Possible biological psychological effects

I have found some curious medical research info that seems to relate in some ways to my own sensing and recollections. Has to do with the parasite Toxoplasmosis gondii, and of the Tobacco Mosaic virus.

They both seem to have psychological effects, I think, feel.

The T. gondii has been shown to have a life cycle which is in cats and the cats' food supply such as mice: encountered in cat feces in soil, the parasite enters say a mouse through food/water contamination, makes its way to brain as it reproduces quietly inside the mouse, then in the brain it makes the mouse no longer fear cats and even can make it like the odor of the cat urine by which cats mark their territories. Easy meal for cat. There is only one stage of the parasite life cycle in which the cat produces the infectious output, note.

Now, cats don't eat people, at least little house cats don't. But anyway, in people, do the psychological effects of Toxoplasmosis, which infects some 70% of the world population, exist too, in some way? How about the liking of cats, craving for their company, possibly for more than just because they are adorably cute fuzzy purring things? (Nevermind their very sharp claws and fangs and instant furious ferocity given some circumstances to these very territorial creatures.) Recently, the parasite T. gondii has been found around the world to be associated with not just mice but also significant human psychological distress, particularly Schizophrenia, for example. T. gondii reaching into the human brain works its peculiar chemistry too.

This symbiotic relationship between cats, the parasite T. gondii, and the food supply for both, is interesting. Cats have been treasured companions of people for a very long time; I recall seeing a mummified cat which was honored alongside mummified people of some 4 millenia ago, for example. It is a bit amusing that here in America at least, the housecat's easy meals now come usually not from psyched-out mice, but by the eager hand of people wielding cans of tasty cat food.

Hmmm, more symbiosis?

And, re the tobacco Mosaic virus... how about it too perhaps having psychological effects? Anybody research that? Smokers may be dealing with more than just nicotine urges, affecting the task of "quitting smoking."


Semi-retired folk contributing to the GNP

Many people reaching the age of retirement are still quite willing and able to do constructive work. The government responsible for providing the basic retirement for which they worked throughout their lives, might consider the many ways for enabling those semi-retired folk to contribute to the GNP even at the reduced capacity of their years.

The government does not want to be in the position of competing with private business for the attention of employees; however, in cases where private business has not provided the appropriate semi-employment of semi-retired folk, instead of "reducing the population" the government might instead consider creating those jobs that are fitted to the older folk willing and able to continue to add to the GNP, and then when the business is profitable offere it to the highest bidder among private business concerns, for them to take it over from then on, although perhaps monitored by the governmetn to ensure the company is being run sufficiently well for all concerned, including the semi-employed older folk.


A tough row to hoe

It seems,
It has been
A tough row to hoe.

Sometimes the path
of some rough-n-ready folk,
Careens too close
than seems for safety.

To them the world
Is plain and simple:
There are Good Guys
And there are Bad Guys,
Us and Them.
There is no one else.

If someone
Is not one of Us,
He must be one of Them,
Those Bad Guys.

If anyone can't see that
So plain and simple,
They must be
Really sick,
Take them to
The mental hospital.

Our way is
The only true way,
All else is
False and evil.

So, folks,
If you are
Join up with us,
We will tell you
What to do.

As another fresh load
Of them careens past,
Their feedback loop
Seems partially broken,
It helps to remember
There are many kinds of
Fanged veggies in the field
Not just that crew
Of the Funny Farm.

So back away
A more
Distant place,
And see the fuller view,
The lush green fields
Span so far and wide,
God's Creation
So wondrously
Richly beautiful.


Not working oneself out of a job

There is an old saying that a person does not work oneself out of a job. The need to have a steady flow of paid work so as to have assured income, is most likely in the back of the mind's of those of us who work for a living. It is likely to get us to unconsciously do those little sidesteps that might have led to a permanent solution to the task, meaning that we would have to then look for a new way to make a living, and that can be scary.

It can show up in the effort to treat the symptoms of a problem, instead of finding and fixing the background cause.

Yet, the world is full of things needing done, if there were just enough competent people to do them. But people are far more willing to keep the status quo, doing the routine job just patching up things instead of really fixing them.

Is there a fix for this problem?

