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We began applying the techniques of objective science to this field in the 19th
Century, and by the end of the 20th the profession most identified with that
approach -- psychiatry -- had grown to have great influence -- especially in
language communities where diagnoses have become a key factor in the
profession's system of self-organization and its compensation by government
and/or insurance companies.  
But a mind is not an object.  The convention of
repeating the means, 'objective' analysis, of the success we have had in
manipulating the physical world may be a linguistically natural one to follow,
but let us call the idea of objectivity into serious question when we find
ourselves objectifying minds!

A Cambridge friend of mine tells me that the ancient Greek, Hippocrates, said
that mind and body are not separable, but that Plato and Aristotle maintained
that they were.  Today, although we frequently use the words 'mind' and
'body', no scientist has ever been able to define in words the boundary
between a physical body and a non-physical mind.  After glibly using these
words for two thousand years since the fathers (and today their professional
sons and daughters) of Western medicine, philosophy, and science disagreed
over whether the mind and body are distinguishable scientifically, surely
today we must accept that, scientifically, they are not.  Yet people, and not just
lay people but professional people like doctors and psychiatrists, appear still
to be using the words 'mind' and 'body' as if what these two words symbolize
were actually separable.  Perhaps we need expertise in this field, not

Perhaps we can find clues in these two songs.  I've discussed their motifs with scores of people.  Few
women recall the man’s song.  All of both genders recall the woman’s song.  All think that the
lot of women improved substantially during the 20th Century and that women’s thirst to escape the
boredom (or low standing) often experienced of lives confined to the home has been substantially, but
by no means entirely, quenched.  Some wonder whether, given the hectic pace of our currently market-
driven lives, this signal improvement won by women and the men aware enough to be their political
supporters has gained anyone participating in family life – whether as a parent, child, or grandparent –
anything worth having.  Most women and some men wonder why men continue to feel misunderstood.

A problem common to both genders is, I believe, that
we live in an age in which the idea of diagnosis
is grossly misused
.  Our habit of using the tools and skills of 'scientific objectivity' to make a diagnosis
-- a habit widely held to be the source of much progress -- may now be an under-recognized trigger for
discord, disagreement, and conflict.  In this essay I discuss this hypothesis, and finding much truth in
it, then propose what I believe can be a start to finding solutions for many, if not all, of us.

The diagnostic way of thinking and conversing practiced by mainstream scientists has enabled the
Western-oriented world to have great success in manipulating objects through mechanical, chemical,
electrical, electronic, electro-magnetic, and nuclear means.  Since we know that the field of experience
in which most mental-emotional turmoil occurs is personal relations, the natural path for thought on
the subject of relationships has been to use constructs arising from those already proven successful in
science.  So what could be more linguistically natural in our evolution as a species than for people
addressing issues arising in personal relationships to utilize a practice already proven successful in
manipulating the world of objects?
Connection and clarity from voicing a gnosis
Opportunity for a Gnosis*?
Balance in the Issues of Social Standing,
Inter-Gender Relationships, & Self-Image

(c) 2008-15, all rights reserved, by
Angus Cunningham
Principal, Authentix Coaches

* Gnosis: Greek word for 'self-knowing'
Do you recall the song “Killing me softly with his song”?  It was a hit a couple of
decades ago and we hear it still on soft music radio shows.  The singer is always a
woman and the song enables her to give voice to a hard-to-explain complaint: her
man’s way of being is, she feels, seriously suppressing hers -- but so softly she
scarcely can find social justification for protesting.

I’m just a guy whose intentions are good.  Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”.  
Part of a hit song at almost the same time as
Killing me softly, these words are of a
man voicing quite another plea: for release from the agony of having his good
intentions misinterpreted as malevolent, insensitive, inappropriate, inauthentic, or
just plain crazy or wrong.

