and also the points which are neither good nor bad but are much better. You can use a GBB to go beyond critical thinking (defending the cvs) as a way of adopting new ideas, suggestions, and research. You can ask someone else to do a GBB, or you can be asked to do one yourself.



THE FTI:  How To Solve the Wicked Problem of Innovation!

FTI = Fire This Idea!    

Recently the CEO of an Australian bank admitted, "We have innovation schemes, we have innovation teams, we have innovation month, we have innovation hats. We just don't have any real innovation!”

Yes. We are now all into creativity, innovation, change-management and disruption … as long as we don't have to give up a local truth. A local truth is something we ALWAYS do this way, not that way. Its a fundamental belief we all hold to be true. An automatic starting-point. A cherished principle. A basic premise. A correct theory. A known fact.

At school and at work we are taught to defend local truths not to escape from them. That is why they are so impossible to change. That is why escape is such a wicked problem that very few thinkers can solve. To escape from a local truth requires thought-leadership. This is the value of the cvs2bvs brain software. The current view of the situation (cvs) can never be equal to the better view of the situation (bvs). cvs≠bvs. cvsx10=bvs. cvs2bvs.

DO AN FTI! Why won’t parents vaccinate their children? Why won’t countries prepare for climate change? Why won’t farmers adopt agricultural research? Why won't insurance salesmen change their selling strategy? Why aren’t same-sex couple free to marry? Why are companies so slow to innovate? The wicked problem is: you cannot adopt a bvs unless you can abandon a cvs. In science, in business and at home innovation has as much to do with shedding current practices as it has to do with adopting new ones. To be able to adopt a bvs an employee must first retire a cvs.

Or, perhaps even an old idea must die! This can be very difficult for many employees (who are not already thought-leaders) to understand. And for very sensible reasons. Why change our cvs? We already have a BIG investment in our cvs! However, in times of recession, slow markets, increased competition, disruptive technology and much faster customers, those who cannot escape their cvs will simply be left behind. It’s still survival of the fittest and fitness still means adaptation. The Nobel Physicist, Max Planck, famously said, “A new truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light but rather because opponents eventually die and then a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”. But why wait? This is so costly and so slow. In today’s highly competitive environment speed of thought is a survival advantage. Intervention? You can ask for an FTI. You can do an FTI! Do a CVS Audit: What cvs did you retire in 2015?  What cvs will you retire in 2016? 2017?

The march of science advances by discovering new theories, new ideas, new ways, new insights. However, very few breakthroughs in science have been achieved without the abandonment of old ideas first, no matter how sacred. For example, scientific ideas (cvs) that are currently up for review to make way for new ones (bvs) are: the universe; IQ; string theory; left-brain/right-brain; big bang; infinity; 3D; cause & effect; race theory; essentialism; spacetime; the self; free will; nature vs nurture; big data; Moore's Law; calculus; statistical significance; standard deviation etc, etc. Times change. Climes change. Ideas change. Customers change. Consequences change. The biggest change of all is the rate of change. What established idea in your industry needs to be moved aside so that your industry can advance? What idea has reached its use-by-date? In your field, what idea will you fire?

The x10

THE X10 — HOW TO MULTIPLY YOUR LIFE BY TEN!                              
x10:  How To Find Ten More Alternatives Than You Thought!

x10 = Tenpower, the deliberate use of the power of ten.

In your own life, when you have to make a decision or take action you may at first think that you have considered all the options. But, if you search for them you may find that there are more alternatives than you thought.  Ten times more!

Similarly, in looking at a situation there are always the obvious explanations. But, if you search for them, you may find that there are ten other possible explanations that you had not thought of before you searched. You can multiply your thinking by ten. You can extend your strategic options. With practise, the x10 is a simple, robust and powerful brain app for strategic thinking about survival and growth in your business and in your life.

When an obvious explanation presents itself it is very unnatural to look beyond it to try to find other possible explanations. That is why the x10 is a useful device which can take one beyond natural inclinations or entrenched patterns of thinking. The x10 is an antidote to an emotional reaction.

Whenever a thinker (he, she, it) seems to be looking at something in a rigid way he can be asked to do an x10. If he can do this the result is that he changes his view, or, if he persists in his view he is now holding it, not because he could not see other options, but because he prefers it.



TPF:  How To See Much Farther Into The Many Possible Futures!

