Tag Archives: psychology

More Deadly Than the Unabomber

Manhunt UnabomberThere have been many bombers, but “going postal” is a phrase which began due to several infamous USPS shootings, sparking discussion about workplace violence. It spawned books and a violent video game, Postal. While the Unabomber case was a significant tech-related case involving three deaths and 25 injuries, a more deadly incident in Edmond, Oklahoma was chilling: when postal clerk Pat Sherrill, about to be fired, turned his rage on co-workers, killing 14 and wounding five more. Within a decade 11 rampages at post offices ensued. Why? The monotony of the job, the relentlessly by-the-numbers demands of management, and mental illness. (Employee screening is lax: former military are given preference, regardless of their unresolved issues on battlefields.) People can “snap.” As for Ted Kaczynski, he is a Harvard educated mathematician now in supermax prison in Colorado. Unlike OJ Simpson, he will never walk free. His manifesto, which he preferred to call an “article,” discusses technology as the enemy of freedom, and he has things to say about AI, too.

unabomber manifesto

Apparently, he was friends with Timothy McVeigh of the Oklahoma City bombing, who was also at the prison prior to execution, and had things to say about Osama bin Laden wanting to access technology to pull a power play in a nationalistic sense, something that must be stopped. He also questioned the tendency of the media to produce fake news.

fake news PostalOn Oct. 10, 1991, former U.S. postal worker Joseph Harris shot two former co-workers to death at the post office in Ridgewood, New Jersey. The night before, Harris had killed his former supervisor, Carol Ott, with a three-foot samurai sword, and shot her fiance, Cornelius Kasten, in their home. After a four-hour standoff with police at the post office, Harris was arrested. His violent outburst was one of several high-profile attacks by postal workers that resulted in the addition of the phrase “going postal” to the American lexicon.

Harris, who was born in prison and had a lifetime of psychiatric problems, was fired from his job in April 1990. Harboring a grudge against his ex-employer, he began to stockpile automatic weapons, grenades, and ninja swords. Two years later, he learned that he had lost as much as $10,000 by investing it with broker Roy Edwards. Dressed in a black ninja costume, Harris entered Edwards’ Montville, New Jersey,home and handcuffed the family. After sexually assaulting Edwards’ wife and two daughters, he shot Edwards to death. Since hundreds of investors had lost money while dealing with Edwards, police never even considered Harris a suspect in his death until after the mass slaying on October 10.

Arguing that he was insane, Harris’ lawyers said that he had told psychiatrists that he was driven by the “ninja spirit” to commit the crimes. In 1992, Harris was convicted of both the Montville and Ridgewood attacks and was sent to death row. But in September 1996, two days before a New Jersey State Supreme Court battle to overturn its death-penalty law was to start, he died of natural causes.

Luck’s Role in Success

 

