I have heard this phrase countless times in this past year. I may have heard it before, but I certainly never acknowledged what it meant or even considered the significance of it. When it comes to my study of behavioral analysis, it has been the experts and researchers specializing in human behavior that have granted me access to this world.
The phrase itself is often believes to come from Isaac Newton in a letter he wrote to Robert Hooke in 1676 as he reflected on his study of philosophy and commented, “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants,” (citation unavailable). In reality, it was first recorded in the 12th century in the book Metalogicon by John Salisbury, and the full quote is written at the bottom of the post. Both Newton and Salisbury acknowledge that success and growth are due not to our own skill or understanding, but is due to the success of our predecessors who had the strength, courage and creativity to pursue original ideas.
The material you will find on this site is not original to us; we are simply the consolidators of information relating to humans and predicting their behavior. We seek to apply the concepts covered from a wide breadth of scientific research in a way that make our nation’s Marines, Soldiers, Law Enforcement Officers more capable, more effective and more survivable in their pursuit to defeat their enemy, whether it is Taliban drug lords, criminal gangs, terrorist financiers, domestic abusers, or local drug dealers.
Our research comes from a number of books that you will see on the “Recommended Reading” as well as the following scientific fields, many of which fall under the heading of Behavioral Sciences:
– Evolutionary Biology
– Applied Psychology
– Evolutionary Psychology
– Abnormal Psychology
– Social Psychology
– Heuristics and Decision Making
– Signaling Theory
– Cognitive Psychology
A majority of the information we teach is a result of our analysis of this research and the way we think we can best apply it to our desired end state. This is the reason we define our content as a “working hypothesis” and certainly do not think it is the only process that can be effective.
As a thinking audience, we encourage you to confirm or deny the assumptions we have made. If your research has led to different conclusions, let us know and force us to defend our position. Only through reviews and critical research can we enhance the quality of information presented.
Full quote from John Salisbury:
“I recollect that the Peripatetic of Pallet made the observation, which I believe was correct, that it would be easy for one of our own contemporaries to compose a book about this art, which would be at least the equal of any of those written [on the subject] by the ancients, in both its apprehension of the truth and the aptness of its wording, but [at the same time] it would be impossible or extremely difficult for such a book to gain acceptance as an authority. He also used to assert that recognition as authorities should be conceded to these earlier authors, whose natural talent and originality flourished in fertile luxuriance, and who bequeathed to [an indebted] posterity the fruits of their labors, with the consequence that the very things which several men have expended their whole lives in investigating, and which they have labored and sweated in discovering, can now be quickly and easily learned by one person. Our own generation enjoys the legacy bequeathed to it by that which preceded it. We frequently know more, not because we have moved ahead by our own natural ability, but because we are supported by the strength of others, and possess riches that we have inherited from our forefathers. Bernard of Chartres used to compare of to dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature” (John Salisbury, Metalogicon (trans. Daniel D. McGarry; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962), 166-167).
About The Author: Patrick Van Horne
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