In the traditionally held gender stereotypes of the psychology of the 20th Century,
women were widely assumed to know their emotions and to be oppressed by men
who didn't, and men were assumed to be thinkers whose thoughts were often
disconnected from their emotions.  How can these core motifs of the 'war between
the genders', be reconciled for the trials we are now, in the Great Recession, all
having to meet -- by hopefully transcending our human nature(s)?
Authentix Coaches Engagement Value Disciplines
Using IHXENs in the
Start of Our Services to Leaders Section
Authentix Coaches' coaching services
ROI from an Investment in IHXEN Proficiency
The theory: IHXENs help individuals and advance society
Authentix Coaches and its Principal
What Our Clients Say About Us
Authentix Coaches' Home Page
Connect with Us

Fortunately, some writers -- mainly from the fields of psychotherapy and alternative healing
modalities, but not often from traditionally trained psycho-analysts -- have begun in the last generation
or so to use the words 'mindbody' and 'bodymind'.  This nomenclature reflects much better what
scientists have so far been able to clarify with empirical evidence.  But, as is typical of many profound
linguistic advances, the new nomenclature is only slowly catching on.  The serious scope of this issue
becomes clearer when we think about how we are accustomed to communicate abstract ideas.  We
usually employ metaphors derived from descriptions of concrete objects – for example, 'he has a sharp
mind' – for this purpose.  Such common sayings draw on our senses of a concrete object, in this case
that of a knife or a sword, to 'point to a metaphysical concept, in this instance a quality of a person's
personality.  OK, so we all know what a knife or a sword are, but what would be the affect on a
troubled person's experience in a relationship if, for example, he or she had been diagnosed by a third
party as 'having a sharp mind'?  How would your spouse's/partner's opinion of you be affected if such
a diagnosis were made of you?  Well, you and your partner might well be able to work out a solution
if a friend were to offer such a 'natural diagnosis', although there is a risk you might not.  But what if
your partner were to pick up such a notion from a psychiatrist whom you and your partner had
visited?  Would your partner consider a psychiatrist to be an unimpeachable authority?

Many people, indeed most, are not accustomed to 'impeach' authority, but what's crucial to reflect
upon here is whether you, dear reader, are equipped, if the need arises, to do so.  Suppose, for
example, that you and your partner were having difficulty agreeing what schooling to give your child
and you had reached your wits' end trying, perhaps without formal knowledge or understanding of
communications skills, to find common ground and then a psychiatrist 'diagnoses your mind as
sharp'?  Would that affect the outcome of the issue with which you and your spouse were grappling?  
It surely would – although not in very predictable ways.

Following the tradition of the medical science out of which psychiatry was born, professionals in the
fields of psychology and psychiatry have invented ways to categorize the habits of behavior and
thought they perceive in people experiencing emotional pain into commonly occurring psychological
and psychiatric types.  But, what truly are the habits of thought observable in another when only the
outward consequence of some bodymind process, and not the thought itself, is directly observable?
Unless we remain scrupulously aware of such subtleties, we will be very likely to try to carry over
into personal relationships the successes our culture has had in the realm of manipulating objects by
means of diagnoses of 'pseudo-objectified minds'
.  If that happens, and it does very frequently, we
can all too easily fall into the habit of referring to each other diagnostically, i.e. as being an example of
one or another 'psychological or psychiatric type'.  Yet, when we do that, we have begin to treat each
other as having the characteristics of objects rather than of personalities capable of honest growth.

Professionals in the field of psychiatry are often ingenious in finding ways to transcend the mental and
linguistic limitations within which they and the rest of us make use of the science of their profession.  
For example, Ron Charach, who practises psychiatry in Toronto, has published eight books of poems –
the latest being "
Selected Portraits" (available from Indigo/Chapters and Amazon) – to convey his
healing messages to psychiatric survivors and their family members.  But many if not most of the rest
of us are unhappily still at the stage of studying popular books on psychoanalytic theories and its
various applications to popular clinical psychology -- books in which the linguistic limitations of
quintessentially diagnostic psycho-analysis are rarely, if at all, made clear.

When one tries the skills of analysis learned from success in predicting what will be the consequences
of actions one takes in the objective physical world of houses, cars, kitchens, and machines, into desires
for success in predicting the implications of diagnostic categories upon others, one is dipping into
pretensions to being able to mind-read.  Indeed, listening closely, one finds much presumptive mind-
reading occurring beneath the surface of many ordinary conversations today ...
To return to the two songs with which we began.  In the first song, a woman –
apparently assuming that power resides largely outside herself – seems to
have anxiety about the subtle but devitalizing, influence a man has over her.  
Perhaps the woman is extending our species' traditional successes in
predictive thinking in the world of domestic objects by presuming that the
intentions of a man have not evolved much from his predecessors?  In the
second song, the man may be aware that the sensitivity to women's feelings of
his male predecessors was abysmal and is bemoaning his angst that, as a
consequence, women so often incorrectly presume his intentions – now much
evolved from the days when men entirely dominated public life – to be only as
insensitive as that of his predecessors’.  These are only hypotheses, of course.  
What the songwriters actually had in mind, we can only know if we have both
curiosity to ask and the means to gain satisfaction.  If we have too much
difficulty in one or the other, we are prone to try to meet our desires for
certainty by falling into the presumptive diagnosing toward which this essay
is drawing attention.

