Thursday, September 29, 2016
Coach Bo Schembechler told the discouraged Reggie McKenzie from Highland Park, Michigan, things like “I should kick your ass off the team and son of a bitch, you can do better.” Reggie was having difficulty cutting it because of the onslaught of verbal abuse from Bo. He was embarrassed. He just knew Schembechler didn’t like him. He started questioning his own football abilities. He was confused, unable to think clearly. He considered quitting the team. He talked to his mother and sister JoAnn about leaving the program. It was his big sister JoAnn that shot back, in no uncertain terms, “McKenzie men don’t quit.” An Invaluable insight occurred for Reggie. For some reason, the team were short of tail backs for their spring practice. As such, Preston Henry had to serve as tailback on every play for both the first and second team offenses during that fateful practice. Reggie remembered Henry being as tough as they come. He was not only street tough, but he was football tough, and mentally tough as well. Most of all, the players identified with Henry and felt very sorry for him. It was a grueling day for Henry, who ran upwards of 130 plays in that scrimmage. At the end of practice, coach Schembechler had everyone line up on the sideline to run wind sprints- even the workhouse Preston Henry. Preston Henry said “I’m not going to let him beat me.” With that, Reggie incorporated that attitude into his thinking as well.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Economically our capitalistic system has resulted in increased production and consumption compared to yesterday. We have seen the rise of large corporations and other oligarchies that set the standard for wages and slave labor, except for the CEO and other officers. In this system, man becomes a cog in the technological process. The workers are no longer at the center. He or she produces very little of the entire product. The implications of this are great. There are increased monetary differences, material poverty and inequality between the top 1% and the rest- 99%. The worker’s work or job becomes more and more repetitious. As a result of this unsatisfactory arrangement within the economic system, we see more examples of work disability, workmen’s comp, boredom, mind wandering, fantasy, illness and alienation. We experience more and more meaningless work as result of automation, and the technological revolution. In addition to alienation, anger, resentment and powerlessness, we see more and more escape mechanisms in play. Modern man is very skilled of the use of repression in order to escape reality, as he turns to fantasy. As a result, we see a tremendous rise in video games, record attendance figures at sporting events, great TV ratings for various programs, blockbuster movies, Internet use, and record number of books published and read. Escape is easy but we cannot escape boredom. The economists in the New York Times, September 4, 2016 state that over history, the poor have really gained more than the rich. They say the masses are eating better, they have better products and services, have increased wages, and have received many nonwage benefits. They make a point, but not the answer to being disadvantaged. Studies, the New York Times, August 28, 2016 suggest that educationally poor and disadvantaged are closing the gap with the privileged on a measure of school readiness. This is according to studies, since the late 90s. Statistically, this improvement appears to persist at least until the fourth grade. At the moment, this is good, and maybe it’ll become a trend. However, it doesn’t solve the educational gaps of inequality. We know that going to college, becoming one’s own boss, finding meaningful employment does not generally happen to those with a limited high school education. However, the above trends, paint a panel of many who are not doing so well, to put it mildly. Many individuals are left behind without much personal control over the lives and are easily alienated. Psychologically, individuals with these problems tend to look for solutions outside themselves. It’s not what you can do for yourself, but what others can do for you. Historically, at various times, individuals look for leaders, celebrities and idols to diminish the unconscious fear and anxiety that drive them. Unfortunately, various leaders that present themselves are filled with human flaws, such as greed, drive to exploit, narcissism, with the need for material gain, power and enhancement of personal prestige. These authoritarian, bigoted, and myopic have time in timeout been great disappointments and have simply made matters worse. A political solution does not solve economic inequities, impaired social relations, educational gaps, psychogenic illness such as high blood pressure, ulcers, insomnia, nervous tension, fatigue, and obesity nor flawed psychological character development. Modern man still searches for happiness, well-being, and a sense of meaning. Politics is not the answer for the human condition, but it can contribute to the problem of existence.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
