Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: August 2014
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, August 31, 2014

Depression and your Brain

You are only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
– Robin Williams

A research study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, the National Institutes of Health, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in Northern California took a look at depression and the aging brain. This article was found in the May 8, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal. This study was attempting to take a look at depression and determine whether it might cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease or was it simply an early sign of memory loss and other problems associated with dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia; the second leading cause is impaired blood supply to the brain, resulting in what is known as vascular dementia. According to the investigators, depression, late in life can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. The researcher added that there is a lot of debate as to whether depression is really a risk factor for dementia or if it just shows up. In this particular study, 13,535, 40 to 55-year-olds long-term Kaiser Permanente members were followed from 1964 to 1973. Their findings in this study suggested that there is evidence that late life depression is likely an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease and further chronic depression appears to raise or increase the risk of developing vascular dementia. They believe that an adequate treatment for depression in middle life could cut the risk of developing dementia.
Of course there are other factors that elevate the dementia risk and they include: 1. People with more belly fat in middle-age had higher rates of dementia when they reached old age 2. People who smoked in middle-age had an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later on, 3. People with high cholesterol in middle-age had an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in old age.
First, from my experience, depression can be treated effectively with or without psychotropic medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one such method that helps an individual examine how one’s thinking might contribute significantly to a depressive mood. It is clear that many individuals get into trouble by some of the irrational notions they hold, as well as a defense mechanisms that they employ. Therapy can counter irrational notions as well as defense mechanisms. A few of the symptoms of depression include: 1. Poor appetite, or significant weight loss or increased appetite or significant weight gain. 2. Insomnia or hypersomnia. 3. Loss of interest in usual activities or decrease in sexual drive. 4. Loss of energy and fatigue. 5. Diminished ability to think or concentrate as well as indecisiveness.
Second, aside from psychotherapy, exercise as well as eating properly, can contribute to combating a depressed mood. For me, I waited or got serious with exercise at age 57. Almost 20 years later, I am pleased with my life. I cannot give all the credit to exercise. However, there are many advantages for exercise. Currently, I continue to run and work out daily (range from 1 ½ to 3 ½ hours). So I practice what I preach, and I walk the walk.

 And, I recommend to keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating for a more fulfilling life. By the way, my new book, “Bo’s Warriors” published by Triumph Books can be pre-ordered at Barnes & Noble. This book profiles Michigan football, with Bo Schembechler as the Wolverines head coach. Check out my other blog “ Bo’s Warriors” regarding Michigan football.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Obesity and Autism

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
– George Orwell

I recently read an article that linked autism to obesity in mothers in the Wall Street Journal, dated April 9, 2012. Researchers in this one particular study concluded that mothers that were obese are significantly more likely to have a child, either with autism or another developmental abnormality. They also  pointed out that  half the risk of autism, which is a condition characterized by poor social skills and repetitive behaviors, is genetic; while the rest stems from factors that include: older parental age, premature birth-birth complications, fewer than 12 months between children or failure to take prenatal vitamins. Obviously, the link between obesity and development disorders is worrisome because obesity has become so prevalent in the United States. Statistically, about a third of United States women, of reproductive age are considered obese.
Another researcher pointed out that the brain is quintessentially susceptible to everything that happens inside the mother’s body and that no one factor is going to be responsible for one particular case. In other words, there are a number of contributing factors. And of course doctors, right away think of meds like insulin for help or as a solution in potentially combating this disease.
Let’s step back for a moment and think about this information. Do you think that simply communicating this finding to an obese female is going to cause her think about getting pregnant or not getting pregnant, dietary? I don’t believe that information alone is the answer. I believe there a number of other considerations.
For one, obesity is often related to making poor nutritional and eating choices. And these decisions around eating began years ago. We know that every choice or every decision has consequences to some degree. It is very likely that poor choices were made without thinking realistically about all the potential or negative consequences. So, perhaps we have a history of making poor choices and not considering the consequences as one particularly important component. And likely, when an obese female of child bearing years receives this information she will likely have passed the point of no return regarding dietary choices.
This means that we also have to take into account the mothers own parenting history and her psychological development during her important growth years. Simply put, her personality and/or character develops as a result of the mothering that she received. And, during her early years, likely developed a character structure that can be considered an orally receptive personality type. With an orally receptive personality type, it’s going to be very difficult to confront and change her behavior and attitude regarding eating.
In essence, I’m saying that character development, rational decision-making with its consequences has already taken place by the time that some receive this negative (autism-obesity relationship) information. And if that’s the case, we can’t expect much change to take place during a child rearing years for obese females. Psychologically, any such program to confront this obesity problem must begin  very early in the developmental cycle. Without an early-successful intervention, I doubt that meds are going to solve this medical-psychological  by itself.