Did the campus freakout have Toxoplasmosis gondii?

There has been a lot in the news about a tragedy where a guy freaked out on a college campus in Virginia and made a big mess. Lots of stuff in the news about how to prevent it in the future, and no doubt will result in huge new restraints on American freedom, like the "9/11" fracas did.

Yet re the campus fracas, in the forensic analysis, is anybody doing an autopsy to see if there were Toxoplasmosis gondii parasites in the brain?

Does anybody really want to find a real cause, like that kind would be? Or are they just doing autopsy to find "drugs" while ignoring other potential factors like parasite inhabitation's disturbance of the brain functions?

There has been an increasing body of knowledge pointing to that parasite in particular, Toxoplasmosis gondii, as having the ability in some people to cause life-risking behavior modification, as it also does in the animals it infects.

(Two decades ago I had a very beloved, but sometimes very strange acting, girlfriend who had told me that she had Toxoplasmosis, but it meant nothing to me then. Now that research around the world has been finding some really odd specific effects it can have on the brain in some people, her sometimes really bizzare dangerous behavior is now making clear sense. And I can see where something similar could be involved in the recent campus fracas.)

Do forensic analysts really want correct answers, if it involves tests which were not taught in their schooling?

Otherwise it will just be the old routine: railing against the "loners" who do not stay in their rightful place way in the back of the pecking order line; blame on "drugs"; and make more laws restraining those who are not mainstream conformists. Those kind of answers make people feel righteous and satisfied, job well done. Then wait for the next "exciting" horrid thing to happen, relief from boredom.

How simple it would be to have proper testing for presence of parasites in the brain, and identifying its locations, before it is too late. Real answers will have a much better chance at finding real solutions. Toxoplasmosis gondii, if found to be the cause, could start a new search for real improvements in safety and life quality for all.


On self-identity and roles

Life can be a balancing act between a lot of various relationships. Each one involves somewhat different aspects of oneself and of the partner. For example, lovemaking utilizes aspects that are not utilized elsewhere and may be a bit surprising to all concerned at times; life is a learning process. Practice makes perfect, it is said... so long as one has a clear definition of "perfect" of course. And then it helps to have relationship partnering that fits fairly well into that definition's other aspects. Realizing that much of life, and especially lovemaking, is composed of each other's own fantasy painting onto the ongoing physical experience, helps keep perspective for being at peace with it all while discovering the specially interesting parts.

All people play many roles in life, developing a facility for shifting between those roles. Discovering what is one's love partner's best dream fantasy of a lover, could help, as it is said that one needs to be the partner's dream lover for best enjoyment for them. Putting a few minutes attention into that conscious role process could be quite worthwhile; remembering that each one's roles in daily life is played only briefly at a time, in the complex course of daily life. Perhaps the roles in life can be considered like the fingers on the keys of a piano while playing music, each piano key like a different role to sound for a moment.

People's self-identity often comes from the job(s) they do. Lots of men lose that identity when retiring, a real problem for them. "Being" a member of a church group, "being" a parent to whomever, "being" a fan of a particular TV show, all contribute to who one "is." Women's identity seems to come more from "being" the mom and grandmom in later years; similar for the grandpa too for the men. "Being" owner of a specific house, car, or other treasure also is part of self-identity; to some people what they "did" is more "who they are." Possibly some types of more intellectual people "are" what they "know", instead. "Having" a well-known prestigious partner, is part of self-identity too, for some people. Overall, each person's self-identity is likely to "be" a collection of bits of all of these, with one arena a lot more important to them than the other arenas.


Cowboys and Indians

When I was a kid, the neighbor kids and I would often play games of fantasy, with game names like "Cowboys and Indians" and "Cops and Robbers". Usually did not matter which "side one was on", it was the game playing that was important.

These games involved imaginatively pasting a fantasized "identity mask" on the neighbor kids who were on the opposite side of whichever side oneself was on. When ever one would find a member of the "opposite side" the two would go "bang bang," shoot imaginary arrows at, or whatever at each other.

It was an acting out of something that got everybody into physical movement and engaged the imagination, and nobody got hurt, nobody "won", it was the playing of the game was what was the significant thing, it seemed.

