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- Living Longer with an Animal Family
For the Podcast click.https://www.ageingyoung.com/podcast/episode/8ef31e7e/living-longer-with-an-animal-family Who doesn’t love dogs? The Selwyn Foundation has an interesting article that cites Swedish data. If you are a senior and live alone, you will live longer if you have a dog. This is very important for people of good health over 80, who enter what is called a "mortality plateau", meaning that risk of death declines with the years. To a certain extent, we live as long as want to and expect to--but, if you are locked away in hospice, what do you have to do but die. The Selwyn article doesn’t go into this. But it pretty much seems like commonsense, if only because dogs need to be walked. And walking the dog gets a senior out into the sunshine, gives him a little exercise, and, best of all, opportunity for social contacts -- with humans of all ages. It’s a superbly written article, one of many useful articles on this site. Go and take a look. Who doesn’t love dogs? !!! PUTIN ALSO LOVES CATS There is really no such thing as a "Dog Person" or a "Cat Person". If there were, we would also have to have "Guppy Persons", "Hamster Persons", "Canary Persons", if not "Pig Persons", like George Clooney. OK, OK, the pig went to Hog Heaven and he now has a dog. Of course, I am biased because the Selwyn article agrees with a lot of what I have written in my Ageing Young book and articles, which posit that human beings domesticated themselves as the most social and playful of social animals — so social that we can empathize even with other species. Human beings domesticated themselves about 50,000 years ago. Soon afterwards, wolves self- domesticated — as dogs. Later, during the Neolithic, cats domesticated themselves, too. Four legs or two — we are all family. As it turns out, most pets offer health advantages — even fish! After all, what is more relaxing than an aquarium? Back in the days after college when I was jobless, homeless and penniless, abandoned by my family, I stayed at a friend's place, sleeping under the aquarium in a room with a pet fox. Cats and dogs are at the top of the list. Fish are not very good conversationalists. And foxes are skittish. Dogs and cats both talk--generally, a lot more sensibly than, say, politicians. Of course, dogs and cats are different kinds of animals, with both advantages and disadvantages for owners. Who doesn’t love kittens? JACKSON GALAXY AND FRIEND Let's just ask that question again: who doesn't love kittens?" . Dogs can give you an answer. In many cases, cats are the best choice for a senior. . At the very least, they are an excellent substitute. I love dogs but I couldn’t responsibly keep one here in downtown Tokyo. Cats are just easier in my particular environment. AND: they toilet train themselves and live longer. In fact, you can get them to use YOUR toilet. (Only: they always forget to flush, just like your husband and the kids!) Contrary to popular opinion, they can be walked on a leash. And they are trainable. Yes, they can do taught to do tricks. Clicker training helps. Watch this Jackson Galaxy video. Here’s another wonderful article. This is from a blog published by Ferplast which is an Italian company that has an almost half century of involvement helping people and their pets all across the globe. Support them . Why Cats Make You Live Longer 1) ANTISTRESS CATS. Cats alleviate tension and help us relax. It is a proven fact that cat owners are less likely to suffer from anxiety and stress. Stroking a cat after a long, turbulent day at work can calm the soul and return it to a state of tranquillity and calm: it is more effective than a sleeping pill! In fact, it is well known that sleep comes much easier when there is a cat curled up next to you. 2) THE POWER OF THE PURR. The purr has proven therapeutic benefits. It slows the heart rate, reducing the risk of heart disease, speeds up the healing of broken bones and wounds, and reduces blood pressure fluctuations. When purring, cats emit low frequency microwaves that vary from 1.5 to 6 gigahertz. These are the same microwave frequencies used in arthritis therapy: keeping a cat on your lap can be of great benefit, especially for the elderly. 3) MOVEMENT. Cats are very playful. They adore chasing balls, leaves and any other moving objects. Keeping up with them can be tiring and can become a real workout! Playing with a cat is also an efficient way to treat migraines in children and adolescents. 4) THE POWER OF LOVE. Who said that cats are not affectionate? If you think cats are less affectionate than dogs, you couldn’t be more wrong. They are less exuberant in their affection, that is true however, they remember our displays of affection and reciprocate at another time. In addition, taking care of cats opens our hearts to more love, guaranteeing growth on a human level. That is not all. The presence of a cat in the house can be just as rewarding as having a partner, and everyone knows, love prolongs our life! You can bond with a cat just like a dog, if not more so, as I wrote in my article about my best friend Chibi. Do you need a purebred cat? Frankly, I have had both purebreds and mixed breeds. Mixed breed cats usually live longer and are healthier. When you choose a cat (or dog) , you should do so by personality — not breed, which doesn’t make as much difference as you think.. It’s like choosing a boyfriend or girlfriend. Don’t bother with ‘race’ or ‘breed’. Dog OR cat -- do a "rescue". In return they will rescue YOU! References: https://www.selwynfoundation.org.nz/learning/knowledge-exchange/personal-development/dr-dog/ https://blog.ferplast.com/en/why-does-owning-a-cat-make-you-live-longer/ https://blog.ferplast.com/?p=8117 https://www.ferplast.com/gb/cat-toys.html https://julianmacfarlane.medium.com/in-memoriam-chibi-551f08b5801c The Missing Link In Human Evolution: Wolves(2) https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/just-a-kid-and-the-dog The Missing Link In Human Evolution: Dogs(3)https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/dogs-the-missing-link-in-human-evolution Explaining mortality rate plateaus (nih.gov) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC65038/ Evolutionary theory predicts late-life mortality plateaus https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC26389/ https://www.tonyrobbins.com/health-vitality/loneliness-and-longevity/
- Eating smarter: looking cuter!
Puppies are cute. And nowadays both men and women want to look "cute", as well as, of course, " smart"?. Fat people don't look healthy or cute or smart, if only because they have trouble finding clothes that fit them and they tend to sweat a lot. No, don't blame it on genetics. Yes, your DNA can predispose you to unhealthy eating habits, but it's 90% lifestyle, which means 90% YOU! It is not all your fault, of course -- it 's just easy to deceive yourself and make the wrong choices. Businesses spend billions to sell you unhealthy products and even less healthy eating habits. Cigarettes will kill you. So will Big Macs. Stick to heroin. There are a lot uncomfortable truths. So, we look to "authorities" -- schools, the internet, the government--to provide us withinformation-- when in fact they merely confirm the biases created by corporate advertising. I hate diets you say. I do, too. For a lot of people, a “diet” means just not eating -- a horrible regimen for losing weight—or punishing people in Gitmo. Yes, you lose a few kilos, only to gain it back. Semi-fasting as self-punishment. And gorging as reward. When our hunter gatherer ancestors found a dead mammoth—it was eat-as-much-as-you-can! He/she didn’t consider nutrition because big dead animals didn’t happen that often. Our ancestors also did not eat breakfast, which allowed their bodies to recover partly from over-eating around the campfire at nightfall. Today, it's too easy to feast on addictive foods. NO famine. Be skeptical. Everything you ever learned about food and eating is wrong as much it is right. Take the Great American Breakfast, which was created by the Father of PR, Edward Bernays for the American pork and egg industries. "The most important meal of the day"... .Hahaha. Such things are like religion; you accept much on faith. Let us remember Jesus did not eat bacon and eggs or pancakes with syrup. What was food for him? Umm… a bit of fish. Wine, with friends? Technically, “diet” is just what you eat habitually. And the "Great American Diet" is nonsense. Our ancestors ate pretty much everything. Until they partnered with wolves, they weren’t apex predators. More like lapsed Vegans than carnivores. Today, we eat in a narrower range and we die from OBESITY! We all know that obesity is bad for you. Heart disease. Diabetes. Cancer. The health risks of being fat are worse than smoking, drinking or heroin addiction And with COVID – the immune system. Naturally, your Government wants to help. Remember them? The Government, the people you vote for who represent Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and that lot, which includes not only the owners of media companies but also Big Pharma and Big Ag. Nominally, the Government represents “the people” and they need your compliance, so you will keep on consuming. Confused? Me, too. Consumption makes you fat. But the Government doesn't really care but it gives lip service to a moral duty, which is expressed in “information”, which naturally is carefully tuned. Hence the USDA. Remember the Food Pyramid? This is the Old USDA one that you probably learned in school. This has since been replaced by “MyPlate”, which looks like this. What’s the difference The old USDA “pyramid was high on carbs, low on oils. This reflects a theory of nutritional need, so that each level indicates “servings”. Clearly, if the graphic represented caloric load, I wouldn’t be a pyramid. Look at the second tier. Yogurt and cheese have a lot of saturated fats, therefore a high calorie count. The same applies to some meats like beef, although less so for chicken and fish. Nuts and seeds have a lot of fat – the good kind—but lots of calories. Calorically speaking, and nutritionally, there can be a huge difference at this level—especially when you factor in cooking. Yes, USDA, Americans have discovered fire. OK, OK, microwaves. But they cook! Or eat food someone else cooks. The Food Pyramid presented information in a graphic format, so that people didn’t have to read the fine print, and would inevitably continue their bad habits. My Plate of course has support information which you can dig up off the