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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.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Functional Medicine and Nike Part 2

Although this was not a random sample of runners and there were problems with actual identification of various running shoes, the conclusions supported Nike’s claim. For example, the speed increases associated with the Vaporflys were consistent with the increases in a Nike funded study. Runners who improved their performance in the Nike shoe and then switched to another shoe found their running times got slower. At the moment, the shoes cost $250, even though some runners claimed that they were good for only about 100 miles. Further, Nike’s newest version of the shoe, the Elite Flyprint cost about $650 and will be used by a limited number of runners in the 2018 London Marathon. I do not have a dilemma at the moment. I am determined to evaluate if my amino acid supplements work in my 2019 races to see if my running times improved. After completing those 4 runs of two 10 milers and two 50 K’s, I plan to asses and decide whether or not to purchase the Nike running shoe. Another option would be to begin track workouts as another variable. In essence, I shall have at least three options for consideration. In any event, I plan to keep moving.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Functional Medicine and Nike

Last year I attended a continuing education class, and learned more about medical foods and about functional medicine doctors. Not only did the class enhance my knowledge, it also provided the impetus to seek a functional medicine doctor in my area. I liked the idea of digesting certain foods and supplements to improve my health. So, I made an appointment, and then had to figure out why I was seeing that physician. I told that doctor that I wanted to run faster. Dr. Kristin took a history, provided me with information regarding medicinal foods and set up an appointment for bloodwork. The results came back from Genova Diagnostics and indicated that my riboflavin-B2 and folic acid-B9 were low. She then referred me to a company that created a personalized supplement that I currently take in powder form. Although I was in good medical health prior, I will continue taking this supplement at least until I run my first four races in 2019. At that juncture, I will compare my running times to years past to determine if I have increased my running time speed. Then out of the blue, I ran across a July 22, 2018 article in the New York Times titled “What If a $250 Shoe Actually Made You Run Faster?” I now have at least two options for increased running speed. In this article, a survey was implemented to see if the Nike claim that their Zoom Vaporfly allowed people to run 4% faster. The article, Incorporated, a statistical model based on runner traits such as weather, age, prerace training ; runners previous race times; runners who ran in the same pair of races; personal record when switching shoes; and after runners switch to new shoes in an attempt to verify Nike’s claim. The authors employed Strava to track runners running times, and personal runner communication, per the type and/or model of running shoe used for 500,000 Marathon and half Marathon running times since 2014. To Be Continued

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Importance of Identification Part 3

I supported, and overlooked his unorthodox behavior of sleeping in a recruit’s room or even attending high school with that recruit. He held spring practices in Florida, and took his teams to Italy and France. In 2015, my Wolverines lost to Michigan State when on the last play the game, the punt was blocked and a Michigan State player ran it into the end zone. I could not objectively listen to criticism when it came to coach Harbaugh’s call to punt the ball. Moreover, it was as if my conscience was frozen, nonfunctioning, malleable or absent as Jim’s sense of morality became like my own. I could not employ my conscience independently when it came to Jim’s behavior. I could easily use my words, and/or defense mechanisms or even ignore the coach’s behavior. I could not even apply rational thought and thinking properly. Or simply put, my rational thought and my conscience were objectively ineffective when it came to coach Harbaugh. It would probably take losing seasons to dislodge my identification with coach Harbaugh. Otherwise, my feelings of approval and support continue to be obtained by allegiance to this external authority. These few examples demonstrate the power of unconscious identification. Irrational judgment, non-effective immature conscience, submission to the leader, inability to listen to reason or criticism, and the employment of denial, rationalization, and intellectualization occur within .Jim Harbaugh, as the messiah, can do no wrong at this moment. His will, commands, and precepts or principles becomes my moral laws. Because of our cognitive ability, we can come to any conclusion possible. We don’t have to be consistent; we don’t have to be rational; we don’t have to make sense; we don’t have to think in complete sentences nor do we have to be reasonable. We can even convince ourselves of the unbelievable. Facts are easily discounted and become not important. Often, our unconscious introjections, identifications and emotions interfere with and rule reality. As a consequence, our moral and ethical conscience and development are often out of balance, flawed, and not representative of Judeo-Christian values. Who is your Pied Piper? It’s clear that the vast array of Pied Pipers help define and establish one’s personality as a result of the power of the identifications.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Importance of Identification Part 2

As a University of Michigan alumnus, I have followed the football and basketball programs. In 2015, Jim Harbaugh took over, and became the leader for the football program. I knew that Jim was previously a quarterback for the Wolverines, played for Bo Schembechler; was a successful NFL quarterback; was a head coach at the University of San Diego , Stanford; and the San Francisco 49ers. His whole career was about high-performance, dominating and winning. Michigan’s illustrious football program was in decline after coach Lloyd Carr retired. Coaches Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke did not rescue the Wolverines. The Wolverines had been previously elite. It was difficult following them, and I was resentful about their mediocracy and poor play, especially against Ohio State. It was an embarrassment to say the least. Jim Harbaugh was brought in to resurrect the football program and restore it to its former glory. He had a reputation of being a narcissist, powerful, controlling with an authoritarian personality style. Identifying with the Wolverines resulted in my experiencing either jubilation or despair, depending upon the outcome of the game. The hiring of Jim Harbaugh resulted in an unconscious identification with Jim. Translated, this means that his personality, his rationality, and his conscience became like mine. In other words, Jim was correct or right, regardless of what he said or did. He could do no wrong, and I was unable to evaluate him and his accomplishments rationally. Further, no one could effectively reason with me about any of his negatives. He could walk on water, and I would experience hardships [having a poor won and loss record] if necessary. To Be Continued

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Importance of Identification

We live in an economic, political and social system. Our capitalistic economic system favors the top 1%; we have a serious political divide; we are confronted with potential nuclear war, terrorist attacks, opiates/drugs, global warming, massive personal and national debt, and all the insecurities and so on. Within these elements, personality, character and conscience are influenced. For instance, as newborns, we are born helpless and dependent and rely on our parents for survival. They gratify our physical and psychological needs and meet the requirements for our development. With techniques of praise, loss of love, disapproval, and/or physical punishment, we began to understand parental attitudes and witness parental rigidness, inconsistencies, non-rational contradictions and ambiguities while developing our conscience. By five or six years of age, we have incorporated and learned parental interpreted notions, attitudes, values, ethics, good, bad, morals and prohibitions as our own. We now have the beginnings, or the ground floor for further conscience development. The following “being honest; obeying rules and regulations; resisting temptations to cheat, lie or steal; acting in kind, considerate, altruistic ways; considering the rights and welfare of others; treating people in egalitarian rather than authoritarian ways; making moral judgments in which justice is tempered with mercy” become the components of our conscience. In other words, we have introjected the moral foundations of our parent’s conscience and behavior, and established and instituted our conscience by identifying with them. Realistically, we have likely incorporated more of not “do as I say,” but instead “do as I do.” And, further, that our identification is not only strong but has incorporated the essence or the power of parental authority. Throughout our lives, we identify with others of importance like older siblings, peers, teachers, coaches, professional athletes, role models, heroes and so forth. A brief example of the power of unconscious identifications follow. Remember, unconscious means, not being aware. To Be Continued

Saturday, July 28, 2018

It Ain't Fair Part 2

University Michigan coach Bo Schembechler told his team on their first meeting “I I am going to treat you all the same, like dogs.” Does this mean that he’s going to, absolutely and under all conditions, treat all his players equally? To learn more about fairness, Schembechler, Darden, Keller, Betts, McKenzie and Brandstatter, consult Bo’s Warriors Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football. In the early 1980s, I purchased my first equine Nowata from Veryl Lybert, a smart no-nonsense cowboy, originally from the province of Alberta, Canada. Veryl told me that he preferred to enter horse competitions that did not have a subjective quality. He said,” like in a horse race, when the first horse crosses the finish line, it’s the winner.” Incidentally, Veyl’s oldest boy won the title of “all-around cowboy” on the rodeo circuit numerous times. Veryl was correct, when possible, take subjectivity out of the equation. My younger sister told me of a recent conversation with our brother. I’m the oldest, followed by my brother, and then my sister. My brother reminded her that he complained to our mother that it was unfair that he had to go downstairs to the refrigerator and bring up a watermelon. Why couldn’t she ask our sister? That early memory is still etched in his brain .It’s still remains unfair. It will always be unfair to him. However, being a good son, my brother, the physician was with mom until the end. Thank you, brother. In the 90s, I went on a trail run along a creek in the Bay Area. When I returned to my car, after the run, I could not open my door as I had left my keys inside the car. I called AAA to unlock my car. I was told that my soon-to-be ex-wife had taken my name off the AAA membership. At that moment I was surprised. AAA came anyway, and unlocked my car door. History and the evolution of Homo sapiens, provide too many illustrations of favoritism, wars, killings, persecution, prejudice, economic inequality, sexual abuse along with the cliché “the person coming in second place is the first loser. “With man being narcissistic, prejudiced, and irrational, along with primary needs of survival and secondary needs of aggression, dominance and exhibition, it’s no wonder that words like compromise, rule of law, democracy, affirmative action, level the playing field depict an attempt to create fairness between and among individuals. Good luck with your memories of unfairness. Laughter is better than resentment. PS Thom Darden, Reggie McKenzie, Mike Keller, Jim Betts, Jim Brandstatter and I are currently working on a project based on Bo’s Warriors and the Transformation of Michigan Football Bo to bring their stories to the big screen in a full-length feature movie. I’ll keep you posted.

