Echolalia / Cultural Distortion of Normal Behaviors

One of my enduring “analytical” interests is how language is used to construct social reality.

I have been looking into how “Autism, the Epidemic” is being publically constructed and promoted. 

A pattern is obvious: take any human behavior (even if it’s widespread and  previously acknowledged as within the normal range for humans – or even essential to human development) and redefine it as a symptom of pathology. Gather together a list of these various symptoms, which are presented as evidence that something is wrong with your child; “symptoms” for which the criteria are vague and mostly subjective and repetitive, but with no factual basis for a coherent connection between them: add these to a few “legitimate” difficulties, such as learning disabilities, motor difficulties, behavior problems, for which the criteria are also vague and mostly subjective and repetitive – perhaps “annoying” is the common denominator – Collect these together and present them as a “newly discovered disorder”. Legitimize it by voting it into the latest version of the DSM. (Who decides what goes into the DSM?) 

This act of construction may be all that connects the supposed symptoms; that is, there is no objective basis for the existence of a common or causal link except for the “naming” of a new disorder. The disorder has been “created” by repurposing existing symptoms from other disorders to expand the pool of official pathologies, which  creates the illusion of something real and new is going on: The Autism epidemic. 

Once the disorder is promoted by “studies” – many of which are nothing more than a favorably reinterpreted review of former studies, selected and manipulated into “proving” a pre-decided outcome. Studies which may have no value; which may be spurious, phony, published with no peer review (as if that may mean anything anymore) and funded by corporate interests and institutions, in order to get the “results” that they have paid for. The result is that Autism is a “collage” of mysterious manifestations; diagnosis are meaningless opinions with no medical basis; a mish-mash controlled by the Autism industry and insurance companies. The rush to diagnosis is  driven by media “fads” and advertising. Fear sweeps the public and drives profits.

Typical of this process is the expansion of a behavior or trait from its original narrow and restricted definition (which originated as a medical or descriptive usage) into the realm of psychosocial application; this is often justified by the supposed “consequences” of the condition – depression, anxiety and interference in any and all life activities, including for Autistic disorders, a child merely being a social embarrassment. Tellingly, these are generic labels for “unsolvable” emotion or mood changes that curiously, require medication to mask, diminish or subdue the “symptoms” of an invented disorder or mental illness. Nice trick!

Echolalia provides a clear example of the perversion of “neutral or normal” process into a “prime” symptom of pathology in the messy, incoherent collage that is promoted as Autism – the big scary threat to American families.

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Healthline Reference Library Echolalia

Echolalia

From http://www.healthline.com – a popular type of website purporting to provide the “consumer” with information about health topics.

Understanding echolalia:

People with echolalia repeat noises and phrases that they hear. (Here comes the unsupported conclusion that “shifts the defect” into the psycho-social realm) They may not be able to communicate effectively because they struggle to express their own thoughts. (Or if they are Americans, they may simply not have any original thoughts.) For example, someone with echolalia might only be able to repeat a question rather than answer it. In many cases, echolalia is a (failed or inadequate) attempt to communicate, learn language, or practice language. (Again, the set up of “echolalia” as a deep psycho-social flaw, that “proves” a brain problem exists.)

This is an outrageous escalation of “echolalia” – a behavior that is common in most children, as “enough to prove” a disorder exists.

Repetitive speech is an extremely common part of language development, and is commonly seen in young toddlers who are learning to communicate. By the age of 2, most children will start mixing in their own utterances along with repetitions of what they hear. By age 3, most children’s echolalia will be minimal at most. (Prove that! Echolalia is RAMPANT in American pop-culture as the default communication style and dominates social interaction: repeated catch phrases, memes, and quotes copied over, and over, ad nauseum, especially in attacking and degrading the “status” of other humans! Emojis? ) 

It’s common for children with autism or developmental delays to have echolalia further into childhood (echolia is now posited as a “thing” that one “has” instead of being a specific, changeable or temporary behavior), especially if they’re experiencing delayed speech development. Identifying why and how your child is using echolalia (has it been established that echolalia is intentional?) will help you develop a treatment plan for it. (The authors are already asserting after three paragraphs into the article that your child needs intervention for “a problem”) Consulting a language pathologist can help. $$$$

Symptoms

(Have we established that echolalia – a natural part of speech development, is a disease or a disorder? No. Within the U.S. “helping, caring, fixing” religious movement, any behavior, physical condition or implied mental state qualifies as a potential abnormality.)

The main symptom of echolalia is the repetition of phrases and noises that have been heard. (Echolalia is now a ‘disorder” all by itself!) It can be immediate, with the speaker repeating something right away after hearing it. It can also be delayed, with the speaker repeating something hours or days after hearing it.

This means that any utterance, at any time, can be a symptom of pathology. 

Causes and risk factors: Not surprisingly, no causes or risk factors are presented in the Blah, blah, blah below. 

Interactive echolaliaFunctional echolalia is attempted communication intended to be interactional, acting as communication with another person. (OMG! – Who wrote this?)

Examples include: Turn taking: The person with echolalia uses phrases to fill an alternating verbal exchange. Verbal completion: Speech is used to complete familiar verbal routines that are initiated by others. For example, if people with echolalia are asked to complete a task, they might say “good job!” while completing it, echoing what they’re used to hearing. Providing information: Speech may be used to offer new information, but it may be hard to connect the dots. A mother might ask her child what he wants for lunch, for example, and he’ll sing the song from a lunch meat commercial to say he wants a sandwich.

Non-interactive echolalia / Non-interactive echolalia is typically not intended as communication and is meant for personal use, like personal labeling or self-stimulation. (???) Examples include: Non-focused speech: The person with echolalia says something that has no relevance to the situational (aka “social”) context, like reciting portions of a TV show while walking around a classroom. This behavior may be self-stimulatory. Situation association: Speech is triggered by a situation, visual, person, or activity, and doesn’t seem to be an attempt at communication. If someone sees a brand-name product in the store, for example, they might sing the song from the commercials. Rehearsal: The speaker may utter the same phrase softly to themselves a few times before responding in a normal voice. This may be practice for the coming interaction. Self-direction: People might use these utterances to walk themselves through a process. If they’re making a sandwich, for example, they might tell themselves to “Turn on water. Use soap. Rinse hands. Turn off water. Dry hands. Get bread. Put bread on plate. Get lunch meat,” and so on until the process is completed.

