Monday, January 15, 2018

Morality Part 4

We are unable to see the truth as we employ defense mechanisms to justify our thinking. There seems to be no amount of rational convincing to convince us of the flaws of our identifications. We are ruled by the underlying unconscious emotional dynamics within our system of right and wrong. It’s our nature, and it gets in the way of rational truth. This means that symbolically, the one we identify with becomes our conscience. As a result, these entanglements become our guides to right, wrong, good and evil that clouds our thinking with irrational beliefs and poor judgment and behavior. Just try to attempt to convince someone who has a different religious, political or economic set of ideas to your way of thinking. Just think of all the despot leaders that have led their followers astray down paths or trails of death, destruction and despair. Our society has an incongruent and contradictory moral and ethical code that doesn’t apply equality to all. This fact makes it very unlikely that a consistent and regular balance of rights, wrongs actually exist because of the quirks and variabilities among us. The result is the difficulty in developing a sense of trust .It may be simply easier to develop a sense of distrust. If so, this can lead to a hopelessly deprived and frustrated narcissist. If this occurs, then our degree of narcissism or self-centeredness interferes with how we treat or interact with others. This early development affects, unconsciously, the character types we seek out with our identifications. There are numerous barriers and contradictions with confounding rules and regulations developed within our political, economic, criminal justice and religious systems. It’s no wonder that our parental figures along with other identification models are compromised as well. Within a dysfunctional culture and society, man has difficulty determining right, wrong, and acting with integrity in acting on a moral code that’s based on altruism. Instead, we have too many individuals that have developed a greater sense of narcissism. With extensive narcissism, we become more self-centered and less concerned about the welfare of the other. As a result, we have established some of the necessary ingredients for an erosion of conscience, the morality of behavior and the inappropriate conduct of man.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Morality Part 3

In addition to parents, there are other people available for the child in which to identify as he watches TV, plays video games, witnesses movies and attends preschool and elementary school. Identification is defined as “generally, a phase of recognition, in remembering; a process by which an individual unconsciously or partially so believes, imagines himself behaving, as if he were the person with whom the tie exists.” The identification can also be with an idea, an economic system, a political figure or political point of view, a religion, a celebrity, socioeconomic status, country, football team, or book. There are a plethora of identifications that are made in forming one’s view of right, wrong, might, and weakness in the development of conscience based on what is said and done. Religion, with the 10 Commandments, has provided us with a terrific set of rules, morals, ideals and values in getting along with fellow man. However, because of the nature of man, not taking the Lord’s name in vain; honoring the father and the mother; thou shall not kill; and thou shall not commit adultery seems nearly to be impossible to follow. The statistics of killing, adultery, swearing and beating up elders highlight man’s nature. Our society’s moral and ethical behaviors are what in practice? For the male, there are plenty of sports figures in which to identify. As a kid, Gordy Howe was my favorite hockey player; Johnny Groth my favorite baseball player; Doak Walker favorite football player; FDR favorite political figure; Lone Ranger favorite radio figure; Maureen O’Hara favorite actress, and John R Tunis favorite author. Today, present day models include Marvel comic action figures; affects our James Bond [he even has a license to kill and had the power and charisma to sleep with beautiful women], Wolverine, Jason Borne, Jack Reacher, and a whole host of violent videogame characters. Because of the unconscious dynamic of the identification process, these individuals and ideas can do no wrong, speak no evil, and do no evil, irrespective of their behavior toward fellow man. It’s as if we have a filter that screens out in plain sight negatives, inconsistencies, flaws and their disrespect of authority and societies rules. It bad that because of our underlying emotional psychology dynamics [helplessness, insecurities, frustrations, fear of loss of love, rivalries], we tend to seek out these powerful larger-than-life figures. It’s like they are the Pied Piper and we follow in their footsteps blindly with our inability to use rational or critical thinking. OJ might be another example. He was loved, admired, respected with his power, charisma, celebrity success and was married to an attractive white woman. Yes, he fell from grace from not all, but many. So it happens that our identification heroes can fall really hard from grace. To Be Continued