Because of the unity of the mind and body, I suggest moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating as good starters.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Narcissism and the Middle East

Last week I posted comments regarding the Middle East. For this post, I am going to discuss narcissism and its implication for peace or lack of peace between men. Hopefully this additional information will provide more insight and help to more fully explain the psychological-social issues that exist today. In doing so, I refer and rely on Sigmund Freud’s concept of narcissism. First, the term relates to the famous Greek legend in which the beautiful lad Narcissus rejected the love of the nymph Echo. In doing so, Nemesis (goddess of revenge) was angered because Echo died of a broken heart. So Nemesis’s punishment was to have Narcissus fall in love with his own image, by looking into the water of this lake. Because of Narcissus self-admiration, he stared, at his reflection, for a while into the lake, and as a result fell into the lake and thus died.

Freud believed that the development of narcissism begins in early infancy (being unable to differentiate self from others) and continues its development throughout one’s life. And under optimal conditions, the individual is able to have productive relationships and love with others. This can be referred to as benign narcissism. Or, under extreme conditions a malignant orientation is developed and the person develops too much “I” and not enough “we” or “us” and has impaired interpersonal relationships. Freud postulated that we all retain our narcissism throughout life and it’s also important and necessary for our survival. With a positive development of narcissism, we are able to love others, work and live productively to further mankind. In other words, if we are too preoccupied with self (degree of narcissism too strong) this can limit and affect our interest, involvement and behavior in the outside world- other people. Scarcities or impaired relationships, disrespecting other cultures or others different from ourselves, economic discrepancies or injustices (lack of opportunity) having feelings of inadequacy and unreality are part of the profile of a narcissistic orientation. With unhealthy narcissism, the narcissist can be sensitive to criticism and his self-image can be attached and related to things, people, or ideas that society has determined as deviant.

The development of unhealthy narcissism can affect capacity for objective thought, prudent reasoning, ability to love, as well as engaging in socially acceptable behaviors. However, with insecurities, feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, and powerlessness along with other a distorted narcissistic view of self, a narcissist seeks unconsciously external mechanisms for strategies to become more secure in a frightful and dangerous world.

Many unhealthy narcissist’s unconsciously look for a powerful leader, cause or group in order to fuse, identify, or become part of in order to acquire the strength and safety that one is lacking. So with insecurities and low self-esteem there is an unconscious attempt to be compensated by something or someone outside of oneself. When a striving for submission or submissiveness occurs, this often results in the development of the individual entering into and either being a masochistic (victim) or exhibiting sadistic (persecutor) behavior patterns. And of course, a masochistic dependency can be rationalized, as looking for love and or being loyal. Or, the rationalization of being a sadist, is based on the belief that” I know what’s best for you.”

So in the Middle East, for example, a terrorist group becomes a focus for participation in order to protect oneself from being alone in the frightful world. And, individual narcissism becomes or is transformed into group narcissism. Participation in group narcissism can result in becoming part of a clan, nation, race, or religion. So membership in the group can be rationalized as being better, more just, more pious, more religious, and more pure, etc. than the other group. The other group could be (Christians, Jews, infidels or any others) and are perceived as being inferior, dangerous, dishonest, irresponsible, immoral, etc. and thus hate, killing and destruction is therefore justified. In other words, the fanatical religious group can speak or justify its behavior in the name of God, but unfortunately it sounds like that God is the God of evil or hate
In becoming part of the group, the member believes in their righteousness, their superiority of religion and their outlandish tactics. It’s necessary for them to have some form of achievement, such as sending rockets toward civilians, beheading, or even capturing an Israeli soldier. In other words, the survival of their group depends on some achievement along with their belief that the groups mandate is of greater importance than their even their own lives. So it’s not surprising that we see and read about suicide bombings.

It’s not unusual for the fanatical to have a distorted sense of reality along with a narcissistic impaired self-inflation coupled with the lack of objectivity and rational judgment. We could say there is a thinking disorder, employing defenses of denial, rationalization interjection, etc. With a narcissistic injury (like a defeat), it’s not uncommon to see this group disrespect a flag, place of worship or religious documents of the other.