The running commentary of a person’s personal inner voice has been labeled “echolalia” – a far reach from repeating words or phrases as a normal part of language acquisition! Again, any utterance, public or private, may be labeled echolalia, and be construed as “having a disorder”  

Interactive vs. non-interactive echolalia: / Echolalia is reflective of how the speaker processes information. (An assumption; not proven) Sometimes, recognizing the difference between interactive and non-interactive echolalia is difficult until you get to the know the speaker and how they communicate. In some cases, echolalia seems completely out of context. (Note again – the move to a non-specific identification of echolalia, “the disorder” as having no objective status: it can be tailored to fit any individual and his or her “suspicious” behavior! By this point, half the readers will likely be assessing themselves, their children, and anyone they know, for having echolalia, the disorder.)

Consider this great example from Susan Stokes. If a child with echolalia gets angry at his teacher when recess is over, he might suddenly say “Go to hell, Lieutenant!” The teacher might later discover that the child had been watching “A Few Good Men” and had used a phrase he knew was tied to anger (now echolalia is connected to a forbidden emotion) to convey his feelings in that moment. While his response seemed out of context, he had a reason to use that phrase to communicate. (Is this pathological?)

Diagnosing echolalia:

(Echolalia is here assumed to be a proven pathological condition)

A professional can diagnose echolalia by having a conversation with the person with echolalia. If they struggle to do anything other than repeat what has been said, they may have echolalia. Some children with autism are regularly tested for this during their speech lessons. Echolalia ranges from minor to severe. (More properly, a behavior that is a normal part of language acquisition, which may or may not continue in individual people, beyond the “socially acceptable” age. Echolalia may become a minor, or significant, indication of delayed language progression, or MEAN NOTHING AT ALL.) A doctor can identify the stage of echolalia (disease language) and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Treatment:

Speech therapies: / Some people with echolalia go to regular speech therapy sessions to learn how to say what they’re thinking, (which is actually a forbidden antisocial behavior. What is “wanted” socially is a regurgitation of “proper and normal” social thought.) A behavioral intervention called “cues-pause-point” is often used for intermediate echolalia. In this treatment, the speech therapist asks the person with echolalia to answer a question correctly and tells them they’ll point to them when it’s time to answer. (Gee! Control freak behavior?) Then, the therapist asks a question, such as “What’s your name?” After a short pause, they prompt the speaker to answer. They also hold up a cue card with the correct answer. (Dog-training again!) 

Medication: / (Drugs; the modern American psych-psych answer for everything) 

A doctor can prescribe antidepressants or anxiety medications to combat the side effects of echolalia. (And just what are these? One of course is being mislabeled as defective.) This doesn’t treat the condition itself, but it helps keep the person with echolalia calm. Since echolalia symptoms may increase when a person is stressed or anxious, the calming effect can help lessen the severity of the condition.

Aye, yai, yai! A rationalization-justification for over-prescribing and off-label use of anti-depressants, not for clinical depression, but “just in case” the person gets upset for any reason. Totally irresponsible and unethical.  

Home care: / People with echolalia may work with other people at home to develop their communication skills. There are text and online training programs available to help parents get positive responses from their children.  (It’s always about controlling annoying or psycho-socially proscribed behavior. Now we have a normal behavior, echolalia,  illegitimately inflated into a global communication – brain deficit that must be corrected by the intervention of “experts” and the pressure to conform placed on the child by their family!)  Encouraging a child to use limited vocabulary may make it easier for them to learn to communicate more effectively.

Effectively meaning, (ironically) to parrot the expected socially-approved phrases and “correct answers” required in social (non) communication. 

Echolalia outlook and prevention: as if it’s a contagious disease Echolalia is a natural part of language development. It’s not always a good idea to prevent it completely. To avoid permanent echolalia in children, parents must encourage other forms of communication. Expose a child to a wide variety of words and phrases. In time, most children can overcome their echolalia naturally.

Yes, let’s ignore the failure of American education: American public schools are so dysfunctional, that teaching children language mechanics, vocabulary, sentence structure, grammar, etc,, beyond what is necessary for participation in social media, is considered politically incorrect, a waste of time, and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. The result is that millions of Americans are functionally illiterate, and can’t communicate “what they are thinking” because they aren’t thinking anything, and don’t know how to think. 

Cultural echolalia is the expression of neotenic conformity of communication in the U.S., as exemplified in political, media-advertising-marketing, and social media language and images. 

 

 

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Links / U.S. Chemical – Biological Weapons Hypocrisy

One of the largest human experiments in history’ was conducted on unsuspecting residents of San Francisco http://www.businessinsider.com/the-military-tested-bacterial-weapons-in-san-francisco-2015-7

Veterans Used In Secret Experiments Sue Military For Answers (Mustard Gas) http://www.npr.org/2015/09/051437555125/veterans-used-in-secret-experiments-sue-military-for-answers

DDT: A Review of Scientific and Economic Aspects of the Decision to ban its use as a pesticide https://books.google.com/books?id=K9XjbKUfYk8C United States. Environmental Protection Agency, ‎United States. Congress. House. Committee on Appropriations– 1975 – ‎DDT (Insecticide)

4 decades after war ended, Agent Orange still ravaging Vietnamese http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/article24751351.html

Biological warfare and bioterrorism: a historical review Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2004 Oct; 17(4): 400–406. Stefan Riedel, MD, PhDcorresponding author1 1From the Department of Pathology, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

AND From GPF Global Policy Forum:

US Intelligence Helps Saddam’s Party Seize Power in 1963 | US and British Support for Saddam in the 1970s and 1980s

Saddam Key in Early CIA Plot (April 10, 2003)

According to former US intelligence officials and diplomats, the CIA’s relationship with Saddam Hussein dates back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad that attempted to assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim. (United Press International)

A Tyrant Forty Years in the Making (March 14, 2003)

Roger Morris writes of the “regime change” carried out by the CIA in Iraq forty years ago. Among the CIA’s actions were attempted political assassinations and the handing over of a list of suspected communists and leftists that led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqis at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party. (New York Times)

 

CIA Lists Provide Basis for Iraqi Bloodbath

In this excerpt from his classic study of Iraqi politics, Hanna Batatu discusses how the Ba`ath Party seized power for the first time in a military coup in February 1963. He speaks of lists, provided by US intelligence, that enabled the party to hunt down its enemies, particularly the Communists, in a terrible bloodletting.