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Morality Part 2

Next ,we have a whole host of caretakers, including father, siblings, day care, preschool, teachers and others interacting throughout the developmental stages of the infant. Without a doubt, the only consistency that exists is the inconsistency between the adults in their manner of nurturing, protecting, taking care in meeting the needs of the growing infant. Once again, all of us, have our own unique psychologically-based techniques and our idiosyncratic idea of being a caretaker. The perception of the infant is the key to its psychological emotional growth with the ability to trust or have confidence that its needs are going to be met. How much or what degree of frustration tolerance [how long is it going to take before my needs are met or resolved] is necessary for survival? Just because I cry, how long is it going to take before relief comes? Remember, frustration leads to anger. Within its psychological development, the young child now begins to initially identify with the mother and then the father figure. This means an incorporation of words, behavior, values, rules, and restrictions, standards that are exhibited or demonstrated by the caretakers. The child begins to learn when these parental figures reinforce “good” as well as “bad” behavior. What a parent likes, is often exhibited as in a smile or some verbal expression. By the same token, what a parent dislikes can be exhibited in a gentle, or not so gentle behavior. Is the motto or belief of the caretaker “Spare the Rod and spoil the child; children are to be seen not heard; do what I say, not what I do?” In any event, the child can be disciplined by a lengthy explanation while their arm is being pinched. To be sure, mixed messages and variability for identical or similar acts can be expected. Once again, there’s often inconsistency, as well as unpredictability in parental responses to good or bad behavior. Good or bad behavior is initially defined by some idea in the mind of the caretaker. These ideas very significantly, especially between males and females. Regardless, the identification occurs. Furthermore, with praise, the child experiences positive feelings. However, with parental disapproval, loss of love or some other form of punishment, the development of guilt is established. Ideally, child’s behavior is to seek out pleasure or approval from the identified and avoid bad behavior that leads to feelings of guilt. Bad behavior generally pertains to poor or inappropriate actions toward another. In other words, conscience is an internalized standard and if there is disagreeable thinking or behavior, guilt can be triggered to guide appropriate behavior. To Be Continued

Friday, January 12, 2018

Morality

In A Dictionary of Psychology, conscience was defined as: “ an individual’s system of accepted moral principles, or principles of conduct, or alternately, and usually, the functioning of such system with reference to enact, contemplated or performed, which threatens violation of the principles, involving emotional as well as intellectual function.” It is my position that there has been a significant clear-cut weakening or erosion of conscience in our country. As a result, the statistics regarding opioid dependence, frequency and length of wars, increase of suicides, especially military veterans or personnel, the high number of divorces etc., are associated with this erosion. These facts also suggest a significant confusion and contradiction of many of our long-standing ideals and beliefs. With the definition of conscience, we can now focus, with a brief simplified view of, some factors that contribute to the problems associated with the development of conscience. It is generally accepted that the development of conscience begins very early .This dynamic actually begins with the interpersonal or mutual relationship between the infant and his caretaker or caretakers. That caretaker is normally the mother but can be any other object, such as a babysitter, home health caretaker etc. The helpless and dependent infant begins life with its physiological or biological needs [food, water, changing of diaper, and cold, warm, or other discomforts requiring to be met by that significant other. However, there is no one Bible, manual, cookbook, or app of instructions for a guide. The infant cries which is one indication of an unmet need. Crying can vary in pitch, loudness, and duration. That obviously is one way in which the infant initially communicates. Simply, the task of the caretaker is to meet and resolve that unresolved need. The caretaker may or may not know the reason for the crying of the baby. The caretaker cannot be expected to be able to understand all crying responses or know when to appropriately intervene. More than likely, there’s irregularity as to the time of the response, as well as the manner of response. The caretaker has emotional needs and schedules as well. This means that sometimes the caretaker allows the child to cry it out; sometimes the caretaker may respond with irritability; and sometimes the caretaker gives the perfect timely warm and nurturing response that resolves the difficulty. None of us can remember the exact ratio of positive to negative responses that we received from our parents during that phase of development. However, one thing is clear in that the caretaker’s response significantly affects the emotional development of the infant. Can the infant trust a regularity with the right response? Or, does an Irregularity of response confuse, irritate or frustrate the baby? If so, trusting that the caretaker is going to be there appropriately affects the development to the degree of love and anger that develops towards the caretaker or caretakers. The question “do you love me” comes to mind throughout one’s lifetime development. To Be Continued

Friday, January 5, 2018

Being Old?

The title “Are You Old? Infirm?, Then Kindly Disappear” found in the December 17, 2017 edition of The New York Times featured the life of an 82-year-old female with post-polio syndrome, which forced her to use a wheelchair. A few years ago she went shopping for a mattress at a mall. She claimed her legs were so weak that she had to use a wheelchair. In fact, a friend had to push her around that day. According to her, the wait for service was unusually long and she became invisible. She turned radioactive in that people looked over her, around her, and through her. People also withdrew from her and she thought maybe it was because they thought she wanted something from them. This woman also called doctor offices the worst because the receptionist, seemed to address her as if she wasn’t there; thinking she didn’t have an appointment; didn’t have a medical card; and didn’t have a brain. Frank Bruni, the writer, wondered if this treatment toward an older woman being in a wheelchair and so forth was widespread and he noted how cruel it was. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 2 million Americans use wheelchairs for daily activities and 8.5 million depend on canes, crutches or walkers. With a population aging, we have roughly 50 million Americans age 65 and older that represent about 15% of our population. I don’t know if this woman’s experience and perception applies to other older females in a wheelchair. At this point in time, I have very little or no contact with individuals in wheelchairs. I do, however, encounter people on the trail that have devices held in their hands to stabilize their walking. In fact, today, there were two women with dogs that carried these devices. I did not have any trouble chatting with them. As a rule, I don’t like to be around “Old” individuals. An old individual is one that continuously talks about their disease and/or their illnesses. They also refer to events that they did in their past. Sometimes they also comment about what they have to do. A number years ago, I had a conversation with my mother about moving from her apartment into a retirement facility. She said she didn’t want to be around old people. Mother lived to the young age of 93. Taking my mother’s advice, 99% of my friends are younger than I am. If someone that I encounter wants to dwell talk about their illness, etc. I excuse myself and leave. The conversation regarding illnesses can be a real downer and simply depressing. On New Year’s Day, for approximately the eighth year in a row, my friend Tony, 12 years younger; and another friend Chris 18 years younger than me, ran the Resolution 10 mile trail run. I’m aware of my performances over the years, as that is important to me. I wrote a recent post about grinning, while running, to improve oxygen flow. During runs, we periodically laugh, joke and tease each other. The grinning is good because it also relaxes facial muscles, which is normally were we hold our tension. In fact, during this New Year’s run, I took part in a selfie with three very young women. After the run, we hooked up again, congratulated and laughed with each other. Like I’ve said before, “keep moving” as you’ll have more enjoyment.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Smile