internet. Most people won't go to the USDA website. They stop with the graphic, figuring they already know the rest, with a flow of "information" from the corporate media, which supports biases established in childhood.. Notice how My Plate suggests equal amounts of everything, except dairy, which has a separate plate all to itself. Oils are not shown at all even though they are necessary to health—unlike dairy—which a lot of people—the lactose intolerant—cannot tolerate at all. Keep in mind too that grains such as wheat are not good for the gluten intolerant. But rice is very much OK. ] As with the previous food pyramid, each each category does not distinguish between types of fruit vegetables, grains, protein, all of which vary in nutritional content; nor does it say anything about cooking. For that you have to go to the website and other sources. Most people are lazy. There you go… MY PLATE! See, everything is there! Grains,veggies, fruit, meat. . OK. I forgot dairy… Disassemble Big Mac with cheese, onion, lettuce and tomato on a plate and, yup, it meets all the requirements of My Plate. The tomato is a fruit, of course, and its quarter of the plate will be fully occupied by those admittedly thin slices. My Plate doesn’t say anything about quantity either. Fries and onion rings are veggies. The bun is a grain. And the patty is protein. The cheese and milkshake are diary. Looking down from above we don’t know how tall the container is. There is no category for oil or fat, of course, which is mostly the bad kind and half the calories. Bon apetit! My day job is in PR. Having worked for some of the world’s biggest companies, not to mention most of Japan’s governmental agencies, I can tell you that companies do not intentionally lie, they rationalize messages which optimize their bottom-line – profit. They guys who do this are people like you and me. Rationalization and compartmentalization help us through the day., Like the USDA, which serves Big Ag and its corporate affiliates, most companies "spin" the value of their products, with appealing imagery--memes that have their own logic and emotional associations. At the same time, appeal to individual choice. It is a free country, right? People have rights, don't they? So the USDA provides a lot of useful nutritional information – if you dig deep enough. But even then you get a certain amount of "spin"-- the scientific kind. Consider GMOs or factory farming or other controversial topics. The US Department of Agriculture has announced its final rule for labeling products made with genetically engineered (GMO) ingredients, which will now be called “bioengineered.” In a win for farmers, the new rule states that no disclosure is required on refined foods such as vegetable oils and sugar if the modified genetic material is undetectable. The agency’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) declined to rule on whether new technologies, such as gene editing, fit the definition of bioengineered. Instead, it prefers to evaluate the “products of technology, rather than solely the technology itself.” That assessment will be made in consultation with other federal agencies during the annual update of its list of bioengineered foods. First and foremost, the USDA must preserve its existence as an institution. So, i has to please everyone. Including Monsanto. You? You get "My Plate". It's up to you to choose, even if the food label doesn't tell as much about the food as you need to know in the age of genetic engineering. In other words, you are free to choose but not to know what you are choosing. One Big Mac instead of two? Sure, they are GMO and the beef is full of steroids and antibiotics.But you don’t really want to change your habits. Habits are convenient. And we are just too lazy. Trouble is that viruses like COVID are not lazy. They have one goal-- reproduction, and they do it well. Our ancestors ate between 20 and 40 different foods a week, under optimum conditions.As omnivores, they were well-nourished. Our civilizations reduce variety. We get quantity -- not quality. We end up overfed and undernourished. As I have written elsewhere, where Native Americans have rejected the "colonial diet" in favor of traditional foodstuffs, there was a massive improvement in health. Roy Walford pointed out that it was hard to overeat if you ate for nutrition and avoided addictive processed foods and sugar. But you have to know about nutrition. That knowledge starts with assuming that at least part of what you are told about food, even by the USDA is untrue. More about this in my next article.
- Can Masks Save the World?
Ouch! You really don’t want to get COVID. Even if you have no obvious symptoms, which is most people testing positive for COVID — that doesn’t mean you are safe. One test showed 65.2 % of asymptomatic males with lowered testosterone — which, besides, interfering with your sex life — not a big thing now that no one is doing hump-bump — may predispose you to other infections, since this also means lower immunity. In addition, this lower testosterone may affect women too — who depend on this hormone for all sorts of stuff, which is why it is often prescribed for menopausal symptoms. Lower testosterone results in not only lower sexual desire but depression, lethargy and muscle weakness. Add to this, the really BIG and frightening fact that COVID19 hasn’t been around long enough to know much about long-term effects How long? We don’t know. How bad? Does the damage COVID do predispose you to cancer or other diseases and shorten life? We don’t know. Rumor and politicization of issues don’t help. For example, the all-round best vaccine in terms of efficacy, price and safety is Sputnik V, which scored about 92% effective according to the Lancet, and in real-world tests of 3.5 million people — 97.6% effective. But you can’t get this vaccine in many countries due to American pressure to buy their vaccines. You can spend hours, days, and weeks researching on the Internet and come away more confused than when you started. Prevention is best That means: social distancing, of course. You get COVID from other people. So keep a distance. No sweaty hump-bump. Those nasty little virions spray from the nose and mouth every time an infected person breathes. And the more you of the little buggers that get in, the harder it is for your body to fight back. Viral load matters. VLM! Masks help — but they only reduce viral load. And they are often improperly worn, if worn at all. Some researchers think that the masks may act as reservoirs for virions, which is why medical masks are disposible. Cough once or sneeze — and a virus particles built up inside the mask are emitted. Still, to reduce infections in others, masks are necessary. Multiple studies have shown at least a 70% reduction in transmission. Not all masks are equal. And they have to be worn properly. You may have a snazzy-looking vinyl mask that fits tight but doesn’t filter. Or a PM 2.5 mask that doesn’t fit and leaks all over the place. The Gold Standard is a disposable, bespoke five layer medical PM 95 mask. A wee bit expensive for most folks. An NCBI article states: It is critical that the materials’ edges conform snugly to the face to prevent aerosol from entering gaps between the face and mask. The mask must not enable viral inhibition by the lips, tongue, and saliva. Ideally, the mask does not contact the lips, or there is at least one hydrophobic layer fabric in contact with the face, so aerosol trapped from the exterior does not wick through the mask and become transported by the mouth. Because aerosol transport through a mask is predicated on forced convection air flux, it is recommended that individuals wearing masks reduce inhalation intensity when placed in contact with an unsafe aerosol. Not any cotton rag but a 2.5 PM five layer mask with an active carbon filter, as one of those layers. The mask must seal effectively. It will not completely stop virions — but it may reduce viral load to a level your body can handle. Exhaust filters help by exhausting contaminated air — but are, of course, dangerous to other people if you are infected. A five layer PM 95 filter can block up to 90% of particles compared to 40 to 50% for cotton mask. But this depends on the seal — and lack of contact between the lips and fabric. That is a problem with almost every mask. So, if you are an at-risk person, what’s the best mask for you? The Respro Mask For me, it’s a bicycle mask. That’s because I ride a bike in the city, and I wear it all the time anyway. Along with a face shield. The best is made by the English company Respro. It makes a a 2.5 PM mask that filters down to the sub micron level. You can buy it with a rubber seal frame — the Pro Seal (sold separately) that keeps the filter out of contact with your lips, and with the addition of head strap (sold separately ) provides a good seal around the face — in four sizes, small, medium and large. Here’s their advertising blurb. Use a respiratory mask that incorporates an Activated Charcoal Cloth layer together with a submicron particle filter layer (combination filter) as it has the ability to adsorb viral matter in both the micro and the nano range of sizes by means of entrapment and adsoprtion. Whilst a P2/P3 industry face mask will trap particulates which may well carry viral matter (micro size), they are seldom bespoke and only come in one size. This increases the chance of a misfit by the user, especially if used by children or if they are not shown how to fit a mask properly or undergo a fit test~This means that a percentage of unfiltered air will bypass the filter completely. What these masks cannot do is adsorb the viral matter on its own, this happens with DACC as it operates on both a different principle and size scale (nano size). So whether that rated mask is P1/2 or 3, is not a significant factor. The correct fit and the seal are! The caveat is that it won’t protect other people since it has exhaust valves. So, it should not be worn by low-risk populations, such as young people, who are mostly asymptomatic. . So, want to protect others? Tape over the valve inside, when you are in social “contact” situation. Nope, virions don’t go through plastic tape. That forces you to breathe out through the mask materials, bypassing the exhaust valves, which are intended for easy exhalation when your lungs are working hard. For a short visit to the Supermarket or drugstore or a trip on the subway, using the mask this way is socially responsible and just as comfortable . The ProSeal rubber frame makes for easy breathing. When you are cycling or walking