Clearly, “love thy neighbor as thyself;” “or love of thine enemy” is missing, and not part of the psychology or moral teaching equation at present. With the rise of individual and group narcissism, social media, radio and TV biases, economic inequalities, moral deficiencies, values and attitudes, these components interfere with the development of man becoming a more complete “human” being. Remember we all inhabit one planet.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tevis Cup 2014

Yesterday, Linda and I drove up to Robinson Flat to greet the 2014 Tevis Cup riders. Robinson Flat is roughly the first 36 miles of this one-day hundred mile equestrian event. There, we were happy to see my former mare Gypsy, whose mount was Jim Mather. For more on Jim, I refer you to our TV interview with him:  . All in all were also happy to see Yam and Ilan Dvir ranchers from Israel. They were riding mounts provided by Michel Bloch. For more about Mr. Bloch, I refer you to his TV interview:
 Among the front runners were Tom Johnson (see his TV interview ).
 A little further back were Robert and Melissa Ribley and Kathie Perry.   There TV interviews are as follows: Kathie Perry  ;  Dr. Melissa Ribley,
When it was all said and done, competitive, Tom Johnson came in third place minutes behind the winner Heather Bergantz Reynolds. And for the first time in the illustrious history of the Tevis, two buckles were awarded to the two Israelis.
Congratulations go to all 107 finishers of the 186 starters. This is an historic event and more information is provided in my book “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.”

All in all, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, appreciating and loving as it’s all good for you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Middle East Tragedy -Part2

Part two
 It is not surprising that there are many Palestinians who are victims. Also, it’s no surprise that Hamas has many willing supporters and doesn’t need to advertise for recruitment. Scarcity, economic and educational limitations, poverty and negative self-feelings provides a fertile breeding ground for developing a sense of hopelessness, hate, envy, aggression, death and destruction. Providing weapons and rockets with the illusion of open borders or killing infidels will not solve the problem psychologically. It will take more than a democracy or a free state to free the Palestinians from their emotional shackles.
Taking a look at the sadistic orientation of these individuals, we find at one extreme of the continuum members who join and become part of a terrorist group. These terrorists are also individuals that have what appears to have a want or a love of death and destruction. They seem to worship force and express a drive or wish to kill. We can call them necrophilia’s. We might even say their motto is something like “long-live death.” They are very different from the majority-those individuals who want to preserve life; who have a drive to survive, grow and become creative and productive. In other words, the majority want to build not to destroy or demolish.
Remember Freud talked about two instinctual drives in man-Eros (life living instinct) and Thanatos (death instinct). However, it’s safe to say that growing up with  scarcities in a social-economic environment along with interpreting religious teachings in a sadistic way, being around much death, illness and injury, with fright, and anxiety as usual occurrences also plays a significant part in the development of the personality and character types that thrive on death.
It seems that these terrorists have a drive or orientation towards necrophilia, which seems to dominate their personality and seems to be stronger than loving and embracing life. It seems that these individuals appear to be attracted and fascinated by all that is dead like corpses and decay. Not only that their thinking and talk centers on destruction, killing, building bombs, obsessively plotting and planning. For these, they seem to love force and power and have a great capacity to kill-it seems to be their way of life. They clearly despise those that lack power and pray on innocents, unsuspecting children, women and older adults. They shamefully cover their faces, they hide among others, they live underground, and they even shoot their weapons in the air as some symbolic demonstration at funerals as to say “look at me, aren’t I strong and powerful, look what I can do.”
These necrophilia’s would rather lose their life like in a suicide bombing and are willing to kill or die for what they rationalize as injustice, revenge, religious meaning and economic gain. In fact, killing others is made easier because they don’t actually perceive and kill people as people. Instead, they think of their victims as actually innate objects or things. There also without conscience, and unable to concern themselves about others.

Thank goodness necrophilia orientation doesn’t dominate mankind. That does not mean you ignore this kind. As we know, there is much misery in the world and with misery, we tend to find these dynamics. No one ever said it’s easy, since we have a lot of work to do to make things better for all.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Middle East Tragedy

