The Stable Core at the Heart of Every Effective Risk-Taker

Risk-Taking is at the Core of Any Effective Life

Life is inherently unpredictable. We must constantly act in the face of imperfect information, which means that we are always at risk of betting wrong — and failing. This is simply the nature of the universe, and the human condition. It is a reality that courageous humans learn to face head-on — but which cowardly rent-seekers attempt to evade by using the coercion of governments, gangs, and mobs.

Normal risk-taking ranges from the financial to the existential, and can be quite stressful unless a child is raised to carry a core of stability within himself. The development of such inner competencies are an essential part of Dangerous Child training.

Emotional Balance and the Sentic Cycles

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Emotional Spectrum

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Normal human emotions range across a broad and deep spectrum, and are experienced automatically in response to both internal and external events. These emotions can be pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant. In the Dangerous Child Method for training risk-takers, none of these normal emotions are denied or blocked. Instead, they are recognised and incorporated into everyday experience.

One of the most useful methods for utilising the broad range of emotions is called “Sentic Cycles,” developed by Dr. Manfred Clynes — a musician and neuroscientist. The Sentic Cycles are integrated into emotional exercises which persons regularly perform on their own, in order to better integrate and calibrate their emotions into their daily lives. More:

Sentic Cycles lets you generate and express your emotions in a series, as a spectrum, your emotion ‘symphony’, so you tend to become free from emotional rut – being stuck in one emotion
– and be in touch with your real self – not overwhelmed by single emotion (yet able to savour them all as in music).

It takes only 10 minutes to learn to do it – and then you may benefit from doing it anytime the rest of your life – as long as human nature does not change! Anyone can do it.

… We all tend to be prisoners of emotion more than we may wish to be. Emotions make life enjoyable and meaningful, but not if you are in an emotional rut, where a particular, most often negative, emotion takes over, and makes it hard to get out of, even temporarily. Often such negative emotions are suppressed, but still interfere with function and freedom of experience.

Sentic Cycles allow you to experience and express all such emotions more constructively, without being overwhelmed by them. Like music, like an artistic experience, the emotion becomes an example of your own humanity: it allows you to savour that emotion as one that is shared by humanity. At the end of the Sentic Cycle you may feel a sense of belonging, a sense of being glad to be alive.
__ http://senticcycles.org/faqs.html

It takes about 25 minutes to go through the entire cycle, if done according to the standard procedure developed by Dr. Clynes. As described on the website above, the Sentic Cycles are immensely useful for virtually everyone.

What is not always readily apprehended however, is that the cycles can be adapted for specific uses that are customised for each individual. This adaptibility to the individual is immensely useful for Dangerous Child training, since no two children are exactly alike, and no two trainings are precisely the same.

Here is an intriguing comment from Don O’Brien, a former trainer of Sentic Cycles, referring to the use of Sentic Cycles to treat addictions:

What causes any psychological addiction is unimportant. Perform Sentic Cycles at least five times. During the Hate phase hate every aspect about whatever addiction you want to stop. You will soon no longer have the urges, and will actually notice the absence of urges. As you continue to do cycles regularly, your mixed up emotions, often caused by lying to yourself, will sort themselves out very soon, too.

I worked for Manfred Clynes in Sydney in the eighties, and over the decades have taught dozens how to cure their own addiction quickly…without a relapse. While performing sentic cycles, you become your own best therapist, because you cannot lie to yourself comfortably while doing one.

__ https://alfinnextlevel.wordpress.com/2016/11/06/how-to-be-happy-in-an-unhappy-world/comment-page-1/#comment-5152

Here are the eight basic phases of the Sentic Cycles:

 

  1. No emotion
  2. Anger
  3. Hate
  4. Grief
  5. Love
  6. Sexual Desire
  7. Joy
  8. Reverence

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Each phase is experienced on its own, in its own particular way. The phases are placed in their specific order for a purpose, which is better understood after one has practised the cycles over a period of weeks or longer.

By calibrating and integrating these human emotions into a Dangerous Child’s everyday experience, he learns how to utilise them in the course of performing essential tasks — including risk-taking activities which might otherwise prove overwhelming for most untrained children.

The Dangerous Child Method integrates a few more emotions than the basic list above — depending upon the child — but maintains the basic order of experience, which has proven extremely useful. As mentioned in Don O’Brien’s comment, each phase can be modified to achieve specific goals within that particular emotion’s domain.

