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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.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

It's Character Part 3

More than likely, non-college degree males from the Rust Belt states didn’t require a college degree after high school graduation for employment in the 1960s. For this working-class group, white-collar employment and working with one’s hands in blue-collar skilled positions were plentiful. There were a plethora of job opportunities, lack of female and foreign competition, and limited technology without contending robots. Their education was adequate for the times. Then came the changing job market, monopolistic capital, stagnant wages, worldwide competition, closing of factories, etc. Do not forget debt, divorce, drug, and alcohol abuse as other 20 and 21st century socioeconomic factors. Then came 2015 with its presidential primaries. One candidate was rude, spoke in platitudes and presented an authortarian masculine character image using strong ,spiteful and aggressive words {implying strength} like “make America great [prior ,there were liberal immigration laws and Protestant America was a white majority]; coupled with television promotion as in WWF wrestling “I will be the best by far in fighting terror.” He talked about his achievement, and his special social status” “I’m a billionaire, I am the best builder, just look at what I have built. ” He spoke about his terrific, dominant and skillful negotiating skills “We are going to build a wall [keep out the undesirables] and Mexico’s going to pay for it.” Further, words and tweets implying strength, aggressiveness, assertiveness and power regarding restricting media disdain, etc. with comments like “lock her up,” “you’re fired ““ NAFTA is the worst economic deal in US history,” “Mitt Romney doesn’t have a clue,” “ Charles Krauthammer, one of the worst, most boring political pundits on television … totally overrated clown” were repeated. Then there were examples of hegemonic masculinity expression with inappropriate sexual contact and verbal flippant trash talk on a taped TV segment interview. Thus, we had this image of a Machismo, a disregarding sexual intimacy character “big as life” on a huge platform with electronic media giving so much attention. Along with this candidate’s masculine, authoritarian character configuration image, the older non degree white voters were bitter, with feelings of insignificance, resentfulness and powerlessness. They likely experienced loss, shame, guilt, had low self-esteem, with worry, depression, fear about the changing demographic future of our country and a weakened sense of masculinity. Then came the candidate’s projection of strength, dominance and control. The timing was perfect as the voters also had feelings of resignation and distrust in the traditional political system. This was capped by a spirit of obedience to and hatred against racial minorities. This craving for a submissive identification process resulted in their looking for a male, authoritarian leader in which their imagination, inadequacies and uncertainties would be magically addressed. And of course, a masculinity model supersedes any female leader. Patriarchy remains King and is supreme .Just ask him. Sources: Erik H Erickson“Childhood and Society ;” James Hillman, “The Force of Character And the Lasting Life;” Vince Giulliano “Reputation of Aging In ancient And Current Mythology;” Dr. Ronald Klatz and Dr. Robert Goldman “Stopping the Clock.”

Saturday, May 13, 2017

It's Character, Part 2

Old Proverbs also speak to ideas regarding aging. For example, “all people can dye their hair, but can’t change their backs;” “age is poverty;”” age is sickness from which everyone must die;” and “if the devil can’t come himself, he sends an old woman.” Another Greek myth had Tithonus being granted immortality by the God’s. He was, however, not given youth. Unfortunately for him, that was his curse as he remained in grief forever. Psychosocially, masculinity, in boys, is valued from a young age. In our culture, playing soldiers, shooting guns, engaging in sports, and participating in aggressive video games is applauded. Major traits associated with masculinity include power, disregarding fear, having courage, independence, and exhibiting assertiveness. Other significant characteristics of masculinity include avoidance of femininity characteristics, restricted emotion, and sex, removed from intimacy are also valued. Psychologically, Eric Erikson hypothesized, that in the final stage of the lifecycle, the individual’s or egos task has to deal with all of lives various triumphs and disappointments. The Individual has to and find meaning and be able to develop integrity and dignity within one’s own life, despite all the various past and current physical and economic threats to that individual. If not successful, then the psychological disability of despair and disgust rear its head and play a significant part in the remaining years. It becomes apparent that it is much too late for a do over, regardless of all the rethinking, manipulating or worrying one can do. James Hillman argued, in part, employing ideas and stories from mythology that although mental and physical vitality may decline in the lifespan, the force of character development does not. In other words, irritability and grumpy old men, are not just a function of aging, but are of character. Character traits during longevity, whether good or bad, such as helpless, useless, or sadistic cruelty become even more pronounced as the individual can become more tyrannical. These individuals more than likely exhibited impulsive, argumentative, controlling, irritable, frustrated and unhappy behaviors for many years prior. The quarreling and anxiety about the future continues as their character development becomes more clear and more dominant To Be Continued

Friday, May 12, 2017

It's Character

We have learned that the most recent presidential election was decided by roughly 80,000 votes in three rust belt states; and by a 67 to 28 percentage vote over all by white males 65 years of age and older. Most might argue that age or gender were the more important factors. However, let’s argue that character or personality of the voting individual to be the more significant. Yes, there are many physical and chemical-hormonal changes that take place during lifespan. Briefly, Human growth hormone production, DHEA production, and testosterone production for instance, all peak near 20 years of age, and then steadily decline by the time one reaches 60 years of age. These necessary hormones help and expand bone structure; promote growth; create muscles; build thicker skin; fight bacterial and viral infection; assist against arteriosclerosis, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stress reduction; promote libido, aggressiveness and sexual desire; stimulate sperm production and nourish all tissues of the male urinary reproductive system. Yes, these hormonal changes are detrimental and play a major part in one’s health during the process of aging. Not to be left out, the Greeks, although not the first people, thought, wrote, and employed mythology about the idea of age and aging. In fact, the Greeks personified the figure of old age with a God called Geras. He was seen at the entrance to the underworld, which was associated with grief, anxiety and disease. In the underworld, we further find fear, hunger, death, agony, along with the clinging to false dreams. And the mythological struggle was depicted on a Greek vase between Hercules, the slayer of monsters, and his meeting with Geras drawn as a tiny, shriveled up old man, bent over and supporting himself upon a staff. The Classic mythological confrontation was between youthful physical prowesses against the harsh reality of the failing body during the process of aging. To Be Continued

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dwindling Sleep Part 2

As of 2012, this sleep disorder business was a $32 billion industry. This brought numerous entrepreneurs into the playing field. The quest was to find the Holy Grail. A few illustrations of more recent techniques and sleep aids are as follows: 1. Weighted blankets to induce a swaddling sensation 2. Direct current stimulation. 3. Polycarbonate globe that measures are quality 4. Soundwaves 5. A gadget that uses sound to startle the sleeper every three minutes for an hour, just before going to sleep. 6. An online sleep coach 7. A soft spoken word album 8. A podcast 9. The ghost pillow 10. A good night light LED sleep bulb 11. A meditation class in Manhattan. 12 Arianne Huffington’s book “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time.” For a much more detailed account of ideas pertaining to sleep and dreams in ancient times, consult, James Hillman’s “the Force of Character and the Lasting Life”; and the latest apps, gadgets classes, can be found in the Penelope Green’s article in the April 9, 2017 edition of the New York Times. PS Nyx for me, along with my dreams protects my sleep. After a morning trail run with Chris, Tony and Sherry or Tony and Sherry or just Sherry, I have lunch. Then I have a brief weight work out and then take a wonderful and refreshing nap. I look forward to acknowledging the creative dream distortions of my demons. Remember, repressed demons are found in our dreams. In the evening, I can’t wait to discover more of the demons as I look forward to revealing the next figures of the night.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dwindling Sleep

For many centuries, there have been inquiry and interest about dreams and sleep. Some believed, like pious Christian monks, that pagan powers invaded their dreams. If they banished sleep, that process would somehow protect their souls from temptation. In Revelation, it was stated “there shall be no night there.” Found in the Bible was Lilith the night monster “roaming with her retinue in the darkest hours of night.” The Greeks had their NYX, which was the night Goddess. They believed that the night allows the invisible world to appear in man. This is a world in which we find spirits, fatalistic foreboding, faultfinding, punishers and avengers, angry persecutors, miserable, distressed and lustful longings. Today, our thinking acknowledges that small children sleeping through the night can wet their beds. Parents are not too happy about bed wetter’s, but maybe, just maybe the child sleeps to protect his sleep from waking in the night, with its fearful intruders. However, for older folks, have prostate issues, with the frequent urge to urinate. They also have a disruption of circadian rhythms that interfere with sleep. The aging to not have sleep protection because of their interrupted sleep patterns. As a consequence of lost sleep, they purchase earplugs, temperature control devices, melatonin supplements and warm their milk. These are a few of the old school sleep protectors or remedies. Because of this significant sleep disorder issue, we have research centers on both coasts. We have MIT on the East Coast and the University of California, Berkeley on the West Coast, offering their latest insights into this complex problem. This problem-disorder is associated with the Army and its concern for impaired fighting man performance; Jeff Bezos too is worried about worker performance and the fear that it will lower Amazon stock; weakened immune systems; impaired learning and depression; diabetes; cancer, and early death are concerns. In a more recent research study with Danish and Japanese males, these researchers found that older males are retaining too much salt and water during the night. In fact, they were excreting more sodium at night and as a result voided more frequently. To be continued

