Monday, June 27, 2005

Us Through The Eyes of Our Guinea Pigs


Grrrrrrgr: Psssst. Hey, you. The one they call "Gomez". What's your real name?

Grrrr: Grrrr. And yours?

Grrrrrrgr: Grrrrrrgr. You didn't think that my name is really Buster, did you?

Grrrr: That's a long name! I'll try to remember it. I hope I can pronounce it.

Grrrrrrgr: Yeah (laughing, good-naturedly), my parents were from India.

Grrrr: Ah. That explains it. So, how do you find living with the humans?

Grrrrrrgr: Well, I'll tell ya, I was told that they're vicious and can be very dangerous to guinea pigs, but they seem too slow-moving and dull-witted to be capable of doing any real harm.

Grrrr: Yeah, they certainly aren't the rocket scientists of the primate kingdom. We'll have them trained in no time. Actually, I find them kind of amusing.

Grrrrrrgr: That they are. Which one is your favorite?

Grrrr: I like the older male. He's gentle and docile. Good work that he's a vegetarian too. It's so funny how he eats vegetables for breakfast every morning, keeping the middle part for himself and gives us the best part – the trimmings and leaves. He thinks he's giving us the leftovers (tittering).

Grrrrrrgr: I'm partial to the dominant female. She's so cute, with her long white fur and beady brown eyes. Adorable as she is, she can be fiercely protective of her cubs. Kinda reminds me of my Mom.

Grrrr: They do such funny things. Remember a few days ago the female painted the "bathroom" of their hutch "purple"? I didn't get the whole bit. First of all, why do they need a special burrow in their hutch called a "bathroom"? What do they have to bathe so much for? What are they, birds? Why don't they just lick their front paws and spruce up their fur a bit? And, what's "purple"?

Grrrrrrgr: Ah, purple is one of the colors we can't see. It's not a primary color. They say that it's red and blue mixed together. We can see red and blue, so try to imagine them mixed together.

Grrrr: Yuck.

Grrrrrrgr: Hahaha. Yeah, it does sound kind of repulsive, but they seem to like it and contented pets are easily disciplined. So, let's indulge them.

Grrrr: Good thinking.

Grrrrrrgr: I like to watch the dominant female on her toys, you know, the things they call the "treadmill" and the "stationary bicycle". Hamsters and rats just get wheels. These guys get really fun toys. Maybe they'll let us play on them sometime.

Grrrr: Yeah, but why does she jump up and down and flap and swing her arms all around after she gets off those things? I hope that doesn't happen to us!

Grrrrrrgr: No, no. It doesn't just happen. She does that on purpose. Goodness only knows why.

Grrrr: They're a riot! Funnier than a barrel of monkeys (peals of laughter).

Grrrrrrgr: And the male cub. Did you see how he walks to his room on his front paws in protest when they send him to his burrow early?

Grrrr: Yeah, he drags the toes of his back paws along the low ceiling where the, what's it called, "attic"? is and leaves his toe prints up there. The dominant female gets mad and yells at him (guffaws).

Grrrrrrgr: All in all I think we're pretty lucky to have gotten these guys. They seem to really love us. They take good care of us and they're easily enough managed. I think we must be living on what the humans call "Easy Street".

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

MORAL GIFTEDNESS


A quick review of the Seven Types of Intelligence as defined by Harvard Guru Howard Gardner as background can be found on the following URL:

http://tinyurl.com/axvkn

Note that none of those categories of intelligence pose any particular challenge (to be read 'threat') to society, and so there was no reason for the scientific and mental health mafias to reject them. They're eminently useful categories for defining what the ideal person in non-anarchic societies, structured variously as they are at this point in history, should be.

I posit that there is another type of intelligence: Moral Intelligence. I further posit that there are and always have been people who are gifted in Moral Intelligence to the point of being preternaturally so gifted.