Let us note here that the
woman singer can scarcely be heard as not blaming
man.  But what, actually, is her man's intention?  Will she make the effort
to ask?
 Or will she fall into the dark hole of presumptive mind-reading?  If
the latter, she may, depending on her predisposition, either make herself feel
worse or miss an opportunity to clarify her feelings, which would 'miss out' on
giving him a chance to change his behaviour so that both she and he feel
better.  Although our guesses of another's thinking can sometimes seem to be
true, rigorous testing of this notion invariably reveals that we cannot safely or
fairly expect our guesses of another’s intentions to be entirely accurate, no
matter how widely and deeply we have studied psychoanalysis and its many
offshoots.  Given this ineluctable truth, is it not now time to start letting go of
diagnostic thinking in our approaches to developing and maintaining
Click on the image below if you have curiosity as to the content
or structure of Angus' new book. (It's certainly about
Human Well-Being!)

Toronto, 080723-151204, (c) Angus Cunningham.  (Extract from book manuscript now being negotiated for
publication in 2016.  

This list includes all the emotions that clients of Authentix Coaches have recognized as authentic
expressions of their experience in coaching (co-ache-ing!).  Such moments invariably precipitated
discovery of profound and practical new insights into situations client and coach alike had, until then,
been perceiving only as extremely troublesome or perplexing.  One can use this list to gain the relief
that scientists of emotion have shown is available from labeling one's own emotion (rather than another
person's!), as one can discover from a study concluded in 2000 involving brain scans of the subjects of
an experiment by the UCLA unit of the US National Institute of Mental Health (here's the study report's

bstract.  When we do, we are practising what Authentix coaches term emoto-linguistic authenticity
statements of self-monitoring and self-expression.  One has then
become conscious of one's emotion
rather than being helplessly 'driven' by it.  One has, in fact, begun to master the world of
, a branch of psycho-linguistics whose essence respects universal ethics.  And we are
then empowered to begin
safely and accurately and thus vitalizingly to process the feelings associated
with the emotion noun label we have chosen.

In practising honest
IHXENs, we have found that both our clients and we arrive at remarkably valuable
A series of such insights empowered, for example, one enterprise owner and CEO to
'unstick' a stalled debt recovery process
.  (A short narrative of this Authentix Coaches engagement,
complete with its return on investment, is available at the following
link).  Another client used the
technique to find a productive new role for an employee in whom the company had invested 10 years
of learning in a rare specialty vital to the enterprise but who had become, at the time of his engagement
of our coaching, had become locked in acrimonious personal controversies that were stalling his
company's productivity growth.  Others have learned to manage bipolar mood swings without drugs
and found a whole new world of stability, intimacy, and better metabolic health.

We can begin to stimulate a shift toward a more gnostic focus and expression amongst the people with
whom we have rapport by offering an
IHXEN.  This will encourage, if we are not too insistent or too
hasty, reciprocal exchanges of curiosity concerning what each others' gnoses are.  When one has
consciously in mind a label for one's emotion, one has not only begun to moderate it; one has also
begun to discover much of what we need to know both of our 'emoto-linguistic bias' (presupposition,
prejudice, or presumption)
and also of the direction that an inner voice is 'organically telling' us is
necessary now for thorough well-being
.  Such knowing facilitates honesty in the evolution of
relationships without exposing us to the risks of simplistically frank speaking, which often manifests
as projective diagnoses and frequently leads to breakdowns in communication.  We thereby minimize
the risk of inadvertently setting off painful divisions and crises that so often are triggered by
mind-reading judgments.  By such means also, we minimize the distractions and dangers of serious
In sum, by shifting the balance of focus from diagnosis to gnosis, we acquire the
skills to express, without risk of being interpreted as having hostile intent, our own particular
authenticities.  We can also use t
he IHXEN practice to remind us that we can acquire relief from
worries about others' intents if we request a clarification
-- rather than guess in problematic
mind-reading.  In other words, we can find new ways to grow in the partnership skills of empathy

In the
Age of Gnosis now dawning, might we find the ancient 'war of the sexes' slowly subsiding, in
due course, into 'a
peace of gender coherence'?!

