This Shit Was All Greek to Me.

I have heard the term “Alpha Male” or just “Alpha” used as a personality description for sometime now; however, even though I knew it did have some psychological and scientific basis, I had written it off due to its assimilation into what people call “dudebro speak”

(ie. “I’M ALPHA AS FUCK, MAN!”)

Lately though I have been curious about what my personality is within this type of ranking. I knew that the science behind this was based on pack mentality and the social behavior of humans, but I didn’t know what to call it. Then I found my answer:

ethology

noun ethol·o·gy \ē-ˈthä-lə-jē\

Definition of ethology
  1. 1:  a branch of knowledge dealing with human character and with its formation and evolution

  2. 2:  the scientific and objective study of animal behavior especially under natural conditions

I also found that this type of science was paired with another:

Comparative psychology also studies animal behaviour, but, as opposed to ethology, is construed as a sub-topic of psychology rather than as one of biology. Historically, where comparative psychology has included research on animal behaviour in the context of what is known about human psychology…

So, what does this have to do with personality types and dudebros? It made me re-think that maybe knowing my ethological personality would also give me a greater understanding of myself. I already understand my Myers-Briggs personality type and relate to it, but what it this other type would give me further information?

So, I decided to look for an online test and that’s when all of this shit went sideways.

There are literally thousands of these tests online and none of them seem the least bit legit. The personality types that are talked about in the research that I did were Alpha, Beta, Delta & Gamma. I took several of these tests that I found and it took me on an adventure that lead me to what felt like a frat-boy lead, MRA nightmare. Here’s some results:

Quiz 1  (5 questions)

Result: Alpha

Quiz 2 (13 questions)

Result: Sigma

You don’t give a damn. You are off doing your own thing, with or without anyone’s approval. You radiate cool and intrigue, and women find you intensely interesting, despite you not trying or noticing. You don’t go to parties or social gatherings, but if you do, you’re usually with a friend and a gorgeous woman you brought. You’re the lone wolf of the hierarchy, almost as attractive as Alphas. You shun leadership in favor of getting the hell away from everyone.

This was a new one. Never heard of a Sigma Personality before.  I looked this up and found the most informative information on this site , which was a personal blog that was posted in 2011. I don’t know if this guy was a psych major, had any psych training, or was just a dudebro making shit up; however this site and this blog obviously agreed on the description and the outcome.

Quiz 3 (23 questions)

Result: Zeta

When I looked up what this personality type was, every site that came up lead me to some a lot of  Men’s Rights Activists bullshit. The Zeta male is basically breaking out of the “typical male gender role” which sounds pretty awesome, until shit like this pops up:

This is a philosophy based on the principle of men rejecting the traditional Alpha and Beta role models because they are based upon how women view them. The Zeta male lives life outside of the traditional Alpha and Beta models and undergoes no judgment from females, equally not requiring any judgment from females. This interests me because I see so many guys these days seeking validation from women just to feel they are living their lives correctly. In men I believe this requirement for validation and frequent rejection is a contributory factor leading to forged lifestyles, a loss of confidence and in severe cases mental illness.

The Zeta Male is one who has contempt for female rage, and spurns female/feminist power…

Men and masculinity have been under attack for over forty years, that’s a couple of generations, from Institutional Feminism and the misandric, men-hating-women that have fallen for its histrionic posturing, misrepresentation and outright lies…

So, while breaking gender roles is great… this shit is not. MRAs are misogynistic asshats that just either (A) Don’t understand women (Not that I do completely)  (B) Have severe issues with rejection and have been rejected A LOT and/or (C) Have a lot of mommy issues. No, men don’t have to be soldiers, factory workers, fathers, husbands, or even providers, but we do have to be respectful and understanding to women. Sorry, but women do not have an equal voice in this society and that’s why we need feminism and not a bunch of dick wagons crying for “men’s rights”.

Yeah, I am definitely not a Zeta personality.

As I searched further into all of this I found something out. All of the above information is actually part of a psychological assessment called the California Psychological Inventory and this is where we get the Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Gamma (only) personalities from. None of the above personality quizzes are anywhere near this test.

The CPI is made up of 434 true-false questions…

Not 5 -23 questions regarding situations and if you like tigers vs. puppies or whatever and these other personalities, sigma, zeta and so on are something that are not on this assessment. Those are straight dudebro things created by dudebros, for dudebros.

Unfortunately, there is nowhere that I found online to take this test for free (and it’s EXPENSIVE), and honestly I really am not concerned about this as much as I was now. This test more or less just tells you where you stand within society and honestly I could care fucking less about where I am in society’s pecking order.  I did find the  actual definitions of the Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma personalities, though:

Alpha personality types are more enterprising, dependable and outgoing. Betas are reserved, responsible and moderate. Gammas are adventurous, restless, and pleasure-seeking. Finally, Deltas are withdrawn, private, and to some extent disaffected.