Friday, April 21, 2017

17,000 Steps

“Heart of the Amazon” was the title of an article found in the April 9, 2017 edition of the New York Times. According to the article, anthropologists have studied over 15 years, a group of subsistence farmers and hunters called the Tsimane. These people reside in Bolivia along a tributary of the Amazon River. These men spend about seven hours a day hunting, fishing, and transporting by canoe to various towns to sell and purchase food. Women on the other hand, gather nuts and farm rice, corn, and plantains. Their work translates by walking, or covering about 8 miles per day or 17,000 steps. Their diet is about 72% carbohydrates-processed starches, 14% from saturated and unsaturated fats and 14% protein. They do have frequent infections and have chronically elevated levels of inflammation. These anthropologist teamed up with cardiologists. Then, these doctors drew blood from 705 men and women between the ages of 40 and 94. Their scans enabled the researchers to score the presence of atherosclerosis which is disease characterized by the buildup of plaque inside one’s cardiac arteries. Employing a zero score meant essentially no detectable disease; 1 to 99, low levels and 400 or greater were classified as being a lot. The findings: 85% scored zero; 3% exceeded 99; and a single person scored higher than 399. By comparison, this group of 705 scored less than 1/5 of the people in the United States and Europe. What can we generalize from this data? Can we conclude that diet had something to do with their healthy arteries? Can we conclude that daily activity had something to do with their healthy arteries? It would seem to me, that genetics, how the subject sample was obtained, the character or personality , BMI index, mortality rate of the subjects were just a few variables not addressed. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time might be another variable to consider. For instance, a young man in his mid-60s, exercises, physically active and eats healthy. However, he served our country in Vietnam. Because of that mistake, in which our military used Agent Orange, our government will pay him in dollars, because he had a diagnosis of cancer. In other words, employing a healthy lifestyle was no contest against being exposed to a lethal dose of a vegetation killer. In essence, because we are mortal beings, I believe it matters more how one lives compared to the length one lives. Quality and well-being is more important than quantity. And, more importantly, do not allow you your thinking to get in your way. Per James Hillman, “the main pathology of later years is our idea of later years.” That idea can be applied over and over again in different ways. PS I don’t know about you, Dr. Hillman, but my Border Collie, Sherry and I are going on an 8 mile trail run today.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Aging Outcomes Part 2

Perhaps, many aging individuals in industrial states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are neither as fortunate, nor as blessed as I am. We heard much about job loss, frustration, poor health, opiate use and anger among the blue-collar working individuals. Certainly, losing lifelong employment has devastating social-economic consequences. Let’s face it, job insecurity; work becoming more technological; global workforce competition; political unrest and advanced health compound that reality. Not having a positive future outlook has devastating psychological implications. Significant frustration and constant stress leads to aggression, depression, and poor physical and mental health. To make matters worse, today’s workers do not have the skills to compete in current tech jobs. An article titled “Plenty of Tech Jobs, but…. Few Workers Who Have the Chops” in the March 31, 2017, USA Today gave a number of startling statistics. For example, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted there’ll be a 1.4 million more software development jobs than applicants who can fill them by 2020. Further, according to research by The Career Advisory Board, only 11% of employers believed that today’s higher education was very effective in preparing graduates to have the necessary skills needed for their organizations. In a survey of 501 US hiring managers. 62% of them said the students were simply unprepared. Jobs are there, but there are not enough qualified individuals to fill them. If college graduates are not totally competent, then it is, safe to say that a blue-collar workers losing a past or current job, are also not likely to have the necessary skill requirements in the tech world of today. It’s no wonder that we have a culture of grumpy old men. Moreover, these people do not present good character models for the young as they are displaying psychological characteristics of doom, gloom and despair. Yes, the potential for positive and terrific, later years is possible. However, one has to be smart and make proper decisions and take advantage of opportunities presented. One has to be able to seek them, and as the saying goes, “strike while the iron is hot.” For instance, in “It Has Nothing To Do with Age” each individual was 65 years of age and older. Each overcame or worked through some obstacle or personal tragedy and then made good life decisions, persevered and bettered their state of being. They are terrific role models.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Aging Outcomes

Employing a Jungian viewpoint, James Hillman’s book “The Force of Character” addressed aging within a positive perspective. Per Hillman, “the older we become, the more our true nature emerges.” In other words, wisdom is embraced during the aging process. in fact, when we reach 60 or so we know so much more and have so much more to offer others, as opposed when we were in our” know it all “ invincible teens. This means that life actually can get better, even though there is a transformation that affects our body, strength, short and long-term memory, sleep patterns, etc. I agree with Hillman. My story significantly changed for the better when I was reaching 60 years of age. I terminated an unsatisfactory union; I was professionally retiring; and I discovered a true passion in a horseback and running event called Ride and Tie. As a result of this competitive team event, I enhanced, trained, met models and that set the stage for three goals, which allowed me to compete in three different 100 mile one day events. These events were “The Tevis Cup”, an equine race in the mountains; “Western States” an ultra-run in the mountains; and the “Swanton Pacific” a Ride and Tie in the mountains. Since I was competing in running ultras, endurance riding and in ride and tie, I was exercising, evolving and was becoming more mentally and physically healthy. I then wrote two books, one “It Has Nothing To Do with Age” dealt with stories of driven athletes who competed in extraordinary sports. The second book, “Bo’s Warriors” addressed and told the story of Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football. In researching these books. I met a number of accomplished individuals and as a result, this search enhanced my life. Furthermore, my associates are currently interviewing with ESPN regarding making a documentary based on Bo and his warriors. To Be Continued

Monday, March 27, 2017

Aggression Part 2

Believing that aggression was learned, gives rise to the notion that aggression is commonplace and normal within our culture. Blockbuster or popular TV and films such as Mission Impossible, Wolverine, and Game of Thrones demonstrate the public’s interest. We loudly cheer when the good guy wins or slaughters his antagonist. Video games also depict destructiveness as well. Aggressive sporting events such as football, boxing, and car racing are also big revenue industries with plenty of fans witnessing brutality and death. The media over and over shows the gory details of death and destruction. Aggression is a major component in our society with plenty of rewards. There is no shortage of killing or incarceration. We lead the world in both. What is the ratio of aggression versus love as seen on our screens? Don’t forget the amount of verbal nastiness on today’s social media. Another explanation regarding aggression was that it was a response to anxiety; and that it often happened when an individual’s goal seeking behavior was blocked by some barrier. When man is threatened or afraid he becomes anxious as well. He can either fight or flee. Man is striving, seeking, desiring, willing, and has numerous goal driven behaviors. On man’s locomotion to complete the goals, he encounters various obstacles that can interfere and get in the way and block goal attainment. One emotional response to non-goal attainment is frustration. And when frustrated, man often acts out aggressively either verbally, physically or both. I remembered watching Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, yelling and throwing chairs on the court during a basketball game. His inappropriate behavior was pretty consistent when things didn’t go his way. Superego, conscience, ethics, moral code and guilt are few of the internal mechanisms that can influence control over our impulses. Religion, laws, police, despots and the military are a few of the external devices devised by society in an effort to control behavior. Even though we have more “jails” and spend outrageous amounts of money on our criminal justice system, and have many weapons of mass destruction, we are like Sisyphus in that the problems of human aggression and atrocities just continue as we repeat the same old, not so effective, solutions. In essence, we are threatened by a world in which we created. If there is a God, now’s a good time to intervene. Depending on one’s theoretical framework and belief regarding the origin of aggression and anger, influences man’s attempt to deal with this component in our society. Better and more psychotherapy; a buildup of more police and laws actually following the various religious teachings are some strategies. “Thou shall not kill” etc. etc. would be a prudent start. In any event, we need to make better choices for change. The mood toward violence, malignant aggression, inhumanity towards man is toxic and contrary to the love of life. Man must make better decisions and choices if things are to change.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


The expression of aggression, at times, seems very commonplace especially within our news cycle. For example, there has been a recent incident-car and bridge killing in London; bomb threats against Jewish community centers; stabbing in New York; kidnapping, political rhetoric regarding building walls, expelling nonresidents, limiting immigrants, a significant addition to the military budget, North Korea’s missile threat, NBA’s Matt Barnes “I want to kill the King’s”, along with comments last year like “lock her up etc. etc. Thus we have verbal and physical aggression. The following are a few viewpoints regarding aggression, anger, hostility and destruction. Darwin’s theory of evolution pointed to “survival of the fittest.” Thus, he suggested that man was hardwired. Prehistoric man had to be competitive, in order to live and survive. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory built on that idea and it evolved when he later postulated the notion of a destructive instinct-drive in order to better and more fully explain man’s cruelty toward himself and toward others. Henry Murray postulated the idea that a need was hypothetical process .He believed that man’s aggression was a need and physiological. He then labeled aggression as a human need. He briefly described aggression as: “to overcome opposition forcefully; to fight; to revenge; to injure; to attack, injure or kill another; to oppose forcefully or to punish another. The above ideas viewed aggression as built-in within man’s nature. Employing his hypothesis, we find that it is a human characteristic with motivational and emotional qualities which described interpersonal interactions. Another view of aggression was presented by American psychologists with a behavioristic orientation. They discounted the biological aspect in understanding aggression. They believed that aggression was learned and the behavior was the result of the ratio of positive and negative consequences of rewards and punishments. Newborn infants cry as they do not have another way of communicating with the caregiver. The caregiver can respond to crying behavior by ignoring, constantly attempting to comfort, yelling, or even spanking. Often, sleepless caregivers have difficulty using sound judgment. And there is no sure manual for the correct caregiver response. Thus, rewards and punishments begin early. Later on, the young child misbehaves, according to some caretaker notion. Does that caretaker ignore the behavior; yell or say unkind words to the child; or, does the caretaker use physical techniques such as spanking or pinching some body part of the child? Once again, positive and negative consequences are employed by the adult along with modeling and/or imitating aggressive or nonaggressive behavior. In an attempt to stop aggressive behavior, some caretakers employed aggressive behavior. As a consequence, aggressive behavior can be learned by the child. To Be Continued

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Jobs Part 2

A recent study by Ball State University found that 9 out of 10 jobs that had disappeared since the year 2000 were lost to automation and not to workers from other countries. Further, a 2015 report from the Manufacturing Institute found that seven in ten manufacturing executives said they faced a shortage of workers with adequate tech skills. To confront this problem, the Department of Labor, listed, 21,000 programs with about 500,000 apprentices. However, this represented only 1.5% of 18 to 24-year-olds. In the last two years, our government has allocated $265 million that enlarged these programs. Thomas Perez, President Obama’s Secretary of Labor established partnerships between registered community colleges and sponsors. Mr. Perez hoped there would be a doubling of the number of apprenticeships by the year 2018. At another level, a grant, created a creative experimental program in downtown Manhattan for youths with a high aptitude for math. This program was called Beam 6. In fact 76 students were drawn from the New York City public schools from low income populations. This program was founded in 2011, with the help from Sandor Lehoczky a senior trader at Jane Street. One can even look overseas to find a significantly different educational model than ours. Switzerland, for one, has compulsory education up through the ninth grade. Then their students choose either an academic or vocational curriculum. Beginning in the 10th grade, the vocational student pathway rotated among employers, industry organizations and school academics for the next 3 to 4 years of training and mentoring. For these students, learning is hands-on. In fact Switzerland’s unemployment rate for the youngest is the lowest in Europe and about a quarter that of the United States. it’s clear that federal and local government, major business , corporations, labor unions , interested citizens, and the educational school systems have worked together to establish creative pathways into the world of work. It’s significantly important that parents play a major part in the solution because there continue to be negative attitudes in some quarters about blue-collar work. It’s obvious there are models to solve this significant problem. It’s also true that conditions change, so solutions need to be fluid as well. Change is difficult, as well, as some are not willing to relinquish power and control. Remember, it’s about the young teens and young adults. When they succeed, we all succeed. And we need them to succeed.