 

The Riegle Report (1994)

This report by the Senate Banking Committee analyzes the US’s exports of warfare-related goods to Iraq and their possible impact on the health consequences of the Gulf War. The report concludes that the US provided Iraq “with ‘dual-use’ licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-system programs.” (Gulflink)

Officers Say US Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas (August 18, 2002)

According to senior military officials, a covert program carried out during the Reagan Administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when US intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons against Iran. (New York Times)

Did Saddam Die for Our Sins? (January 9, 2007)

The US-backed Iraq Tribunal sentenced Saddam Hussein to death for his role in the 1982 massacre of nearly 150 Shiites in Dujail, Iraq. But the same court has dropped all charges against Hussein, post mortem, for the killing of 180,000 Kurds during the 1980s – crimes committed with Western complicity. The author of this TomPaine piece concludes that if the tribunal does not look into US and British involvement in the genocide case, it will fail “to educate the world about Saddam and his barbarous regime.”

 

This Was a Guilty Verdict on America as Well (November 6, 2006)

The US-backed Iraq Special Tribunal sentenced the country’s former ruler and “one-time [US] ally” Saddam Hussein to death by hanging – a verdict which came as no surprise to many. The court sought to bring Saddam to justice for crimes against humanity, but failed to acknowledge past US and British administrations’ roles in facilitating these crimes. For decades, Washington provided economic and military support – including chemical weapons – to Saddam’s regime. Therefore, in light of the court’s ruling and its positive reception in Washington, the author of this Independent opinion piece asks, “Have ever justice and hypocrisy been so obscenely joined?”

 

The True Iraq Appeasers (August 31, 2006)

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has compared critics of the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq to those who appeased Adolf Hitler. The author of this Boston Globe article points out the hypocrisy of such a statement, noting the arming and financing of Saddam Hussein by the Reagan and first Bush administrations. As the article shows, many of the planners of the 2003 Iraq war supported Hussein in the 1980s during his ruthless and genocidal dictatorship.

 

Morality in Iraq, Then and Now (August 27, 2006)

This Washington Post opinion piece criticizes the historically inconsistent US policy towards Iraq. The author tracks US involvement in Iraq from the 1970s up until the trial of the country’s former leader Saddam Hussein, which began in 2005. Although the US helped to set up the Special Iraq Tribunal, contributing to the exposure of some of these crimes, the author warns against overlooking US complicity with the Hussein regime.

US Military Assistance to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War (April 20, 2006)

This material highlights the various military, intelligence, and financial assistance given to Saddam’s regime by the US. In 1986, former Vice President George H.W. Bush traveled to the Middle East, repeatedly encouraging Saddam to step up Iraq’s bombing campaign against Iran. In addition, the US supplied Saddam with several big orders of helicopters and provoked a diversionary engagement with the Iranian navy in coordination with a major Iraqi offensive. (Global Policy Forum)

 

Saddam Hussein Trial: US-Iraq Military and Economic Relations (October 20, 2005)

Saddam Hussein’s trial has prompted discussions about US economic and military support to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. This bibliography offers a list of sources addressing US policy towards Iraq from 1979 to 1990. (Global Policy Forum)

 

Rumsfeld Visited Baghdad in 1984 to Reassure Iraqis, Documents Show (December 19, 2003)

While the US publicly maintained neutrality during the Iran-Iraq war, it privately attempted to forge a better relationship with the government of Saddam Hussein. This policy did not shift when Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran. (Washington Post)

 

Saddam’s Arrest Raises Troubling Questions (December 2003)

For decades Washington supported the regime of Saddam Hussein. US officials responsible for such policies could themselves be guilty of war crimes and might face allegations in an international tribunal. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured US Government Focus on Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein (March 24, 2003)

This report, by the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, investigates the “revolving door” between the Bechtel Group and the Reagan administration that drove US policy towards Iraq in the 1980s. The authors argue that many of the same actors are back today, justifying military action against Iraq and waiting to reap the benefits of post-war reconstruction.

Britain’s Dirty Secret (March 6, 2003)

Britain secretly assisted in building a chemical plant in Iraq despite being fully aware that Saddam Hussein gassed Iranian troops in the 1980s. The warning about possibilities to make chemical weapons was dismissed by Paul Channon, British trade minister at that time, stating abandoning the project “would do our other trade prospects in Iraq no good.” (Guardian)

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The US Tilts Toward Iraq, 1980-1984 (February 25, 2003)

This extensive report from the National Security Archive uses declassified US documents to illustrate the nature of US involvement in Iraqi affairs under the administration of President Ronald Reagan.

America Didn’t Seem to Mind Poison Gas (January 17, 2003)

As part of his call for regime change in Iraq, George W. Bush has accused Saddam Hussein of using poison gas against his own people. However, in 1988 the US worked to prevent the international community from condemning Iraq’s chemical attack against the Kurdish village of Halabja, instead attempting to place part of the blame on Iran. (International Herald Tribune)

Rumsfeld “Offered Help to Saddam” (December 31, 2002)

As President Reagan’s Middle East envoy in the early 80s, current US Secretary of Defense and leading Bush administration hawk, Donald Rumsfeld, offered support to Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran conflict with knowledge that the Iraqis were using chemical weapons. (Guardian)

 

US Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup (December 30, 2002)

This Washington Post article discusses the US role in the military buildup of Iraq preceeding the Gulf War. The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale of poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses such as anthrax and bubonic plague.

 

Iraq and Poison Gas (August 28, 2002)

The US has always known about Baghdad’s deployment of chemical weapons and their use against his own people, especially during the Iran-Iraq War. “What did the US government do about it then? Nothing,” reports The Nation, “until ‘gassing his own people’ became a catchy slogan to demonize Saddam.”

Iraq Uses Techniques in Spying Against its Former Tutor, the US (February 5, 1991)

This 1991 article discusses the deep intelligence link between the US and Iraq in the 1980s, detailing the intelligence assistance that the US provided to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Excerpts From Iraqi Document on Meeting with US Envoy (September 22, 1990)

Former US Ambassador to Iraq Ms. April Glaspie met with Saddam Hussein on July 25 1990, only 8 days before he invaded Kuwait. According to this excerpt from a transcript of their meeting, the two talked about oil prices, how to improve US-Iraq relations, and how the US has “no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.” (New York Times)

And so much more: How does the U.S. dare take a “Holier than Thou” attitude toward the rest of the world’s nations?