 

Basically, how I interpret this is this: Alphas are the Ambitious, Leader, Always on time, Extroverted type, Betas are the Father Figure, Better Safe than Sorry type, Gammas are the Always wanting to have fun, close down the bar, bungee jumping, let’s go skinny dipping type, Deltas are the Introverted, stay home and watch Netflix, don’t go out much, almost misanthropic type.

I also found literally hundreds of other varied definitions online from sites that range from IGN.com to Urban Dictionary. Apparently, the Internet has memmed these personalities, and added several more to the list. The way the traits are assessed are also varied (most are about how sexual you are and the “quality” of girl you are able to get) and askewed. Again, like my previous post that talked about memetics stated, this is what can happen when a meme spreads unopposed.

Despite what bodybuilder.com says, I don’t think that I am weak-willed and destined to just exist and work in the service industry because I identify with the Delta personality. Nor do I think I am a has-been, “Alpha Poser” that is weak willed and has been ruined by a break-up with a really hot chick. I feel close to the Delta personality because I am an introvert that doesn’t give a fuck about social trends.

I did find this post on a forum and it’s description of the Delta Personality:

4. Delta Quadra [top]

extraverted logic blocked with introverted sensing:
Types from the Delta Quadra value pragmatism, hard work, beautifully functional items, and earthy humor and enjoy “productive” relationships where people do projects together. They are usually emotionally subdued and like to discuss topics seriously with the intention of implementing their conclusions.

extraverted intuition blocked with introverted ethics:
Types of this quadra enjoy discussing people, internal motivation, and self-development. They believe in peaceful self-government without coercion and in the inherent potential of each human being for personal fulfillment.

Subdued elements:
The Delta Quadra doesn’t appreciate high ideals or abstractions that don’t relate well to real life. They also don’t like large institutions or power systems that do not take into consideration the interests of separate individuals.

Typical Delta quadra group behavior:
Discussion of interesting facts about people and places. Enjoy group outdoor activities. “Live and let live” attitude. Engage only in “productive” activities and discussions. Prefer smaller groups. Emotionally subdued; generally serious, but with periodic funny moments.

Now that’s more like what I see the CPI describing a Delta as and not Urban Dictionary. I can also identify more with this definition. Also, like the MB test, these aren’t what define you. They give you insight and help you see how you work. I honestly wanted to see this so that I can continue learning about how to handle emotions better. I figure that the more I know about me, the more I know how I can develop a process to deal with emotions (Mine and others) and productively channel them.

Now I feel that I have a better understanding of myself and after seeing the correct definition of a Delta Personality, I can honestly say that…

I am Delta as fuck, bro!

 

 

Enter A Comment:

I posted awhile back about an application that I was using called MoodTrack Diary and you can quote me when I wrote:

 …people can comment and offer words of support on your posted moods.

Well, I will be honest. I pretty much ignore the comments that are left and the “hearts” given. I am not interested in what the other users of this application think of my moods and emotions. Sure it’s nice that some stranger out there cares, but honestly I am not hunting down other people’s moods and giving out hearts and positive comments. I do go into the inbox to clear the annoying message indicator however. Today when I did this, I see that a user named “ilovestarwars” has left a comment on a particularly bad day that I had. I do leave a Star Wars reference in my “recovered” mood entry (We’re all fine here. How are you?) and I thought that maybe they had caught on and that they were going to give some fellow geek a positive note.

Nope.

IMG_20160518_202959

So, you can see that instead of offering any form of support for an emotion/mood labeled “Enraged”, this person instead decided to be a self centered asshat and ask that I not swear. As you can see, I advised them on how to handle me in this situation.

I posted this exact screenshot on my Instagram account, with almost the exact same narrative,  and had a very curious comment from a family friend.  She said that she agreed with “ilovestarwars” if it was on regular social media, but on this application I could say and do what I wanted since I was tracking my moods and emotions. I was curious about her thinking with this. Why would I censor myself or put myself under some type of submission on “regular” social media?  I cut the cord on Facebook because I only viewed the posts of the same 10 or so people that I talked to via Telegram or WhatsApp, everyone else said something offensive or I didn’t want them in my business (some were the type that cried when you unfriended them & some were family) so they were listed and filtered. At that point, Facebook was just something that I did because it was either expected or it was FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Finally, I followed my good friend Brian’s lead and ditched my account. I also nuked my Google Plus account, but that was just because it was needed. G+ is like Fetch, it’s never going to happen.

Now I am on Instagram (some of the time), Snapchat (which is not full of dick-pics as I thought it would be and is actually quite fun) and Twitter (mainly for news). So, let me be clear, I talk, rant, cuss and rave just as I do here on those sites. Well, maybe not Instagram, I just usually take goofy pictures and Snapchat is like my daily diary of nothing.

