Posts Tagged ‘biobehavioral’

THE END OF DAYS?

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

“And it shall come to pass in the end of days . . . .” -Isaiah 2:2

This time, could it be true? Could we really be approaching the end of days?

For millennia, self-styled prophets have been predicting as imminent the end of days. Witness the predictions when the years were approaching 1000 AD.

Yet, could today the end of days truly be nigh? Possibly? Likely? Certainly?

Heretofore, we humans ourselves did not possess the means to bring forth the end of days. Today, we do — nuclear weapons and, less likely, deadly pathogens. We can summon our own end of days at any moment for any reason — or for no reason. Remember Caligula?

Then, we should consider Mother Nature. She always has had the means and occasionally has displayed them with devastating consequences.

See “The Exterminators.”

There are those who believe, with justification, that we humans have been making Mother Nature angry — very angry — by the consequences of our over-populating; thereby, decimating her handiwork. Truly, it’s not nice to make Mother Nature angry. Doing so has its own inescapable consequences.

Consider the Hebraic Scriptures. Worth the effort, even for atheists. Are not we humans fulfilling many of the prophesies preceding the end of days? Sufficiently to mark our demise?

Science tells us, “Behavior has its consequences.”

We ignore that dictum at our peril. To do so is to tread blithely down the Path to Perdition. Many an observer claims that we are on that path with its dismal destination in sight.

If so, do we still stand a chance? Indeed, we do.

We can leave the Path to Perdition for the Road to Resurrection — not at some future time in some future world but here and now. How? There is a way.

Here in these United States of America, the context has been changing deeply and widely. As a people, we have become alienated and angry. We recognize the rot in the four, secular cornerstones of society — government, law, education, and medical delivery. We want not false promises but true change, albeit ill defined.

Therein lies the rub. What change? By whom?

The risk becomes jumping out of the proverbial frying pan into the fire. The chef in charge of change may be a malevolent Satan not a benevolent savior. Can we discriminate beforehand between the two? Yes. How?

By not seeking The Who or even The What but by seeking The How via following the three, simple guidelines of the Scientific method — specificity, objectivity, and accountability.

Specificity n.: defining events in a way that differentiates those events from other events that may be similar but not identical.

Objectivity n.: referring to events that are observable and measurable, either directly or indirectly; and

Accountability n.: observing and measuring events in a way that is verifiable and can be made public.

“Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.” -John Donne (1572-1631)

We all die. The current question is whether each will die separately in his own time and place or whether all will die together at once. We do have a choice.

Shall we choose the former by rerouting ourselves onto the Road to Resurrection? Shall we choose the latter by continuing to tread the Path to Perdition?

What’s your prediction? Why say you so?

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WE, THE MISGUIDED

Monday, March 25th, 2013

“They speak falsehood every one with his neighbor; With flattering lip, and with a double heart, do they speak.” -Psalms 12:3

Most of us are followers. Few of us are leaders.

So it is. So it always has been. So it always need not be.

Yet, willingly, we allow ourselves to be misled by false prophets promising immediate gratification at the cost of deferred despair . . . short-term reinforcement costing long-term punishment. We embrace these peddlers of vulgarity and rapacious consumption while we spurn preachers of modesty and productive restraint . . . increased long-term reinforcement costing decreased short-term reinforcement.

Eagerly, we believe false promises from power-hungry politicians and self-serving ideologues fancifully claiming to lead us towards a New Jerusalem while we deny truthful appraisals from dispassionate analysts realistically warning us of a self-created Hell. We embrace the morality of the moment, flaunting our hubris, the foremost sin, whilst rejecting the morality of the Ages, decrying patience, the foremost virtue. From a historical perspective, woe be we!

We are the misguided. Even many of those of us who verbally oppose Big Government, nevertheless, vote for its programs . . . hypocrisy be damned; thereby, bequeathing to our children and to their children the burden of our debt. Worse, we choose self-styled elitists as our leaders . . . demagogues who amongst themselves view the rest of us as “Bubus americanus”, an unruly mob whom they can deceive with lofty speeches extolling socialistic equality while ignoring the maxim that equality is the enemy of liberty.

