Re: Emotive Education

Gregory Houston (
Wed, 12 Mar 1997 13:46:43 -0600

Crosby_M wrote:

> Though I have not
> checked it out, it seems to me that Peter Small's "How God Makes God"
> CD-ROM, describing the systematic principles underlying the
> spontaneous order we have to survive in, along with Ellis's REBT
> principles for self-ownership, might indeed be a good foundation for a
> basic rational-emotive education curriculum.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) appears to be a good point of
departure. With minimal adaption, it may prove to be an effective means
of avoiding and reducing irrational thought and neurosis, thus
facillitating improved cognitive abilities.

What REBT appears to lack from an initial an cursory exploration of it:

1. REBT lacks methods for individuals to determine personl patterns of
irrational thought that may not be included in the "12 Irrational Ideas
That Cause and Sustain Neurosis".

2. REBT lacks thoughts on, and ideas for, effectively applying emotions.
There seems to be two important aspects of emotive education, (1)
reducing the control our emotions have over us, and (2) increasing our
control over our emotions, increasing our ability to effectively employ
our emotive intelligence. REBT may prove useful for the former, but
another system(s) will be required for the latter.

3. "REBT is based on the assumption that what we label our "emotional"
reactions are largely caused by our conscious and unconscious
evaluations, interpretations, and philosophies." However, REBT is sort
of like a shotgun blast into the dark, hoping that we blow away the
shackles which are pulling our rationality into the depths of
irrationality. In other words, REBT lacks methods of exploring the
subconscious. REBT does not appear to require such to be effective, but
such may augment REBT while certainly facillitating other concerns of
emotive education.

The following is a list without descriptions of the "12 Irrational Ideas
That Cause and Sustain Neurosis":

1. The idea that it is a dire necessity for adults to be loved by
significant others for almost everything they do.

2. The idea that certain acts are awful or wicked, and that people who
perform such acts should be severely damned.

3. The idea that it is horrible when things are not the way we like them
to be.

4. The idea that human misery is invariably externally caused and is
forced on us by outside people and events.

5. The idea that if something is or may be dangerous or fearsome we
should be terribly upset and endlessly obsess about it.

6. The idea that it is easier to avoid than to face life difficulties
and self-responsibilities.

7. The idea that we absolutely need something other or stronger or
greater than ourself on which to rely.

8. The idea that we should be thoroughly competent, intelligent, and
achieving in all possible respects.

9. The idea that because something once strongly affected our life, it
should indefinitely affect it.

10. The idea that we must have certain and perfect control over things.

11. The idea that human happiness can be achieved by inertia and

12. The idea that we have virtually no control over our emotions and
that we cannot help feeling disturbed about things.

And here are the three main differences from REBT has from other
schools, also without descriptions:

1. De-emphasis of early childhood.

2. Emphasis on deep philosophical change and scientific thinking.

3. Use of psychological homework.

For full descriptions see:

Though "Peter Small's 'How God Makes God' CD-ROM, describing the
systematic principles underlying the spontaneous order we have to
survive in" is not a system within itself. I agree that issues of this
nature will be important to implement in Emotive Education.

I wasn't particularly thrilled with the project on Emotive Decision
Making. Though in concept it was striving for something beyond
traditional attempts at AI, in execution it all boiled down to the same
thing. I believe what is missing in this area, and what may be missing
for some time to come, is computers that can truly experience feelings,
pleasure and pain. Is anyone aware of research into the development of
such peripheals? I know we now have touch sensitive robotics, but has
anyone taken that a step further, attempting to create an actual
experiential discomfort or pleasure in the robot? I don't think we
really understand this well enough yet to mimic it.

For those interested, I have now devoted the Triberian Institute and its
newly refurbished website to Emotive Education. I would greatly
appreciate constructive criticism on any area within it that you may
find yourselves particularly attracted to. Nothing is final, everything
is open to refined and ceaseless evolution.


Gregory Houston          Triberian Institute of Emotive Education