Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: October 2016
It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Saturday, 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.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Hate and Prejudice Part 1

Statistics[ The New York Times, September 18, 2016} gathered from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino were that Hate Crimes against US Muslims are at its highest level since after 9/11. Explanations given include recent terrorist attacks in Europe and in the United States and the political vitriol from Donald Trump as causes. One can argue that there are certainly statistical correlations between these events, but correlations do not prove cause-and-effect. One hate attacker [former Marine in a drunken rampage fired a high-powered rifle, four times into the mosque next door of his Connecticut home] reportedly said “I hate Islam.” Another [she poured liquid on a Muslim woman after berating Islam] said,” I am going to vote for Mr. Trump, so he can send you all back where you came from.” These are just two examples that support the two explanations given for the increase in Hate Crimes. Webster’s dictionary defines hate as “to regard with a strong or passionate dislike; detest.” Synonym’s include loathe; despise; abhor; etc. Turning to A Dictionary of Psychology. “Hate is a sentiment or emotional attitude involving, according to Shand, the whole gamut of primary emotions, but with anger and often fear predominating.” There has been much research, beginning in the 1920s, in psychology, studying personal biases like prejudice. And A Dictionary of Psychology defines prejudice “an attitude, usually with an emotional colouring, hostile to, or in favor of actions or objects of a certain kind, certain persons, and certain doctrines.” Initially, the research on prejudice, looked at American and European race theories that attempted to prove White Superiority. Articles concluded that studies taken altogether seemed to indicate the mental superiority of the white race. The research perspectives changed in the 30s and 40s with progress in civil rights, challenges to colonialism and a growing concern about anti-Semitism .Those early theories were clearly debunked by subsequent research. Today, discrimination still exists in our country based on racial disparities in healthcare and higher death rates among minorities from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and HIV infection; Hispanics and blacks spend an average of over $3000 more than whites to locate and buy the same house and often receive harsher criminal sentences than whites for the same offense; women earn an average of $.76 for every male dollar and; the US Justice Department study found that handicap access provisions for disabled people were violated in 98% of the housing developments investigated.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Finding a Good Life

An article in the September 18, 2016 New York Times resulted in the following. The title was “Good Lives without Good Jobs.” This article was written from an economic point of view, an important view, but limited in scope. The author defined” a good job”- “solid wages, regular hours,,,,, and generous employer provided benefits.” Although a good life wasn’t defined clearly it was suggested that it pertained to access to basic goods and services in a modern society. This article pointed out that currently in the 21st century, many jobs and most employers no longer have a paternal attitude that provides good wages, good retirement packages, health insurance, etc. compared to the 20th century job market. In fact, a socialized government has taken over some of the responsibility formally held by the employers, by providing unemployment insurance, earned income tax credits, minimum wages, state-sponsored retirement systems, interest loan programs like student loans, tax credits, federal grants in aid, tax breaks for healthcare, retirement and housing, etc. An important question raised “Can the 21st century politicians restore or bring back something similar to the occupational –economic structure of the 20th century, when many Americans had good paying jobs and good benefits providing for their retirement phase?” I’m not going to answer that question. Instead, I’m going to widen the topic and include a missing psychological component to the current problem of lives and jobs. First of all, the notion of happiness is not necessarily correlated with one’s job or wages. We know it’s not correlated with making more than roughly $75,000 of income per year. I wrote about this in a post last week titled “Time or Money?” Happiness pertains to being inspired, having meaning, a rich emotional life, finding passion, and enjoying a great health span. Of course, a certain amount of wealth is necessary as well. Psychologically, Erikson postulated that one’s life is developmentally determined. This means that we go through different psychological stages based on chronological age. For instance, the newborn first deals with developing “basic trust”, the adolescent with developing” identity.” These stages do not pertain to lives and jobs. The stage in which employment, meaningful interpersonal relationships, perhaps starting a family, or as Erikson points out is the concern in establishing and guiding the next generation is called “Generativity.” This psycho-social stage also pertains to productivity and creativity. In other words, a good life or state of happiness is based on much more than a good job. In this sage there are concerns about developing educational and technical skills; interpersonal relationships, and beginning a family. These tasks take a massive amount of psychological energy. The individual may not know his best fit or career choice in the world of work, let alone a personal definition of personal happiness. Examples of job changes and divorce rate in this developmental stage support this fact. And according to Erikson, Freud, Marx and many others, ones happiness or psychological growth has been influenced by parental upbringing, socioeconomic class, educational attainment, and culture as well as government policies. Even if the government through its socialistic policies assist with wages, health insurance, and retirement, that will not necessarily translate into a good life. I’m not suggesting that the government stop or slow down the policies that have been put in place since the 1970s. But, when the politicians say they’re going to bring back good jobs that alone is not going to result in happiness. For me, the variables that resulted in happiness were educational attainment, athletic achievement, health status, writing books, circle of friends, meaningful marital relationship, passion, and finding meaning, while looking to the future. Yes, my profession provided me with an opportunity for status and wealth, but that did neither provide nor result alone in my happiness or well-being. Yes,

