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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.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Imagine



Throughout history there has been a belief in the ability of man to reach his humanistic potential. Today, there are others that favor a nationalistic ideology. This essay contrasts these two ideologies with religious examples. I shall not address the why, the how or the dynamics underlying the forming of these narcissistic religious groups.
We know that the young are first faced with uncertainty, anxiety, dependence, and require sustenance, a protector for survival. We also know the importance of narcissism in the development of man. Man has a great capacity and drive for survival. He realized that a union with another, as in two heads are better than one, were to his advantage. Man further realized that becoming part of a group, group narcissism, increased and bettered his chances for engaging in the world.
Let’s begin our story by taking a snapshot at a few of the religions of the world. The Hebrew Scriptures, prophets and kings like Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, David, and Saul go back over 5,000 years. According to Moses, God identified, in the 10 Commandments, a number of inappropriate behaviors between man and man: honor thy father and thy mother; thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; thou shall not kill; thou shall not commit adultery; thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor; thou shall not covet [neighbor’s house, neighbor’s wife, slaves, or anything else] and thou shall not steal. Clearly, these are sadistic behaviors. It wasn’t until the Exodus, when these slaves wandered in the desert for 40 years, believed in the Lord and became his chosen people. This resulted in the 10 commandments forming the basis of Jewish law or right and wrong. Not only that, these Hebrew slaves became one. They belonged to a special group of Homo sapiens and are referred to as Jews and group narcissism.
Roughly 2,000 years ago there was a Jewish prophet, preacher, leader called Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was a Galilean Jew, was baptized, began his own ministry and was called Rabbi. He debated other Jews about God, engaged in healings, taught in parables and gathered followers. He was arrested, tried, and turned over to Pontius Pilate. He was crucified. After his death, his followers believed that he rose from the dead, and Christianity followed. Now, we have another group of Homo sapiens called Christians and group narcissism.
In Islam, Jesus was considered one of God’s important prophets and a Messiah. They believed Jesus was born a virgin, but was neither God nor a begotten God. They stated that Jesus never claimed divinity and they don’t believe he was killed or crucified .They believed that he was physically raised into heaven by God. In Islam, there are Sunni, Shia, and a number of other narcissistic groups within that religion.
Judaism does not believe that Jesus was the awaited Messiah, neither fulfilled Messianic prophecies, nor was he divine or resurrected. In Judaism, there are three main narcissistic groups, the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform.
In the 15th and 16th century there was a rebellious, anti-Semite, sadomasochistic German professor of theology named Martin Luther. He was excommunicated by Pope Leo X and condemned by the Holy Roman Emperor. An angry, hateful temper driven Luther called for the death of the Jews and burnings of their synagogues. His anger and hatred was also directed toward Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, nontrinitarian Christians and sometimes at God. He was extremely superstitious and had a strong belief in spirits and the devil.
Luther taught that salvation and consequently external life are not earned by good deeds, but are received only as a gift of God’s grace through the believer’s faith in Jesus Christ as Redeemer. He challenged the authority of the Pope by teaching that the Bible was the only source of divinely revealed knowledge. He opposed sacerdotalism and considered all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood. His narcissistic group are called Lutherans and he was instrumental in the Protestant Reformation. Today, about one third of Christians are Protestants.
A short deviation pertaining to Luther follows. There is a controversy as to whether or not Luther, the priest, at the age of 23 in 1507, while celebrating his first mass, had a “fit in the choir.” Was Luther mentally ill, possessed by demons or both when he fell to the ground in the choir of the monastery and roared with the voice of a bull “it isn’t me or I am not” depending upon the German or Latin translation. Early biographers have different interpretations of this event.
More recently, Erikson, a clinician, was unable to give a clear diagnosis regarding that behavior. Erikson believed that Luther was undergoing an identity crisis at the time. It was known that Luther‘s father was a miner. Luther’s parents were rigid, hard, thrifty, and superstitious and both caned their boy. Luther’s school years were monotonous, cruel and exploitive. Needless to say this resulted in making this child fearful for life. Luther was troubled, defiant and stubborn. This factored in his conflict with his identity. Should Luther show obedience to his father {and become a jurist} or obedience to the Father in heaven?  First, Luther had to endure melancholy, depression and/or psychosis in silence and meditation for the next 10 years in that monastery, until 1507. Perhaps, he recovered, perhaps not.  In any event, the rebel, reformer and spiritual dictator nailed 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg.
Born in 1509 was the French theologian John Calvin. Within Calvin’s theology, are the doctrines of predestination, absolute sovereignty of God’s salvation, the human soul, and death or eternal damnation? He was a reformer during the Protestant Reformation and influenced many congregations .Calvin broke formally from Roman Catholic Church around 1530. Now, we have another religious narcissistic group.
We have a lot of religious groupings and it’s safe to say, that belonging to a religious group is an example of group narcissism. All these groups say that there is one God. From there, there are differences per each group and each group clings to a belief that they have the true or only answer. Not only that, but they are right, true believers and anyone having a different opinion are not as righteous. In fact, there have been numerous sadistic and hateful battles and killings between the groups.
The hate propaganda states that “Jews are killers of Christ” so they are the enemy. English kings went to the holy land to fight and kill the infidels numerous times. Shia and Sunni seem to have little difficulty murdering each other. Do not forget the 30 years’ war from 1618 to 1648 when the Protestants and Catholics battled in response to the election of Pope Ferdinand 11. 8 million deaths, hunger, disease and the devastation of entire regions followed.  
The European wars of Christian religions were waged in Europe during the 16, 17 and early 18th centuries. These wars essentially disrupted the religious and political dominance of Catholic countries in Europe. Much later battles between the Ireland Catholics and the Great Britain surfaced. This also resulted in many civilian casualties.  Thus, we have a number of narcissistic groups.
 I purposely used only a few religious groups because they provided numerous concrete and historical examples for division, hatred and the significant problem as in” my group is better than your group,” It can also be argued that these wars were the result of revenge, power, accumulation of money, acquiring geographical space, destroying the world of Islam, challenging medieval learning by the philosophical and scientific ideas of Arabic thinkers and political control. These explanations or reasons do not seem to be divinely inspired nor for moral and ethical purposes. It goes back to man versus man under the umbrella of religion but not the religious teachings of humanism.
We have humanistic teachings of “love thy neighbor” and “love thine enemy.” However, during those times and in the times of Socrates and St. Augustine, the world, as known by man, was very limited. Years, later from the 19th century on, the existentialists Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jaspers, Heidegger, Sartre and others extended those ideas and emphasized man fully developing. This meant a more humanistic man, with man relating to man very differently than historically. Humanism is diametrically opposed to narcissistic groups.
In fact, you may be surprised by the writings of the German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, and socialist revolutionary Karl Heinrich Marx. In collaboration with Frederick Engels, their writings can be found in the reading room of the British Museum.
Marx has been discredited by propaganda perpetuated by the United States by falsely accusing him of being the creator of the economic policies of Russian and Chinese socialism. So far from the truth. Marx was true humanist and believed that one’s personality is highly influenced by the economic and social conditions in which one must live, and not with ideas and slogans. His ideas were to liberate man from the pressure of his economic needs so he could become fully human. In other words, he was concerned with the emancipation of man’s individualism by overcoming his alienation because of the monotony of his work. Then, he would be able to restore his capacity. By doing so, man could relate to himself fully, to fellow man and to nature. Man had to have more control over production. Marx was opposed to an economic system based on materialistic practice, the greedy desire for money, maximum profit, material gain and property. He didn’t believe that the absence of private property was inhuman nor bad. He believed that man makes his own history and he should be his own creator.