Screenshot_20160519-071352

So, I  am just at odds with that comment.

Maybe I am just obsessing over it and it’s really nothing. In all actuality it probably is nothing but a comment on an Instagram post that I am over-analyzing and obsessing over; however to expect people to censor themselves on social media is an illogical expectation.

Again, I am probably just over analyzing the whole thing.

 

 

Regarding a Moment When I Was With the Church.

I want to write about something that I don’t like to talk about. Something that I went through with the church that bugs me to this day. I feel that it is one of the things that I look back on and see that there wasn’t anything ever “wrong” with me and that the evangelical church (and religion in general )is nothing less than predatory.

A little after I was first saved, I went through something called “Deliverance Counseling or Deliverance Therapy” due to my dealings with the occult. A man named Charles Carrin was a guest speaker at our church and had told us that demons could inhabit, influence and keep us in bondage. Mind you this was NOT POSSESSION, that was apparently a Catholic thing. This was demonic oppression,you were suffering demonic influence and bondage, and you had to be delivered from it by the Holy Spirit. Charles told us about a “demonic spirit” that was associated with the occult that was a serpent that wound it’s way around the spine and rested its head in your brain. He advised that’s where the idea of Chakras and the Third Eye came from. He was referring to the Kundalini :

Kundalini – From a Sanskrit term meaning “coil” or “spiral,” spiritual and psychical energy that may be aroused systematically by techniques of yoga and which can be channelled throughout the chakras from the base of the spine to the crown of the head.

Needless to say, since I had been involved with witchcraft and I was ready and willing to be indoctrinated, I thought I had a demonic snake wrapped around my spine and in my brain (Yeah, go ahead and laugh; I would, too). So, my friends, newly found church family and this guy named Charles gather around me as I layed on the floor. While people prayed, they also laid hands on me, and some held down my legs and arms, Charles went to work. He anointed me with oil, he started praying in Jesus name and…

I got nothing.

I held my eyes closed, I waited and then nothing was happening. I thought that maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough, maybe I wasn’t worthy of delivering. Then I opened my eyes and I was surrounded by people with their hands on me. I then had something! A strong desire to get the hell off the floor and leave; however I was being held down. Not by the holy spirit, or anything supernatural, but by actual people. Charles kept praying and I was staying put. I eventually started to get frustrated, and finally my anxiety kicked in and I contemplated fighting my way out. About that time everything was over and done with and I was asked how I felt and what I was feeling during the session. I told everyone that I was anxious and was about to start fighting my way out of being held down on the floor.

Of course this was interpreted as demons fighting back and that satan had a tight grip on me and I needed more Jesus instead of someone having a panic attack due to being surrounded and held down on the ground. Of course I can’t really say anything because I agreed that I was infested with demons. Demons were just crawling out of my ass and only more dogma and indoctrination (aka: Jesus) could help me.

I still have those demons. Except know I call them by their real names of Bipolar Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and OCD and I exercise them with medication and actual therapy.

The funny thing is, this didn’t just happen once. Nope.

About a year or so later I went to a different preacher, on referral of my pastor at the time, and sought further deliverance therapy. I went into this man’s home and sat in a chair in his living room. My friend Tim ( the pastor’s son) went with me for support. This new deliverer prayed and prayed. Again, I waited for something to happen. Finally, something did happen! My throat went dry from sitting in a chair and praying for half an hour and I started to clear my throat and cough. Delivery Guy took this as a sign from above that I was “coughing up evil spirits”. So, he began to pray louder and more vigorously IN THE NAME OF JESUS! I kept coughing because: A) It was helping my throat & B) It was hurrying up this “deliverance”.  Once I had coughed up enough “evil”, I was given a clear bill of spiritual health and Tim and I hit the road. I chalked up the experience to the pastor not having enough faith or ability to get the job done.

It would be a few years before I finally called bullshit on all of this and “took the scales off my eyes”.

The reason that I hate talking about this part of my time in the church is because I feel that these points is where I really got taken advantage of. This is where I was made to feel like I was broken and unworthy and I needed a deity, a g-d, a higher power to “fix me”.  This is where I feel that the indoctrination of the church really broke in and took hold and stole my mind. This is the point of time in the church where I feel fucking violated. Because I KNEW that NOTHING WAS HAPPENING TO ME and I still bought into the bullshit and even blamed myself for no magical or supernatural occurrence happening to me. It was my fault that g-d didn’t show up and do something. I wasn’t faithful enough, I wasn’t good enough. When the fact was and is that there is no god to show up. I am worthy & good enough for anything and everything.

I found out later, as an atheist, that deliverance therapy actually has a name and is/was a commonly used practice in christian churches.

Theophostic ministry: Theophostic from two Greek words, theos for God and phos for light.

