Still Three Minutes to Midnight

What is Australia?

Today, 26th January, is Australia Day.

But what IS Australia? The correct answer is:

Australia is whatever the Majority of Electors says it is!

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Currently, Australia is a constitutional monarchy created by the Majority of Electors of 1900. The Governor-General is Head of State and Elizabeth II is Sovereign.

Since the creation of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1900 the Crown of Australia has been worn by six monarchs: Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI and Elizabeth II.

CONSTITUTIONAL THOUGHT EXPERIMENT:

‘Monarchy to Republic’ – Whether or not to change the Australian Constitution from monarchy to republic is currently being thought through and discussed by Australian Electors.

Peoplepower: the Majority of Electors

200 years ago Napoleon’s master, Prince Talleyrand, said, “There is someone more intelligent than Voltaire, more powerful than the emperor–and that is the people.”

100 years later in 1900, this became true in Australia. Today, it is still one of the enduring truths of our Commonwealth.

The Majority of Electors was the original power in 1900 that created The Constitution and is still the only power in Australia that can change The Constitution.

In contrast to other political realities like in Iraq, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Fiji or even the Vatican, the USA, India and China, the fact is that the Electors of Australia have been able to hold, without interruption, the ultimate constitutional power in Australia for over a hundred years!

This continuous record of peoplepower and political stability is unprecedented in modern world history.

Australia is the name given to an agreement between the Majority of Electors of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, and Western Australia to unite in one federation under the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia.

So who really created what we now know as ‘Australia’?

On July 5, 1900, Australia was legally created by an Act of the Westminster Parliament known as the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act. The Act was proclaimed to commence on January 1, 1901.

At that time, the population of Australia was under four million and consisted of a number of colonies which regarded themselves as British. This Act was the product of a vision which began fifty years earlier in the self-governing colonies. The Constitution of Australia is also internationally regarded as one of the cleverest agreements ever designed.

It was crafted in Australia by our own people. It was a product, not of war nor of revolution, but of many years of business discussion, political debate, legal argument and peaceful referenda.

The First Convention

Two Conventions were held in 1891 and in 1897-98. Delegates to the 1891 Convention were appointed by the colonial parliaments and met in Sydney.

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The Convention President was the Premier of New South Wales, Sir Henry Parkes, whose image can be found on Australian five dollar bills. The draft of a Bill for a Constitution was approved by the Convention.

This Bill was drafted with the help of Sir Samuel Griffith, Premier of Queensland, who later became the First Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

The Second Convention

The second Convention was held in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne in 1897 and 1898. Delegates to this Convention were elected by the Majority of Electors.

The document produced at this Convention became the new Constitution and many features coming from the first Convention were included.

In 1899, the draft of the Constitution was approved by the Majority of Electors in a state by state referendum–each held in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland. New Zealand which was represented at the first Convention did not join the Federation.

Western Australia voted to join in 1900. Thus, the Constitution was designed, not at Westminster at all, but in Australia and by our own electors.

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Reflecting on these founding events the Eleventh Chief Justice of the High Court, The Honourable Murray Gleeson AC explains: “The Commonwealth Constitution was not drafted by civil servants in London, and presented to the colonies on the basis that they could take it or leave it. Its terms were hammered out in Australia in a process of public debate, and political and legal negotiation, by the leading figures of the day.”

The Senate of the Parliament of Australia offers an online copy of The Constitution here and a picture of the founding document can be seen here.

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 The Third Convention

One hundred years later, in 1998, a third Convention was held. From 2-13 February 1998, 152 delegates from all over Australia met at Old Parliament House in Canberra to discuss whether Australia should become a republic.

Seventy-six of the delegates were elected by the Majority of Electors in a voluntary postal ballot. The other seventy-six were appointed by the parliament whose members were also chosen by the Majority of Electors.

The delegates come from every State and Territory and had a wide diversity of backgrounds and interests. The Convention was chaired by the Rt Hon Ian Sinclair MP, with the Hon Barry Jones AO MP as Deputy Chairman.

RESOLUTION:

It was finally resolved at the third Convention that a republican model of an appointed president be put to the people in a constitutional referendum.