Friday, March 17, 2017


Back in the 1950s, I remembered that Aunt Eva and Aunt Sarah talked about college in the context of “they can’t take that away from you.” As both sets of grandparents came from Russia and World War II completed, their statement made complete sense. It was expected that I attend the University and so I did even though I did not, at that time, have a clear sense of a career choice. Later on I read that college graduates earned, over a life time, more than high school graduates. That’s still generally true today. Dave, one of my high school buddies, took a white-collar job at General Motors. He married, reared a family, purchased a house and, now comfortably retired in Florida. The big three automobile companies were doing well, and so did he. Attending college, at that time, was reasonable as well. In fact, in the 1950s, employment was booming, the standard of living was comfortable, so it didn’t matter if one attended college or not. Today, things have changed dramatically for employment opportunities for high school graduates. It’s clear that many do not have skills to compete in this information driven economy. On the other hand, attending the University has become extremely expensive and many students and their families have gone into massive school debt. A recent article in the February 5, 2017 edition of the New York Times addressed the issue confronting today’s high school graduates. For example, there was a job fair, in North Carolina. 10,000 people, or so showed up for 800 job positions. Siemens Energy opened a gas turbine production plant there and administered a reading, writing and math screening test geared for a ninth grade level of education for their job openings. Unfortunately fewer than 15% of those job applicants were able to pass their test. For this employer as well as John Deere, a high school diploma was no longer sufficient for these entry level jobs. These employers relied heavily on computers. These factory floor workers were expected to have advanced math comprehension skills with ability to solve problems when confronted. A typical high school diploma was insufficient for their jobs. Solution, these two companies became partners with the local community college and set up an appropriate curriculum. They also offered internships that allowed the students to be employed with these companies. To Be Continued

Monday, March 6, 2017

Masculinity Gone Sour Part 2

Moreover, testosterone levels after rapid production increased reaching its peak around the age of 20, then also significantly declined. Changes in libido, aggressiveness, sexual desire, muscle building, bone and urinary issues came into play. In essence, prescriptions for prostate related issues and sexual function becomes a pharmaceutical delight for that industry. Men became cognizant of the fact that they had shorter lifespans than women. That translated into more female centenarians as well as more feminine in nature assisted-living facilities. And of course, aging men’s top fears seemed to be and rightly so with physical weakness, loss of purpose, impotence, dependence on others, and developing dementia as brain atrophy becomes more pronounced in men. Men also experienced more heart attacks earlier than women as well. Many men became what Alfred Adler called the masculine protest. According to Adler, man was motivated more by his expectations of the future than he is by the experiences of his past. These strivings are ideals that affected and influenced present behavior. Masculine protest becomes the desire for superiority or competence, which arises out of feeling a sense of inferiority and/or incompetence. This makes sense when we take a look at the typical older, overweight, muscle less, fragile, impotent and lack of purpose and control freak male. It’s not surprising that these aged men overcompensated when they felt inadequate and inferior. One clear example is related to their verbal expression. Words and language becomes more aggressive with sadistic putdowns, coupled with other mental games, doubletalk and mixed messages. Another example of a sense of weakness is when they attempted to control and dominate others with passive aggressive interactions. According to Adler, the final goal of man was to be aggressive, to be powerful and to be superior. He called this a striving for superiority. However, biology might be saying something otherwise. Biology equals destiny.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Masculinity Gone Sour

It started, in the beginning, by playing soldiers, cowboys and Indians and other roughhousing games and activities. In school, they were bigger, faster, stronger, louder, and aggressive, kicked and threw the ball harder, and had more difficulty staying in their seats. They noticed that the other sex read better, had an easier time with math, and seemed more prim and proper. Then came adolescence. Some demonstrated more highly masculine interests like playing sports, getting into verbal and physical fights, being more rebellious, engaging in sexual promiscuity, being independent, smoking, drinking, and even engaging in drug use. Fitting in with that boisterous peer group was rewarding. Some even developed a rural frontier mentality. Unfortunately, having a masculine identification did necessarily guarantee a stable sense of well-being for their future. Cliché’s like “being king of the castle,” “the one with the biggest toys wins,” “driving muscle cars,” “being a big wheel,” “men don’t cry,” “ real men don’t eat quiche” etc. did not necessarily translate well , during their later years. By the time these men reached their midlife crisis, their masculine identity, or sex specific social behaviors were well-established. Divorce, economic hardship, loss of employment showed its ugly head. Unfortunately, these crises became more pronounced and had a more significant impact as they aged. On a biological level, various changes, without exception, occurred through the passage of time. For example, human GH [h GH] or human growth hormone production peaked before the age of 20, then declined steadily. Its primary function helped bones lengthen and expand. Its amino acids were found in proteins that were used in their body and created more muscle mass. When young, they were able to eat a high-protein diet without terrible consequences. But as they aged, their body produced fats. They were building flabby bodies, not muscles. They even lost flexibility and became more rigid. Their bones became brittle. Further, D H E A produced by their adrenaline glands is called the mother of all hormones. This important and necessary hormone also declined during aging. Unfortunately, fallen DHEA levels are associated with the number of age related diseases and disabilities. Infection, cancer, coronary artery disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc. along with a decrease in muscle mass come to mind. To Be Continued

Friday, February 24, 2017


Congratulations for 20 years of serious running. Back in 1997, when 57, I was introduced, firsthand, to a Ride and Tie event, when I competed in a limited distance endurance ride of 25 miles at Mount Hamilton in San Jose, California. Parked next to me, at the campsite, were partners Tony Brickel and Jeff Windenhausen. They had just completed the Mustang Classic Ride and Tie event. One thing led to another and I too soon started competing in the Ride and Tie events. For those of you that do not know what is a Ride and Tie, I’ll tell you. Ride and tie is composed of a team. The team consisted of two individuals, and a horse. One person rode while the teammate runs. They take turns alternately running and riding. The team began the race together and then completed the race together over distances that ranged from 25 to 100 miles of mountain trails. Thus, serious running began. Since that momentous time, I completed over 1800 trail miles of ride and tie. Within the 1800 miles, I also completed a 75 mile event and was victorious in a 100 mile event with partner Jonathan Jordan and with my equine Gypsy. Further, I began competing and running in trail events that ranged from 5K’s to 100 miles. However, many of those events have been 50 K’s. In fact, this coming Saturday, the 25th, Tony, Jonathan and I are running the Salmon Falls 50 K. Jonathan, Georgia born, is a defense attorney practicing in the San Diego area. He has been running 50 K’s in my neck of the woods for the past 12 years or so. Tony, assisted me on my first Tevis endurance ride. This was also a 100 mile one day event. Tony and his wife, Debbie, were there at the vet check in Forest Hill, on that day, some 60 miles into the ride and again at the finish in Auburn, California. Tony, also met me at Robie Point some 97 miles, give or take, when I completed the Western States 100 mile endurance run. Since his retirement, we’ve been running together roughly 3 times a week and have competed in many events together. Tony my technical support friend; a co-producer on our TV show; had created a video that accompanied book signings and presentations for my first book “It Has Nothing To Do with Age.” He has also provided a multitude of assistance in many numerous venues. Many things have been stated on the trail that stay on the trail. Some might question compulsive running, averaging 50 miles per week since 2001. I am simply running away from illness, and running toward health. If you doubt my simplicity, take a good look at me, view pictures of others my age, consult with Dan Merck my physician, read “It Has Nothing To Do with Age,” or accompany me on a trail run. Then we can seriously talk. Those that still have doubts, about running toward health, consider reading the article, “Keep It Moving, in the 12-11-16 edition of the New York Times. This article evaluated male volunteers. They were active four days in a row and then had four sedentary days in a row. When active, these individuals walked as often as they could. In contrast, when sedentary, they sat for about 14 hours a day. On the evening of the fourth day, the men ran for an hour. The next morning they ate a high-fat sugary breakfast. The men were then evaluated for the amount of triglycerides, which are the fats associated with heart disease that enter the bloodstream after meals. In summary, the researchers found that the men who sat for 14 hours a day and even though they ran the next morning, their triglycerides level in their blood remained high. Too much sitting seemed to have made their bodies resistant to the benefits of exercise. In essence, keep moving, so that you can have more of an opportunity for healthy triglyceride reduction in your bloodstream. PS In writing this post, I wrote this brief testimonial with my computer, which lies raised on a platform so that I stand. I continue to talk the talk and walk the walk. No one, to my knowledge, said doing what’s good for your mind and body was easy, because it’s not.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Brady's Drive Part 3