There were Communities of Work programs based on a communitarian movement that took place in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Holland. Founded by Marcel Barbu, who owned a watch case factory. Briefly, he hired atheists, Catholics, Protestants, materialists, humanists and Communists and they all worked together, found common cause and created  an ethical code: thou will love thy neighbor; thou shall not kill; thou shall not take thy neighbor’s goods; thou shall not lie; thou will be faithful to thy promise; thou shall earn  bread by the sweat of thy brow; thou shall respect thy neighbor, his person, his liberty; thou shall respect thyself; thou shall fight first against thyself, all vices which debase man, all the passions which hold man in slavery and are detrimental to a social life; pride, avarice, lust, covetousness, gluttony, anger, and laziness; thou shall hold that there are goods higher than life itself: liberty, human dignity, truth, justice etc.
These men vowed to treat self and each other their best every day. The group also wanted to educate themselves. Within three months, their productivity grew so much that they saved nine hours in a 48 hour work week. They now had nine hours to use for education. They were paid for the full 48 hours. They took courses in engineering, physics, literature, Marxism, Christianity, dancing, singing and basketball.
The following principles on which the Communities of Work are based: 1. In order to live a man’s life, one has to enjoy the whole fruit of one’s labor 2. One has to be able to educate oneself 3. One has to pursue a common endeavor within a professional group proportioned to the stature of man-100 families maximum 4. One has to be actively related to the whole world.
 Following this humanistic practice, psychologists like Gordon Allport, Kurt Goldstein, Carl Rogers, Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, Martin Seligman wrote about man’s ability to self-actualize. They saw this as being very important for man. It’s important for man to become a human being .Only then is he able to function fully, constructively so he can become trustworthy. Man has to be free from defensiveness, open to experience, have the ability to socialize, communicate with others in order to develop new heights of happiness and achievement.
Abraham Maslow researched a variety of individuals and was able to theorize about humanistic psychology. Some of his subjects were alive and some were not alive. In his theory he came up with 15 characteristics that described an individual that reached self-actualization. This didn’t mean that they were perfect. They could be ruthless, alienate others, and detached. A brief overview of a few of their characteristics are as follows: 1. They tolerated uncertainty and ambiguity more easily than others. As a result, they lived closer to reality and to nature 2. They were especially spontaneous in their thoughts, other covert tendencies, and unconventionality 3. They were not ego centered, but are oriented to problems outside themselves, important problems to which they are devoted as in a mission in life 4. They derived ecstasy, inspiration and strength from the basic experiences of life 5. They experienced identification, sympathy and affection for mankind 6. They respected people, learned from them, and related to them, irrespective birth, race, blood, family etc. 7. They tended to be philosophical and non-hostile in their humor.
Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and other prophets gave humanistic messages to their followers and thus individual narcissism was transferred to group narcissism. However, the Roman Caesars, Popes, English and French Kings, Queen Isabella and her Inquisition, Protestant Reformation figures and others with their slick marketing, power, and narcissistic styles had no difficulty converting the masses or group narcissism to their whims. It was like sheep following the wolves. It was not about rationality, objectivity, and reason, it was about having the” love “and protection from powerful father figures. When this happened, the likelihood of my group is supreme, the best, the most religious and the only one to follow occurred. This resulted in prejudice, hate and sadistic destruction of others.
Unfortunately, the behavior of the masses do not follow the modeling of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed. The devil and group narcissism continues to be a major threat to humanism. However, there is hope as Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”  I don’t know if this quote influenced John Lennon and Paul McCartney for their classic “Imagine.”  “Imagine there is no heaven  it’s easy if you try  No hell below us  Above us only sky  imagine all the people living for today
 Imagine there’s no countries   It isn’t hard to do  Nothing to kill or die for   And no religion too   Imagine all the people living in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer  But I’m not the only one  I hope some day you’ll join us  And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions  I wonder if you can  No need for greed or hunger  A brotherhood of man  Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you
You may say I’m a dreamer    But I’m not the only one   I hope someday you’ll join us  And the world will be as one.

References
Erikson, Erik H. Young Man Luther A Study in Psychoanalysis and History .WWW Norton and Company Incorporated.
Fromm, Erich. The Sane Society. Fawett Publications Incorporated.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Trump and His Supporters


A diagnostic assessment includes a mental status exam, a psychological, neuropsych, employment, and family history etc. Instead, I gathered behavioral descriptions from a number of sources in order to present a working hypothesis for incorporating sadism and narcissism. This essay deals with the pathology of sadism, individual and group narcissism.
Infants are born with anxiety, helplessness and dependence and require comfort, security and protection for survival. This fragile state is imprinted throughout the lifecycle. For survival, we developed needs and engaged in other behaviors to deal with anxiety, insecurity for “mastering the world.”  Initially, that protector was the mother caretaker. Her role, the father’s role, the sibling’s role, other adults and peers, educational process etc. all factor in, and depending upon circumstances, start in motion the development of a sadistic and narcissistic character. Character develops and drives behavior.
The following is a limited overview regarding parent-child relationship styles: 1. An Authoritative parent has been described as being highly controlling; using power freely and not encouraging the child to express himself during disagreements. 2. A Permissive parent has been described as not well-organized or  effective in running their households, lax both in disciplining and in rewarding the child, making relatively few and  weak demands for mature behavior, and paying little attention to training for independence and self-reliance. Their children appeared immature, lacking in independence and self-reliance 3. A Hostile-Neglectful parent has been described as lacking warmth, rejecting the child, failing to use reasonable and consistent controls appropriate to the child’s stage of development and likely to maximize aggressive poorly controlled behavior. 4. A Warm- Restrictive parent has been described as intrusive, in which the mother attempted to force a child through punishment or threat to adhere to her standards, and the degree to which deviations from those standards were punished.
 Additionally, inconsistent discipline appeared to be as harmful as too little or too much discipline and was another important variable in character development. The inconsistency can stem from parental hostility; indifference; parental certainty; lack of confidence; or from mood swings. However, whatever its source, inconsistency in parental discipline, tended to contribute to maladjustment, conflict and aggression in the child. The purpose of this small sample was to highlight the difficulty for the parent in child rearing.
 Depending upon a number of factors contributing to the development of secondary narcissism, the child could develop tendencies to withdraw from people in its life space.  In this case, child history suggested an inordinate degree of punishment or absence, inconsistent reinforcement resulting in anxiety while being with people. Included In the development of malignant narcissism was being a sadist, a racist with an intense desire to control, hurt, or humiliate another person. Once again, consistency, type and manner of punishment, credible reinforcements and degrees of frustration are key parental variables in developing character -negative interactive aggressive behaviors against others.
Racism, hate, narcissism and sadism have been present since beginning of recorded time. In fact, it may be increasing? This malignant narcissistic character development was based on conscious and/or unconscious feelings of significant anxiety, insecurity, helplessness, powerlessness, impotency, lack of protection and feelings of inadequacy. These hateful individuals are attracted to power, wealth, control, domination, exploitation, and contempt for others as result of their extreme anxiety, maladjustment, and shallowness .They too were recipients of severe, nonexistent and inconsistent punishment.
 The drive or move against another, as in sadistic behavior, was based on the person’s inability or impotence in being able to be effective in making productive change and creativity. As a result, the violent behavior was a substitute and a compensation for feelings of powerlessness. More often than not, these individuals submitted to and identified with a person, a family, a clan, a tribe, a religion, a nation, a flag, being of the same blood, born on the same soil, a political party, a race or racist organization, being a Nationalist or associating with some others in a magical attempt to regain the power that they are lacking. If impoverished in wealth, status or job security, they can feel privileged belonging to a superior group like the white race. In this case, individual narcissism was transformed into group narcissism. When this happened, the group becomes cult like, with the belief in their superiority. Because of their allegiance, they are willing to give their life. However, others not in the same group, are seen as inferior, not worthy, low life, bad, wrong, and evil etc. Being united with the group in question means that all worship the same idol or leader, and have the same mindset. A leader who’s convinced of his own greatness and has no doubts attracted narcissism of those that submit to him. Once identified with the leader, he magically projects his narcissism on them. In other words, the individual characteristics of narcissism are applied to the group.
