The Solstice is Coming / Far more than Astronomy

A hunter uses physical evidence to gauge time. .

A hunter uses physical evidence to gauge time. .

The shortened periods of daylight that lead up to the Winter Solstice play havoc with my body and mental state. I’ve posted studies and articles on the human circadian rhythm and have suggested that festivals that include group ritual are indeed a means of synchronizing individual CRs and other body rhythms with each other. A group that is “in sync” would present a more efficient and coordinated work force and would likely “get along” with each other – a social harmony brought about by environmental cues and physical action – shared dance/music, a feast, extreme emotional experience.

But – before any of this occurs, an astronomical -environmental link must be noticed and a feedback loop begun, linking physical experience to daylight length and the sun’s movement and position.  Today the focus is on establishing and keeping track of accurate time: in the background of modern life there are billions of ticking clocks; we must know “what time it is” in order to know what it is we must do from second to second,  and on into the “future” – whatever imaginary construct that is. Calendars essentially create the illusion of “the future” by pegging natural and planned events to the patterns “revealed” by a device, whether or not it’s cut marks on a bone or an ytterbium atomic clock. Human events are tagged to what is assumed to be universal “clockwork” (despite how sophisticated modern humans claim to be) and from this, take on conceptual (illusional) importance.

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Prediction based on coincidence becomes a basis of power and a clever trick. Myriad superstitions arise. Magic subsumes reality.

How clever is it to take a “guaranteed” regular and repeating pattern of the sun’s motion and lunar phases, and local phenomena such as spring floods, seasonal storms, dry-wet-cold-hot seasons, and change them into utterly precarious and unpredictable god-forces,   who must be controlled by powerful supernatural “gimmicks” utilized by Top Males, their priests, and bureaucracies?

We can call this process the “socialization” of Nature; human hierarchical imposition of magical control over natural phenomena that are in fact, dependable and repetitive.

The question that has always plagued me about ancient cultures is, Why would anyone fear that the sun will not “rise” the “following day” (unless living in arctic latitudes, which does not account for most humans) when it always does “rise” and set, for as long as anyone can remember? Why fear the end of the most spectacularly dependable event imaginable?

The ability of a ruling class to convince “the people” that a “king, pharaoh, demi-god” and a priestly class are “in control” of the gods themselves – who control the universe, is perhaps the most impressive deception ever pulled off by Homo sapiens. Amazingly, this attribution is still in force, and evidenced by human belief that gods control the universe and their human stand-ins on earth (leaders) can control human fate.

Leaders of all stripes (royalty, dictators, elected officials, etc.) claim to possess powers that supersede the natural order, despite spectacular failure to establish what the typical human desires above all: PEACE. That is, to be free from war, violence, starvation, dislocation, and chaos. In the “name” of bringing “order” to an already orderly planet, leaders create chaos, instability, death, psychological and physical trauma, and wholesale destruction.

In comparison, natural events such as hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, landslides, drought, and even volcanic eruptions and earthquakes can be dealt with by judicious selection of where humans settle, how they produce food and clean water, and adequate engineering. The true dangers of living on earth are manageable!

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Self Awareness / OMG What a Hornet’s Nest

What made me awaken this morning with the question of self awareness dancing in my head? It’s both a personal and social question and quest, and so almost impossible to think about objectively. And like so many “word concepts” there is no agreed-upon definition or meaning to actually talk about, unless it’s among religionists of certain beliefs, philosophical schools of knowledge, or neurologists hunched over their arrays of brain tissue, peering like haruspices over a pile of pink meat.

My own prejudices lean toward two basic underpinnings of self-awareness:

1. It is not a “thing” but an experience.

2. Self awareness (beyond Look! It’s me in the mirror…) is learned, earned, created, achieved.

From a previous post –

Co-consciousness; the product of language : “In Western cultures verbal language is inseparable from the process of creating a conscious human being.

A child is told who it is, where it belongs, and how to behave, day in and day out, from birth throughout childhood. In this way culturally-approved patterns of thought and behavior are implanted, organized and strengthened in the child’s brain. 

Social education means setting tasks that require following directions, and asking children to ‘correctly’ answer with words and behavior, to prove that co-consciousness is in place.

This is one of the great challenges of human development, and children who do not ‘pay attention’ to adult demands, however deftly sugar-coated, are rejected as defective, defiant, and diseased.

Punishment for having early self awareness may be physical or emotional brutality or abandonment and exile from the group.”

Who am I? is a question that most children ask sooner or later – prompted obviously by questions from adults (no child is born thinking about this) such as “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (Not, Who are you now?) The socially acceptable menu is small: “A famous sports star” for boys, ” For girls? “A wonderful mom and career woman who looks 16 years old, forever”.

How boring and unrealistic. How life and joy killing. Adults mustn’t let children in on the truth, which is even worse. We know at this point that a child can look in a mirror and say, “That’s me! I hate my haircut,” but he or she is entirely unaware that someday firing rockets into mud brick houses, thereby blowing human bodies to smithereens, may be their passion. Or she may be a single mom with three kids, totally unprepared for an adequate job. Or perhaps he or she may end up addicted to pills and rage and stuffing paper bags with French fries eight hours a day.

If a child were to utter these reasonably probabilistic goals, he or she would be labeled as disturbed and possibly dangerous. And yet human children grow up to be less than ideal, and many  dreadful outcomes occur, but these are the result of the individual colliding with societal fantasies and promises that are not likely outcomes at all.

The strangest part of this is that we talk about self awareness as a “thing” tucked into a hidden space, deep with us, but it isn’t. It is a running score on a test, that once we are born, starts running: the test questions are life’s demands, both from the environment into which we are born, and the culture of family, school, work and citizenship. The tragedy is that few caregivers bother to find out enough about a child to guide them toward a healthy and happy self-awareness. This requires observing and accepting the child’s native gifts and personality, AND helping them to manage their difficulties. This is not the same as curing them of being different, or inflicting life long scars by abandoning them, or diligent training so that like parrots, they can mimic conformist behavior and speech.

Self awareness comes as we live our lives: self-esteem is connected to that process, not as a “before” thing, but an “after” thing: a result of meeting life as it really is, not as a social fantasy. Self awareness is built from the talents and strengths that we didn’t know  we possessed. It also arises as we see the “world” as its pretentions crumble before us. Being able to see one’s existence cast against the immensity of reality, and yet to feel secure, is the measure of finally giving birth to a “self”. 

 

 

 

I’m satisfied that loving the land is my talent and that this is not a small thing, when there are so many human beings who don’t.

Perfection / A Social Trap

Yes; begin where you can.

Begin where you can.

Perfectionism is just a word until one begins thinking about the role it has played in one’s life. As usual, it is an activity, which when fused with social expectations, becomes an object of practical, moral and economic opinion. Perfectionism is not a “thing” but a tool with which to assess standards and compare outcomes, especially in art, literature and other creative endeavors.

Intelligent-creative people, minorities, and the disabled are held to much higher standards of “achievement” than typically-abled humans.