Brady has accomplished, in his football career, what others dream about. He’s mastered his position as a quarterback. He was once 6th string and a sixth round NFL draft choice. Now he’s being talked about as being the greatest. He has overcome obstacles, attained a high standard and surpassed others playing at his position. His Achievement is unsurpassed at the moment. Tom Is currently playing at the highest standard possible. Brady’s competitiveness {Aggression} was also expressed by his strong desire to win. For him, the opposition was like the enemy that one has to oppose. He used all his skills in a forceful manner. When he threw the ball for a completion, he did it with high velocity. In that overtime victory in the Super Bowl, Brady was on the attack and was played aggressively. Although in control, his passes hit their target repeatedly. Briefly, I have inferred the existence of a few of Tom Brady’s secondary needs .This was based on his overt behavior, which typically expressed itself in motor activity. I have linked these needs primarily to his current employment. However, Tom’s secondary needs are not limited to playing football. His need structure was largely determined and came from within, as opposed to being a reaction from the environment. Brady’s needs lead to a desired state in which there was gratification or the fulfillment of feelings or emotions. These need structures drove his behavior and those strivings gave his life meaning. Being a Patriot quarterback, is Tom’s identity. That’s Tom Brady! Some speculated that with that Super Bowl LI victory, he could retire because now he has nothing more to prove. Setting records was not his primary motivational drive. Instead, he has to meet needs of abasement, achievement, affiliation, and aggression through game performance. If so, he shall continue to compete in this brutal game of professional football. If these secondary needs can’t be met through outstanding play as a result of injury or a significant decrease in skill set, then he is likely to retire. Reality is not always possible as in our dreams .Tom Brady is mortal and although his mind with its defense mechanisms may say yes, his body may say no. Our body doesn’t lie. It will speak to him and tell him when it’s the end. Go Blue!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Brady's Drive Part 2

It’s believed that the preceding 10 facts regarding Tom Brady suggest the following. We know that he possessed mental and physical toughness {Abasement}. Tom Brady knew that he has put his brain and body in harm’s way every time he received the ball from center. Something hurtful can happen like being stepped on by his own player; having a finger jammed or dislocated like Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders; or being thrown to the ground by some 300 pound giant. Further, an overused injury can be sustained while working out or conditioning himself. And, he maintained a strict diet with a personal trainer in order to further his career in the brutal game called football. Being the quarterback, Tom accepted the criticism or blame of the press when plays don’t go as planned. He was accused and punished by the NFL for being associated with deflating of footballs in order to win a playoff game two years ago. He fought the charges in court, but did not wine about the situation. Asked, by the press, if revenge played a part in his motivation to succeed this year. Coach Belichick, to his defense, called that question nonsense and insulting. Did Brady accept all the praise and glory in his team’s Super Bowl victories? No, he praised his teammates, coaches and the organization {Affiliation} for their success. He reciprocated, remained loyal and applied it to the concept that this was a team game. He learned about the importance of the team playing for the Wolverines. Coach Carr was part of Michigan legend Schembechler’s coaching tree. Beginning in 1969, Scembechler’s players incorporated the concept that players win as a team and lose as a team. It’s nothing more, nothing less. Records and victories can’t be accomplished if everyone doesn’t do their part or do their job. To Be Continued

Friday, February 10, 2017

Brady's Drive

With the historic New England Patriot’s comeback win in Super Bowl LI, many called quarterback Tom Brady the greatest quarterback ever. If the criteria was based on number of Super Bowl victories, the number of Super Bowl MVPs, Tom Brady would be the greatest quarterback ever to play the game. If other criteria were used, then we are not measuring apples to apples. One cannot fairly compare a player from one era to a player from another era. For example, Ed Budde was a number one draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, and played in the first Super Bowl. He played for 14 seasons with the Chiefs. He also had two sons that played football. His oldest was also the number one draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs. His youngest son had a tryout with the Chicago Bears, but didn’t make the team. In private conversation, Ed told me that his youngest son was bigger, faster and stronger than him. The physical characteristics of players, and the skill level then and now are significantly different. Let’s asses Brady’s behavior, football related statistics, TV interviews , personal communication with a former University of Michigan Wolverine and current radio announcer for both the Wolverines and the Detroit Lions. These components provided insight into Tom Brady’s motivational dynamics. Ideas employed are based on Henry A. Murray’s personology theory. 1. Tom started out as a 6th string quarterback for the University of Michigan. He was also a sixth round draft pick by the New England Patriots. 2. Tom, in TV interviews, talked about his teammates Mental Toughness. 3. Even though Tom was awarded the MVP in Super Bowl LI, he said the award should’ve gone to teammate James White. 4. Tom didn’t play in the Patriots first four games this season because of a league suspension. With very limited team practice time, he started as quarterback in the Patriots fifth season game .In that victory, he attained over 300 passing yards. 5. Tom talked about his teammates favorably after games and stressed their importance in their victories. He also talked about himself playing better. 6. After a New England Patriot and Detroit Lions exhibition game, he warmly greeted the Detroit Lions radio announcer, Jim Brandstatter a former Wolverine. Fellow Wolverines are bonded 7. At the start of the past Michigan Wolverine football season, Tom attended the game, was made honorary captain and was seen throwing a football to his son on the Big House field as well as playing catch with football head Coach Jim Harbaugh. 8. Jim Harbaugh called Tom Brady, the greatest football player ever; said Brady could coach his Wolverines; and Jim would be his quarterback coach. 9. Patriot head coach Bill Belichick said that the season was difficult for Tom. He didn’t believe that Brady’s four-game suspension, motivated him. In fact, Belichick said. “I think it’s really inappropriate to suggest that in Tom’s career, he’s been anything other than a great teammate, a great worker and he has given us every single ounce of effort, blood, sweat and tears that he has in him. To insinuate that somehow this year was different, that this season, he competed harder or did anything to higher degree than he did in the past is insulting. I think to the tremendous effort and leadership and competitiveness that he’s shown for the 17 years that I’ve coached him. ….Tom Brady gives us his best every time he steps onto the field.” 10. At the University of Michigan and with the New England Patriots, Brady employed a personal trainer. To Be Continued

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Attachment Part 2

Two other examples of anxiety and safety seem parallel and are associated with the infant’s attachment level to adults. The first is called Stranger Anxiety. This anxiety response is to a strange face and is generally seen in American children about six months of age, and then gradually disappeared by the time the child is 12 to 15 months. It takes longer for the fear to disappear generally with Infants reared in isolated rural areas and with infants with retarded cognitive development. Separation Anxiety, a second example, appeared in American infants at about 10 to 12 months of age and begins to disappear at about 20 to 24 months of age. A number of studies, have been implemented, studying this dynamic. A glaring example was with the institutionalized infant, when reared in a monotonous and impersonal environment. These infants are often cognitively and emotionally deficient; and have difficulty in reaction to human beings in a socialized way compared to a family reared children or those reared in responsive institutions. However, even a one-year-old child who may have been a victim of neglect seemed to possess a substantial capacity for recovery. Importantly, the environment after that first year loss, must provide the freedom for him to explore his world and establish positive relations with adults and children. Four different attachment classifications have been hypothesized for children based on early caregiving experience. 1. Secure attachment 2. Anxious-ambivalent attachment 3. Anxious-avoidant attachment 4.Disorganized/disoriented attachment. More recent research incorporated the attachment styles for children and developed new categories for adults. The categories include: 1. Secure 2. Anxious-preoccupied. 3. Dismissive-avoidant 4. Fearful- avoidant. The interaction between mother and infant has consequences throughout the lifespan. There are “many” complex variables at work during parenting. Unfortunately, models of parenting are often based upon one’s own upbringing. It may also be incorrectly interpreted. The high divorce rate, the vast number of unsatisfactory marriages, numerous poor interpersonal relationships and work related issues with the supervisor suggest impaired caretaking, beginning with the age of the infant. Individual therapy, family therapy, couples therapy with presenting problems of interpersonal difficulty keep therapists busy as issues. Critical difficulties with relationships beginning with the infant and child become replayed over and over again with different players throughout one’s lifetime.

Saturday, February 4, 2017


For additional insight into your relationship style, consult the article “Yes, It’s Your Parents’ Fault” in the January 8, 2017 New York Times as it dealt with the “ Attachment Theory” based on the work of Drs. John Bowlby and Mary S. Ainsworth. Their findings may trigger your curiosity. This theory dealt with the complex interactions between the infant and the caretaker. The result of their research, provide clues into the psychological development-attachment style of the child, adolescent and adult. This interaction between caretaker and child focused on infant behaviors such as crying, sucking, smiling, clinging, and the responses that followed between the dyad. The mother’s psychological condition obviously affected her ability to respond to her child appropriately and by the same token, the newborns temperament and cognitive development affected his ability to respond-looking, vocalizing, smiling, and distress. Some other clues to the child’s emotional adjustment is depicted by its ability to feed well, sleep well and ease of its bowel movements. It’s the idea that the caretaker not only talks and stimulates the baby to babble, etc. but the mother also alleviated the child’s hunger, cold, and pain while performing caretaking acts as well. The quality and the ability of the mother to meet the infant’s needs and become a positive reinforcement value is a must for healthy development. Hopefully, the mother doesn’t become associated as a negative reinforcement value. Research by Dr. Harry Harlow provided some insight into the feeding dynamic between mother and infant. This dynamic was associated with the infant’s ability to develop trust and well-being during the process. Dr. Harlow conducted a series of studies that employed “mother” monkeys that were constructed with wire mesh to other mother monkeys that were covered by Terry cloth. Both “mother” monkeys had a bottle attached to their chest. Briefly, and in a variety of experiments, these infant monkeys characteristically chose the terry cloth mother, and spent more time, clinging to her than to the plain wire mesh mother. Even when a fear provoking stimulus was placed in the cage, the infant monkeys ran to the terry cloth mother rather than to the wire mesh mother. The terry cloth mother was also more effective in reducing the monkeys fear compared with the wire mesh mother. These experiments suggested the importance of closely holding the infant near while feeding instead of being preoccupied or by propping a bottle during feeding. A sense of safety for the infant is paramount. To Be Continued