It is dismaying to me that despite the fact that there are, and always have been, gifted and hyper-gifted geniuses of morality throughout history, this type of intelligence is not so much as recognized in the list as existing. It is subsumed under the more manageable and affable Interpersonal and Intrapersonal categories of ability. We know, however, that the morally gifted usually don't, and didn't historically, get along well either with others, or themselves.

It is the people who are exquisitely aware of distortions of morality and ethics and who are fearless about speaking out about the injustice and describing it articulately who are the most likely to be the ones who are given the medicines that artificially induce "desirable" traits like complacency, malleability, indifference in the face of suffering, the inability to pinpoint who the perpetrators of moral wrongs are, etc. In fact, psychotropic drugs have been formulated to do just this; these are not the side effects of the drugs, these are the target effects. Psychotropic drugs are not considered to having taken effect, or be administered in sufficient doses, until the recipient of them evinces these traits (i.e, becomes a zombie like your average workday citizen). This demonstrates that despite the fact that moral giftedness is ignored by the scientific and mental health communities, i.e., they do not want the public-at-large to be aware that it exists or to validate it in any way, they themselves are very much aware of the fact that it exists and that it has the potential to bring about change in the status quo. Vast sums of money and effort have been invested in keeping moral intelligence under control. Thus, we can be certain that those whose hands are on the money levers know they have a great deal to lose if moral intelligence were to express itself freely. The research goes on.

The severely morally gifted are those most likely to be institutionalized and/or to die an early and often brutal death as a direct result of their gift. Their suffering is generally in direct proportion to the greatness of their gift.

In addition to the traditional societal methods of suppressing the expression of the morally gifted and inhibiting their courage to express themselves, a new method has been devised for the world-wide internet community. The moniker "rant" (as in what the mad do) is applied to impassioned posts on subjects of morality and ethics. A person who has posted on a moral or ethical topic is expected to partake in a sin offering ceremony. She or he must keep the post as short as possible, apologize for having written the post and end with the mealy-mouthed cliché "getting off the soapbox now."

The state does not generally have to intervene when one of its citizens hyper-moralizes and becomes obstreperous, not anymore, not since the late 1960s or early 1970s. Most people have been programmed by the media so well (TV and radio shows are called 'programs', after all) that they themselves will attack the miscreant on the ground and they usually succeed in beating him or her emotionally into submission sooner or later.

Geschwind's Syndrome, considered to be the interictal behavior of those sufferers of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) who demonstrate the "Epileptic Personality", is now believed to be the reason why some individuals demonstrate behaviors such as:

Emotionality
Mania
Depression
Guilt
Humorlessness
Altered sexual interest
Aggression
Anger and hostility
Hypergraphia (excessive writing)
Religiosity
Philosophical interest
Sense of personal destiny
Hyper-moralism
Dependency
Paranoia
Obsessionalism
Circumstantiality
Viscosity (the quality of being socially "sticky")
Hyper-philosophical
Emotionally volatile
Obsessively detail-oriented

As we can see from the list above, the traits of the hyper-morally gifted are described not only in uncomplimentary terms, but in pathological terms, as the effects of brain damage.

We must ask very basic questions in order not to be drawn in by the assumptions inherent in some of the terms describing the "symptoms" of Geschwind's Syndrome. What is "hyper-moralism"? At what point does a person become too moral for comfort in non-anarchic society? The same might be asked about being philosophical. At what point is someone considered pathologically philosophical in non-anarchic society? We must assume that to be moral and/or philosophical is considered desirable only up to a limited degree in non-anarchic society. We do not hear about individuals being hyper-beautiful or hyper-handsome. Even if adjectives like these were to be coined and applied to individuals, they would not signify and sort of aberration or symptom of disease. Quite the contrary, they would be considered supreme compliments.

