Saturday, July 25, 2015

After All, This Mess Is Our Fault

July 23, 2015

Many of the readers of this brief essay will howl at what I am about to write.  There is a hopeful trend in America.  The concept of the sociopath is starting to rise in the minds of the public.  MSN posted two articles: one “how to tell if you are a sociopath”; and more recently: “ten questions your doctor will ask to determine if you are a sociopath”.  The mass murderers in the schools have been identified as sociopaths.  Most had seen a mental health professional who knew that these individuals were dangerous; but, there was no child psychiatrist available to refer the adolescent to.  Adult psychiatrists will not see patients under 18.  Our shortage of child psychiatrists is acute; there have been many studies of our mental health system; and, some estimate that we have only 5% of the needed number of child psychiatrists.  The reasons are many; and, beyond the scope of this essay.

The point is that research of the highest order has determined that sociopaths, who make up 0.9% of every population on the planet, are born without the ability to tell right from wrong.  They obtain pleasure from dishing-out misery to the 99.1% of the non-sociopath population.  This biological set of behaviors are genetically predetermined, just as 2% of every population on the planet are born with a sexual attraction to those of the same gender.  But this 2% do no harm to others.

Many of societies’ biggest problems are caused by sociopaths who are exceptionally gifted and learn how to carry out nefarious acts without being caught.  They are brilliant liars, as they can figure out what people want to hear and telling them that.  Attracted to positions of power, money and the ability to effect peoples lives, they exploited the political system when television weakened the 99.1% of the population.  As proven by another group of brilliant researchers, by 2003 the exact mechanism by which television causes viewers to loose their sense of what is valuable in life, their ability to think critically, and their addiction to television (which is just as potent as heroin) are all connected.

However, mental illness is no excuse for our negligent behavior.  We, the people, voted sociopaths into office starting in the 80’s.  The sociopaths would promise the public whatever they wanted and after the election, do what they pleased, (cause misery). They knew that by the next election, no one would remember what those elected had promised, not following the politicians’ actions.  So, again there was a new set of promises, all broken after the election.  This cycle went on for decades and the sociopathic politician gained more and more power.

This vicious cycle culminated with the election of George Bush and Dick Cheney and their tactician Carl Rove.  In their 8 years in office they almost destroyed the country as defined by the Constitution.  They left with America being hated world-wide as every treaty we ever signed was broken.  They left Obama with a $3.5 trillion deficit (starting with a 0.5 trillion surplus courtesy of Bill Clinton); allowed the bankers (sociopaths all) to steal $1.5 trillion from the American people with no penalties or punishment of any kind ; and, our most precious asset, freedom of speech, was tossed in the trash bin by Dick Cheney by frightening the American people with the carefully planned 9/11 scenario (every detail was carefully planned with full cooperation of the Saudis), so that the American people would stomach the PATRIOT ACT.  This act assured that those in power would never be accused or punished.

Now, the punch line: all the above is the fault of the American people.  We did it all to ourselves.  By defaulting on the principle of the Democratic Republic by not voting responsibly, we inadvertently allowed the nation to be torn to shreds in every arena that holds a society together: our churches, schools, health care, women’s rights, and on and on.

Sociopaths have no free will.  Their genetics dictates that they do bad things.  But the 99.1% have free will.  We have failed.  Television is no excuse. We are still responsible for our actions.  We voted people who can do NO RIGHT into office, time and time again.  And what a mess we have to clean up.  A mess we made.  Not only is the Constitution hanging by a thread, but because of Global Warming, caused by the burning of Fossil Fuels (which makes the sociopathic super-rich even richer) , the survival of our species is at risk. 

We can do what is necessary to save the nation and save our species; but, it will require a global change in the way every one of our 6.5 billion people live.  America leads the way in consumerism, digging a deep hole with a life-style that is unsustainable. Now, we must lead the way to a less “comfortable” and more altruistic way of living.  We are all in this together.  We must all lead the way out of the deep hole we have dug for ourselves.

                        YES. YOU ARE ADDICTED TO TELEVISION
                                                July 24, 2015

Many readers of my recent post “It’s All Our Fault” will insist that they are not addicted to television.  This is especially true of smart, well-educated individuals.

I challenge you to a simple test used by Military Psychiatrists for at least a century to test for any type of addiction.  See if you can go 30 days without viewing television or any other electronic device like a computer which the viewer is passive.  No cheating like watching a basketball game on a friend’s television.  The honor code is in effect here. If you cheat, you must admit to yourself that you are an addict, taking action to break your addiction.  It is harmful to you, your family, and your work.  No hiding behind the content of the program either.

As Marshal McCluhan said in 1958, “The Medium IS the Message”, and cutting-edge science has proven as of 2003, whether you watch porn or the history channel, the negative effects on the brain are the same.

Your values about what is important in life as well as your ability to think critically are all compromised.  You may have a job that demands critical thinking and you are getting by.  Breaking the TV habit will improve your skillset by at least 50%.
As with everything else concerning the human brain, some people will be more damaged by this addiction than others.

Please strictly limit your children’s time on any form of passive electronic entertainment.  Computer games have some redeeming qualities if supervised properly; but, play it safe-- too little electronic media will do them no harm, but too much is a certainty in causing the plethora of brain abnormalities.

I suggest reading “American Mania: When More is not Enough” and “The Well Tuned Brain” , both by Peter Whybrow.

A gentleman and a scholar
Austin, Texas