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mental Toughness Revisited Part 3

What about the average athletic individual? This individual might be overweight, or might be a couch potato. The individual might be older .The weather conditions might include rain, snow or triple digits. The individual might have awakened late and felt tired and sluggish. This individual might have remembered that on previous workouts, he experienced soreness, tired legs, oxygen deprivation, high heart rate, pain in the side etc. Mental toughness for these individuals is putting on workout clothes and beginning to exercise. For me, it’s not uncommon to feel lousy in the morning within the comfort of my home. However, when I initiate my trail run, I feel better and am happy that I did start. I know about physical and psychological pain because I ran and was a division winner In the 100 Mile Western States trail run at age 62. I also experienced physical and psychological pain, when I completed with my horse and partner the 100 mile one day Swanton Pacific Ride and Tie. We won that race when I was 68, at the time. More recently, at age 76, in 2016, I experienced discomfort when I ran 20 miles or more. After completing the 50 K “Way Too Cool,” I was evaluated by my physician and he referred me to the surgeon and he surgically repaired my two hernias. It’s clear that there are a myriad of ways to inflict pain upon oneself. I plan to continue with my running. What enables me to get off the couch in the morning is that I have set up a future goal. That goal is related to some competitive running event. I know that if I don’t condition myself properly, I might not complete the event or might even hurt or stress myself even more. If I didn’t have a future event to look forward to, it might be more difficult for me to be as compulsive as I am about my running. In conclusion, Mental Toughness, per Psychological Principle 12 is the acknowledgment and acceptance of Murray’s n Abasement- to accept injury, punishment; to seek and enjoy pain or discomfort. We know, and we accept what can happen when we lace up our running shoes and go for a run. We also know that we are driven by more than this one particular need and further, that we will be fulfilling additional needs that have a multitude of benefits. Moreover, mental toughness is one component within the big picture of the Abasement need and helps explain the motivation of inflicting discomfort directed toward oneself. Obviously, some go to greater extremes than others.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mental Toughness Revisited Part 2

The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run is an ultra-marathon that takes place on trails in the California Sierra Nevada Mountains. Runners run up a cumulative total of over 18,000 feet and descend a total close to 23,000 feet, before reaching the finish in Auburn, California. The Swanton Pacific 100 mile Ride and Tie with the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and magnificent redwood forest, is an event that has teams consisting of one equine and 2 runners. The entire team begins at the start line together. One teammate rides a certain distance, dismounts and ties the horses’ reins to a tree and then continues running. The initial runner locates the horse on the trail, unties the horse’s reins, mounts and rides toward the direction of the other runner. The teammates, leapfrogs, so to speak, and continue this process for 100 miles. To finish, the entire team has to cross the finish line together for a completion within a 24 hour day. The Barkley Marathon is an ultramarathon trail race held near Wartburg, Tennessee. The race distance is approximate and limited to a 60 hour time limit. This event is limited to 40 runners who pay $1.60 application fee. The entry application is a secret. No details and the entrant must complete an essay of “Why I Should Be Allowed to run in the Barkley?” This race has five full loops {24 miles + or -per loop} and this event been completed 17 times by only 14 runners, all of whom are male. One woman has run as far as 66 miles. Not only that, this quirky run has as a bugler that plays Taps for those runners unable to finish. The Quintuple Anvil Triathlon held in Spotsylvania, Virginia covers over 703 miles and is essentially five Ironman length races over a five day period. This is a full triathlon of swimming, biking and running. One finisher said “I know this is not good for my body, but it is good for my soul.” These four events in no way exhaust the limits or number of amateur events that are examples of inflicting punishment on oneself or what is called mental toughness. To Be Continued

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mental Toughness Revisited

Mental Toughness is a term frequently applied to athletes. I previously had written about this term and postulated 11 psychological principles, that enhanced an individual’s ability to withstand pain and suffering while training. An article titled, in the December 6, 2016 edition of the New York Times, “How Much Suffering Can You Take?” spurred additional thought about this phenomena. Mental Toughness is one aspect of man’s behavior or motivation that causes him to inflict pain and discomfort upon himself. Freud, influenced by World War I, hypothesized a second drive called the death instinct to explain man’s aggressive nature toward man. Within this framework, the term sadism and masochism, explained man motivation for inflicting pain on self and toward others. Later, Dr. Henry Murray, within his Personology Theory identified a need that helped to explain man’s hurtful behavior. Murray called this n Abasement. Abasement he briefly defined as: to accept injury, blame, criticism, punishment. To admit inferiority, error, wrongdoing or defeat. To blame, belittle or mutilate the self. To seek and enjoy pain, punishment, illness and misfortune. We can now see that mental toughness includes both mental, and physical within this human need. The idea of inflicting pain, although not always conscious, toward oneself is universal and part of the human condition [not eating properly, excessive prescription and nonprescription drug use, excessive alcohol use, excessive smoking, lack of exercise, etc.]. I speculate that there are degrees of mental toughness. Further, male-female, young-old, and socioeconomic status may also play a part, as far as differences are concerned. A professional athlete; a college athlete; an Olympic athlete; a Navy seal are examples of individuals that have possessed and have exhibited mental toughness. Other primary and secondary motivations, needs and/or requirements operate as well. Some examples of these include economic benefits, affiliation, dominance, aggression, fame, glory etc. that are variables that pertain and associated with behavior. Man being complex is more than fulfilling just one variable at a time. However, let’s not eliminate all man’s needs, but hold the economic advantages constant. We can do that by focusing on extreme amateur sports that do not have a major economic value. The 100 mile Western States, a one day running event; the 100 mile Swanton Pacific Ride and Tie, one day event; the Barkley Marathon and the Quintuple Anvil Triathlon come to mind. To Be Continued

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Run For Your Brain Part 2

In this study, lab rodents were used as subjects. The researchers made three groups 1.The running group allowed the rodents to run at will on their running wheels.2. Resistant training group involved having them climb a wall with tiny weights attached to their tails. 3. High intensity interval training group had the animals sprint on a treadmill with a rapid and strenuous pace for three minutes, followed by two minutes at a slower pace. This entire sequence was repeated twice more, for a total of 15 minutes of running. Each group was subjected to over seven weeks in the experiment. Then the researchers examined the brain tissue in the hippocampus for each group. The findings showed that distance running, stimulated more release of B. D. N. F. than the other two groups. The resistance or weight training group however, demonstrated more muscular health benefits. One can argue about the research methodology in each of these studies. Remember, using animals for research has been long-standing. Thank you, Charles Darwin. What struck me was the fact that nutrition, vitamins, and supplements were not variables at all. The one variable that got my attention was movement or exercise. For these studies, we still don’t know or have clear definitions of vigorous or strenuous exercise per age or age group. At this juncture, each individual must create their own regimen of movement and/or physical exercise program. These research findings suggested that physical exercise is a significant key for memory, attention and hippocampus growth. I would be surprised if I developed Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. Since my late 50s, or for the past 20 years or so, I have been, on average, running at least 50 miles per week. Also included have been some form of free weight training and/or doing chin-ups and push-ups. To know if my regime is working, I need to be tested for memory and attention, and my level of neurogenesis growth in my hippocampus. There might or might not be appropriate norms to compare me with others. For example, in my most recent competitive 10 mile trail run, there were only 4 other participants in my age group. That suggests that there are many non-trail runners in my age group. In signing off, remember this motto “keep moving.”

Friday, January 20, 2017

Run for Your Brain

Two articles in the January 1, 2017 edition of the New York Times pertained to healthy aging. The first article, “How to Become a Superager” was a study that compared, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the brains of 17 superagers to those brains of similarly aged people. The superager is one whose memory and attention is above average for their age. Their brain compared favorably to the brain of a healthy active 25-year-old. These researchers found that the regions of the cortex that are associated with memory and attention were in fact thicker for the superagers. In other words, there was less age-related atrophy in the brains of the -superager’s. And of course the superager’s had better performance scores on tests of memory and attention. These researchers hypothesized that one can keep these cortex regions of the brain healthy through vigorous exercise and strenuous mental effort. Although physical exercise wasn’t clearly defined, they pointed to discomfort as a result of exertion, which means building muscle and discipline by using a Marine Corps motto “pain is weakness leaving the body.” They added that deciphering puzzles like Sudoku and other brain games are not enough to strengthen those cortex regions in the brain. The second article, “For a Happy Hippocampus, Keep Running” focused on the relationship of physical exercise on the development of new neurons found in the hippocampus. The primary function of the hippocampus is learning and memory formation. This study measured brain- derived neurotrophic factor B. D. N. F .production. To Be Continued

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Harbaugh and Schembechler Part 3

Under coach Harbaugh, the Wolverines attained a 20-6 overall record; a 13-4 Big Ten conference record; and a 1-1 postseason with a win in the Citrus Bowl; and loss in the Orange Bowl. The University of Michigan was ranked numbers 11 and 10 in the AP polls, respectively. Coach Schembechler achieved in his first two years, a 17-4 overall record; a 12-2 Big Ten conference record; and a loss in the Rose Bowl. His Wolverines were ranked number 9 in the AP poll for both 1969 and 1970. Bo didn’t find the cupboard bare when he inherited Bump Elliott’s team. In fact, many of Bumps recruits were college all Americans; and drafted into the pros. All Pro Dan Dierdorf was elected into the NFL Hall of Fame; All Pro Thom Darden, was elected into the Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame, and All Pro, Reggie McKenzie was inducted into the Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame. Thus, Bo had a solid foundation from which to begin his quest, starting in his first season in 1969. Likewise, Jim Harbaugh’s cupboard wasn’t strictly bare of talent either. Jake Ryan is having a stellar season with the playoff bound Green Bay Packers. All-Americans, Jabrill Peppers, Jake Butt, and Jourdan Lewis are likely to have solid careers at the next level. However, in Bo’s third year, his Wolverines attained an 11-1 overall record; an 8-0 Big Ten conference, and a loss in the Rose Bowl. Also, he beat the Buckeyes, two out of three games they played. Let’s see what Harbaugh’s Wolverines can muster in the 2017 season? He’s going to lose a significant number of his seniors in 2016, so 2017 will be a good test. Jim Harbaugh has a long way to go. He’s already lost twice to the Buckeyes-42-13 in 2015 and 27-24 in 2016. Don’t forget that Bump was fired, when he lost to Ohio State 50 to 14. So much for the numbers and statistics as there is more that goes in the definition of what makes a great coach. What about the coach’s significant impact on his players lives and their psychological development? Bo Schembechler’s, greatest teaching, amid the racial divide in the 60s, was when he taught his young athletes about the meaning of “the team.” His players learned not to lose their identity, but to hold their narcissism in check even with unorthodox conditioning and brutal practice conditions. They learned they could accomplish the unfathomable by coalescing as “one” with a seemingly unbreakable bond. They came together in 1969 like a non-severed Gordian knot. In fact, the bond between these men still remain. In this process, Bo taught them, and he in turn learned from them, creating a unity of brotherhood along with a sense of integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and love. They never forgot him and he never forgot them. Good luck, Coach Harbaugh because now it’s your turn- Go Blue