gambling

According to economist Robert Frank of Cornell’s Graduate School of Management, luck plays a significant role in what our culture defines as “success.” (ie. Money) This flies in the face of what the super rich wish to brandwash us with: the “Mr. Wonderful” morality of cut throat “winner take all” business practices. O’Leary crows about his accomplishments, but how did he make his money? A horribly bad business deal which the toy company he sold to regrets ever making, described as “one of the worst business deals ever.” So bad that no one can expect anyone ever making such a bad decision again. He walked away with a fortune, and they were nearly bankrupted by it. Yet he is proud of it, just as 50 Cent is proud of having been involved with Vitamin Water, a product which even the company admitted was “not healthy, and no one should believe is healthy.” (Really? Even with the name “Vitamin Water???”) Lies. But then Coke has lied to consumers for decades, assisting in an epidemic of diabetes and pretending to be environmentally friendly for the publicity, denying HFCS is unhealthy, and linking themselves to love and happiness in one brazen, ballsy LIE FEST (ad campaign) after another, leaving the taxpayer to pick up their hidden costs. Buyer beware, you say? Only one problem with that: the buyer doesn’t read, anymore, and the media will never inform them because they too know where their bread is buttered. Frank’s new book SUCCESS AND LUCK spells all this out, in comprehensive, logical detail, including how we have fallen into this lemming-like trance of accepting that ever fewer superstars make an ever greater percentage of profits at the expense of all. And the inequality is increasing. The super rich actually believe they should pay no taxes, most of them. They hide their wealth overseas, and the dying middle class is asked to pick up the tab for failing infrastructure. Of course this greed will end, just as the bubble of 2008 ended. But people like “Mr. Wonderful” are protecting themselves now from it by foreign investments. Frank proposes a progressive consumption tax to solve this problem, but it is unlikely any President will be allowed to even approach Congress with it. It’s DOA among those who are just fine with things as they are. ($$$) The public, too, has been conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs, via soundbites and McNews. Not to mention worshipful, unthinking culture memes (which propagate like viruses.) But I digress. Frank shows that small advantages translate into huge benefits over time. Who your father was (Trump), what went viral (Kasdashians), etc. Everything has to go right. Working hard is not enough for “world domination.” You need to be lucky too. In a study of foot races, 97% of winners were shown to have a tailwind in their record breaking attempts. What if yours is a headwind? Too bad. You lose. Even if you’re better. Persistence? Does that pay off? Not always. Many are those whose talents exceed those “at the top” but who, even after many years of struggle, have failed to move up that very steep ladder where the lucky few stand and pretend they deserve to be there…and give you advice. Should we envy them? No. The Kanyes of this world live in an alternate universe where everything is unreal and twisted by the lens of celebrity. They can’t be happy. They are pretending for the cameras, and for the fans, who expect it. Demand it. Once you realize you are not in competition with anyone, that you are who you are, you are then free. Who do I admire? The non-Diva, the incredibly talented few who are humble because they have seen the reality, the wider view of things. Because they read, listen, and observe. They are open to life, to change. That is true wealth. The rest of it is as fake as a post-1964 “silver” coin.     

Yuja’s advantage was starting at age 3. But she is real, not fake at all. This comes from music itself: the infinite vision that it empowers one with, and the total dedication to interpret a vision. This is the ending to one of the most difficult sonatas in all of piano literature, yet she tosses it off with no apparent difficulty, and no ego.

My brief interview with her here.

The Reptilian Brain and Limbic System

brain

LIMBIC SYSTEM: a complex system of nerves and networks in the brain, involving several areas near the edge of the cortex concerned with instinct and mood. It controls the basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring).

RECLAIM THE BRAIN is a new audiobook by Dr. Joseph A. Annibali, narrated with professional and skillful engagement by him and Dr. Daniel Amen. It examines all aspects of psychology related to brain science, particularly depression, anxiety, ADD, OCD, PTSD, autism, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse. Particular attention is paid to the limbic system, that lower part of the brain which controls emotions. Brain activity in this region has been shown to be high on scans when someone is under duress (either physical or mental / imaginary.) This busy brain can interfere with concentration and cause much unneeded stress, and the audiobook presents methods and practices and exercises to calm the limbic system, thereby bringing back a sense of calm and normalcy (focus) to decision making. Drawing on the findings of many diverse sources, the author aids the listener in how to distance oneself from one’s thoughts, which may sound odd, but thoughts are produced automatically by the brain, outside the conscious will sometimes, and these repetitive thoughts can trap people in a cycle of negativity. Recognizing that one’s thoughts do not define “who they are” is, therefore, important, (as was noted by Eckhart Tolle.) Living in the past or for the future solely is therefore like a living death in which one cannot appreciate one’s life in the present (which is all we ever truly own.) Until such time as scientists discover what directs and constitutes consciousness and ego, this may be the best we can do in quelling violence and hate. So the tools that the author relates are important and well organized in this comprehensive and important self help audiobook.

massive ego
Here is the Hollywood vision of aliens: giant brains with giant egos to match…bent on killing. But does being smarter really mean being more violent and emotional?