Have you ever had your mind probed when you, the Probee, had no idea who, or what the Prober was?  Really, I am serious.  Have no fear, extra terrestrials are not going to probe bodily orifices, just your mind.

 I am not talking about a Twilight Zone episode or something from an old Sci-Fi film.  Thirty years ago a company by the name of Human Edge Software designed a program, sold as a game named the Mind Prober. The theoretical basis of this was a concept, then popular, named “expert systems” The idea was to develop a data base of experts in different fields and statistically find the significant factors.  Then one could have a computer based PhD as your consultant for maybe $29.95

 Don’t worry about the math, it is valid.  Of course technology is evolving so quickly that knowledge quickly becomes obsolete so this concept went into the dust bin.  But, and here is the difference, human technology is not changing much, though culture is.

For a change of pace, I include some shots I took a week or so ago. First time I tried this. To see them full size click on one.  You can add a comment if you wish to any.  Click REBLOG to get back and click on the X on upper left to close this view.   

 I have mentioned this in two past posts so wont go into depth except to say it the copyright date was in 1984.  Marge accessed the program and printed the output and I have shared some with you.  I began to think that if I could find and take the same program, I could copy the results, one element at a time, and make some comment on that.

 After some Googling, I found a company that deals with old obscure games.  It will play on any DOS based computer, if you still have one, or a more modern PC up to Windows XP.

 So, and I am sure you are ahead of me, I found a company that for a very modest sum will allow you to download the program and the program manual.  I did this, acquiring  an assessment by the same program, in the same format as Marge did.  I even found a YouTube entry of this exact program and I enclose a link to it so you will know the work flow better than I can explain it.  Especially if DOS means nothing to you, you will catch on quickly. Remember this is technology of over 30 years ago, it may seem hung up on occasion, but it is just calculating as PC DOS, Apple II and Commodore 64 computers did long ago. Be patient.  


The Mind Prober explained: 

Now to the subject for today:  The first is a brief summary of each assessment.  Marge’s is as follows:

“Ms. M. F.’s curiosity leads her into many novel situations.  she easily becomes bored with routine activities and prefers to seek out some new job or diversion.  She has difficulty being patient and has a tendency to say or do things at the spur of the moment.”

Now for my summary:

“You won’t find this person at center stage.  Mr. R. F. can be a very private, cautions person.  He is highly sensitive to the ways in which others treat him and will withdraw at the slightest hint of their disapproval or criticism.” 

Commentary on the above:

I believe the assessment for Marge is on the mark.  Marge could be volatile and temperamental and could sometimes come across as very demanding when I don’t think she meant to present herself that way.  We did have occasions when she was dealing with someone else that in effect closed the relationship.  She would ask me “Did I come across too hard?”  I would answer something like ” You could have built up to what you were saying or asking before you said what you did.”

Regarding myself, I have to agree that I have been and still am private and cautious.  Much of this goes back to my childhood, spent in the backwoods of the most North-Eastern corner of the most North Eastern county in New York.

 I went to a tiny hamlet elementary school where the highest ambition of the boys was to reach the age of 16 when they could quit school and work on the roads, or other menial job. Usually about grade 6, as the school held non-performers back a grade back then, no social promotions.

 My parents urged me to aim for college and do my best in school.  So I agreed that was the way out of this dismal place and frankly, I was pretty smart. Still am.   Anyone doing well in class was usually recognized by the teacher, which made me a “Teacher’s Pet” earning rejection for not being “one of the guys.”  I did not care for most of them anyway, so what the Hell, I did not give a s__t. Let them dig ditches for the rest of their lives.

Consequently, in my formative years, as I just said, I did not give a s__t for others disapproval or criticism as I didn’t want to end up like them in any event.  I don’t think I was/am highly sensitive, but I was aware, so I avoided my contemporaries as we had mostly little or  nothing in common.  My aim, as encouraged by my parents, was to want a higher standard of living, not the challenging career of manual labor.  

To me, the Mind Prober uses the word “cautious” in what I regard as having an incomplete and negative connotation, that of fear and withdrawal.  I have looked caution up in a thesaurus stating nuances.  Some of these are, carefulness, attention, attentiveness, vigilance, and prudence, to mention a few. Viewed in that expanded context caution implies a careful analytical approach in any situation which may have very undue consequences. 

I was taught at Syracuse that in solving a problem, the answer is almost immaterial, it is the thought process leading to the answer that is critical.  Similarly in Philosophy a critical thought process is essential to separate a mere opinion from an in-depth analysis.  Even High School elementary geometry teaches the students how to solve a theorem by reasoning from elemental definitions.

Analysis requires informational data and possession of analytical tools to process the information.  This approach has enabled me to avoid many pitfalls in life.  Whether job related, financial, meeting the military requirements of my day, etc. After following my path, I have on occasion happened to later see an acquaintance or two who did not take the path that I did.  Their response was uniformly that I did the right thing in a given situation. They did not.