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Harbaugh and Schembechler Part 2

First year Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh has a more comprehensive and impressive resume than his mentor Bo. For example, the All-American and Heisman candidate Harbaugh was Bo’s quarterback. Quarterback Harbaugh’s was a first round NFL draft pick in 1987, and played 14 years in the NFL. He was also an assistant football coach at Western Kentucky and an assistant NFL coach with the Oakland Raiders. He then became head coach at the University of San Diego; Stanford; and the San Francisco 49ers. Unlike Schembechler, Jim Harbaugh was in high demand by the NFL before he accepted the U of M coaching position by interim athletic director, Jim Hackett. The Michigan Wolverines did not fare well after head coach Lloyd Carr’s retirement. Head coaches Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke did not stop the beatings by Ohio State; nor was Michigan a football powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination. The attendance was still good at the Big House, but Bo Schembechler was turning over in his grave because of the less than stellar football, played during those years. Wolverine football was at its crossroads hoping for the Messiah. Then, coach Harbaugh became available and was immediately hired; given an enormous salary; with the keys to the Big House. Although, it’s much too early to give the crown to Jim Harbaugh, we can compare his first few years in Ann Arbor to his mentor.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Harbaugh and Schembechler

Jim Harbaugh, the current University of Michigan football coach, arrived in Ann Arbor on December of 2014, at age 51, with tremendous enthusiasm by all. Can he become the greatest football coach in the “ modern era” in Wolverine history? Currently, that title belongs to none other than Bo Schembechler. Bo Schembechler, age 39, was seen in Ann Arbor in December over 49 years ago, in 1968. He was not greeted with an overabundance of adoring enthusiasm. In fact, the new athletic director Don Canham fired All American, Rose Bowl player and Rose Bowl winning coach Bump Elliott, beloved by all. This icon, in fact, led the Wolverines to an 8-2 won loss record in 1968. However, the mortal wound that led to his dismissal was the unmerciful beating by Woody Hayes and his Ohio State Buckeyes that season by a score of 50 to 14 in Columbus. Other factors that played a part in Bump’s dismissal, was the lack of interest in Michigan Football. There were many diversions for the students and alumni during those tumultuous years - political assassinations, race riots, Vietnam War and changes in social and sexual mores. That 1969 football season didn’t start off well for coach Schembechler, as Bumps, former players severely didn’t like Bo. They were neither buying into his coaching nor conditioning methods nor his offensive and defensive football philosophy. The team, that season, was struggling with a 3-2 record during their first five games, and were behind in the first half of their sixth game against the University of Minnesota. Bo, with a soft-spoken voice, told the warriors at halftime “We are the better team and do not to waste this opportunity.” Bo’s players united as they became “the team.” They then demolished the Gophers, followed by thrashing Illinois and Iowa, in that order. They were now ready for the revenge and showdown against Woody’s Buckeyes on that wintry November 22, 1969 game in front of 103,588 fans. Thus, Bo Schembechler, on that infamous Saturday, in Ann Arbor, began his quest, his identity and eventually he became the legend. Bo led his Wolverines for the next 21 years, with sellouts in the Big House; 234 victories and 65 losses and eight ties; winning or sharing 13 Big Ten conference titles during his realm. While leading the Wolverines during this glorious time, he was the winningest football coach in the nation. And he alone has a statue in front of Schembechler Hall. To Be Continued

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mass Killings

We have many acts of violence, mass killings in our country! The American College Dictionary, defines violence as “rough or injurious action or treatment.” The following are a few brief examples of influences that contribute, correlate with the personality and character development of individuals that commit acts of hate. 1. Implicit bias is rooted and a human tendency-maybe in the DNA that divide and discriminate against others in our social world. In other words, “It’s us versus them.” Early on, we differentiate acceptance of others like us versus fear or threat of others not like us. Groups are often divided among race, religion, sex, socioeconomic status, political parties, etc. Even a football team has its own followers and haters- the enemy. We perceive, have feelings for and treat our own groups, significantly differently from “the other.” 2. Our culture, dating back to the Monroe doctrine of 1823 and the idea of Manifest Destiny, followed by two centuries of American exceptionalism painted a picture of glorified acts of violence. There was justified killing of Native Americans by settlers and soldiers in taming the West. Our movies and TV Westerns were about the good guys and the Indians as the bad villains. Even today, theater and home audiences clap, cheer in delight when a bad hombre gets killed. 3. Our video games are mostly about violence. For example, the Grand Theft Auto series of videos has resulted in more than $2.5 billion in sales. Is there a difference between killing in the video and killing in our communities? Do we become numb and desensitized to images of death? 4. The media and their daily news cycles tend to give lots of information about the perpetrator, compared to the victims. We see their names and faces along with their history. We may even hear from their mother, father and the neighbor in the process. The killer is covered with a 24-7 blitz. The murderers have instant notoriety during that exuberance of TV coverage. If one wants a claim to fame, - go destroy a group of unprotected, unarmed and peaceful civilians. Back in the day, we had trusted and trustworthy journalists like Walter Cronkite and Edward R Murrow. They objectively, without regard to political party, reported the news. Today, we are not presented with TV or radio, rational-objective news. Instead, we are presented with cable, personalities and social media sites that provide us with noise, entertainment, misinformation, glorification and countless interviews with repeated talking points. TV and the Internet have changed our world-in some ways for the detriment of all. 5. Child abuse, maltreatment and other restrictive and negative parenting practices also contribute to the development of the violent personality. These factors affect the highly suggestible, who have not developed a firm sense of self. Further, many are paranoid and blame others for what they see as disappointments in their life time of failures. It’s easy to blame injustice on others, and then distort and justify one’s acts. They have developed a sadomasochistic character style. They do not place a high value on life. They simply treat others inhumanely. There also depressed, socially isolated, and are unable to perceive an optimistic future. There being, is about taking life, not giving it. Sources: The National Psychologist, September/October 2016 and the New York Times, December 11, 2016.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Aunt Eva Part 2

It was very clear that I bought into the capitalistic system of earning more, so I could purchase that “dream house;” procure big boy toys; and go on those dream vacations all over the world. I erroneously believed that I was fulfilling my competitive need structure, while attaining nirvana. So many of us believed that economic success results in happiness as in the many various commercials. After all, those actors are smiling when they’re driving the latest car or having attained the latest gadget. Then of course, research studies found that making over $75,000 a year does not bring more happiness and that time off from work is more desired, than job and more earnings. Balboa searched for the fountain of youth, thinking that that was going to bring him happiness. Unfortunately, happiness is a feeling. Feelings are fleeting, meaning they come and go. So to chase something for a feeling is unproductive and stupid. How long does one remain happy when they get that “special job;” dream house; the latest electronic tool; and other goods and services continually pitched to us by good-looking actors, celebrities and other stars? We should all know by now, that one’s feelings are transitory and constantly change. The only certainty here is that feelings change. There are many products that tell you they can make you look younger and more attractive. There many strategies, diets, programs, etc. that claim that weight loss is under your control. One can marry, divorce and remarry a younger object. One can also eat and drink that magic potion or take that magic supplement to facilitate youth. If that doesn’t work, one can even find a surgical procedure to quicken the process. What I’ve learned is that it’s not about money, youth, but about health. The main goal for me is my health span while developing a sense of well-being. That takes precedent and that is my priority. It’s important for me to attain and continue my mental health, as well as my physical health. I haven’t found a magic pill; a magic exercise device; or magic medical procedure that will enhances my sense of well-being. For a sense of wellbeing, I have to become cognizant of my unconscious drives and needs and constantly challenge my motives as well as my thinking. As you know, we can convince ourselves and engage in many irrational and self-defeating behaviors. Just watch the commercials – they know the best marketing strategies. Thank you Aunt Eva, you were right. PS I turned 77 this past year. On January 1, Tony and I have entered a 10 mile trail run titled the Resolution Run. I also entered the Jed Smith 50 K held the first Saturday in February -Tony and Chris will join me in some capacity. At the end of February , Tony, Jonathan and his son, and I have entered the Salmon Falls 50 K trail run. Keep moving, it’s good for you.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Aunt Eva

