It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.
This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.
I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.
This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.
I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Thomas Jefferson pursued intellectual [President of the American Philosophical Society etc.] and physical happiness. Yes, he was brilliant and might’ve been one of our greatest presidents and yes, he owned slaves and it was believed that he had sexual relationships with his property. Was that what Jefferson meant by the pursuit of happiness? The various ideas of happiness are not confined to 1. Greek and other philosophers 2. Religious views [Buddhist teachings, happiness in Judaism; 13th-century philosopher, theologian; Thomas Aquinas all have their ideas 3. Psychological research 4. Spiritual, economic, political, and health quests and 5. Individual pursuits. As you can see, there appear to be many ways in reaching the so-called Promised Land.
Further, it seems that there’s no one specific or clear-cut notion of happiness. Happiness has many facets, strings, connections, definitions or ways as far as our thinking leads us. It is an interesting cerebral exercise. However, if we’re talking about the fleeting emotion of happiness, we’re talking about an individual subjective internal bodily experience that can be very different from what goes on in our head. In other words, the cognitive idea of happiness can lead us in making poor self-defeating decisions; chasing false idols; distorting reality; and chasing illusions. Yes, one can chase the idea of happiness but the truth lies in feeling the emotion of happiness. Feelings don’t lie. If you can properly label your feelings, you know yourself even if you don’t wish to. Yes there a lot of negative emotions.
Forget about chasing the idea of “happiness.” Learn to identify your emotions regardless of the real particular feeling. Clarify your need structures [i.e. achievement, affiliation, power, aggression, dependency] and make rational clear-cut choices based upon your psychological and physical health. Hopefully, mature love relationships; inspiration, life’s meaning and work are part of the equation. And if that happens, you’ll likely experience a lot of positive emotions during your life journey. Will that prescription make you happy? Maybe some of the time it will. It all depends on how many or how often do you engage in painful or self-destructive abasement behaviors while telling yourself that you’re really searching for happiness. Life is a journey that has many bumps, turns and detours along the way. Hopefully, at the end, you’ll not have tripped too much, be doing what you want with an authentic smile on your face. If you are successful at the end, you may have beaten the odds as men are not as rational, seeking in their behaviors. Dale Carnegie had it partly right-we are creatures of emotion. And further, we engage in too many self-destructive repeated behavior patterns. Chasing happiness is a myth or illusion under which we live.
Posted by Frank at 9:18 AM
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Just received a brochure called “The Science of Happiness.” The brochure states that one can discover research tested keys to happiness and learn how to apply them to personal and professional life by taking these groundbreaking courses. They stated that up to 40% of happiness depended on habits and activities. However, one could also turn to religion to find happiness. Surveys conducted by Gallup and others concluded that high religiousness predicted lower risks of depression, drug use, fewer suicide attempts, reported satisfaction with sex life ,and a sense of well-being. Do you agree that Science and religion have the answer to happiness?
Within the historical evolution and development of capitalism, we have been “sold” a bill of goods- fame and fortune. We have been mesmerized and hypnotized by those who tell us such things as the following: 1. Go to college. 2. Get married. 3. Have children. 4. Buy that dream house with the right zip code 5. The man with the bigger toys wins 6. Go on a cruise or go to some exotic vacation land, 7. Get that latest automobile 8. Drink beer, go to parties 9. Attend that special professional sports game 10. Visit that four-star restaurant 11. Dress in the latest fashion. 12. Purchase that special vitamin or organic food. 13. Make a ton of money-more is better. The list [advertising with smiling faces] goes on and on, with the underlying message that money buys happiness. Other messages are running after power, celebrity status or fame as far as achieving or searching for happiness. Being elected or becoming a star or idol is supposed to bring a smile on your face; or finding that particular fountain of youth product. For many, it must be clear by now that these things, or goods don’t necessarily result in long-term happiness because why would we engage in so many seemingly paradoxical unproductive and self-defeating irrational behaviors-to name a few, such as drinking, smoking and eating too much, taking prescription and nonprescription drugs with deterious abasement affects. Other escapes include but not limited to entertainment, reading, movies and sports. A case in point, using Ekman’s facial analysis of emotions, view the faces of college basketball and football coaches; NFL football coaches; NBA basketball coaches and MLB baseball managers during their practice or “real” games. Seldom do we see a smile, and they say after a victory something to the effect that, enjoy it while you can, because there’s the next game to think about. Or for that matter, look at the faces of the presidential candidates during the debates. Are these individuals really having fun and have they really found happiness? They have certainly reached elite categories in their respective fields.
As a psychotherapist, it became very apparent in my practice that individuals had tremendous difficulty identifying or labeling their feelings. I found that fact over and over in the many years of dealing with people therapeutically and even socially. In essence, individuals generally call their thoughts their feelings. I also know that we distort reality, as result of our defense mechanisms and illusions. Typically, individuals believe many things which are often contradictory. So when, a self-rating, life satisfaction; subjective happiness; or positive and negative affect scales were used to measure happiness, I roll my eyes and question the results or findings of such. Remember, that feelings are generally short-lived and don’t stay or even linger around for a while. Further, many things or experiences happen to us during our lifetime. And if we agree with Dr. Ekman, 5 of the 6 feelings or emotions are negative. This would suggest that there is a preponderance of negative feelings experienced in life compared to the one positive feeling of happiness. Yes, it’s difficult to avoid negative feelings. A better way of being might be learning, if we can, to deal more effectively or differently with our irritations and self-defeating seeking behaviors.
To be continued
Posted by Frank at 7:08 AM
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
The American College Dictionary defined happiness a noun as: 1. Quality or state of being happy. 2. Good fortune; pleasure, content, or gladness. 3. Aptness or felicity, as of expression. Dale Carnegie had it right “When dealing with people, remember you’re not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” Further, psychologist Paul Ekman, in his study of facial emotions, identified 6: happiness, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, and surprise in his lifelong extensive research.
Charles Darwin believed that emotions were biologically determined and universal in human culture. We know that emotions helped us survive by ensuring our physical, social, safety and well-being. These internal states were meant to motivate us and assist us achieve our best chances of survival by either withdrawing from threats or approaching rewarding things around us. Our emotions are important subjective feelings within us. In other words, in general, emotions are internal states that exist for three reasons: 1.Focused our intention on important things that affect our personal or social, safety or well-being. 2. Motivated us to do whatever we need to do about these things in order to get what we need or want. 3. Caused physiological changes in the body, like breathing and heart rate that allow us to do whatever we need to do. Further emotions are short, dominating and focused, which means they are short-lived in duration. They typically come and go in seconds, minutes, hours, and are simply not present for long periods of time. Emotional states are connected to specific thoughts or environmental situations.
Within that short or brief background, let’s add a few other ideas regarding happiness: 1. Thomas Jefferson said there was a universal right regarding “the pursuit of happiness”2. Greek philosophers believed - by living ethically, guided by reason, motivated by exhibiting their virtues, associating happiness with obtaining pleasure for the greater good, imposing a strict regulation on desire, and an absence of pain, coupled with emphasis on pleasure in the mind as contrasted to physical pleasure. 3. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s concluded-happiness level is 50% genetically determined. 10% affected by life circumstances and situation and the remaining 40% subject to self-control. More recently, psychologist Martin Seligman asserted that happiness was not a drive for external or monetary pleasures and humans seemed happiest when they have: 1. Pleasure [tasty food, warm baths, etc.] 2. Engagement [or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity] 3. Relationships [social ties] 4. Meaning. [Perceived quest or belonging to something bigger] 5. Accomplishments [Having realize tangible goals].
To be continued
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Let’s play student, for a moment, and pretend we are in Dr. Kimmel’s class. Professor Kimmel to answer your question “to be a real man “at what age or phase are you referring since there are significant differences or variables that must be addressed. For instance, as infants, the only noticeable difference between the sexes is a penis. However, when I interviewed Tom Curtis, Frank Gusich, Thom Darden, Jim Brandstatter, Fritz Seyferth, Gary Moeller, Mike Keller, Jim Betts, and Reggie McKenzie, I got a very different description of them when they talked about the year 1969, and Michigan football compared to today.
In 1969, these testosterone driven men were put through a series of unorthodox training and conditioning challenges by the newly hired Coach Bo Schembechler. With high testosterone levels [aggressiveness, ability to build muscle, bone strength etc.], these men pounded and beat up each other in the boxing ring with conditioning drills like “slap and stomp.” In one episode, of this drill, first string defensive end Cecil Pryor got pissed off when a teammate hit him the wrong way. The physically aggressive Pryor responded and knocked him out of the boxing ring. Quickly, Coach Schembechler jumped into the same ring, and aggressively looked Cecil in the face and retorted, “If you want to fight someone, fight me.” That got Reggie McKenzie’s attention along with others and he then realized, that this man is the boss and totally in charge.
