Why I Know What I Know
Posted on Facebook by Bob Self Photo by Joe Milanese
June 16, 2012
Revised May 24, 2013
A simple indisputable statement of the truth. That it even needs to be stated is a testimony of how far our values have degenerated. One generation ago the truth was oriented by honesty, integrity, The Golden Rule (the basis of all major religions), and the ability to survive. Under the toxic narcotic-like trance of television, we have become a nation addicted to instant gratification; worshipers of youth and celebrity, undisciplined and self destructive. Celebrities that openly abuse themselves are held up as heroes and heroines, as their pleasure-seeking causes them to need more and more stimulation to get the addict’s buzz. They use drugs to tolerate the stress, which weakens them even more resulting in a downward spiral that leads to death. Then ,they are elevated another notch in the pop culture for successful suicide. Suicide is the ultimate in non-adaptive behavior. It is an instant defiance to our most basic instinct: survival. The fact that part of our culture is embracing this is a dire sign.
This entire transformation was caused by television in a process that is now understood in detail to the molecular level. In brief, TV bombards our nervous system with vast amounts of information that we have evolved no defense mechanisms to protect ourselves. We thought TV was harmless and the novelty of it caused the whole culture to watch it daily and routinely, unaware of the profound way it was changing our nervous systems and affecting our behavior. Basically to reduce the amount of excess stimuli we became incapable of paying attention to anything else. We ignored our schools, our government, our spouses, children and families. It opened the door to manipulation; and, sociopaths who care for nothing but themselves quickly took advantage of the situation. Americans in the 50's had the benefit of an economy that easily provided all their basic needs. So to make money, the sociopaths made up products that no one needed; and ,through the hypnotic media of television, convinced Americans to buy this junk. Success with small inexpensive items soon led to more outrageous and expensive items and fast-growing profits for the opportunists. Doesn't everyone need a new Cadillac every year ? After all, your neighbors a new car every year. Soon this addiction to t.v. and the products advertised led men to work overtime and women to leave the home to work in order to pay for the items they didn't need. With that phase, the opportunists invented credit so people could buy even more stuff they didn't need. Simultaneously, satisfaction with life declined along with family life, because no one had time or attention for the issues that used to be important. Now, making money and consuming unneeded stuff was the rule. People were stuck at jobs they hated in order to be certain they could make the mortgage payments. Thus, for the last generation we have been brutally exploited, while becoming mentally ill because of TV and a toxic life style taught to us by television. Exercise declined; obesity went up. Now some of us are waking up from a 30 year dream and asking "How did everything get so messed up". The answer is so shockingly unexpected that people have trouble understanding it or accepting it, much less doing anything about it. The first step is incredibly simple, but people can't even do that: get the televisions out of the house.
I am an oddball in that I have not watched TV since I was 20 years old. I read Marshall McCluhan's prophetic book "The Medium is the Message" in which he warned of the dangers of television in 1960. His reasoning was exactly as I described above. I was born an "out of the box" thinker, and had no trouble taking action on this warning, even though I know of no another person of my baby-boomer generation who did. So at 64, I have spent the last 40+ years reading books on any subject that had new breakthroughs in thinking. Meanwhile, my peers were watching TV and suffering the exact consequences that McCluhan predicted: through “heroin like” addictive quality they fell prey to the Madison Avenue boys who created junk no one needed and convinced them to buy it. Consumerism was born as the sociopaths quickly recognized that TV was the ultimate tool to manipulate people into doing things that added no real value to their lives. McCluhan also predicted that TV watchers would loose specific mental capabilities: the ability to decide what was important in life and an erosion of the ability to think critically. In brief, TV, believed to be a harmless source of entertainment, was the cause of the unraveling of all of America’s valued institutions in one generation. Everything from education, to communities, and , most importantly , our political system, which is now totally controlled by sociopaths at every level of government.
All of McCluhan’s theories had been proven without any doubt by psychiatrists and neuroscientists by around 2003. The proof was compelling, from the genetics to the intraneuronal cleft where neurotransmitters do the work of transferring information from one neuron to the other. The level of proof and certainty was also applied to the sociopath, which exists in precisely 0.9 % of every population on the planet. This means that this radical personality disorder, (people who are born without the brain machinery necessary to tell right from wrong), has been part of humanity for millions of years. These people have been the human source of Evil (in Christian terms) throughout the history of mankind. Now for the first time in history we have a way to recognize them and isolate them from the rest of society. This would mean a peaceful world without war or humans’ cruelty to other humans is possible for the first time in the history of our species. Sociologists have done some excellent studies and estimate that this <1% of the population is responsible for 99% of the misery for the other 99% of the population.
The 90's were a blast because the breakthroughs in biology and neuroscience were coming monthly for several years. It has been called "The Decade of the Brain" in the scientific community. I was totally prepared for the new insights into the biology of human behavior. I had already figured that out, because as a physician, I learned this from observation and treating mental illness which reinforced the fascinating new information I was reading. Then the final phase of my learning about the importance of biology in human behavior came when I worked at the largest mental hospital in Texas from 2002-2010. Now, it's time to share what I have learned in a lifetime of having a different point of view uncontaminated by television, as well as reading a newly published book on any new development in thinking in any arena every 2 weeks for 25 years. Thus, my scientific and philosophical knowledge is deep and wide. I have 4000 hardback books in my personal library, most of them are about breakthroughs in scientific and philosophical thought (for example the complete works of Ken Wilber---the most accomplished philosopher of our era). As an undergraduate, I accumulated 192 credit hours, mostly in science. I changed majors three times. My BS is in Radio-TV-Film, and those studies led me to reading Marshall McCluhan’s masterwork The Medium Is the Message, and develop a passion for photography, which I have studied and practice vigorously ever since 1969. I have developed a very distinctive style, which is best described as “Impressionistic Street Photography”. You can view my 25,000 images posted on Flickr since 2008. Flickr ID:
You can read my essays: www.biologybehaviorchaos.blogspot.com
Self Portrait with Window Reflections