Applying individual and group narcissism , we have the  following : white nationalist racist dog whistles propaganda included but not limited to make America great; build a wall to keep out the illegals and rapists; withdrawing from the Paris climate accord; withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, renegotiating so-called disastrous trade agreements; taking away funding to the United Nations, WHO and NATO; blaming China for the virus; falsely focusing on Kaepernick’s kneeling on the flag; protecting the Confederate statues; and tweeting various hateful ,lies ,negative and unflattering comments about the protesters by the incompetent, authoritarian leader.
 Healthy narcissism can be thought as the ability to have positive self-esteem and a well-defined “I” as well as the emotional capacity to have in-depth personal relationships with another. That means having the ability to care, to like and attend to another and their feelings; to respect as to highly admire and regard another; and to empathize which is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another cognitively, emotionally and compassionately. Further, the capacity to use intelligence appropriately.
Often, one mistakes overinflated language with a large ego. Actually, it’s a fragile, damaged and a weakened ego. An ego was very important in the development of narcissism. The function of an ego was to determine appropriately personal and universal reality. This means the optimum use of perception, and the intellectual capacity to employ science, wisdom and reason objectively. Keyword is objectively. The ego also has to gather facts, assimilate, accommodate, use recall and debate other viewpoints. An inflated ego is vulnerable to narcissistic injuries or wounds that penetrate the nonrealistic sense of self.
With defective or malignant narcissism, there’s a major failure in navigating the reality with others and with the world. Trump, was not able to establish warm, emotionally driven interpersonal relationships. Others, different viewpoints, are seen as threats. This individual was unable to admit an error, a wrong or mistake. He, under no conditions, can admit because that’s failure. As a result, he was unable to apologize or even acknowledge the wrong. This individual was easily threatened and had to increase his narcissistic stance as a protective device. When that happens he became angry, irritated and defensive. Attacking, discrediting and humiliating another was a common response. He also falsely bragged about being the smartest in the room. To seriously listen to others or gather up information, was felt as a weakness and not to be established under any circumstance. To compensate for impaired intellectual functioning and impaired memory, he employed self-glorifications, propagates erroneous information and lied to cover the gaps. This man stops at nothing and even engaged in criminal activities and self-defeating behaviors to further his narcissistic goals.
It’s important for a malignant narcissistic leader to have a consensus, a transformation of reality that fits his narcissism, believe his ideas, and even give up their life for him. The Covid -19 was another perfect example of demonstrating the transformation of narcissism into group narcissism. In the early part of the year, Trump downplayed and distorted the seriousness of this pandemic. Numerous doctors talked about the seriousness and recommended testing, social distancing, washing hands, and wearing a facemask.  No one had seen Trump wearing a facemask. He focused on opening up the economy and bragged about how well he’s doing. Followers, like the governors in Florida, Texas and Arizona downplayed the seriousness of the virus and followed his lead. In fact, at one government meeting in West Palm Beach Florida, video showed a few individuals yelling and screaming about not wanting to wear a facemask. Loyalists shouted a number of idiotic and irrational slogans for not wearing a facemask. For example:  it takes away freedom; I don’t wear a mask because I don’t even wear underwear, I have to breathe; I would die for the flag. I would die for the Constitution. Trump was willing to sadistically let many, especially older African Americans die, and had his followers doing likewise. Just recently, with record cases for the pandemic transmission, these same three governors are implementing a different policy than prior. Yes, Trump could shoot a person in New York, get away with it and some might cheer for him.
Sadism is about controlling or dominating another. The officer that pinned a handcuffed George Floyd face down on the ground, with a knee on his neck, was modeling sadism. That officer was in complete control and could do whatever he wanted to the powerlessness, dependent and insecure George Floyd. The officer derived pleasure by making a vulnerable George Floyd suffer. Sadism was also about humiliating another, especially in front of others. Having a bully pulpit and twitter account facilitated cruel, disrespectful, hateful and sadistic verbal garbage. Lynching, waterboarding, calling another a Niger, putting children in cages, not engaging in social distancing and not wearing a mask, and lying about the Covid -19 virus are a few illustrations of sadistic behaviors.
Sadism was about inflicting psychological and physical pain on another. The person likely enjoyed that sense of power. The exploitation and contempt for another was often racist but not limited to racism. Furthermore, within this personality structure are behaviors related to parsimony, stinginess, withholding, meanness and miserliness. A few examples from Trump include attempting to abolish The Affordable Care Act; overturning Roe versus Wade; limiting government resources for Covid 19; attempting to kick out children born in this country or DACA; attempting to punish protesters; tax cuts primarily for the wealthy; not paying or stiffing various employees; going bankrupt numerous times; not able to acknowledge Dr. Anthony Fauci and discriminating regarding housing since 1973.
A few US facts employing narcissism, racism and sadism in our toxic society: 1.in 2018, we had over 16,000 murder and non-negligent manslaughter cases. Adjusted for population, our murder rate is 4.2 compared to 0. 8 for Germany.   2. We have more guns than people. 3. Our suicide rate in 2018 was 14.2 per 100,000 individuals or 132 suicides per day.  4. There were 1003 police shootings in 2019. 5. There are more than 10 million men and women physically abused by an intimate partner every year 6.  We have 940 hate groups, 7,120 hate crime incidents and 60% of these are related to race, ethnicity, and ancestry bias in 2018. 8. We are closer to nuclear oblivion now than at any other time in our history per our Doomsday Clock. 9.  We are rapidly heading toward destroying our planet with climate warming; increase in hurricanes, floods, fires etc. 10.  20% of the highest earnings families made more than 50% of the rest in 2018 11. We have the highest income inequality of all the G-7 nations 12. The black-white income gap has become greater 13. Gov. Ronald Reagan ended free tuition at the University of California and cut higher education funding by 20%. Reagan continued this national policy as president. From 1982 to 2014 tuition increased nationally by 260%. Germany, Ireland, France, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have no tuition for college students.  14. The Covid 19 pandemic has disrupted the supply side and has metastasized into a collapse of demand. The number of layoffs is in the millions and the number of business collapses are increasing. 15. We’ve been at war in the Middle East for over 20 years; while the CIA has been at war in Central and South America forever. 16. We rank fifth worldwide in drug use while the Republican Party legally tries to repeal The Affordable Care Act 17. We have racist and discriminatory laws that interfere with housing, healthcare, education, criminal conviction, lynching, marriage etc.18. We just witnessed the sadistic police killing of George Floyd. 19. Jefferson wrote, God created men equal while he had slaves working his plantation.
Seems to me that man has made numerous, stupid policies and decisions. The consequences are not pretty. With anxiety, uncertainty, helplessness, powerlessness, the security for many have been compromised especially those white folks with a high school education.
Inadequate parenting styles has contributed to the development of a malignant narcissistic, sadistic, hateful and racist character structure. Character has been significantly influenced by our toxic society as well. The election of Pres. Obama resulted in a reaction by electing an incompetent, white, racist, narcissistic, Nationalist and sadistic WASP for president. Hopefully, the 2020 election will result in a more inclusive reaction by electing Biden.
References
Fromm, E. The Heart of Man Its Genius for Good and Evil. Harper and Row.
Mussen, P. Conger, J. and Kagan J. Child Development and Personality. Harper & Row.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Protesting



The Covid 19 statistics for disease and deaths in the United States total around 2 .5 million and 123,000 respectively. We are the world leaders in both categories. Our species are called social animals. I would reframe and refer to us as asocial animals. We move toward another in ways that are depicted as love, tenderness, solidarity and affiliation. We also move against another in ways that are depicted as narcissistic, greedy, controlling, destroying, ambitious, exploitive and sadistic. This essay describes the motivation of the protesters against racial injustice.
Man’s needs and character structure are significant in explaining behavior. When born, the infant leaves the womb and its security. It is totally dependent for protection and security by the caretaker. Within development, it separates and remains dependent for security and protection. Briefly, within this developmental process, its psychological outcome becomes the result of many variables related to the caretaking process and the socio economics of the environment. Development continues, and with varying degrees, a behavioral tendency or orientation of moving toward another and with varying degrees of moving against another. In either case, there are degrees, tendencies, irregularities, of interpersonal interactions and movement involving another. These tendencies or orientation behaviors happen. The movement can be positive, at times, as in loving another or, at times, negative as in hating another. Behavioral interactions take place within the contexts of culture, socioeconomics and psychological life space.