OK, feeling refreshed?  What might such an approach, an approach of empathic authenticity or of
authentic empathy, require of us?  To help me convey a possible answer to this question that might
also be valid for you, please consider the “
I have 'X emotion' now“ I-statement (IHXEN), where 'X
emotion' is limited to a noun (such as 'frustration' or 'concern'), or a modified noun (such as 'rising
hope', or 'continuing doubt') or a noun phrase (such as the 'good days' or 'bad days' or 'occasional
equanimous hours' .  The
IHXEN linguistic, pronounced Eye-Zen, is actually the simplest verbal
expression of a gnosis and I and my
Authentix Coaches' associates have been testing the IHXEN
form for over two decades now.  We have found that IHXEN a way of verbalizing one's own veritable
truth of the moment (authenticity), and also that it is a safe way of doing so in even very trying
circumstances because it does not intimate any insult nor does it imply any presumption to know what
is in another's mind.  Thus
IHXEN expressions empower one to be recognizably authentic while
limiting the danger of others feeling insulted or attacked presumptively in their treasured self-images
or even in their opinions of others or 'the world'.  We have also found that, in challenging (and
potentially explosive) situations, use of
IHXEN expressions is a way of relieving emotional pressure
without triggering distrust or inordinate desire, let alone want or need, to 'push back'.  Indeed we have
invariably found that its use always engenders a renewal of trust.  In other words:
IHXEN personal
truths build trust, while also relieving the internal pressure to express one's emotion!

To make use of this discovery, however, most us will need to expand our vocabulary of emotion
nouns, so following is a starter list for that purpose:
New! free download, below, of 4-page
'Publisher's Preview' of a book proposal
Well, yes, but how?  Well, if we want to emerge from an "Age of Inappropriate Diagnosis", what about
exploring an "
Age of Gnosis"?  The term 'Age of Gnosis' sounds quaintly and esoterically pretentious
to many, and, if it does to you, please try to keep an open mind while I bring in a few other pieces of
data that I hope you will find to be relevant to the issues posed by this essay.

'Gnosis' is a Greek word meaning an 'incidence of knowing'.  'Dia' is a Greek word meaning 'across', or  
connecting'.  Thus the word 'diagnosis' is distinguished from the word 'gnosis' as being, often but not
always, an incidence of claiming to know what is in another's mind.  This being so, wouldn't your
diagnosis of me, or my diagnosis of you, be prone to the errors of mind-reading?  Well, yes, of course,
they would.  So, instead of believing that we know what is in another's mind,
we might now try
sharing what we ourselves truly do know
.  Well, what do we actually know, and will sharing it be
safe?  We all have some ideas in mind that are properly not others to know, and so sharing some ideas
will not be safe, let alone wise.  We shall, therefore, have to develop the means to protect ourselves
both from 'giving ourselves away' – whether by excessive generosity or by resorting to insult.  If we can
find such ways, we would be able to leave the inaccuracies and presumptions that are at the root of
mind-reading mental diagnoses to the worlds of inanimate sciences like engineering and physics and
astronomy.  We would then permanently be able to avoid the often insulting, stigmatizing, and
unnecessarily tragic and painful building of dividing walls in relationships that the habit of resorting
to psychological diagnostics inevitably and tragically erects.  For that is indeed what such diagnoses
do: they block our best efforts to grow trust and/or intimacy: as widely revered clinical psychologists
such as Marshall Rosenberg, author of the seminal books in the world-wide NVC (Nonviolent
Communication).  Let us instead, therefore, find ways to express, safely, our own gnoses more often,
our own authentic, but yet non-diagnostic, observations and
intuitions.  Let us, in other words, find
again the vital and vitalizing paths of truth by practising empathic expression of only what we
authentically know, our gnoses.  Let us lay off the linguistic habit of diagnosing others – at least of
others still alive and feeling!!
Feel like taking a break?  This is rather a heavy subject, so please feel free to enjoy
some music here that I have found everyone loves --
Akira Miyagawa's
Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Mambo No.5 Combination.