 

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Top Psych Experiments / Psychologists cleverly embarrass themselves


OMG! The website is: Online Psychology Degree Guide

http://www.onlinepsychologydegree.info/influential-psychological-experiments/

Wow! Visit the site for the other 22 most influential psychology “experiments” PLUS many other informative lists offering “5 most” to “50 most” lists in this popular pop-social media format.

The 25 Most Influential Psychological Experiments in History

By Kristen Fescoe Published January 2016

“A Class Divided”

Study Conducted By: Jane Elliott

Study Conducted in 1968 in an Iowa classroom

Experiment Details: Jane Elliott’s famous experiment was inspired by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the inspirational life that he led. The third grade teacher developed an exercise to help her Caucasian students understand the effects of racism and prejudice.

Elliott divided her class into two separate groups: blue-eyed students and brown-eyed students. On the first day, she labeled the blue-eyed group as the superior group and from that point forward they had extra privileges, leaving the brown-eyed children to represent the minority group. She discouraged the groups from interacting and singled out individual students to stress the negative characteristics of the children in the minority group.

What this exercise showed was that the children’s behavior changed almost instantaneously. The group of blue-eyed students performed better academically and even began bullying their brown-eyed classmates. The brown-eyed group experienced lower self-confidence and worse academic performance. The next day, she reversed the roles of the two groups and the blue-eyed students became the minority group.

At the end of the experiment, the children were so relieved that they were reported to have embraced one another and agreed that people should not be judged based on outward appearances. This exercise has since been repeated many times with similar outcomes.

OMG! It’s ironic that the very studies on which psychologists base their claims are so obviously “super-flawed” that their claim to “be scientists” is easily disproven:

  1. Psychologists claim that use of human subjects as “lab rats” is an ethical “No-No”, but here we see uninformed, not-consenting “captive” children being manipulated (I would call it abuse…) by a teacher! The children suffered distress over the tactics used, including becoming bullies and objects to be bullied. How is this conceptually any different than “punishment” as pedagogy?
  2. The students were “relieved” to be “freed from” this awful manipulation – which automatically is interpreted as instant “moral enlightenment” over the question of physical appearances. This reveals the “social engineering” goals of psychology and the reckless “social puppeteer” attitude that prevails.
  3. This “experiment” (abuse of a word that has specific meaning in science) is “predatory” abuse of power: it may have been “repeated” in various forms (like a “fun prank”) but repetition means that many more children were subjected to manipulation and for no legitimate “reason”.

Car Crash Experiment

Study Conducted by: Elizabeth Loftus and John Palmer

Study Conducted in 1974 at The University of California in Irvine

Experiment Details: Loftus and Palmer set out to prove just how deceiving memories can be. The 1974 Car Crash Experiment was designed to evaluate whether wording questions a certain way could influence a participant’s recall by twisting their memories of a specific event.

  1. And yet, “psychological diagnosis” ARE BASED ON JUST THIS: “self-reporting” or “subjective” opinion of parents, teachers, school counselors, gym teachers, coaches, bystanders and the family dog! A “Psych Wizard” spends three minutes asking “loaded, leading” questions or worse – the “client” is required to fill out a “questionnaire” that is so biased that answers will “reveal” pathology – there are dozens to choose from.
  2. The “researchers” set out to prove what they already know ABOUT THEMSELVES: that manipulation can distort “memories” – it’s their prime directive.

The participants watched slides of a car accident and were asked to describe what had happened as if they were eyewitnesses to the scene. The participants were put into two groups and each group was questioned using different wording such as “how fast was the car driving at the time of impact?” versus “how fast was the car going when it smashed into the other car?” The experimenters found that the use of different verbs affected the participants’ memories of the accident, showing that memory can be easily distorted. 

This research suggests that memory can be easily manipulated by questioning technique, meaning that information gathered after the event can merge with original memory causing incorrect recall or reconstructive memory. The addition of false details to a memory of an event is now referred to as confabulation. This concept has very important implications for the questions used in police interviews of eyewitnesses (-and in psychology) 

As for the validity of “psychology” having a scientific “fact-finding” interest in assessing human behavior, we can see that the “goal” is to “test” manipulation techniques on human lab rats. It’s utterly non-objective, non-scientific and unethical. Psychologists refuse to be accountable for “proof or results” in theory or practice. 

Cognitive Dissonance Experiment

Study Conducted by: Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith

Study Conducted in 1957 at Stanford University

Experiment Details: The concept of cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This conflict produces an inherent feeling of discomfort leading to a change in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to minimize or eliminate the discomfort and restore balance.

Again, the “basis” is putting humans in situations which manipulate personal morality, group ethics, social obedience, and “pain” in order to find out how these may be “applied” in contexts such as the classroom, workplace, consumer markets, media and advertising – and in government. The conclusion is simple: Lie, and use “bribes” and punishment – the Social Pyramid as we experience it every day. Psychology “intends” to legitimize lies, deception and manipulation as “scientifically valid” in human relationships. This is sick.

Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger, after an observational study of a cult that believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood. (Christians, perhaps?) Out of this study was born an intriguing experiment conducted by Festinger and Carlsmith where participants were asked to perform a series of dull tasks (such as turning pegs in a peg board for an hour). Participant’s initial attitudes toward this task were highly negative. (Anecdotal, hearsay, subjective opinion, not an “experiment” at all)

They were then paid either $1 or $20 to tell a participant waiting in the lobby (lie to them) that the tasks were really interesting. Almost all of the participants agreed to walk into the waiting room and persuade the next participant that the boring experiment would be fun. (The human lab rats were paid to lie and most agreed – where is motivation in this? Were they “students” who always need cash, or individuals who would lie because “an authority figure” asked them to? Who are these human beings ?)

When the participants were later asked to evaluate the experiment, (no, they were asked to evaluate their own experience) the participants who were paid only $1 rated the tedious task as more fun and enjoyable than the participants who were paid $20 to lie. Being paid only $1 is not sufficient incentive for lying and so those who were paid $1 experienced dissonance. They could only overcome that dissonance by coming to (being lied to) believe that the tasks really were interesting and enjoyable. Being paid $20 provides a reason for turning pegs and there is therefore no dissonance.

OMG! Where do I begin with dissecting this monstrosity of “social logic” and magical thinking?

