Previous month:
February 2021
Next month:
April 2021

Yet Another Personality Test

You have no doubt heard of, or quite possibly taken, one or both of the traditional U.S. personality tests which are often required by employers. I have taken both the Myers-Briggs and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Tests. I was intrigued by a NPR report on the Big Five personality traits test also known as the OCEAN model. It is not black and white; rather it places your traits on a spectrum.

After years of wondering about nature or nurture (when I was young, I thought it was all about genetics), I can’t say I am surprised that, in reality, who you are is an even split between both. Quoting from Wikipedia: “research [has] shown that about half of the variation between individuals results from their genetic inheritance and half from their environment.”

Those of you who know me, which is almost all of you, will not be surprised to hear that I am on the extreme high end of the scales for Openness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness, and right smack dab in the middle on Neuroticism and Conscientiousness. Maybe I am not really a whiny drama queen. You can take the The Big Five assessment test yourself and see how you compare. I find the results highly accurate.

More on Compassion

This from my friend of long standing, Kevin Sullivan:

Related to and parallel with your discussion of Compassion, Heart Brain, etc. -- If you haven't yet encountered the 2017 book, "Why Buddhism is True" by Robert Wright, I highly recommend it despite its audacious title. By "true" , Wright, with a light touch and readable style, grounds his view that secular Buddhism's diagnosis of the causes of human suffering is vindicated by evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology, and recent discoveries in neuroscience. Wright is an accomplished journalist and scholar. The book was well-received and spent some time on the NY Times Best Seller list.

About Robert Wright

Link to the WBIT book at Amazon

Cogent interview with the author at

And from our mutual friend Clark Smith:

Helpful on anyone's spiritual journey is When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. I'd be interested in a polylogue discussion you might host on this great work. Ideas like acceptance, running towards fear, and loving uncertainty are powerful.


Who I am Not

For some reason, I was thinking this week about a slide in the Back-To-School PowerPoint I used at the turn of the century, when I was teaching 8th grade U.S. History. I felt it likely the parents and students would Google me, and I wanted to be sure they knew which Paul Schindlers I was not. Here’s the list:

  • Madonna’s attorney
  • Fighting Catholic priest in Wisconsin who spent time in Central America.
  • Editor of GLBT News on Long Island (even though he is also an MIT grad)
  • Related to Schindler Elevator Co. (I wish!)
  • Related to Oskar Schindler of Schindler’s List (he was a Bavarian Catholic; my people were Swiss Calvinists)
  • Related to Schindler Brothers (philanthropic doctors) in SF
  • The musical director of the Broadway show The Isle of Spice (Aug 23, 1904 - Oct 29, 1904)

Time for some reader participation. Tell  Me, when people Google you, what surprising and irrelevant results do they get?

This and That

(a record short T&T this week)
Thinking of my late friend Richard Dalton reminded me that his name for This and That, in his newsletter, was borborygmi, the noises made by an empty stomach. I won’t change the name, but I will tip my hat.

Thank you Semi-Rad: “This is the first installment of ToonStack, a newsletter featuring cartoons by New Yorker cartoonists”

Sidney Powell: No Reasonable Person Would Believe Sidney Powell

I have been trying to stay away from politics, but, really? Sidney Powell argues in new court filing that no reasonable people would believe her election fraud claims. It was part of the billion-dollar libel suit against her by Dominion Voting Systems.

The Story includes this: “Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, one of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January after the January 6 Capitol attack, tweeted that Powell's argument is ‘pathetic.’

‘Absolutely infuriating. GOP lost the Senate and five people died in attack on the Capitol in part because Sidney Powell misled millions claiming stolen elections. Now Powell backtracks saying "no reasonable person" would believe what she *ALLEGED IN COURT* were ‘statements of fact’!?! Pathetic."

Compassion: Changed me, can change world

I almost never give pride of place in this column to links, but I simply want to say this: if you click on nothing else this week, click on these two links.

I heard about Dr. Doty from a newspaper article about Harry and Meghan’s Stanford collaborator on the world-changing power of compassion. You can also find out about it from the horse’s mouth: Dr. Doty’s website, The Center for Compassion And Altruism Research And Education.

The simple fact of the matter is this. I was a reasonably compassionate person prior to 2020, but during the Covid year I have undergone amazing and fundamental psychological and spiritual changes. The bottom line is that my compassion has been expanded and strengthened and continues to grow, for those I love, for those I once hated, and for the world. And, as Dr. Doty notes, the changes have had “profound effects on cardiac function, blood pressure and the immune system.”