In our society, we find our current affairs troubling. For example, politically, we are divided and have very minor input into that process as well. Voting every couple of years for known named or little known individuals does not enable us to have much control, influence or confidence in the process. Does our vote really count considering that we don’t create the individuals on the ballot? An individual having an R or D beside their name tends to influence our vote. Other than that, we know very little about the politician’s character, moral development, political philosophy or stands on many issues, nor who that individual is beholden to. And now with the various big-money and corporations contributing heavily creates more distance, separation and lack of hands-on involvement between them and us in the political process. Further, political figures and others have used derogatory language in an attempt to invalidate the presidential office; create an impression of voting irregularities; cast doubt on freedom of the press; and to disrespect the government. Stretching the truth, lying and other falsifications have become the norm. Truth no longer seems to matter. A question posed to one political participant in the media quickly invokes a non-response to the question, but a reply about their opponent’s flaws. That dynamic goes on and on. Socially, the trend of racism continues. Prejudice is expressed both explicitly and implicitly. Sometimes racism and or stereotypes are denied despite a dictionary definition of racism. The individual accused of racism and or bigotry distorts reality and gives excuses or explanations that he or she is not always racist, so therefore is not racist at all. Interpersonal relations and intimacy in relationships are changing for the worse. There is more social media vitriol and nastiness expressed rampantly by known and anonymous individuals. Social media is about the anonymous .The divorce rate continues to climb along with the decrease in marital unions. Murder, suicide, belonging to Cults, hate groups, terrorist groups and martyrdom also seems to be on the rise. Organized religion, and the commandment” love thy neighbor” seems to be negated by many, even though they likely deny the harsh reality of brotherhood. Regarding mental health, the disorders on the rise range from depression to suicide; anxiety; narcissism; personality disorders; ADHD and PTSD to name a few. Even with more available psychotherapy, an increase in psychotropic medication, the mental health in this country is not getting better. Also suffering, is the superego or moral development. Lying seems to be more prevalent with less guilt. Nor is physical health flourishing or prospering. We have obesity on the rise, diabetes, cancer, cardiology, respiratory and other health problems that affect longevity despite, as were told, the best health system of the world.
Friday, September 16, 2016
Jim Brandstatter was from East Lansing, Michigan. It wasn’t until his junior year, that Jim realized he was actually making a significant contribution. Up to that point, he worked very hard but still had doubts about his ability. The Wolverines were playing the University of Arizona and Michigan’s starting tackle Jack Harpring was injured so, Jim took the field. The game was close, and the outcome still in doubt. In the huddle, a screen pass was called. For Jim, this meant that he had to perform and pretend to block the defensive man in front of him. Quickly, he then had to get out in front of running back Billy Taylor, the pass target. The Wildcat cornerback came up to make the play, to tackle Taylor, but Jim was in a good position and knocked that Wildcat player to the side and out-of-the-way. Taylor scored, the crowd roared and Michigan won the game. Then, Jim confessed that he realized, perhaps for the first time, that he could get the job done with the game on the line. He could play at this level. And the coaches had confidence and trust in him. He could make a significant contribution, and he belonged on this team. This play certainly built his confidence. He now knew that he can do this. As a freshman from Aurora, Ohio, Tom Curtis, doubted his ability to play quarterback at this level. The other quarterbacks on the practice field were Healy, Vidmer, and Dennis Brown among others. This 18-year-old wondered, am I good enough? Then, the three recruited quarterbacks started throwing the ball around. Tom began to evaluate them. In comparison, his self-appraisal changed from, am I good enough to I can throw, just as well as them. As a sophomore, playing on the defensive side of the ball, the night before the first season game, Curtis’ position coach told him that he was going to be the starting left safety. At first, the insecure, Tom was bothered by the good news/bad news that he was starting at left safety. Without having practiced that position, how could he be successful? He believed that he needed practice learning the nuances of a specific position in order to play well. He didn’t dare confess or tell his position coach, but kept his insecurity to himself. Despite not practicing at left safety, Tom intercepted a pass in his first outing. That performance earned him a starting position at left safety for the following game.