Google “perfectionism” and a highly negative picture appears. Once again, psychology has made a judgment about PEOPLE who are perfectionists; they are bad, unhappy, trapped in a corner, wasting their lives. We see the “pyramid scheme” poking through: common everyday perfectionists are self-abusers, unhappy, and paradoxically, create failure, but upper echelon “money-makers,”  are praised as perfectionists. A start up company, or artistic catalogue, once it becomes “trendy” and profitable, is contrarily opined as a positive result of perfectionism. Long hours, dedication to a goal, the march of progress and final economic success are added to the unending search for human perfection.

Athletes and immigrants are particularly subject to having their lives rewritten as journeys that fulfill the cultural need for success; rags to riches, American Dream, unlimited opportunity; the story of those whose early deprivation presented signs of future fame and influence. Perfect performance is always a component of the myth, but the expectation of perfection can be destructive.  How many “celebrity” children are crushed by such demands? And, the distance between failure and perfection grows and grows in American culture. It is no longer enough to be a “millionaire.” One must be a “billionaire.” One cannot simply post a funny video; it must generate millions of views globally. One cannot have a handful of close friends; one must garner the notice of thousands of strangers. And so, the perfect life is money and attention; not for any good reason, just because notoriety is the new “unreachable” scale of perfection.

We lie to children and torment them with one treacherous statement:

“You can be anything you dream of being,” is a bald-faced lie.

This pompous assertion cuts off actual potential by a “mental device” that has become typical in the U.S.; by presenting a socially reverse-engineered pop-culture myth, the “you can be anything” statement is delivered by individuals who have already achieved great success. The accompanying myth of their (supposedly) meteoric rise always includes magical signs that predict greatness – a “lucky”  legitimacy and foreshadowing of destiny by a chance meeting with a superstar; an injury that turned out to be a blessing; a lost parent who directs a child’s fate from the afterlife; a sudden supernatural voice, at the right moment, that said, “never give up.” These motivational events happen to almost all humans, but do not produce fame and fortune in the majority. The seed is planted: anything less than extraordinary destiny becomes failure.

Dream big! Achieve little.

The goal of becoming an adult who can find satisfying work, a worthwhile partner and the means to raise a family, has fallen to the bottom of the pyramid, when this “outcome” is the common denominator by which “average people” express the greatest source of happiness. But this achievement is not possible: everyone must put up the appearance of becoming more, and more and more.

I do think that Asperger individuals have a tricky relationship with “perfection”. Perfection as the act of seeking and creating meaningful work I see as no problem, but when our “passion” becomes a “fate” by which we are judged, it becomes a noose that tightens against our “defects”. Expectations as “the gifted child” create a problem: our lives have been laid out before us as a burden and an obligation; “gifts” are dangerous in a mediocre society. This is an ancient human theme in which those who arrive with something “extra” are expected to save everyone’s ass by acts of sacrifice, but are also expected to “disappear” once they are no longer useful.

We see this again and again in young men who are asked to die by old men;  soldiers have difficulty in not identifying the two as one and the same: Young males must die for the old. Isn’t this upside down? Why isn’t it the old and useless males, who have had their chance at life who are expected to “volunteer” to “save” young fathers and sons from unwarranted tragedy?

We encounter perfection and want to merge with it, which for me at least, is my subjective experience of “bliss”. Mythologies the world over warn of such improper boundary crossings by humans into the realm of the gods. Countless myths offer up Heroes who are granted “fire stolen from the gods” that costs them everything, but in the long run restores balance to society, which is the real goal of their existence. So, in this philosophy, talents and abilities are not the end in themselves, but means to ends; ends that are available to humans in general when an individual applies his or her abilities toward a realizable goal.

American culture is blind to this deeper and wider actualization of success. In the U.S., only those at the apex of the Pyramid count. The promise is to elevate “the peasants” to the upper levels of the pyramid, but this is logically impossible. The top 1% needs the 99% of humanity at the bottom to fail – and defines failure as “not being” at the top of the hierarchy.  

Aspergers are susceptible to being judged on the basis of success as something elevated beyond “normal”. In the neurotypical scheme of life, a child obsessed with knowledge dares to pass into factual reality, which contains the secrets of the universe; a domain where few socially typical individuals dare to go. Taboo, because neurotypical predators crave domination: any “successful” neurotypical would use intelligence to exploit other people. The idea that “Aspergers” have little to no social ambition is simply not credible; in fact it is a source of derision and fear – and opportunity for social predators. .

As a young child I was terribly confused. My intelligence was superficially praised, but harshly received. Intelligence was tested and tracked and presented as important, but forbidden to girls – actualization of “power” was a crime against nature, religion and males of any kind: against all of “defenseless” neurotypical humanity. Ironically, extra abilities and the good fortune of “beauty” could be exploited for family status (marry a rich man, become a “beauty queen”, an actress or celebrity) or to manipulate others behind the scenes to benefit a husband. Selfish ends were quite okay, but a desire to improve a greater sphere of human need was forbidden. To expand knowledge, opinion, laws or the frontiers of human stupidity was, and is, forbidden.

It has taken a lifetime to construct a workable “fix” for myself: Perfection happens. Nature is the domain of perfection and it is informative that nature never rests, but is the continual unfolding of possibilities within a set of laws (boundaries) – a balance of change and continuity that is perfect only in the moment. It’s okay to strive for perfection in creative work, but it’s good to understand that perfection is ephemeral.

Life may be a tool by which the universe acknowledges its own perfection.

However, no human is required to be perfect: What a relief. Nor is any child or adult required to fulfill any expectation that the label “Asperger’s Disorder” attempts to place on them. 

 

 

Recent Anxiety / Visual Thinking Re-post

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These observations continue to be valid…

Recently the clinic where I go for prescriptions and some therapy noticed that my 5-year review was last scheduled 10-years ago. So I went in for a two-hour “dredging up” of my entire life. It was a good thing too: the person who interviewed me last time was a fundamentalist Christian who got almost everything wrong. Not a good listener, plus she tended to reinterpret whatever one said as a plea to be “born again.”

The interview went well – a therapist to whom I can say anything and not feel “weird.” He knows that I have no memory for dates, but can rattle off vivid descriptions from visual memory. He likes this because the other Aspergers clients he has don’t talk  much at all. (Probably males?)

Not surprising to me is that often after a therapy session in which I talk about difficult events, anxiety sets in; not right away, but hours to days afterward. After many such occurrences I traced this phenomenon to visual memory. Words are different: I’m quite emotionally detached when talking. Words are tools, not “reality” – that is, they have no meaning per se. Images – that’s a whole different experience.

I think PTSD symptoms may be related. It seems to be sensory reminders that trigger the horrible experiences of those who suffer with it. Extreme trauma – sights, sounds smells are relived in the immediate present.

As far as Asperger anxiety, for me it’s the images that drag me back, out of the present and into the visual record of sights (and smells and noises sometimes). I’ve posted about this before: how visual memory is so real; detailed, dense and difficult to change. Timeless. This is a great benefit if one is an artist or a writer.

The tactic I have learned to use is to bring my focus into the present. Even doing mundane things like chores, sorting photos or doing yard work is effective. Or doing something visual and physical such as taking a walk in the countryside. Anything that reminds me that I’m “here” not “there.” Managing one’s experience of time is possible, but It took me a very long time to grasp the notion that it’s possible.

I used to imagine that someday anxiety would not be part of my life, but like many unpleasant aspects of life, I had to accept that it’s part of who I am.

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Before – After Therapy / How’s that going for you?