Frank Gusich told me that he thought to himself about how difficult and brutal the conditioning and practicing sessions were. He believed that it would make him stronger and that he would be able to excel in the fourth quarter of the football games as a result of his excruciating ordeals. Reggie McKenzie learned that he had to work his butt off despite all the sadistic and harsh swearing, he received from Coach Schembechler. From that U of M experience, Reggie carried that to the pros .He incorporated the idea that he had to physically and mentally destroy his opponents. These young athletes needed all that testosterone to help them release more aggression, dominance, coupled with the mental strength and ability to tolerate mental and physical pain and injury. Expressions like “full of piss and vinegar;” “sewing his oats;” “boys will be boys;” and “he thinks with his little head not with his big head” pertain to this age generation.
Today, with less testosterone and injuries sustained from the brutal game of football, we get a different picture of these men. Reggie McKenzie, a physically giant of a man, was primarily responsible as a member of the Buffalo Bills for assisting teammate OJ Simpson in breaking or smashing the NFL rushing record. In the pros, head coach Chuck Knox referred to Reggie as the enforcer. Currently, Reggie runs the Reggie McKenzie, Industrial Materials Incorporated. However, Reggie’s physical aggressiveness is expressed when he hits a white golf ball. He cannot run but he can slowly walk. My friend and teammate Ed Budde of Michigan State and Kansas City Chief Fame during his playing days with a dominant left guard on the Super Bowl winning Chiefs. Among other things, this left guard helped protect quarterback Lenny Dawson’s blindside. Ed played 14 years and totaled the second most games in Kansas City Chief history. Ed’s testosterone level remained high not only on the field, but off the field as well with numerous brawls. He had a reputation. In fact, Hall of Fame Howie Long for the Oakland Raiders told the story that after he broke Brad Budde’s nose in the game, he was afraid that Brad’s father Ed was going to come after him, and do him harm. Today, Ed can light up and smoke a good cigar and slowly walk his dog. However, physically he is hurting.
So young men in their 20s and 30s present one picture. I recently researched men and women, age 65 and older, who were still physically, competitively competing in sports. In my book “It Has Nothing to Do with Age,” I learned a lot about Russ Kiernan, Jim Steere, Lew Hollander and Jack Sholl. Russ Kiernan, in his late 70s is called the Dipsea legend. The Dipsea is the third oldest running race in the United States behind only the Boston Marathon, and the Beta Breakers. Dr. Jim Steere, at age 80, completed the Tevis Cup. He was the oldest to complete this feat. The Tevis is the oldest 100 mile one day equestrian race in our country. Dr. Lew Hollander at age 83, became the oldest to complete, the Hawaiian Iron Man. Jack Sholl in his 80s was the ultimate rower and still racing in international Masters Crew races. Although, their testosterone levels have declined [Lew Hollander would like to be able to run the marathon distance faster], their, motivation, competitiveness and mental toughness continue to run strong. These men have also determined and made good health style choices. On top of that, these individuals [outstanding females were also interviewed] have found meaning, passion, inspiration, and have enriched their life greatly. They can and are able to look to the future .None of these men are physically fighting with others today.
These men are not grumpy old men, like so many in their age group. We know that because when individuals engage in diminished exercise, poor nutrition, smoking and drinking in their lives, their health is nothing to brag about. In fact, with poor health, men get to look forward to meds, doctor visits and death as a result of heart disease, cancer, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and more. The future for these souls do not look great. Chances are they didn’t find meaning or passion in their lives.
In conclusion, professor Kimmel, the study of men has many variables. The starting point or socioeconomic beginnings of parents; the physical and mental health of the two parents; religion or faith; political environment; capitalistic economics; physical and mental health; location reared in the United States; rural or urban; educational level achieved; amount of stress; damage to brain and the ratio of positive to negative lifestyle- health style decision and choices made along the way. These factors determine at different phases or different ages, “What it’s like to be a real man?” And professor, I would add that these factors and variables also determine “What it is like to be a real person?”
By the way, join us in Ann Arbor on September 17, from 6 to 8 PM for a book signing of Bo’s Warriors. Our event will be hosted by Jim Betts, the newly elected president of Michigan Football Association Network [MFAN] and Joe Sesi of Sesi Lincoln-Mercury. Wine and hors d’oeuvres are on the menu.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
I’ll begin this next section with a quote from Dr. George Sheehan “Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.” It is clear that Dr. Sheehan did not differentiate between the sexes. However, when it comes to hormones, testosterone is considered the male sex hormone. It is produced in the testicles and secreted by the testes. It is been estimated that women have testosterone levels 1/10 to 1/12 those of men. This hormone is most pronounced during puberty and then gradually diminishes during a man’s lifespan.
A few distinguishing characteristics of this hormone are as follows: 1. Promotes libido, aggressiveness and sexual desire [A female Viagra product designed to stimulate sexual desire, is now available]. 2. Promotes protein anabolism-use of proteins to build muscle, skin and bone. Testosterone production is affected by a number of external elements such as obesity, exercise and lifestyle [smoking and excessive alcohol intake]. In other words, a healthy college male is likely to be aggressive, has ability to build muscle with strong sexual desire.
Recently, two females graduated and have joined the elite Army Rangers. Wonder what their testosterone levels are? When it comes to sports, world class women are great competitors. What male would get in the ring with martial artist Ronda Rousey; play tennis against Serena Williams; kick a soccer ball at Hope Solo; play one-on-one basketball with Diana Taurasi; race Missy Franklin in the 200 m backstroke ; get in the batter’s box against Leah Crockett of the University Michigan; or race Meghan Arbogast in a 100 K trail run.
These women far exceed the majority of male competitors in their specialty. As Sheehan said “Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.” These women are physically and mentally tough. This past June, Meghan, age 54, ran the Western states 100 mile trail run. Read about her ordeal in detail, and you will conclude like me regarding her unparalleled mental and physical toughness.
Last Sunday, the 16th, Tony and I ran a 20 mile trail run in the Sierra Nevada’s [Run on the Sly]. As I ran up and down the trail, I had an opportunity to observe the many women that overtook me. Many of these young women were extremely fit and had great looking leg and calf development. They were terrific. After the run, Tony and I went for our favorite awards, even though we both placed in our age group, -which is ice cream. We talked about our run and also about women who also go for ice cream after a tough event. Our event was tough as the temperature reached triple digits. I’m going to ask world class runner Meagan if she also goes for ice cream after her events for one of her rewards.
Many years ago there were limited possibilities and less opportunities for women in women’s sports. Back then Babe Zaharias was a freak on the golf course. Now, I don’t know why a women’s T is closer to the hole than the men. With changing values, coaching, training, nutrition, women are achieving at unbelievable heights. I’m certain I could learn more about basketball from coach Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs and more about football [Even though I played at the college level] from coach Jen Welter of the Arizona Cardinals.
In 1969 there was a classic football battle between Michigan and Ohio State. On the playing field were plenty of testosterone filled young men with excessive libido, aggressiveness and of course sexual desire. However, when it comes to winning and losing much can be said about conditioning, coaching, and coaching player- staff preparation. Legend, Woody Hayes’s was the head coach for the Ohio State Buckeyes. His protégé was none other than Bo Schembechler. Schebechler previously coached for the Buckeye head coach. Bo Schembechler also had Gary Moeller as a member of his coaching staff. Gary Moeller was a team Captain for Woody Hayes when OSU were ranked number one in the early 60s.
Yes, Bo and Gary learned from Woody. Would their coaching skill be enough to win against the undefeated number one ranked team in the country, at the time? No one measured testosterone levels that cold Saturday, in Ann Arbor, nor assessed the mental toughness of either team’s players. Yet, the young Michigan players [Many of whom played in the NFL, were all pro, and even inducted into the Hall of Fame] described that victory like none other. Their motivation was out of this world and raised to unheralded heights by the clever coaching of Bo Schembechler and his talented staff. Among these players, they mentioned that the experience on that Saturday was never again duplicated in their lives. I don’t know if that band of brother’s experience was similar for the women in team sports. Perhaps, testosterone had a lot to do with it-the physicality, camaraderie, the overcoming, and the winning.
When it comes to sports, yes, the top males clearly dominate at the world-class levels. The muscular development, aggressiveness, and gross motor ability enter into this male equation. Women are now achieving at impressive levels due in part to their opportunities. Still, we continue to differentiate with male versus female leagues at this time.
However, when it comes to psychology and mental illness, we don’t have one exclusive diagnoses for females and another for males. The same and I mean the same criteria is used for diagnosis. That doesn’t mean that the numbers of males and females are equal in all the diagnostic categories. Yes, more women are depressed, depending upon the age than men. And, more men have an antisocial behavior disorders than women. And yes, more women have a hysterical style personality; and even Neo-Freudian Karen Horney had a book published called Feminine Psychology. Yes, there are psychological differences between the sexes. But in studying psychology, the definition covers behavior, cognition and emotions regardless of orientation. The major personality theories [Behaviorism is one of them] do not differentiate between the sexes. Humanist psychologist Albert Maslow’s idea of self-actualization includes both males and females. Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Kurt Lewin, Gordon Allport, Carl Rogers and others do not discriminate. It’s called personality theory as opposed to Male Personality Theory. A human being is not an atom and can’t be split.