Aunt Eva was right when she said to me many years ago, likely when I was at latency age, that health was most important. I didn’t get it until I was in my late 50s, in the late 1990s, contemplating divorce. It was at that juncture, that I made changes physically by eating more prudently and by competing in Ride & Tie- a running and equine competition. A friend also presented me with the book called “Stopping the Clock.” This read dealt with antiaging and rejuvenation techniques. I then got it and these two elements {health and exercise} became my mantra. When I was younger as an elementary, junior high and senior high student, I bought into our capitalist economic motto. I was told by my father to work with my head and not my back. I was told by many that college was the path to economic success. Those that attended college earned more money. And back then, college was affordable, not at all like it is today. My passion back then was playing sports. Receiving a football scholarship facilitated my entry into higher education. Freud’s “drives” as in libido and the notion of the unconscious, along with Murray’s “needs” such as abasement, achievement, affiliation, aggression, play, infavoidance, etc. fueled my behavior. My father was a government employee, while most of my extended family seemed to be better off economically. I was able to compare, superficially, although unaware, family members who had a larger home, newer clothes, and attended summer resorts to my parents standard of living. Having more seemed better as I felt embarrassed having less. My father being a juvenile diabetic injected insulin daily, which colored, and played a significant role, along with his going in and out of the hospital for some medical condition. I was driven to accumulate money as the main goal. I married in my junior year at Wayne State University; switched from a business major to an education major; earned my bachelor’s degree; and took a position as a teacher with the Detroit Public Schools. In order to make more money, I attained a master’s degree from the University of Michigan with the idea that I would go into school administration. I had an opportunity to earn more money by taking a part-time teaching position at a community college. Once again, economics was the driving force. Shortly, I was hired as an assistant professor at Oakland Community College. I even decided to pursue a PhD to enhance my earning potential. After completing my PhD, at Wayne State University, I relocated in California, and was an Assistant Professor at California State San Bernardino. After a few years, I entered private practice as a licensed psychologist. To Be Continued

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Wild Horses

I recently read about a new problem facing our federal government in the October 16, 2016 edition of the New York Times” Roundup of Wild Horses a Success, Spoiled by Cost of Storing Them” was the title. A few facts: 1. 60 private ranches, corrals and feedlots store 46,000 wild horses. 2. Currently this cost is $49 million per year. 3. One rancher in Oklahoma maintains a little over 4,000 horses and receives two dollars a day per horse. His monetary gross is approximately $3 million per year .4. This Bureau of Land Management Equine Program accounts for 60% of its federal budget. 5. The Bureau is predicting that its horse protection program could reach $1 billion, soon. 6. In 1971, Congress passed a law protecting wild horses that roam free on patches of public land in 10 Western states 7. Fertility control drugs for the horses, and natural predators like wolves have been considered to reduce this population. 8. Animal-rights groups oppose any killing of horses .9. Thousands of acres have been damaged by overgrazing. A lot of land is under extreme stress. 10. The Bureau of Land, Management can now barely afford helicopters to roundup wild horses .11. Each year we can expect an increase of at least 15,000 horses. In a nutshell, there has been pressure not to kill any wild horses, regardless of the social, economic and natural consequences. I would argue that we consider a few other facts 1. It’s a shame that we contain these horses in a neglectful manner. 2. Anyone with over 4000 horses cannot care for them in any proper way. Natural diseases, infighting between horses result in damage to horses. There are many injuries that happen to groups of horses. 3. Think of the pain and no treatment to these equines that result from these injuries. 4. Think of the damage to the natural environment destroying the echo system. 5. Think of the homeless and hungry people in our country. 6. $1 billion is a lot of money to spend without a prudent solution. The problem will just become larger and larger, with no end in sight. I propose that we devise a program to kill a number of wild horses [don’t have a number in mind] in order to feed, clothes and procure other products by using their hides etc. This would increase employment and new jobs. Morally, I would place the needs of people and make humans a priority over the wild, neglected equine. Yes, there’s going to be some outrage. Outrage is not unusual as we have freedom of speech. No one has come up with a better solution. By the way, my wife rides her Mustang religiously. Patch our wild horse gets fed regularly, gets wormed properly, receives necessary shots, and gets groomed and ridden a lot. Patch has a life, a job, and is part of the family. He’s not neglected like the 46,000 others.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Why Exercise?

Do you believe that exercise can enhance learning? If so, then exercise should play a significant part of the school curriculum. When I attended elementary, junior high and secondary school, physical education was included and was a significant part in the curriculum. For instance, in elementary school, special classes, which included physical education, music, art, science, etc. were held in either the morning or afternoon while the 3Rs were taught in homeroom separate from the other part of the school day. From what I’ve heard, that is no longer the arrangement in schools. A recent article in the July 31, 2016 New York Times titled Muscle Mnemonics received my attention. Researchers at Radboud University and the University of Edinburgh hypothesized that there is a relationship between learning and remembering new material and exercise. Briefly, 72 healthy adult men and women were tested on a visual and spatial learning task [Observed pictures on a computer screen and then asked to remember their locations]. That test was followed by having them watch nature documentaries. Immediately after this test, 48 of these men and women subjects then participated in interval training on exercise bicycles for 35 minutes. The remaining 24 subjects did the same exercise work out, but only 4 hours after the visual and spatial learning test. Two days later, all the subjects repeated the original test while an MRI machine scanned their brains for activity. Which group learned and recalled the most coupled with an increase or a more consistent release of a biochemical [biochemical related to mental function]? Those of you [my wife and friend Tony were asked the question too] that predicted exercising immediately after the test were incorrect [Unless you are a rodent]. The winner were those that predicted exercising, 4 hours after the test. These subjects learned and remembered more. Experimenters admitted, at this point, “we don’t know why?” Could it be, the Detroit Public Schools knew about the relationship between exercise, memory and learning back in my day? They separated the time between reading, writing and arithmetic from playing baseball, basketball, volleyball and track. Why not learn something, have lunch with friends and then perform physical exercise. Often, for me, many of my ideas seem to generate and become clarified while trail running. Putting my ideas to paper become clearer. I recommend that those that want to learn and remember, incorporate exercise in your daily life, even if it’s not four hours later. No one can argue that learning and memory are not good for your soul. The more we learn and remember, the healthier we are. Just ask an old folk.

Friday, November 18, 2016

David Letterman's Questions Part 2

In dealing with this upcoming psychosocial crisis, letterman in this past year, traveled to India for 11 days, learning about India, and Climate Change. That was the subject of a documentary recently aired at the end of October titled “Years of Living Dangerously.” During that trip, he realized that India was very different from anything experienced in America. And that “India makes New York City look like naptime.” Letterman spent more time talking to people than anybody alive, said the television producer who accompanied him. Let’s face it, applause and adulation from a TV audience is pseudo-intimacy, compared to interacting with the people in the flesh. At least he learned that important detail In the article, letterman talked about his 12-year-old son, Harry and letterman’s insecurity about parenting, his son in the correct way. He doesn’t know how strong or how lenient he should be with Harry in Harry’s development. Letterman wondered that if he tried to steer and influence Harry in some direction that Harry would then rebel instead. He also added, “You really don’t want a carbon copy of yourself running around.” With that statement, letterman colors his innermost feelings of self. This stage in Erickson’s model is called Generativity vs. Stagnation. The primary psychosocial concern for the individual is related to teaching and learning, with the “dependence” of the older generation on the younger one. Simply put, the task is establishing and guiding the next generation-- one’s own offspring or others. Erikson added that mature man needs to be needed. Letterman certainly takes this psychosocial stage seriously and wants to teach and take care of and guide his offspring. He joked when he said “I will just say that all the negative qualities, I think, are from his mother’s side. All the positive uplifting qualities seem to come from the letterman’s side. And I don’t mean that as an insult, no.” Starting a family late in life in his late 50s, letterman is confronted with two psychological stages-first, his progeny and then dealing with the dignity of his own lifecycle. It’s important that he remains physically and psychologically healthy. It’s imperative that he continues to be productive, in ideas, giving back to others while keeping the future and focus. It’s important that he continues to teach and learn as there are no do overs. It’s clear that letterman’s talk show host career did not provide significant meaning for him. It’s important that his life task continues to be on the productive side and creative in order to have a life that he alone can define with integrity, so not be left with emotional despair.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

David Letterman's Questions

The article “He Shops at Target These Days” found in the New York Times, October 23, 2016 referred to former talk show host David letterman. Erik H Erickson’s Childhood and Society published by WW Norton and Company, Inc. provided insights into some of letterman’s current psychological issues .He had been with CBS’s “Late Show” for 33 years. Erikson postulated that the human personality unfolds according to predetermined psychosocial crises found in one’s life cycle. The emphasis here is about and limited to the psychosocial, while the task is about the ability or potential to acquire human strength. In May 2015, David Letterman, age 69, left the television world. For the past year and a half, he had been living a relatively normal life - even shopping at Target. He commented that he had grown a beard and that for him “A beard is a good reminder to me that that was a different life. I’m hopeful that I will either find something else, or something else will be presented to me.” Some might say that letterman is in retirement, and now what? Some might say that he had influenced prior generations. Some might say that he has vitality left, and is not yet ready to pull the plug. Letterman went on to say that he doesn’t miss late night television “I’m a little embarrassed that for 33 years it was the laser focus of my life.” He added that he was in combat with his one-time friend Jay Leno over succeeding Johnny Carson and that “it took a lot of energy and it probably would have been better expended elsewhere. Now it just seems like really, that’s what you did?” Further, the knowledge that he was not passive in the competition, and that there must be something wrong with him. Not only that, he said. “Maybe life is the hard way, I don’t know. When the show is great, it was never as enjoyable as the misery of the show being bad. Is that human nature?” Even with super ratings; surpassing Jay Leno; experiencing an enormous amount of applause and adulation; working five days a week; being a celebrity; living an upper-class lifestyle, his TV career did not provide him with enough significant emotional or intellectual meaning or supplies. Sad but true. Currently, he is dealing with what Erickson called approaching the stage of Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Briefly in this stage, Erickson described despair as the overriding expression and the feeling that the time is now short, too short for the attempt to start another life. Letterman is not there yet. He still has time to act and to be. It’s important that he use this time of its life prudently.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Identity Gone Wrong Part 2