Before therapy: Chance, which tosses babies like coins and made me mad…

After therapy: Chance, which tosses babies like coins that land in mad families.

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INTJ Females / A Review of 0.08% of the Human Population

From: https://www.16personalities.com

It may seem I’m flogging a dead horse with this possible INTJ connection, but I suspect that females who test as INTJ personality type are more likely to be diagnosed Asperger than other females. Some anecdotal evidence points to Asperger males as NOT commonly INTJ, so if true, this may demonstrate the bias that the rare ‘intelligent and strategic INTJ female” is automatically judged by society to be “developmentally abnormal” – too adept at intellectual activities that are reserved by God for the exalted male brain.

My highlights and comments refer to how I see the INTJ type as it applies to me as an Asperger – INTJ female.

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INTJ Personality (“The Architect”)

It’s lonely at the top, and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types, INTJs know this all too well. INTJs form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. People with the INTJ personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy.

Nothing Can Stop the Right Attitude From Achieving Its Goal

With a natural thirst for knowledge that shows itself early in life, INTJs are often given the title of “bookworm” as children. While this may be intended as an insult by their peers, they more than likely identify with it and are even proud of it, greatly enjoying their broad and deep body of knowledge. INTJs enjoy sharing what they know (In Asperger types this is considered a socially unacceptable pathology that is highly annoying to neurotypicals), confident in their mastery of their chosen subjects, but owing to their Intuitive (N) and Judging (J) traits, they prefer to design and execute a brilliant plan within their field rather than share opinions on “uninteresting” distractions like gossip. (In neurotypical psychology, this social indifference is a symptom of developmental disorder.)

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” Harlan Ellison

A paradox to most observers, INTJs are able to live by glaring contradictions that nonetheless make perfect sense – at least from a purely rational perspective. For example, INTJs are simultaneously the most starry-eyed idealists  and the bitterest of cynics, a seemingly impossible conflict. But this is because INTJ types tend to believe that with effort, intelligence and consideration, nothing is impossible, while at the same time they believe that people are too lazy, short-sighted or self-serving to actually achieve those fantastic results. Yet that cynical view of reality is unlikely to stop an interested INTJ from achieving a result they believe to be relevant.

Note: I would describe this seeming paradox differently. “Starry-eyed idealist” is a neurotypical concept: INTJs are pragmatists who see the possibilities inherent in the “real world”  and therefore, “doable”. The “limits” that social types adhere to are manmade: “It can’t be done” is the social mantra: “It can” is the INTJ assertion. Cynicism is the result of having to “deal with” the social hierarchy, which blocks any attempt at “bypassing” the status quo: “It can’t be done.” INTJs hear that excuse over and over again and see their perfectly realistic plans rejected out of stubborn fear of loss of control by “pyramid people”.

In Matters Of Principle, Stand Like a Rock

INTJs radiate self-confidence and an aura of mystery (?) and their insightful observations, original ideas and formidable logic enable them to push change through with sheer willpower and force of personality. Baloney: overwhelming resistance to progress usually wins out over ‘a better way to do things”. At times it will seem that INTJs are bent on deconstructing and rebuilding every idea and system they come into contact with, employing a sense of perfectionism and even morality to this work. But wisely keep this to ourselves after getting “beaten up” too many times by fearful conformist neurotypicals.  Anyone who doesn’t have the talent to keep up with INTJs’ processes, or worse yet, doesn’t see the point of them, is likely to immediately and permanently lose their respect. Yes, but I would qualify this by saying that the PERSON is not disrespected as a human being; it’s their specific inability to expand their horizon.

Rules, limitations and traditions are anathema to the INTJ personality type – everything should be open to questioning and reevaluation, and if they see a way, INTJs will often act unilaterally to enact their technically superior, sometimes insensitive, and almost always unorthodox methods and ideas. Typical neurotypical exaggeration; socially-dependent people overreact to new or different “ideas observations and proposals” as personal attacks. This is childish!

This isn’t to be misunderstood as impulsiveness – INTJs will strive to remain rational no matter how attractive the end goal may be, and every idea, whether generated internally or soaked in from the outside world, must pass the ruthless and ever-present “Is this going to work?” filter. This mechanism is applied at all times, to all things and all people, and this is often where INTJ personality types run into trouble. Gee whiz! Could this extreme statement be a neurotypical projection of fear in the face of a self-confident person? Anyone who is assertive and capable, and who doesn’t “cater to” emotional narcissism and blackmail, is a mechanical “monster”? Really? How childish. 

One Reflects More When Traveling Alone

INTJs are brilliant and confident in bodies of knowledge they have taken the time to understand, but unfortunately the social contract is unlikely to be one of those subjects. White lies and small talk are hard enough as it is for a type that craves truth and depth, but INTJs may go so far as to see many social conventions as downright stupid. It’s amazing how not one single person is ever asked if he or she wishes to sign this “social contract”. Yes, social conventions are stupid when they stand in the way of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” and define females as de facto inferiors. On this there is no negotiation.

Ironically, it is often best for them to remain where they are comfortable – out of the spotlight – where the natural confidence prevalent in INTJs as they work with the familiar can serve as its own beacon, attracting people, romantically or otherwise, of similar temperament and interests. Wow! Here is a typical neurotypical insult masquerading as “kindly advice”. Translation- Please go away: you make us uncomfortable and we don’t like you.

INTJs are defined by their tendency to move through life as though it were a giant chess board, pieces constantly shifting with consideration and intelligence, always assessing new tactics, strategies and contingency plans, constantly outmaneuvering their peers in order to maintain control of a situation while maximizing their freedom to move about. Is this not intelligent strategy at work? This isn’t meant to suggest that INTJs act without conscience, but to many Feeling (F) types, INTJs’ distaste for acting on emotion can make it seem that way, and it explains why many fictional villains (and misunderstood heroes) are modeled on this personality type. Thank-you for pointing this out; it’s not as if intelligent females aren’t maligned often enough.