(I need “fuel” – time for breakfast…LOL)

The Mathematics of “Big Brains” / Evolution

From PBS Science, March 2017

Why did humans evolve big brains? We don’t know, but math can help

Where is the math in this article? You’ll need to go to original paper.

by Kristin Hugo

A new model published Thursday in PLOS Computational Biology mathematically illustrates what led to the evolution of humans’ abnormally large brains. (A cliché that is not true – we have the brain the “fits” us.)

Evolutionary biologists devised these equations to tease apart the relationship between human brain size and the cost of maintaining a large brain. (This is physics: the human body and the evolutionary processes that shaped it, conform to physical laws) Over the last few decades, the pace and stages of brain growth in humans have become clearer. From birth to preschool, our brains quadruple in size. Our brains reach 90 percent of their final size by six years old, and they continue to grow slowly through adolescence until stopping in our mid-20’s.

The question is: Why?

Anthropologists have hypothesized — made educated speculations — about what factors in human evolution drive this pace. For example, newborns heavily rely on their families, so they can develop strong social bonds during their youth. (This is stated as if newborns have the intent to rely on other people, in order to develop social bonds; this is backwards! Human infants must rely on other people because they are helpless. The infant displays behavior that ought to elicit parental bonds, but in fact, there are a very high number of parents who do not respond appropriately –  this response ought to be instinctual, but as we commonly see in many domestic animals, this instinctual bond has been interrupted, is undeveloped, or damaged in the mother and other adults)

As humans get older, we increasingly learn to be self-sufficient (or not!); (learn to) use tools and learn about our environments. Scientists speculate both of these habits (?) contribute to brain growth, but they don’t know which of these factors or others have the greatest bearing. We are way off track already – Brain growth depends on NOURISHMENT and adult care – the protection and guidance that will allow the child  to learn to “operate” its body, regardless of the society, culture or group size that the infant will grow within.

A standard mathematical model (of what?) could provide clarity by quantitatively comparing hypotheses. (Or show that “educated speculations” lack credibility as descriptions of “the real world”

You’d think that PBS could hire a Competent science writers, or at least employ a science editor! This is piss-poor, garbled reporting!  An Asperger pet peeve: If we are going to “educate” the public about scientific Activity, we need Accurate language! Otherwise it’s just Blah, blah, blah.

Anthropologists can plug in their hypotheses to the model (not really) which then predicts brain size from birth to adulthood based on those numbers. If those numbers match what we know about the pace of human brain development, then the model supports the hypothesis. (What numbers? This is gobbled-gook!) “With this model, you can obtain predictions for each of the hypotheses to see which hypothesis yields a better prediction,” said evolutionary biologist Mauricio González-Forero of Université de Lausanne in France, who led the study. Aye, yai, yai!

The final model states that adult skill level equals adult brain mass times the cost of maintaining brain tissue divided by the cost of memory times a constant. Stated in laymen’s terms, this idea means as adult brain mass increases, so too does adult skill, assuming that the costs of maintaining the brain mass and memory stay constant. (Aye, yai, yai!!!!)

These costs include eating a lot in order to maintain the brain. (of the right kind of food) Brains make up 2 percent of our bodies, but consume 20 percent of our oxygen and sugars in our food to sustain the activity of billions of neurons. This mental gorging could have been a disadvantage for early humans thousands of years ago, because bigger diets, consisting of more calories, means having to spend more time hunting and foraging for food. If their evolving brains drained too much food and oxygen, then they might have been too tired to fend for themselves. (Yikes!)

God help us! Another naïve neurotypical narrative! First – this is backwards: IF food X provides more calories per “effort to obtain it” (work), you’re in luck – you will focus on obtaining food X: (bears, sharks, and millions of species do this) For early humans, exploiting a new “option” (such as animal protein) results in more calories, a benefit that then can be maximized by improving and tailoring technology toward getting this food AND for other activities as well. Once this “boost in calories” becomes more available, better brain nourishment (especially in children) provides more “brain power” for  developing new technologies and devising better strategies for survival. It’s a feedback process. ) 

Modern social humans (Americans) seek out “crappy food” that deprives them of the nutrition necessary for even minimal brain and body health. This is bad enough, but to starve our children’s brains is a crime!

While there is debate among anthropologists, many believe that social interaction is a major factor in increasing brain size. Knowing people, communicating with them and maintaining relationships takes a lot of brainpower. This is recent “social narrative” about agricultural societies; regardless of “social” influence, the brain runs on REAL ENERGY supplied by FOOD. What we see in contemporary hyper-social juvenalized humans is overconsumption of “crappy food” which fails to  provide adequate  nourishment. Compounded by “social demands” that consume too much of a child’s energy, leaves less energy for children to develop healthy brains and bodies: in many children, learning becomes impossible. What we see is a “shrinking” of brain size over the last 10,000 years of human domestication)

González-Forero’s model counters this narrative and asserts that humans gain more intelligence as they learn to use technology, which University of Wisconsin-Madison evolutionary anthropologist John Hawks describes as a controversial but revealing take on brain development. (Controversial= whacky = magical thinking) Many anthropologists look at the pace of brain growth in terms of social interactions, he added, but “this paper is saying maybe social relationships don’t have anything to do with it. It’s really neat to see such a cool, clear statement of that because it gives us a target.”

The socially-obsessed “naïve narrative” of the evolution of human brain has taken over anthropology and related “human sciences” – at the expense of logical reasoning  grounded in the reality of physical environments.

Logically, we can go much further: social activity can be detrimental to human survival, Energy expended on social activity consumes far more energy than it “supposedly” supplies; social activity redistributes food, water and fossil fuels to ultra-greedy nations, thus depriving millions of human beings the “nourishment” that children must have in order to develop. “Saving” children, by handing out “just enough gruel” to keep them alive temporarily, results in underdeveloped and damaged brains, and is unconscionable social activity.

Contemporary  humans suffer from this very real food-energy drain. We cannot provide clean water and proper nourishment to hundreds of millions of human children, but “spend” enormous amounts of energy on projects with “no energy return” – war, environmental destruction, and billions of useless products (can’t eat them!), the production of which consumes vast amounts of energy (especially human energy) that is needed for “brain growth”.