Friday, July 27, 2018

It Ain't Fair

Last week’s post on envy and jealousy triggered numerous memories. A significant dynamic or component of envy and jealousy is, in part, related to the perception of fairness. Developmentally, kids begin learning about fairness at a young age, as result of experiential actions and interactions with parents and siblings. So, according to the definition of fairness “Impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination,” fairness is about the perception of the beholder. Further, it doesn’t mean that the beholder, King or consensus makes it right. A few examples of fairness or unfairness follow: 1. King Solomon allegedly was confronted by two women who claimed the baby in question was their own. Cleverly, King Solomon’s solution was to cut the baby in half and present each woman one half of the child. The biological mother, horrified of that idea, told the king, “Give the child to the other woman.” It was at that juncture, that the wise King knew the true mother. 2. Jim Brandstatter was the radio voice of the Detroit Lions for 31 years. Without warning, he was abruptly terminated by the WJR radio station. Jim didn’t mention fairness or unfairness, but he did say he was shocked and” that’s the nature of this business.” 3. Mike Keller, as an adolescent, was large for his age. “By the time Mike reached junior high, he had really grown. He was disallowed from playing competitive football because of his size and weight. [As an eighth grader, he was about 6 feet tall and weighed about 160 pounds.] The football coach allowed him to practice with the team, and placed him on defense against the first-team offense. Mike indicated that even though he was bigger than everybody else, he did not attempt to hurt them. He did admit that he made most if not all of the tackles.” 4. Thom Darden made second team all Pro in the NFL with the Browns. He thought he was better than the Dallas player who made first-team all Pro and was paid $40,000 a year more than Thom. Darden went to the team owner of the Cleveland Browns and told him of the discrepancy. The owner said something to the effect “you signed a contract and go pound nails.” 5. Reggie McKenzie, while playing for the Buffalo Bills, was told by management that they were not going to trade him, despite the rumors. They in fact did trade him to the Seattle Seahawks. Reggie was mad at owner of the Bills, Ralph Wilson also from Detroit. Reggie said some uncomplimentary things about Wilson and the Bills management in the newspaper. This news angered Mr. Wilson. It wasn’t until Wilson died that the Bills honored Reggie by inducting him in their Hall of Fame. Reggie said that Wilson was probably turning over in his grave with that event. 6. A freak accident interfered with Jim Betts potential NFL career. “Jim was drafted by the New York Jets in the 10th round of the 1973 NFL draft and signed a contract to play backup quarterback and safety. Before reporting to camp, Jim was rehabilitating from ankle injury [an injury suffered in the blue and gray game], and was student teaching at Scarlet, junior high, in Ann Arbor. There was a tradition at the junior high that the student teacher would be thrown into the swimming pool by the students at the end of the school year. So, a great number of students started to drag Jim toward the pool. Unfortunately, Jim had a whistle around his neck, and one of the students hand’s got stuck on the lanyard, while Jim was going into the water. The metal whistle got pulled out, striking him in his left eye…. He has a black spot when using his left eye, and lost 70% of the vision, in the eye….. No matter how good you are you can lose it in the blink of an eye-no pun intended.” To Be Continued

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Envy and Jealousy Part 2

In comparison to those brilliant minds of yesteryear, I prefer to reframe the emotional state of envy within the dynamics of human needs. Comparing self to another is cognitive and has to do with perception. Being cognitive suggests there is an achievement need. Achievement means to accomplish something difficult; to master; to rival and surpass others and to increase self-regard by the successful exercise of talent. Yes, the completion of a marathon is measured achievement and admirable, regardless of age. Being able to acknowledge and appreciate achievement is related to deference and character. Another necessary cognitive component in combating envy is a need for counteraction. This means to master, or make up for a failure by restriving; to overcome weakness; to search for obstacles and difficulties to overcome; and to maintain self-respect and pride on a high level. Perhaps this professor can no longer run, but he likely can walk. Instead of whining, he might consider working and training for hiking and walking. It’s important not to refrain from an activity because of the fear of failure. On another level, he might sublimate and explore the dynamics of being. I agree with Camus when he wrote “… our emotions imbue our perceived universe with valence in color. Unpleasant as it might be, it is good to know when we are projecting green—when most everyone seems to be making us feel smaller and less fortunate.” It is important to understand our own psychological dynamics. And if you’re comparing [some components are out of your control, experience and limitations] yourself to some anonymous source, determine the reason or reasons without the emotional overlay. If the basis for the envy is the result of advertising or social media tactics, determine if you want to be just one of the masses and follow that crowd. On the other hand, take a look at your need structure and its unconscious forces. When all else fails, reframe. Yes, “Know Thy Self” is always preferred. Envy and jealousy are negative, irrational, immature, nonproductive, self -defeating and downright inappropriate and part of human nature.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Envy and Jealousy

An article titled “The Upside of Envy” written by a philosophy professor was found in the May 6, 2018, The New York Times. The professor stated that he was envious of all the 60 and 70-year-old’s that have the ability to ride many miles, and that a friend his age had recently finished a marathon. He went on and quoted a number of outstanding thinkers regarding their thoughts about envy that included Nietzsche, “Envy and jealousy are the private parts of the human soul;” Francis Bacon “Envy keeps no holidays;” Kierkegaard, “Envy is secret admiration;” and Aristotle “…as the pain caused by the good fortune of others.” A Dictionary of Psychology did not include a definition of envy. It did, however, have a definition of jealousy “a complex emotional state, involving a sentiment of hate by one person for another, because of the relations of both to a third; the commonest form is sexual jealousy.” Jealousy begins early and common in development. It often occurs but not limited between siblings, with a perceived unfairness “that’s not fair” regarding receiving affection, attention, food, things, and love from parents. This professor stated that he hated those athletes because his injured body can’t keep up with them any longer. This professor was really saying that he despises his own weakened inadequate body; which is a significant component of his sense of self or self-esteem. The professor’s statement suggested that he was merely projecting his diminished frailty. On a personal level, when it comes to ultra-running events, I am typically, the oldest participant. I don’t know if others in my age group hate me? If so, it’s certainly a waste of negative, non- productive energy. I surely don’t hate the individual who finished ahead of me in my age group. What’s wrong with admiration, working harder and reality? TO Be Continued

Monday, July 16, 2018

Existentialism and Le Suicide Part 4

Add human detachment and lack of significant others to the equation, and this equals a higher negative ratio of pain to pleasure. Yes, there are too many individuals in our country that are hurting. These dependent and insecure individuals seek unrealistic and simplistic mechanisms to ease their pain like alcohol and drugs. Their sense of insignificance, ineptitude, unworthiness, lack of esteem, anxiety and stress results in them being unconsciously drawn to the false, illogical, exploitive promises of for profit colleges. Attending a non-expensive community college geared for the troubled learner is more difficult, since one has to sit in a classroom, study, take exams, etc. Another quick fix for the sense of the weakened and powerless individual is the unconscious drive to be protected and taken care of by double talking authoritarian and narcissistic politicians. Because these primitive unconscious motives are emotionally based, and remain with us during our lifetime, acting against one’s own self interests are repeated and par for the course. No, it’s not surprising that despair and suicide is on the rise. Unless things dramatically change in the socio economic and political spheres, we can expect the poorly educated with their limited skill set to remain vulnerable and hopelessly in the doom and gloom, emotional phase which is an existential crisis. In conclusion, with the inability to fulfill man’s basic needs of affiliation [cooperation, solidarity, love and friendship]; achievement [to accomplish, to master, to excel, and to work], results with significant interference in establishing a sense of purpose or meaning for an individual. When these important and necessary human components are not fulfilled, one’s sense of identity is compromised. In our society, when identity is negatively compromised, the result is often frustration and anger turned inward.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Existentialism and Le Suicide Part 3

As far as finding meaning, also In the June 24, 2018, The New York Times was an article titled “The Snake Oil of the Second- Act Industry.” For example, we know that limited education and the closing down of industries in our country has affected many older or 50+ aged individuals. With clever “starting over,” “you’re own second act can actually be the most exciting, freeing and empowered era of your life” marketing, a new scam industry was created. This industry is “for-profit colleges,” and not the community college. These false, slick and unethical consumer operations promote useless and meaningless certificates; and create massive student debt. In this article, one student’s debt was $16,000 and another’s $59,000. Student debt for the middle-aged account for at least 17% of the $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loan debt for people over 50 years old. In fact, people 60 and older are the fastest-growing age segment of the student loan market. Moreover, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 33% of job seekers are age 55 and older. The long-term unemployed rates for people over 55 are triple the rates for those under 25. It’s difficult to find meaning, understanding, and/or not taking on a victim viewpoint in our Protestant ethic, capitalistic economic system when one loses their job, their career, their income and goes into unaffordable debt. Part-time employment, minimum wage, limited education, and paucity of skills results in a high external stress index score. This score correlates with a high internal stress index score as well, as one’s sense of self and sense of identity suffers greatly. For many, work and career make up an important part of one’s identity. That significant loss creates a large void or hole that’s difficult to fill. It’s no wonder that these vulnerable, older individuals, in this stage of their life, are frustrated, angry and stressed. Anger expressed inwardly with self-hate, and destructive impulses can lead to abasement behaviors and even suicide. To Be Continued

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Existentialism and Le Suicide Part 2

If viewing the problem of suicide from an existential viewpoint, lack of meaning or the crisis of meaninglessness; with greater human detachment; and a weaker sense of belonging are increasing the risk of existential despair. More specifically, a few diagnostic symptoms of an Affective Disorder include feelings of inadequacy, decreased effectiveness or productivity, social withdrawal, loss of interest in or enjoyment of pleasurable activities, inability to respond with apparent pleasure to praise or reward, pessimistic attitude towards the future, brooding about past events, or feeling sorry for oneself fit, correspond, and are associated with existential despair. Despite the electronic explosion of smart phones, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., we continue to have significant loneliness among our inhabitants. They call loneliness an epidemic in Great Britain. A disruption to one’s affiliative needs runs counter to man’s nature. Affiliation or the necessity to unite with other living beings is paramount for growth and well-being. Loneliness suggests a perceived lack of belonging, connecting, and/or solidarity. This results in a sense of alienation, which has disastrous consequences for its effect on identity. To make matters worse, Electronics have reduced important face-to-face interaction, despite plenty of texting. People handle, touch, and fondle their smart phone more than they do others. They probably also fondle their pets more than other Homo sapiens as well. Living in a different era while residing In Detroit, as a teen, I delivered the Detroit News to people who resided on my block, etc. As a result of friendships with neighbor kids and my paper route customers, I became familiar with many of my neighbors. My mother, being a friendly type, also knew many in our neighborhood. I completed my PhD and subsequently took an assistant professorship at California State University in San Bernardino. It just so happened, that one of my former customers daughter had moved to Fontana, California. Talking with the neighbor, my mother gave me the phone number, and address in Fontana to contact. I arrived in San Bernardino on a Sunday morning and called my former neighbor. She was married and invited me over to meet the family. Her husband and I looked through the paper and found some rentals in the San Bernardino Mountains. We found a place near Lake Arrowhead, which I rented. That’s an example of face-to-face neighbor to neighbor interaction and meaningful interpersonal contact back in the day without the Internet, and without a cell phone. Those facts were all pluses on the balance sheet. To Be Continued