distances, peel off the tape. Remember these mask were created to save the lungs of cyclists in narrow polluted streets of Europe. Respro also (apparently ) sells a PM 99 filter, although it does not recommend it for sports. Yup, they come in various colors and designs. A caveat is that, without a head strap, the mask tends to slip down. With the optional head strap, you get a very secure fit. In addition, the style of such masks might not be for you. Alternatives Fortunately, there are now a lot of rubber face brackets that can be used with disposable PM 2.5 filters. They are inexpensive. There are a lot of different varieties and shapes. You may have to shop around to find one that actually fits your face and doesn’t slip. Such innovations are particularly useful for women since they don’t spoil makeup as much as a simple mask. You may also find it easier to breathe. Among the many advantages of the Respro mask and filter is that they come in sizes. The Respro mask is optimized for people biking — which means their lungs are inhaling and exhaling many times more air than just walking around. So, in addition, they include a HEPA type filter in addition to the activated carbon layer, which filters below one micron! The filters last between one and two months, depending on usage. The common 5 layer disposable filter sold on Amazon is convenient. I prefer the Respro Mask, because it simply the best cycling mask on the market and I bike a lot. As a COVID mask it works especially well since it also has a HEPA filter-- and it's comfortable. I could buy cheaper masks on Amazon but I would probably buy several. The filters are not quite as good and must be changed all the time, compared to the RESPRO filters which last me a month or two at a time. The RESPRO mask ends up being both more effective AND cheaper! Whatever you do--mask up. Keep your distance. Protect others and yourself. Masks won't save the world. But you can.
- GENIUS IS A DISORDER 2
The NeuroDiversity Fad "Neurodiverse”, a term which no one knew or used not so long ago, is now a buzzword, thanks to “diverse” drivers of public opinion, including, of course, identitarianism for the ever-sleepy “woke” generation, which celebrates "difference" in gender, sexual orientation, race and the like -- and "inclusion" -- so long as you subscribe to middle-class values—work, family and so on. Capitalizing on social media's promotion of the value of social diversity, there are TV programs like “The Good Doctor”, whose main character-- like that of his predecessor House MD-- is a composite of real-life people, and not like any single one of these exactly--nor really like anybody else. You would be hard put to find anyone like Shaun Murphy or Gregory House. Of course, Gregory House (MD) came before “neurodiversity” was a social media phenomenon, so no one ever categorized him as “being on the spectrum”, neuroatypical, autistic or otherwise. although he clearly was, cognitively different. If the show aired today, you can be sure that he would be ADHD / Aspergers. In the case of Murphy it doesn’t really matter that you would be hard put to find any autistic person like him. Then, again, why should you? The “spectrum” is more like Van Gogh’s palette, a mess of pigments and colors. What color is savantism? "Atypical” means – “original”, one of a kind—rara avis. Which is why Van Gogh - and House MD are so hard to classify. "Typicality", if you can call it that, means pushing things into convenient boxes with convenient labels--a kind of taxonomic logic. It entails inductive simplification and reductionism -- and-- of course lying, when all else fails. In any case, the cognitive “differences” of Murphy and, retrospectively, Gregory House empower are designed to “identity” people on the autistic / ADHD spectrum for inclusion in society-- in the appropriate boxes. The Creativity Fad The TV programs highlight “creativity”even though not every atypical person is either creative or intelligent -- reflecting the huge emphasis on “originality” and intelligence -- from kindergarten on to high school to college and then business. Parents invest zillions in toys for little Tommy which promise to make him a creative genius, so he can reinvent the I-Pod or a Tesla. How likely is it that these parents who are, often as not, work in imagination-destroying middle management jobs, will have kids who think outside the box? Their world is governed by Alverson's Stupidity Paradox, where "functional stupidity"-- not asking questions and mindless attention to meaningless detail makes the corporate machine hum at a soothing frequency. The toys are really for Mommy and Daddy, something to add a bit of color to their grayscale lives and distract them from the fact that Little Tommy likes playing with his pee-pee most. That’s a bit like buying a toy for a cat. Cats, of course, are ALL “on the spectrum”, which is no doubt why Julian Assange who is said to be an "aspie" bonded so well with the Embassy Cat. My cats never like the toys I buy for them. Generally, they find, or make their own. No REAL cat likes the those toys that idiot humans invest money in when they have toilet paper.! The corollary of this in the human world is that If Little Tommy likes the toy you buy him, he is very likely NEVER going to be a genius, although he may end up painting badly or punishing our ear drums with mangled guitar chords or getting a lot of body art and a pierced navel. Instead of Einstein you get Beavis and Butthead. AND you have to pay for their iPods. Is Little Tommy "neurodiverse"-- or just weird? How "the Spectrum became a Thing Being on the Spectrum is now a "thing". How did that happen? The public mind is an extension of Hollywood. When the series Dexter became a hit, it was accompanied by statistics that showed that most CEOs, not to mention at least 30% of "professionals" of all types, were sociopaths. This despite genetic psychopathy or sociopathy only being about 2%, 3% max. Dexter was : .handsome .moral (he only "punished" BAD people .born psychopathic (meaning he had an excuse) Suddenly, everybody wanted to be a sociopath! But then Dexter went off the air..and the meme had passed expiry date. Then came the ADHD "epidemic", 'the Good Doctor" and House MD reruns. Elon Musk “came out” as having Aspergers and ADHD, which was very good personal PR, and no doubt sold a lot of Tesla's. T Suddenly, the Internet noticed that Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and the like are all “on the spectrum” (if you include ADHD )—or some characterization to that effect. If you creative —you are – by definition—not “typical”—so, you must be “neuroatypical"-- but luck, privilege, wealth and so on are not typical either, which is why Donald Trump could style himself a "creative genius". ASD and ADHD are not only actual phenomenon, they are therefore also a fad--which almost every high school student must have to keep the Ritalin and Adderall manufacturers in business. Breaking Bad indeed! Just in case you were wondering, ADHD drugs are stimulants which are virtually indistinguishable from crystal meth. Who do you "follow" on Facebook and Twitter? Fads are things we follow, but don't necessarily understand, just like the people and organizations we follow on the social media. I have real ADHD and Aspergers. But I do not feel that I have a "disorder". But I know what it like to be pigeon-holed as "different" -- aka, "divergent", "special", "alien", or "weird". As someone “on the palette” so to speak, I see the desire to but neuroatypical people in boxes as a true disorder. What will we call it? Compulsive Categorization Disorder. CCD. Or maybe Conventionalization Typing Disorder (CTD). Compulsive Stereotyping Disorder. Suggestions please. For the time being, we will call it CCD, I am not a “typical” atypical….. Because as I have pointed out "a-typical" means exactly that. The box is square. I am a different shape. Genetic difference as an excuse The popular narrative is that genetic difference is an excuse, if you have no choice for your behavior. So...you get controversies like this: Julian Assange: Autistic Hacker Or Just an A-hole? That was a headline on a much-viewed article. When Julian Assange’s lawyers argued he is an “Aspie” or at least “atypical”, the US Government weren’t having it, no matter what doctors –or even cats -say. No, just an asshole, they said. If he had a "disorder" he would be "sick", which would prevent them from throwing into a hole in a SuperMax. Similarly, when American intelligence issued a report that Vladimir Putin had Asperger's, the American and UK Media were similarly incensed. For the record, I doubt that he does have Asperger's but this not the point. The current Deep State and DNP narrative tells us that Vlad is a latter-day Impaler, just suffering from a shortage of stakes to drop people on, as a result of American sanctions. No excuses permitted for Crimea or Syria--or just not dropping dead. Both Assange and Putin, however are clearly gifted and creative—and polymathic (especially Putin). But so was Doctor Evil. The cat should be a giveaway. Although Assange still has his hair. And Hitler liked dogs too, passing the world’s first animal rights legislation. Here Godwin's Law applies. By definition, giftedness, creativity and polymathy are, of course, neuroatypical. But being on the Spectrum doesn't guarantee these abilities and may sometimes interfere with their expression, which is why I work best with a partner who is cognitively different from me, as you can see from my book. . The US Government argument is that both Assange and Putin chose to do certain things for which they must be punished, with no excuses for having Asperger's. Assange's lawyers are not arguing that Assange's mental condition makes him less responsible, only that it puts him at risk to maltreatment in the US penal system. The Kremlin just laugh at the whole Asperger's thing: as a way of diminishing Putin's very real accomplishments. Whether you are "on the spectrum" or not is a matter of opinion, and usually determined by those with power -- teachers, counselors, doctors, bosses-- or even government agencies. And, of course, your enemies. In such an environment, you can not rely on conventional wisdom about the "spectrum". The "science" is like a kid's picture book-- a lot of images, with text in really big letters. People like me -- think differently is all. Otherwise, we're pretty much the same animals. Previous article: GENIUS IS A DISORDER More articles on ADHD... Fixing ADHD (1) Fixing ADHD (2) Fixing ADHD(3) The Gift of Difference
- Are Fried Roaches Really the Future?