INTJ Strengths

  • Quick, Imaginative and Strategic Mind – INTJs pride themselves on their minds, taking every opportunity to improve their knowledge, and this shows in the strength and flexibility of their strategic thinking. Insatiably curious and always up for an intellectual challenge, INTJs can see things from many perspectives. INTJs use their creativity and imagination not so much for artistry, but for planning contingencies and courses of action for all possible scenarios. Relevant scenarios; how this rules out “artistry” is baffling.
  • High Self-Confidence – INTJs trust their rationalism above all else, so when they come to a conclusion, they have no reason to doubt their findings. This creates an honest, direct style of communication that isn’t held back by perceived social roles or expectations. When INTJs are right, they’re right, and no amount of politicking or hand-holding is going to change that fact – whether it’s correcting a person, a process, or themselves, they’d have it no other way. Too extreme! We “know what we know” but never stop evaluating our knowledge or questioning our conclusions!
  • Independent and Decisive – This creativity, logic and confidence come together to form individuals who stand on their own and take responsibility for their own actions. The lack of this quality in many social types drives us BATTY! Authority figures do not impress INTJs, nor do social conventions or tradition, and no matter how popular something is, if they have a better idea, INTJs will stand against anyone they have to in a bid to have it changed. Either an idea is the most rational or it’s wrong, and INTJs will apply this to their arguments as well as their own behavior, staying calm and detached from these sometimes emotionally charged conflicts. INTJs will only be swayed by those who follow suit. This is unfair: we are not swayed by someone who agrees with us, but by superior ideas presented by the other person.
  • Hard-working and determined – If something piques their interest, INTJs can be astonishingly dedicated to their work, putting in long hours and intense effort to see an idea through. INTJs are incredibly efficient, and if tasks meet the criteria of furthering a goal, they will find a way to consolidate and accomplish those tasks. However, this drive for efficiency can also lead to a sort of elaborate laziness wherein INTJs find ways to bypass seeming redundancies which don’t seem to require a great deal of thought – this can be risky, as sometimes double-checking one’s work is the standard for a reason. Stupid misconception! Why not eliminate redundancy? Neurotypicals go over the same “notions” and irrelevant factoids, over and over and over again, getting stuck in a senseless vortex of social gibberish that does not yield results. Double checking? Try continuous ardent checking!  
  • Open-minded – All this rationalism leads to a very intellectually receptive personality type, as INTJs stay open to new ideas, supported by logic, even if (and sometimes especially if) they prove INTJs’ previous conceptions wrong. When presented with unfamiliar territory, such as alternate lifestyles, INTJs tend to apply their receptiveness and independence, and aversion to rules and traditions, to these new ideas as well, resulting in fairly liberal social senses. Yes. 
  • Jacks-of-all-Trades – INTJs’ open-mindedness, determination, independence, confidence and strategic abilities create individuals who are capable of doing anything they set their minds to. Not really – another unrealistic exaggeration. Excelling at analyzing anything life throws their way, INTJs are able to reverse-engineer the underlying methodology of most any system and apply the concepts that are exposed wherever needed. INTJs tend to have their pick of professions, from IT architects to political masterminds. But! If you are female, and / or Asperger, this is not likely.

INTJ Weaknesses

  • Arrogant – INTJs are perfectly capable of carrying their confidence too far, falsely believing that they’ve resolved all the pertinent issues of a matter and closing themselves off to the opinions of those they believe to be intellectually inferior. Combined with their irreverence for social conventions, INTJs can be brutally insensitive in making their opinions of others all too clear. Note that “brutal” and “insensitive” are social judgements. If you are among people who fixate on their personal emotional state (neoteny) then this is unavoidable.
  • Judgmental – INTJs tend to have complete confidence in their thought process, because rational arguments are almost by definition correct – at least in theory. In practice, emotional considerations and history are hugely influential, and a weak point for INTJs is that they brand these factors and those who embrace them as illogical, dismissing them and considering their proponents to be stuck in some baser mode of thought, making it all but impossible to be heard. Again – a misinterpretation; a bias that only “socially sanctioned emotions” exist. We experience emotion differently; we are not devoid of feelings.
  • Overly analytical – How can anyone be “overly” analytical? LOL A recurring theme with INTJs is their analytical prowess, but this strength can fall painfully short where logic doesn’t rule – such as with human relationships. Mistake: one can analyze “irrational” behavior; this does not mean that one must then become irrational, or attempt to “make  the other person” think and act rationally. Escape from such a situation is then rational. When their critical minds and sometimes neurotic level of perfectionism (often the case with Turbulent INTJs) are applied to other people, all but the steadiest of friends will likely need to make some distance, too often permanently.
  • Loathe highly structured environments – Blindly following precedents and rules without understanding them is distasteful to INTJs, and they disdain even more authority figures who blindly uphold those laws and rules without understanding their intent. Anyone who prefers the status quo for its own sake, or who values stability and safety over self-determination, is likely to clash with INTJ personality types. Whether it’s the law of the land or simple social convention, this aversion applies equally, often making life more difficult than it needs to be. This is mission #1 for social types.
  • Clueless in romance – This antipathy to rules and tendency to over-analyze and be judgmental, even arrogant, all adds up to a personality type that is often clueless in dating. Having a new relationship last long enough for INTJs to apply the full force of their analysis on their potential partner’s thought processes and behaviors can be challenging. Trying harder in the ways that INTJs know best can only make things worse, and it’s unfortunately common for them to simply give up the search. Ironically, this is when they’re at their best, and most likely to attract a partner Magical thinking! And if you are female, “giving up the search” is likely to be a rational decision. Why waste so much time and energy on a futile project? 

INTJ Personality and Emotions

INTJs are defined by their confidence, logic, and exceptional decision-making, but all of this hides a turbulent underbelly – their emotions. The very notion of emotional expression is synonymous with irrationality and weakness to many INTJs, a display of poor self-governance and fleeting opinion that can hardly stand up to the enduring light of factual truth. Because we recognize that social typicals frequently act on impulse and ephemeral emotion and it rarely works out well. See: divorce rates.

This mistrust of emotions is understandable, as Feeling (F) is the most weakly developed trait for INTJs – like any complex tool, skilled hands can use it to remarkable effect, while untrained hands make clumsy and dangerous work.

People with the INTJ personality type take pride in remaining rational and logical at all times, considering honesty and straightforward information to be paramount as if dishonesty and deviousness are better qualities! to euphemisms and platitudes in almost all circumstances. In many ways though, these qualities of coolness and detachment aren’t the weapons of truth that they appear to be, but are instead shields designed to protect the inner emotions that INTJs feel. In fact, because their emotions are such an underdeveloped tool, INTJs often feel them more strongly than many overtly emotional types because they simply haven’t learned how to control them effectively. Or not; maybe we experience emotion DIFFERENTLY to neurotypicals – feelings are linked to intellectual concerns for equality, fairness, honesty and liberation of vulnerable people from social abuse. 

There Is Not a Truth Existing Which I Fear

This is a challenging paradigm for INTJs to manage, especially younger and more Turbulent types who are already less confident than they would like to appear. These feelings are contrary to INTJs’ idea of themselves as paragons of logic and knowledge, and they may go so far as to claim they have no emotions at all. This does not mean that people with the INTJ personality type should be seen as, nor should they aspire to be, cold-blooded and insensitive geniuses living by the mantra that emotions are for the weak. INTJs must understand that this isn’t the case, and isn’t ever going to be. Such exaggeration! And it’s neurotypicals who “judge” Aspergers as being incapable  of emotional intelligence and empathy.  

More mature and Assertive INTJs find more useful ways to manage their feelings. While they will never be comfortable with a truly public display of emotions, INTJs can learn to use them, to channel them alongside their logic to help them achieve their goals. While seemingly contradictory, this can be done in several ways.

Firstly, INTJs are goal-oriented, with long-term ideas founded on sound logic. When something does cause an emotional reaction, good or bad, that energy can be used to further those goals, aiding rational and pre-determined plans. Secondly, emotions are figurative canaries in the coal mine, indicating that something is off even though logic can’t see it yet. These feelings can help INTJs to use their logic to ask questions they may not have thought to ask. “This is upsetting. Why? What can be done to resolve it?” This is true. 

Question With Boldness

In this way, emotions are not INTJs’ way of addressing a decision, but rather an indication that a decision needs to be addressed. Yes, yes, yes. INTJ personalities’ Thinking (T) trait acts as a protective big brother to their Feeling (F) trait – seeing that something has upset the less able sibling, it steps in to take action, letting logic do the talking and resolving the condition rather than complaining about its consequences.