This article was written in 2001 (approximately the time that I received my “therapy”) and here are some excerpts:

…Ed Smith, founder of Theophostic Ministries (http://www.theophostic.com), based in Campbellsville, Kentucky. More than 15,000 people have taken his basic Theophostic training, and he estimates that more than 300,000 Christians have received some type of ministry using Theophostic. The approach is being used in 40 countries, and manuals are being translated into four languages.

So, this was kind of a big thing back in and around the time that this occurred to me. Whether or not either pastor that “delivered” me used this technique is unknown; however it appears not everyone was on board with this.

Some critics fault Theophostic for its approach to the demonic. Smith teaches that demons, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, may inhabit and influence even a Christian’s mind. These demons often work to keep people enslaved to what Smith calls the “lie-based thinking” causing their pain. He teaches that these demons have to be expelled for a client to see full relief.

While some evangelical theologians believe that Christians can fall under the strong influence of demons, few would agree with Smith that hundreds of demons can inhabit a believer.

The problem with this is that some people believe that this type of “therapy” can help cure everything from tennis elbow to homosexuality (which doesn’t need a cure, because it isn’t a disease!). Some sites like this one even promote “deliverance ministry” over having you kids take medication for their issues or ailments and they will even do it via webcam!

Children’s Deliverance

Do you see behaviors in your children that concern or frighten you? Have they been victimized by abuse ? Do you see patterns that are present in the family tree? Do they doctors want to prescribe medications and you are uncomfortable with that option? Deep down, as a parent, you may sense that the problems are spiritual and not medical in nature. As unfair as it sounds, children can be tormented and oppressed by demonic spirits just like adults.

So… What are the requisites for needing deliverance?

…we believe every believer should go through deliverance ministry to get set free from demonic strongholds!…

What are some indicators or evidences of potential strongholds being present?

  • Have you had repeated prayer, ministry and/or counsel for one or more issues in your life and have had limited and short-term freedom at best?
  • Have you been crying out to God for change in a certain area of your life?
  • Are there behaviors that you cannot control?
  • Have you tried medications/alternative therapies without success?

People can have strongholds of pride, fear/anxiety, depression,  anger,  lust, pornography and more.

OK, first ALL CHRISTIANS ask for repeated prayer for at least one thing. Every churchgoer has that one thing that they wish that they didn’t do and it’s usually an addiction like cigarettes or porn. Also , ALL CHRISTIANS cry out to g-d for something. More money, not to be single, to lose weight, or so on. You never are going to see a churchgoer tell their dear and fluffy lord “No Thanks, I am all good here!”. They always will be asking for or wanting something. If you have issues with the bottom two you need to keep working at them with an actual therapist/psychiatrist. This shit is not going to get you help, especially for $120 per hour.

Yeah, Jesus ain’t cheap.

I have wanted to share this for awhile now and it feels good to get this out of my head. It’s a shame of mine that I have carried around for far too long. It makes me angry when I think about it and I think now that I feel a little restored by putting this out there.  I know now that I am the one that chooses my own path and I am my own responsibility. I only have this life to live and that I have to make it a good one.

Be wise and be kind, always.

 

NOTE: IF you are a Christian, and you just read this for a hoot, please stay away from this stuff and find an actual doctor. Pray about which actual doctor that g-d would want you to find, but beware of these types of folks. Chalk them up as false prophets in it for profits.

 

 

 

 

 

Yo! By the Power of… Thunder, Thunder…ROLL -OUT! Big, Pard.

Because of the magic that is Hulu. I have been able to relive part of my childhood. Some of the greatest 80s cartoons are on there and I have added all of them to my watchlist. This past Sunday, I sat down with my coffee and diabetic friendly breakfast and started watching a cartoon that I made my mother break traffic laws and the laws of physics so that we would be home in time for me to watch.

That cartoon would be He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

I would sit in the floor with my He-Man and Skeletor action figures eyes glued to the TV. I remember I had tons of those action figures! Oh, and Castle Greyskull! You had to have Castle Greyskull! The He-Man guys would fight the Star Wars guys and let’s just say that Castle Greyskull was ran by the Empire at one point due to the cunning use of an AT-AT and superior fire-power.

But I am digressing.

I was hooked on all of the 80s cartoons (and toys). He-Man, G.I.Joe (who had to team up with He-Man to get Skeletor & Cobra Commander out of Castle Greyskull one time), Transformers (Megatron and Skeletor didn’t get along), Thundercats, BraveStarr, and the list goes on. So, I was always watching these cartoons as a kid and also playing with the toys and emulating what I saw them do on TV.

Now, back to the present.