Our capitalistic society has a well-defined structure with mass production on many levels with many products being managed and operated by the CEO, managers, to various employees. At an earlier time, in European history, man was paramount and was the center of production. He created and sold the item. His skill, labor, and perseverance made possible the creation of goods.
Since the Industrial Revolution, man is no longer at the center. It’s become big business, and big corporations providing the engine for production, marketing and trade of the various commodities necessary for survival. Briefly, the role of the worker has changed dramatically. He no longer created the entire product but is now merely a cog on the” assembly “line. He has become alienated and is just an insignificant number in the entire process. It’s hard for man to feel good about the labor process. He lost his relevance. Payment for employment does not provide meaningfulness for him. Man is in an unhealthy position as evidenced by high rates of absenteeism, drug and alcohol abuse along with states of depression and suicide.
Our work force has become more alienated, with more bureaucracy, and monotony. We have a number of diversions to deal with the daily drudgery and unhappiness that exist in our country. In a recent United Nation World Happiness Report, we are not listed in the top 10. Still, we have a wide variety of choices to change the mental functioning between the ears. Alcohol and drugs are used to change reality. We are currently ranked fifth for drug use.
We also have the most sophisticated entertainment industry in the world. With film, radio and TV, we have wonderful ways for a temporary escape. We have more sports at the professional, college and club level to entertain our populace. We have more social media, electronic games, gambling and other devices for our diversions. Do not forget about joining the police or military for excitement, learning to kill and escape.
We also know that sensory deprivation studies are associated with unhealthy mental disturbance. Therefore, man with self-awareness, reason and imagination make him the cleverest of all animals. Man requires an orientation, a frame of reference and goals to help guide his actions. He requires security and meaning for his being.  Depending upon his character, he can be devoted and have a tendency toward growth as in loving, being productive and courageous or he can be devoted and have a tendency toward destruction, sadism, amassing a fortune, possession and power over another.
With Covid 19, the scientific community recommended washing ones hands, social distancing, wearing a mask and quarantine by being at home. This resulted in the closing down of the economy, schools and limiting social interaction. Per Henry Murray, this policy interferes with man’s need for Affiliation or interacting with another. Further, not wearing a mask and ignoring social distancing is a need for Abasement which is putting oneself at risk for illness or misfortune. As the virus continued, the Republican Party pushed for a reopening of the economy and modeling by Trump by not wearing a mask.
For the most part, after period of time, many individuals, in quarantine, were not able to exhibit much control or make significant, purposeful, and meaningful changes, decisions or movement. Robert W. White labelled this effectiveness motivation. Children seem to do well as evidenced by their play. They are creative, and with imagination, create a world all by themselves. Children, who are healthy, are active and likely are never bored. Adults, on the other hand, become anxious being by themselves. Adults often perform busy work in an attempt to push away their anxiety. With the quarantine, not being able to work, not being able to see new movies, favorite teams etc. has resulted in boredom for many.
Boredom can be explained, in part, by an absence of stimulation or excitation. According to the research by Spitz, Harlow and others, the lack of stimulation and the deprivation of contact with the mother caretaker resulted in severe psychic damage to the young. The human experiments at McGill University on sensory deprivation resulted in irritability, restlessness, emotional instability in spite of financial loss, by the participants, during the experiments. With active stimulation the individual becomes more interested, and becomes involved with goal seeking behavior. This can be very healthy. The need for stimulation and excitation can result in behaviors of creativity, activating additional stimuli, producing and well-being. However, the lack of stimulation and excitation can result, when frustrated, in sadism, masochism, anger, destructiveness, and cruelty behaviors.
Moreover, boredom has also been associated with depression. Often individuals are aware and acknowledge being bored but not depressed. Depression can be seen as a person who failed in the attempt to obtain excitation by any kind of normal stimulation. The individual, often, is not aware of the fact that he suffers. In depression, the person lacks productivity; the outside world doesn’t seem interesting nor is the individual able to be involved. For some, they feel empty, uncomfortable and lost. Incidentally, we rank third for depression in the world. We rank number 27 for suicide rate.
The social treatment recommendations for Covid 19  resulted in thwarting affiliation, many being uneasy and calling their anxiety “stir crazy ,“ and bored with quarantine. Many welcomed returning to work. The opening up the economy was music to their ears. This diversion helped mask feelings of boredom and depression. With the sadistic Floyd murder, we’ve had numerous individuals protesting, out of moral concerns, out in the streets. For further understanding of moral development consult Lawrence Kohlberg’s research. By opening up the economy and with the protests, has enabled many individuals to welcome that needed stimulation, excitation, effectance and moral purpose. Black lives matter. Some, moved toward others, cared about themselves, others and the health of the medical and aligned workers by employing social distancing, when they could, and by wearing face covering or masks. Others moved against self, others and hospital staff by carrying automatic weapons and not wearing a health mask.
The pandemic and the medical suggestions for encountering the virus interfered with man’s needs of Affiliation. The medical suggestions also uncovered man’s need for Abasement. Man, for his well-being, also requires effectance, stimulation, excitation and moral development. Thank goodness the protests have already resulted in some positive change. Thank you governors Cuomo, Newsom, Grisham, Inslee, Hogan and others. Thank you Atty. Gen. Ellison; prosecutor Arbery; resignations by police chiefs; mayors  Frey, Durkan, Steinberg and others for listening to the protesters and implementing change. Unfortunately, man’s need for Abasement puts self and others at risk. The increase in Covid 19 numbers are not good. Just point to the sadistic, racist Trump. He had two rallies with no masks and no distancing. How many more are going to die?

Friday, June 19, 2020

Our Country



This past month has exposed the myth of law, order and justice in our country. From George Floyd, to handcuffing a teenager for jaywalking in Tulsa, Oklahoma; to an investigation for 2 young men found hanging by a rope from a tree in California  and with a drive-by shooting in Georgia. With so much sadistic murder and hate, in all parts of our country, it’s difficult to keep track with all occurrences. This essay addresses racism, capitalism and the excessive use of police force in our country.
Man has been dominated by man, because he can, since the beginning of recorded time. According to Carl Jung, we are born with a collective unconscious which stores latent memory traces inherited from man’s ancestral or real past. In other words, man is born with a predisposition or memory trace to be dominated or by submission to another as well as a predisposition or archetype for freedom, aggression, or with a sadistic-masochistic character style. In our collective unconscious- our archetypes, are the Hebrew slaves that built the great Pyramids in Egypt. Eventually with the help of Moses and God our people gained freedom. In America’s troubled past, slavery occurred between the Native Americans Indians, the early European explorers and the colonists. The location of this exploitation occurred in Spanish Florida sometime during the 1500s. According to historical records, the first African slaves arrived to either the Georgia or Carolina coast in 1526.
 401 years ago, in 1619, 20 to 30 African slaves set foot at Point Comfort, Virginia. These people were on a Portuguese slave ship that was captured by English WASP privateers.  In essence, capitalism prospered. Now, the WASPs had free labor to produce, grow, harvest and market their worldwide cotton commodities trade. These private owners privatized their cotton production for economic profit. Don’t get about sugar from the Caribbean, tobacco  and the textile mills located in industrial centers like Lancashire, England and  the trade hubs  in London and New York that accelerated worldwide markets; created a demand for innovative contracts; increased novel financial products in modern forms; and created insurance and credit. This paved the way for the invention of futures contracts which are still in use today.
Further, profits from productivity were harnessed through the punishments of the enslaved. In other words punishment rose and fell with global market fluctuation. When prices increased in the English market, the poor slaves immediately felt the effects.  They were harder driven and the sound of the whip left its mark. Unrestrained capitalism held no monopoly on violence. Personal fortunes of the WASPS came at the expense of the black workers. Cash and greed were supreme and ruled moralistic ideals.
