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Think of the most interesting man you know. Now imagine what he would be like had he grown up in a tarpaper shack without indoor plumbing, joined a monastery, had an extensive career as a female model, actress, author and screen writer, then traded in his weave and acrylic nails for a Ph.D. in neuroscience. If you have been able to conjure up that image, turn it up to 11... and let's do it!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You Can Never Get Enough of Something That is Almost Satisfying

If you know anything about me at all--you know saying that I've had some unusual experiences is an understatement to say the very least.   However, the circumstances surrounding a recent experience surprised even me.   Now I've struggled with my weight all of my life, well not all of my life, but every since I learned to feed myself.  I'm not talking about wanting to get rid of a pesky 20 pounds... My top weight was a 1000 pounds.   Now I'm half that and headed in the right direction.   So if ANYone in this world wants to find some permanent solutions to extreme disordered eating its me.   

Recently I discovered a key part of the puzzle.  Quick background... lately I've been doing Weight Watcher's Plus Online... and it has been working great for me---down 98 pounds in two months.   Now for most people that would be really exciting... but for someone like myself, who has lost 600 pounds and gained 300 back... i don't get excited when I drop a chin or two.   I'm playing for keeps this time.   The reason this WW online is exciting is because its not a diet... I can eat anything... I just have to stay within the point range.  So it becomes a game... if I want this.. I can have it... I just have to factor it into my food plan... so it's all good.   That's what a normal person does.  They have a large meal, then they have a couple  of lighter meals.   Normies, as I call people without eating disorders have a built in mechanism that manages this for them.   People like me, clearly don't.   

What's most exciting about this 98 pound reduction is that I had barbecued ribs, chocolate cake, fried chicken, pancakes, and bacon EVERY day.    That's fabulous because I am at the age, not to mention health status, where I can no longer die unexpectedly--so suffering, deprivation, and grief is out--its nothing but joy and happiness from here on out.   I'm not willing to give up ANYTHING but grief, and self-inflicted punishment.   For the first time in my life I am having fun reducing.   I'm eating everything and anything---and spending time with my boys too--Johnny, Jack, Jim, Jose and Old Grand Dad.   And the weight is coming off quicker than a wide receiver out on the cross.   

So the other day, I saw there was a sale of bologna--and its beauty on a budget with me--besides food taste better when its inexpensive.   So I was ready to have myself a big bologna sandwich.  Well my husband had bought some HORRIBLE dry, health bread, undoubtedly made by drunk Icelandic lesbians.   Anyway, bottom line the sandwich was horrible because of the bread.... so I had another one because I wasn't satisfied.   The next day I woke up, and I wanted another bologna sandwich. That's when I realized that the problem was the bread.   It ruined the sandwich, which made it less satisfying.   Of course I wanted another one---why?  You can NEVER get enough of something that is only partially fulfilling.  That is why the key to dieting is TO not do it.   Eat well, and eat with awareness.  Have whatever you want, when you want, but be aware of what you are having and have well structured plan that takes the uncertainty out of your food plan.  When the boundaries are clear, the freedom is limitless.   Now let's look at this from a neuroscience perspective. 

The Brain, Hunger, and Appetite”
Have you ever been stuffed and still had an appetite for something? For example, you may have just finished a big meal, and still you have to have dessert. You feel this way even though you know you don’t need it, you don’t want it, and yet you have to have it to feel satisfied. 

Most Americans would agree Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without a roasted turkey. No matter how exquisite a Thanksgiving meal was, if there was no roasted turkey, they wouldn’t feel satisfied. Why is that? It’s because satiation is not just about satisfying hunger. It’s also about satisfying appetite. 

Hunger is not the same as appetite. Hunger is a signal from your body telling you that it wants food. Appetite is a perception saying you want something, not necessarily food. Appetite is influenced by many sources, including emotion/mood, availability of food, environment/surroundings, and associations. Humans often mistake appetite for hunger, and respond by eating.

Hunger is one of the body’s most vital signals, because without it we would starve to death. Thus, the hunger signal is a good thing. However, humans can often misinterpret and confuse signals such as hunger and appetite, which are two very different signals, from very different places in the body. For example, you feel something is off, so you interpret that as hunger, but you could be thirsty, or perhaps you’re just bored and paying too much attention to your body. Maybe you feel uneasy in your stomach. It is actually stress, but you mistake it for hunger. 
Some European scientists researching the difference between hunger and appetite had subjects fast for 12 hours before entering the fMRI scanner. Then they showed them images of food, interspersed with non-food images. While viewing the images, subjects were instructed to rate the strength of their appetite. Over the short experiment the body's level of hunger did not change, but perception of appetite fluctuated when subjects were viewing, or not viewing food. 

The researchers then looked to see which brain areas correlated with the subjects' appetite ratings. They found two areas in particular: the insula, and the putamen. The insula is responsible for bodily sensation, particularly of the digestive system. Increased appetite does not mean you're getting hungrier, but it can mean you're getting more aware of how hungry you are. Putamen sounds like an obscure Egyptian pharaoh, but it is actually a part of the basal ganglia, which is in the motor system. In the European study, activity in the putamen suggests that the greater your appetite, the more likely you are to go do something about it. Understanding that there are many things that contribute to the perception of appetite is essential to curbing cravings, and in turn essential to controlling the behaviors associated with those cravings.