There comes a time though, when logic is simply the wrong tool for the job, when there just isn’t a rational solution to a problem, and it is in these situations that INTJs must use their Feeling (F) trait most clearly. INTJs would do well to practice this from time to time, or at least be aware of it, because however they may try, it is impossible to truly separate emotion from the decision-making process. The fact is that INTJs do feel, and deeply, and this makes them better, not worse.

INTJ Relationships

In romance, people with the INTJ personality type approach things the way they do with most situations: they compose a series of calculated actions with a predicted and desirable end goal – a healthy long-term relationship.  Rather than falling head over heels in a whirlwind of passion and romance, INTJs identify potential partners who meet a certain range of pre-determined criteria, break the dating process down into a series of measurable milestones, then proceed to execute the plan with clinical precision. This is not true of all INTJs – especially female INTJs. Should one not be looking for a long-term relationship, other considerations apply. 

In a purely rational world, this is a fool-proof methodology – but in reality, it ignores significant details that INTJs are likely to dismiss prematurely, such as human nature. INTJs are brilliantly intellectual, developing a world in their heads that is more perfect than reality. This is not true: the “world” in one’s head is continually evolving – society is stagnant. THIS is the problem! People entering this world need to fit this fantasy, Not true! They need to be flexible, open-minded, lively, have their own ideas, but not be “belief bound” and – be willing to grow and it can be incredibly difficult for INTJs to find someone up to the task. Needless to say, finding a compatible partner is the most significant challenge most INTJs will face in life.

Politeness Is Artificial Good Humor

Sentiment, tradition, and emotion are INTJs’ Achilles Heel. Social standards like chivalry are viewed by INTJs as silly, even demeaning. The problem is, these standards have developed as a means of smoothing introductions and developing rapport, of managing expectations, the basis of personal relationships. INTJs’ propensity for frank honesty in word and action tends to violate this social contract, making dating especially difficult for them. I hate being the center of attention and being “fawned over”.

As they mature, INTJs will come to recognize these factors as relevant, incorporating pace and emotional availability into their plans. But the meantime can be dangerous, especially for more Turbulent INTJs – if they are shot down too many times they may come to the conclusion that everyone else is simply too irrational, or simply beneath them intellectually. If cynicism takes hold, INTJs may end up falling into the trap of intentionally displaying intellectual arrogance, making solitude their choice rather than happenstance. And we all know that for social typicals, being ignored or alone is worse than death…their fear of being confronted by their “inner self” is astonishing!)

Always Remain Cool

The positive side of INTJs’ “giving up” is that they are most attractive when they aren’t trying to be attractive, working in a familiar environment where their confidence and intelligence can be seen in action. Allowing others to come to them is often INTJs’ best strategy (But not if you live where there are few people!) and if they perceive a potential to the relationship, they will spare no effort in developing and maintaining stability and long-term satisfaction. True – we’re devoted and persistent, but not “motherly”.

As their relationships develop, INTJs’ partners will find an imaginative and enthusiastic companion, who will share their world and at the same time grant a huge degree of independence and trust. While INTJs may never be fully comfortable expressing their feelings, and may spend more time theorizing about intimacy than engaging in it, they can always be relied upon to think out a mutually beneficial solution to any situation.

INTJs seek strong, deep relationships, and trust their knowledge and logic to ensure that their partner is satisfied, both intellectually and physically. But when it comes to emotional satisfaction, INTJs are simply out of their element. Not every partner has the sort of fun INTJs do in addressing conflicts and emotional needs as puzzles to be analyzed and solved. No, this is not “fun” – conflict is abhorrent, especially petty conflict Sometimes emotions need to be expressed for their own sake, and putting every outburst under the microscope isn’t always helpful. If this becomes habit, or INTJs think it may, they are capable of simply ending the relationship, rather than dragging things out. Some things are simply not negotiable

Truth and Morality

INTJs are bewilderingly deep and intelligent people, bringing stability and insight into their romantic relationships. They prize honest, open communication, and all factors of the relationship are open to discussion and change, but this must be reciprocated. INTJs do what they think is right, and sometimes that comes across as cold – it’s important to know that INTJs don’t make these decisions lightly. They spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to understand why and how things go wrong, especially if they’ve devoted themselves to the relationship, and they certainly hurt deeply when things fall apart. But, there has to be a limit to stupid conflict.

The challenge is finding partners who share those same values – though Intuitive (N) types are uncommon, they may be a must for many INTJs, as sharing this trait creates an immediate sense of mutual belonging. Having one or two balancing traits, such as Extraversion (E), Feeling (F), or Prospecting (P) can help to keep a relationship dynamic and growth-oriented by keeping INTJs involved with other people, in touch with their emotions, and open to alternate potentials.

INTJ Friends

People with the INTJ personality type tend to have more success in developing friendships than they do with romantic relationships, but they none-the-less suffer from many of the same setbacks, substituting rational processes for emotional availability. This intellectual distance tends to go both ways, making INTJs notoriously difficult to read and get to know, and making INTJs not want to bother reading anyone they think isn’t on their level. On the contrary, it’s almost impossible to prevent my brain from “assessing”, or “reading”, other people. Overcoming these hurdles is often all but impossible without the sort of instant connection made possible by sharing the Intuitive (N) trait.

No Person Will Complain for Want of Time Who Never Loses Any

INTJs tend to have set opinions about what works, what doesn’t, what they’re looking for, and what they’re not. These discriminating tastes can come across as arrogant, but INTJs would simply argue that it’s a basic filtering mechanism that allows them to direct their attentions where they will do the most good. The fact is that in friendship, INTJs are looking for more of an intellectual soul mate than anything else, and those that aren’t prepared for that kind of relationship are simply boring. INTJs need to share ideas – a self-feeding circle of gossip about mutual friends is no kind of social life for them.

INTJs will keep up with just a few good friends, eschewing larger circles of acquaintances in favor of depth and quality.

Further, having more than just a few friends would compromise INTJs’ sense of independence and self-sufficiency – they gladly give up social validation to ensure this freedom. INTJs embrace this idea even with those who do fit into their social construct, requiring little attention or maintenance to remain on good terms, and encouraging that same independence in their friends.

When it comes to emotional support, INTJs are far from being a bastion of comfort. They actively suppress their own emotions with shields of rationality and logic, and expect their friends to do the same. When emotionally charged situations do come about, INTJs may literally have no clue how to handle them appropriately FREEZE like a rabbit is a common reaction a glaring contrast from their usual capacity for decisive self-direction and composure.

But Friendship Is Precious

When they are in their comfort zone though, among people they know and respect, INTJs have no trouble relaxing and enjoying themselves. Their sarcasm and dark humor are not for the faint of heart, nor for those who struggle to read between the lines, but they make for fantastic story-telling among those who can keep up. This more or less limits their pool of friends to fellow Analysts (NT) and Diplomat (NF) types, as Observant (S) types’ preference for more straightforward communication often simply leaves both parties frustrated.

It’s not easy to become good friends with INTJs. Rather than traditional rules of social conduct or shared routine, INTJs have exacting expectations for intellectual prowess, uncompromising honesty and a mutual desire to grow and learn as sovereign individuals. INTJs are gifted, bright and development-oriented, and expect and encourage their friends to share this attitude. Anyone falling short of this will be labeled a bore – anyone meeting these expectations will appreciate them of their own accord, forming a powerful and stimulating friendship that will stand the test of time.