Entrepreneurs are Universal Risk Takers

All Dangerous Children are trained in the entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurship is best considered as a behaviour: “judgmental decision making under uncertainty.” (Source Peter Klein Chapt 9)

Since virtually all decision-making is necessarily done under conditions of some uncertainty, virtually the whole of meaningful life involves entrepreneurial risk, with some emotional overtones. And thus the importance of training Dangerous Children in the experience of the wide range of emotions at a very young age — to insert a core of emotional stability within the Child’s heart, well before it would generally be considered necessary by conventional child psychologists or early childhood educators.

 

Special Note:

For children before the onset of puberty, the “sexual desire” emotion is replaced by a “physical excitement” emotion such as what is experienced on a roller coaster, a zip line, an elevated rope swing, etc.  This substitution reflects the malleable nature of the sentic cycles, which allows them to be customised to suit particular needs and goals.

 

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A Scientific Digression

Skip forward to around 6:10 in the video above to the start of Adam Gazzaley’s (MD, PhD) talk on his quest to optimise the human mind using advanced tools of cognitive neuroscience.

Gazzaley’s lab at UCSF is working to enhance brain function using sophisticated technologies capable of observing the brain at work, and of helping individuals to achieve more with their brains than they currently can do.

The lab designs video games that are based upon real-time neurofeedback. The player’s brain reacts instantly to events in the game — and the game reacts to what is happening in the brain. Gazzaley describes this videogame neurofeedback learning process as a “closed loop system” (see image below).

Closed Loop System Adam Gazzaley UCSF
Closed Loop System
Adam Gazzaley UCSF

Much of the experimentation with these neurofeedback videogames has focused on combat-oriented training, being funded by the US Pentagon. But a moment’s reflection suggests that this “closed loop neurofeedback videogame” approach to brain training could be readily applied — with appropriate adaptation — to humans at almost any age, for multiple purposes of enhanced development, enhanced performance, rehabilitation after injury or disease, or for mitigation of the effects of ageing and neurodegeneration.

Gazzaley’s published efforts are so far still quite primitive, but the possibilities for the future are impressive on many fronts.

Modern societies have grown stagnant and corrupted by a widespread philosophy of rent-seeking, of minimising risk for the sake of long-term security. This philosophy is the opposite of what we at the Dangerous Child Institutes train and teach. We train contrarian thinkers to develop a broad range of skills and competencies which build self-confidence. This self-confidence fuels innovative thinking and risk taking — which are what drives societies to be great.

We are on record as opposing passive popular entertainments for children such as mainstream television and cinema. The developing mind has enough to do without being stuffed full of the low-quality nonsense that movie and television producers crank out for popular consumption.

We are also not enthusiastic about most popular video games and the modern obsession with electronic social media, which takes away from time that would be better spent developing competence in movement, music, language, pattern, and practical skills of all kinds. Electronic gadgets also tend to alienate children from their immediate environments, which can be a deadly failing in many situations.

But real-time EEG and MRI neurofeedback — particularly when combined with sophisticated virtual reality — is different, and holds the potential for enhancing brain function for general learning and for perfecting specific types of tasks.

The brains of children are naturally attracted to play and games of all kinds. The danger that the child will become lost in some types of game-playing is quite real, in the modern age of abusive commercial and ideological child baiting. But if game-playing is used to drive learning and competence-building, the natural child’s drive to play can be used to motivate him to build parts of his brain that can bootstrap later learning which might have otherwise been very difficult to achieve.

Again, even videogames that are used in training skills and competencies should be used sparingly, so as not to create barriers between the child and the real world around him. The competence and confidence for working within the real world is what Dangerous Child training is meant to build.

Teachers, parents, mentors, and coaches cannot ignore developments in advanced applied cognitive neuroscience. Every child runs up against barriers to some subject area of learning or another. Clever and timely use of closed-loop videogame training can help move a child from one learning plateau to a higher plateau — enabling a new and higher world of competence on the road to mastery.

More on applied videogames

The Dangerous President and His Dangerous Children

The children themselves are as cunning and good as possible. Ted is nearly as tall as I am and as tough and wiry as you can imagine. He is a really good rider and can hold his own in walking, running, swimming, shooting, wrestling, and boxing. Kermit is as cunning as ever and has developed greatly. He and his inseparable Philip started out for a night’s camping in their best the other day. A driving storm came up and they had to put back, really showing both pluck, skill and judgment. They reached home, after having been out twelve hours, at nine in the evening. Archie continues devoted to Algonquin and to Nicholas. Ted’s playmates are George and Jack, Aleck Russell, who is in Princeton, and Ensign Hamner of the Sylph. They wrestle, shoot, swim, play tennis, and go off on long expeditions in the boats. Quenty-quee has cast off the trammels of the nursery and become a most active and fearless though very good-tempered little boy.