 

Epilepsy Forum / Sensory Overload Discussion

From an epilepsy site forum: 2006-2007

Epilepsy and Sensory Overload – Adults

Topic:

I have temporal lobe epilepsy with simple partial seizures. I also struggle with something I call sensory overload. I know that is a term for autism, but it is the best way to describe what is happening to me. I have difficulty when there is too much stimulation in the room. I become very agitated if, for example, there is music playing while the TV is on and people are talking. Add too many people to the stimulation and I become very stressed. If I cannot turn off the music and TV, I must leave the room. This agitation and stress is especially strong when I am around children because they tend to create a lot of stimulation with loud voices, banging and thumping from their physical activity, and they lack an understanding for personal space and often run/bump into me. I know too much noise can annoy anyone, but from what I have observed my agitation is much stronger than others in the same situation.

Is the sensory overload problem just another one of my issues or could there be some correlation between that and my epilepsy?

Comment 1.

I don’t know if there is a correlation but people can have Sensory Integration issues. This is not autism although I have read before it could be part of the spectrum. A person can be treated for sensory issues through an occupational therapist with specific training in this area. I am only familiar with therapists who work with children but there must be some out there who would work with adults who were never treated for this as a child. It is worth looking into. There also are books out there that specifically discuss sensory integration issues.

Comment 2.

I think i get something similar. I’m in the process of getting diagnosed with TLE (temporal lobe epilepsy), simple and complex partials. If there is too much to look at, I freak out. Like in shopping centers, all the colors, vastness, noises etc cause me problems. I just wrote in my blog about freaking out while shopping yesterday! I just feel as though I can’t process it all, and its just all too much.

If I am in a simple partial (epileptic seizure) I have to be in complete silence. Even if the TV is on it drives me nuts and I can’t look at anything.

I’m in the beginning stages of diagnosis, but I shall bring this up with my Neuro on my next appointment.

Comment 3.

I am being examined for Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and have also wondered about the Epilepsy and Sensory stuff connection.

I know EXACTLY what you are talking about!!! I call it “Tactile Defensiveness”.

When you said, “….my agitation is much stronger than others in the same situation,” bells went off in my head like “DING DING DING!! THIS IS TOTALLY ME!!”I knew instantly what you are talking about. If my 2 year old rams into my leg (which is like you say entirely normal for his age) I can actually get almost combative. There’s nothing rational about it, I cannot “think” my way out of this reaction. For me it seems to be hard-wired and almost reflexive, the way it would be if a doctor taps your knee with a rubber hammer.

Other “sensory overload” struggles I have:

*the waistband of my clothes often feels too tight, sometimes the socks around my ankles will feel too tight/clingy, sometimes the cuffs/wristband of my jackets will also feel too tight. I simply have to get rid of the offending article of clothes

*I have photosensitivity to many bright lights including sunshine. To compensate, I purchased a nice pair of shades, which happens to be in vogue

*certain cloth has always been aversive to me, in particular polyesther weaves, it was so coarse it felt almost like it scratched my skin. to this day I cannot use bed linen that is not 100% cotton and has a 400 thread count or higher b/c it feels too scratchy on my skin

*places with a lot of lights, sounds, crowds of people, I get panic stricken and overwhelmed, like you said SENSORY OVERLOAD

* cannot wear terry cloth socks b/c it feels to prickly and couldn’t stand the feeling of some face cloths taking a bath as a child

*I am overly sensitive to very hot or very cold temperatures, particularly bath water/shower water

*my shoelaces have to be laced up with the “exact same” tightness on both shoes or I go insane, literally I cannot stand it and have to fix it! LOL

*if I am in a bright store like WalMart sometimes the lights make me well…very on edge almost hair-trigger irritable

*my ears actually hurt when a fire truck puts it’s siren on to the point that when I was a child I would cover them up. As an adult I don’t want to look weird doing that, so I learned to just white knuckle through it with my fist and jaws clenched

*Smells are so strong in my nose that sometimes the scent is so aversive (like dog poo or skunk) that I gag and have to leave a situation. On the other hand pleasant smells are so strong it makes me feel like I’m in heaven if I like it (baking cookies etc) I speculate that I smell more keenly than everyone else

*Taste is the same way but thank God I never had texture issues with food like my sister does.

*If I get something sticky on my hands I have to wash it immediately, I just hate that feeling: maple syrup, jelly/jam

I could go on and on but the bottom line for me, being 36 years old, is that I had to learn to compensate for my heightened sensory issues by either avoiding siutations or de-sensitizing myself. This wasn’t a “formal” process it just happenened out of necessity and I consciously told myself to “sit with the discomfort” I just instinctively knew I had to do it.

Comment 4.

I have been told I self monitor a lot. I used to think this was stupid and ‘as if’, but I can now catch myself in the act. I suppose having a condition like us makes you super sensitive to every bodily sensation that we don’t assume to be normal. In fact, it seems I have decided every bodily sensation is abnormal!

I know there are certain things that my poor little brain doesn’t cope to well with like the whole lights thing, shopping centres, loud noises, heat, being super tired etc … although I think half the time I am so strung out about everything – anything will set me off or freak me out.

I find if its over-cast it sends me in to a tail spin. haha. Weird, hey? I love rainy days, but they make me feel awful. I think I need and respond well to normal natural light / sun shine. i seem to get worse when things get darker. Weird. Hmmm.


OMG! Could the “autism” “brain” “behavior” industry be any more chaotic, incoherent, or ridiculous?

Honestly! Do any of the “experts” ever talk to each other; compare notes, cases, or FACTS? Can they even recognize the vast duplication of diagnosis going on in “parallel universes” of research?

NEUROTYPICALS are bat-crap-crazy!

 

Terrifying neurotypical activity / Epidemic of “Cute Crap”

 

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Puppies and kittens are cute. Young lions, tigers and bears are cute; adult carnivores are not. Neither are dinosaurs. A manufactured universe of “cute” has invaded children’s entertainment, educational programming, religious indoctrination, clothing, food – and of course, toys. Decades of girls, women (and some boys) think that the Barbie doll was present at the Big Bang.

Cute is a euphemism for infantile and trivial: For too many immature parents, babies are not living beings; they are toys; they are objects to be manipulated to get  attention.

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Child abuse.

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Funny-Pictures-of-Babies-With-Eyebrows

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Why do women abuse their faces?

"Cute" is a monstrous plot to infantilize all life on earth.

“Cute” is a monstrous plot to infantilize all life on earth.

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Infantile religious advertising is everywhere!

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And why not pass out “cute” guns while we’re at it?