INTJ Careers

Professional competence is often the area in which INTJs shine most brilliantly. Their capacity for digesting difficult and complex theories and principles and converting them into clear and actionable ideas and strategies is unmatched by any other type. INTJs are able to filter out the noise of a situation, identifying the core thread that needs to be pulled in order to unravel others’ messes so that they can be rewoven into something at once beautifully intricate and stunningly simple in its function. Yes! Except that this is often an unwelcome ability for “drama addicted” neurotypicals who demand perpetual mediocrity in the workplace or in other group efforts.

The real challenge for INTJs is that in order for their innovative (and to less insightful individuals, seemingly counter-intuitive) ideas to be heard, they need to have a friendly ear to bend, and developing an amiable rapport with authority figures is not exactly in INTJs’ list of core strengths. In their early careers, INTJs will often have to suffer through menial tasks and repeated rejections as they develop their abilities into a skill set that speaks for itself.

INTJs will often find ways to automate routine and mind-numbing tasks, and as they progress, their natural confidence, dedication, and creative intelligence will open the doors to the increased complexity and freedom they crave.

Where’s My Drawing Board?

INTJs tend to prefer to work alone, or at most in small groups, where they can maximize their creativity and focus without repeated interruptions from questioning colleagues and meetings-happy supervisors. For this reason INTJs are unlikely to be found in strictly administrative roles or anything that requires constant dialogue and heavy teamwork. Rather, INTJs prefer more “lone wolf” positions as mechanical or software engineers, lawyers or freelance consultants, only accepting competent leadership that helps in these goals, and rejecting the authority of those who hold them back.

Their independent attitude and tireless demand for competence mean that INTJs absolutely loathe those who get ahead by seemingly less meritocratic means like social prowess and political connections. Double yes! INTJs have exceptionally high standards, and if they view a colleague or supervisor as incompetent or ineffective, respect will be lost instantly and permanently. INTJs value personal initiative, determination, insight and dedication, and believe that everyone should complete their work to the highest possible standards – if a schmoozing shill breezes through without carrying their own weight, they may find INTJs’ inventiveness and determination used in a whole new capacity as the winds turn against them.

Timid Men (Women?) Prefer the Calm

As their careers progress further and their reputation grows, so will the complexity of INTJs’ tasks and projects. INTJs demand progress and evolution, new challenges and theories, and they often accomplish this by pushing into more active strategic positions. While they don’t care for the spotlight, INTJs do enjoy controlling their ideas, and will often expand into low-profile but influential roles as project managers, system engineers, marketing strategists, systems analysts, and military strategists. Traditionally male job-jobs. I usually work for myself; I’m a great boss.

But really, INTJs’ vision, creativity, and competence in executing their plans make them viable in just about any career that requires them to think about what they’re doing. While some careers, such as low-level sales and human resources, clearly do not play to their strengths, INTJs are able to build a niche into just about any institution, including their own, that they put their minds to.

INTJ in the Workplace

Above all else, INTJs want to be able to tackle intellectually interesting work with minimal outside interference, no more, no less. Time-consuming management techniques like trust-building getaways, progress meetings, and drawn-out, sandwiched criticisms are only going to annoy INTJs Annoy? Absolutely avoid like the plague – all they need, be they subordinate, colleague, or manager, is to meet their goals with the highest standard of technical excellence and to be surrounded by, if anyone at all, people who share those values.

On paper this makes them appear to be exemplary employees, and in many ways they are, but there are many types, especially those with a combination of the Observant (S) and Feeling (F) traits, who will find a work (or any other) relationship with INTJs extremely challenging. INTJs have a fairly strict code of conduct when it comes to their work, and if they see coworkers valuing social activities and “good enough” workmanship over absolute excellence, it will be a turbulent environment. For this reason, INTJs tend to prefer to work in tight, like-minded groups – a group of one, if necessary.

INTJ Subordinates

INTJs are independent people, and they quickly become frustrated if they find themselves pushed into tightly defined roles that limit their freedom. With the direction of a properly liberal manager, INTJs will establish themselves in a position of expertise, completing their work not with the ambition of managerial promotion, but for its own intrinsic merit. INTJs require and appreciate firm, logical managers who are able to direct efforts with competence, deliver criticism when necessary, and back up those decisions with sound reason.

Note that it is INTJs’ expectations of their managers that are being defined here, and not the other way around, as with some other personality types. Titles mean little to INTJs – trust and respect are earned, and INTJs expect this to be a two way street, receiving and delivering advice, criticisms and results. INTJs expect their managers to be intelligent enough and strong enough to be able to handle this paradigm. A silent INTJ conveys a lack of respect better than all their challenges ever will.

INTJ Colleagues

Active teamwork is not ideal for people with the INTJ personality type. Not always true. It’s the people on the team who make it work or not. Fiercely independent and private, INTJs use their nimble minds and insight to deflect personal talk, avoid workplace tension, and create situations where they aren’t slowed down by those less intelligent, less capable, or less adaptable to more efficient methods. Instead, they will likely poke fun by forcing them to read between the lines and making them deal alone with work that could have been easier if they’d only taken INTJs’ suggestions.

INTJs are brilliant analysts, and will likely gather a small handful of trusted colleagues to involve in their brainstorming sessions, excluding those who get too hung up on details, or who otherwise have yet to earn their respect. But more likely, INTJs will simply take the initiative alone – INTJs love embracing challenges and their consequent responsibilities, and their perfectionism and determination usually mean that the work comes out clean and effective, affording INTJs the twin joys of solitude and victory.

INTJ Managers

Though they may be surprised to hear it, INTJs make natural leaders, and this shows in their management style. INTJs value innovation and effectiveness more than just about any other quality, and they will gladly cast aside hierarchy, protocol and even their own beliefs if they are presented with rational arguments about why things should change. INTJs promote freedom and flexibility in the workplace, preferring to engage their subordinates as equals, respecting and rewarding initiative and adopting an attitude of “to the best mind go the responsibilities”, directing strategy while more capable hands manage the day-to-day tactics.

But this sort of freedom isn’t just granted, it’s required – those who are accustomed to just being told what to do, who are unable to direct themselves and challenge existing notions, will have a hard time meeting INTJs’ extremely high standards. Efficiency and results are king to INTJs, and behaviors that undermine these conditions are quashed mercilessly. If subordinates try to compensate for their weakness in these areas by trying to build a social relationship with their INTJ managers, on their heads be it – office gossip and schmoozing are not the way into INTJs’ hearts – only bold competence will do.

Conclusion

Few personality types are as mysterious and controversial as INTJs.  To neurotypicals, but not to ourselves Possessing intellect and strategic thinking that allow them to overcome many challenging obstacles, INTJs have the ability to both develop and implement a plan for everything, including their own personal growth.

Yet INTJs can be easily tripped up in areas where careful and rational thinking is more of a liability than an asset. Whether it is finding (or keeping) a partner, making friends, reaching dazzling heights on the career ladder or adapting to the unpredictable, INTJs need to put in a conscious effort to develop their weaker traits and additional skills.

INTJs – male or female – need to be INTJ – not some other personality type!