__ Theodore Roosevelt Letters to His Children

The Roosevelt children learned to swim, shoot, wrestle, box, boat, rough camp, and go on tough outdoor expeditions on their own at quite an early age.

Theodore Roosevelt and Family Pinterest
Theodore Roosevelt and Family
Pinterest

The Roosevelt household was famously rambunctious…

All the Roosevelt boys learned to shoot from a relatively early age, and they became better shots than their big-game hunting father…

The Roosevelts were literary as well as outdoorsy. Father and all his children, if they were not gripping reins or a rifle, hiking or running, swimming or boxing, were probably reading…

… with the US declaration of war in April 1917… Roosevelt himself tried to [join the army] … every one of his sons took a commission. __ The Yanks are Coming

Two of the Roosevelt boys were seriously wounded in WWI, and the youngest, Quentin, was shot down and killed in an aerial dogfight, receiving the Croix de Guerre posthumously. Quentin had been fearless from his earliest childhood, and retained great courage and flair to his death at age 20.

The Cspan video below goes into more detail about Quentin and the Roosevelt children:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?413749-1/theodore-roosevelt-children

The three surviving Roosevelt sons also fought in WWII, with only Archibald surviving to see the final defeat of the Axis.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth was an ambassador for her father and later in life, a colorful Washington, D.C. doyenne who earned the moniker, “The Other Washington Monument”;
Theodore “Ted” Roosevelt, Jr., born in 1887, was a noted political and business leader who fought in both the World Wars and posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Utah Beach during the D-Day landings in World War II;
Kermit Roosevelt, born in 1889, was an explorer, soldier, writer and businessman who joined his father on African safari and on the fateful River of Doubt expedition in Brazil;
Ethel Roosevelt Derby, born in 1891, was a pioneering World War I nurse and Red Cross volunteer who later led the successful campaign to preserve Sagamore Hill;
Archibald Roosevelt, born in 1893, was a distinguished Army officer who was seriously wounded in battle during both World Wars and also was a successful businessman;
Quentin Roosevelt, born in 1897, said to be the child most like Roosevelt, dropped out of Harvard to volunteer as a pilot during World War I, and died heroically in battle at age 20. __ The Dangerous Family Man

The Dangerous Roosevelt Children died young and died old, happy and sad — just as the masses of humans die. But during their lifetimes they packed their time full of accomplishment and principled risk.

Were the Roosevelt Children Really Dangerous Children?

Perhaps it would be better to think of them as Dangerous Child prototypes, much like the real world heroic figures such as Davy Crockett, Ernest Shackleton, Sir Richard Burton, or Roald Amundsen. Such men lived in different times and faced different sets of challenges than will face the modern Dangerous Child. But they were made of similar grit, wit, and resilient toughness.

A thorough study of the lives of such men is an integral part of Dangerous Child training, from before the time the child takes his first step or his first leap off into the deep water. Such early immersion in real world courage will serve the child far better in the quest to find his own inner strength than the farcical “superhero” characters and magical mentors of childhood fiction that lead the delicate snowflakes into an extended “make believe world of perpetual childhood.”

Important Note:

Throughout the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the type of child-raising described above was rather common in Canada, the US, Australia, and other parts of the Anglosphere among almost all economic classes. Despite a growing prosperity, the pioneering spirit was still strong throughout most of these societies. From the lowest to the highest in society, a rough and ready — while also literate — upbringing was not considered out of the ordinary.

That is one reason why German military and political leaders were so surprised at the aggressiveness and effectiveness of the soldiers and marines from the Anglospheric diaspora, when they attacked German positions in large numbers in 1917. Although these youngsters had not been raised in the regimented Prussian manner of the German troops, they took to battle quite naturally and surprised the well-entrenched enemy with their fearlessness and deadly accuracy of aim.

The modern Dangerous Child requires more than the physical toughness, sharp mental independence, and broad range of knowledge and competence displayed by the Roosevelt children. He must know how things work at the deepest levels, and how to reach into the workings so as to make crucial changes at the proper times. The election of Donald Trump as US president-elect gives the rational world a bit more time and several less drastic options than would otherwise have been the case. But some difficult choices are coming for those with the will and the way to open pathways to a more abundant and expansive human future.