Friday, July 13, 2018

Existentialism Le Suicide

According to British philosopher Jeremy Bentham, the idea of exchange or justifying an activity fits within his concept of pleasure and pain. For instance, going out for a morning run can be looked at “was it worth the time?” Perhaps another way of looking at it is to reframe it and call it a pleasurable activity. According to this philosopher, the aim of life was to have pleasure. Activities can be assessed by employing a simple plus or minus on a balance sheet. Hopefully, there will be more pleasure or pluses than pain or minuses during a lifetime. One can conclude that if the amount of pleasure was greater than the action of pain, the activity was worth doing. One can then add up all of life activities to determine “whether life was worth living.” A second question can conclude whether or not one’s life “was a failure,” or was a “success.” There is too much suicide behavior in our country, and motives for suicide are highly complex. Revenge, murder-suicide and melancholy, are some suicide motives. Emil Durkheim in Le Suicide wrote about “anomie” as a major cause of suicide .Anomie translated means or refers to the destruction of traditional social bonds. In other words, all genuine social life interaction has been violated. He believed that people living in the modern political state are “a disorganized dust of individuals” and that was written in 1897. Just think if he was alive today and what he might write about our political state? We know that alcoholism, drugs and opioids, and other escape mechanisms are symptoms of boredom and monotony of life. Further, thinking and feeling that life is a failure correlates with strategies of escape. This idea “Suicides are up. Is This an Existential Crisis?” was found in the June 24, 2018 edition of The New York Times. It was stated, in the article, that there has been a 25% increase in suicides since 1999 across most ethnic and age groups; despite the fact that more people are seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. To Be Continued

Extensions Le Suicide

According to British philosopher Jeremy Bentham, the idea of exchange or justifying an activity fits within his concept of pleasure and pain. For instance, going out for a morning run can be looked at “was it worth the time?” Perhaps another way of looking at it is to reframe it and call it a pleasurable activity. According to this philosopher, the aim of life was to have pleasure. Activities can be assessed by employing a simple plus or minus on a balance sheet. Hopefully, there will be more pleasure or pluses than pain or minuses during a lifetime. One can conclude that if the amount of pleasure was greater than the action of pain, the activity was worth doing. One can then add up all of life activities to determine “whether life was worth living.” A second question can conclude whether or not one’s life “was a failure,” or was a “success.” There is too much suicide behavior in our country, and motives for suicide are highly complex. Revenge, murder-suicide and melancholy, are some suicide motives. Emil Durkheim in Le Suicide wrote about “anomie” as a major cause of suicide .Anomie translated means or refers to the destruction of traditional social bonds. In other words, all genuine social life interaction has been violated. He believed that people living in the modern political state are “a disorganized dust of individuals” and that was written in 1897. Just think if he was alive today and what he might write about our political state? We know that alcoholism, drugs and opioids, and other escape mechanisms are symptoms of boredom and monotony of life. Further, thinking and feeling that life is a failure correlates with strategies of escape. This idea “Suicides are up. Is This an Existential Crisis?” was found in the June 24, 2018 edition of The New York Times. It was stated, in the article, that there has been a 25% increase in suicides since 1999 across most ethnic and age groups; despite the fact that more people are seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. To Be Continued

Monday, July 9, 2018

Being Part 4

The nurture side, which has been estimated to account for about 60- 70 % of who we turn out to be. Even though Dr. Watson thought of us as being a blank slate, we’re not. The intrauterine and subsequent birth begins the environmental process. As a result of parental caretaking, it’s believed that personality is formed prior to attending elementary school. We’re subjected to many personalities, activities, and interpersonal relationships within the culture. Radio, TV, movies, and electronic devices bombard us as well. Maybe there’s college, marriage, careers, children, divorce, unemployment, health issues, military service, etc. etc. throughout our life space. No wonder it’s difficult to attain a self-satisfying life. Forget about seeking happiness; and stop chasing illusions and/or fairytales. In summary, being or one’s essence is about growth, evolvement and development, as opposed to decay. This translates into eliminating “I used to,” “I remember when,” “in the good old good days,” “when I was …,” Growing old is not for sissies,” “I can’t run because my knees hurt ...etc. etc. etc.” from speech. Growth entails nurturing the mind and body in the present with both realistic aspirations and expectations along with future goals. A keyword is realistic. Producing, creating, giving to others, making things better and working out both the mind and body are paramount. The cliché “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” is true. There will likely come a time when decay becomes reality with a return to the earth. Just before, look back with a smile on your face, and that’s called integrity. Cofer, C. N. and Appley, M. H. Motivation: Theory and Research, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind, HarperCollins.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Being Part 3

One can marvel at the tremendous amount of information provided by Homo sapiens intelligence throughout the years. Currently, with the Internet, information about how to establish well-being can be received within a blink of an eye. However, some things don’t add up. For example, per suicide, white people and men are dying by the thousands. Nearly 84% of people who kill themselves are white, and about 77% of them are men. 49 of the 50 states saw their suicide rates increase over the course of a recent CDC study. Montana has the country’s highest suicide rate with veterans, accounting for more than 20%. Addictions are numerous and we currently have an opioid epidemic. Three quarters of the country are either obese or overweight. 1% of the country account for significantly much more wealth than the remaining 99%. More than 50% or so of the country are angry, prejudiced, concerned and politically divided. Too many in our country do not have health insurance. Educational divisions-achievement scores are particularly varied depending upon socioeconomic status differences {parents with more education, higher earnings, wealthier neighborhoods etc.} As a result of many of these issues, it is obvious that too many Americans are not living the good life, despite the plethora of available information. This means that a good life is dependent upon nature and nurture. Within our nature is our wonderful brain that has many functions, including mood, memory, hormone regulation, higher cognition, abstract thought, comprehension of language, social behavior, creativity, problem-solving, perception and navigation to name a few. So, the execution of behavior has short and long-term consequences. What may be good at this moment, may be disastrous in the long term. In other words, despite seeking pleasure, we continue exhibiting irrational and self-defeating painful behavior. It’s decision-making over a lifetime. Adolescent decision-making is usually different from middle-aged decision-making. There are always consequences for the obvious and the less obvious. In addition, wishing for the fountain of youth, winning the lottery, or taking the magic pill maybe just infantile and preoperational thinking at best More To Follow.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Being Part 2

Along with Jefferson, we give thanks to Adam Smith for capitalism .With capitalism and democracy, we have self-determination, economic growth and material abundance. First, Madison Avenue, and now in the electronic age, we have numerous objects to want. We’re told, drink a beer, Coke, or some other beverage and you’ll be associating with some pretty, smiling female, laughing, and scantily dressed. Attend the University to attain a degree, and make tons of money. We’re told to buy that diamond in order to get the perfect girl. Were told to purchase that dream house or go on a well-deserved exotic vacation, drinking a beer with a pretty girl next to you on the beach at the ocean. Were told to buy that fancy sports car or wear that status or designers watch. The Sunday New York Times provides many illustrations and examples for finding happiness. Existentialism emerged in the 1800s with Soren Kierkegaard and Frederick Nitschke. Within this philosophy, God was dead; there was brevity of human life with no immortality. Briefly, it’s important to deny the supremacy of reason and/ or rationality .It’s important to experience life in the present. Moreover, scientific and technical achievements have not solved the problem of man’s existence, but instead have placed barriers that interfere with its solution. Further, the highly technological mass production has resulted in the individual becoming lost, and now we live in a society of conformity. Because of the irrational forces, man is what he is and he can’t be comforted by religious, political, scientific, or other illusions. Acceptance of these realizations, results in anxiety and dread. Humanistic psychologists have incorporated some notions of existentialism. It’s believed that man’s potential can occur once man understands and accepts his existence. Only then, does he have the potential to attain self-actualization. Erich Fromm, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and others have laid out their ideas and have described what it’s like to be actualized. In essence, it’s about growth motivated individuals that produce health and satisfaction. Illness is prevented. There is pleasure in producing and creating. In other words, it’s growth of the individual, with the expression of maturation and ongoing development while establishing character. More To Follow

Friday, July 6, 2018

Being

Happiness, a noun, is defined as “the state of being happy.” It’s also been described as the state of well-being that encompasses having a good life. Employing dualism, Aristotle perceived the soul and the mind as different from the body. He believed that reason, being unique to man, was a prerequisite and that attaining happiness was the highest goal to living. Also important was the ability to control one’s passions and desires and that could be accomplished through knowledge and rationality. Aristippus of Cyrene, another Greek, considered to be the originator of hedonism, believed that pleasure was the only thing worth striving for, and that pleasure was good. It was important to seek gratification and avoid pain. It was pleasure that results in happiness. The wise man was the perfected man. Epicurus, advocated happiness or pleasure. However, he believed that tranquil states, the absence of pain, and minor satisfactions were important in attaining happiness. He thought that friendship was the best and safest of the social pleasures. He advocated being in the present, and eliminating sexual intercourse from his equation. Taking the position that good was considered pleasure and/or happiness was believed by Jeremy Bentham. He also thought that each person works towards his own happiness and believed in the principal “the greatest good is for the greatest number.” Coming from America, Thomas Jefferson believed that blacks were innately inferior to whites in terms of both mental, and physical capacity. Jefferson also believed that slavery was a violation of the natural rights of man. However, in the Declaration of Independence, slaves were equated as two thirds of white Homo sapiens. Perhaps in writing about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” he was referring to his affair with Sally Hemmings. Happiness was thought of being related to knowledge, or rationality. It was considered on one hand, it is being the acting out of one’s sexual desires and on the other hand, it was about controlling one’s passions. Happiness was also thought to be about friendship and working towards the greatest good in mankind. More To Follow