The Palestinian people for quite some time have been a part of a socio- economic system that has been based on an agrarian as opposed to a highly mechanized industrialized society. Within their socio-economic system, there has been limited opportunities for personal advancement, abundance or psychological well-being. Educationally, there has been major issues in (what is being taught) and other significant deficiencies (limitations or limited levels of progressive ideas as well). I believe there exists roughly 50% of their working age youth that are unemployed, this coupled with a high birth rate results in massive poverty. The infrastructure is lacking, there is ineffective governing, along with a shortage of humanitarian agencies and programs. In other words, there is a major abundance of scarcities. And there’s a lot of human energy spent directed towards meeting basic needs (food and shelter) or exploiting others. There is an enormous population located in a small geographic area, which leads to a dire situation at best. Even having a larger geographic area-like a Palestinian state alone won’t solve the socioeconomic deficiencies.
As a result of these and others negative, social and economic factors, it is not surprising that many Palestinians likely feel inferior, insignificant and/or powerless in their lives. All a Palestinian has to do is to watch a television program or visit across the border, and they find a very different society that’s based on an industrial economic system, apparent wealth, universities of higher learning, a well running health system, a democratic form of government with many resources and individual opportunities for advancement with positive human growth and well-being. Everyone else seems to be living the good life. Psychologically, and unconsciously, it is understandable why many Palestinians have feelings of being inferior, not significant or irrelevant and week and powerless.
When an individual has emotionally vulnerable feelings of being (powerless, a non-entity  and low self-esteem), this results and can lead the person unknowingly in the direction of fusing one’s self (identifying) with someone or some terrorist group more powerful outside of oneself in order to compensate and acquire a feeling of strength. This identification is a poor substitute and certainly doesn’t provide individuation, nor well-being. Instead, unfortunately, this identification can lead to a psychological striving for submission which often leads to developing a masochistic character orientation. Further, masochistic strivings generally lead to the development of psychological dependency within the individual .The person then employs internalization and develops a thinking process and style and tends to believe that he loves and is loyal to that significant other/group. The experiencing of feelings of inferiority and rationalizing leads to further irrational thinking. He believes that his state or position is entirely due to unchangeable, conditions or circumstances not under his control. As a consequence, he is unable to take responsibility for his position or welfare in his life. Or, experiencing these emotional vulnerabilities (feeling insignificant, powerless and inferior) could also lead a person in developing a sadistic orientation or character.
It is with the development of a sadistic character that the person is likely to engage and become an active and devoted member of a “terrorist” group. The motto of a terrorist group is to kill and/or maim and to be killed.  It’s easy for this personality style person to rationalize their own death, like in a suicide bombing. They rationalize they are giving their life for a higher cause. These terrorists groups appeal to those that feel powerlessness, not important and are simply one of many insignificant or irrelevant individuals.
 It is clear that within terrorist groups, the leadership psychologically and behaviorally has to have others dependent on them,   have absolute control and unrestricted power over others-the ones that appear weak and needy. For the sadistic personality, it’s not enough to rule, but one has to be able to exploit, to suffocate, to control, to take advantage of, to squeeze and even to steal from those others. This psychology of the sadistic character in essence makes others suffer and is predicated on the wish for domination, as well as for power. It’s not unlike these leaders to convey ideas to their flock such as “I am in charge of you because I know what’s best for you; I have done so much for you and am entitled to take from you.” The sadist simply loves the masochistic because he can dominate him. In fact, sadism and masochism seem to go together. For every masochist, you will find a sadist and for every sadist there’s a masochist.

To be continued

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hamas and the Palestinians

Some comments about the current Israeli-Hamas Palestinian conflict. In some ways, it appears that David (Hamas) is fighting Goliath (Israeli Defense Forces-IDF). It is well-known that Hamas stands for, and has a mission predicated on death (self or others), destruction, hate of Jews and infidels, along with advocating radical Islam. It seems that this gang does not have difficulty in taking money, arms or utilizing propaganda for their aims. And it doesn’t matter that the country they are attacking has a superior military. So, they wager an unorthodox or guerrilla warfare, to some extent. On the one hand, they fire advanced rockets and missiles and on the other hand they are like ants underground (wearing masks ),hide and come out of their holes (tunnels) looking for un-expecting prey. They do not have any difficulty attacking civilians nor do they follow the traditional or Geneva rules of warfare.
For this band of characters, their goals and aims are apparent based on their behavior. They do not seek peace, harmony, brotherhood or love toward others, but instead are motivated, by the dark side (aggressive and self-destructive) of human nature. Their thinking and their behavior seem consistent with the desire to kill or be killed regardless of the consequence or concern about others. It’s obvious that other peaceful (children, ill or elderly) Palestinians does not appear to concern them. The fact that a great number of casualties are mounting along with the massive destruction of infrastructure does not halt their military behavior, but instead motivates. It’s as if this Hamas group wants more death and destruction to come to themselves and/or other people, regardless.
Perhaps, Hamas justifies their behavior because of the victim portrayal by the Palestinians and they know they will receive huge sums of money and resources as a consequence. With more money and other resources they can continue in the future to pursue, act and rationalize their hateful ideology.
A word about the Palestinians-civilians in Gaza. On the one hand, these people are perceived as victims and innocent of the warfare. Yet, based on opinion polls and some form of election, Hamas was voted in, and these Palestinians support what Hamas is doing militarily. If you support by voting for and believe that your elected group is acting responsibly and in your interests, then there’s a question (are you really being a victim or are you employing irrational judgment?). By the way, according to  The American College Dictionary : military “of or pertaining to the Army, Armed Forces, affairs of war, or a state of war; having the characteristics of a soldier; solidarity.” Further, the definition of militarism, “military spirit or policy; the tendency to regard military efficiency as a supreme ideal of the state and to subordinate all other interests to those of the military.” And the definition of militarist “one skilled in the art of war.” As a contrast, civilian “one engaged in civil pursuits; one first in our studying the Roman or civil law.”
A civilian can be defined by behavior and belief. A supporter of Hamas doesn’t have to carry a gun on his shoulder or wear a uniform. If the Palestinians get word that an attack is coming; have a tunnel beneath their home; have rockets shooting toward Israel in their vicinity, and choose to stay in that location, then this suggests they are complicit in and are on the same page as Hamas, then they are not victims but accomplices. This is because  there are many in the Middle East, whose  personality and character development are  bent on following(submitting)  to so-called leaders that have a vicious ideology(some irrational political or religious interpretation) , even though this  results in a negative or harmful self-interest.