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Time or Money?

More Time or Money? Your Choice the title of an article in the September 11, 2016 edition of the New York Times got my attention. The article starts with “Given the choice between more time or more money, which would you pick?” Two professors, for a research project, put this question to more than 4000 Americans of different ages, income levels, occupations, and marital and parental status. Initially, they found that most people valued money more than time with 64% of 4415 people surveyed. Further, they asked those respondents to report their level of happiness and life satisfaction based on money or time. Their findings were that the people who chose time more on average, were statistically happier and more satisfied with life, than with people who chose money. They also asked these respondents to report their annual household income along with the number of hours they worked each week to measure really how much free time they had available. The researchers reported that even when money and leisure time were held constant, the respondents that chose time over money were still happier. They concluded that taking two people who were otherwise the same, the one who chose time over money would be happier than the one who chose money over time. This research supported a decision that I made in the late 90s regarding having more time for my interests versus continuing to make money? I chose time over money and moved to the Sierra foothills. I was then able to continue competing in Ride and Tie [an equestrian, and running event held in the mountains] and ultra-endurance running. I now had the time to pursue my passions and did. I completed numerous ultra-events such as the 100 mile, one day Tevis Cup endurance ride; the 100 mile one day Western states endurance run; and the 100 mile one day Swanton Pacific Ride and Tie. I also wrote two books -It Has Nothing to Do With Age and Bo’s Warriors published by Winter Goose and Triumph Books, respectively. The first book had to do with men and women 65 years of age and older who were still competing athletically in various ultra-physical events. Some were friends that I met while competing . In my second book, I interviewed mentally tough University of Michigan football players who transformed Michigan football, along with their legendary coach legend Bo Schembechler. In fact, my wife and I just returned from Ann Arbor where we attended tailgating with the players before the University of Michigan- Penn State game now coached by Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh. Without a doubt, I am happier now compared to when I was working as a practicing psychologist. Moreover, in my books and in my competitive running ultra-events, I continued to utilize various psychological principles. In my first book, I prescribed seven principles to lengthen one’s life and health span. Making money was not one of my seven principles. Such things as attitude, behavioral decisions, and finding your passion were paramount. In fact, a healthier lifestyle leads to happiness while money does not. Further, creating a state of happiness is much more than time or money. As far as time goes, it is what the individual does with available time. I agree that time is just one of the ingredients in the pursuit of happiness.

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Bo Schembechler Story Part 7

Thom Darden bonded with Reggie McKenzie and other African-Americans from his recruitment class. Others recruited were Mike Keller, Jim Brandstatter, Frank Gusich, Bruce Elliott, and Leon Hart Junior among others. At the beginning, the athletic and competitive Thom thought “I’m scared to death. How can I compete with these guys? I’m from a small community, not the big city.” Soon after arriving at that first practice, the players were in T-shirts, shorts and helmets. They started doing drills. Soon, Thom played on both sides of the ball as a wide receiver and in the defensive backfield. It became crystal clear to him that in the drills, he was able to keep up with all his teammates. Not only that, he could become a leader, his hands were good and he had solid football knowledge. His football fundamentals were good and he began to feel more at ease. Before long, he gained his self-confidence. Sometime later on, his freshman squad scrimmaged against the second team varsity. And they held their own. In fact, one time, Thom, as a defensive back, stuffed the running back at the line of scrimmage-and it was on that one play that Thom, began to believe, I belong.