We are selling our souls to the self-aggrandizing promoters of so-called Social Democracy in a Faustian bargain, paying for the fleeting pleasures of the present by trading, in return, the hard-won freedoms of the past and our progeny’s well-being in the future.

We glory in our blindness to the reality around us . . . the economic, political, and social decay, consequences of our own profligacy. How will historians of the future, be there a future, view Americans of the present? As self-righteous cannibals who feed upon their own young, refusing to recognize the awful reality enveloping us as we head towards the black abyss of degradation, desperation, deprivation, and despair?

Ironically, the young embrace the lies that are paving the road to their own misfortune even more ardently than their seniors. This irony is the consequence of the “greatest generation” then the “baby-boomers”, while attending to our own immediate personal pursuits, having neglected to bring our overall behavior under the biological and moral obligation to try to leave the world a better place than we found it. Instead, we allowed amoral, Marxist and neo-Marxist barbarians through the gates to invade the vital centers of education and entertainment; thereby, making America safe for what might be called “Radical Maternalism”.

Despite our self-inflicted plight, is there any cause for hope . . . any possibility of a better way? Possibly . . . even probably. How?

We can find a better way not by following most of our current political, economic, and social leaders but by not following any leaders, at all. We do not need so-called leaders. We need generally recognized policies . . . sound policies based upon sound, scientific principles. We can begin by recalling the policies of a quiet president who scorned loudmouthed presidents with their bombastic “bully-pulpits” . . . the late-President (1923-1929) Calvin Coolidge, who promoted a Small Presidency in a Small Government.

A better way will appear when we open our eyes to view events realistically from what is known as the biobehavioral orientation . . . scientifically-based and scientifically-driven. Doing so will allow each of us, as individuals, to become our own leaders through the science and technology that we already possess. In the unlikely event that we choose to face reality . . . to forsake the ill-intentioned lies of our leaders and the well-intentioned lies of our neighbors in favor of facing the challenging truth from the biobehavioral orientation, we shall be choosing that better way (www.inescapableconsequences.com). We never should forget that, ultimately, reality wins.

SOCIAL INSANITY

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Insanity: In legal medicine, the state or mental condition characterized by the inability to distinguish between right and wrong, possession of delusions or hallucinations that prevent individuals from looking after their own affairs with ordinary prudence or that render them a menace to others, or actions resulting from impulses of such intensity that they cannot be resisted. –Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary

A mad world occasionally becomes even madder. Two examples? World Wars One and Two.

Today, two generations later, mob-mentality continues clinging to myths and superstitions and embracing false prophets and charismatic charlatans while denying reality.  It is a form of social insanity.

Is such a seemingly intractable malady treatable? Fortunately, yes.

A psychiatrist with a biobehavioral orientation might view the current madness with a combination of alarm, amusement, and anger. Here in America, a pandemic of mass hysteria fueled by irresponsible ideologues seems to be sweeping the nation.

Mass hysteria reflects an interesting phenomenon. Some years ago, a dermatologist telephoned his psychiatric colleague. A raft of female employees from a nearby office-building were complaining of generalized, intractable itching. No rashes or other lesions were present.

Medically, itching is a symptom; it’s subjective. A rash is a sign; it’s objective.

The women in question were suffering symptoms but no were exhibiting no signs. Physical examination and laboratory-based tests revealed no apparent physical cause. A complete and thorough investigation of the building revealed no vermin.

“Could the cause be mental?” the dermatologist asked his colleague.

As do most people, including most physicians, the dermatologist was asking the right question but the wrong way. Mental functions, cognition and emotion, modulate physiological responses but do not cause them. Causal factors are found in biology and environment.

Despite the wrong question, the dermatologist, nevertheless, was heading in the right direction . . . in a phenomenological sense. More precisely, the itching seemed to represent a respondent (Pavlovian) phenomenon . . . a stimulus, one woman’s complaining of itching, eliciting a mass response, similar to laughter being “contagious”.