Monday, July 2, 2018

Dynamics of Nationalism Part 4

However, because of the ability for formal operational thinking along with defense mechanisms, they can even like and cheer for a black skinned Muslim. Sports and entertainment celebrities allows us to level the emotional playing field, despite our, racial, and prejudicial belief system. Shaquille O’Neal was a superior dominant basketball figure in his day. Currently, he’s a spokesman for many products on TV. Oprah Winfrey, a celebrity, has been even mentioned as a presidential candidate. Liking a dark skinned figure does not mean that one is not racially prejudiced. Anyone can root for their brown or black skinned star player /entertainer on the playing field or court. It’s what happens when an unkempt stranger that is brown or black skinned knocks on your door. Do they feel emotionally relaxed and at ease and welcome that Homo sapiens into your home to break bread? In summary, we begin life very vulnerable, low sensitivity to pain, helplessness and have to rely totally on our caretaker or caretakers for the emotional supplies of safety, comfort, and existence. Unconsciously, we develop mechanisms, patterns, and strategies to overcome and compensate for our fragile existence. Current realistic and concrete concerns fuel insecurity. For some, power, status, affluence, aggression, racism etc. become the vehicles that define character. Emotionality accompanies everything including narcissism, conscience, cognition, defense mechanisms and identity. We can lose individuality, humanism, brotherhood, ethics and formal thinking, depending upon our emotionally based beliefs, tribe membership and going along with a consensus. The early philosophers were correct in that fear seems to be stronger than love; and that we submit to a perception of strength. PS Where is Abraham Lincoln? He’s needed today. Meacham, Jon, The Soul of America The Battle for Our Better Angeles. Random House. Spinoza, Benedictus, Ethics .Oxford University Press.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Dynamics of Nationalism Part 3

They have a political philosophy that is based on an emotionally driven narcissistic orientation- me first. My needs, my being are more important, more privileged, more righteous, more God-given, and more racially pure than the others. Unconsciously, the primary emotional weakness dynamics of dependency, helplessness and fear, provide the platform or foundation upon which perception, cognition, conscience, emotion, and identity evolves. Because of unconscious underlying primary dynamics, Homo sapiens are driven to compensate for their vulnerability, and find the resolution and/or protection. Additionally, conscious concerns about health, economic instability and significant other worries and emotions tend to fill in the life space of many. They are driven to submit and participate with a force larger and greater than self. That merging or identification might be to a God, a religion, a political system, an economic philosophy, a country , a conscience, a psychic compulsion or even an authoritarian paternalistic individual. These identifications can be part, or all, and make up the emotional component of one’s identity. Now, the individual can share in the strength, power, glory and glamour. Ideas and slogans of natural law, individualism, demagogic, absolutist, corporations, capitalism, pulling one’s self up by their bootstraps, fighting for freedom, law and order, free markets or trade, Second Amendment rights, excessive money for military budget, make America great etc. and fit within the composition of dependence, narcissism, helplessness, fear and protection on one hand, and current gloom or insecurity regarding the present. Not only that, these emotional psychological components becomes internalized and becomes the master supplanting and interfering with conscience and intelligence, but not our defense mechanisms. It is now who we are and gives significant meaning to our lives. It’s our Homo sapiens identity. They worship the slogan of nationalism/populism. Nationalism is supreme. Do not worship or create any other false gods or idols before me. Other ideas such as humanism; It’s a shrinking world; love one another; love thy enemy; unions, socialism, “better angels of our nature” and we’re all Homo sapiens take on the division between us versus them. Those, the other, are not perceived as belonging to our tribe. Simply put, they are the emotional/hated enemy. More To Follow

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Dynamics of Nationalism Part 2

A sense of identity eventually merges. Initially, the identification and imitation of parental figures are incorporated. The language, beliefs, punishments and behaviors of parents are noted along with their rules, emotions, and contradictions. Good, bad and how people are treated are learned. Teachers, religious leaders, sports figures, movie stars, entertainers, etc. also begin to become part of the individual’s fragile sense of identity. Later on, identity becomes clearer based on potential love objects, social groups, achievement and accomplishments in academic and vocational arenas, membership in religious and political groups, participation in college and professional sports teams, country, etc. Through formal and Informal education, the person begins to learn more about love from the great teachers of man. From Ikhnaton, Moses, Confucius, Lao-tse, Buddha, Socrates, and Jesus to name a few. The introduction to the learnings of the philosophers from Europe become embedded consciously or unconsciously. For instance, Machiavelli wrote about employing fear and love to control the populace. However, he added that fear was a stronger technique and more dependable than love. Hobbes, the British philosopher, believed that because of man’s conflicts and frailties, man would submit, and give over control to a sovereign or the state, which would be geared to protect the individual from attack. In other words, fear was the strongest motive. And then there was Spinoza. He believed there was an unconscious motivation that existed in man. He also wrote “but if the greedy person thinks only of money and possessions, the ambitious one only of fame, one does not think of them as being insane, but only as annoying; generally one has contempt for them. But factually greediness, ambition, and so forth are forms of insanity, although usually one does not think of them as illness.” Currently, we have a political divide that was exacerbated by the May 7 zero tolerance policy. This policy resulted in young children being separated from their parents and placed in chain-link areas all over the country. Politically, we were told that these brown skinned people were illegal and associated with disease, rape, homicide and gang related behavior regardless or irrespective of age. Then we witnessed a video of crying children in their cages. One TV station and its various representatives of this man-made policy talked about the strict rule of law with its narrow right and wrong interpretation regarding the immigration madness or mess. However, this was expressed as if there was a concealment of truth as well as an absence of emotional, conscience, moral, ethical behavior, brotherhood of men, religious teachings and critical inductive and deductive reasoning. Instead, there was a blind obedience to this policy based on nationalism or populism, which means hatred and demonization toward nonwhite skinned minorities, love of the strong, disgust toward the poor weakly masses of insignificant strangers. Moreover, we have been told that the other is lazy, shiftless, ignorant, less intelligent and inferior. They don’t deserve legalization, minimum wage, food stamps, health insurance, affirmative action or government, assisted housing. In fact, it’s admirable that Doug McMillion, Walmart’s CEO earned $22.2 million in 2017. The median salaried employee at that company would have to work more than 1000 years to match that income [New York Times, May 27, 2018]. More To Follow

Friday, June 29, 2018

Dynamics of Nationalism

Psychologically, when going from intrauterine to extra uterine or birth, the baby begins life emotionally vulnerable and sensitive to pain, dependent, fearful and helpless. It doesn’t have perception, cannot feed itself; and relies on the mother or caretaker for feeding, diapering and its existence. Within its development, the infant evolves from primary narcissism and begins to recognize outside objects, reacts with emotion, becomes able to grasp things, coordinate movements and then locomote or walk. Secondary narcissism begins as a child starts to recognize the importance of the other. The rudimentary basis for love has now been established. At the cognitive level, primary process thinking evolves into secondary process thinking as the child develops language, speaks, and learns about things and their function. Jean Piaget viewed cognitive development proceeding through four stages. 1. Sensorimotor 2. Preoperational 3. Concrete Operational and 4. Formal Operational. In the fourth stage, the ability to think abstractly, hypothetically, philosophically, ethically, socially, politically, and employ deductive reasoning emerges. Conscience evolves as the child learns “bad” as a result of parental punishments and threats and “good” as result of parental approval. It behaves as such only when the parent is present. We know that conscience was thought at one time to be a major influence on behavior and that conscience was developmental. Initially, according to Piaget and Kohlberg, a child’s behavior was guided externally by punishment and obedience, and then was based on receiving the approval of others, in order to maintain good relations. Later on, the individual begins internally to employ more rational, beneficial mutuality and utilitarian based behavior. He begins to see a logical and rational necessity for people to cooperate with one another .Appropriate behavior is based more on mutuality, reciprocity and the interests of all. With the capacity to view the world objectively, it can see others within a moral, ethical and humanistic framework. We also know that if the parents had a defective or authoritarian based conscience that was expressed in the manner of excessive rigidity or harshness, then it’s very unlikely that the development of the child’s conscience and moral standards would become mature and reasonable. More To Follow