The study of man in the Stony Brook program sounds interesting. When the good professor asked the students to describe a good man, their responses were feminine based. They described characteristics of a woman. When he asked them to describe a real man, their responses were more testosterone and stereotypically based. As a psychologist, I appreciate the hormonal, genetic, brain, environmental and social variables or influences when talking about men and when talking about women. That’s more interesting for me. In conclusion, Erich Fromm stated “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is” states very accurately that we are the same animal with the same task. And each of us have the responsibility figure out what that is. He didn’t discriminate between the sexes, nor will I.
Posted by Frank at 7:24 AM
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Briefly, let’s take a look at some of the ways in which men and women differ within brain function. The human brain is primarily composed of two halves-the right cerebral hemisphere and left cerebral hemisphere. Although the two hemispheres look pretty much like and can do some similar things, there are differences. Generally speaking, left hemisphere usually controls speech and language, including basic reading, writing and arithmetic [The 3Rs]. The right side of the brain may control some aspects of language such as intonation. Further, it also controls visual-special functions like recognizing forms, geometry, navigation, complex mathematics, art and music.
Would you believe that hand preference- left-handed men have a greater chance of being more highly successful in life than right-handers. A John Hopkins study found that left-handers were 15% richer than right-handed college graduates; and other studies found that higher than normal numbers of left-handers consist among lawyers, architects, artists, musicians, and actors. On a side note, left-handers have some advantage in some sports such as football. Who can forget the” Snake”-Kenny Stabler of the Oakland Raiders in the 70s and 80s? In the past, there was brain dominance theory, which proved to be more myth than science. No one is necessarily “right brained” or “left brained” in their dominant manner of mental functioning. PET and fMRI studies show that most activities are done using both cerebral hemispheres in concert.
The left atmosphere is more language oriented, and overall, women have better language skills. This left hemisphere is sometimes referred to as the “social” brain. This translates that females, with their greater language, also have superior person perception of social behavior, including better recognition and facial emotional expression. While the right hemisphere is more visual- spatial, men have exceptionally good visual -spatial skills. This corresponds into excellent mechanical abilities but do not leave out the role and importance of genetics, hormones and the environment regarding male-female differences in the cerebral hemispheres. For example, studies show that excessive testosterone in males slows the growth in the left cerebral hemisphere while accelerating the growth of the right hemisphere.
Men, it seems, have larger frontal lobes with a greater density of cells in the right parietal lobe. This importance is associated with improved movement control, abstract thinking, planning, organizing, implementing and monitoring behavior. This is referred to as the executive functions within the brain. Spatial analysis and mathematical reasoning are additional strengths for men. In comparison, women’s right frontal cortex are bulkier, coupled with a greater density of neurons in parts of the left temporal lobe. This translates into language processing and comprehension, which allows girls to develop language faster and more comprehensively than boys. Additionally, with more attention and greater impulse control, women have half the number of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] diagnoses than the boys. Other findings suggest that women use more of their brains than men in nearly every cognitive task possible. On the other hand, a man’s brain seems to be more compartmentalized.
Even though our brains do not differ significantly, individual differences differ greatly among men and among women. And speaking of advantages, men do better with: 1. Target-directed gross motor skills like throwing a ball 2. Visual-spatial skills. 3. Navigating through a route 4. Complex university level mathematics. The nod go to the women in the following: 1. Most types of language skills. 2. Fine motor tasks. 3. Accuracy and object location. 4. Empathy for others. 5. Social interactions.
Deficits or damage to the frontal lobes in the brain have significant negative consequences. This area of the brain regulates many things such as: controlling impulses and emotions, planning; organization, movement, overall social and cognitive behavior, including judgment and decision-making. In other words, antisocial personality disorder [APD] characteristics in men include: increased violence, more impulsivity, impaired judgment, failure to conform to social norms, aggressiveness, disrespect for the safety of oneself and others, lack of sense of guilt or remorse, lack of empathy, employing rationalization and blame, glibness, inability to feel love , deceitfulness , shallowness with displays of lying and manipulation for personal gain, having a distorted sense of potential consequences of actions, not only for oneself, but for others, and emotions which characteristically are usually short-lived and egocentric.
To illustrate, when convicted multiple murderer Gary Gilmore was asked why he killed all those people at the filling station, he replied, “well, I didn’t intend to kill them, but, hey, they got in my way.” In the movie “No Country for Old Men” displayed countless illustrations of a disregard for others with uncontrolled violence and murder without remorse. These behaviors are not all genetic as learning history and the environment also play a role in the development of antisocial behaviors.
Chronic stress is associated with the shrinkage of the cortex and hippocampus of the brain, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and many other diseases. No one is immune from the posttraumatic stress [PTSD] diagnosis, which is correlated with an individual’s response that involves intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Interestingly, more women receive a PTSD diagnosis such as in certain situations-sexual trauma. For men, it’s different, since a PTSD disorder is more typical for returning Iraq war veterans [Re-experiencing of symptoms with intense feelings of distress]. A substance disorder and an antisocial personality disorder often follow for the soldiers.
A few facts about depression and suicide as related to men and women. Depression is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder in United States. Boys and girls have a similar risk of depression until puberty. Starting with adolescence, there is a greater incidence of depression among girls. Additionally, the lifetime adult risk is also greater for women compared to men; however, by 55 to 60 years of age, sex differences in depression disappear. It is believed that the sex differences are the result of emotional memories being more powerfully encoded in a woman’s brain; with stronger connections between the amygdala, hippocampus; accompanied by lower levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter.
A lethal danger of having a depression diagnosis is suicide. Within suicide, there are significant sex differences regarding attempts, and completions. For instance, three times as many women attempt suicide as men. However, four times as many men successfully commit suicide.
Genetically speaking, the nature of man is influenced by the complexity of the brain, especially between the brains left and right hemispheres. On the positive side, men have good mechanical abilities [Engineering]; do well in executive positions with the ability to plan, organize and implement decision-making [CEOs]; be navigators; and become physicists like Einstein and Hawking with their exceptionally high abstract and mathematical ability. Men’s visual spatial and gross motor skills dominate in professional sports, such as in baseball, football, tennis, soccer, swimming and track and field, to name a few.
Women have stronger skills as a whole with language and within social interactions. They make super ,loving mothers and good wives with their socialization ability to empathize, care for, nurture, communicate, and express feelings. Because of their attention to detail, fine motor skills, they are excellent in office situations.
Source: Institute for Natural Resources [INR]
More to follow about the role of the environment as well as hormones affecting the nature of men.
Posted by Frank at 10:06 AM
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Stony Brook University is intending to create a master’s degree program in “masculinity’s studies?” This article in the August 9, 2015 edition of The New York Times got my attention. Dr. Michael Kimmel asked his students to describe what it means “to be a good man?” He then asked them to describe what it means “to be a real man?” Initially, students suggested: caring; putting others’ needs before yours; honest. Then they responded to the second question: take charge; be authoritative; take risks; suppressing any kind of weakness; talk like a man; walk like a man; never cry. The title of masculinity’s studies, according to the sociologist founder of the program, means there’s more than one way to be a man.
Perhaps one way and only one way of talking about being a man is by describing the differences between men and women’s health during the aging process. These differences begin to delineate masculinity. We know that genetics comprise about 25%- 35% in aging. The smart man Hippocrates about 2400 years ago “if we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” He also said “walking is a man’s best medicine.” He knew that decision making had a lot to do with successful aging.
Comparing differences between men and women on a number of health-related items highlight, illuminate and begin provide insight into masculinity or what it’s like to be a real or good man. For instance, in 2005 the following were the top 10 preventable risk factors in US deaths. In 3 of the 10, more women died than men, and they included: 1. High blood pressure. 2. Physical inactivity. 3. High salt intake. However, in a next 7 categories, more men died than women, and they were: 1. Smoking 2. Excess Weight 3. High Blood Sugar 4. High LDL Cholesterol 5. Low intake of Omega-3 Fats 6. High Dietary Trans Fats and 7. Low Intake of Fruits and Vegetables. Briefly, although women were less active, their decision-making-diets seemed much healthier than men. Men also make significantly more poor and dangerous health decisions-relating to smoking and diet. It’s not a surprise that women have longer life spans and have higher intelligence levels than men.
As far as the top 10 leading causes of death for women and men in the United States, there are some similarities within the top 10 as well as differences. For instance, heart disease, cancer and stroke are the top three leading causes for both men and women. The following are also top causes of death, but not necessarily the same order for men and women: accidents; diabetes mellitus; influenza and pneumonia, COPD/Emphysema; and kidney diseases.
The two remaining top 10 causes of death for men, but not for women are suicide and liver disease and cirrhosis. Further, statistics on suicide demonstrate that men are much more violent when it comes to killing themselves-gunshots, jumping off bridges, and crashing high-speed vehicles. Even though excessive alcohol consumption, drink for drink produces more serious heart damage in women than in men, more men die. Once again, men make poorer and deadly behavioral choices compared to female gender. Did Bruce Jenner know something, and did he make the gender choice in time?