In order to protect and control their “subhuman “property and wealth, the WASP’s established an early form of American racist policing. They created slave patrols. The first slave patrol was formed in South Carolina in 1704. Their job description was to capture runaways, defiant slaves, and slaves attempting to escape by boat by whatever means. These WASP vigilantes were cruel, sadistic and enjoyed hunting their prey. Of course, there were no consequences for rumbustious behavior because none of their behavior was considered inappropriate. They were the law, judge, and jury and had the blessing of their closed system employers. Thus, the basis for today’s sadistic racist police force was established.
Pres. Andrew Jackson, a wealthy enslaver from Tennessee, championed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. That act removed numerous Indian tribes from their land and facilitated the opening of open lands in the Southwest. The new land areas were the capitalistic enterprise for agriculture and slave trade by the white wealthy. In essence, there were experienced WASPs that bought, sold, owned, rented and mortgaged approximately 1,000,000 humans with black skin. Texas became the West cotton slavery stronghold. The black people made up about 30% of that state’s population in 1860. Lesser numbers of black people located in California, New Mexico, Montana, Colorado and Oregon in the 1860s and thus assisted in the settling of the West.
The emancipation in 1865 severely diminished, but did not eliminate, the power of exploitation by the Confederacy.  They created state and national laws to further the practice of slavery.  These states enacted laws to criminalize “so-called inappropriate” behavior by people with black skin. This practice allowed the ruling party to call a black an outlaw under the law. The free blacks were no longer free. They were slaves again. The wealthy capitalists controlled the slave population and had free labor once again. Additional sadistic exploitation occurred with the forming of vigilante groups like the KKK. These groups were given the power to assault and lynch the so-called subhuman race without due process. These practices had nothing to do with law and order. It was about greed, exploitation and sadism.
 In the1880s and going into the 1900s, we had an influx of European immigrants. The Northern or Nordic immigrants were WASPs and desirable while those from Italy, Spain and Jews from Poland, Germany and Russia were less desirable as they were not WASP’s. Capitalism flourished with its cruel use of the labor force. Low wages, horrible working conditions and child labor were the norm. Subsequently, the abused workers fought for their freedom and power by forming labor unions.  The capitalist propaganda machine countered and claimed that unions were un- American, dominated by dangerous people who were socialists, communists and who would disrupt and strike at any time. In order to control unions and the “undesirables,” the WASP power structure established so-called police enforcers in the major cities by the 1880s.  In fact their job description was to break the labor strikes. They fought the strikers and protected the scabs that allowed them to cross the picket lines. Law, order and justice was for the wealthy capitalists .This force had nothing to do with serving or protecting the public.
Political machines came into being and hired the police to protect their interests.  The wealthy and local party ward leaders hired police captains, and sergeants to harass opponents of different political parties. These police characters received payoffs to ignore illegal drinking, gambling and prostitution. Now the police had additional opportunities to increase their pay. Let’s add bribery to their job description.
In 1929, Republican President Hoover created the Wickersham commission to investigate the ineffectiveness of law enforcement nationwide.  It wasn’t about ineffectiveness it was an attempt to control the political party ward leaders by prohibiting police involvement.
 The police are still ineffective and aligned with the Republican Party. Let’s move to 1989 with the Republican Rehnquist Court. With the Graham versus Connor decision, it stated that if so-called objective reasonableness was used, by the police, then law enforcement characters could use excessive force. It should be clear, by now, that the laws protect despicable, sadistic and murder behavior by the police. The police are simply accomplices, collude and protect the Republican political party and their neo liberal capitalism.
There are numerous examples of discrimination in sports racism. For instance, Tom Darden excelled in all high school sports in Sandusky, Ohio in the 60s. According to Darden, he believed that football was his second or third best sport. However, his high school basketball and baseball coaches did not facilitate, encourage or market him beyond high school. However, his high school football coach did. Darden was recruited by Bump Elliott the University of Michigan head football coach. Elliott also recruited a number of other black athletes the most ever by the University of Michigan in 1968.
While at Michigan, it took at least four games during the 1969 football season for their new head coach Bo Schembechler’s racially integrated team to become a team. During that 1969 season, the Wolverines upset the number one ranked Buckeyes and their 22 straight victories.
With the loss to the Wolverines, the two top college teams were now the all-white Texas Longhorns and the integrated Penn State Nittany Lions. Republican President Richard Nixon arbitrarily selected the all-white Texas football team to play the all-white Arkansas football team for the college football championship. Incidentally, that was the last year that all-white college teams played for a national championship.
Darden excelled at Michigan, was an All-American and a first round pro-draft selection by the Cleveland Browns. He was their single-season and career interception leader and was considered one of the top 50 Cleveland Browns players.
Roger Goodell the NFL Commissioner just admitted the league made a mistake when they didn’t allow San Francisco quarterback Collin Kaepernick to knell to protest police brutality during the playing of the national anthem. Trump, was a major influence when he erroneously made patriotism and the flag as the issue instead of admitting police brutality. The NFL buckled until recently when Goodell apologized for his mistake and said that Kaepernick should play again.
 The following statements have been addressed in previous essays to highlight injustice, discrimination and blatant racism. We know why that in the LA budget, the police force receives 54%. We know why the police unions have so much power. We know why we have a law, order and justice slogan and illusion. We know why Richard Nixon created a war on drugs. We know why we have a privatization of prisons. We know why blacks are arrested and incarcerated at least three times more than all others.  We know that Trump is incompetent and has a malignant narcissist mental disorder. We know why Trump and his father discriminated against blacks in 1973 with housing applications. We know why individuals with black sounding names are discriminated against in hiring practices. We know why at least a third of Covid 19 deaths, in our country, are people with black skin. We know why that a person’s ZIP Code correlates with limited and poor educational opportunities, high unemployment, poor health, high drug use, lack of mobility, and shortened life span. We know why Cory Booker’s family had difficulty buying their first home. We know why Kamala Harris was bussed to school during integration. We know why there is systemic racism in our country. We know why the police departments require reorganization, diminished role descriptions, along with internal rules and regulations with consequences. We know why that in 2017, a citizen had a 40 % chance of getting away murder. We know why that a citizen had over 50% chance of getting away with severe assault. We know why that a cop can get away with a hate crime. We know why our US police have far more suicides than any other police force. We know why our US police force kills far more than any other police force. We know why we experience hate before love.
PS
Tom Darden and I are working with our screenwriter to tell a story about racism, perseverance, and excellence.
Reference
The New York Times Magazine, The 1619 Project. August 18, 2019

Friday, June 12, 2020

Humanism Is Required



2020 has been quite a year that, at times, I’ve wanted to forget. On one hand there is Trump .Fortunately, for the past few weeks we have had examples of humanism. The Covid 19 pandemic and the Floyd death has greatly exposed Trump’s character. As a needed contrast, we’ve had examples of man caring about man. This essay focuses on the human dynamics of narcissism.
According to the Greek legend, Narcissus rejected the love from the nymph Echo who subsequently died of a broken heart. Nemesis, got his revenge, punished Narcissus by making him fall in love with his own image-a reflection on the water. Narcissus, with his self-admiration, looked into the lake and then fell and drowned. This powerful and historical legend was used by Sigmund Freud in his description of pathological human functioning. Freud’s dynamic use of narcissism was brilliant.
For Freud, he saw the infant, not only as helpless and dependent but also consumed with his body, his physical sensations of requiring milk, water, cold, warmth and  human contact. There was only an “I.” There was no initial recognition of any object outside of self. The outside world did not exist. Freud called this phenomena primary narcissism. Through time and development, the infant distinguished the “I” from another called an object, which likely was the mother caretaker. With experience, the infant learned to relate to others within his life space.  This second stage was called secondary narcissism. In this stage of secondary narcissism, the infant eventually learned either to move toward others as in love, care, identification and affiliation; learned to move against people as in aggression, sadism, exploitation and discrimination; or becomes stuck, learned to move away  by being independent, aloof, emotionally withdrawn, diminishing the importance and being  critical of people. Of course there are various degrees of strength and combinations within these three tendencies. On one extreme there is malignant narcissism with its tendencies of moving against and/or away from people and on the other extreme there is a more humanistic narcissism with its tendency of moving toward people.