Fried roaches How about a plate of Mac Fried Roaches? Some people thought I was just being tongue in cheek when I talked about eating insects. On the contrary, eating insect protein might just be the key to our survival in a world where climate change threatens food supply chains and factory farming of beef, pigs and sheep which are also major producers of the methane driving global warming. Just as we did 10,000 years ago, we have to adapt. Here’s the BBC…. Insect cultivation uses a fraction of the land, energy and water required for traditional farming, and has a significantly lower carbon footprint. Crickets produce up to 80% less methane than cows and 8-12 times less ammonia than pigs, according to a study by researchers at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas which, although shorter-lived in the atmosphere, has a global warming impact 84 times higher than CO2 over a 20-year period. Ammonia is a pungent gas and air pollutant that causes soil acidification, groundwater pollution and ecosystem damage. The New Neolithic or New Stone Age was followed by the Bronze and Iron ages. We moved from tribal cultures to “civilizations”. The 20th Century was the Fossil Fuel Age. And today we are in Information Age, with the AI Age looming. Each age has been driven in part by technology and in part by environmental changes. Today is no different. Insect farms can eat a lot of things, as you know from the roaches in your kitchen. And, yes, roaches are edible too – and already being farmed – in China. Number two on the list of the most profitable bugs, · Crickets · Cockroaches · Mealworms · Red Wigglers (Worm Castings) · Silkworms · Ladybugs · Soldier Fly Larvae. Insects are the most efficient animal production system considered, although less so than soybean curd. However, insects have the additional advantage that they are able to use a wide variety of feeds, including by-products and waste (Ocio and Vinaras, 1979, van Broekhoven et al., 2015). The results here assume that insect feed uses the same mix of feeds currently used for conventional livestock. However, if half of food discarded by consumers (from Alexander et al. (2017)) could be used as feed for mealworms, this would replace 8.1% of current animal production. Nutrition of crickets. Per 100 grams, you get , 3.10 mg of niacin, 1.09 mg of riboflavin, 0.36 mg of thiamin, 9.5 mg of iron, 185.3 mg of phosphorous, 75.8 mg of calcium, 5.1 g of carbohydrates, 5.5 g of fat, 12.9 g of protein and 121 calories. What is the future? Mealworm patties in your McDonald’s? Vegans eschew all animal products. But we did not evolve as vegans. We need animal protein—just not the kind we have now. In the future, our diet will likely depend on insect farming, carp fishing and farming, soy farming and organic farming of vegetables, mushrooms and fruits, all of which can be integrated, with enormous savings of land space and resources. Did I say “carp”? Yes. The US has spent millions trying to eradicate the Asian carp from the Mississippi. But it is highly nutritious and, as vegetarian bottom dwellers have low levels of heavy metals such as mercury compared to fish higher up in the food chain. The shift will be away from huge corporate single GMO product farms using chemical pesticides to smaller, locally owned organic multi product farms. Is Organic Farming productive and profitable compared to conventional and GMO farming? As for those meal-worm patties, they are easy to make all by yourself or on site? They don’t need the expensive technologies Big Ag uses for beef and pork – slaughterhouses, and butchery. Nor do we have the issue of slaughterhouse waste Nor do we have the issue of slaughterhouse waste, which is a major health and environmental issue and adds to food costs, which are passed onto you, the consumer. Nor do we have the issue of slaughterhouse waste The advantages of protein obtained from insects, soy, fish farming and the like should be obvious. Big Ag? Bigger is not always better. Big Ag is big partly because modern meat production is complex. But the bigger the system, the more wasteful. Sometimes smaller is better. The Rodale Institute’s Farming Systems Trial is the longest-running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional grain cropping systems in North America. It has found that organic yields are competitive with conventional yields after a 5-year transition period and that organic yields can be up to 40% higher in times of drought, due to the healthier soils, which hold moisture better. The Rodale's "conventional" plots include GM crops, in order to better reflect real farming conditions in the US. In other words, climate change and environmental damage to soils worldwide favor organic yields in the long-term. They also favor localized production, leveraging digital technologies.
- Coping with COVID Anxiety
You raise up your head And you ask, “Is this where it is?” And somebody points to you and says “It’s his” And you say, “What’s mine?” And somebody else says, “Well what is?” And you say, “Oh my God Am I here all alone?” Because something is happening here But you don’t know what it is Do you, Mister Jones? Ballad of a Thin Man Bob Dylan We are all Mr Jones. Something is happening and we don’t know what it is. As with Mr. Jones, we really DO know what is – we just don’t want to. That’s COVID anxiety. We don’t really know what is “happening” with COVID, or why, or how it will affect us in the future --- or even if we have a future at all. And suddenly, we find ourselves all alone, cut off from “normal” social routines and interactions, the human contacts we used to have in classrooms and workplaces and entertainment venues. We ask “what’s mine?”. And the answer is “nothing”. We are powerless. Or so it seems. Studies show that over 40% of young women and a slight lower percentage of young men suffer from anxiety and depression over “the New Normal”, which is, in fact, not really new but a regression to the situation that “civilization” has faced for centuries, endemic diseases that shorten lifespan. Add to that:L Climate Change. Heat waves cannot be ignored. Climate-induced flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes, mudslides and the inevitable rise of the oceans augur a massive die-out. Still we try to deny things. Something is happening. But you don’t want to know what it is, do you? Generation Z, like the Millennials was brought up protected and dependent – told by the media not to worry because someone would look after them, that something belonged to them. And you say, “What’s mine?” And somebody else says, “Well what is?” Sorry, nothing is yours, Gen Z. Not even your life. You face a very, very uncertain and likely short future. More diseases, more pain, early death. Fertility and marriage rates are dropping. Why would any sensible person want to get married and have a family now? Sounds bad? But in the bad, there is Good. When Denial is no longer an option, we must take our power back, focusing on what has always mattered since modern human beings evolved 35000 years ago. Look around you. Who are the 5 people you trust most? Who are the 5 people with whom you are least alone, with who you are share. They may be family -- or maybe not. "Family" is not about bloodlines or marriage certificates--it is about caring, sharing, and communication. Each of these 5 have 5 people too. But these groups of five are not closed . The circle of intimacy extends to other groups of five, three and then seven, empowered by interaction. , This is your band, in pretribal terms. You all share overlapping needs and concerns. You are all different, And those differences give you power—force multipliers. Neoliberal governments listen to public opinion but they rarely represent it. But you can effect change at the local level. Human beings and rats have something in common. We have empathy and altruism for those closest to us, those with whom we share emotionally. Rats, as we know are survivors. Human beings are too. But we need to pay attention to the basics. We hae to know what matters. Don’t pop a pill for depression. There is no proven chemical basis for depression; nor really for anxiety. And SSRIs won’t help you. These ‘disorders” occur when you, like Mr. Jones, deny what is happening. Do what rats do. Care and share. Don't deny. Related article : https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/covid-counseling-1
- The Missing Link In Human Evolution: Dogs
Dragon Man Recently, someone discovered an ancient skull in China. MSN News, our leading purveyor of misinformation of all kinds enthused. Researchers believe a fossilized skull found in China and dubbed "dragon man" could be the missing link between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. If researchers used the term “missing link” they should be ashamed of themselves. Biologists these days loathe the phrase “missing link” "Missing link is an outmoded term in biology, which I have to say most of us think should be forgotten and never used," says Paleo Anthropologist John Hawks. The missing link idea is misleading insofar as it implies “linear--a chain” rather than “branching”, a "tree-like" organic evolutionary progression. In addition, "missing link" concepts rely on perceived changes in what I shall call “gross anatomy” -- bone structure--—whatever we can see from fossils. If you read my last two articles on wolves, dogs, neoteny, and self-domestication, you will notice that research suggests that anatomically “modern” human beings evolved around the same time as Neanderthals and Denisovans, no doubt occupying different ecological niches in the same way that Chimpanzees and Bonobos do. Homo sapiens was “gracile” compared to other Homo species, fine boned just as bonobos are, compared to chimpanzees and gorillas. But it took at least 50,000 years before Homo Sapiens won out and all other hominids became extinct. Something changed. That "something" we understand from fossil studies. And Dragon Man is irrelevant. What changed was not our skulls--but what is inside our skulls. We didn’t’ have higher IQs than other hominids. And we didn't become the dominant species because we were meaner, more warlike and aggressive: we didn’t kill off our Neanderthal and Denisovan neighbours. It was actually “make love not