Narcissism is another danger that is self-directed throughout life. For instance, there can be a healthy or normal narcissist. On the other hand, unhealthy narcissism interferes with the ability to have appropriate and meaningful interpersonal relationships. This is because there is persistent behavior with excessive preoccupation with oneself and one’s concerns. Unfortunately, this psychological impairment persists in behaviors that seek pleasure and/or gratification from others. There is simply little concern about the needs, safety or welfare of the other. It’s about me, me, me, and only me in that order. Having a sense of my personal space and the personal space of another is another important psychological quality. Personal space is made up of thoughts, ideas, impulses, fantasies, and constraints or limits on attitude, actions or behavior. Likewise, the personal space of another is made up of the same. Mature individuals take into account the respect for the other. Without respecting the other, leads to aggressive, insensitive and sadistic interpersonal interactions. Certainly groping, kissing, grinding talking disparagingly about another is simply rule and sadistic. With impairment in developing trust, a healthy amount of narcissism, along with boundary limits affects the development of identity or self. Without a clear sense of identity development, the danger is the development of role confusion. This means there is the danger of over dedication of heroes, reality TV stars, celebrities, and other power figures. There is a tendency to become part of the moment by becoming part of a cliques, and then part of mob vitriol. How can one fall in love, let alone develop a sense of intimacy or fidelity, without having a sense of mature identity? Imperative, without a secure sense of identity development, leads to the exclusion of others that are different, such as in skin color, cultural background, etc. The stereotypes, loyalties, morality, ideology and appropriate behavior gets lost with a series of rationalizations, distortions and irrational thinking. This pathology leads to treating others of the opposite sex inappropriately. We require more than a discussion of appropriate and inappropriate behavior. It is simply nonsense to believe that these sadistic behaviors in males are part of being normal. It’s not normal nor is it typical in healthy psychological development. To consider these behaviors normal, speaks to the unhealthy view of that voice and that voice alone. For me, the issue is the development of a healthy identity leads to healthy male behavior. PS For Trump, a main drive is the exploitation of another. Remember, vocal or physical expression- behavior, is about making choices. Exploitation or choice can be expressed in the arena of achieving power; making money; or attaining sex.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Identity Gone Wrong Part 1

The title “How to Be a Man in the Age of Trump” in the October 16, 2016 edition of the New York Times concluded, “ it provided the beginning of a challenging discussion of what it should mean to be a man, and that it has inspired a bipartisan feminist movement.” In the article, the author identified a number of revelations about Trump like barging into the dressing room of the Miss Teen USA pageant; kissing a former Apprentice contestant during a meeting; grabbing the rear of a woman who was visiting his home in Palm Beach; jamming his tongue down the throat of a People magazine reporter, etc. the author also identified a number of high profile incidents of alleged harassment or sexual assaults that included: Clarence Thomas; William Kennedy Smith; Mike Tyson; Bill Cosby; Ray Rice; Roger Ailes, etc. The writer pointed out that such behavior is not representative men by a long shot, but can be found in high schools and college campuses. She gave an example of a situation were in a middle school dance when a male classmate slid behind a girl student on the dance floor , grabbed her by the waist and then grinded against her rear; and at college, when drunken party boys felt free to kiss, touch, and rub up against women as well. There has also been a defense that for Donald Trump, his sexist comments have simply been nothing more than locker room talk. I attended high school, university and played competitive sports and spent time in locker rooms. I was also in a college fraternity and I do not remember participating, witnessing or even hearing what I heard during this presidential election cycle. Further, I don’t have any baseline data to support my contention, but it appears that these behaviors are more plentiful than in the past. One way of viewing these sexist behaviors is the notion of identity formation. In forming an identity, important notions of developing trust, developing appropriate narcissism, establishing appropriate boundary limits are some of the psychological tasks required. For instance, a sense of trust, suggests a sense of being all right, of being oneself and becoming what other people trust one will become. However, the inability to develop a firm sense of secure trust leads to significantly impaired interpersonal relationships, as well as an immature and troubling personality. The dynamics of the ability to trust results in the following dynamics: an external goodness can become an internal certainty. By the same token, having a pathological distrust or anxious state, one simply experiences unpleasant inner or fearful harm as an outer one. This means that we tend to perceive people with evil or fear them, but this dynamic actually emanates within us. To Be Continued

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Economic Inequality, Cognitive Dissonance, and RQ Part 2

The facts of income inequality are not likely to change someone’s mind if they do not view the subject simply on moral or religious grounds. Facts don’t unify since we tend to believe certain things, regardless of information presented. Instead, we are stuck on a specific or certain “ideology or preference.” One way of viewing the polarization that divides us is seen regarding beliefs about religion and/or politics. Did you ever win an argument with an opponent related to religion or to politics? Insight might help with an understanding of Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance [a tension state that is motivational in character]. It is believed that cognitive elements are information or bits of knowledge that may be related to oneself, to others, or to the nonsocial environment. Further, these cognitive elements exist in relation to one another and that they arise in the presence of one element. The element can be present or implied. Not only that, some cognitions are relevant to one another. Other cognitive dissonance factors include: the importance of the elements; the ratio of dissonance to consonance cognitions; attractiveness or negativeness; ones self-esteem, and even the more negative information a person receives about the discrepant situation. In other words, scientific facts or opinion by authorities do not necessarily change one’s attitude. To simplify, individuals are willing to take in materials or information consonant with their belief or viewpoint, and simply deny, distort, and tune out materials or information that’s dissonant with their belief or viewpoint. And, that some individual’s, even though they abhor Socialism, favor for example receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits, which are socialistic in reality. Further, these unknowledgeable individuals are either not aware or distort their “cognitive dissonance - contradiction discrepancy. Yes, prejudice {economic inequality} is difficult to overcome, but maybe not impossible. Yes, government should be in the forefront. Let’s call “some” of our decision-making irrational, which means that we tend to evaluate evidence in a manner that’s consistent with our prior beliefs and prejudices. Can we train people, or teach people to step back from their own irrational thinking and decision making and correct and/or change their faulty tendencies? Currently, there is research that is measuring what’s called a rationality quotient called R. Q. This research has demonstrated that, yes it is possible to train people to decrease their irrationality in the decision-making process so there’s a greater propensity for reflective thought [the New York Times, September 18, 2016]. Added to this excitement is the finding that intelligence or IQ does not correlate well with RQ. In other words, there’s hope for all of us.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Economic inequality, Cognitive Dissonance, and RQ Part 1

A Yale economist wrote an article in the New York Times, August 28, 2016. The article was titled “Inequality Today, and Catastrophe Tomorrow.” It was pointed out that the extreme gaps In Income and wealth are only going to become worse. Causes included innovations such as robotics and artificial intelligence [driverless cars may result in driverless trucks]; environmental disasters that affect ability to live in certain areas; future wars; and populistic political changes that can affect ability to find work for the less privileged. Prof. Robert Shiller pointed out that presidential campaigns have not looked at long-term solutions only addressing those currently likely to be affected by low wages. He reported that 20 countries were studied over the last two centuries, looking to see how these countries dealt with the less fortunate. Primary findings suggested that taxing the rich was not a main solution to generate equality. Instead, taxes tended to rise primarily as a result of warfare. Economic research has concluded that most people do not vote based strictly on their narrow self-interests. Moreover, individuals do not consequently act to tax the rich even if they don’t possess property. In one study, of people in the United States, were asked” What marginal tax rate would you most like to see on family incomes of $375,000.” 30% was their median answer. Note, the federal marginal tax rate for that income group is 33%. In another study, New Yorkers and individuals from Moscow were asked “What inheritance tax rate for really wealthy people do you think we should have?” The findings were people from New York, said 37% while people from Moscow, said 39%. The article also pointed to a study of four devastating famines in four different parts of the world. Even though there was enough food to keep people alive, food was not shared adequately. It seemed that systems of privilege and entitlement permitted the hoarding of food by people of status and it was not uncommon to see dead bodies on the street. Does economic inequality have a moral component; is it simply economics or is it about political orientation? One definition of “moral” In the American College Dictionary, “Pertaining to or concerned with right conduct or the distinction between right or wrong.” Further, another question, is it the government’s responsibility to fix income inequality? By now it should be clear that voters don’t always vote in their best self-interests, and that there is plenty of division when it comes to so-called entitlements, regardless of religion, or moral concerns. For example, food stamps, or raising the minimum wage can be a no, no, yet paying farmers not to grow certain crops can be just fine, depending upon your political orientation. The belief that a corporation can be good or bad, or that a union can be good or bad is another example of a non-moral or religious belief.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hate and Prejudice Part 2

Since 9/11, we have a new group to discriminate against, and that being individuals of the Muslim faith. I will make two points regarding this problem. One can easily hold, in their head, negative or detesting attitudes or sentiments toward members of groups perceived different than them. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said “nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Ellis wrote about man as a thinking, perceiving, feeling and doing animal. And therefore believed our feelings are influenced by how we think and what we think. If we hold a negative attitude or sentiment about someone; that’s related to our perception, thinking and thought process. Can our thinking be influenced by rhetoric or teachings? Of course, we can be taught and learn irrational, prejudicial and hateful messages. A political campaign attempts to change attitudes or sentiments about their nominee and/or about their opposition. Neurologically, we are wired to perceive differences or danger within the first year of life {survival}. Babies respond” fearfully” in the Amygdala of their brain to differences, strangers etc. Psychologically, Erikson, in his psychosocial model, theorized about the first task of the infant, which is the ability to develop Basic Trust. If unsuccessful, then the groundwork for Basic Mistrust {fear} is developed. Erickson provides clinical insight about the ease of feeding, the depth of sleep and the relaxation of the infant’s bowels as being able to demonstrate the development of social trust or social mistrust. This dynamic is the ground work for future interpersonal relationships, the many subsequent meetings of significant people within the infant’s life space. Does the individual experience an inner comfort or discomfort when confronted with “different” people in various situations during one’s lifetime? These ideas suggest that a mistrustful or fearful individual are more vulnerable and more likely to develop prejudicial or hateful attitudes and sentiments. And if this is so, then these individuals tend to be more likely to be influenced by negative, hateful, despicable rhetoric. So if we teach hate and prejudice, we learn it and then, we are more likely to experience such in our communities, culture, and life space.