I summarize a recent example.  When employed by Nevada Power I retired in 1993 due to a reorganization. The company had provided a fixed benefit retirement program. I rejected outright a lump sum payment. I chose the option to maximize my retirement amount and ensured myself with a term policy to protect Margery. Unfortunately for her she died before I did.  

Twenty years later I received a glossy brochure from the now NV Energy offering me this once in a lifetime opportunity for a lump sum payment.  Interestingly, after 20 years of drawing a pension, the lump sum offered was greater than that offered in 1993.

 After some quick tax consequence calculations, and considering the unknown risk I would be undertaking, I set up a meeting with my bank investment VP.  She reviewed the offer, and interviewed me about my personal finances.  She then ended the interview by telling me that if she offered me a risk free investment for the same amount for the rest of my actuarial life, she could lose her license due to malpractice and misrepresentation. 

I have many more examples but this makes the point.  On the other hand, I may have missed exciting high risk ventures which might have had a great reward, but most likely  at least bankruptcy. I do not withdraw at a hint of disapproval or criticism, but analyze for potential outcomes and choose the one that looks best to me.   

This attitude has stayed with me all my life.  Caution has served me well and I don’t take it to extremes.  I owe nobody, I own my house,  and investments are worth well into the 6 figures.  My health is quite good for my age.  I have no regrets, as ” Edith Piaf” sang, but to some extent, I have emotionally shut myself off from the mass of humanity. So what?  Perhaps I am slightly into the range of the Autistic Syndrome, but then so were many engineers, physicists, mathematicians,scientists, etc.  Good company.

If you look again at Marge’s assessment you can sense the gulf.  She sought novelty and spur of the moment action.  I was, and am analytical, looking into what might happen, what might go wrong and how to plan on that possibility, etc.  So the groundwork was in place for major misunderstandings.  We were both measurably more intelligent than average and went to Syracuse University on full academic scholarships.  We had that in common, and common interests  in music, art, etc.

One specific example and then I will call it quits.  After moving to Allentown and working for PP&L I often went out for a morning with one of the general construction foremen to visit job sites and see what the crews were doing, their problems, etc.  On one such trip we visited an ongoing housing development project.  I thought it was well thought out, reasonably priced and generally a nice place to live when finished.  So, one day I said to Marge, “Lets go out to the XYZ development I visited early this week and look at the model homes.”  

This we did and my assessment was the same, it was a well thought out development.  Days pass, and Marge comes up and asks “When are we going to move in”  She enthused about possibly of moving in to a new house, who was going to sleep where, appliances, etc.  To me, the trip was just an afternoon’s outing to learn more about a place that intrigued me.  Some more info to file away in my mind for future reference.   Big difference in perception.

Marge thrilled about doing something new, and I, in my cautious way, was only gathering information. This was easily resolved, but I am certain many other not so obvious situations arose which were not resolved, at least completely.  

 That’s the first example of the personal application of the Mind Prober.  The program is capable of probing 8 people.  Marge was very secretive and never told me about this.  I would gladly have gone through the process myself.  I think an impartial understanding of our similarities, especially our differences, could have been very helpful. Stay tuned for more for at least a post-mortem review.     


About R. F.

I am a retired Professional Engineer who spent my working life in the electric utility industry. I am now a volunteer instructor at the University Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
This entry was posted in 1970-1980, Allentown, Marital difficulties, Pennsylvania, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Kathilyn Bigler says:

    Wow, the Mind Prober information is fascinating!!!! I also love the recent photos that you took!!! The colors are amazing!!! Keep writing!! God Bless YOU!!!

    • R.J.F. says:

      Hi Kathi. More coming on the Mind Prober, so stay tuned as they used to say. The photos were taken one morning when I went out for a walk. I did do some simple enhancing to bring out some details. In a way they had nothing to so with the subject of the post, but I thought it would be OK to share a little of my own environment. Marge’s too so I guess they do fit in, sort of. How are you doing, have you sold the house, etc. Drop me line sometime.

  2. LouiseLouise says:

    Huh. Very interesting. I can say that at least from my perspective, both portraits from the program seem to be spot on. I am always a little wary of those things — a lot of them seem to be somewhat like horoscopes in that you can read into them what you lied and it will fit almost anyone, but maybe this does have some scientific backing. Interesting that she never told you about it or offered you a chance to try it out in your own. Well good for you for being willing to give it a go and see what resonates.

    • R.J.F. says:

      The program was developed by 3 PhD psychologists and seems to have theoretical validity. In the 80s there was a theory, and implementation, of what was called “expert systems.” The idea was to develop a data base of expert’s knowledge in a particular field, and software to answer questions from it. Of course, as technology moved ahead much information was quickly obsolete and the idea dropped. Now we have BIG DATA.
      Marge also took the Mayer-Briggs test which has accreditation and has been around a long time. Where there is parallel output, the MindProber is very similar in results. Marge was quite secretive about a lot, or skirted around an issue when she did not want to talk about it. In many ways, I have learned much more about her inner self after she died than I did when she lived. I think she feared loss so much that she seldom shared anything serious about herself as it might lead to annihilation of some form. Too bad, but no changing it now.

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