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.