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Anthony Bourdain Part 3

Man is irrational and has need structures. He has a need for abasement and exhibits masochistic behaviors. Additionally, pugnacity, repulsion, fear, disgust, anger, and negative self-feelings accompany behavior. We have wars, and we have men sending off mother’s sons to injury or death. The military is advertised as seeing the world; adventure; having teamwork; and being all that you can be. However, the injury and suicide rate of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are significant. Yes, the environment and living conditions play a major role with one’s emotional state of being. We cannot discount the effects of the battle conditions and its effect on the emotional toll on these men. They experience closeness and bond with each other, and then find bits and pieces of their brothers bodies scattered. It’s no wonder that PTSD is a common diagnosis for returning vets. Let’s take someone who prefers suicide or assisted suicide. This person wants to end his life for any number of reasons. Emotionally, the ending of life is consonant with suicide. Once that decision is made, the person is unlikely to be open to revoking that position. No amount of persuasion or logic will make a change. When the person wants to die, the present becomes less pleasurable; his future looks bleak; and he is unable to contemplate growth, optimism and change. Anthony Bourdain was not afraid to die. He achieved fame through his cooking, was a famous TV personality, had a popular TV show and was well rewarded economically. Likely, he had a support system and resources to receive help. Although Bourdain had many ways to end his life, he chose a painful death. His emotional misery from depression was so pronounced that he was unable to think clearly and figure out a more satisfactory solution. He believed that he was banging his head against an unsurmountable barrier that he was unable to cross or penetrate. His belief in the future was void of significant or meaningful goals. His awards and attainments were simply symbolic realizations at best. These achievements did not adequately substitute or protect Boudain from depression. Instead, in his depression, he exhibited angry and aggressive impulses inward against self. He contemplated and fantasized about suicide, developed a plan and carried it through. Was it a rational, heroic, intelligent or a destructive act for him? One would have to be in Anthony’s shoes to perhaps more fully understand his thinking and all the elements or components within his life space at that particular moment of time .One could agree or disagree about his act being logical, sensible or violent. However, remember, a suicide gesture and behavior is always based on the perception of the beholder and is within man’s fragile will. PS Per the June 25, 2018 edition of Time, a quote by Graham Greene in his autobiography, Ways of Escape,” sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent to the human condition” had special meaning for Anthony Bourdain as he had a copy of this book on his nightstand. I’ll wager that by reading Greene’s autobiography additional clues will surface as Bourdain likely identified with this brilliant writer. According to Wikipedia, Greene’s book describes “his struggle to stave off terminal boredom rather than merely have a good time. Sometimes mildly heroic, often seedy with those stories of his life, he described his lifelong ennui, his frequent bouts of depression and his endless search for meaning in life he often appears to view as meaningless….. Impression that the author lived a very interesting and varied life, but not a happy one.”

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Anthony Bourdain Part 2

We all know that emotion accompanies behavior since man is a thinking, perceiving, sensing, moving and an emotional Homo sapiens. We also know that man is irrational and does not always behave based on his interests. In Leon Festinger’s theory of Cognitive Dissonance, he believed that a discrepancy was an important condition for relevant motivation. Simply put, dissonance gives rise to a tension state, which is unpleasant and motivational. Then the individual will be oriented to reducing or eliminating the dissonance or unpleasant tension. And successful reduction of tension would be rewarding. Dissonance arises in the presence of information, bits of knowledge pertaining to self or others. It can be present or implied. It can be a thought, expectation, attitude, opinion or perception. Importantly, it can be an idea that has a significant emotional meaning pertinent to our perception of ourselves or belief system. That being the case, we’re open to like information and closed or discount ideas of opposition. Let’s take the belief that the earth is 6000 years old or such. In that view, man lived with the dinosaurs, sabretooth tigers, etc. If, that’s the case, we neither want to hear that the earth is 3.8 billion years old and was not formed in seven days, nor that the evolution of Homo sapiens, appeared about 70,000 years ago. We would more likely not read the scientific or biological journals relating to man’s origins, nor would we seek out lectures, movies or documentaries to that effect. If someone attempted to influence us with a different point of view, we would likely become angry. We would call it “fake news.” It would be a threat, dissonance, to our belief system. On the other hand, we would likely visit, a theme entertainment park based on the Old Testament stories with Adam and Eve, mastodons, and other prehistoric animals. That behavior would be consonant with our belief system. And yes, we can be illogical, irrational and employ denial because we are Homo sapiens. A more recent example of how man’s bias resulted in self-defeating behavior was found in a May 27, 2018 article in The New York Times. Briefly, a recent experiment demonstrated just that. Subjects were given a task to identify figures that had different shapes. Then, the participants received feedback as to whether their answers were right or wrong. These participants then observed the answers of four other co-players who were completing the same tasks. The participants were also asked whether they agreed or disagreed with a number of political statements such as “building a wall along the southern border would reduce illegal immigration.” The participants also observed the responses by 4 other co-players. To make the most money, the participants could learn from the co-player who best demonstrated the ability to identify the various shapes, regardless of political view. Unfortunately, the participants chose to agree with those co-players that matched their own views, regardless of their failure rate on the shapes. In essence, the participants lost money because they agreed with the politically like-minded co-players. They could’ve made more money by partnering up with those co-players that excelled at the task. The participants simply trusted like-minded individuals, or simply put, that resulted in an absence of dissonance. Politically, a contrary political view created dissonace to their belief system regardless of an opportunity to earn money. The dissonance resulted in a non-logical and rational decision. The tension or anxiety was stronger and interfered with smart decision-making. More to Follow

Friday, June 22, 2018

Anthony Bourdain

For the past few weeks I’ve had discussions with my friend Paul about the recent suicide of Anthony Bourdain .Paul and his wife Karen had this wonderful perception of Mr. Bourdain. They perceived him as being famous, worldly, engaging, wealthy, and a wonderful connoisseur and spokesman for superb tasting foods. And the fact that he traveled all over the world breaking bread with the natives about wine, food, and food preparation. In fact, he even got paid well to engage in this activity .Paul simply cannot understand this most personal and conscious act by Bourdain, in that it was not rational decision. Paul, being born and schooled in Athens Greece was no doubt versed and familiar with the writings of the famous Greek philosophers Aristotle, Plato and Socrates. These philosophers believed that knowledge, rationality, and the search for truth played a major role in virtuous conduct or right or wrong behavior. Further, that virtue through knowledge and rationality could control the passions. This meant that the mental aspect was superior to the sins of the flesh. And Aristotle believed that the highest aspect of human life was the pursuit of happiness, which was achieved through reason. Later on, Arthur Schopenhauer wrote about the evilness of impulses. He believed that impulses actually don’t bring pleasure, but instead result in pain. Not only that, but impulse gratification leads to satiation but not happiness. I am reminded of an exercise that I participated in one of my graduate classes held by Jacob Kounin. Briefly, Dr. Kounin drew a figure of a cat on the chalkboard and we were told to do the same, until he asked us to stop. This exercise demonstrated an example of satiation. Starting out, the drawn figure of the cat looked similar to the Professors. After minutes, the drawing errors mounted and the cat’s disfigurement developed more and more so. At the conclusion of the task, the cat drawings were placed randomly on the page. In essence, satiation took over, going from a positive valence, to a negative valence. Perhaps, if one ate a particular and favorite food [positive valence] three times a day, eventually, one would prefer something else as the food item would change from a positive to a negative valence. Sex would be another example. More to Follow

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Too Many Suicides Part 3

All of us, have had mothers primarily responsible for our upbringing. And men have been largely responsible for sending sons off to war. Suicide is not legal in most states, regardless of one’s mental or physical condition. Jack Kevorkian was a pathologist in Michigan my home state. He assisted approximately 130 patients to end their life on their own terms. Government interfering in that most personal decision did not make any sense to me. In fact, the medical board in Michigan revoked his license; and he was found guilty of second-degree murder, despite the fact that Michigan had no law against assisted suicide. This was a miscarriage of justice. The right to life slogan is just a slogan and means what? Wars don’t count, do they? Our government protects Big Pharma and the food industry by not fully warning the consumer of the consequences of use of pesticides, chemicals and other GMO’s that contaminate our food and are used in household products .I would argue that poor physical health{ cancer and obesity associated with these elements} contributes to depression and likely harmful behavior to self. My friend Dr. Jim Steere was awakened while studying in Denmark on a Fulbright scholarship. Denmark with zero population growth had complete medical coverage for its citizens, and they viewed suicide as humane. To quote Jim in “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.” According to Jim, “in Denmark, suicide does not carry criminal charges or have a religious connotation. Jim’s grandfather, California pioneer. committed suicide by ingesting strychnine. In the US, shame and guilt are associated with suicide. It’s not openly discussed and is a crime and therefore punishable. The Danes are both more humanistic and progressive when it comes to depression and mental illness.” Source: Basic Handbook of Child Psychiatry, Disturbances of Development, Joseph D. Noshpitz, Editor

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Too Many Suicides Part 2

Suicide and suicide attempts by children, adolescents are troubling with the fact that the first attempt surprises everybody, and as a result, prediction becomes difficult. Suicidal ideation is often a closely held secret. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents and youth in United States. It is been estimated that about 12% of suicide attempts in our country are with adolescents and 90% of these by adolescent girls. Moreover, since 2010 there has been a 70% increase in suicide rate among girls ages 10 to 19. Ingestion of barbiturates, psychotropic drugs, tranquilizers and drugs combined with alcohol are typical. As far as childhood suicide attempts, they appear to be impulsive acts, often motivated by feeling badly treated. And by the desire to punish those who would grieve at their death. Often the child who threatens to kill himself is expressing rage towards parents, usually his mother. Those who do seriously attempt to kill themselves are usually emotionally disturbed with a pathological family situation as a rule with a very sick mother. Parental feelings toward the child include feeling the child was a burden and the child feels that he was expendable. Suicidal children often do not take part in school activities outside the classroom. They may have reading our learning difficulties. The child may also feel that he can no longer tolerate the pain of living and that his adaptive attempts to fill his need come to nothing. Regardless of the concept of death, he views it as a solution to his difficulties. Children suffer depression with behavioral and somatic symptoms as the outward manifestation. Essentially, they want to punish the significant persons in their life. A few statistics regarding suicidal behavior with children and adolescents. For example, 20 percent have a parent who attempted suicide; 40% have a parent, relative or close friend who attempted suicide; 72% have one or both natural parents absent from the home-divorced, separated or deceased; 84% of those with stepparents felt they were contending with being with a not wanting stepparent; 58% of the parents were married more than once; 16% have had serious problems with a current parent due to the parents alcoholism; and family show marked residential mobility. Specifically, an unusual number of school changes, and siblings leaving the home are common findings. To Be Continued