Although, men, on average, experience their first heart attack earlier  than women , more women are more likely to die of a heart attack than men. Hypertension, one of the culprits, poses a greater problem for women, along with nontraditional stroke symptoms. Further, the Incidence of stroke has increased sharply among women aged 45 to 54. And by age 55 to 64 women had significantly higher levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides levels than men. Perhaps, genetics, might play a more significant role per differences-women smoke, less drink less alcohol and eat more balanced nutritiously.
Of the top 10 cancers in the United States, the following seven are shared by both men and women: 1. Lung 2. Colorectal 3. Urinary- bladder or endometrial 4. Skin melanoma 5. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 6. Kidney and 7. Pancreatic. Prostate, leukemia and oral round out the list for men. Further, it is estimated that nearly 1/3 of women, and nearly ½ of men will be diagnosed with cancer sometime in the lifetime. Generally speaking, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can markedly reduce the risk of developing and dying from the 10 most common cancers. Once again, men likely make more poor choices in developing cancer.
Men have better bone health than women. Cognitively speaking men are affected slightly more often than women as far as Parkinson’s, which is the most common of the neural degenerative disorders. However, Alzheimer’s occurs more often in women than men. Once again, bone health and Alzheimer’s might be more genetically based.
As far as aging and causes of death, it appears that men and women are more likely to die as a result of our genetic similarities. However, if you are to age successfully, the women are the winners and men, the losers. As Hippocrates said, a long time ago, the right amount of proper nourishment is extremely important. Men have largely taken his advice in getting the right amount of exercise and walking. But obviously, the other half of his equation does not overcome male behaviors and choices such as the deficits of nourishment. Obviously, Smoking drinking alcohol cannot be considered nourishment. And committing suicide is not nourishing one’s soul. So in spite of exercise and activity, men’s behavior limit his lifespan as well as health span. More to follow regarding the nature and nurture of man.
Posted by Frank at 10:57 AM
Friday, August 14, 2015
We are human animals and begin life helpless, dependent souls simply unable to survive alone. We require caretakers that help meet our physiological as well as emotional needs. It’s also important for us to receive assistance in satisfying safety and/or security needs. When the physiological and safety needs are being met, we then have the capacity in developing belongingness, love and esteem needs. Albert Maslow added that other need states are acquired that are established for strength, achievement, adequacy, mastery and competence, as well as motivation for reputation or prestige, status, dominance, recognition, attention, importance or appreciation. There’s agreement by the Freudians and others that hypothesize about the wish to be valued, the striving for power, superiority, perfection. We also have to resolve our anxiety associated with feelings of aloneness and insignificance. This occurs not in isolation, but in relationship with others. As a result, the need for interpersonal relationships or affiliation comes into play.
Employing some of the above psychological concepts provide valuable insight into the dynamics of friendship. Friendship can be defined as “friendly feeling or disposition; association as friends.” The long standing union of Tom Curtis and Jim Mandich provide an illustration of these dynamics. Theory regarding friendships are as follows. We choose a friend based upon the dynamics of our ego ideal. This means we are talking about the role, significance and importance of the unconscious. In some ways, a friend becomes a supplement or complement, to what’s missing or lacking in your personality [remember, the ego ideal reduces flaws or deficits in order to attain our unrealistic drive toward perfection] in a certain way. We perceive something enviable in the object and wish to measure up, to compete, and actually to better or conquer our friend. These original impulses energize us and the rivalry begins. Usually, we pick a person that is roughly equal to us in achievement either on a physical or intellectual plane or both. These initial unconscious impulses are overcome and change into positive emotions. Thus, we actually help our friend, come together and join him in our goals and activities. When or if a third party foe enters the picture, our impulse to fight arise and we join forces and unify as one as two individuals are better than one in combat or competition. In other words, a third-party foe can easily be ganged up upon by the two friends. Now, there’s a common enemy to combat.
Tom and Jim’s friendship developed at an early age. Tom was born and reared Aurora, Ohio roughly 23 miles from Cleveland while Jim came from the nearby community of Solon, Ohio. Both boys, although not quite neighbors, played and excelled at sports. Tom loved baseball, football and basketball. Jim was no slouch in football and basketball. It wasn’t till high school that the two boys actually met. They collided on various athletic playing fields, at evening parties and other afterschool events. These 15 or so-year-olds first clashed horns at a track competition between the two schools. Although Jim was taller and heavier, Tom was faster and quicker. Mandich set records in the shot put and discus throw and easily beat Curtis in head-to-head competition. There was real competition between the two.
On the football field, Tom was the quarterback, and Jim a tight end. Both received honors playing football. Curtis was second team all-state quarterback, while the tight end Mandich, the All-American’s high school team was 22 – 0. Before asking Jim where he was planning to attend college, Tom assumed that the heavily recruited Jim would attend Ohio State. When he learned that Jim was attending the University of Michigan, Tom was thrilled and knew that he would have a good friend there.
While at the University of Michigan, the two football friends roomed together, partied together and played intramural basketball, during the off-season. Tom originally, a quarterback wound up playing in Coach Bump Elliott’s defensive backfield. Not bad as Curtis set the Michigan record for interceptions. That record still stands today even though Heisman winner Charles Woodson played in the defensive backfield too. Jim, played tight end and was the Wolverine team Captain.
In their senior year, they played for new Coach Bo Schembechler. At first, they strongly disliked him However, these two senior leaders eventually led the way in supporting Bo and the rest of their teammates followed their lead. The members on that 1969 football team came together and instead of ganging up and fighting, Bo Schembechler, their now united efforts joined him with unified and combined energies and the Wolverines stomped the life out of their remaining opponents. Especially against Ohio State, in that classic 1969 upset of the undefeated, NFL like Buckeyes. After the Rose Bowl game, the two friends were drafted by the NFL. Tom went to play for Baltimore Colts and Jim went to play for the Miami Dolphins.
In fact, during a preseason game, the two friends faced each other. Curtis was on the receiving team, and Mandich on the kickoff team. Jim came racing down the field yelling, screaming, and spitting as only” Mad Dog “could in the direction of his friend Tom. However, at this point, Tom was the enemy and Jim wanted to consciously destroy him by knocking him out of the Stadium. Tom knew that and did an “Olay” getting out of the way of his hard charging out of control, buddy. Those initial underlying dynamics surfaced-the competition, the fight and the desire to overcome, demolish and hurt his dear friend. All is fair on me NFL gridiron. This is where friends really fight each other football wise. It’s expected.
Off the gridiron, it’s a different story. On January 1, 1971 these two combatants watched the Michigan-USC Rose Bowl game together. Soon after, Jim invited Tom to join him on the Dolphins team bus heading to the Super Bowl in New Orleans. That invitation would not be allowed today. The next season Tom Curtis joined his body and became a Dolphin too. Of course, the two players roomed together. Their longterm, earthly friendship was terminated only as a result of Jim’s early death.
More stories about these two, are found in Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football.
Posted by Frank at 8:54 AM
Monday, August 10, 2015
With the practice of psychoanalysis, early Freudians and neo-Freudian’s wrote about personality development as well as the emotional difficulties encountered. For example, Alfred Adler hypothesized that the infant was helpless and as a consequence, through its development, strives for power, superiority and perfection. And that one’s lifestyle reflects this early-onset anxiety. Karen Horney, suggested that the isolated and helpless infant strives for security in order to reduce the pervasive feeling of subjective anxiety. Erich Fromm’s viewed that man’s birth or existence sets the stage for conflict and that the normal problem of man was dealing with the feeling of aloneness, as well as, insignificance. And that the individual seeks individuation and self-fulfillment through work, and loving relationships. Harry Stack Sullivan viewed man as pursuing satisfaction and security as a result of the insecurities, and loneliness that gets expressed within interpersonal relations. Further, a power motive also gets developed as well as personifications, as result of personal interactions.
These psychoanalytic theoreticians all view the importance, significance or role of anxiety during the human lifespan, especially in understanding neurosis. It’s a precursor and can be viewed as an underlining dynamic. Academic psychologists such as S. Schachter researched anxiety as an underlying motive as far as social affiliation was concerned. Karen Horney, Erich Fromm and Harry Stack Sullivan also incorporated affiliation [Although they used other terms] within their theories as result of their therapeutic work. They did not conduct research with college students. There subjects were males and females, some of which were college-aged.
Let’s see what Schachter found studying the relationship between anxiety and social affiliation, with his various psychological experiments. In one experiment, Schachter studied high anxiety females [they were told they would receive severe painful but not harmful, electrical shocks] and compared them to low anxiety females [they were told they had received mild shocks, and the shocks would feel like a tickle and would be harmless]. All the subjects were told that their physiological responses would be recorded. Before proceeding, these college females were told they could either wait alone in a comfortable room which had books and magazines or together in a classroom with other female students. A questionnaire was administered and the women gave their preference for either waiting alone or being together. The scale also assessed the degree of intensity of their expressed desire to wait alone or together. Prior, females were also given a choice of remaining for the experiment or leaving. Some chose not to take part. The difference between the intensity of the desire of the girls in the two groups to be with the others was significant compared to waiting alone, and suggested that anxiety leads to affiliative behavior in college women.