OPTION PROPOSED:

On 5 November 1999, the Electors of Australia were asked:

“Do you agree with A proposed law to alter the constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a Republic with the Queen and Governor General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of members of the Commonwealth Parliament?”


RESULT:
The result of the constitutional referendum, as decided by the Majority of Electors, was: NO.

 

You can visit the Electors of Australia here …

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You can visit the Governor General of Australia here …

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You can visit the Queen of Australia here …

You can visit the Prime Minister of Australia here …

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The Flag of Australia

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What keeps CEOs awake at night?

This is a basic question I keep asking my CEO clients and I have done so for several decades. What keeps you awake at night?

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It’s interesting to note that CEOs of medium to large companies (1000+ employees) are usually pre-occupied with finding solutions for the same 4 or 5 problems.

In 2015 the top five CEO problems were:

1. innovation and creating new customers

2. getting and keeping people engaged in their work

3. global uncertainty and the unexpected

4. shareholder returns and capital issues

5. global expansion and growth.

These show a mix of the macro business environment which a CEO does not control, and company-specific challenges that require thoughtful CEO solutions with better strategic allocation of resources.

32 Years of Macintosh

Good products can make a difference …

On January 24 1984 Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh. My friend, Peter Bensinger Jr, and I both went out and got one each on the day Macs were released in New York City.

I’ve been using Macs every day since then for 32 years. My Mac enabled me to put the School of Thinking online–the first ever online school. SOT is now 100% online and there have been many firsts since then including the world’s first MOOC.

However, it’s safe for me to say that if Steve Jobs hadn’t invented the Mac at that time, I would not have had the skills necessary to build the SOT as it is today. All thinking hats off to Steve Jobs! Here he is presenting his game-changing brainchild …

How to Choose Your Teacher. Ask: Is it true?

I was recently watching the live broadcast of the Australian Parliament as the various members and ministers, on both sides of the house, rose to speak during Question Time. I soon began to get that familiar feeling of disappointment and bewilderment at the quality of the level of discussion so typical of the Westminster system of debate. So I tried a simple metacognition experiment.

As each speaker made their claims and touted their party’s policies in the House (which would also be recorded in Hansard) I simply asked myself: “But, is it true?” “Is what you are now saying a genuine attempt at making a fully true statement?”. And then I gave that statement a ‘truth rating’ out of 10 … 1 being low and 10 being high. An an Elector of Australia I can safely assume this is my right to do so.

Rarely could I confidently answer, “Yes, that is true!” If I had to make a subjective guess I would say that more than 80% of their statements and claims were only half truths … at best. And, as the widely-quoted Yiddish proverb says … A half truth is a whole lie.

(NOTE: This is a simple experiment for you to try for yourself. Tune in to, or go sit in, your local equivalent of the Australian Parliament and try this for yourself. If you like, you can post your results below. The same experiment could be used in other situations where the detection of half-truths is required. In the media there are many opportunities to do this in current affairs, business, politics and other programs and articles. Religious sermons, TV commercials, blogs and tweets may also provide useful opportunities to detect half truths.)

For the first time in history lies can travel at the speed of light.

In our exploding world of cybermedia with social media, photoshop, digital manipulation, phone-hacking and peer2peer messaging at the speed of light, I believe that the global epidemic spread of lies may be one of the most serious challenges facing long-term human survival.

I believe this challenge needs to be taken very seriously and could be considered to be of a threat level similar to that of lethal epidemics like Avian or Bird Flu. Many scientists share this view.

As an antidote, SOT has put forward a new thinking methodology to help meet this challenge. To follow on from the previous SOT thinking tools, thinking hats and brain software, this new tool is called: greyscale thinking: how to sort a truth from a lie.

What Makes A Great Teacher?

I was once contacted by a young man in London who is a teacher/coach and personal trainer/consultant. He is in the early stages of his career and he sought my advice. He asked me this question: What makes a great teacher? That is a very good question. It’s exactly the question he should be asking as he embarks on this vocation.