Yet the process of "pasting a fantasized identity mask" on specific others got a lot of practice, and involved taking physical aggressive action in response to that fantasied identity mask. This pattern of behavior seems to persist on into adulthood, but it becomes less conscious and less physically activating.

Another type of kids game was where there was archetypically "the loner vs the gangsters" such as "playing tag" or "hide-n-seek." One took on the role assigned, and the other kids took on their corresponding role in the game and all had fun playing it out in the physically real world.

As kids grew older, the group-conflict type games got more codified into games like basketball, soccer, and baseball. It was team vs team, done for the fun of physical interaction and then later also for getting the attraction of a crowd, even in a stadium.

The "the loner vs the gangsters" type game usually was such a given loser for the easily group-overpowered loner that those kind of games only got played out in more abstract fantasy like in the movies, or in video games where the lone player munches or shoots down an endless stream of ersatz archetypal gangster types.

Games teach ways of responding to situations in real life.

And it still involves "pasting on a fantasized identity" onto real life physical others. Then one responds to that fantasized identity, but physically acting on real people and objects. That fantasized identity can be just about anything, such as "loving sensual mate" or "dangerous enemy soldier." The fantasized identity tends to describe what response one is to have to the other person/people.

It is all about playing roles.


Modeling the big picture of sci-tech's effects

On modeling the big picture of sci-tech's probable effects on world civilization, including the natural world:

Our civilization is increasingly utilizing, and dependent on, scientific and technological activity for both monitoring and production of new products.

Science and technology normally involves intensive focus on a very small portion of the overall knowledge database, to make the task comprehensible and even do-able, stretching the limits of knowledge a bit, in a specific small area.

Yet, the effects of the overall results will reverberate throughout the whole system of civilization. Sometimes those effects are disruptive to some other segments of civilization, such as the CO2 buildup in the atmosphere contributing to global warming climate effects, produced mostly as a byproduct of extracting the energy our civilization needs to be able to function.

There needs to be part of science and technology that embraces the whole civilization system, to model the effects of the individual sci-tech achievement's overall and long term effects. Yet there seems to be no such entity in existence, other than God, of course. Scientists need a more definitive accessible estimate of the overall effects of their new chemical or gadget on civilization, and thus perhaps easily modify it somewhat so the wider effects will be eased.

What if there were a governmental overseer? Or a business united organization to provide the wide field effects modeling and advisements? But that most likely would have the same pressures now existing in lobbying of governmental decisions, monetary interests for maximum profits somewhere providing the funds for influencing decisions. Nope, won't work, as clearly evident in present-day lesser organizations and control agencies. The whole job is much too vast and the departments have their own small subdivision of the whole, to look after, thus more of the same problem.

Or maybe an impartial computerized system that does the job and is accessible by all. That seems a bit more likely to provide unbiased results. Creating that would be an interesting project.


Whipping Boy

Sometimes, something that probably has been hard-wired apparent to most other people, comes to me only in a flash of insight. Such a thing has happened to me recently. It is the principle of the "whipping boy" that is played out in the Christian Easter pageants. This insight to me is that Jesus is functioning as the "whipping boy" for "our sins." I had not quite "gotten" that concept in the past, probably because I did not comprehend the "whipping boy" phenomenon at enough depth. That I increasingly sense that I too am being readied as a "whipping boy" being "accused and punished" for someone else's wrongdoings (because the wrongdoer has made himself too highly socially esteemed to be accused and punished himself) I begin to more fully comprehend the phenomenon.

So, I seek more understanding of the phenomenon that edges closer dangerously. There are several parameters to the pattern of the "whipping boy" phenomenon among people. Being a social phenomenon, it has various parts played out by various people. There is the wrongdoer, the accuser, the punisher, and the whipping boy. Playing out is the flow of social energy at more devious levels, such as the motivation of the actual wrongdoer, the outrage of the wronged person, the realization that the wrongdoer is too esteemed socially influential to be accused, the need to demonstrate punishment as a result of wrongdoing so as to discourage future wrongdoings, the selecting of a person to be the one who is accused and punished by the group in righteousness, the accuser and the multiple people who then echo the accusation among themselves, building up steam until able to carry out a public outrage harm to the "accused culprit", the accused person, who likely is fairly unaware of it all going on other than people are acting in incomprehensible ways to him increasingly, the punishers, the publicly widely witnessed torture of the "whipping boy" ersatz wrongdoer, the leaving the scene of the punishment, back to their familiar places, feeling righteous retribution has been meted out in a cathartic experience.