Friday, June 15, 2018

Too Many Suicides

The surprised recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain triggered memories in my past. In the early 1970s, Gail, a beautiful redhead, was the love of my life. She was bright, talented and full of life’s energy. I met her in San Francisco, while separated from my wife. We had a terrific love affair that resulted in her moving to Detroit while I was in graduate school completing my PhD. Unfortunately, we separated, and I did not see her for about 25 years. Surprisingly, I met her at my 40th high school reunion. She had married a classmate of mine. However, she was unhappy in that union. Within the next five years or so, I found out that she had committed suicide. In the late 1970s, I feel in love with another woman that I met in San Francisco at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute. Jackie, at that time, was working on her PhD and also had a volunteer position with Suicide Prevention of Alameda County. One might argue, that these two facts were coincidences. Maybe or maybe not. In any event, Bourdain’s suicide brings back pleasant memories along with sadness regarding Gail. I would’ve liked to been there with her in her last moments. A few thoughts regarding suicide. Aggression is part of man’s nature and frustration leads to aggression. Even though there is a drive for survival, man, not only kills others, but kills self. We do not find any hard data generalizing or duplicating that behavior with the animal world. In the recent mass shootings, the perpetrator becomes the victim of suicide, either killing self, being killed by others, or spending the rest of his life behind bars. Overall, roughly 2/3 of all suicides are by men; and with a greater percentage being between the ages of 15 and 30 or over 70 years of age. There’s been close to a 30% increase in suicides since 1999 and it has been reported that about 70% of individuals committing suicide have communicated with others prior to taking their own life. Further, in 2016 suicide was the 10th most leading b cause of death. For the population at large, mental disorders, including personality disorders alcoholism, substance misuse coupled with feeling alone; being not afraid to die, are associated with intentionally causing one’s own death. To Be Continued

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Biological Age or Psychological Age Part 2

In relating identity to aging, it is clear that this is most important component. For instance, The Dictionary of Psychology defines personal identity as “psychologically, the sense or feeling of being the same person, based on common sensibility and continuity of aims, purposes and memories.” It seems to me that employing a number pertaining to an individual’s chronological age is not a useful description. A more useful description would be more like using the term “psychological age.” My friend Tony sent me a link with the message “somebody beat you to it.” Tony was referring to my term psychological age. In the link, in question, Disabled World published in 2014 and updated in 2017, what they called, was a real age calculator referred to as Biological Age. They claimed to compare Health Age; with Life Expectancy; and Typical Life Expectancy based on a questionnaire. Their questions employed health, medical, and personal habits to determine these actuarial numbers. Obviously, they employed more questions relating to habits and behaviors than to health and medical. One questionnaire does not fit everyone. We know that for Homo sapiens about 30% of who we are is based on DNA. Some disease conditions, height, strength and skin color are linked with DNA. I Disagree with John Watson. Based on DNA findings, human nature is not a blank tablet or tabula rasa. Yes, we are social animals and maybe 70% or so of who we are is based on environment, learning and experience. And because of our four basic processes [perception, movement, emotion and thinking] who we are and what we do is heavily influenced by our individual psychology. All our habits, behavior, beliefs, and mood is based on our individual psychology. As a result, psychological age is more inclusive, accurate, encompassing, influencing, and more specific than biological age. The term psychological age would not only take in aims, purposes, and memories, but more specifically would include important perceptions and expectancies pertaining to levels of physical activity or movement. In order to maintain and sustain activity levels, descriptions of physical and mental health self-talk, mood, feelings, drive and mental toughness are paramount. How an individual trains and conditions for the activity; how and what the individual eats nutritiously; and the other variables like how the individual maintains his life and life space would all be prescribed under the rubric of identity. Another way to put it, identity is not only what the person says about self, but also about the person’s choices and behavior. My purpose is not to come up with a particular number or tables like in life insurance. My task is to provide insight, understanding and a plan of action to be able to take in discrepant ideas for those wanting to change existing self-defeating patterns and dynamics around both birth and psychological age.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Biological Age or Psychological Age

After sustaining a horseback riding injury in 2009, in which I broke some bones in my neck, my first book “It Has Nothing To Do With Age” was published by Winter Goose in 2011. In that book, I focused on male and female athletes 65 years of age and older that were still competing in extraordinary sports. Many of these athletes were acquaintances that provided me with additional insights about their aging process. Simply put, their physical daily activities had to do with who they were as Homo sapiens. In other words, their competitiveness , their choices, their commitments and their ability to stick and persevere under varying conditions of stress in their particular sport or sports make up their identity. People, age differently which is reflected by who they are. Pay attention to the subject matter when having a conversation with a senior. Some, talk about their aches and pains; past or upcoming medical procedures like surgeries; or go on or bring up the many things that they used to do. These individuals more than likely have a psychological age, older than their birth age. One can argue that they are impaired. For others, talk centers around how good they look and feel; current and future plans regarding activities; compared to the doom and gloom and focusing on the “used to do.” These individuals have a psychological age that is younger than their chronological age. Psychologically speaking, Homo sapiens exhibit 4 basic processes. They perceive and sense. That is, he sees, tastes, smells, touches, and hears. Secondly, he moves and acts. That is, he walks, eats, swims, throws, climbs, etc. Thirdly, he feels or emotes. That is, he loves, hates, fears, becomes guilty, feels depressed, etc. Fourth, he reasons or thinks. That is, he remembers, imagines, hypothesizes, concludes, solves problems, etc. We know that none of these four basic processes are experienced in isolation. If the Homo sapiens perceives that he is different-he views himself looking older than his peers, his posture may be bent over as he walks; he may be depressed about his weight or physical health; and he may conclude that he’s not doing too well. With these Homo sapiens, their psychological state is significantly influenced but only in part by biological limitations. Mind and body are a two-way process. If one thinks he can’t run, then his body complies. If he is overweight and has bad knees, he believes that he can’t run and doesn’t run. Briefly put, how an individual perceives, thinks, acts, lives his life, emotes and feels about his daily activities determine who he is .Focus on actions and the ways in which he spends his time and it begins to paint a picture of his identity. It’s easier when in a career to have an identity related to that occupation. In retirement, one has to fill or re-create that gap in the 40 to 50 waking hours every week. To Be Continued

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Race in America Part 3

While those specializing in genetics are linking DNA to disease, our political system is employing racial categories from a social- political point of view. In fact, respondents on census questionnaires are asked to choose from an arbitrary classification which race or races that they are. I imagine its difficult when one parent is light-skinned and the other parent a person of color. What if they been adopted and had never met or known about their birth parents? What’s being measured? Taking a look at questions pertaining to race from the 2010 U.S. Census: 5. is this person of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin? Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, 6. White, Black, African American or Negro, American Indian or Alaska Native, 6. Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, other Asian, Japanese, Korean, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, Other Pacific Islander, Some Other Race. From these questions, the US has gathered questionable statistics on ethnicity and color of skin .Country, location, ethnicity and nationality are addressed. Maybe, just maybe, eliminating the social construct race from a governmental, political, and prejudicial point of view and referring to humankind as Homo sapiens might be more accurate and truthful. Asking where you were born, where your parents were born and where your grandparents were born would be more accurate and more useful .We are a society of immigrants and Native Indians. PS Yes, even the native Indians migrated.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Race in America Part 2

Dr. Reich argued that we should be careful about drawing conclusions about race that involves constructs that can be modified by the environment. For instance, in studying performance on an intelligence test, factor in such variables as a number of years of schooling, the way a person was reared, and the socioeconomic factors of the parent’s .Genetics do not exist in isolation. Differentiating the percentage pertaining to genetics or nature and the percentage pertaining to nurture or environment are age-old relevant questions. In fact, a behaviorist John Watson emphasized learning and experience, or simply put, nurture, and believed that experience could be inscribed in any message on the tabula rasa, which is the blank slate of human nature. Dr. Watson stated in 1925 “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select-Doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and yes even beggar-man, and thief regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, locations and race of his ancestors.” This behaviorist incorporated the effect of negative learning regarding the development of social and political ideas of race. To illustrate, if a poor person of color is subjected to negative environmental influences, that Homo sapien is likely to develop negative character traits. My sister took part in a DNA testing. The results were 99.6% Ashkenazi and .4% Sephardic. Ashkenazi Jews refers to ethnicity of Jews from Central and Eastern Europe-Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine and Belarus. Sephardi Jews lived in the Iberian Peninsula-Spain, Portugal, and France. Although our parents were born the United States, both sets of grandparents were born in Russia. Location, location and location. My friend Tony’s early DNA story indicated 45% Europe, South; 20% Europe, West; 12% Caucasus and 11%, Scandinavia. Tony’s mother and grandparents were born in Italy, but he’s not sure about the birthplace of his father and his father’s parents. Does this make Tony half Italian? To Be Continued

Friday, June 1, 2018

Race in America

Biologists classify organisms into species. Species that have evolved from a common ancestor are linked together under the category of genus or the plural genera. Genera are then grouped into families such as Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens came into being around 70,000 years ago, even though the first humans evolved from East Africa roughly 2.5 million years ago. On a side note, Homo sapiens eliminated the Neanderthals. However, some might argue that the superior Homo sapiens won and attributed that to their superior brain power and aggressive nature. In any case, violence, irrationality, destruction and negative emotions like hate are the nature of Homo sapiens. Let’s visit The New York Times article in the March 25, 2018 edition titled “Race in the Age of Modern Genetics” by Dr. David Reich. Reich sets the stage for an understanding of race within biological science. In 1942, Ashley Montagu, the anthropologist, in his book, argued that race was a social concept that had no genetic basis. However, in 1972, Richard Lewontin, a geneticist employing a variation in protein types in blood, classified seven races-West Eurasians, Africans, East Asians, South Asians, Native Americans, Oceanians, and Australians. He stated that about 85% of variation in the protein types could be accounted for by variation within populations, and only about 15% variation across them. He added that “to the extent that there was variation among humans, most of that was because of differences between individuals.” From the data, a consensus established that among human populations, there were no significant differences to support the concept of race. Instead, race was considered a social construct, which is a way of categorizing people that changes over time and across countries. Dr. Lewontin wrote that human populations “are remarkably similar to each other” from a genetic point of view. However, Dr. Reich stated that groundbreaking advances in DNA sequencing have been made over the last two decades. And these advances enabled him to measure with accuracy what fraction of an individual’s genetic ancestry traces back to that say West Africa before the mixing in the Americas of the West Africans with European gene pools. He added that while race is a social construct differences in genetic ancestry correlate with some of today’s constructs. Dr. Reich used examples like skin color, bodily dimensions and susceptibility to disease. Moreover, Dr. Reich pointed out that the differences between males and females were most profound. In addition to anatomical biological differences between the sexes, were average differences in size and physical strength. To Be Continued

