Saturday, September 14, 2013

To Be Yourself... Addendum

I received this great email feedback in response to my August 25, 2013 Photo-of-the-Week post titled THE HAT from long-time Living Free reader and friend, Roger Gilbertson. Roger is a retired Rear Admiral from the U.S. Navy Reserve, has a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, has studied more things than I can even think of, has more certifications then probably anyone I know, is a scientist, a philosopher and he calls himself, a proactive generalist. He's also the author of A Free Range Human in a Caged World: From Primalization into Civilization.  But most of all, I'm grateful to have him as both an active reader and friend.

I've got the COAT
Got it many years ago.
Hardly ever have reason to wear it.
Found it in a Goodwill store. Dirt cheap.
An Australian Slicker.
It is sort of waxed to be water proof, reaches nearly to the floor, and makes you feel like an Australian vagabond, an explorer, or an early cowboy.
All from the magic of the movies and television melded with my imagination.
My Dad gave me the model for exploring many specialties.
My Mom gave me the instinctive push for life long learning through experience and formal education. 
They allowed me to mind-roam from an early age.
Thanks for reminding me!
Attached is a Sunburst of my take on Influences on the Mind.
Have a great day!

I've also included Roger's sunburst that provides a graphic representation of what I was discussing in the last post on September 11, 2013, To Be Yourself... 

Thanks for your great feedback, Roger.

Your input is always like getting the "Parents Magazine Seal of Approval." I guess in this case it's more like the "Reader's Seal of Approval." 

The sunburst is exquisite! It really illustrates exactly what I was saying and I'm going to put up a post as an addendum to include it with reference to the To Be Yourself... post. Full attribution included, of course. 

I love the Australian slicker - The COAT. Yeah! I've always thought those were way too cool. I think I remember Sam Elliott wearing one of those in some western movie. I believe there was a slow motion scene in the movie with him walking straight at the camera with his big mustache, a ten-gallon cowboy hat and The COAT! And you are so right. It represents a certain kind of adventurer, traveler and bravado. The HAT was always at the top of my priority list of cool things to wear, but now that I have The HAT, there may come a day when I'll look for The COAT. 

Yes! We are definitely influenced by all the things you included in the sunburst. I don't think people realize just how hard it truly is "to be yourself." At best, I'd say in our current society and world, how each person defines him or her self is a synergism of all the influences that bombard us continuously. Being able to recognize this (like realizing that we are constantly bombarded by radiation) requires us to sort through all of these influences, filter out those that are irrelevant to who we truly want to be, embrace the influences that will define who we want to be and then finally being our true selves - is the unique synergism of the things that are truly in line with our values. 

M. Scott Peck felt that everyone, including psychologists and psychiatrists needed therapy. The implication, as I see it, is that all of us have some kind of mental/psychological issue. I'm not sure I'd call it an illness in most cases, since it's a universal condition. Only those with specifically overt symptoms, manifestations and anti-social behavior are clinically diagnosed. But, I believe the human condition, from a mental and psychological health perspective, is in decline. It's not because these various conditions of mental/psychological issues haven't forever been present. It's because we are over stimulated by all the influences illustrated in your starburst and so many more. 

We use words and images to over stimulate the brain. A car is transportation; it replaced a horse, oxen or dog pulled cart or wagon. But today the imagery of "The Ultimate Driving Experience,"  Zoom Zoom, the Challenger, the Muscle Cars of the 60's and 70's, etc. define us. Of course, we really only need transportation from point A to point B like we did with the animal drawn cart. We can't sleep so we have this quiet, soothing, peaceful voice and an image of a gossamer butterfly telling us that Lunesta, a drug, can replace something that is a natural human function. If we can't sleep, there is a problem. But, we don't find and fix the problem; we use a crutch to skirt around whatever the real issue is. If your antidepressant medication (you're already on one?) isn't making you feel like the world is a wonderful rosy place then talk to your doctor about adding Abilify - another drug. And as you and I both know the world, while full of wonders, beauty and is truly a wonderful place, is not always nor has it ever been, "rosy" - it often sucks and sometimes it sucks really, really, really bad. 