Humanism and the goodness in man has been found in the writings in the Old and New Testament, of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Erasmus, Nicolas, Thomas Moore,  Rousseau, Kant, Buddhism, Islam, Spinoza, Marx and others. As far as malignant narcissism, Roman Caesars, Borgias, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and many  other terrorists fall within that extreme with their flagrant disregard for human life with emphasis on murder, sadistic domination, prejudice, destruction and exploitation.
Even though I would not put Trump with the same degree or as Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, he has exhibited a lesser malignant narcissistic character structure.  Trump being preoccupied with self; has little interest in others; interacts socially with others superciliously; is motivated for power; does what he wants; is above the law and believes he’s the wisest. For example his ability to objectively reason, a component of narcissism, was compromised as evidenced when he learned about Coved 19. His distorted thinking led to denial, rationalizations and lies about the seriousness of this disease killer. When questioned or challenged by a reporter, he angrily attacked the messenger, discredited and attempted to humiliate the person. His anger response was a characteristic of narcissism in that he’s attempting to protect himself from criticism, and being perceived as a failure, wrong or stupid. He countered that threat to his narcissism by transforming reality by claiming that he was right. He also seeked out believers or consensus from staff, tweets, Fox news, campaign rallies that puts a Band-Aid to cover the wound of his narcissistic injury.
Facts or information that challenges his irrational beliefs, are called a narcissistic injury .He inflated crowd size, and his sadistic tweets are dangerously prejudiced and biased. Trump’s narcissistic belief is that he is great; others are inferior and unworthy; and the world is dangerous and immoral. Any counter statement is anxiety producing, is not compatible and threating. In response, he has inflated and distorted irrational thinking.-
With malignant narcissism, Trump doesn’t care about the number of Covid -19 deaths nor was he able to show empathy, understanding or relate as in the case of George Floyd. George Floyd was perceived as an impersonal nobody and not significant. Trump’s weakness was apparent. He was scared as he had to check out a bunker underneath the White House and also had to bring in a great number of military to deal with, in his words, the “insurrection” of the protesters.
A few other characteristics of Trump’s malignant narcissism include: 1. Being enamored by his own words 2. Not being a good listener as he’s likely not interested with what the other person has to say ie. General, admiral, chief of staff 3. I am great because what I have: intelligence, hair, wealth, golf clubs and names on buildings 4. Cannot accept failure or being wrong and thus is unable to apologize 5. Prejudiced, biased and impaired in the ability to objectively and rationally reason.
We also witnessed malignant narcissism with the police officer that murdered George Floyd. That video of that horrific and sadistic killing united the masses. These people showed a tendency to care; demonstrated empathy; desired a sense of brotherliness and belonging; gave respect; extended self; desired affiliation and union; favored life over death; and wanted change. This heartening trend toward humanism displayed by young, old, black, white, brown, male-female and others not only in the United States but all of the world was needed. Moving toward people in a positive, caring, and socially accepted ways provides hope for change. There are too many police and law enforcement departments imbedded with a malignant narcissistic character structure and their tendency of moving aggressively against people. A change to the Conservative 1989 Supreme Court ruling is required. That biased ruling allows the use of sadistic police force by restricting, in that moment, a more complete understanding of the entire situation.  Furthermore, a better selection in the hiring process is required along with meaningful consequences for malignant aggressive behavior. It’s no surprise that so called law enforcement departments and their staff get away with murder. Character structure can be assessed. When a murder and/or hate crime takes place, significant consequences for that aberrant behavior is required in order for change to take place. Don’t let anyone get away with murder especially under the law and order slogan and illusion. A trend toward humanism, in our society and laws are required for a sane society.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Violence


Yesterday’s so-called news centered on Trump’s criticism of Biden’s wearing a mask to an outdoor Veteran Memorial on Memorial Day. Biden responded to Trump’s lack of respect toward others and to his failure of leadership during the pandemic. One young man was at the beach and not wearing a mask. He was asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask. He replied something to the effect that the president wasn’t wearing one so he was not going to wear one. This politicizing wearing a mask got me thinking about the nature of man. Today’s essay addresses man’s nature.
The question Is Man- Wolf or Sheep was the title of chapter 1 in Erich Fromm’s “The Heart of Man.” Briefly, Fromm described man, on one hand, as being easily influenced; told what to do even if it’s harmful to himself; being highly suggestible like half-awake children; willing to surrender his will or soul to anyone who speaks with a voice that is threatening or sweet enough to sway him like  a sheep.  On the other hand, Fromm described man as  great inquisitors; as dictators with a history written in blood and violence like the extermination of  6 million  Jews ; had thousands of men who killed for them, tortured for them and did so not only willingly but with pleasure. He added that these facts led thinkers like Hobbs to the conclusion that man has a questionable worth to his fellow man, and have led many to the position that man’s nature is vicious and destructive. Fromm’s thesis pertains to the nature versus nurture argument. That philosophical discussion has been discussed for centuries.
Freud postulated that the life, aggressive and death instincts are biological in nature. For him, aggression, evil and violence were part of man’s biology and thus a significant part of his story.  Henry A. Murray, in his theory, identified a number of motivating forces in man and listed aggression as one of man’s needs. Others like Fromm, Alfred Adler, Karen Horney, commonly called the neo-Freudians, placed greater emphasis on the environment for the expression of aggression. Thus, who has it right regarding man’s nature? This essay presents a few ideas pertaining to man’s aggressiveness.
In looking at children, a few comments. Infants are born weak, dependent, anxious and requiring nurturance. The only way they can meet their physiological, survival and competitive requirements are from a nurturing caretaker. The caretaker provides milk or water through a nipple and other comforts. If breast-feeding, it doesn’t take long for some mothers to discontinue breast-feeding because of sore nipples caused by an aggressive infant. The emphasis is on aggression and competitive “fighting” for food and/or survival. Not being hungry is paramount and related to survival. Later on, one witnesses “aggression” in the grabbing a toy or toys and not wanting to share with another.  Other examples of aggression center around what mine is mine and yours is mine. Empathy and sharing with another takes time to develop, if it does develop. Aggression, control, competition and survival are related.
Looking at anthropological data, the Arapesh have been used as an example in support of aggression being caused by the environment. These people from New Guinea are mild, friendly, and not aggressive. However comparing the Chukchi and the Dobu people the opposite conclusion can be made as these peoples are hostile and aggressive interpersonally. In any research, the randomness of the sample drawn of the population is important for conclusions. Since these groups are not randomly selected, the only scientific conclusion that can be made is that one group is not aggressive while the other group is aggressive. One should not generalize beyond those observations.
Looking at animal data, as a comparison to man, we find the following. The lion, is seen as being aggressive in killing a specific and hunted animal for food. We also see the dominant male lion, fighting another male lion for dominance and control of the pride. We do not see evidence of the lion killing for the sake of killing. The mother lion protects her cubs and teaches them to be independent. She will fight off other animal intruders. We also see aggression during the eating of the kill. Chimpanzees, gorillas and apes also seem cooperative and non-aggressive except when one is threatened and/or challenged.