On further research with college subjects, Schachter found statistically significant evidence that firstborn tended to affiliate under stress conditions, while later born did not. Also, fewer firstborn were chronic alcoholics, entered into and stayed longer in psychotherapy, and fewer become fighter pilot aces compared to later born. Firstborn nursery school children were found to be more dependent and firstborn college males were found to be more conforming than later born siblings. Schachter believed that firstborn individuals had anxiety and pain relief by people more often and greater than later born children. Likely, because the mother was perhaps more worried and more sensitive to expressions of anxiety of her firstborn, compared to her later born children. More than likely, with the second child, the mother was more casual, relaxed and likely busier than she had been with her initial child. If this is so, the firstborn children should have received the more attention from others, especially from the mother than her anxious later born children.
I. Sarnoff and Phillip Zimbardo conducted psychological experiments relating fear to affiliation. In their studies, they found that when under a strong fear of electric shock, that their male subjects experienced more of a desire to affiliate compared to the others under low fear conditions. They also found that firstborn and only children showed more of a wish to affiliate under fear than did later born subjects [males]. In these studies that Incorporated both male and female college students, does the cliché “misery loves company” fit?
Wouldn’t you agree that there is evidence that anxiety - fear can be “easily “induced? This means that we are extremely vulnerable and sensitive to the spoken word. We scare easily. We also know that the world of advertising and various politicians manipulate and are masters and sophisticated at employing the tactic of fear. These politicians tell us if we do such and such or if we don’t do such and such , our lives will become disastrous , especially now, as well as for our children’s future. They expertly pedal fear. For example, our most recent created government agency [Homeland Security] was supposed to protect us from whatever. Do you currently feel more or less anxious as a result of the creation of Homeland Security? We have the greatest military in the history of the world, all sorts of treaties and multiple weapons of mass destruction. Also, our police forces are equipped with the latest military gear. Are we really safer and do we experience less anxiety as a result of all that spending and weaponry? Do more bullets and more guns help you in reducing your anxiety? You probably don’t even know the answer to that question. If you had a bazooka, would that do the trick?
As you know there many polls taken in this country. In responding to or filling out a survey, and when asked to rate your concerns, the word concern really refers to anxiety or fear. A dictionary definition of concern was “Solicitude or anxiety.” If your number one concern is the economy or employment, then you obviously experience anxiety, which translates into security, or lack thereof. These polls are really measuring the anxiety forces in your life.
Since we began early in life with a significant level of fear or anxiety, some level is always there, and it doesn’t take much to increase or heightened those symptoms of anxiety. Generally, focusing on belly breathing and being in the here and now, often helps in reducing these awful symptoms. Activity, exercise, yoga are also valuable tools that can be used. If these suggestions don’t work, find a good therapist since alcohol, drugs and other escapes, are other illusions and don’t solve the issue.
Posted by Frank at 10:13 AM
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
On July 19, 2015 an article titled The Anxious Americans was found in The New York Times. According to the article, about one in five or 18% of Americans are anxious, have an anxiety disorder diagnosis and spend over $2 billion per year on anti-anxiety medications. Not only that, but in 2002, statistics from A World Mental Health survey [14 countries were studied], found that Americans were the most anxious people-had clinically significant levels of anxiety higher than even individuals living in Nigeria, Lebanon and the Ukraine.
In 1924, Otto Rank postulated that the trauma of birth was the first experience of anxiety and was prototypical of future anxieties. Even if that’s not true, anxiety [an emotional state associated with apprehension or dread] is certainly experienced beginning in infancy, as a result of and during the child rearing process. Anxiety can be a realistic fear response of something painful. It is a signal of potential danger in which Freud hypothesized that the ego attempts to avoid. Further, anxiety or tension can be the result of an internal impulse or state, signifying a conflict between the ego ideal, the image of the ideal self-versus the image of the real self or the result of something in the external environment-like a sound of a shooting gun.
Many believe that anxiety can be found in the unconscious, and that inner feelings themselves cause this emotional state. Alfred Adler, for one, suggested that infant’s experience helplessness. And that feels like a sense of inferiority which leads to the will for power-superiority. And that the goal and lifestyle of the individual reflects that dynamic. Karen Horney suggested that anxiety is the most painful experience a person can have and must be avoided at all cost. These feelings originate as a child experiences being isolated and helpless and is driven toward security and safety. Thus, anxiety is all pervasive, hidden and subjective.
Having an anxiety disorder diagnosis is associated with motor tension- shakiness, or inability to relax; autonomic hyperactivity- sweating, heart pounding, dry mouth; apprehensive expectation -worry, fear, anticipation of misfortune; vigilance and scanning-hyper attentiveness, difficulty in concentration, irritability. Of course, we have a great majority of physical and mental health experts, a huge insurance-based industry, along with the gigantic pharmaceutical complex with plenty in our pill popping quick fix culture.
We know that there are many parenting styles and philosophies regarding child rearing, and that many say they intend to rear their child differently than they were. Of course, these parents are likely both employed working long hours in an economy that favors some. These anxiety-guilt driven individuals more than likely are overprotective and overindulge their remarkable-special children who can become anything they desire. The cliché spare the rod and spoil the child often fits and describes the parenting philosophy or pattern of behavior. Could imperfect parenting, working long hours and making lots of money be associated with this diagnosis?
Certainly, we have to add war, terrorists and poverty to the anxiety-medication diagnosis equation. Members in our government play a role in the perpetuation of these issues and then tell us they are here to protect us from these dangers. Unfortunately, more bombs, guns. bullets, and the talk of Second Amendment rights do little to mitigate the pain. Nor does alcohol, drugs, and electronic games, professional sports, movies, solve the problem even though it does help with the distortion of reality. Even our defense mechanism of repression does not totally protect us from our internal emotion.
Some might say that our philosophy of the mind is the issue. They would point to the self-help industry, which teaches us to pay attention to our inner experience if we want to succeed and be happy we need to know how we feel according to the Stanford professor T. M.Luhmann. He goes on to point out that Americans believe that excessive sadness is a cause of sickness. And research in 1980, demonstrated that Americans associated chronic pain with depression. However, in China, receiving treatment for bodily pain was permissible and was not related to some inner mental state. This anthropologist interviewed people with schizophrenia. And in our country, if you hear voices that meant you were crazy. However, in India, the woman with active hallucinations was not at all worried about her emotional state. The professor’s point was that the way we think about our mind might explain our overuse of anxiety medication.
This anthropologist is also suggesting that different cultures, different societies also explain differences in mental health treatment. He talks to a third world country woman about apparent hallucinations [His credibility is what?-Where does he get his expertise?] He reported that this woman was fine with whatever she was experiencing. Perhaps in a Third World country, one can have different psychological experiences than a person in a high functioning school educated, high stress, and work environment milieu. The level of functioning in our country and society is different, compared with an agrarian-based society with high unemployment, poverty, etc. Let’s compare strawberries with strawberries and blueberries with blueberries. Further, allow this anthropologist to remain within his own field of expertise.
In my opinion, part of the problem lies within our pharmacy-based health insurance industry. Psychotherapy visits are considered too expensive and so insurance plans of today have limitations as to the number of therapy visits per year. The industry does not have limits as to the number of pills that can be prescribed. Pills are better for the pharmaceutical industry and for the insurance industry. Monitor the medication. It’s quick, easy and familiar.
The causes in learning how to deal and confront our internal and external fears require therapeutic work. Not all people are psychologically minded or are good candidates for psychotherapy. I grant that. The fact that psychotherapy and medication is more effective than medication alone is irrelevant. The key variable is cost. Cost to the insurance industry and their partner the pharmaceutical industry. These two elements rule and prescribe the level of treatment. It’s a shame that more money- funds are not spent on therapy research. We certainly don’t want to know the answer. Somebody might want to make changes in the treatment of anxiety. I still think Socrates was right “Know thyself.”
Posted by Frank at 7:43 AM
Monday, August 3, 2015
Recently while on my morning training run, I thought about mothers, child-rearing, and love. To begin, practically everyone has their own idea of love. A definition found in “A Dictionary of Psychology” defined Love as the following: a typical sentiment involving fondness for, or attachment to, an object, the idea of which is emotionally colored whenever it arises in the mind, and capable, as Shand has pointed out, out of evoking any one of the whole gamut of primary emotions, according to the situation in which the object is placed, or represented; often, and by psychoanalysts always, used in the sense of sex-love or even lust. According to Sullivan, love, in part, is associated with sexual union, genuine intimacy, and care for a member of the opposite sex, and in conjunction with a mutually powerful bodily satisfaction resulting in maturation of self-respect and appreciation of others. More than likely, it is safe to say that these definitions differ from your own. Further, these definition may or may not assist you in understanding that sentiment or feeling of being loved, or exhibiting loving behavior.