My response to him was this: While there are many things that can make a teacher a much better one there is one non-negotiable, one litmus test, which defines a great teacher. This test is about how the teacher’s performance stacks up to the BIG question: IS IT TRUE?

How to choose Your Teacher. Ask: Is It True?

Is what the teacher is teaching a TRUTH or a LIE? The answer to this question is what sorts out the frauds from the professors. If this test is passed then the teacher can be a great teacher if not then the teacher will always be a failure … in my view.

Making Claims

Anyone can make a claim. All sorts of claims are made in business, in science, in religion, in families, in governments, in education, in politics, on blogs and in the media. But is it a true claim? How closely does it correspond to reality? Or, is the claim a lie? How do we know? Does it even matter?

Yes. It does matter whether a claim is a truth or a lie. For example, many people believe things which are dangerous lies. These lies may have been protected from thinking for hundreds of years. These lies all have consequences which may range from deception to dementia to death.

Like a brainvirus, these lies can infect the brains of very young children. This is happening right now to millions of children as you read this article. I do believe that the global epidemic spread of lies may one of the most serious challenges facing long-term human survival.

ACTION STEP: If you feel this is important (please don’t spam lists of people) but send this article on to a selected friend, colleague or family member who may find it useful.

Greyscale Thinking

To help meet this challenge I am introducing the idea of greyscale thinking (US grayscale). Greyscale thinking is simple, fast and scientific. Anyone, anywhere and anytime can use greyscale thinking to help sort out a truth from a lie.

Any child can learn to use it. Greyscale thinking can be taught to kids by parents and by teachers. Any employee can learn to use it. Greyscale thinking can be taught to employees by managers and business leaders.

The idea of greyscale thinking is: claim divided by questions equals truth or lie. This idea can be expressed as the formula c÷q=t>l.

This means that once a ‘claim’ is made it can then be subjected to ‘questioning’. Questioning reveals whether the claim is closer to being either a ‘truth’ or a ‘lie’.

Six True Questions
SIX TRUE QUESTIONS: The methodology of greyscale thinking is the cognitive skill or habit of putting a CLAIM to the SIX TRUE QUESTIONS: What and Where and When and Why and How and Who – (Click here for more on the questions).

The answers to each of the 6 questions moves the CLAIM to and fro along the greyscale continuum: | TRUTH – w? w? w? w? h? w? – LIE |

| TRUTH     – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –     LIE |

The answers to each of the 6 questions indicate, on the balance of the evidence, whether the CLAIM is more likely to be a TRUTH or more likely to be a LIE.

MAIN POINT: You will have noticed we are saying “a truth” rather than “The Truth”. Searching for truth is a journey and not a destination. We are more concerned with being right than being righteous. No individual brain can ever contain perfect knowledge of all possible facts. No brain can ever know the contents of the other people’s brains who are also involved in the situation. No brain can ever have perfect ownership of The Truth. And, that’s the point.

The rule of science is that you can have a good idea today, a better idea tomorrow, and the best idea … never! Why? Because there are always more facts to uncover–more opinions, more priorities, more options, more consequences, more positives, more negatives, more objectives, more measurements, and more experiments that can be tested. History has shown this to be a truth.

It is the deliberate effort one makes to move closer to a truth and to move further away from a lie that produces all the benefits of greyscale thinking. No claim should ever be protected from questioning

Any claim that has ever been made in all of history and any claim that ever will be made can be illuminated, examined, investigated and accepted or rejected using the 6 true questions of greyscale thinking: What and Where and When and Why and How and Who – (Click here for more on the questions).

What is greyscale thinking?
Greyscale (or grayscale) thinking is a tool for sorting out truths from lies.

What is Truth?
Truth is that which, on the balance of evidence, corresponds to reality.

There are two serious cognitive problems we need to solve to survive and prosper. Greyscale thinking is a powerful tool anyone can use for solving both these problems.

Problem One: How to know if a truth is really a lie (or a half-truth)?
Problem Two: How to know if a lie is really a truth?

What difference does it make?
The difference is an immediate increase in:
– your survival intelligence: your skills to survive and prosper in a rapidly changing environment, and
– your speed of thought: the speed with which you can escape from your current view of the situation in order to find a much better view.