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Metaphor, Analogy, Simile / Tragic Sci-Tech Examples

Let’s begin with a legitimate comparison (note: it’s VISUAL and accurate)

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Below: A standard “analogy” in basic physics courses: The problem is, that even basic physics courses assume that the student has “hung out” at the local water plant, worked for a construction company or was raised by a plumber. Does this really make “electricity-magnetism” accessible to the average student? Now they have to understand the behavior of water in a system in addition to struggling with the  “invisible” behavior of electrical systems. Plus vocabulary: “voltage source is analogous to water pump” is not exactly a “handy” mental exchange.

Okay – so the water system analogy isn’t terrible, but here is where the use of analogy drives me bonkers: number, quantity, volume, weight, density, forces …. believed to make “big or small” extremes of number and scale “comprehensible” to the human brain. Again – the assumption is that “equivalents” such as the earth covered in marbles or peas to some “impressive” depth is 1. meaningful 2. has a possibility of occurring outside of a supernatural “miracle” 3.  will ever be observed by one or more human beings. 4. will reduce the problem of incomprehensible quantity, number, etc in comparison to “human” scale. 

But, “1/18th of the surface area of the sun” makes “Avogadro’s Number” perfectly clear! What was it we were trying to explain? I’ve forgotten, and I have a headache.

Another terrific assumption is that Olympic swimming pools and football fields and stadiums are perfectly reasonable examples of “intuitive” volumes and areas because everyone has watched the Olympics on TV or has been to a football game.

And a more problematic question: Why are we presenting students with ridiculous   false analogies for actual measurable physical phenomenon, when the function of teaching science and technology is to impart awareness and knowledge of  “How the universe works” – that is, it’s NOT magic.  What we’re telling them is that physical properties, relationships and behaviors are baffling; that “physical reality-mathematics” are arbitrary, fantastical and unknowable (and unnecessary) That the highly unscientific games, videos and films that they watch are entirely plausible “versions” of reality.

While science education is making the obvious and provable reality that we occupy and depend on “obscure and imaginary” religions and politicians are doing the opposite:

Is it any mystery as to why millions of Americans believe that climate change, global warming and other major systemic problems are “government conspiracies?”

And in case one might imagine that biology and other areas are any less idiotic:

Imagine that the jelly-like substance in your cells that keeps everything in its place is a security guard at the mall; Imagine that your data is laundry…

 

 

 

 

Histrionic Personality Disorder / Or, the New Female “Norm”

Isn’t it a bit unfair to promote this behavior in young girls and women, and then label them with a personality disorder?

Hasn’t this “pattern of behavior” become the “ideal” in social media, entertainment, music and fashion?

From DSM-V: Persons with Histrionic Personality Disorder* are characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking. Their lives are full of drama (so-called “drama queens”). They are uncomfortable in situations where they are not the center of attention.

  • People with this disorder are often quite flirtatious or seductive, and like to dress in a manner that draws attention to them.
  • They can be flamboyant and theatrical, exhibiting an exaggerated degree of emotional expression.
  • Yet simultaneously, their emotional expression is vague, shallow, and lacking in detail. This gives them the appearance of being disingenuous and insincere.
  • Moreover, the drama and exaggerated emotional expression often embarrasses friends and acquaintances as they may embrace even casual acquaintances with excessive ardor, or may sob uncontrollably over some minor sentimentality.

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder can appear flighty and fickle. Their behavioral style often gets in the way of truly intimate relationships, but it is also the case that they are uncomfortable being alone.

They tend to feel depressed when they are not the center of attention. When they are in relationships, they often imagine relationships to be more intimate in nature than they actually are.

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder tend to be suggestible; that is, they are easily influenced by other people’s suggestions and opinions. A literary character that exemplifies the Histrionic Personality Disorder is the character of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee William’s classic play, “Streetcar Named Desire.” A rather mild case compared to today’s female “role models” !!! 

Great send up – and ridicule – of women…

Despite being “hated” (and in-your-face displays of industrial-strength boobs) these “women” are drastically “masculinized” in behavior and appearance.

These “deformed” characters are presented in American pop-culture as proper role models for “how to be a successful woman” and the imitation of this “type” has spread like an invasive species among young girls, teenagers and (infantile-neotenic) adult women.

This “cultural” phenomenon is revenge / payback on the part of “top males” for women daring to fight for equality and change in the social order, and it’s a well-known  strategy to rationalize violence against an enemy. Portraying women as emotional psychopaths who are as “badly behaved” as men (or worse) – ie stripped of any claim to “classic feminine virtues” such as compassion, loyalty and unconditional love – that is, “civilized behavior” serves to validate any and all brutality toward them. It also demonstrates the “Biblical” paranoia that females, (if given any freedom), become hyper-sexual predators – castrators. In other words, females will usurp behavior that is reserved for privileged males.

See also: DSM-5 Top Ten Personality Disorders Cluster “B”Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, where you will find yourself, your friends, family members, children, favorite politicians, sports idols, bankers, mentors, pastors, priests, etc.!

 

 

 

PDD-NOS / Bat Crap Crazy Diagnosis Revealed

Kars 4 Kids $100 Million Dollar Charity Website. Oodles of parent-directed posts, services and programs for children. Anyone can donate $, but the services and programs are only for Jewish Children and Families. It might be worth converting if you can’t find services for your child’s needs.

“Your car donation will benefit Kars4Kids. Kars4Kids is a 501(c)(3), a national organization dedicated to addressing the educational, material, emotional and spiritual needs of Jewish children and their families.”

At least the posts are free!
If this post doesn’t convince people that the Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy industries; the Autism Industry; the Mental Health Industry and all the related “Helping Caring Fixing Industries” are a bat-crap crazy Socially, financially and Profit driven fraud” then I give up.

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PDD-NOS stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder–Not Otherwise Specified. Once upon a time, doctors diagnosed PDD-NOS when symptoms didn’t quite fit the picture of plain old Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), itself, something of a wastebasket term. Now, neither term is in use.

Back in the day, PDD served as an umbrella for five disorders: Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Childhood Disintegration Disorder (CDD), and Rett’s syndrome. But the authors of the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) decided to broaden the wastebasket and do away with most of these terms and their subcategories. Going forward, doctors will no longer diagnose “Asperger’s syndrome” for instance, but simply say someone has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

When the DSM V came out and even in the lead-up to its publication, a lot of people were upset. All of a sudden, people who had Asperger’s no longer had it. Instead, they simply had plain old autism. And people with PDD-NOS either had autism or something new called Social Communication Disorder (SCD).