When I was watching He-Man on Sunday, something caught my eye during the credits. There was a credit to a man named Donald F. Roberts for psychological and educational consultant. I was intrigued by this. Why would Filmation need a PhD holder as a educational and psychological consultant? I mean, this was 1983, the year of Lawn Darts and skating boarding without a helmet. Why do we need this for a cartoon designed to sell toys?

Then it hit me.

Cartoons in the 80s had one common theme to them (besides everyone being a horrible shot and bad puns). They had a morality message at the end of the show. These consultants, one in particular that did consult work on BraveStarr, were there to make sure that the cartoons had educational and moral value. Usually, the entire show taught the lesson and it was summed up at the end, but in some shows (like G.I. Joe) a lesson had to be given at the end to give the show educational and/or moral value. Not that it was mandated in the 80s, but it was “encouraged” by the FCC to keep the kid’s TV programming watchdog groups happy content quiet.

Then another question came to mind.

With people my age (the ones raised watching these cartoons), did these cartoons form or help form our sense of morality and common sense? Was Generation X raised by 80s cartoons?

I started watching more of episodes of He-Man and I did start to remember some of the morality messages at the end of the shows. I remember some of the ones at the end of G.I.Joe (which is how I know how to put out a grease fire , approach a stray dog, and not to try and move a downed electrical line BTW) and I know that other shows like Transformers and Thundercats also had these same messages. Now I just can’t help but wonder if that the reason I know that eating strange berries in the wild can be dangerous is something that I learned in school, from my mother, or from Orko.

he-man_orko

My curiousity got to me and I researched more into 80s cartoons and it turns out that EVERY major 80’s cartoon had a psychology, education, or communications PhD on staff as a consultant at one point during their run. One consultant, Robert L. Selman is actually a PhD from Harvard and wrote a section of a compendium for moral development called: “The Relation of Role Taking to the Development of Moral Judgment in Children” and assisted Sunbow Productions with G.I.Joe. Probably most notable is Dr. Gordon L. Berry.  He consulted on BraveStarr and multiple other shows not only in the 80s but also in the 70’s, including Fat Albert and quite a few more current shows. It’s guys like these that we should thank for adding value to the cartoons that we hold dear.

So, a big thanks to He-Man, Duke, Optimus, and all of these PhDs that helped raise me during the 80s. Apparently I learned something from what my mom called brainless TV watching!

And Now I Know!

knowingishalfthebattle

 

(Had to be done.)

I have a theory (Updated because I didn’t like a few things).

A buddy of mine suggested a NatGeo series to me called “The Story of God” awhile back. When he first said it, I just looked at him weird. Then he told me that it wasn’t a “religious” type show that it was culturally interesting and it was also hosted by Morgan Freeman.

He should have lead with the Morgan Freeman part.

So, I have finally sat down and watched it and it is actually a good series. It does dive into multiple cultures and you learn quite a few things about these cultures from around the world; however there was one episode that I had to rewind parts of and yell at. In the episode “Why Does Evil Exist?” Morgan travels to meet an evolutionary psychologist named Jesse Bering. Jesse believes that we are psychologically programmed to believe in a god. He demonstrates this by showing an experiment with kids. He shows them a simple game. Stand behind the line with your back to the target & toss the ball over your shoulder. The person with the most points gets an awesome prize! Each kid is brought in individually and left in the room alone (except that there’s a hidden camera) to play the game. Pretty much every kid is a sneaky little shit and cheats. So, he does this again with a 2nd group of kids, but with one exception. He tells them that there is an invisible princess in the room and she will be watching them play the game. The 2nd group plays by the rules. A few kids even search for the invisible princess. So, obviously that means that we are all wired to believe in a g-d, right?

Hang on a sec.

In the episode “Who is God” Neuroscientist Dr.Andy Newberg (who is conducting research in what he is calling Neurotheology) points out that he has scanned an atheist’s brain whom he asked to meditate on g-d just like he did Morgan Freeman and other subjects and the frontal lobe that activated during their meditation did not light up for the atheist. So, maybe we are not wired to believe in a divine imaginary friend after all and what Jesse showed in his experiment was nothing more than indoctrination at work; however that lead me to the question: “Why does indoctrination work?”

So, maybe Jesse is onto something after all.

He wrote a book called “The God Instinct” and one review site quoted this out of chapter two:

“Many people don’t believe in God, yet they still ask themselves about the purpose of life and can’t easily shake their curiosity about this seemingly grand and obscure mystery. Even though we know our biological facts … the question of why we’re here still occasionally rises up in our thoughts like a case of hives – and it’s an itchy rash that science just can’t seem to scratch.” (Ch. 2)

He is correct, as an atheist I have asked myself the purpose of life; however I know the answer (my answer anyway). To me, the purpose of life it to try and enjoy your time here. That’s it. I don’t have some genetic or psychological disposition that makes me wonder why I am here. I am here. That’s all that matters. The goal is to enjoy being here while I am here (and try not to be a dick while doing it).