Some might argue that within the child development process, the person learns a lot about how someone loves as a result of modeling or imitation, by the behavior of the mother or caretakers. This suggests that we watch and learn how others express loving behaviors. Obviously, showing love is very different than from receiving and being loved. Some may have an easier time giving as opposed to receiving love.
Do not forget that our ego ideal is not just about the idea of removing blemishes, attempting to attain and striving for perfection. Although that’s important, it is not the only aim of the ego ideal. The task or desire is also about receiving affection and being loved. However, exhibiting love or loving behavior is more than likely impossible without the previous experience of being loved. In other words, if you haven’t been loved, what do you know about love; how can you love anything, including yourself? Being loved, or not being loved is a very important dynamic and the base or basis for all future loving or non-loving behaviors.
Let’s begin with the infant. As in the case of humans, the infant is totally and I mean totally dependent on the mother-caretaker. If left alone, the infant has no discernible language, and an absence of small or large motor skills. The infant is helpless. Someone or some object has to totally care for and meet the physical needs- receiving food, shelter, warmth etc. Being held, being fed, having one’s diaper changed, receiving warmth, etc. by the mother is defined as loving behaviors. What about irregular feeding, a breast that dries up, being in an unchanged diaper, yelling at or even spanking a crying infant? These behaviors are unlikely to be classified as loving behaviors. Infants cry, some caretakers vary in the amount of time before they attempt to comfort the irritable infant. Some caretaker’s likely rush to comfort and some likely allow the infant to cry too long. At this time, there is no formula as to what is optimal. Not only that, anxiety or tension begins early and some believe at birth. The message to the infant is mixed. He or she can’t talk, but can only cry. Sometimes there is early success and sometimes not as to when the baby’s needs are met. How does the infant make sense [Ease the tension system or anxiety] of behaviors that adults would call loving, compared to behaviors that adults call non- loving?
During childhood, the infant is no longer as helpless as it now has developed language, as well as the ability to locomote. The growing, developing child becomes more aware and develops strategies for meeting its needs. First, the mother or caretaker’s loving [Feeding, clothing, holding, kissing, tender language, smiling, etc.] behaviors are not unconditional. Mothers get angry, have rules governing behavior and experience many emotions themselves. even though a mother or mother figure, may provide feeding and clothing and even say I love you, the child has to compute these words and her behavior at times with an angry, yelling, and spanking – a mother who was definitely not smiling while disciplining the child. Immediately, or thereafter, the guilty mother may still say “I love you, but I don’t like your behavior.” I contend that those words and behavior are not consonant. In fact, there are mixed messages to say the least. How does anybody make sense out of I love you, but not when you break my rules. This is certainly conditional and doesn’t necessarily mean that I hate you when you don’t obey my rules. Certainly, however the look on the caretakers face tells a story. How and when did the child learn to say “I hate you?” Or what is the message when the mother says “just wait until your father gets home” or “walk behind me, I do not want anyone to know were related.” And more recently, I saw a father pinch his son and pull on his ear. How about this loving expression “I put food in your belly, clothes on your back and the bed to sleep on.” There are so many examples of parents demonstrating “unloving or harsh behaviors” even though they are also telling them that “I love you.”
Number years ago parents did not verbalize to their kids the barrage of “I love you’” which seems to be the mantra of today. Parents of years ago, but not have any trouble disciplining their kids. This suggests that there were more than likely less mixed verbal messages than today. And if this is true, then perhaps children of today are more confused about love and the ability to trust what is said to them. Once again being loved allows the individual to be able to exhibit loving behaviors. And, more importantly, love begins as an unconscious fantasy of being loved. This unconscious fantasy of love has to be mixed up like a bowl of spaghetti for many. Remember, yelling, screaming, belittling and spanking are not good for the child. To tell them that “I’m doing it for your own good” is hogwash. It’s important that words and behavior are not dissonant. Do the kids of today, exhibit more loving behaviors [Not simply saying the words] or are they more self-centered, angry, and engage and exhibit more individualistic escape like behaviors?
Further, the way we exhibit or express our “loving behaviors” is unconsciously or in some cases, conscious, but we want to receive love and approval from the other. Use a mirror to examine how you love so that will put you in touch with what you want from your partner. If you’re practicing a lot of negative expressions or behaviors and calling them love, this is unconsciously what you want to receive yourself. If you are not getting what you want from your partner, take a good look into that mirror
Posted by Frank at 10:29 AM
Saturday, August 1, 2015
One of the unconscious dynamic tasks of the Ego Ideal is to compensate for the imperfections, flaws, deficits of the individual. In other words, there’s more than a striving for improvement, but an unrealistic goal If you like striving for achievement, and/or perfection. This perfection or ideal cannot be attained regardless of one’s intellectual, physical, or personality efforts made during a lifetime. There can likely never be the “perfect” idealized object or objects to make up or fill the gigantic hole in us humans regardless of how hard we work to accomplish this, Sisyphus like task. Moreover, it seems like the unconscious workings of the ego ideal is never finished nor completed during our lifespan.
It appears that the unconscious desire for being loved and receiving affection takes the place of the striving for perfection. The helpless infant is totally dependent on the love and care of the mother or caretaker for its survival. The infant cannot feed itself, cannot clean itself, cannot care for, or provide warmth and shelter for itself. These behaviors, by the mother, become associated with love, warmth, safety and protection. This process evolves and develops into an unconscious fantasy of being loved and then becomes a strong desire or need to be loved. Consciously, the ability to love and be loved is one of the cornerstones of a self-actualized individual.
Being loved, being admired, being praised, being appreciated generally begins with the mother or mother figure in the caretaking process during the child development years. The idolized object, then can be generalized to include a father, siblings, grandparents, aunts or uncles within the nuclear family. Often, seeking approval, etc. generalizes to a teacher, coach, team or some other significant adult or group. The peer group takes on mega importance as we want to be part of, fit in, be liked and be on the receiving end of respect and admiration and the acknowledgment of it too. This desire for social recognition is the enlargement of the original wish to be admired or appreciated initially by one person, generally the mother. Further, the wish to be socially recognized is the most general form of the need to be loved. Some might call it a related need for affiliation or belonging.
Turning to Bo Schembechler, we found the following. As was true within the coaching world then and now, Bo received social recognition, especially being hired by the University Michigan. If his Wolverines were victorious against arch rivals Michigan State and Ohio State, he not only would have a secure job and a regular paycheck, he would be admired, praised, appreciated and loved by the enormous University of Michigan faithful that includes students, fans, faculty, administration, alumni, other coaches [ Do you think Woody Hayes would be proud!], etc.
As a result, Bo’s social recognition was dependent on his University of Michigan’s teams winning and only winning. This was made crystal clear, and he understood it very well. That meant he was under enormous pressure to prepare- his teams had to operate in a perfection like mode if you will. Generally, college athletes have the physical skills that tends to equalize across the board- yes, there are exceptions. Bo, could not do much about the physical genetics of his inherited players, but he could make inroads in their thinking, attitude about themselves, and about winning-he believed that everyone can improve [He must’ve known on some level about the ego ideal]. He knew that the mental process was likely the difference between winning and losing. Mike Keller called it the intangibles. Bo’s task was to drill and to imprint into the minds of the players to believe in themselves, in the team, in their teammates and in him. It was not easy as it took 4 ½ games to accomplish that task. It all came together in the second half of the game against Minnesota In 1969. From then on, Bo’s Wolverines were unstoppable.
Bo established and initiated physically brutal, conditioning programs coupled with physical practices like no other. He was a tyrant on the football field as the leader. He was verbally abusive in his unique way. The players realized that he treated everyone the same-like dogs. In fact, Fritz Seyferth indicated that former coach Bump Elliott would not treat the players, as Bo because it was disrespectful. Frank Gusich said that because of the unheard of mode of conditioning and hard practices, that he then realized that there would be no other team that could compete with his Wolverines, especially in the fourth quarter. He also overheard NFL coaches at their practice saying, “These guys really practice hard.” Mike Keller reported that game day was simply easier than the practices, and he looked forward to beating up someone else.
Initially, Bo was the bad cop, and the position coaches were the good cops. The players, after a short period of time, developed into a cohesive unit. They played like no other in order to receive praise, admiration and respect from their teammates. Mike Keller said he didn’t want to let any of his teammates down, which translates into receiving social recognition. Keller also reported that his teammates were like a band of brothers similar to being in a foxhole with them. Keller was not unusual, in wanting that social recognition.
Social recognition was realized, for Bo Schembechler’s players, his position coaches and for himself as result of his teams winning. He said that when the team wins, the players will receive their recognition. Many became drafted by the NFL, received, All-American honors, and became part of the U of M tradition. Further, last year, a statue of Bo Schembechler was erected outside of Schembechler Hall. And just recently, Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh was instrumental in forming a group for ex- U of M football players. Jim Betts was elected Pres. of this Michigan Football Alumni Network [MFAN] of the 2500 or so players. And, Jim Brandstatter was elected as Communications Director.