Let’s take a look at male physiology. Testosterone is the male sex hormone although women have testosterone levels of 1/10 to 1/ 12 to men.  Some of the effects of testosterone are: 1. Promotes libido, aggressiveness and sexual desire 2. Stimulates the growth of certain organs 3.  Promotes protein anabolism that is the use of protein to build muscle, skin and bone and militates against protein catabolism or breakdown. 4. Stimulates sperm production. Moreover, the effects of testosterone are more pronounced during puberty and bring increased muscle mass, enlarged larynx, thicker vocal cords and other characteristics. Testosterone production varies and is affected by a number of external factors. HGH is a growth hormone that affects one’s energy level and sense of well-being. It also decreases during aging. DHEA has been called the mother of all hormones because the body uses it to produce the male and female sex hormones testosterone, estrogen and progesterone as well as using it to make cortisone. This is also age-related. In essence, man’s wiring allows him to fight, flee or freeze when put in a threatening position. Man’s physiology equips him to handle his survival.
Man also has an emotional or an affect side to his being. Affect is a feeling attached to an idea or a set of idea complexes. Man is characterized by his feelings, although fleeting, and related to behavior like anger. Anger has often been associated with frustration .Frustration is easily experienced and may or may not lead to physical aggression but often to verbal aggression.
Let’s take a look briefly at the history of man. In the Old Testament, man was expelled from paradise. He had his own history, developed his human powers, and hopefully obtained a new harmony with both man and nature. The Messianic prophets believed that man was not fundamentally corrupt and that he could be saved without any special act of God’s grace. But this does not suggest that man’s potential for good will necessarily win out. If man does evil, he becomes more evil. The Pharaoh’s heart hardened because he kept on doing evil to the Hebrew slaves. The Old Testament’s view was that man has capacities for both good and for evil.  Man must choose between good and evil, blessing and curse, and life and death.
Turning to the Roman Coliseum, there was sport between slaves and animals. It was a fight to the death and the crowd roared in delight when the Emperor’s thumb pointed towards the earth to witness blood flow and death. The Crusades sent eager followers of Christ against eager followers of Mohammed to their deaths. A lot of blood in the sand. The various Kings easily raised armies, paid mercenary zealots and fought over sand. The kings had no trouble gathering followers. In 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand expelled and tortured Jews of Spain that did not convert to Catholicism. In the 1930s and 1940s, Hitler and his eagerly led followers killed 6 million Jews. In 2001, we officially went to war with the Muslims and are still on their turf. When it comes to evil, killing, destruction, exploitation and death, we are in the forefront with lots of passionate volunteers for that fact.
Let’s take a look at a few forms of violence. 1. Playful violence can be characterized as displaying a skill but not in the pursuit of destruction, hate or death. The Zen Buddhist employed sword fighting as an art. 2. Football has violence and is called a sport with referees. One team prepares battle against his opponent. In fact, Coach Bo Schembechler talked about generals and admirals in preparing for an upcoming game. Camaraderie, social narcissism and battling as a team were paramount. Although one was not told to kill their opponent, the warriors were encouraged to dominate, beat, smash, control and run over the opposition. Essentially, most players leave the NFL game because of physical injuries suffered and do not qualify for a pension. Some NFL players with excessive brain-damage, become homeless and have committed the aggressive act of suicide.
Let’s take a psychological look at some of the factors of aggression. In reactive aggression we see a defense for life, freedom, dignity, property of one’s own or one’s others.  Reactive aggression is rooted in fear. Unfortunately, that fear can be real, imagined, as in the case of George Floyd’s killer, and at the conscious or unconscious level. It’s often for the preservation of life but not in this case.
 Unfortunately, authoritarian and other leaders create the idea of the country or nation being threatened by an intruder. That manipulation of man’s mind easily arouses a reactive response of hostility. It’s been relatively simple and not difficult to persuade the masses of a threat. Hitler did that with his SS armed attack. He blamed Polish soldiers for attacking his Silesian radio station. Invading Iraq using the phony “weapons of mass destruction” story enthusiastically allowed the US to invade Iraq.
Frustration of one’s needs, anger, desires, envy and jealousy are also factors of aggression. The story of Cain who killed his beloved brother Abel is an example. Revengeful violence deals with confronting an injury or death that has already happened with an irrational undoing magically of what has already been done. It’s a futile attempt to restore one’s damaged self-esteem. Movies, TV and novels are full of stories about somebody revenging something. It’s very common to feel slighted or attacked by another. It’s the response that varies. An eye for an eye is an example of revenge. Django, played by Jamie Foxx is a good example.
One can start life believing in a number of illusions such as goodness, fidelity, love, justice, democracy, fairness etc. Our government is not a democracy and that is not an illusion. At some point, and it varies with individuals, beliefs are challenged and then questioned. The hypocrisy from a parent, teacher, religious or political leader becomes evident. Sometimes that despair can be overcome by a frantic pursue of power, possessions and/or prestige. These compensatory pursuits can become damaging, disappointing and not fulfilling nor resulting in happiness and well-being. With anger, disappointments, weakness, insecurity, and cynicism, one can even look for compensation by identifying with the person, group, of power.   A narcissistic leader, and the social groups that follow provide many examples of violence toward another. Trump and the White Nationalists are examples.
One psychological illustration of man’s character lies in those who have a sadistic and narcissistic character orientation. This is an individual that has a drive for complete and absolute control over a living being, animal, or man. To have complete mastery over another, to make him feel helpless, to be the object of our will, to become his God, to do with him as one pleases are an example of a slave owner. Our country was founded by the Virginia slave holders- Madison, Jefferson, Washington. The economy was based on white ownership exploiting cruelty over the slaves which were property. There are numerous examples of the inhumanity and cruelty during that time.
 Recently, a white officer in Minneapolis, had his knee on a handcuffed black man’s neck while telling him to get up.  Not much has changed in the last 400 years for the white power structure. It was okay then and it’s okay now to discriminate, exploit and sadistically kill a black man. In fact, neither Trump, Barr nor the other Republican congressional cronies had much to say regarding George Floyd or have been outraged by brutal police force.  This sadistic murder by these policemen continue to symbolize the message of white dominance, exploitation and killing of the black man. Slavery continues to exist. So now we witness protest and mob violence all over the country by those without wealth and political power.
Another example of violence and aggression has to do with “blood thirst.” This is an example of an individual with his passion for killing, or shedding blood as in necrophilia in order to feel alive and special. Murder is obviously a mental sickness and we have numerous examples of gun deaths. Interestingly, we’ve not had any mass shootings in peaceful and vulnerable locations like a school, place of worship or music event during the Covid 19 epidemic.
A psychiatric glossary defines aggression “a forceful physical, verbal or symbolic action. May be appropriate and self-protective, including healthful self-assertiveness or inappropriate. Another definition of aggression has been called passive aggressiveness. This is defined as “aggressive behavior manifested in passive ways such as obstructionism, pouting, procrastination, intentional inefficiency, or stubbornness.” In other words, passive aggressiveness can be physical as well as verbally expressed. Go to social media or follow Trumps tweets for illustrations of passive aggressiveness as it’s axiomatic.
Last week’s essay provided an impetus for this essay on violence, and aggression in man’s nature. For a more in-depth explanation, with scholarly detailed references, and a different take, consult: Erich Fromm’s “The Heart of Man its Genius for Good and Evil.” With that being said, I realize that I have left out additional data with its many examples of man’s exploitiveness and hostility toward others. It’s true, that we have weapons to destroy ourselves on this planet; we have a climate crisis that’s destroying our planet; and we have Covid 19 with one message being the importance of the health and safety of us all and the other message about opening up the economy. For the second group it’s about not wearing masks; it’s not keeping at least 6 feet apart; with its gun tooting and Confederacy flags bearing demonstrators. This group’s model has a passive aggressive president and twitter King. Is it revenge, threat, frustration, political or just man being man? We are also proficient in destroying wild and sea life while polluting the rivers, streams and oceans.