So I searched around a bit for more of this guys work and finally found this. It’s an article he wrote for The Guardian and he goes further into explaining “The God Instinct”.

In general, recent findings in the cognitive sciences cast considerable doubt on the everyday atheist’s assumption that religion can be explained by a simple “wish fulfilment” theory – that we believe because we wish it to be true.

Both Ludwig Feuerbach and Sigmund Freud had a lot to contribute to this original theory of “wish fulfilment”, and I can understand that their work and hypotheses are dated; however I stand by the ideology that religion and the concept of g-d(s) are man made. Jesse goes on to describe “The Theory of Mind” which, in my opinion, backs up my ideology.

Theory of Mind is the branch of cognitive science that investigates how we ascribe mental states to other persons and how we use the states to explain and predict the actions of those other persons. More accurately, it is the branch that investigates mindreading or mentalizing or mentalistic abilities.

He speaks about how the Theory of Mind is theoretical ( Really?) and that our species has used it to fill in the gaps (ie. god of the gaps) for everything from natural disasters to childbirth by giving these events minds as well and attempting to try and figure out what they were thinking or what they wanted. Again, we created these ghosts, goblins and gods, not the other way around.

Theory of mind became the warped lens through which we perceived the natural world. Through this very human cognitive prism, our species was doomed to experience certain unshakable cognitive illusions – including feeling as though there are unseen moral forces that are concerned about us as individuals. Much like optical illusions, we can, through knowledge, accept that what we perceive does not reflect reality.

So, basically, like the illusion that Freud was talking about and the fact that we can stop believing in the illusion through knowledge.  What I gather at this point from what Jesse Bering is working on is that humans have developed an evolutionary trait to assign “minds” to non-intelligent things. Even in jest we do it. (“Better pray to the coffee gods that I have enough of my morning blend this morning”.) However, I think that the bigger picture here is that this shows why indoctrination still works, especially in children. The human race is obviously smarter than it was 2000 years ago; however we still cling to the illusion that there are imaginary father figures, dragons, 6-armed blue women, and various other super friends that are looking out for us and will save us.

Why?

Memetics is why. Religion is basically  like a man-made virus that evolves to fit with a specific host. It survives through a successfully transmission.

Memetics is also notable for sidestepping the traditional concern with the truth of ideas and beliefs. Instead, it is interested in their success.

So, with meme’s in cultural practises like religion, it doesn’t matter if it’s true. The idea or belief will get passed from one mind to the next until that culture stops passing it on through belief and tradition or until minds start to resist and reject the meme.

So, I can see where this “God Instinct” theory is still relevant; however it is just showcasing the dangers of indoctrination (Especially the indoctrination of small children). Belief is taught, not pre-programmed. You don’t come out of the womb thinking or knowing that there are spirits that raise the sun & moon or that Santa is making a list and checking it twice. You are taught these things, whether they are true or not.

Yeah, I am an atheist and I do not believe in a god or gods nor do I think religion is good for the world. So, maybe I am biased; however moreover than coming from the point of view of an atheist, I look at these things as a skeptic. I believe that is a better way to view things, as I discussed earlier that disbelief is always the default logical position when looking at any proposition.  I think that Jesse’s theory showcases that we as a species can buy into some irrational propositions, especially if we are taught them as children through our culture.

I’ll leave you with this TED Talk. I think it wraps up things better than would be able to.

 

 

GO-GO Juice.

You used to be my friend. Now, you are my adversary.

Every morning we still still sit and have our quiet moments. You sit there while I read or watch TV. Sometimes you wait for me while I work out and are my source of comfort afterwards. In the mornings, when my medication takes it’s toll, you help see me through the gloom that it puts over me; however at night you change. You are not that friend that I know during the early hours. You become a villain, a fiend.

I am speaking to you, caffeine.

caffeine-chemical-structure

I used to LIVE on caffeine. Every morning it was two cups of coffee, a large travel mug on the way to work. Another refill of that same mug at work. Then a soda (Usually Mountain Dew) during the day and then tea or another soda (Not Mountain Dew, the wife hates to see me drink them) at night. Some mornings, it was a 3 shot macchiato (a real one not that Starsucks shit) then a cup of regular coffee,  and then my regular caffeine intake. Some mornings, I would dump 2 shots of espresso into the travel mug with the regular coffee and make a “red eye”. Then, somewhere in the day, here and there, I would drink a Monster (or 2). Needless to say, I took in a lot of fucking caffeine.

Why my heart has not exploded out of my chest, I don’t have a clue.

Now, I drink 2 cups of coffee in the morning and that’s it. I drink juice or something uncaffeinated the rest of the day. Unless I make tea, but even then my intake of caffeine is significantly lower. It’s to the point that if  I have a soda past 5-6pm, I am up late at night.