Like Bo Schembechler, Jim Harbaugh is under pressure and scrutiny and is expected to turn Michigan football’s program around to its glory days. Unlike Bo, Coach Harbaugh already has an enormous amount of social recognition. He is loved, admired, respected prior to coaching his first game. His social recognition has been similar and like a magnet in attracting top-notch, position coaches and maybe the best of the best of the high school recruits. Because of all this pressure, Coach Harbaugh has to work miracles in order to continue to receive the love and of course his hefty salary.
Likely, Coach Harbaugh in order to achieve his social recognition, etc., will have his players compete, not pussy foot around with shortcuts and deal with their mindset. Since December, with his hiring, Jim Harbaugh has been masterful in receiving social recognition from the local and national media. He’s been a master in the realm of social media. Just seek Jim out on twitter or go to Bleacher Report, and you’ll know what I mean.
Join us in Ann Arbor on September 17 from 6 to 8 PM for hors d’oeuvres and book signing of Bo’s Warriors at Sesi Motors.
Posted by Frank at 9:39 AM
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Some thoughts/ideas about the dynamics of a so-called Lone Wolf terrorist. These individuals have created and implemented a plan of havoc that have led to a number of deaths within our homeland. So far the results have been deaths and many injuries including their own. Generally, these people are relatively young; reportedly Muslims; partially reared in the United States; may have visited the Middle East and then returned to our country with ideas of destruction and death to soft, non-militarized and non expecting targets. Often, the why question was asked; or, how could this have happened; while the neighbors interviewed seem to be at a loss to explain.
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, many Europeans migrated to the United States as a result of oppression, discrimination, desire for a better life, political freedom, and to improve their socioeconomic levels for their family. Some were likely motivated by hearing that “the streets were paved with gold”, which of course was incorrect. Back then, legal immigration to the United States was called the “melting pot.”
However, more lately with the worldwide popularity of US made movies and US television enabled the more recent immigrants to get another glimpse of residing in the present United States society. Andrew O’Hagan in his article, The Happiness Project in the July 19, 2015 edition of The New York Times wrote about his early view of our country. O’Hagan, an immigrant from Scotland, wrote about the image of the United States that he had as a young boy. He remembered seeing a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Disney movie, in Scotland, with his father in the 1970's. That left them both enthralled. For young Andrew, this was magic and formed for him in his mind ideas about work, play, domestic life, and love. This imprinting also shaped his idea and he concluded that happiness was a creation. Not only that, it was something that anyone could accomplish. It was definitely not about inheritance. Disney was able to portray on film and send the message that America was a happiness mall and available to everyone. And, that one has a golden opportunity of becoming or achieving anything under the moon and stars. It was a genius of an idea even though it was managed by corporations. For all practical purposes, these notions are translated into the opportunity for freedom for today’s new arrivals. Thank you, Walt Disney for your creation and message.
What seems clear is the fact about the Lone Wolf does not seem to be well connected and is not significantly taking part of the advantages in the US culture of today. These Lone Wolves have not totally integrated or blended into our society as did the Europeans of 100 plus years ago [yes, it didn’t happen overnight]. Despite attending school and/ or college, they are not an integral part of us, but remain segregated, separate and do not share the same values of Main Street USA.
This is not to say they are unaware of the multitude of American individuals taking advantage of all the significant benefits of living in our free and open society. They know about the advantages in the upper middle and lower upper class classifications; they watch the affluence on US television; they see movies of violence, sex, etc.; and they have become aware of the illusions, fantasy, goodness, playfulness, utopia and creative imagery that takes place in the magic of Disney Land and its film. If you’re not part of this American culture, American dream scenario, you might initially unconsciously admire what it is like living in our culture and society, but then more likely experience the development of a sense of envy and shame. Unfortunately, the unconscious or conscious feelings of envy, jealousy, shame and doubt lead to the overt expression of anger, willfulness, resentment, hate and violence. Note that the ability to love, have goodwill, identify with pride and have positive self-esteem are negatively affected. This individual is severely and emotionally disturbed. We’re not talking about a happy individual.
All of us are born and then develop our own ego ideal. This means that consciously or unconsciously, there’s a drive to improve and overcome our perceived limitations, faults, flaws or deficits through idolized persons or objects. This might mean a physical limitation or impairment, emotional-social problems, intellectual issues or personality flaws. The ego attempts to compensate, repair and fix its damaged self even though the mechanism for solution is unrealistic, totally out of the question, and impossible to obtain. In this case, the deficits are related and translated into personality dynamics of low self-esteem, powerlessness, insignificance and fears. These unconscious elements linger and may not even reach consciousness. However, the individual carries these heavy psychological burdens throughout. It’s not like a bag that you can set down and leave. It’s more like being in your hidden pocket all the time.
Developmentally, through irregular child rearing, difficult socioeconomic and political experiences an authoritarian like character evolved along with the ego ideal mechanism. As a result, personality Issues of envy, shame and doubt, coupled with lack of control, insufficient autonomy, sadism and masochism trends, feelings of inferiority with a mindset for violence, destruction and death lead to inhuman like patterns of behavior. This character style is definitely not about individuation, love of self, and love of mankind, unification or universal brotherhood. The individual with these character style strivings has to fuse and become dependent on something or someone projecting a great power since they are not trusting nor autonomous individuals. They are unable to stand on their own two feet and are easily duped ready to follow regardless of the cost to self. The people they kill our anonymous and are not seen as humans, but simply a nondescript enemy. As a result, these individuals are easily drawn and seek out various terrorist groups [Idolized object] that project a negative power, ability not only to terminate a life, but to perform and murder sadistically. The defenseless victim or victims are mutilated, blown up or shot. It’s not a fair fight, In fact, it is not a fight at all. This is not about courage, it’s about sadism at its worst. In fact, the holder of the saber; bomb or the automatic weapon is weak and fearful and has an inflated sense of power and control. His victims are generally unarmed and totally unsuspecting of the terror that awaits. The goal is to tear down, kill and destroy and to unconsciously/consciously commit suicide.
In the Islamic religion, one can become “happy” in the hereafter according to one’s interpretation of the Koran. As a result, if you’re are willing or driven with a mission to take up arms against someone in the United States, which has the largest, most powerful military in the world; along with an outstanding police force; along with all the government cameras; along with all the individuals that have cell phones in their possession, the end result is predictable – suicide and death to the Lone Wolf. A distortion of this belief, and that this terror results in finally achieving becoming “ happy” or a martyr, and be covered, front page, by our media with its resulting tremendous propaganda message. Being in the media, certainly gives one “fame-significance.”
In this interpretation of the Lone Wolf, the terrorist group becomes the idolized object which completes, complements and/or equalizes the ego deficits or inferiority-it leaves the individual with essentially a concealed or unconscious readiness to join and become part of this disease. In essence, we’re not talking about growth, evolution or of life. We are talking about finality, decay and death in which the Lone Wolf dies miserably alone. Sad! History over and over has shown duped humans repeating this sickness of hate behavior against other humans. Thank goodness the majority of humans are decent, have brotherhood values, a sense of ethics and do the right thing.
Posted by Frank at 9:05 AM
Sunday, July 26, 2015
I read an interesting article titled “The Dangers of Happiness” in the July 19, 2015 edition of The New York Times. According to its author, happiness, signifies a guide, a direction for the attainment of a moral life. The idea of happiness was discussed and developed by the Greek philosophers of yesteryear. For example, Aristotle defined happiness by being a good person. The Greek word was called eudemonia-a person that lived ethically, guided by reason and motivated by exhibiting their virtues. Later, the Epicureans, added their own definition. They associated happiness with obtaining pleasure for the greater good. Further, they believed that the good life should be devoted to things that brought pleasure. And Epicurus, the father of the philosophy, reportedly said that he needed no more than a barley cake and some water for his happiness, especially if he was dining with a friend. They were not hedonists. In fact, they preached and imposed a strict regulation of desire, an absence of pain, with emphasis on pleasures in the mind as contrasted to exclusively physical pleasures.
The philosophy of the Stoics added status to their idea of pleasure/ happiness. They argued that a person had the capacity to be happy regardless of how daunting or painful the negative circumstances of one’s life. My attention immediately retrieved Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning-An Introduction to Logotherapy” from memory. While in the Nazi concentration camps, the will to survive and contemplate about the future was paramount for the prisoner’s survival. Dr. Frankl’s account did not detail happiness but he did detail the psychological misery of the inmates. Although at the time of liberation, prisoners exhibited a number of emotions. Yes, there was happiness [difficult to assess] but also relief from the horrible inhumane conditions of the camp.
In the Middle Ages, Christianity’s regarded pain as the more appropriate pathway for a happy life on earth. Pain, was the desired state. And the only pathway could be attained by God in heaven. Life on earth was difficult for the majority, while reaching heaven was certainly going to bring long-awaited happiness. Then, during the Renaissance period, the definition of happiness was changed and could be attained on earth through individual responsibility. Along with the Reformation [Luther and Calvin] and the rise of capitalism, happiness was now equated with being productive and hard work. The social class boundaries now became more malleable for the first time historically. Presently, we market ourselves, climb the corporate ladder; and have developed a despising and hateful attitude toward those who are lazy, accept welfare and those who don’t look for employment. The Age of Enlightenment, followed and influenced Thomas Jefferson. He wrote that the pursuit of happiness was not only an unalienable right, and that man should also have the right to acquire and possess property. He certainly wasn’t referring to the black man who could be possessed and purchased. Approximately 80 years later, Lincoln and the Civil War defined the pursuit of happiness much differently.