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Continued Teenage Violence Part 2

This brings to mind research conducted by Harry Harlow with rhesus monkeys at the University of Wisconsin and the development of attachment. In a series of experiments, Harlow and associates constructed a wire-mesh “mother” and a wire- mesh “mother” covered with Terry cloth. Even though the wire mesh mother, had a bottle attached to its wire mesh chest, these infant monkeys preferred the terrycloth mother. With the terrycloth mother, the infant rhesus monkeys preferred them; it reduced their fear, and these monkeys were more likely to explore the open space around the strange and threatening wire- mesh mother. According to theory, attachment was not established with the wire meshed “mother.” Let’s apply infant attachment to humans and the psychological ability to develop a sense of trust and security. It’s my guess, that the 17-year-old perpetrator had a wire- mesh caretaker and thus was unable develop a sense of trust and developed a sense of mistrust Instead. When the development of trust is impaired, the humankind emotionally experiences an unhealthy degree of anxiety and insecurity. He can no longer expect that his safety and other needs are going to be met by significant others or by our institutions. This results in frustration and anger. The displacement of this anger can be directed toward self and others that have foreign ideas, beliefs and attitudes. This is coupled with the reliance on self to meet one’s needs. Thus, this personality type developed an unhealthy degree of narcissism. Unfortunately, this character type also developed emotional impairment, sadomasochistic tendencies and violent behavior patterns. Prior to the industrial civilization, we experienced a “we or us” psychological mentality. However, we have evolved, and currently the focus is on individuality, becoming all that you can be, striving to meet one’s potential, acquiring as much wealth as possible in the “ me” narcissistic culture. Just keep on buying, whether it’s that dream house, exotic vacation, latest app, fastest sports car or latest killing weapon. And remember, according to capitalism, greed and debt are good as they further, the economic dynamics of those in the 1%. However, there is widespread alienation, isolation, emotional disturbance among our population. The statistics on violence, suicide, drug abuse, accidents and economic variability are symptoms. There is a major gap between what once was “real” family and the current inability of the government and political system to take over all those necessary caretaking functions. These troubled homegrown killer- victims have fallen through the cracks and stand out like a sore thumb with their acts of violence. Society has not yet created the institutions for creating an emotionally close, safety net with ideal surrogate parenting for all.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Continued Teenage Violence

A 17-year-old shooter murdered 10 at his Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas. This weaponized student, regardless of a security adult, created havoc. All it takes for death and destruction is one Rambo like figure with a killing weapon. We have glorified this protagonist type over and over again in fiction, TV scripts, video games, and on the big screen. Good and evil is played out, but the lines get blurred between what is appropriate and honorable versus what is bad and deplorable. Do the ends justify the means, as the hero performs numerous killings? Prior to the Industrial Revolution, we had “family. “ This meant that within a nuclear family, each member contributed to the welfare of the whole group. Sons worked alongside father daily without complaint and daughters assisted their mother as well. Education was provided in many different forms and ways. If a family member was sick, they were cared for by the family. If there was death to the father or mother, the eldest stepped in and took over the reins. Nurturance, support and child rearing was the job and task of the family members. Neighbors were good neighbors and if one neighbor experienced some form of hardship, other neighbors came to their aid. There was not an exchange of money for assisting with the building of a structure or with the planting and harvesting of crops. Altruism existed and one could expect, that in hardship, the neighborhood community would be there with hands-on help. On the other hand, if there was a killing, then that community would take care of the problem. There was no external police force or court system that would apply law and order. Nowadays, we have institutions that provide for education, social services, employment, police and military, incarceration, Social Security, health insurance, and other functions that were once handled by family. We now have foster care and babysitters to rear the children. We have psychologists, psychiatrists with psychotropic meds, and social workers to provide for remediating the emotional needs for those with interpersonal, social and individual difficulties. We have teachers, counselors, principles, providing assistance for mass, universal education. We have doctors, nurses, hospitals providing for the physically ill. To Be Continued

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Pill

I recently became aware, thanks to the February 26, 2018 edition of Time, of a relatively new antiaging product in this $250 billion industry. This molecule is found in all living cells and critical for regulating cellular aging and maintaining proper functioning of the whole body. It is called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NAD +. According to David Sinclair a co-director for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School, “It’s one of the most important molecules for life to exist, and without it, you’re dead within 30 seconds.” During aging, levels of NAD+ in people and animals diminish. Recently, researchers found that by increasing levels of NAD+ in older mice it resulted in them looking, acting younger and it increased their life expectancy. In fact, the NAD+ levels rose significantly, and in about a week, the tissues and muscles of the older mice looked similar to that of younger mice. Some testimonials of individuals taking NAD+ in pill form. “Sinclair…. does not experience hangovers and jetlagged like he used to, he talks faster, and feels sharper and younger. His father takes it to. He’s 78 and used to act like Eeyore … Now he is going on 6 day hikes and traveling around the world.” Another co-director Leonard Guarente “It’s not intended to extend people’s life spans, but to help them stay healthier for longer.” And Sir Richard Roberts, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine “the only difference I’ve noticed is that the skin on my elbows is smoother than it used to be. Whether it’s Basis [Name of the supplement] or something else, I have no idea.” By bringing Basis to the market as a supplement and not as a drug, it’s not required to undergo years of clinical research and FDA approval. Also, a number of Nobel laureates have endorsed the supplement, but have not reported whether or not they have been paid. Because I would like to run forever, this product interests me. I have entered a tough 10 mile trail competition this Saturday. Having a three month trial, I will compare my running time to previous races over the last five years. After this Coloma River Run, I’ll evaluate and determine whether or not I’ll continue taking this anti – aging product. Eliminating hangovers, jet lags, talking faster, and traveling around the world are not my priorities. However, being able to run daily is important for me. Remember, my motto is “keep moving. PS Tony is joining me on the Coloma River Run. He doesn’t believe in taking supplements. However, after the run, we will compare our running times, and likely laugh. Once my wife Linda heard about this aid and my intention, she said “I want to start taking this pill too.”

Friday, May 11, 2018

One Step In Front of the Other

I was disappointed with the article “Why Men Quit and Women Don’t” found in the April 22, 2018 edition of The New York Times. This article was based on the results of the 2018, Boston Marathon. In this 26.1 mile run, 5% of men did not finish compared to 3.8% women. The writer gave her opinion as to the difference. She cited old wives tale like women are tougher. She said women have higher pain tolerance because they give birth; and women may be better able to realistically evaluate their expectations based on the circumstances. This year’s run was wet and cold. She also stated that women have a higher ratio of body fat compared to men and females exhibit more nurturing behavior than males. However, she didn’t cite any reference sources to support these claims. First of all, the Boston Marathon is the most prestigious and oldest run in the United States. On the other hand, it’s not a particularly difficult marathon. It has limited elevation gain and an absence of natural obstacles like in a trail marathon. Second, the only conclusion that one can make is that this year 5% of men did not finish compared to 3.8% of the women in this particular marathon. We don’t know if those percentages/numbers are statistically significant or not. The outcome may be by based on chance alone. A simple test employing a .95 confidence level, would conclude that 95 times out of 100, we would have that numerical difference. Third, we don’t have a random sample of men and women, so we can’t conclude that women are tougher and don’t quit. Let’s face it, a random sample of men and women cannot run a marathon. In order to run the Boston Marathon, one has to qualify based on age parameters. Fourth, any race, over 26.1 miles is considered an ultra-run. So employing a 26.1 mile variable, for one particular race, on one particular day and using that to generalize the results is preposterous. Why not use a 50 K, a 50 miler, a 100 K or a 100 mile run? Then, employing a scientific method, one might be able to generalize the relationship between toughness and ultra-running. A friend and a three-time winner of the 100 mile Western States trail run, reportedly might quit that race if he is not likely to win. Another friend, a former US 100 K record holder, was pulled from the Western States trail run at 94 miles [No Hands Bridge] and spent the next few days in the hospital recovering. He was paced by another world class runner, a female nurse and friend. When age 63, in 2003, I pulled from the Western States trail run at 62 miles. At the time, I was unaware that I couldn’t stand up straight and had to hold myself up using my pacer as a support. I knew something was wrong, but couldn’t and didn’t understand what it was at that time. Quitting a running race, has to do with many variables, and tolerance to pain, maybe just one of them. Be careful about generalizing based on faulty assumptions as well as not employing a scientific method. To learn about mental toughness, I refer you to my book “Bo’s Warriors Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football. Chapter 10 is about Mike Keller, who was an All-American at the University Michigan and the number 64th pick by the world champion Dallas Cowboys. Mike, after his playing career ended, worked in the front office for both the Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks. He also worked in the front office for the Michigan Panthers of the USFL, as well as the Scottish Claymore Football Team in NFL Europe. His insights regarding the mental toughness of professional football players is second to none.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Healthy Aging