war”. Our ancestors, were, if anything, proto-hippies. To put this in simple terms that most people can understand, we developed brains capable of high EQ, which means the enhanced pro-sociality that all young animals possess. Neoteny. Neanderthals were neotenous also --just not to the same degree as we became over time. How do I know? For the same reason that I know that early Homo Sapiens only became fully neotenous about 35000 years ago. Our partnership with wolves is the key. Neanderthals didn’t have dogs and didn’t’ partner with wolves as far as we know. Nor, for that matter did early homo sapiens. That partnership evolved over time and suggests evolution “under the hood” in the brain. Partnering with animals—in fact, any sentient “other” -- requires a high degree of neoteny and also self-transcendence. Empathy and altruism must transcend the limitations of ego, “identity”, and culture. Maslow, as you will recall, thought that self-transcendence was the highest level of psychological evolution, an end point in human development. For our species, it was not an end-point, except neurologically but instead a beginning, allowing us to spread all over the globe -- like gray wolves. Our ancestors were neuro-diverse, something clear from the high prevalence of neurodiversity in almost all hunting and gathering communities. ADD? ADHD? Asperger’s? Autism? No problem. There was no bullying in ancestral communities, which were (by and large) reverse dominance societies. Yeah, your Granny, many eons removed had sex with a hunky Neanderthal guy she met out picking berries…and that led to your 2% Neanderthal DNA. Granny could do as she liked – and she did. The Original Ethical Slut. However, this kind of EQ did not appear immediately. It needed a boost from wolves, specifically gray wolves, which have their own kind of EQ, so they can hunt cooperatively. Like human beings compared to other hominids, the gray wolf was “gracile” compared to the dire wolf and less specialized in diet. Like Homo Sapiens, the gray wolf did its share of scavenging. That’s how we got together. A dead Mastodon that stumbled off a cliff was the Paleo version of Friday Night pub. Your guys get one table. Those other guys, the nasty-looking ones with the big teeth, get another table. You don’t talk. But you don’t fight. Too busy “wolfing” down the booze and other stuff. Eventually you get used to each other. The guys with the teeth (or tats) keep other nasties away, and if necessary you help. In any case, the ability to get along with wolves was a survival advantage, as good as a spear, a knife, fire, or a good throwing arm. Those who had it, lived to reproduce. Those who didn’t, didn’t. The same applied to our partnerships with neurodiverse people, each of whom was “different” but many of whom had special skills. So human beings self-selected for a kind of consciousness which was a.) neotenous b.) highly cooperative. Wolves similarly self-selected. And wandering omegas joined the human family as the first dogs. Dogs are the missing link in our own understanding of our nature. The missing link in human evolution series : 1: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/just-a-kid-and-a-dog-part-2 2: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/just-a-kid-and-the-dog 3: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/dogs-the-missing-link-in-human-evolution
- Community--the Secret to Longevity?
Community matters! She survived the Spanish flu, Asian flu, and a bout of typhoid, making it to the grand old age of 109, but Luisa Zappitelli could never have imagined being shut in her house for a year shielding from COVID-19. She’s anxious to return to her former life: going for walks, home-breeding canaries and volunteering with the local Vespa scooter club, of which she is “godmother.” For now, she can all but wait for the vaccine that she hopes will allow her to devote herself once more to her passions. Genetics? Diet? These things are important, but even more so is community. Macolm Gladwell in his book Outliers (which if you haven’t read, you should buy and read) tells the story of the Italian-American town of Roseto in Pennsylvania which, for many years, preserved the ancient culture of the town’s founders, immigrants from Roseto Valfortore, which lies one hundred miles southeast of Rome, in the Apennine foothills of the Italian province of Foggia. In Roseto, virtually no one under 55 died of a heart attack, or showed any signs of heart disease. For men over 65, the death rate from heart disease in Roseto was roughly half that of the United States as a whole. The death rate from all causes in Roseto, in fact, was something like thirty or thirty-five percent lower than it should have been. In addition…. There was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction, and very little crime. They didn’t have anyone on welfare. Then we looked at peptic ulcers. They didn’t have any of those either. These people were dying of old age. That’s it. When Wolf had dieticians analyze the typical Rosetan’s eating habits, he found that a whopping 41 percent of their calories came from fat. Nor was this a town where people got up at dawn to do yoga and run a brisk six miles. The Pennsylvanian Rosetans smoked heavily, and many were struggling with obesity. A physician named Wolf looked at the Rosetans’ dietary and health habits. Wolf and his colleague Bruhn found something interesting. What Wolf slowly realized was that the secret of Roseto wasn’t diet or exercise or genes or the region where Roseto was situated. It had to be the Roseto itself. As Bruhn and Wolf walked around the town, they began to realize why. They looked at how the Rosetans visited each other, stopping to chat with each other in Italian on the street, or cooking for each other in their backyards. They learned about the extended family clans that underlay the town’s social structure. They saw how many homes had three generations living under one roof, and how much respect grandparents commanded. They went to Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and saw the unifying and calming effect of the church. They counted twenty-two separate civic organizations in a town of just under 2000 people. They picked up on the particular egalitarian ethos of the town, that discouraged the wealthy from flaunting their success and helped the unsuccessful obscure their failures. Fred Blom (above) died at 116. He smoked until the COVID crisis, when he couldn't get tobacco to roll his own cigarettes. He worked as a laborer until past 80 and was self educated. His wife was more than 30 years younger and he lived --just like Luisa-- in a small black South African community. At 114, he was still active "making things". Luisa Zapetelli is a part of a close-knit multigenerational community, too. Like Fred was, she remains active. She is still walking, although with the age of a cane. Her mind is clear. She lives at home with her family. Imagine if she were a middle class American. If she had been an American, her kids would have grown up and moved away. She might know her next door neighbor — enough to say hello. Or maybe not. Eventually, her family would have taken whatever assets she had and put her in “care” — where average life expectancy is about 6 months. She would have died not from old age but from the real killer of the modern age — isolation and loneliness. Too often in modern western "civilizations", families are bound by a sense of duty and social propriety. Traditional communities such as Roseta and Fred Blom's, were bound by love. That has been teh way for 35,000 years. As I write in my book Ageing Young: You’re Never Too Old To Rock ‘N Roll, we evolved as the most social of social animals. Our brains have a unique capacity for empathy and altruism. Me=We. That means that we are more than our individual “identity”; we contain, as Whitman put it, “multitudes”. Remove the “we” from “me”, and we are left with a black hole in our being, which sucks the life out of us. Loneliness is a greater killer than any virus. Americans focus on the nuclear family, a concept which is only a hundred years old, and which was fashioned to enable industrial societies. Get a job. Get married. Have children. Educate them. Watch them leave. Retire. And then “get out of the way”, which means “die”. Our concept of family includes a notion of obsolescence and predicates isolation and loneliness. What we really need is community. But such “community” depends on equality and contact. Culture matters. But American culture wants you to die. A relatively recent (1992) survey, as published in the American Journal of Public Health, confirmed this sad prediction. The officials of the AJPH, no doubt beguiled by Roseto’s fate, descended on the town yet again. Again the investigators rifled through the death records of Roseto, and again they compared them with the surrounding towns of Nazareth and Bangor. The result: the Rosetans now suffer equally from the ravages of heart disease as every other town does, in the vicinity or not. In fact, the wearing away of intra-marriages (Italian to Italian), the careless dismantling of the social ties between family and community, the return to conspicuous consumption by wealthy Rosetans, and ignorance of common values, could be charted with precision from decade to decade. Lo and behold, there is an almost perfect correlation between Americanization and heart disease death rates. My original quote comes from a Chinese site. CGTN. Why are the Chinese interested in this story? They are under attack by Western cultures, especially America, whose basic assumptions are Hobbseian — men as nasty brutes — or perhaps by Christian beliefs that we are born in sin. Only a few make it to Heaven. And it’s Us vs Them. Where Us=US (of A). By contrast, China is influenced by Confucius and especially Mencius, who believed the human beings are basically good. Chinese culture emphasizes community and collectivism, even as they grapple with industrial and technological development. There is no heaven but the one you make on earth. But how to do that in a country of 1.4 billion people, with a few hundred nationalities ? I don’t agree with the Chinese system, though. I agree with the original settlers of Roseto. I agree with Luisa and her community.