Today, and more recently, the path to happiness is to become enlightened emotionally of one’s inner self, to pursue our own dreams, and to become anything we want. Some even pursue themselves by worshiping their bodies by long-distance running, boot camps, iron man events and Cross-Fit competitions per the professor
Taking issue with Prof.Cederstrom, I have competed in long-distance running [Running the Western States 100 mile one day run] and many other events. These experiences allow me to add my two cents. I must say that while running the Western States and other extreme events, I experienced numerous emotions of which happiness was absent. I realize my experience could be idiosyncratic. I hardly experienced a lot of on pleasure during, and wondered at times, “Why am I doing this?” And after completion of some of these events, especially Western states, I felt exhausted, relieved, had a smile on my face and then puked. I was happy that the event was completed and over.
Happiness is very difficult to access and is fleeting at best. My experience as psychologist is that many people distort their feelings as they use their thoughts to determine feelings –especially, whether or not they’re happy. And by employing thoughts, they are deceiving themselves as result of their defense mechanisms. Denial, intellectualization and rationalizations are commonly used defense mechanisms. Of course, when it comes to happiness they would likely disagree with me while expressing feelings of irritation, annoyance and perhaps anger with their verbal response. And I just smile in return.
For me, my pursuit is intellectual, emotional and physical well-being. Stress and poor health would result in unwelcome pressure as well as a state of misery. So, I engage in behaviors that are supposed to minimize stress and perpetuate terrific mental and physical health. Although some might argue, that I increase stress prior to an ultra-run. Yes, I do experience stress prior and during these events. I want to make clear that I don’t run “Ultras” every day or every week. Thank goodness for that. I also rationalize and tell myself many things about running ultra-events, especially after I completed one without developing an overuse injury, cramping or some other electrolyte imbalance. My ratio is the positives outnumber the negatives. If and when that ratio changes, I will reduce my mileage. The mantra is to keep moving.
If Aristotle and the Stoics had something to say, they might evaluate me according to their definition of happiness as I’m a good person and employ reason in pursuing moral virtues. I also pick and choose when I’m going to experience pain and do it on my terms. Certainly, I subscribe to hard work as in the Reformation era; am in touch with my inner self; and pursue my own earth goals. In essence, I am incorporating ideas and take a somewhat eclectic approach to this happiness philosophical argument. For instance, after a running event, my running partner Tony and I head to the nearest Baskin-Robbins or Ghirardelli ice cream shop for some combination of delicious ice cream. I admit that at this point, I am seeking pleasure and my hedonism reveals itself as I’m extremely happy and in touch with my happiness. If you don’t believe me, just as Tony.
Posted by Frank at 11:55 AM
Friday, July 24, 2015
A simplified glimpse into Theodor Reik’s notion of romantic love. Let’s begin with one premise regarding the psychological state. The inherent idea that practically everyone has a tension system or drive to improve, to become a better self. That drive for improvement can refer to one’s intellectual, psychological and/ or physical attributes over a lifetime. For example, an individual attends college in order to become smarter, to find a mate as well as to increase the probability of making more money - the one who has more or the biggest toys wins. Or, an individual seeks out psychotherapy, some form of meditation, etc. to improve one’s mental health and emotional state. Individuals also visit dermatologists, plastic surgeons and other medical providers to improve one’s physical attributes and/or physical health. Many persons also become involved in the billion-dollar physical fitness industry to become healthier, stronger, etc. -find your own personal trainer, coach to practice and train “Practice makes perfect.” Many attend church, synagogue or temples to become more fully involved spiritually. And, if need be, one can find that right person or soulmate to make you happy on that special dating site. Just pay attention to Internet and TV commercials-they have the answers regarding improvement of self. The perfect outfit or smart suit “Makes the man or makes the woman.” It is clear that the self is not perfect and requires improvement. The expression “There’s always room for improvement” says it all.
This motivational idea to better self begins much before adulthood. This drive, need to or remove deficits to oneself originate in the unconscious, can enter the conscious level, and is an ongoing and back and forth process. One way of understanding this motivation is called the Ego Ideal. Not only do we seek out ways for self-improvement, but we also unconsciously / consciously seek out others to fulfill our perceived flaws. We may have desires to become more protective, outgoing, tender, loving, socially refined, wealthy, altruistic, fun, exciting, dangerous, strong, beautiful , handsome, empathetic, proactive, sexual, confident, etc. -conquering and catching is also part of the deficit equation. The ego ideal can fulfill those imperfections. However, our ego ideal sets the bar at unrealistic heights so that practically no one can attain this perfection. Even though we fall short, time after time, we still head down the same road. Einstein once said something to the effect that “Making the same mistake over and over again and expecting a different result is insane.” As this drive is often at the unconscious level, our blinders, illusions defense mechanisms and distortions interfere with reality.
An individual might be initially drawn to another [Idealized object] in order to fulfill [ego completion or ego improvement] what’s apparently missing or absent. This unknowing male is drawn to the idealized object with some desired qualities that he lacks or that merges well with his personality characteristics -somewhat, sometimes but not always “Opposites attract. “ This often sets the stage for the beginning of romance. During this initial phase, there is typically a desire to possess and to unite or join as one. The “I “merges and becomes a “We” or an “Us. “The brilliant Shakespeare in his Romeo and Juliet play addressed what is considered a significant part of us-the name. It is the expression of the separated personality, which now has no meaning. Juliet speaks:
Tis but thy name that is mine enemy;
Thou art myself, though not a Montague.
O, be some other name!
Shakespeare added further, the idea of merging in this play. Merging can be considered a most tender form of taking possession of another-it also encompasses the surrender of oneself. While this is going on, the individual thinks about the idealized object incessantly and cannot live without her. The memory and idea of the person interferes with the ability to concentrate. The anxiety and excitement builds with anticipation of future meetings. The individual’s life is changed dramatically, and he cannot help sharing this with others. It’s as if she is now the center of his universe. All sense of rational reason and control seem unimportant. He becomes more impulsive, driven. It’s like a snowball going down the mountain, becoming larger and larger. No one can stop it. Further, that love is about giving and the pleasure is being able to give to the other, as opposed to receiving. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare has Juliet saying:
…. as boundless as the sea
My love as deep; the more I give thee
The more I have, for both are infinite.
This love becomes the fulfillment of one’s ego ideal but is not endless in duration. On the one hand, we initially experience admiration, tenderness, happiness, infatuation and passion which is a necessary feeling of incipient love. One difficulty is that the unconscious admiration of another’s qualities has a limited time duration and when it hits home consciously, it begins to expose the others deficits. When this occurs this can lead to discontent, irritation, jealousy, hostility, and even hatred. So very often there is a dance or a battle that begin in the unconscious. This is like a fight, an encounter with the other and. then a retreat. It’s like push-pull tug-of-war fight, or flight. The expression of hostility becomes merged with tenderness and as that dynamic becomes more conscious, it plays out - we have-lovers quarrels, violent behaviors interrupting tenderness, etc. Although this romantic love is not endless there is also no length of time that defines it.
Romantic love is on shaky ground when one individuals perception, image, fantasy of the object changes of the idealized object. This process takes place as the components in the unconscious usually rise to the conscious level of awareness. This conscious awareness soon leads to the individual seeing more clearly blemishes and flaws of the object. Of course, the blemishes and flaws were always there; however, now they are clearly seen, and cannot be avoided. Even, what was once perceived unconsciously as a strength or a positive now becomes a negative. There is additional pulling away emotionally, withdrawing affection, expressing irritation and displeasure with the other –indifference. While this is happening, the ego ideal is greatly affected and so is romantic love. And emotionally and behaviorally without affection and tenderness results in a relationship that is severely threatened. Once again, we’re talking about perception and the change in perception and going from the depths of the unconscious to conscious levels of awareness. Of course the other in the equation also experiences and reacts to the changes of the other partner. The perceptual and awareness changes that take place between the two lovers is like being on a rocky canoe in the middle the ocean .It becomes very tipsy and goes from side to side. Can the canoe right itself to become stable? It’s important to remember that changes in perception lead to consonant changes in thinking, emotion and behavior.
Whether or not this signifies the end of the relationship with the idealized object is dependent upon numerous variables such as age, emotional maturity, previous relationships, dependency, socioeconomic and external factors as well as the ability to understand self and other. And, more importantly, the resolution of the battle within the ego ideal and the idealized object requires an ending or a different beginning. The very same variables apply to the other person. Remember romantic love is not identical with mature love. And, if we were actually in touch with the depth of our unconscious, we would have better clues as to our ego ideal, idealized object and emotional potentialities of both players. However that is not the case, and mistakes are made. Additional ideas’ about love and mature love dynamics to follow.
Posted by Frank at 11:35 AM