The Decline of Emotional Intelligence

The term Emotional Intelligence (A.K.A EQ-Emotional Quotient) was created by researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and then popularized by Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book called Emotional Intelligence.   EQ means being aware that emotions can drive behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions, both our own and others.  EQ is more important than we may realize.  According to Harvard Business School, research has determined that EQ counts twice as much as IQ and technical skills combined in determining who will be successful.

I posit that the decline of emotional intelligence in the United States is evidenced in our current extreme political divisions.  Did this decline start in the populous or with today’s cultural and political influencers?  At times our airwaves seem to be filled by adults who were emotionally damaged children that have not done the self-work needed to be a decent, productive (rather than destructive) human being in our precious democracy.  They seem to be upset that all their emotional needs were not met as children and their answer to this emotional pain is to punish or criticize everyone else.  How juvenile, grow up, be a man or woman!  See a therapist, do the work.  You’re need to blame someone else for your shortcomings is destructive to our country.  I jotted down a list of about 10 influencers that in my mind fit this description.  One early influencer of this decline has passed, one has not been heard from in awhile, but the rest are heard from nearly daily.  I don’t think it is proper for me to lists them here, because I am not a professional psychologist/psychiatrist and have not met any of them personally.

Historian Jon Meacham said on MSNBC that “…politicians are often mirrors of who we are rather than the molders.”  I believe that low EQ is present in the populace, but it is being magnified and perpetuated by the politicians.  The politicians have chosen to be leaders, they need to step up and lead not follow.    Sadly, they have lowered their personal EQ in order to get elected as division and tribalism have become the new norm.  When the populace sees our leaders act in low EQ ways, their low EQ behavior is normalized.  A successful democracy requires a high level of emotional intelligence and must start at the top.  Let’s vote for candidates that exhibit decency and integrity!!!  Let’s raise our national EQ!


You may or may not have seen shirts and signs adorned with the letter Q at Trump rallies or counter-protests.  Apparently, those displaying Q want us to know that they are in possession of secret knowledge.  Q is short for QAnon which according to Wikipedia “…is a far-right conspiracy theory social media platform detailing a supposed secret plot by an alleged ‘deep state’ against U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters.”  It actually “…began with an October 2017 post on the anonymous imageboard 4chan by someone using the tripcode Q claiming to have access to classified information involving the Trump administration and its opponents in the United States.”  Q “…has falsely accused numerous liberal Hollywood actors, politicians, and high-raniking officials of engaging in an international child sex trafficking ring, and has claimed that Donald Trump feigned collusion with Russians in order to enlist Robert Mueller to join him in exposing the ring, and preventing a coup d’etat by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and George Soros.”  The letter “…Q is a reference to top-secret Q clearance.”

Wikipedia continues, “The conspiracy theory, mainly disseminated by supporters of President Trump under the names The Storm and The Great Awakening, has been characterized as ‘baseless’, ‘unhinged’ and ‘evidence-free.’  Its proponents have been called ‘a deranged conspiracy cult’ and ‘some of the Internets most outré Trump fans.”

Q conspiracy theorists cannot be reasoned with.  They have accepted lies as facts without researching sources or fact checking.  Some experts have attributed the appeal of QAnon to the same factors as that of religious cults.  Followers are enticed by the ever deepening secret knowledge and move further and further away from reality and social connections.

Some of the QAnon claims include, Pizzagate, Hillary Clinton’s imminent arrest, Kim Jong-un is a puppet ruler installed by the CIA, Debbie Wasserman Schultz hired a MS-13 gang member to murder Seth Rich, Angela Merkel is the granddaughter of Adolf Hitler,  mass shootings in the U.S. are organized by the cabal (of Hollywood elites and Jewish people), and the Rothschild family are the leaders of a satanic cult.  Some QAnon related incidents include the Hoover Dam incident, QDrops, the targeting of Michael Avenatti, the harassment of Jim Acosta, and the Grass Valley Charter School fundraiser.

QAnon has about 200,000 adherents and could be considered fringe, but their claims can be heard in conservative news sources and QAnon representatives have been invited to the Whitehouse.  Also, Trump himself has repeatedly claimed that Hillary Clinton is a criminal, that Barack Obama wired-tapped Trump tower and that the “deep state” is out to get him.