The February 16, 2018, edition of Time, raised the question “Do Religious People Live Longer?” This article identified studies or research related to church, temple and mosque attendance; and the use of prayer and its impact on longevity. In the initial section, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2016, was cited. According to the Time article, the results indicated that women that attended a religious service more than once a week had a 33% lower chance of dying during a 16 year study follow-up period. A second study published in PLOS One found that regular service attendance was linked to reductions in stress and even mortality. These worshipers were 55% less likely to die in the 18 year follow-up. A number of variables that may or may not have been addressed in these two studies come to mind. 1. There was statistical significance in the first study for women and apparently for both men and women in the second study. Why, the difference? 2. What were the worshiper’s ages in both studies? 3. What was the socioeconomic status of the worshipers? 4. The BMI index, pre health conditions and other health issues in both studies needs to be addressed in order to give some assessment as to the physical health of the subjects being studied. There is another significant variable that may be a valuable component in this research. Previous research studies regarding aging have identified that loneliness was a significant variable associated with health and longevity. As we are social animals, it is not surprising that being connected with and to other humans is important. Attending a group on a regular basis, significantly contributes to becoming a member. Perhaps, these two studies were measuring human connections provided by group affiliation and association. Studies attempting to evaluate prayer, disease outcomes, and long-term survival are inconclusive at this point. For example, a study published by the American Heart Journal, found a surprising result. In this study, people, undergoing heart surgery, were told that there were others praying for them. Unfortunately, these surgeries experienced more complications than a control group. Maybe, you can’t leave your praying to someone else before you have heart surgery. Praying can be thought of as self-talk. Positive self-talk or positive praying allows one to have a single focus, and can become associated with deep breathing or relaxation. We know that relaxation is beneficial for one’s health as it reduces stress, and eliminates external influences/noises and distractions. Deep breathing becomes yoga like .Furthermore, Yoga has been associated with decreases in both heart rate and blood pressure. I support yoga as well as positive self-talk messages. Prayers and going to church, temple or mosque may result in long-term aging and may have to do in meeting affiliative needs and combating loneliness. However, what good would long-term aging be for the mentally and physically unhealthy with conditions like depression, Alzheimer’s, dementia, diabetes, or some other discomfort? We know that some organizations are toxic and hateful. So join your groups carefully. For me, a more realistic pursuit would be creating a healthier lifestyle. In fact, I provided 7 such prescriptions in my book “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.”

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Trouble Is Civilization Part 3

Before the birth of Christ, we had oral and written language that governed human behavior with its various consequences. Within the evolutionary development of man, with the creation of large groups of people, rulers surfaced and implemented strategies to correct, control and limit man’s food, sexual, aggressive, and dominance needs. Per the 10 Commandments, swearing, honoring the father and mother, not murdering and committing adultery, not stealing, not lying and not coveting were considered affronts to God if broken. Marriage and monogamy were created, established and expected to be the norm. How’s that working out? The United States currently has produced the most advanced killing operation ever. Doesn’t that fact contradict the Judeo-Christian “thou shall not kill” rule? The 10 Commandments and the Hammurabi code correlates with the establishment of civilization. Now, man’s inhumanity to man was exacerbated. Since 12,000 BC, group and individual violence has dramatically increased. Mythical reasons such as my God is the only true God; belief in one God; fighting for land or territory; fighting for national resources; fighting for national interests were some of the reasons given to go to war in order to kill. Nowadays, killing and maiming, has become more widespread by mentally sick sadomasochistic individuals. Start with man’s nature; thwart growth by creating an atmosphere of insecurity, hate and prejudice; market Second Amendment mythology; produce a plethora of guns and military weapons, and you have a recipe for evil. Man’s nature is man’s nature. At this juncture, man’s aggressive drive and cruelty toward others is the biggest threat toward peace within our civilization. I wonder, if it’s possible for this society to reduce mechanisms that produce inequality and transpose it into equality reforms between and among people? We must first take into account man’s insecurity, sexual and aggressive drives and needs for dominance and promote rationality. In other words, a society based on humanistic principles can be a start. For instance, it’s necessary to eliminate man made prejudicial distinctions, divisions, and/ or illusions such as upper, middle, lower, white and black; patricians and plebeians; male and female and the rich and the poor. Unregulated classifications and divisions between people would nullify the myths that justify making some people legally, socially, morally and politically superior. If man’s evolution does not occur, we can expect continued acts of violence against other humans. Extinction follows. Sources: Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud; Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Trouble with Civilization Part 2

12,000 years ago, man was able to communicate better than earlier man, and keep track and control the production and distribution of wheat, rice, etc. Thus, civilization gave birth to the creation of more negative interpersonal conflicts. Man likely had to lie, steal, and cheat, in order to survive. Because of the conflict between man living in a civilization, leaders devised a system to combat and keep track of foodstuffs. The Sumerians about 3500 BC and 3000 BC established a base 6 numbering system. Now, accountants, or bureaucrats were able to record various transactions called writing. With writing, came rules with more attempts to regulate and control man. This development resulted and interfered with man’s ability to resolve conflicts and interfered with the fulfillment of his need and drive structure. Along came King Hammurabi in 1776 BC of Babylon, overseeing the world’s largest city at that time. He established the first significant written code for inappropriate behavior with consequences. Within this system, Individuals were either divided as superiors, commoners or slaves. According to the code, the Gods Anu, Enlil, and Marduk appointed Hammurabi to make justice and eliminate evil. Within this three tier approach, the consequences for broken rules varied. For example, “if a superior took the eye of another superior, they should blind his eye. If a superior took the eye of a commoner, then, they should pay and deliver 60 shekels of silver. If the superior took the eye of a slave, he shall deliver one half of the slave’s value in silver.” This code was not justice for all, even if was established by the God’s. These guys were prejudiced. Yes, man created illusions, which are followed like the blind leading the blind. According to the Old Testament, the 10 Commandments were given to Moses by God. 10 Commandment references can be found in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. However, these 10 principles initially did not have clear consequences, other than displeasing God. Consequences came later with the holy day of Rosh Hashanah. To Be Continued

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Trouble with Civilization

More senseless murders happened, this time in Tennessee at a Waffle House. For a perspective on violence, let’s take a look at our beginning, some 700,000 years ago at behavior of the hunters and gatherers. They have been named Neanderthal, Homo erectus, Homo soloensis etc. We know that a drive for food and water; aggressive drives or needs to fight; to attack, injure or kill another; sexual needs or drives to have intercourse; and dominance needs to control one’s environment by suggestion, seduction, persuasion or command are in man’s nature. To survive, man had to satisfy his hunger. If some larger prey killed a more vulnerable prey, man likely had to wait his turn, in the pecking order, before he could engage. Let’s suppose another hungry group arrived on the scene. Chances are the stronger would take over and push the weaker aside and if necessary kill his human opposition. By the same token, let’s hypothesize that there were more mating males and fewer females. It’s not hard to imagine that once again, the stronger would prevail, and if necessary, injure, attack or even kill the rival. Let’s also hypothesize that a younger, stronger male wanted to be in charge of the group. If suggestion or persuasion didn’t work, it’s not hard to imagine the younger dethroning the older male. Once again, aggression, violence and death were outcomes. Thus, the fulfillment, by brute strength. Of man’s drives and needs were more easily met in this period. Much later, through evolution resulted in the cognitive, about 70,000 years ago, and the agrarian revolution, roughly 12,000 years ago, with greater numbers of people congregating in one locale. With this historic change, more and more people were subjected to residing in smaller settings; with extremely difficult labor conditions in planting, watering and harvesting the crops; building more permanent man-made structures; having less variety of food nutrients; being an employee; being dependent on the system; living in cramped spaces; and being subjected to contaminated sewage and water; with more disease and the inability to meet basic needs which leads to frustration and aggression. Within larger group formations of people congregating, group dynamics surfaced. Man either become a member of a commoner or slave group; had more pressure to conform to a particular group; could either gain power, control and influence over the group or become a follower of the group. Man seeks power, success and wealth for self. He also admires these components in others. Further, mythology flourished. In other words, the formation of larger groups created numerous interpersonal conflicts with the thwarting of man’s basic needs and drives coupled with bias, irrational thought, prejudice and fictional beliefs To Be Continued

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Modern Man and Humankind. Part 3

He’s an expert when it relates to forging, as he’s knowledgeable about plants, insects and everything edible. When he finds ripe fruit, he may stay a while and gorge. He doesn’t think about or worry about BMI index, diabetes, heart conditions or other physical ailments. He knows by now, what herbs provide relief from discomfort. He has become his own functional medicine expert specialist. Essentially his diet is varied depending upon availability of game and likely he is getting most if not all the important nutrients. He does not require supplements, nor diet books from the health food store. His well nutritionally-balanced diet suits him fine. Further, his diet likely changes from day to day. Moreover, he also does not suffer from infectious diseases brought about by the agricultural and industrial revolution. He is able to meet his sexual drive and needs based upon availability and is not hindered by man-made fictions like marriage. Child support and visitation rights are not issues. However, there is infant mortality. We are unable to say much about the spiritual and mental life of these ancient hunter gatherers. We have no recording device and are left at formulating hypotheses based on paintings, drawings and gravesites. However, we can speculate that they likely believed in animism. If true, this is a fiction that most animals, most plants and natural phenomena has perception and feelings. They can communicate with humans. Essentially, there’s no psychological barrier between humans and other beings. Communication is evident directly through speech .song, dance or ceremony. There is not a strict hierarchy in that nonhuman entities do not exist to provide for the needs of man. Further, they don’t have all-powerful mythical gods running the world. In essence, the world does not revolve around any humankind or other particular groups of beings. Sounds to me that there are some advantages in believing this fiction. However, what if an individual believed in another fiction like a supreme being? Would that individual be subjected to mediation, negative language, bullying, expulsion or physical violence, and perhaps death? We don’t know how competing beliefs were handled or disagreements or consequences from them. Sounds to me that there are some advantages in believing this fiction. Based on this brief bit of information, does anyone want to be a hunter and gatherer? If so, one can visit certain areas in the Arctic or the Kalahari where modern gatherers still exist. Don’t take too long, because, knowing man, we will eliminate them also. This is one price we pay for modern civilization