Like right now. It’s 3am CST.

I have come up with “a billion dollar idea” and researched it. I have talked with some friends over WhatsApp (who FINALLY made a desktop client for their app) and now I am blogging about not being able to sleep because I had a Diet Dr. Pepper after 6:45pm.

Seriously, lifestyle changes are a pain in the ass.

 

Straight Dope.

I watched a couple of documentaries this week and I want to write about my take on this subject:

Prescription Drug Abuse.

Not only by what most of us picture as “the addict” but also by what these two films bring to light. The abuse by General Practitioners prescribing medications that they have little to no knowledge about for conditions that they have little to no knowledge about. The abuse by pharmaceutical reps by planting falsified information into these Doctors and the abuse  by the pharmaceutical companies themselves by pushing out medications that they know may cause harmful side-effects (that they can also then sell another pill for) and manipulating legislation to allow it all to happen.

Here’s what I mean.

The U.S. makes up 5% of the global population and yet we consume 75% of the prescription drugs available world wide. Now, my immediate argument was that it’s because we can afford them and they are readily available; however we only rank 37th in the world for  health care systems according to W.H.O .

You learn in these films that drugs are just that, drugs. Opioids are basically the same as heroin, Adderall is chemically the same as meth. I shit you not, you are giving your ADHD kid meth to settle down and focus.

heroin_oxy_diagram

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You learn in these films that Ronald Reagan started this whole thing by allowing Pharmaceutical Companies to advertise directly to the customer, despite the presidents of all 3 drug companies writing letters to him urging him to reconsider. This deregulation was furthered by Bill Clinton later on and these actions gave birth to what people call “Big Pharma”.

The films both tell you that pharmaceutical companies used to be driven by science (sometimes mad science) but is now driven by profits.

I filed that under “No Shit” real quick.

I know drug manufacturers aren’t looking to cure shit. There isn’t any money in curing things! The money is in the treatment and management of conditions, not the cure.

Everyone knows this.

What everyone doesn’t know is that what I consider to be the worst drug problem in America (and it’s all based on ignorance and misinformation) happens daily in doctor’s offices everywhere and it is covered in these films in one way or another.

Let me explain.

The first film that I watched was Off Label which starts with talking about drug trials. Deeper into the movie it talks about exactly what it’s title means:

off-la·bel
adjective
  1. relating to the prescription of a drug for a condition other than that for which it has been officially approved.

It goes into how pharmacy reps will ask doctors about any “interesting cases” they have had in which their product has been used and if the doctor says “Yes” then the sales rep will offer to send the doctor a ton of medical research for their pill and it’s billions of new uses that they can now prescribe it for instead of the other drugs that actually have proven to treat whatever issue for years.

Now, in some cases, this works out; however in some it does not. The film also touches on that a lot of people that are on psychotropic medications and  are getting them from their primary care physicians or general practitioners. To me this is a horrible way to get psych meds and the worst drug problem we have in America, because of my experience with the first time I ever sought treatment for my mental health issues. When I first came to terms that “something was wrong with me” I saw my PCP, actually I saw my PCP’s Nurse Practitioner, because let’s face it, none of us ever really see our “actual” doctor. We see their Physicians Assistant, Nurse Practitioner or whatever other pseudo-doctor that helps them out. When I told her that I was having bouts of depression and then a few minutes/hours later would be dealing with mania and then I would return back to depression again (mind you, I didn’t use those exact terms, but I know now what I was dealing with) I was given a prescription for Prozac and Xanax. I wasn’t diagnosed as bipolar at the time (There were no diagnostics at all, that happened about a year or two later when I tried to have myself committed), so she didn’t know that giving an SSRI to me would have this effect:

In people with bipolar disorder, SSRIs and other antidepressants carry a risk of inducing mania, making it essential to monitor for signs of excess energy, decreased need for sleep, or abnormal and excessive mood elevation.

So, needless to say, I felt AWESOME on Prozac! It was fucking amazing! I understood why EVERYONE was on this shit!

Then I got diagnosed as bipolar and that was the first thing to go.

So, I completely agree with this film’s take on the reason why the market is flooded with psych meds is because PCPs are scripting them out and not knowing what they will do to their patients. There is one woman in the film that is bipolar and is on 20+ medications. She is so zombified that it is just sad. The thing that made me absolutely angry is that the film mentions that her psychiatrist will not see her anymore; however still issues her medication.

That’s some bullshit.

The second film that I watched was called “Prescription Thugs” it was a follow up to another film that I watched during my “Top 100 Documentaries” called “Bigger, Faster. Stronger” regarding steroids (#86).  I won’t lie, this film come across that all pills are bad and bad for you; however the filmmaker lost his brother while making the film to pharmaceutical abuse and was abusing pharmaceuticals and alcohol while making the film. So, I really had to look into the subtext here, and towards the end he kind of ties things up.