Ironically, some believe the first Q post was a prank to fuel reaction and it turned into a cult in which some are becoming wealthy selling Q merchandise to patsies.  What is more disturbing is our conspiracy loving President’s use of these QAnon lies.  The search for truth is a never ending endeavor!



Tribalism and Religion…

The religious-right overwhelmingly supports the current administration and is willing to overlook the multitude of inappropriate behaviors and the ineptitude presented by this president.  Most are supportive because conservative judges are being appointed, reproductive rights are being challenged and immigrants are being threatened, removed, detained and separated from their families.  Many are accepting of a straight, white, male dominated culture that is blind to the human, civil and equal rights that is at the heart of our American democracy, and many are anti-intellectual science deniers.  These factors preclude the rational discussion needed to see things as they really are.

Bobby Azarian Ph.D. writes in Mind In The Machine:  How Religious Fundamentalism Hijacks the Brain,  (Posted Oct 10, 2018 on that “We also know that in the United States, Christian fundamentalism is linked to science denial. Since science is nothing more than a method of determining truth using empirical measurement and hypothesis testing, denial of science equates to the denial of objective truth and tangible evidence. In other words, the denial of reality. Not only does fundamentalism promote delusional thinking, it also discourages followers from exposing themselves to any different ideas, which acts to protect the delusions that are essential to the ideology.”

Some religious moderates and those on the religious-left have left organized religion due to the negative views of Christianity created by the right.  The narrow and literal interpretations of the scriptures and the blind adherence to doctrine and dogma with complete disregard for advancements in human knowledge have made Christianity seem intolerant, antiquated and out of touch with real life.  Is this religious divide the basis of tribalism?  I don’t know, but I think its a factor.

There are thousands of Christian denominations and they all don’t believe the same things.  In Methodism, John Wesley created a quadrilateral illustration to help interpret theology.  It included using scripture, tradition, reason and experience to internalize our beliefs.  This allows for new knowledge and understanding.

Religious science deniers with narrow social definitions have coopted our government.  We were once at the forefront of scientific advancement and in the protection of human rights on the world scale.  Now we are moving backwards and we are divided into globalists and the isolationists.  And right now the isolationists are winning.  It seems that this divide may have its roots in religious tribalism.  What do you think?



While I’ve been living my life over the last 60 years or so, our country has been dividing in to two distinct camps fueled by the expanse of cable TV and social media.  During my early life most everyone I knew was pretty much on the same page.  My first knowledge of this dichotomy was Al Franken’s book Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and a Tea Party reveler at my job.  I wasn’t a big follower of politics during this time, but several of the claims made by the reveler were highly contradictory to my worldview.  Now that this divide is part of my awareness, I am struggling to understand it.

In The Second Mountain:  The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks (Random Books, NY 2019), the author outlines the causes behind this move toward tribalism.  Brooks posits, that since the 60s, Americans have adopted a “…hyper-individualistic way of life,” resulting in a “….a great disembedding” from community, a loss of purpose, a sense of “…moral directionlessness”  which together has caused “…common life to decay.”  People are leaving “…tight communities with prescribed social norms.”  They are “living further apart from one another – socially, emotionally and physically.”

According to Brooks, this has all resulted in a loneliness crisis characterized by “general detachment” and being “unaffiliated” which has taken a “…psychological, social and moral toll.”  After loneliness comes distrust as trust in reciprocity with neighbors disappears and faith in the institutions of public life becomes nonexistent.  Next is the crisis of meaning where there is “…no common moral order” and where they have lost “faith in faith.”  “People do not feel they are part of some larger story that they can believe in and dedicate their lives to.”  These three crises have given rise to tribalism.

The author concludes that “Individualism taken too, far, leads to tribalism.”  So this is where we are now.  What can we do to heal as a nation?  How can we find a common purpose?  Who are we?  We can’t determine who “we” are if we are in a constant state of “us vs them.”  People who are individually searching for meaning are easily drawn to world-views that counter the common good.  I will delve further into this topic for next week as it seems a bit overwhelming at this moment.  Comments are welcomed.