- GENIUS IS A DISORDER
Of course, the term ADHD is a fuzzy category used in Western countries as a “diagnosis” for a “disorder”in our psychiatric medical model. Your kid’s counselor labels him ADHD . Quick, put him on drugs! Of course, he might be just bored at school, realizing that he can get a better education on the Internet, not to mention porn, which is a lot more interesting than staring at old Mrs. Grant's boobs all day. . Did Da Vinci have ADHD? Maybe. He was left-handed, probably dyslexic, polymathic, autodidactic, insatiably curious, and had trouble finishing projects. Mona Lisa's smile--a subtle detail most artists would have missed--is a giveaway. . “ADD”? Another disorder. ADD is also known as “inattentive” ADHD. So your kid doesn’t pay attention in math class? Whoops! More drugs. But “ADD” is also referred to as the “Edison Trait”. Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein were poster kids for that. What’s “normal”? Confused? I am. Clinically, I have been diagnosed as having ADD. I am also dyslexic, dysgraphic, and a polymath with a significant degree of LLI , or Low Latent Inhibition. People categorize me in also sorts of ways – as having a superfragilistically high IQ if they like me, or maybe form of ASD, such as Asperger’s or savant syndrome, if they don’t. Labels, labels,labels. “Autistic” people are not the same as people like me --but like people in my category, they are all different. Autism is not a “disorder” any more than ADD, ADHD – or genius is. To compensate for the contradictions, institutional psychiatry calls autism a "spectrum", a clever bit of semantics. A DSM IV “disorder” is a medical diagnosis to assist medical doctors – psychiatrists—in “treating” or “normifying” the “abnormal”, which is their bread and butter. But, what exactly is a “spectrum”? Most of the electromagnetic and acoustic spectra are invisible. We know what our eyes can see- and our ears can hear-- but the rest of it? Your dog or cat “hears” the world, as much as they see it, at frequencies beyond our hearing. Not to mention, “smell” the world. In the case of autism and any ‘neuroatypical” state we are really talking about behaviors and especially perceptual abilities that “normals” do not have to the same degree, any more than they share their pets’ special abilities, although they can hear and smell , too. Hierarchical, dominance societies are built on concepts of ‘normalcy”, not that means the same or of equal value, just organizations in categories or “identities’. It is taxonomic logic. Therefore, “identity” is always a “category--with subcategories. Black, white, Asian, etc. Male, Female, Intersex. Gay, Straight, Bi. Child . Teen. Young adult. Middle-Aged. Old. These are also types. If typify groups, it is easier to control them, and get them in lock step operating to a set of rules. Who are you today? The Wheel of Fortune? Each "identity" assumes "normal" or "socially acceptable" behaviors, which are provided for us through conditioning aka "training" since these are not so much "natural" as nurtural. We do this with our pets, of course. We train them. Cats might be an exception—they train us. “Atypical”, however, does not fit in. We can’t “normify” it. It is not "nurtural". Yet, all great art, scientific invention and the like come from atypical people, who are lionized if they create something of social worth – but otherwise ignored or even classified as “sick”. That is why genius generally becomes most famous after the person dies. As a “neuroatypical” or ‘neurodivergent” person, I can do things other people can’t. But my abilities are also disability. I function best with help. When I left home, I lived in a small community of Canadian First Nation people – where I was immediately accepted – and helped. As it turns out rates of ADD, ADHD, and autism are high about the First Nations, who traditionally accepted people like this. Lessons from First Nations. Of course, every indigenous North American culture is different. But, by and large, most “first nation” cultures operate on similar principles. You are no doubt are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which was based on Canadian Blackfoot culture, which Maslow had observed as an anthropologist in the 40s—and misinterpreted. University of Alberta professor Cindy Blackstock says: “First of all, the triangle is not a triangle. It’s a tipi,” And the tipis in the Blackfoot (tradition) always went up and reached up to the skies”. Notice that self actualization is at the base of the Blackfoot tipi.The Blackfoot culture is mirrored by that of the Mohawk which is mirrored by the Navajo To be fair, Maslow never created the pyramid and in the later years of his life he believed in self-transcendence rather than self-actualization. In the Blackfoot worldview where the “self” is only the beginning with transcendence driving community actualization and cultural continuity above. Maslow eventually put self-transcendence at the top of his list of needs with self-actualization below. That famous pyramid? Created by a business management . consultant.The First Nations perspective, however, is an open system, with a spiritual rather than a religious core – a different sense of time and reality. Expanding circles, which reflect as we shall see, a certain kind of consciousness. This graphic is based partly on Professor Blackstock’s inspiring writings on Indian “breath of life” philosophy and also on Terry Cross’s in his wonderful monograph: Through Indigenous Eyes. For most hunters and gatherers and many tribal people, you are born with a ‘self”. To the extent that they are egalitarian (and not all tribal peoples, including Native Americans are!), every person is equal, including children, women, and people who are different in their cognition and way of thinking. The “self” is subsumed by “spirit” which is self-transcendence. This allows love, belonging and relationships, which enable the survival of the group. Of course, the academic community had to interpret Maslow’s writings their own way. Theirs is a dominance system, with university administrators and the top, then tenured professors, then, adjuncts at the bottom. Students are fodder.Academic thought is structured by the implied somewhat feudal value system. They genuflect to Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. The First Nations perspective is an open system with a spiritual rather than a religious core – a different sense of time and reality. Expanding circles, which reflects, as we shall see a certain kind of consciousness. Personal Notes In school, I was always an outlier, something of a Freak. For my Indian friends, I was just "different"--yet, one of them! Later, I visited a psychiatrist, an older man, who did not believe in “treating” people like me so much as giving me coping skills. He focused on teaching me to organize my thoughts cognitively and communicate in discrete sentences. I tended to speak continuously in one long, never-ending sentence, as my attention shifted from one thing to another, making connections. My thought processes worked as a matrix. But for “normals”, who expect linear thinking, this is confusing. Oddly enough, the Indians had no trouble understanding me. One aspect of this was my visual sense. Thoughts were also pictures. “Visual thinking” is common among neurologically atypical people. I learned these skills which allowed me to pass as “Normal”. But “Gifted”, even though each of abilities was also a disability. As you can see from the large number of pictures in my articles I remain visual. A good example is presented in the TV program, the Good Doctor. The Spiritual Aspect In the modern world, we have institutional religions. Our ancestors had spiritual consciousness. Among the "disorders" that our society worries about are dissociative disorders.in Buddhism a kind of “satori” or total awareness. Again, this is one of those bins for a wide range of things including a lot of intellectual junk. Schizotypal identify disorder is dumped in with various genuinely spiritual states, including Buddhist ‘enlightenment ” and “eureka moments”. In general, all these mentalities have in common the ability to dissociate one’s self from the Self itself, seeing the world without filters, holistically, all at once. There is no Center. The “Center” is the Circumference of imagination. Yet, this dissociative capability also enable hyperfocus, which, as we will see later, is essential to genius Satori As a child, I would often “space out”. Suddenly time disappeared. I, “Julian” disappeared. “Julian” was just another label. I was, in that moment, the World. Outside was Inside. Inside was Outside. It was intensely pleasurable. Such experiences are particularly common among artists and inventors. For our ancestors, they were proof of “Spirit”. And spiritual connection, which they tried to induce through song and dance and drugs. Naturally, I