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Back to Bo Schembechler. Bo’s first love was playing baseball. Being a left-handed pitcher, Bo was summoned to the mound in an important state semifinal baseball game as a senior in high school. The opposing team in the last and final inning had the bases-loaded with none out in a scoreless game. Would Bo put out the fire? The battle was between him and the batter at the plate. The better won by looping a single past the first baseman and down the right-field line in fair territory. All three of the runners Bo inherited, scored, making the score 3-0 dashing Bo’s chance to be the hero. He was the goat. Bo also played high school football and that turned out to be some ways, a significant failure also. In this particular important hard-fought game, Bo’s team lost, 7-0. After the game, Bo was found in the locker room, crying. He later said that football is an emotional game and that crying is okay regarding winning and losing. However, it’s not okay to cry if one is injured. Bo wanted to play football for Notre Dame. His disappointment surfaced when he was not recruited by the fighting Irish. Mike Keller was a big fish in a little pond, in Grand Rapids, Michigan and then he became a little fish in a big pond. It wasn’t until recruiting letters came in that his thinking changed to “maybe I can play football “even though he thought that basketball was his best sport. He committed to the University of Michigan, in large part, because he perceived himself as a student first and a football player second. He knew Michigan had a good academic reputation, and believed he would receive a solid education. That degree would place him in a good position for the rest of his life. He would be close to home, might even attend law school, and become an attorney. And on top of that, there was also a possibility of going to the Rose Bowl as a student or player.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
It’s obvious that each new presidential election lasts longer and becomes more expensive to run. This means, in part, greater importance as each party attempts to sell their product to the consumer. It used to be the job of Madison Avenue, but now with television in and in the forefront, it’s becomes the sophistication and expertise of Hollywood talents to sell and to persuade. Don’t forget the important role of radio, newspapers, and now social media in our democratic political process. The GOP more dominant on the local level has brilliantly chosen a television personality as its leader. Name recognition, the personification of wealth, power, and strength fit here. This candidate as compared to his opponent has spent little so far. His name and things that he has said have dominated the news cycle at every level. Not only that, the media gives us so-called experts that explain his policies, what he thinks, what he believes and his motivations. It’s only their paid and prejudiced opinion and nothing more .The candidates don’t even have to show up because the media easily finds people to talk about them in both positive and negative ways. So let’s take the voter. The percentage of eligible voters that vote in a local or national election is disappointing but understandable. Locally, we may get a glossy mailer that provides little information about the candidate. We can no longer tell by the endorsement whether the person supposedly leans left or leans right. However, sometimes the party or some other insignificant word influences our vote. Does this person represent our opinion, our values, our beliefs and/or wishes? Who knows! By the time we get to vote for the governor, more information is provided about the candidate. But once again, does the person we are voting for really represent us on a personal level? In our democracy, this representative is supposed to represent us, but in reality, are we really rational and knowledgeable about the politics and policies of the day? In voting for the president, we’re likely more in the dark and uneducated about global economics, foreign-policy, immigration, domestic policy, etc. even though we get bits and pieces about each. Policies that may turn out good for California, may turn out bad for Mississippi and so forth. In essence, it’s easy to understand why a voter is alienated and may not turn out to vote because does that vote really matter? For sure, it matters to someone or to some Party. For those that do vote, it seems that they don’t always vote for their best interests. Generally, voters don’t expend massive amounts of energy in the analysis of subjects and issues with their limited expertise or knowledge. The issues may be too complicated to begin with, and the voter lacking the volition to put in the necessary energy. Then we have a psychological dynamic, called cognitive dissonance. Essentially, we tend to be more receptive to the things we believe and less receptive to things we don’t. We likely don’t spend an equal amount of time listening, viewing or reading opposing sides of the issues. Even if we did, television, radio etc. cannot provide all the in-depth answers to the issues. Even if we watched the debates, how much depth can there be in a minute or two response to a question? In essence, our vote becomes less rational and not always based on fact. In part because the candidates do not always objectively present the facts. Not only that, we are alienated in the political process. And some might say, it doesn’t matter whom gets elected. You can’t believe that because corporations and wealthy donors give readily. Their contributions are not based on altruistic ideas, but instead on self-serving economic realities. Yes, Bernie Sanders, people gave an average of $27 for his nomination. Some might argue that he came close, but not close enough. Money greatly matters today. Even though we have a unique and unlimited capacity for thinking and having contradictory thoughts and ideas, without even making minimal attempts to become aware of the contradictions; can anyone vote smart?