Most people, when they think of autism, think of a syndrome that is severe. Asperger’s syndrome, on the other hand, has been thought of as being “almost normal” and maybe even quirky, cute, and interesting, in a geeky sort of way. If you’ve ever watched Criminal Minds on television, Dr. Spencer Reid is the perfect example of how people like to see Asperger’s. He’s loveable because he’s so awkward with people and yet so wide open and real. He’s a genius nerd. He’s interesting, upper class, a kind of savant.

Or perhaps when you think of Asperger’s, you think of something that causes mildly embarrassing confrontations in the supermarket, like the sort of thing that happens with Max Braverman in Parenthood. There’s angst, but also joy, and perhaps even social justice to the act of parenting a child like Max.

So if you’re a (white and wealthy) parent of a child with High-Functioning Autism (HFA), you’d probably much rather hear a diagnosis of Asperger’s than HFA, or at least your doctor would assume so and perhaps respond accordingly. You’d rather parent Max than Dustin Hoffman’s Raymond in Rainman.

By the same token, if you’re poor and black and your child had exactly those same symptoms, it’s likely the doctor, prior to 2013, would have simply said your child had autism or perhaps even PDD-NOS. There’s a problem here of consistency. There’s also a problem of mixing diagnostic boxes. HFA was interchangeable with Asperger’s and PDD-NOS could be interchangeable with autism, depending on a doctor’s cultural biases or upon how sure he was about that diagnosis—is it really “bad enough” to be autism? You have a problem here of sacrificing specificity for sensitivity’s sake so you keep it vague to prevent anyone from feeling too bad. You avoid the stigma of calling someone “autistic” if you think they might get upset.

PDD-NOS “Less Severe”

But since Asperger’s and PDD-NOS were deemed syndromes “less severe” than autism, 14 states didn’t offer people with these diagnoses access to services. While Asperger’s was the cute and quirky white person’s autism, PDD-NOS covered anything that didn’t quite fit the autism diagnosis, for instance Asperger’s. PDD-NOS could, for instance, be very mild autism. What the DSM V attempted to do, in eliminating so many terms and in making the listing for autism more broadly inclusive, was to address the bias, and make it possible for more people to receive much needed services.

But what happens to someone who has always thought of himself as having Asperger’s? It’s his identity. Suddenly you take it away and he’s now “autistic?” Ow. That bites.

Except it doesn’t. According to the Autism Speaks website, (OUCH! A notoriously disliked and suspect organization! Is K4Kids connected?) people can still call themselves what they always did. In fact, psychologists are allowed to designate “Asperger’s” as the type of autism a person has when writing up an evaluation or diagnosis, alongside the new diagnostic term autism spectrum disorder:

Many individuals may wish to retain their previous diagnosis as the label is considered part of their identity or may reflect a peer group with whom they identify. This is perfectly acceptable. A clinician can indicate both the DSM-5 diagnosis as well as the previous diagnosis, such as Asperger syndrome, in an individual’s clinical record.

The DSM-5 text states “Individuals with a well-established DSM-IV diagnoses of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified should be given the diagnosis of “autism spectrum disorder”.

The bottom line is that nothing really changed except for the fact that more people on the autism spectrum can get the services they deserve. Meantime, there’s the hope that bias and stigma can be excluded from the diagnostic process for autism spectrum disorders. It’s time to stop worrying so much how things look and instead to put that energy toward helping people with the challenges they face.

Hopefully, we’re all evolved enough to see that autism can happen to anyone and it has nothing to do with what color you are or how much money you have. And if this is the case, we can shove all that to the side and concentrate on early diagnosis and creating more treatment options. Because that is how it should be in an ideal world.

 

 

 

Is a Spiritual Life Possible in the U.S.?

NO.

This may sound like another “glib” Aspie conclusion, but I’m serious! Please see previous post: What does “Spiritual” Mean? / The Protestant Work Ethic

I’ve learned over recent years that when I feel distress of a vague nagging type, there is a “real” problem behind it. I believe this is true for many Americans, who may not recognize that the source is environmental. One of the awful trends in modern American life is this: if you are “depressed” which is a highly-exploited generalized “mental state”, it’s your problem. Life is the American Dream, and you are just not pulling your weight. Job loss, poverty, illness, grief, violent neighborhoods, natural disasters? Hey! Buck up and shut up. Don’t be a buzz-kill. See a therapist; take drugs.

In the previous post, we learned that the early Protestants, the Calvinists, believed in pre-destination: God has only so many “reserved seats” waiting in heaven, and if you are not a Chosen Person, your only recourse is to work your ass off for minimum wage for the Chosen People. This makes the Protestant Elite “rich” (of whatever race, ethnicity, religion or national origin), but we all know that these are conscientious people who plow all their profits back into their “wealth machines” here in the U.S.  This ensures good jobs and a worthwhile reason for the non-chosen masses to exist at all – putting in a lifetime of service to ensure that the seats around the boardroom table in heaven are occupied by the Elites. Sorry; there are no “leftover” seats in heaven. Unfortunately, the ever-growing tonnage of wealth tied up in the “wealth machine” is the magic ticket to heaven; it must grow and grow and grow.

“Spirituality” in Protestant cultures is at best an obligation on the part of the Elite to “not enjoy” their wealth but to amass a fortune, an obligation that passes to the heirs. As for the masses – well, if you don’t become rich, it’s because God didn’t choose you to be rich.

When spelled out so plainly, it’s a “scheme” that sane human beings (or cats and dogs, for that matter), would reject. But this is America, and from the beginning of the European invasion, the continent was sold as Heaven on Earth. A magical place in which you could buy a “seat in heaven” whether or not you were one of the Chosen People. Suddenly, Predestination had a lot of “wiggle room.”

It’s arguable just when the *”don’t enjoy your wealth” commandment disappeared from the Capitalist Playbook; it certainly doesn’t exist today. Neither does “spirituality”. Despite the U.S. being one of the more “religious” nations on Earth, any notion that we were ever a spiritual society is a sham.

* It may have been simple geometry: as the Middle Class grew, the hierarchy of wealth had to expand to include millions more Americans. What’s the point in being “rich” but unable to show it? – a Middle Class person might live a more luxurious material existence than a “millionaire” chosen person.

But- ain’t America great! A Spiritual Life (and elections) can be bought.