Biologically, man is armed and wired with aggressive hormones. He is prepared and ready, all the time, to fight, flee, or freeze. That’s his nature. Furthermore, he is born dependent, anxious, helpless, and vulnerable and angers easily. Psychologically he has to overcome his initial weakness in order to survive. He has to deal with all the frustrations and anger resulting from interactions with parents, school, relationships, world of work, government and all the other societal components. It’s no wonder that man, with his endowments and history, gets angry, is depressed and suicidal {aggression turned inward}. How can he not be aggressive, if he wants to survive?  Yes, aggression or assertiveness can be positive. However, man is frequently and easily angered, easily mislead like a sheep and has no difficulty being destructive, hostile and evil toward others like a wolf. In essence, man exhibits behavior both like a sheep and a wolf and expresses the degree of these characteristics depending upon character and circumstances. Thank goodness man has the tools to also be creative, intelligent, scientific, loving and rational with others.
PS
Man by nature is aggressive which prepares him from the experiences of imitating, modeling, reinforcing, knowing history, government policies, economic philosophy and society’s craziness resulting in anger and aggression. Man’s trend toward hate, destruction and violence is scary.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Jimmy Kimmel and the Crazies



 Earlier in the day I read a chapter in “Motivation and Personality” by Abraham H Maslow. The chapter was titled” Is Destructiveness Instinctoid.”  Later that evening, Linda and I watched Jimmy Kimmel’s The Late Show program. Kimmel told the story of receiving a critical tweet from the sadistic Trump regarding his lackey Pence. That hostile tweet was in reply to Kimmel’s making fun of a televised clip from a C-SPAN tape of Mike Pence’s delivering PPE equipment from a van. Pence was recorded as saying something to the effect that “can I carry these empty ones for the camera?” Kimmel made fun of that remark. Later on in the 29 minute clip, Pence stated he was joking about caring empty boxes. Kimmel acknowledged that he failed to view the entire clip and apologized.
Kimmel went on to say that he received a number of critical and derogatory comments attacking him. In fact, there were threats against him, wishing his family, his son and his wife would die. Kimmel also received another tweet from Trump that stated something to the effect that “more fake news this time from Jimmy Kimmel’s last place show.” There was also a message from the White House directing Kimmel to apologize on-air. Kimmel did apologize on-air and then requested the White House to apologize for their numerous poor choice political policies-mishandling the coronavirus for one. This essay applies Maslow’s theory of personality to the hateful social media responses received by Jimmy Kimmel.
Death threats in response to a comedian joking about Mike Pence are troublesome. It’s obvious the written expression of hate and anger are shared by many but not a crime. One can dislike and even hate Jimmy Kimmel because he’s Catholic, a liberal Democratic fundraiser, a Hollywood elite or for some other reason. As a liberal, Kimmel likely wants to discard the traditional values put forth by the wealthy slaveholder James Madison. Madison cleverly orchestrated our Republic form of government by limiting the power of the common folk people. Just think that we have a populace state like California that has two Senators as well as all the other states with less population but also with two senators. Not only that, thanks to Madison, we have an electoral college that takes away a true populist vote for a group of electors that are determined by each state legislature. The District of Columbia has electors but US territories do not as they are not states. The District of Columbia is a state? Madison also believed the Indians were savages. Gen. Custer was doing what at Little Bighorn? Indians are savages and lesser than white men?  Further, Madison questioned the intelligence and sociability of blacks. Let him discuss constitutional law with Pres. Obama. Might that change his opinion of blacks? Madison, you’ve done well. You have kept the power with the wealthy as you distrust the common folk making political decisions. Thanks to you we continue to have political divide.
 However, to write about Kimmel and wishing for his family’s demise was clearly insane and sick. Let’s take this further. If one of these individuals had a plan and carried out the savagery, they would be breaking the law; spend the rest of their life in jail; and/or be killed in any number of manners. That would mean that their hate resulted in self-hate as they would be either killing themselves as in suicide or spending the rest of their life in prison. An eye for an eye accomplishes what?  Where is the moral equivalency of making fun of a VP and killing a comedian?  Where in the Constitution does it say that Free speech is okay for some and others should be killed?
Of course, we like and dislike things regularly. One problem results when an individual has a belief that’s emotionally charged. When emotional beliefs are challenged, like God is dead or Hillary would’ve made a good president then typically a hate response follows. Since it’s emotionally based, factual and rational arguments simply fail. It’s like putting together oil and water. They don’t mix together because they can’t. They just remain separate without a common ground. They are just stuck.
Typically, one can raise the question as to what degree is evil or destructiveness part of human nature, is it learned, and/or influenced by the society and culture? Looking to animal data, aggressiveness is observed in some species of animals but not to all animals. Notably, chimpanzees, gorillas and anthropoid apes considered higher animals and closest, on the evolutionary scale, to humans. They are seen to be more cooperative than aggressive. This does not mean that they are not aggressive or dominant when their survival is at stake.
Looking at anthropological data, the Arapesh peoples of New Guinea are mild, friendly and not aggressive. One has to go to extremes to find a man who is even self-assertive. On the other hand, people like the Chukchi of Siberia or Dobu in New Guinea are so full of hatred that one wonders what keeps them alive from not killing themselves.
Briefly, destructiveness or evil is often a reaction to physical, and/or psychological threat which results in anxiety and is subsequently followed by hostile, aggressive, and destructive behavior or responses which is often a counterattack. With a fragile or vulnerable personality or character, biologically and psychologically one is prone, ready to fight, paranoid and anticipates being attacked. Further, any organic deterioration or brain disease can also result in defensive hostile behaviors.
Genetically, male hormones in different degrees of adrenaline and noradrenaline set the stage with an individual that is poised and ready to fight rather than flee. The culture and society with its laws, institutions, mores, rules, regulations, restrictions, government policies, economic and political groups easily frustrate the masses. With frustrations, often follow aggression. Because of all the unfairness, it’s no surprise why there’s so much hate and destructiveness in our society.
It’s true that these hateful social media anonymous individuals are gutless and anonymous. Even though, I’m going to raise a few probabilities about these people. Likely, they are Trump followers and admirers which means that when he criticizes, that gives these people permission to be like him and criticize as well. The fact that they have identified with Trump means they are in unison with him regardless. So now we have the good and the bad groups. When Pence, who is good and a Trump servant is joked about, that’s perhaps threatening. It’s definitely bad. Kimmel is bad and a psychological threat to their thinking and way of life. Because, in the good guys eyes, Trump stands for authority, security, stability, dependency, strength and a protector for the old white dominance American way of life of the past . Trump,  presents a predictable Authoritarian, with consistency, clear expectations, controlling and a  man in complete charge that will shield them from the elite liberalism, political correctness, people of color, and other undesirable’s in every way possible. He also gives them permission to act out like he does. Because their safety needs are met they can act stupid, not use reason and express freely their hatred and racism.
It’s important for these anonymous to belong and be part of a group more powerful than they. In doing so, their belongingness needs can be met. As social animals, we individuals are driven to affiliate and become part of a group. That group could be a couple, family, club, or a political party with a similar ideology. We have a tendency to herd, to flock, to join and to belong. In our group or tribe are the good guys. The enemy is in the other group. Of course enemies pose a potential threat and thus help unite the group in order to overcome feelings of alienation, aloneness, separateness, strangeness, and loneliness. Because of  massive  general over mobility,  being without roots,   being torn from one’s home, family, friends , neighbors and being more transient has greatly contributed in joining and  becoming part of a clan or tribe  more emotionally necessary. We tend to join groups and remain in the bubble in order that everyone perceives the world in the same way as we do.
 Dissonant information or ideas result in conflict and anxiety which is uncomfortable and/or threatening. A Republican can dislike a Democrat and vice versa. However, the demonizing and hate that’s expressed verbally is not legally as bad as when the behavior turns to violence. It’s the violence, cruelty and the destructiveness that is an evil and sick crime. Hate is a negative emotion that creates a stress cortisol which is not good for the homeostasis regulation in the body. It’s like a cancer within the body and eats away at humaneness often resulting in hostility. Hitler, Mussolini and Saddam Hussein are good examples of evil, destructive and sadistic men. How did their lives turnout at the end? Even when an individual wishes someone dead on social media, that behavior is clearly inappropriate and suggests pathology as well. It’s too bad there’s no significant external consequences for behavior with people that are without a morally functioning conscience.