This is all done symbolically in the Christian Easter commemoration, instead of a live member of the group being involved as "whipping boy" in the brutal killing spectacle intended to discourage those who might be tempted to not follow the often-unwritten rules of society.

People who are not aware of the social cues which define the virtual hierarchy among people in groups, are most likely to be used as "whipping boys" since they are seen as "being out of place" even though not apparently seeking to gain status thereby, unlike the power plays normally committed by climbers in the social hierarchy so as to gain higher social status; the unwitting person sometimes unaware blunders into such an appearance, enraging those who have been impatiently standing in line for their turn for some goodie, and perceive the person as breaking into line ahead of them. A similar thing is done by bullies so as to show how powerful they are, and thus "get ahead." The blundering unwitting person, probably not even aware of the "line" nor of the goodie being awaited by the line of people, however, is not powerful and thus the crowd can safely vent its rage on him.

So what is the history behind the "Whipping Boy" phenomenon? "Scapegoat" is another similar term, I think.

Long ago in European countries, was where the "whipping boy" thing was played out, I read. A "Whipping Boy" was a boy who was publicly painfully harmed in place of a royal boy who had actually done the wrong, to mete out "justice" intending to discourage wrongdoing in the future. I would guess that the selected "whipping boy" would be a playmate or friend of the royal boy, and that the painful harming be done in the sight of the royal boy who had done the wrong, in hopes that there will be an empathic pain imparted to the Prince, discouraging him from repeating the wrongdoing.

Here in America, the "royalty" are not kings and queens and princes, but instead are people of similar status attainable not just by inheritance, or wealth gained by whatever means, but also by gaining high social esteem through sports performance, extra college degrees, and/or corporate management status, for examples.

The prudent mind skitters away from the conclusion that such "highly esteemed" people could have done the outrageous wrongdoing freshly in attention; skittering, the mind's focus latches onto a plausible person who is sufficiently "socially out of it" to not be able to show that he did not do the wrongdoing. Someone has to be "punished" or more people will do more wrongdoings, is hard-wired into most peoples' minds. Thus it is likely that deep in the subconscious, the real wrongdoer is known by a few, but it is hoped that the wrongdoer will be discouraged by the sight of the other person being harmed in retribution. However, they do not understand the "bully" mind; it won't help a bit, and may actually have been the purpose of the wrongdoing in the first place, to get the group to assault the bully's target, instead of the bully being seen doing it himself, in the endless compulsive rivalry activity of the bully mind.

Thus, the public spectacle of the "whipping boy" getting thrashed, gets repeated over and over again, as it actually serves the purpose of the un-challengeable bully-mind who instigated it all, rewarding harmful behavior instead of discouraging it.

In the Christian version, Maunday Thursday acting out of the long simmering righteousness resentments accusation, the Good Friday brutal lethal thrashing of the "Whipping Boy", and then the long anticipated Easter Sunday's forgiveness of each other's wrongdoings and celebrating in spring courtship activity.

We do it over and over again, having learned the overall pattern through annual ritual practice. And the ritual principle continues to play out through the year: we all thus have been shown how to play that game well.

Woe only to those who are not sharp enough to avoid being stuck in the "Whipping Boy" part. The bully wins through ever more devious meanness and gets rewarded by hurrahs of their fellows while their rage is deflected onto the non-competitive "whipping boy"; and the girls work their way ever closer to the bully for a piece of the action, readying the next generation. The social machine runs on and on; the chimpanzees taught us very well how to do it all.

(There is also another part of the larger picture, that of the feast. To have a feast, living creatures must die; the sacrificial goat that was one of the flock, must end up on the dinner table or we won't have food for the dinner feast. Grain must be kept from being made into bread, so as to be sacrificially planted in the ground, seeds to sprout for the next crop. Facts of life. But, that is another story. Even though also laced into the Easter ritual celebration. Joy! Springtime is finally here again!)