A (non-comprehensive) List of Emotion Nouns

We have been drawing attention in this essay to dangers intrinsic to habits of thought and thinking that
we might call 'diagnosticianism'.  These are habits of mind in which we compulsively diagnose others
as if they/we were inanimate objects that require repair, remaking, or 'resomethingelse'.  I hear the
term 'pathologizing' is now often being used to symbolize the actions of speech by which
'diagnosticianism' manifests.  However this might be, the habit of mind that manifest as language
pointing to another as having a mental pathology is very, very often, I believe, a trigger of another's
feelings of insecurity or worse.  It can lead one to asking 'empathy guess' questions that are either
quite primitive or very professional (but rarely genuinely empathic).

Let me conclude with a list of skills that, in my conception, a person must acquire to reach the levels of
intellectual understanding and
emotional maturity to participate fully in 'The Age of Gnosis'.  Such a
person would be able to:

1 -- recognize pathologizing coming from others
2 -- avoid 'taking in' such diagnoses as signifying any aware intention to hurt another (Father, forgive
them for I do not believe they know what Freudian chimpanzees they have become
3 -- avoid considering instances interpreted as diagnosticianism as anything one MUST respond to but
only as the current beliefs of another (who will grow in due course because that's what life does)
4 -- give such diagnoses space to expire of its owners/perpetrators' own accord, possibly by
disengaging (but not habitually by disengaging)
5 -- recognize diagnosticianism as endemic in the acculturations of all of us in the past (which is not
over until it is over by some miracle of faith or heroic endurance)
6 -- seek to let go of the habits of diagnosticianism to which one has, oneself, become 'innocently
acculturated/addicted' -- in favour of embracing, practising, and strengthening various forms and
principles of personally non-diagnostic communication
7 -- accepts that, occasionally, one may experience thinking oneself to be in the dilemma of either
letting oneself expire or learning to climb back to the joy of communicating, which itself may mean
inventing another way to avoid diagnosing others until that nirvanic day when one 'escapes the
monstrous monstrances of one's social environment'.

I wish you a beautiful, beautiful day.
Awe, joy, rue, ease, hope, bliss, debt (see note 1 below), hurt (see note 2
below), love, need, rage, dread, glee, grief, guilt, jeal, mirth, peace, poise,
pride, trust, shame, shock, scorn, stress, want, thrill, angst, fear, worth (see
note 3 below), zeal, alarm (see note 4 below), anger, anguish, boredom,
caution, challenge, concern, contempt, delight, disgust, dismay, distress,
envy, fury, fatigue, horror, hurry, panic, passion, pleasure, pressure, rancor,
regret, relief,
remorse, resolve, sorrow, surprise, torment, upset, worry,
tension, trial, yearning, approval, assurance, confidence, confusion, defiance,
dilemma, distraction, elation, ignorance (see note 5 below), impotence,
intensity, injustice, interest, jealousy, misgiving, potency, suffering, gratitude,
confusion, dejection, exhaustion, frustration, obsession, vexation,
ambivalence, despondency, expectancy, anxiety (see note 6 below) difficulty,
hilarity, perplexity, solemnity, tranquility, agitation, excitation, apprehension,
concentration, contemplation, disconsolation, indecision, trepidation,
curiosity, fascination, indignation, irritation, protestation, satisfaction,
anticipation, equanimity, vulnerability.
(A bigger list will be available in 2016 in a book now in manuscript form, of
which feel free to
download a 4-page 'Publisher's Preview').
And, what about the man singer?  Well, he's pleading with his saviour.  Will
he be saved?  Perhaps he will be.  We can certainly hope so and wish him
well.  But what if his saviour is too busy, or doesn't think the time is ripe, for
whatever reason, to do the saving requested?  What can he do then?  Because

coaches believe that by sharing experiential wisdom on the topics
of learning and leading we all grow in ways salvational to our planetary
civilization, we have contributed on our website a series of essays on
profound issues such as this one.  You can find them by clicking on the
picture image below.