English without the word "is"

November 19 2012

Have you ever considered the effects of equating non numerical concepts as "equal" in your brain? Many English patterns include the word "is" to relate one concept to another. This gives our brains a kind of paradox: the semantics of "mary you are beautiful" or "i am happy" gives our minds pleasurable meaning yet the symbol "mary" is-not the symbol "beautiful". I could more accurately say "I find mary's appearance striking." or "I feel sensations of euphoria'.

Every day for a few weeks now I read a section from a book on Animal Behavior by Aubrey Manning & Marian Stamp Dawkins. The current section talks about signal processing and how you can convince a frog that a piece of wire pipe "is" a snake by curling it in a certain direction. I wonder how much cognitive dissonance we produce in our nervous systems from false alarms by relating two symbols with "is".

Have you ever felt "I am depressed"? Or "I am the best"? Many humans spend their communication dramatizing their personal experiences into an all encompassing identity with another symbol.

Try decoding conversations you hear with sweeping "is" statements and see if you can translate them into more subjective speech. You might find yourself feeling surprise and pleasure as you rationally parse another's statement, instead of letting their full neurolinguistic programming sweep through your nervous system: "the team is the best and no one can get in their way" "ugh, that is just the worst".

You might find yourself tempted to distrust communicators who use extremes like this. If a friend says "ugh, that is just the worst" talking about getting rained on, for example, can you trust their advice when they tell you that "choosing that path across the country is the worst"?

But instead of out-right distrusting or memorizing which contexts have which meaning you can try bringing your cognitive dissonance into their mind and help them form a more accurate reflection of their world. Remember to ask them to do the same for you.

I believe you will find some use out of the above. English without the word "is" goes by the name "e-prime".


I released a GPS mileage tracker iPhone app under the name "Mileage Tracker" on the iOS App Store. You can record distance moved for business trips with the app and e-mail notes to yourself so the your largest local gang, government, can pay you back for business expenses. (At least if you reside within the USA border lines).

I do iPhone & Rails contract work at $60 an hour. One of my current projects involves building a voting web application for the Rice University Business Plan Competitions in collaboration with a former employer, ChaiONE. With ChaiONE I spent a year working on the DeliRadio project, a free independent music radio iOS & Android app.

I dropped out of college to work as a computer game designer in Sydney with Bigworld Technology. I stayed there until the economy crashed and I returned to the USA and taught myself iPhone programming.

This spring I left my job at ChaiONE to pursue an opportunity with my startup company, Ariagora. We went to Chattanooga for the GigTank incubator. Wonderful experience and beautiful city. Water, trees, music, tech and great folks. Less than 200,000 people live there!

Ariagora will function as an equity based crowdfunding platform for independent musicians so investing fans receive a piece of equity in exchange for their support. We eagerly await the SEC's equity based crowdfunding announcements in 2013.

If you find any of this relevant to your life or work you can reach me @quantumpotato and also @gmail.


If you would like a manual to your nervous system, look up Prometheus Rising.

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