One thing he also touches on is the over prescribing of psych meds. Now, everyone he talked to said “they went to their doctor”. So, this makes me think that again you have PCPs ,or their assistants, prescribing psychotropics that they don’t understand and are not actually diagnosing anything. The film also touches on Statin drugs and how they are ” a big fat lie”.  Basically, statin drugs are cholesterol pills.

“Statins” is a class of drugs that lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver. (The other source of cholesterol in the blood is dietary cholesterol.) Statins block the enzyme in the liver that is responsible for making cholesterol. This enzyme is called hydroxy-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase). Scientifically, statins are referred to as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.

http://www.medicinenet.com/statins/article.htm

Then I read this and it kinda scares me:

FDA is advising consumers and healthcare professionals that:

  • Routine monitoring of liver enzymes in the blood, once considered standard procedure for statin users, is no longer needed. Such monitoring has not been found to be effective in predicting or preventing the rare occurrences of serious liver injury associated with statin use.
  • Cognitive (brain-related) impairment, such as memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion, has been reported by some statin users.
  • People being treated with statins may have an increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and the development of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Some medications interact with lovastatin (brand names include Mevacor) and can increase the risk of muscle damage.

Yeah, I have been getting a little “foggy” lately and also, I was just diagnosed as diabetic. Now, I am willing to bet that the diabetes is because I am a fat guy that smokes and used to eat like crap, but it could have been this pill!

But, I am digressing.

Now, this film hit on something that the book I am reading actually talks about and that is we are a culture that is afraid of our feelings. We all want that happy “everything is great” feeling all the time and we do not feel out feelings. We have been taught to avoid emotion and I believe that is another reason why PCPs and their assistants are prescribing psych meds that they know little about without actually diagnosing their patients. The film has a kind of “all pills are bad” vibe to it, but really I think the filmmaker is saying that the current culture in America is what is driving this addiction to medication. Which is partially true, but I can see where someone would take that as an excuse to actually quit taking their psych meds.

Luckily, there is an ex-pharmaceutical rep that they interview that and actually mentions that doing stopping psychotropic medications cold turkey is a horrible idea and she actually lost a family member because they did exactly that.

(Not all pills are bad, stay on your meds kids)

I also think we, as a culture here in the U.S.,  overuse mental health terms (Example: OMG, that makes my OCD so flair up. Ugh, my taco fell and now I am so depressed about it) and because of that these illnesses have been marginalized. So, instead of referring their patient to a psychiatrist that better understands depression or any other emotional/behavioral health issue; general practitioners and their staff just prescribe what that nice pharmaceutical sales rep’s scientific study suggested would help with this condition. Mind you, I believe that medication works for mental health issues, when the diagnosis is correct and you are prescribed the correct medication(s). For that to work, you have to go to the correct type of doctor.

Here’s how I look at it.

If you have a cold, you don’t go to a psychiatrist for treatment. So, why the fuck would you go to your primary care physician for a mental health issue? That’s like taking your laptop to your auto mechanic because it won’t boot up. Also, people need to understand that if you are experiencing a behavioural/mental health issue that it’s more than just popping pills. You have to see a therapist. You have to feel your feelings and talk shit out. It’s a two step process for treatment.

So, is there prescription drug abuse in this country? Of course there is. Doctors aren’t referring patients to the specialist that they should, pharmaceutical reps are pushing drugs for uses that they possibly shouldn’t be used for and pharmaceutical companies are pushing out this research to those sales reps to give to the doctors so that they feel “educated” about the product.

 

My advice is to only get diagnosed and medicated for mental health issues from a psychiatrist or other mental healthcare provider. Other than that…

Ask your doctor*.

 

(Or trained and licensed medical professional)

 

 

Eye of the Tiger

I have done this twice to myself so far this week.

The pain during, and after is something that I just could do without; however I feel more energized and also stronger after.

But, right now, I hurt.

All because I started exercising this week.

I work out for 20 minutes every other morning, 3 days a week. On my off days I plan a project around the house to do to keep me active. I have a mini-stationary bike that I do 10 minutes on and then I have a 10 minute kettlebell workout that I do (and am constantly changing).

Needless to say, my fat ass hurts but feels better at the same time.

Also, to add to my self-inflicted torture, I have started tracking my calories and exercise using My Fitness Pal and Google Fit. I have a Moto 360 that I am using as a pedometer/heart monitor/timer (Sidenote: I bought into the whole smartwatch thing just to play around with it, and I have to say it does come in really handy). So, I am limiting my calories as well as not eating anything that will drive up my sugar levels. I won’t lie, I miss “food” but I would really like to live past 60 and not lose any limbs.

So, I am fighting the fight against this shit and I am winning.