I dare say the healthiest people, even those who suffer from clinical depression, are the ones who realize and accept this reality and DEAL WITH IT! I'm had some really crappy times in my life. I just wanted the pain to go away. It hurt real bad. But somehow, from deep inside, something told me to face down my demons and they'd back off. I did and they did. I'm antidepressant free. Score one for my side. People just don't want to face off their demons. They don't have to. It's easier and faster to get the quick fix (instead of finding the root of the problem in the first place). So, we have a growing problem with illegal, so-called "recreational drug" use (alcohol and nicotine being two of the major ones), prescription controlled drug abuse, "huffing" glue and all kinds of chemicals and aerosols, homemade batches of dangerous stuff like LSD and crystal meth, etc. I can't wrap my head around the idea that anything about this is truly recreational - it's simply a way to escape reality rather than facing down one's demons and slaying them. 

Geez! Watching the news is enough to make most anyone want to jump off a cliff. Headline, "New Bride Indicted for Pushing Her New Husband Off A Cliff." "Newlywed Missing Off A Cruise Ship, Husband Believes She Jumped Overboard In The Middle of the Night." "President Says Syrian President Assad Has Crossed The Red Line, U.S. Must Expend U.S. Military Resources It Can't Afford to Replenish to Show Assad Who's the Boss." "Three Teenage Boys Attempt to Rob Young Mother, Shoot 13 Month Old Son in the Head Killing Him When She Says She Has No Money." "George Zimmerman, Acquitted of Murder, Assaults Wife and Father-in-Law." "Hit & Run Driver Kills Pedestrian, Never Stops to Help." "Teenagers Attack, Beat and Kill 92 Year Old World War II Veteran in Parking Lot." It goes on and on. Of course, there is the occasional "feel good" story that's supposed to sugar coat the murder, mayhem and chaos. But drugging ourselves doesn't make this go away. It amplifies it.

All those things influence who we are, too. As you well know, Roger. I don't care what BS the so-called experts expound about this not being a cause of more and more aberrant behavior. If oral, print and video messages can influence us to buy BMW's, Mazda's, Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwiches, Abilify and Lunesta, join and become a trained killer with The Brave. The Proud. The Few. The Marines, elect a President who came out of nowhere with no track record and little verifiable past with no proven ability to take on the role of "Leader of the Free World," then you can't tell me that we aren't influencing a new and growing trend of aberrant behavior with the crime shows, movies, video games, etc. Heck! Al-Qaeda believes it works so well, they are now recruiting in the U.S. and U.S. citizens are joining their ranks. A big shout out to the success of Madison Avenue. 

All of this constant bombardment by so many influences and constantly changing value systems has caused so much confusion that those mental/psychological issues that everyone has at some controllable level are now trending out of control. We want a life with no physical, emotional or psychological pain, complete security from birth to death, a lifestyle that provides for fast cars, fast men/women, luxurious houses, all kinds of toys, extravagant food, little work (let alone fulfilling work and pride in achievement), exotic vacations, life long security, etc. None of which are necessary for a happy, content, fulfilling life. And now that the economy is in a downward trend - we're heading right back to where it all started. A tiny percentage (1%) of an elite, wealthy class (with their wealth increasing exponentially) and 99% of the population sliding down towards the poverty ranks...again. All of this because of greed and corrupted values and most of the population not knowing who they really are, but buying into all the influences telling them who they should be. Now, where is my stash of marijuana, I'm getting a headache from thinking about this. 

(Disclaimer: Those last two sentences were a twisted attempt at humor. I don't need an kind of substance, especially an illegal or controlled substance to feel really great - I have the best deal of all, I'm free.)

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