Professor Eric Altschuler, a neuroscientist at the University of California in San Diego, has "diagnosed" the prophet Yechezkel as having been a sufferer of Geschwind's Syndrome. He bases his "diagnosis" of a man who lived about 2,600 years ago, inter alia, on the fact that the Book of Yechezkel is the longest Book in Torah. Thus, the prophet, in Dr. Altshuler's opinion, demonstrates the hypergraphia symptomatic of Geschwind's Syndrome. Moreover, the Book of Yechezkel is concerned with moral excellence and the lack thereof. This, in Dr. Altschuler's opinion, reveals that the prophet demonstrated the symptom of hyper-morality as well. Dr. Altschuler goes on to describe the prophet Yechezkel as pedantic (probably because he described the perfected Temple in the minutest detail), aggressive and suffering from delusions. And so it becomes clear in the good Dr. Altschuler's mind that the prophet was ill with Geschwind's Syndrome. "Scientific" conclusion: a person who tenaciously ("viscously" in neuroscientific jargon) clings to the moral principles that are apparent to him or her as being the basis of healthy society, and who takes up the pen because he or she knows it to be mightier than the sword is demented.

Other famous figures in history that have been retrospectively "diagnosed" as having suffered from Geschwind's Syndrome or TLE-related hypergraphia include Van Gogh, Dostoevsky, Virginia Woolfe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Franz Kafka, Lord Tennyson, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron and Petrarch. One can only imagine how much poorer the world would have been had psychotropic drugs been in existence in their time and had they been administered to them.

Hyper-morality, then, is the result of encephalopathy and thus can, and should, be "treated" in the opinion of neuroscientists like the good Professor Altschuler. The severely moral should be relieved of their suffering. Likewise, society-at-large should be relieved of their viscous aggressiveness and incessant harping on that annoying subject.

People who go mad in the face of injustice and steadfastly, persistently and undauntedly voice their moral outrage, particularly those who do so in the form of writing treatises and books on the subject, are doing nothing more than exhibiting the symptoms of the neurological illness from which they suffer.

By grouping being hyper-moral with symptoms that are accepted as being symptomatic of various anti-social personality and psychological disorders, as they are defined in non-anarchic societies, the mega-message is clear to the public-at-large: Only those who concern themselves overmuch with morality are demented, suffering as they are from a pitiful disease of the brain.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Yisra'el

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Biochemistry of Abuse

The biochemistry of abuse is higly addictive. Both those who abuse and those who are abused get addicted and build up a resistance to the chemicals that the brain produces during violent episodes, to wit: dopamine, adrenaline, corticosterone and more.

When we undergo any kind of experience a neural pathway is created in the brain. If we have the same experience again and again or if we do the same thing again and again the neural pathway is all the more deeply ingrained with each time the event occurs or the action is taken. That causes us to repeat the action or set up the event again and again. That is what an addiction is.

The result of all this is violent episodes necessarily become more frequent and escalate. Seek help now. Do not make the mistake of thinking that if you're a "good girl" you can prevent your father from getting angry at you and hurting you. There is no such thing as lying low enough with an abuser. They will look for excuses to get triggered when they need a violence "fix".

Long before you were born the person abusing you got addicted to the biochemistry of addiction. Don't let yourself get addicted to it too.

Being addicted to a particular biochemistry is the worst kind of addiction. You don't have to purchase it. You don't have to wait to get it. You don't have to connect with a pusher. All you have to do is get yourself and the people around you worked up and the hormones flow.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

B"H

To My Son: WAR

The first time I held him to nurse him after the birth he was five hours old. I said to him: "Eat my child. Grow big and strong. One day they will come and take you out of my arms and send you to war. So eat now and grow big and strong." And I cried.


My child has grown big and strong. He will be going off to war soon.

We have armed him with the following teaching: Do not hate your enemy because the enemy that God brings you is always that which you must battle in yourself. The worst in you is projected "out there" onto the screen of "reality". It is that which you must do war with. If you will battle your dark aspects within they will not harm you from without. Neither will you harm them.

This is the true teaching of Torah: When God commanded us to do war with the seven nations that inhabited the Land, we were being given a choice.

Either make war on Peoples too great for you to conquer -OR-

Do battle with your own seven deadly sins.

The wise among us took the latter road.

Only those who do not know this basic lesson think their enemies are objectively real and shoot at themselves.

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