didn’t talk about this to anyone, since I was already regarded as “spacey”. Neural atypical people often have issues with Social Identity – because their identities tend to be as fluid and dynamic as their perception. Perception That brings us to “perception”—seeing, feeling, sensing – our direct interaction with the world beyond. . Neuroatypical people often have had degrees of LLI – or “Low Latent Inhibition”. Take a look at his video here. Difference in perception between ADHD and Low Latent Inhibition, Most people focus only on what the mind has been taught to categorize as relevant – that’s the Green Box Of course this “relevance” is predetermined and varies. The video gives us the conventional notion of ADD (or ADHD) which is that attention moves quickly including “irrelevant” stimuli without stopping—and distinguishes it from LLI, as though LLI was an ability that ADD people lack-- and they cannot “focus”—nor “hyperfocus”. Or: The idea here is that people with ADHD do not discriminate relevance and are incapable of sustained focus. Their attention is constantly shifting and moving. With LLI, a person is (supposedly) able to focus on ALL stimuli simultaneously. And then, people with LLI however also hyperfocus”. As I said, this is the conventional concept. And it’s WRONG. LLI is common to a wide range or people labelled “neuroatypical” or “neurodivergent”. I should know, I am one of them. In fact, some ADD / ADHD people like me end up as polymaths because we hyperfocus on different subjects--we establish relevance between otherwise disconnected subjects, through intensive, occasionally obsessive autodidactic sutdy. My book “You’re Never Too Old To Rock ‘N Roll”, which is Book I of the Ageing Series, makes connections between rock music, paleoanthropology and paleontology, social psychology, neurology and neurolinguistics, child development studies, evolutionary psychology, history… a long list that also includes zoology. I study each area in depth. This is not uncommon among people like me. Take a look at this video. ADHD As A Difference In Cognition, Not A Disorder: Stephen Tonti at TEDxCMU This difference in cognition has never been more important today when we are desperately in need of new ideas. With the Internet, we have unprecedented access to information. We need people like Mr. Toni who can scan multiple areas of relevance, zoom in, study, and offer new connections – and ultimately solutions necessary to our survival. There is considerable interest in corporate HR in hiring people on the autism spectrum because they often work obsessively, without regard for time -- or -- most important of all -- overtime. They are "productive" and they can do detail work that others find boring or tiring. But too many corporations are interested in work slaves -- not in creative solution-makers. Corporations are top-down hierarchies -- with little room for lateral or cooperative organization -- or the creativity that polymaths offer. Elon Musk may have made polymathy --and Asperger's-- buzzwords but that does not mean that the corporate world understand either. If you liked this article, please buy me a coffee . Click on the link. Next article : GENIUS IS A DISORDER 2 More articles on ADHD... Fixing ADHD (1) Fixing ADHD (2) Fixing ADHD (3) The Gift of Difference
- The Man on the Silver Mountain
The importance of play . As I have written in connection to diet, we evolved to be lazy. This characteristic applies to all human activity. Hunters and gatherers didn't /don’t really “work”. What Western social anthropologists classify as “work” for these people is -- or was -- actually less than 14 hours a week--as much “play” as anything else--with song, dance, humor, story telling, and social schmoozing, not to mention occasional sex. It was cooperative and multi-generational. "Lazy" is not sloth: it's active! We are Pans Ludens. The Ape that Plays. Play teaches us to cooperate. It keeps us fit. It’s fun. And, just like other animals, we learn from it. It is social exercise for body and brain and ultimately a survival skill. Our brains are smaller than some of our predecessors but more efficient, so we can do things more easily, with less effort. We do more with less. "Lazy "works. (pun!). Hunters and gatherers were/ are “immediate return” survivalists. That means they lived/ live here and now. The first settlers to North America noticed that the native Americans didn’t do things “by the clock”. They didn’t have clocks, of course-- so how could they. But the colonials called them "lazy savages" anyway. . They were really, really bad at “scheduling”—although very good at predicting near time events. If they said they would do something, they would -- eventually. They did what needed to be done in the present home. If the Present was OK, the future pretty much looked after itself. This mentality is obviously productive. It is the original version of what today's Lean Management Theory should be. We talk a lot about spontaneity, seizing the moment, creativity, and energizing focused activity. We spent hours in training to do such things. Countless hours preparing PowerPoint Presentations about it, whatever "it" is. Our ancestors just did it. And they enjoyed it. In our world, we make plans on top of plans. By the end of it all we have forgotten the point, or the situation has changed, and we cannot react or adapt. We live in our heads; not in the real world. Our ancestors did not "work" in our modern sense where it is a four letter word, literally and figuratively--something you are forced to do, structured by social forces beyond our control, limiting our choices. Our ancestors were free; they had choice. Our "choices" are many but usually superficial, like deciding whether to buy Nike or New Balance--Same-Same -- with minor differences. If you have to make yourself to do something, it isn’t fun. And if it isn’t fun, think of another way that is more enjoyable. So, “Lazy” can mean “smart” Working out without work This is true of physical fitness, too. Our ancestors didn’t have gyms, dumbbells or exercise machines. And they were fit. They did it through simple activity. As I said – “play”, song and dance, story telling, games, sex. There was an element of “play” included even in hunting, which involved of course a lot of walking, was usually performed in groups, with a lot of humor, and even song and dance. Joking. All part of the Great Game -- aka Life. If you want to be fit, make it play-- whether you just walk, cycle, swim, go to the gym, use resistance bands, . Walk, cycle, swim, go to the gym. But take the "work" out of "work out" . And do it your way! For example, I live in the middle of one of the world's largest cities--Tokyo with 40 million people in the Kanto Plain. It has the world's most developed transportation system--buses, trains and subways. Taking a subway means walking to the station, enduring the crowds, stuffy air, enduring a boring ride. It's a drag. Driving a car would be an exercise in road rage. Takes hours, if ever, to find a parking space. I don't drive. I cycle everywhere. It's faster, cheaper, more fun, and I stay fit. I don’t use a racing bike with narrow tyres. Nor do I use special clothing. Cycling is part of my life. My bike is a modified mountain bike with slightly slimmer tyres, a noseless seat which forces me to balance with my arms, and shocks for rough roads and potholes. It’s heavier and takes more energy to pedal. But I pedal head up. I can see the world in all its diversity and complexity. I laugh at traffic jams. When I get tired, I just stop. Drink some coffee. Take in the surroundings. Talk to a stranger. Yeah, I’m lazy. I used to work out too. I chose a gym that had what I needed. No spandex thank you. Running machines? Boring. Why run going nowhere? Our ancestors didn't jog-- they walked. Less chance of injury and just as good exercise in the end and easier to talk and sing and play with your mates. For me, the gym was also a social venue. In between sets I could joke and talk and make friends and the occasional lover. With COVID, I switched to using exercise bands at home, listening to rock and roll and singing along. (You can do that even if you are a bad singer,as I am – but only at home). Do a little exercise.Sing. Yes, you can do that, even when exercising -- sounds better than "groaning". Today, I did squats listening to Richie Blackmore. I'm a wheel, I'm a wheel I can roll, I can feel And you can't stop me turning I do a set, then sit down at the computer and write this article. Lazy!. But productive. The break stimulates creativity. COVID makes you feel lonely? Get a bluetooth headset and talk to your friends on WhatsApp while you walk. Or take up pole walking with a friend who you can talk to, outside with social distance. As Richie says.... . Come down with fire And lift your spirit higher You're the Man on the Silver Mountain. (PS ...BUY the album!)
