Eric Westfall

Stillwater, OK, United States

About Eric

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Languages

English

Areas of Expertise

Buddhist philosophy, Western Philosophy, Positive Psychology, logic, Meta Learning, Myers Briggs Personality Typology, Spiral Dynamics, Tim Leary's 8 Circuit Model, Basic Human Needs

I'm passionate about

Helping people discover their unique personality profile. Helping people grow as human beings to become the world changers I believe they can be.

Talk to me about

Philosophy, Psychology, Neuroscience, Personality Typologies, Spirituality, Personal Development

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

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Eric Westfall
Posted about 2 years ago
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita: A prediction for the future of Iran
I find this talk to be infinitely intriguing, and this kind of analysis is exactly where I've always wanted to go with my own personal work. There are a number of methodological objections that I think are obvious, and ironing out those will probably increase the prediction accuracy. However, the one I'd be most concerned over is a Nassim Taleb-like objection: that, of course, there are some things that can never be predicted, and that in some environments (politics being one) certain unpredictable things have a bigger impact than all the predictable ones put together. In other words: predict all you want, but lurking in the "unknowable" zone are going to be Taleb's Black Swans that completely change the game. Other than that objection, I love where this is going. :)
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Eric Westfall
Posted over 2 years ago
How important is a common vocabulary for sharing ideas, and how do we arrive at one?
Totally. My business partner is a TEDx speaker himself, and although at our core we've been working together for so long that we have a very similar way of viewing things, we still think about it completely differently. He takes a much more "people centered" and feeling approach (which works wonders for networking and communicating to our audience), and I generally take a much more "philosophical" and "strategic" approach, which is beneficial for planning and development. We wind up working extremely well together because of our differences in personality and approach. In fact, our entire business is about personality profiling and helping people use their unique way of thinking to maximize their success. We believe anyone can change the world if they just tap into their profile.
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Eric Westfall
Posted over 2 years ago
How important is a common vocabulary for sharing ideas, and how do we arrive at one?
I don't believe it would help all that much. Miscommunication is mostly a matter of interpretation in our minds, not difference in vocabulary. For example, when I say the word "teacup," I'm only using one word ("same vocabulary"), but three different people will imagine three different things. I imagine a shallow, wide piece of china sitting on a saucer with wavy blue decorations circling around it. My brother imagines a modern coffee cup with a tea bag hanging inside it, and you might imagine a square-handled cup the otherwise is similar to mine (minus the decorations). One word evokes a wide range of thoughts. It gets a thousand times more complex when we bring in abstract ideas, such as "justice" or "healthy," instead of simple physical nouns. Further, there are complications of approach. You see this very prominently in religion. Protestant sects are reading approximately the same Bible, but they come up with completely different interpretations because one sect approaches it very literally, and another approaches it as metaphor. As far as one language, the argument has repeatedly been made that we would lose a lot of color and expressiveness if the human race had one language. I have to agree, especially since the benefit is only an attempt to correct symptoms of a much deeper underlying cause: that differences in ideas are about the psychology of our interpretations. However, I think it's fair to point out that having a "central language" does have benefit in academic fields. Latin and Sanskrit serve as historic examples. And to answer your other questions...no, we don't have to be "on the same page" for productivity. We've been doing it otherwise for thousands of years anyways. Plus, our minds are amazing things. They may interpret things differently, but they always have a way of reconstructing things into a new, unique logical order. I'd contend that reinterpretation of this sort fuels most of our new ideas. Having these differences drives innovation.
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Eric Westfall
Posted almost 3 years ago
Damon Horowitz: We need a "moral operating system"
Philosophers have a hard time getting people to listen, but I think there is a way to make it easier. People don't listen to philosophers because we're in the business of "should." As a rule, people don't like being told what they "should" do...it makes peoples' autonomy and ego feel threatened. Another "human rule" in play here is, "I'll let you break the rules if it's for my benefit." This is why people put up with "should dos" from politicians (laws). Politicians have done a great job keeping people convinced that politicians are indispensable and ultimately to the benefit of people. Philosophers simply don't have this same luxury. So, the way philosophers can remain in the "should do" business, and actually get people interested, is by transforming "you should do X" into "how-to do X." It also helps immensely to show people why it is of benefit to them to learn how to do it (this is called marketing). In other words, if philosophers want more recognition, learning some rhetoric would be extremely beneficial. Sadly, when young philosophers are first exposed to Socrates, they are taught that rhetoric is evil and misleading, but they're never taught what every personality psychologist knows: people take in information in different ways. Even more, people unconsciously select what information to take in in the first place. Rhetoric/marketing is just the art of reaching out to non-philosophers...meeting people half way.