Grinner’s Circle was the title of an article in the December 10, 2017 The New York Times. The article mentioned that Eliud Kipchoge periodically smiled during the final miles of his fastest ever two hours 25 seconds marathon. Researchers from Ulster University and Swansea University ran an experiment related to running economy, which is a measure of how much oxygen is used to stride at a given speed. 24 men and women volunteers were studied. They had to wear a facial mask that measured their respiration while they ran on a treadmill till they were exhausted. They then rated how they felt and described strategies they used to keep going, ignoring their bodies, discomfort. In a subsequent lab visit, each volunteer completed a series of four 6 minute runs during which they were assigned. 4 different approaches 1.smile continuously, but sincerely 2. Relax r upper body 3. Frown 4. Use their normal mental techniques. Findings: as a group, the runner’s economy was as much as 2.78% more efficient smiling than during the other trials. A disclaimer per the following commentary. I did not read the original study. Therefore, my critique may be suspect. 2016 Olympic marathon winner Kipchoge’s strategies, training, genetics, etc. would paint a more complete picture of perhaps the greatest marathoner in the modern area. Smiling for him, might be related to the fact that he was running the fastest marathon ever and he knew it. The variables, 24 volunteers was not a random sample, which limits the generalizations; running six minutes on a treadmill limits the findings to running six minutes on a treadmill; and the 2.78% differences may or may not have statistical significance compared to chance. As running performance varies day-to-day, the initial baseline measure of running on a treadmill to exhaustion may or may not be an accurate baseline measure. Further, running track or on the trail is significantly different than running on a treadmill. We can’t conclude that the six minute treadmill measure of running economy or efficiency equates to running any distance longer or shorter in time than 6 minutes. Performing running and smiling sincerely is artificial and difficult to achieve. For instance, when running on the trail, one has to be aware of tree roots, fallen trees, rocks and other hazards. These hazards tend to interfere with smiling. Setting up a field study is difficult, but would more likely lead to more sound conclusions. However, grinning during your runs certainly can’t hurt you. It may even work as a placebo. There’s nothing wrong with employing a placebo if it improves your running. God knows that we have many thoughts going through our mind when running at marathon or ultramarathon distances. Telling yourself to smile, if nothing else, makes you look like you’re enjoying yourself. Smile and keep moving!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Man's Inhumanity Part 2

Psychological understanding can explain, in part, why there is much variation in how man treats man. One explanation suggests that although man’s powerful sexual drive or impulses varies in degree from man-to-man, that it can be limited with a mature rational process within moral constraints. Briefly put, when dominant sexual and aggressive impulses are accompanied with a weak ego and/or poor impulse control {imbalance of executive functions within the cerebral cortex] structure, man’s immature thinking is further weakened with its defense mechanisms [repression, reaction formation, projection denial, etc.]. The result is the individual was not adequate in dealing effectively [inhibiting the behavior] within an exploitive and abusive situation. As an example, is when the perception of the perpetrator is totally false? Employing defenses of repression, denial and projection, the individual distorts the reality by acting as if the other was also sexually attracted [she likes me, she’s giving me positive signals] and very much wanted to engage [ her no really means yes, it’s part of the game she’s playing] in sexual behavior, even though it’s totally not the case. Add spiking hormones, previous and current history of reinforcement or consequences for inappropriate physical and sexual abusive behavior, seduction, temptation-flirtation exchanges, money in employment settlements, influence of alcohol, drugs, exploitation trappings, unresolved mental and physical health issues to the equation, and we are faced over and over again with one individual or individuals dominating and subjecting the other [persecutor- victim or sadomasochism dynamics] to its whims. It’s not very likely that man’s treatment of man is going to change, despite the teachings of religion, education or the rule of law. Paraphrasing Einstein “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is crazy.” Our culture emphasizes and idolizes beauty and power. And with beauty, the beast arises. Happy Holidays