 

Visual Thinking does not equate to artistic skill / Re-Post

A previous post (which I cannot find) featured the “Draw a Person DAP test” (See new post today).

There is so much wrong about this test that the assumptions, interpretations, conclusions, usages and nonsense behind it leave me speechless. However, there is one assumption that needs talked about: intelligence cannot be conflated with drawing skill. The ability to draw is “native” to some people; many more can be taught / trained to draw passably well. This “artistic ability” cannot be exploited if the person is not curious about “how things appear” and a critical observer. Drawing was for centuries a task that was elemental to becoming a professional artist, but today a person can staple his or her sneakers to a wall and be hailed as a genius.

I’m Asperger; a visual thinker, which has nothing to do with the skill of drawing, which I totally lack. (Asperger clumsy?) and yet I worked for many years as an advertising art director and designer, as well as “making art” for self-expression. I could not draw to save my ass.

I was ridiculed, chided, laughed at and queried by clients who tried to decipher my layouts. “You can’t draw? How did you get this job?”

IMG_0001wp

Well, because creative people are creative at working around obstacles. One art director I worked with was blind in one eye. He just didn’t tell anyone. I made collages; pieces cut from magazines, resized, hand colored, worked into (sometimes scary looking) layouts: ideas presented and mostly understood. In a way, I was lucky: back in the dark ages before computer image software, everything was done by hand. If you presented a realistic detailed layout of an ad or illustration, well by God! the finished piece had better look just like the layout.

My strange ambiguous layouts let me get away with changing whatever I decided to change. Sometimes people noticed, mostly no one did. Everything was fine really, as long as the finished product was successful, (if a bit of a surprise.)

As far as the DAP test goes: the drawings I made as a 4-year old would have condemned me to the basement of psychological IQ assessment. When I was in my 20s and 30s my drawings would have done the same. Thankfully, no one ever judged my intelligence by my drawing ability, and I discovered photography along the way.

IMG_0526wp

 

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Hibernation / Science and Personal Fantasy

For all but approximately 3 years of my life I’ve lived in “bad winter” locations, and I like winter; it’s the length of the season that gets to me. So I fantasize about the ability to hibernate for a month or two. February is daunting, especially in this part of Wyoming, where the year’s snowfall tends to be delayed until March, April and into May. In other wintry places, one may think of February as the last step toward spring; for us, it’s a dead zone that means 3 more months of winter to go. I’ve also considered the notion that archaic humans, Neanderthals especially, may have entered states of “altered metabolism” during the worst climate / weather periods. Perhaps we call it depression today; perhaps mania too, was a “normal” state of intense activity in warm periods. Bipolar disorder has been investigated as a disruption to circadian rhythm cycles. 

And, getting enough quality sleep is a “modern social problem” that seriously affects health and performance. 

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Why Does Hibernating Make Animals Tired?

Hibernation tires animals out, because it may be more like wakefulness than previously thought.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ezpnkj/why-does-hibernating-make-animals-tired

Matteo Cerri is a hibernation researcher at the University of Bologna, Italy. He is currently consulting for the European Space Agency about ways to make humans hibernate during long space missions.

Hibernating mammals are able to actively suppress their metabolism, meaning they can tell their body to use less energy. Hibernation is a marvelous physiological and molecular event, and it’s still a mystery how the behavior is activated and regulated. One of the most curious mysteries about hibernation that I and my fellow hibernation researchers are trying to answer is why hibernating animals are so tired when they wake up.

There are several types of hibernation, which can last an entire season or just a part of a day (this is called “torpor”), and can even happen when the ambient temperature is high (which is called “aestivation”).

For sure, the brain plays a key role in starting the entire chain of events, but how and which part is still unknown. Among the many unexpected facets of hibernation, one is incredibly surprising.

Traditionally, hibernation is commonly seen as a “big sleep,” a way for animals to stave winter off when no food is around. But it’s actually not. Hibernation is a state characterized by the active inhibition of metabolism, and in this state, the activity of the brain differs substantially from sleep and may in fact be closer to wakefulness than many people realize. Hibernators are known to wake up periodically from their “cold sleep,” and most people would think “it’s to eat, of course!”

But that is not the case. Hibernators don’t eat during hibernation season (and, for what it’s worth, they also don’t drink or produce any urine). So, why are they waking up? To check out the weather?

Electroencephalographic recordings of the brain of hibernators give a surprising answer: They wake up to sleep. And it’s not like they shift from hibernating to a nap. These animals wake up and pass out like they’re exhausted. Delta brainwave readings, which can be used to measure the deepness or intensity of sleep, show that animals that have just woken up from hibernation are indeed sleeping intensely.

This observation has been confirmed both in seasonal hibernators, such as golden-mantled ground squirrels and European ground squirrels, and in animals that perform torpor, such as the Djungarian hamster. Why this is the case is the subject of great debate among hibernation researchers, and it matters because my team and others around the world are working on research that could lead to the possibility of human hibernation. We’d like to know as much about the process as possible.

There are two main hypotheses. The first one suggests that sleep is such a deep and necessary process for the brain—that it serves such a vital role that the brain itself has to command the body out of hibernation to recover the sleep it’s lost during hibernation. In fact, the idea that hibernation is more similar to wakefulness than it is to sleep is the subject of a recent study conducted by me and some of my colleagues at the University of Bologna in Italy.

This hypothesis has been tested with an interesting experiment. If a scientist disturbed a hibernator of this “recovery sleep” for a few hours after it wakes up, then it stands to reason that after that the animal would make up for this time when it actually does fall asleep (it would sleep for the same total length of time as hibernating animals that weren’t deprived of sleep immediately after they woke up). if that sleep was so important, it would be recovered at the end of the deprivation period. In other words, if the animal had a sleep debt, that debt would have to paid, sooner or later.

The second hypothesis takes a different view of the whole process. Brain activity is strongly affected by hibernation, and the brain itself goes through some intense changes during hibernation. For instance, during hibernation, there is a process of disconnection of neurons. Many synapses are in fact re­absorbed by the brain in what is very similar to a transitory state of Alzheimer’s disease. This disconnection is quickly reversed after an animal wakes up, rewiring the brain in the same way it was before, which brings back all the information that was stored in the neurons.

During the re­connection process, which happens in the first few hours after an animal comes out of hibernation, the brain is in a highly plastic state. Therefore, it’s thought that the EEG activity that we see during these stages is not real “sleep,” but just a nonspecific pattern of neuronal reactivation. If this is the case, in the experiment described before, we should not see any recovery sleep after the sleep deprivation, which would suggest there’s not sleep debt in first place. In other words, hibernation wouldn’t actually be making the animals tired, they would simply sleep to reform these neural connections.

The experiment I’ve suggested has actually been performed, more than once. But the results are conflicting. A team at the University of Zürich, Switzerland, found evidence of sleep debt in hibernating animals. They even went as far as testing different durations of sleep deprivation, and showed that, during torpor, sleep debt accumulates 2.75 times slower than during wakefulness.

A separate experiment by a team at Berkeley and Stanford reported that no rebound was observed after sleep deprivation, and so did teams from the University of Alaska and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

How can we explain the conflicting results? They looked at different animals. The Zurich group looked at the Djungarian hamster, while the Berkeley group looked at the ground squirrel. The main difference between the two species is that hamsters undergo daily torpor (hibernation that lasts less than 24 hours), while ground squirrels are seasonal hibernators.