TPF = Ten Possible Futures

When a decision is taken there are consequences. Future consequences that happen after the decision is made. There are always many possible consequences to consider. These many possible consequences are the many possible futures. These many possible futures are often called by scientists the many parallel universes or the multiverse.

If we don’t choose the universe we want to be in then it may be chosen by others for us. Or worse, by random drift and circumstance. So, the TPF is the deliberate thinking effort we make to explore the many possible futures so that we may choose the ones we want to be in.

cvs2bvs, the Universal Brain Software, frees the brainuser to hop across parallel universes with tenpower. cvs2bvs does this by allowing the brainuser to switch from one parallel universe to another. From cvs .. switch to ... bvs. A parallel universe is a possible future. At any particular moment you are heading to one possible future. But, you could escape from that possible future and head for a different possible future. We do this every day and every time we take a decision ... or not.

There are, of course, a virtually unlimited number of possible futures facing us at any particular moment in time (called NOW) but so many futures may be too daunting to think about. So, let’s just limit the options to ten. The TPF is the brain app which shows that at any time you are faced with a decision there are always ten possible futures from which to choose.

Usually there is the most likely future which will turn out to be the decision you are most likely to take. In this brain app we call the most likely decision choice: Future #10. We do this to draw attention to the fact that there are at least 9 other possible futures that we could consider if only we made the metacognitive effort to do so.

Just to spell this out we’ll tag these possible consequences as follows: Future #10 Future #09 Future #08 Future #07 Future #06 Future #05 Future #04 Future #03 Future #02 Future #01. Try to consider all three kinds of consequences: immediate (up to 1 year), short term (5 years), long term (25+ years).


(HWS notes are by video and not included here).

Copyright © 2017. School of Thinking. All rights reserved.

From WOMBAT Selling (2006) Ch 2, p42 …

Long before I was old enough to really think the matter through, I had been memed, as a small child, with the theory of Moses. The Moses meme went something like this:

Moses was a leader in ancient times and, like all leaders, he needed his people to adhere to his laws. He said that his ten laws or commandments should be obeyed. The reason that they should be obeyed, he claimed, was because they were given to him, privately, on a mountain, by his god, Yahweh. By making this claim, Moses positioned his ten laws with the highest possible authority. They were not his laws, said Moses, but God’s.

This is a very old story that many people, like me, just accepted but have never really updated or thought through properly.

I had never really thought much about the Moses story until I was given an antique gift. It was a heavy Victorian cast-iron desk ornament about half a metre long which was grotesquely dominated by a 50-centimetre high copy of Michelangelo’s Moses supported by two large topped blown-glass inkwells and a generous ladle for pens. It was absurdly out of place on my desk in my small Park Avenue South apartment but I liked it.

Moses lorded over my desk in New York City for ten years until eventually I returned to Australia. Sadly, it was one of the many things that I left behind. But for most of the ’80s I sat and stared at Moses nearly every day. Eventually, I began to think more and more about the theory of Moses.

The Theory of Moses

What is the theory of Moses? This is just one of the five most obvious questions. We cannot explore that question without the other four: Who was Moses? What did Moses do? How did he do it? And, when and where did he do it?

If you do stop to think about this story in the light of evidence available today you might ask yourself for a more plausible version. Since there were no witnesses or evidence of any kind we don’t know whether Moses’ version actually happened. Yet there is much evidence to show that it is very unlikely.

Possible Moses Explanations

In fact, if you think about it, there are many possible explanations that could explain the Moses meme and how he came up with his commandments. Some that have been suggested by other thinkers are:

– Moses sought authority over his people and was clever enough to make up the story to give his laws more authority

– Moses just dreamt it

– Moses might have been euphoric or hallucinating from inhaling smoke from a nearby burning bush

– Moses may have been overtired

– Exhaustion or malnutrition may have impaired Moses’ judgment

– Old Moses may have been suffering from Alzheimer’s or one of a range of infirmities or mental illnesses

– The whole story was invented not by Moses at all but by people who came after Moses.

In other words, we simply just don’t know for certain. However, millions of people who adhere to the Judeo-Christian tradition have chosen to take a leap of faith and to believe the traditional Moses claim.

I suppose a Christian or Jewish scientist could not accept this story as a scientist, but could accept it, on a leap of faith, as part of a religious belief system.