How long does it take to learn?
It takes ten minutes a day, for ten days, to learn greyscale thinking. 10 x 10.

 

Pope Francis CEO

The CEO as Protector of the Brand

In 1985 I was asked by Jack Welch of GE to advise him on his role as Protector of the Brand at GE. This was at a critical time when the GE brand had been directly attacked by the US Government.

Today we are witnessing a battle of religious brands just as we watched a battle of cola, hamburger and PC brands in the 80s. Coke vs Pepsi. Mircosoft vs Apple. Macdonalds vs Burger King. Catholic vs Islam. Taxi vs Uber. etc

The Catholic CEO, Pope Francis, is a strategic case study to behold (click for Wharton interview) …

How does a neuron compute in your brain?

Your portable necktop computer, your brain, is a vast network of 86 billion parallel processors.

istock_000009414600xsmallApparently I was the first to coin the term necktop computer.

In the eighties, while on the lecture circuit in the US and Europe, I was invited to give the keynote address to a series of IBM executive conferences in Monte Carlo to launch IBM’s very first PC! I introduced cvs2bvs as ‘software for the brain’ and referred to the brain as a ‘necktop computer’. It highly amused the executives in the audience, so I kept it in my talks for a laugh.

By 1989 I had written it up in a best-selling book entitled Software For Your Brain and now it’s common currency.

You and I, with our human brains are so preposterously over endowed with thinking hardware that it’s almost impossible to comprehend.

But let’s try …

What if you were the major shareholder of the world’s most intelligent enterprise, a network of 86 billion computers linked together as parallel processors, producing a vast intellectual output of global messaging?

Well, you are!

Take a closer look. The atoms of your brain are called nerve cells or neurons. Each neuron is your fundamental intellectual unit — an information-processing system. The basic product of these units is: messaging.

Neurons are perfectly designed messaging systems. They have two ends: a receiving end and a transmitting end (or an input end and an output end). At the receiving end each of your neurons has a convenient tree-like system of dendrites — input wires — which can receive information from other neurons. A neuron may receive messages in from thousands of other neurons and may, in turn, send its messages out to thousands of other neurons.

The Science of Addiction Author: Elizabeth A. Conte, LPC, LCADC

Messages In and Messages Out

Suppose we call a message in, a MI. And, a message out, a MO. So we have MIs and MOs.

A neuron receives MIs (messages in) from other neurons. It then sends a MO, a brief electrical pulse lasting about a thousandth of a second along its output wire, the axon. Axons are like ‘telegraph wires’ that transmit electrical signals along

their own length. At the end of its wire the axon’s electrical signal is transformed into a chemical output — a neurotransmitter.

A neurotransmitter is a package of chemical information which has an effect on the neuron that receives it in much the same way that a SMS text message or an email is a package of information which has an effect on you when you receive it. The way this chemical package effects the neuron receiving it is by causing a change in its electro-chemical activity.

To Send or Not To Send, That’s the Decision

Just as you may or may not respond to an email or text you receive, your neuron behaves the same way. Sometimes a neuron responds to a MI. Sometimes it doesn’t. When a particular cell sends out its own MO signal it’s because it has received enough MIs from other cells to exceed a threshold amount.

Thus each of your nerve cells acts as a tiny decision unit. If the incoming messaging is above a certain level, it responds with a MO. If not, it stays silent. If your neuron does respond to its incoming messages, we say it is excited, if it stays silent, we say it is inhibited.

You have more than a trillion neurons — tiny molecular computers. Like other computers, they have a broad selection of MOs that they can send out. Each of your neurons acts as a unit of control receiving MIs and sending MOs within the distributed network you call your brain and nervous system. Each of these units is processing its inputs/outputs at the same time as are all the other units, so they achieve ‘parallel computation’.

Your brain is the ultimate parallel processor! Its billions of parallel processing units are constantly taking in information MIs. These messages are processed and changed. Then new information MOs are sent out all over the global network. Your brain is the supreme intelligent enterprise.

And guess what, YOU are the major shareholder!

 

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