Belief and behavior are influenced by personality development within the social milieu. If one grows up hating others, then it is not surprising they turn to destructive, irrational and self-defeating behavior patterns. In our country and Israel for example, individuals have an opportunity to work, to love and to give or nurture others. Many Palestinians in Gaza have been on a self-defeating journey for quite some time. In order to change, much needs to happen. Taking personal responsibility for their lives might be possible if one can break through defenses of denial, rationalization and projection.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

2014 Tevis Cup

  "The power of imagination makes us infinite."
– John Muir

On October 9, 2014 will be the 59th Tevis Cup endurance race. This 100 mile international horse race takes place in the Sierra Nevada’s and is the granddaddy of endurance racing. This year, for the first time, Israel will be represented by two riders -a father and son. For some  Tevis Cup background , the  following was taken from Chapter 6 In “ It Has Nothing To Do With Age “  A short segment of that chapter reads as follows:
“The Tevis is a 100 mile one day endurance ride that begins at Robie Park near Truckee (north of Lake Tahoe) and ends at the fairgrounds in Auburn. The Tevis is rich in history and characters, and I’d like to share a bit of history about the ride in the man who started it. The following information is found in Bill G. Wilson’s book, “Challenging the Mountains: The Life and Times of Wendell T. Robie.”
In 1955, the Reno Gazette Journal in an article describing, “Some gentleman from Auburn are attempting a one day 100 mile ride out of Tahoe City.” Five riders; Nick Mansfield, William Patrick, Pat Sewell, Richard Highfield, and Wendell Robie said they could ride over 9000 feet of  summit, go through deep canyons, and follow a trail that no other horsemen had traveled on such a ride. This ride had a lot of unknowns. One major question was, could a horseback rider travel and cover 100 miles in a day?
Robie claims that organizing the event would bring new home and property orders to Auburn and give valuable publicity to the town (Robie was a businessman in Auburn-he was into lumber, real estate, and later started a bank). He quoted the Vermont organizers of a 100 mile Green Mountain trail ride, who claimed that people keep fit by riding horseback. He also quoted Winston Churchill’s famous phrase, “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.”
Robie was influenced by pioneer Bob Watson, who was the last constable of Tahoe City. One of Watson’s mission’s in life was to re-establish the original Emigrant Trail over the Sierra crest. Long lost to overgrowth and lack of use, the trail was used by Native Americans as part of their seasonal migratory route, as well as gold miners in the late 1840s and early 1850s that traverse this rugged trail in their search for instant riches. Later on in the 1850s, the trail was also used by those leaving California in search for silver in the Comstock Lode in Nevada. Watson’s quest to redefine the trail was a proud endeavor and he enlisted like-spirits in finding the trail, including Wendell Robie, and a group of Auburn man who belonged to the Native Sons of the Golden West. In one of their trail- marking journeys in 1935, they took along a movie camera and captured the adventures of their ride, including pack horses breaking loose and scattering their goods over mountain ridges. In addition to finding and marking the entire trail, when he was in his 70s, Bob Watson erected a shrine dedicated to all the pioneers who had traveled this trail. The edifice was later named Watson’s Monument; located at the top of Emigrant Pass, and topped with an American flag that all the runners and riders pass by during their events.”
Good luck to all the riders and their steeds.

For more about this illustrious event and other extraordinary events and the people that compete, I refer you to my book. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating because it’s good for you.