So, the answer to our initial question is that we still don’t know why animals fall asleep immediately after they wake up from hibernating. No more experiments on the topic have been conducted since the ones I described. But, my own work at the University of Bologna in Italy has supported the idea that brain activity during torpor or hibernation is more similar to wakefulness than it is to sleep.

In this experiment, a torpor-­like state was induced for the first time in a rat, a non-­hibernator (our goal is to eventually open the way to human hibernation in the not-so-near future). Brain activity recordings in this kind of suspended animation state did indeed resemble activity during wakefulness, but the activity became slower and slower as body temperature decreased, as if the frames of a movie were being projected slower and slower as the movie progressed.

No one knows what it’s like to be in a state of hibernation, and we don’t know if hibernators are still somewhat conscious. Perhaps if we can teach ourselves to hibernate, we’ll learn the answer. In the meantime, I’m hoping that research on this topic will flourish again.

You’ll Sleep When You’re Dead is Motherboard’s exploration of the future of sleep. Read more stories.

Everything sounds better in Italian, including English… Note the importance (and revelation) that synaptic connectivity is plastic…

A revelation about being Asperger / Chronic Pain

I had a bad day today. What does that mean? Pain.

I had never looked at bad days as being identifiable in terms of pain. I see “problems to solve” as the source of discontent, disruption, a bad mood – the badness in a bad day. I experience physical pain (sometimes intense) at the same time; maybe a meltdown. How could I not connect the two?

Today I could identify that bad days are not discrete events, but wave tops of continuous, chronic pain. I could suddenly see that this has been the pattern, since childhood. This was a connection I had never before made. This connection must be shown visually.

— Such that the wave crest is maximum pain (a meltdown); the wave trough, is the absence of pain: the path of the wave describes chronic pain. I didn’t see the continuous nature of pain because I ignore (am unaware of, don’t feel) the pain between the peaks and troughs.  As is often said of Asperger types, there is pain we don’t feel; there is pain we do feel. Our response to pain is “eccentric.” There is a “threshold” at work in this experience of pain.

Something else is familiar about the “highs and lows” of this wave: Years ago I was diagnosed bipolar. Since the discovery that I’m Asperger, I have suspected that bipolar was a mistaken diagnosis. Could this “wave pattern” of chronic pain (stress induced?) “look like” bipolar mood swings and engender the belief that bipolar is co-morbid with being Asperger? My proposed “Asperger Wave” is actually the inverse of bipolar swings: The peak is extreme pain, the valley is pleasure.

The next question is, What is the origin of chronic pain? 

I’m off to consult the Wizard… 

 

Domestication and Reproductive Change / Grandin

Behavioral Genetics and Animal Science

TEMPLE GRANDIN AND MARK J. DEESING

Department of Animal Science,  Colorado State University,  Fort Collins, Colorado. Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals /  Academic Press 1998

Much, much more at: http://www.grandin.com/references/genetics.html

GENETIC EFFECTS OF DOMESTICATION

Price (1984) defined domestication as a process by which a population of animals becomes adapted to man and the captive environment by some combination of genetic changes occurring over generations and environmentally induced developmental events recurring during each generation: In long-term selection experiments designed to study the consequences of selection for the tame domesticated type of behavior, Belyaev (1979) and Belyaev et al. (1981) studied foxes reared for their fur. The red fox (Vulpes fulva) has been raised on seminatural fur farms for over 100 years and was selected for fur traits and not behavioral traits. However, they demonstrate three distinctly different characteristic responses to man. Thirty percent were extremely aggressive toward man, 60% were either fearful or fearfully aggressive, and 10% displayed a quiet exploratory reaction without either fear or aggression. (Note how individual foxes have varied temperaments – as do humans.) The objective of this experiment was to breed animals similar in behavior to the domestic dog. By selecting and breeding the tamest individuals, 20 years later the experiment succeeded in turning wild foxes into tame, border collie-like fox-dogs. The highly selected “tame” population of (fox-dog) foxes actively sought human contact and would whine and wag their tails when people approached (Belyaev 1979). This behavior was in sharp contrast to wild foxes which showed extremely aggressive and fearful behavior toward man. Keeler et al. (1970) described this behavior:

Vulpes fulva (the wild fox) is a bundle of jangled nerves. We had observed that when first brought into captivity as an adult, the red fox displays a number of symptoms that are in many ways similar to those observed in psychosis. They resemble a wide variety of phobias, especially fear of open spaces, movement, white objects, sounds, eyes or lenses, large objects, and man, and they exhibit panic, anxiety, fear, apprehension and a deep trust of the environment~ They are 1) catalepsy-like frozen positions, accompanied by blank stares; 2) fear of sitting down; 3) withdrawal; 4) runaway flight reactions; and 5) aggressiveness. Sometimes the strain of captivity makes them deeply disturbed and confused, or may produce a depression- like state. Extreme excitation and restlessness may also be observed in some individuals in response to many changes in the physical environment. Most adult red foxes soon after capture break off their canine teeth on the mesh of our expanded metal cage in their attempts to escape. A newly captured fox is known to have torn at the wooden door of his cage in a frenzy until he dropped dead from exhaustion.

This is a good description of how Aspergers react to social confinement.

Although the stress of domestication is great, Belyaev (1979) and Belyaev et al. (1981) concluded that selection for tameness was effective in spite of the many undesirable characteristics associated with tameness. For example, the tame foxes shed during the wrong season and developed black and white patterned fur, and changes were found in their hormone profiles.

This means that the monoestrus (once a year) cycle of reproduction was disturbed and the animals would breed at any time of the year

(This change in the accelerated rate of reproduction is also seen in domesticated humans!)

Furthermore, changes in behavior occurred simultaneously with changes in tail position and ear shape, and the appearance of a white muzzle, forehead blaze, and white shoulder hair. The white color pattern on the head is similar to many domestic animals (Belyaev 1979) (Figs. 1.1 and 1.2). The most dog-like foxes had white spots and patterns on their heads, drooping ears, and curled tails and looked more like dogs than the foxes that avoided people. The behavioral and morphological (appearance) changes were also correlated with corresponding changes in the levels of gender hormones. The tame foxes had higher levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin (Popova et al., 1975). Serotonin is known to inhibit some kinds of aggression (Belyaev, 1979), and serotonin ~levels are increased in the brains of people who take Prozac (fluoxetine). (The carpet-bombing of U.S. citizens by pharmacology can be seen as an attempt to further domesticate “unruly” or non-conforming Americans) 

The study of behavioral genetics can help explain why selection for calm temperament was linked to physical and neurochemical changes in Belyaev’s foxes. Behavior geneticists and animal scientists are interested in understanding effects on behavior due to genetic influences or those which are due to environment and learning.

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Comment: Homo sapiens sapiens (Neurotypicals) are domesticated Homo sapiens. Selection for tameness was necessary due to settlement in agricultural communities and urbanization. As females were domesticated, fertile periods increased drastically, from once per year to monthly; world population grew rapidly, requiring ever more extreme selection for “tame” behavior, or as it is called today, social behavior. Unfortunately, domestication has not produced healthy humans nor peaceful social environments. It has also led to a decrease in intelligence.