Eventually, following medical reassurance, the response extinguished, and the women returned to their usual routines. No apparent harm done.

In a political context, harm from mass hysteria more often is the rule than the exception. In fact, the consequences of behavior associated with “mass hysteria” can be widely disastrous, even completely catastrophic. So, nationally, are we Americans approaching disaster . . . politically, economically, and socially? Internationally, is humanity approaching the moment of its own extinction . . . think North Korea with ICBM’s containing nuclear warheads?

If so, is there a treatment? Fortunately, yes.

What? A healthful regimen of scientific methodology. Unfortunately and paradoxically, the regimen requires a modicum of sanity in an increasingly insane world. Fortunately, not everyone has gone mad.

Each of those remaining sane possesses power to ameliorate the pandemic. If each does his part, perhaps we can avoid the rendezvous with destiny, to use a time-honored phrase, that we seem to be choosing for ourselves.

Why should each do his part? Consider the unhappy alternative (www.inescapableconsequences.com).

BOSONS AND BOZOS

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Bozo was a clown. Bosons . . . specifically, Higgs-bosons . . . are sub-atomic particles. What they have in common is that, without bozons, there would be no Bozos or any other particulate matter in our cosmos.

It was only this past week that the heretofore-putative Higgs-boson, the so-called “God-particle”, was identified with greater than a 99% probability.(1) Even the initial widespread reporting, now largely disappeard, still failed to do justice to the importance of the identification. Why? Because the identification serves to strengthen one of the three pillars of human purpose and meaning . . . knowledge (www.inescapableconsequences.com).

Unlike bygone days, today most people in advanced societies readily embrace further advances in physical science. Moreover, entirely theoretical advances often, with time, eventually become translated into operational technologies. Will such advances save humanity from itself? Thus far, the opposite seems to be the case, two obvious examples being nuclear weapons and, paradoxically, medical advances.

Can any science save humanity from itself? Yes, biobehavioral science, the amalgamation of biological science and behavioral science. Will it?

Would that the same enthusiastic acceptance of physical science could be said of biobehavioral science. Certain limited applications excepted (in gambling casinos, for example, and in industry), most people are ignorant about it. Those who aren’t, typically, regard it with attitudes ranging from indifference to rejection. Societally and individually, most of us resist employing its technology, sometimes claiming that employing it would be too mechanical or even  inhumane. Psychiatry, as a medical specialty, has ignored true and valid biobehavioral science, much to its misfortune.

There are scientifically-described reasons for this attitude and resistance. Whatever the reasons, the inescapable consequence of such behavior likely will be fulfillment of the thesis enunciated by the late-physicist, Enrico Fermi . . . namely, that eventually all intelligent life-forms, wherever they may be in our cosmos, evolve to the point of self-destruction, a thesis personified today by the current President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Is it already too late for us here on Earth? Not necessarily. There still remain time, albeit limited, and the biobehavioral alternative, at least hypothetically.

Will humanity ever embrace biobehavioral science as we do physical science, or does doing so run counter to our biological pre-disposition? Shall we continue to put our faith in the Obamas, the Romneys . . . and, yes, the Ahmadinejads and the Chavezes . . . because biologically we are inclined to do so?

Be a biological inclination the case, are we doomed? Again, not necessarily. We can change. Our cognition can modulate our behavior and our emotions. Through scientifically-based and scientifically-driven management of context and consequences, we, yet, might escape our rendezvous with oblivion. If so, best we act effectively and soon.

Reference
1. The Higgs-boson named after Peter Higgs and Satyendra Nath Boson, is a particle of infinitesimally short duration created at the time of the origin of our universe, the “Big Bang” . . . initially, a derogatory term disparaging the concept to which it referred. The Higgs-boson creates a field that gives mass to energy passing through it . . . no mass, no matter . . . no matter, no atoms or molecules. The Higgs-boson allows mass and energy to be interchangeable, as when one lights a match turning wood to heat.