- Wolf Lives Matter
Wolves 'R Us Dogs are our best friends. Wolves made us what we are, 35,000 years ago . How? That’s Part 2 of this essay. First, we must ask why human evolution once upon a time is so important today. We are not hunter gatherers any more, right? Wrong. We are what we were—it’s in our DNA. That’s whyunderstanding how we moved from monkey to man is so important. Lifestyles can change: human nature doesn’t. Your doggie may be house-trained – but you still need a pooper scooper. Facing up to what we really are has never been more important than now, as we face cataclysmic climate change and the end of the Quartenary and the death of ice sheets. No more whiskey on the rocks. Evolution is adaptation-- inextricably tied to ecology –the dynamics of relationship with the natural world and natural forces beyond us. And we will probably have to evolve once again -- after mostly becoming extinct. Origins, origins, origins: as Wordsworth said, “the child is the Father of the Man”. Rationales for Human Nature. Throughout history, the rationales for almost everything human beings do have been based on some concept of human “nature-- sadly de-natured – to support the precepts of institutional religion and existing social hierarchies. It is no different today. The work of Darwin in the 19th Century came as a shock but was quickly co-opted to support the further development of industrial capitalism and imperialism. Later, “blank slate” behaviorism was used to support 20th Century consumerism and various forms of totalitarianism, both overt and subtle, framed, of course, by neo-Darwinism. The Behaviorists preferred not to talk about “human nature”, only “nurture”. The beast within had to be tamed and trained but they did not want to look too closely at what kind of animal that was, only that it was...well... beastly. Forget instinct or drives -- can't change that -- don't even think it about it-it had to be about “habits”. Including sexual proclivities. little conditioning, and “Poof”, you are no longer gay or need to jerk off. .l No, putting an electric shocker on your kid’s wee-wee will not stop him or her from “doing it”. It is not a habit—it’s NATURE! More recently, however, “human nature” has been resurrected -- defined by people such as Stephen Pinker, whose $1000 an hour stylist does his hair au natural and Richard Dawkins who doesn’t have much hair at all -- to justify neoliberal “progress” and social control. We are not beasts they say – just brutes. The distinction is subtle. You might think of it as a kind of conceptual evolution. Pinker and Dawkins are quite clear that the path from beast to brute to…to something better—like Harvard Professor—is education. Which the behaviorists would agree with. The Flintstones and Anthropology A concept of human nature, whatever it is, is necessarily a priori to every area of social activity – including education, economics, politics – even entertainment-- but inevitably formulated a posteriori. “A priori” means coming before; a posteriori—framing the past in terms of the present. Together you get a kind of teleology—a logical loop. Hence, the “Flinstoneization” of prehistory, in which we assume that Stone Age people were really just like we are today -- with kids and families and money and education problems and a hard-to-house-train pet dinosaur--living in patriarchal hierarchical large-scale societies, somehow reminiscent of suburban LA, with social and sexual status determined by challenge, conflict and dominance. In other words, anthropologists and their ilk want to believe that our ancestors are just like them – or, more correctly, like what they would like to be This applies to most of the of the social “sciences”. Take a look at papers on human relationships and you will inevitably see the assumption that women “naturally” have sex to form relationships to find a genetically fit Dad, with “fitness” defined in terms of social status, income, and dominance. There is quite remarkable convergence between the slant of Cosmopolitan Magazine and any number of Harvard theses. The Hunk gets the girl….a Barbarian in the Bedroom; Lord Greystoke in the drawing room. Sorry Jane, ancestors were largely matriarchal or at least matrist – definitely egalitarian, with women hunting just like men and supplying as much as 70% of the food. In addition, it is not clear that our ancestors thought that sex=babies. Some indigenous peoples such as Australian aborigines still don’t think that that happy humping is all that important since women don’t get pregnant every day they have sex. In matriarchal and matrist cultures, women have a lot of partners: monogamy is not a thing. Of course, today, thanks to the Pill and condoms, we are also realizing that sex doesn’t have to equal babies. Do we need it at all if we have PornHub? The Boys (and Girls) in the Band For most of our history, it appears that we lived in small bands – not even tribes – which were egalitarian and practiced “reverse dominance”, without “chiefs” or “leaders”—and no concept of war. This is what Marshall Sahlins called the “original age of affluence”. The majority of majority of academics in the social “sciences do not agree with Sahlins: they follow the leading pseudo-anthropologist, the Universal Grammar Guy -- Stephen Pinker—who believes that we are really sapient chimpanzees in need of a firm hand, if not cages. If only he had stuck to nouns and verbs. Should we believe Pinker just because he has wild hair and tenure at an Ivy League finishing school for the elites? Bill Gates does! (SIGH!) Most academic writing on the subject of human evolution involves some degree of projection. “You are a brute”, says Stephen. “But I am evolved”. So much for the “science” of social scientists. When did we become human? I am not sure when I became human-- or if. I think I am still working on it. A lot depends on your definition of “human”. From an academic point of view, some say we “humans” arrived on the scene 3 00,000 years ago. Some say 100,000 years ago. I think about 50,000 to 35,000 years ago. We still haven’t found that “missing link”. I am putting in my CV. As with everything, the French have their own point of view. Did the australopithecines father “homo habilis”? Here’s a simplified view of the flow of evolution. Clearly, something happened 3 million years ago that led to evolutionary pressure that produced homo habilis and other “human” species” .What was it? Climate change, of course. 3 million years ago we entered the Quartenary period, a glacial period in which the earth developed a permanent ice sheet. This period is only now ending and includes climate epochs such as Pleistocene and the Holocene. It is clear that changes in climate produce evolutionary pressures. So mammoths died out in Siberia—but we still have elephants. The saber tooth tiger died out and now we have tigers. Homo habilis, homo erectus and all the other homo’s disappeared with the exception of Homo Sapiens Sapiens . Both Homo N(Neanderthalis) and Homo S (Sapiens sapiens). appear to have evolved from Homo erectus about 200,000 years ago-- the first proto-human with a more or less anatomically “correct” shoulder joint, better for throwing. But to take advantage of this development, we had to evolve a lot more. ... just because you can throw doesn't mean you can throw well. Anatomical adaptations like a tall mobile waist that decoupled the hips and thorax allowed for more torso rotation. A laterally oriented shoulder joint that better aligned the main axis of the upper arm with the action of chest muscles allowed for a greater range of motion. Both are necessary for high-speed throwing . While Homo N and Homo S arrived on the scene more or less at the same time--N in Europe and S in the Middle East and North Africa--evolution continued with Homo S benefiting from the challenges of a shifting environment. Late homo sapiens sapiens – call him Homo Sapiens 2.0-- arrived on the scene 50,000 to 35, 000 years ago. The Neanderthal was like a pickup truck, not all that big, but heavy and clunky, including the brain. Built for work. Homo S 2.0 was a touring car. Long, fast, smart… with loads of refinements, including what physical anthropologists call a ““gracile body”. This was particularly important for throwing, as you can see from the quote above. The Neanderthal could throw--but its shoulder joint was not as evolved as the of Homo S 2.0, nor did it have the mid and lower body flexibility. Neoteny (Paedomorphosis) What do babies of any species want most? Love! What was most important in human evolution was the development of human neoteny – extended juvenescence—which enhanced human pro-sociality—along with the development of empathy and altruism, along with enhanced cognitive functions such as imagination and abstraction. In some sense we are babies lifelong. We weren’t necessarily smarter than the Neanderthals – who had bigger brains—but we took longer to mature, lived longer, and were able to incorporate other selves in our own, including those of other animals—a cognitive-spiritual function. This auto-domesticative, prosociality enhanced cooperative collective action and reduced conflict – a natural force multiplier. It also allowed greater creativity in dealing with a changing environment. Yeah,all ya need is love! Not really more sapient, we were somehow better. Of course, we are not the only animals with high levels of prosociality. Enter the Wolf One other is the Wolf, who, in so many respects, family animals who put human beings to shame. So it should come as no surprise that one of the most important elements in our evolutionary success was our partnership with wolves, which led to dogs as part of the human family. Yes, your dog was your original best friend, to be followed later by the cat. They helped us survive. More about this in part 2. The missing link in human evolution series : 1: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/just-a-kid-and-a-dog-part-2 2: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/just-a-kid-and-the-dog (this article) 3: https://www.ageingyoung.com/post/dogs-the-missing-link-in-human-evolution