Satisfying cravings activates the reward system. More importantly, humans are reward whores. Food and sex are primary examples of this. Eating sustains the individual and breeding sustains the species. This is why food and sex are rewarding. If food wasn’t rewarding and sex didn’t feel good, then humans wouldn’t eat or breed. Our ancient ancestors would have dropped dead of starvation while playing some fun cave game. Of course, the ancients wouldn’t have been our ancestors because they would not have bred, since there would be no reward motivating them to couple. Who could blame them? Sex is messy at best when the feel good is taken out of the mix. Likewise, securing, preparing, and eating food would be an unnecessary tedium if it did not culminate in the rewards that come from eating a satisfying meal.

Human evolution, like the brain, does what it needs to do to promote its agenda. That is why evolution made food rewarding. It is more complex than you might imagine, and much deeper ingrained in who we are than you may think. 

Another example of evolution promoting its agenda is the advent of color vision. During the Pliocene Epoch, between 5 and 2 million years ago, our simian ancestors were colorblind, and primarily ate insects. In their defense, insects were meatier back then. Still, when our simian ancestors evolved from being insect eaters to fruit eaters, color vision was necessary to help determine if the fruit was ripe. This necessity, according to neuro-evolutionists, altered the retina to effect dichromatic vision in the ancients. A fruit is ripe, according to humans, when it has the maximum nutritional value. Our primary sensory mechanisms innately know this. How do they know? They know because the fruit looks, smells, tastes, and feels ripe. This wisdom is the result of millions of trial-and-error encounters with eating fruit passed on over generations. What we learned from these various encounters with fruit over time is stored at a cellular level—that is how we “innately know” when fruit is ripe, and most rewarding to eat. 

Like reward in general, the rewarding aspects of food are controlled by the dopamine system in the brain. When you eat food, your brain releases dopamine. In a sense you get addicted to that dopamine. But it doesn’t just stop there. The brain is always learning. One of the learning strategies of the brain is to associate a specific reward with whatever came before it. All the steps that lead to the big reward of eating become rewarding in their own right. Seeing and smelling food are almost always precursors to eating food, so these rewarding aspects of eating are easily transferable. The brain sees the food, which is slightly rewarding, and anticipates the bigger reward that will come from eating it, so it engages in behavior that will lead to that reward (i.e. eating). None of this is consciously controlled. It is part of the basal ganglia system that controls habit formation. 

You can override habits by using the prefrontal cortex, and making other plans. Unfortunately the prefrontal cortex is easily distracted (hey what’s that over there), by stress, or sadness, and it stops paying attention to what the basal ganglia is making you do. 
Also the limbic areas of the brain, where emotions are regulated, can, will, and always do, take the cortex off-line when we have an emotional flare up. That’s why people do things like scream, throw cocktails in people’s faces etc, when they are emotionally upset—their cortex has been taken off line and they are reacting from “survive now, ask questions later” part of the brain. 

We may sometimes overeat because we are low on dopamine, and the brain, needing more dopamine, makes us do something that it knows will give us a kick of dopamine (i.e. eating). Unfortunately dopamine release eventually habituates, and you stop releasing the same amount of dopamine for the same stimulus (eating). Suddenly you’re eating just to break even on dopamine. Your body doesn’t release a lot of dopamine when you overeat, but if you don’t overeat then your dopamine levels will drop further. This can cause compulsive eating: eating not for pleasure and nutrition, but eating just to avoid a decrease in dopamine.

Food is rewarding in several ways. There is the utilitarian reward of staving off starvation. That is, there was something wrong before (your body needed food), and now it is gone. There is also the conscious hedonic, sensory pleasure we get from eating food such as the deep tartness of balsamic vinegar, the sweetness of a ripe tomato, the juiciness of perfectly grilled steak. To fully experience this requires being conscious of what we are eating. When we eat distracted, or worse yet, eat terrible tasting food that we don’t even want to be conscious of, we miss out on the conscious pleasure of eating. When we eat just out of habit, or as a compulsion, we often miss out on greater satisfaction. That’s the bad news. 

Here’s the good news: sensory deprivation. When one of our primary senses is disabled the others heighten to compensate. So the take home message for compulsive overeaters is simple, and ironically opposite of what most dieticians and weight-loss experts would have you do. There is a reason why nutritionists have had over a 100 years to solve the weight crisis, and not only have they not solved the problem, they have watched it worsen. The reason is diets and dieting take the enjoyment out of eating. That is the worst thing you can do to a person who is predisposed towards deriving joy from food. 

What compulsive overeaters have to do is turn the eating experience up to 11. How? Remember Pavlovian conditioning, i.e., the precursory events that humans associate with eating. It is like a seduction of self. Set the mood. Never eat and multitask. Turn off the television, the telephone, step away from the computer. Don’t feed yourself like you’re a stray dog—presentation is everything. Make yourself a nice, pretty meal, arranged fancifully on a plate. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be a tuna fish sandwich, just make it a fabulous tuna fish sandwich. Now here’s the clincher. When you take that first bite, close your eyes and savor what you eat. Your experience will be sensational because when you close your eyes your other senses heighten to compensate for the absence of vision. The more time you spend eating, the more heightened they become. Because dopamine encodes in the brain on the anticipation of reward, the pretty food, on a fancy plate will start the dopamine flowing. When you close your eyes to eat it, it will be a greater reward than anticipated, because your taste buds will be heightened to compensate for your eyes being closed. Also, being fully focused on eating and not distracted by the TV, telephone, or Internet, enhances the eating experience. Thus, your dopamine will go through the roof. 

But you said, ‘dopamine habituates’, what about that? It does, but each food carries with it, its own individual reward expectation. For example what you expect from a well barbecued spare rib, and a piece of blueberry pie are two very different things. So yeah, if you eat blueberry pie every day it’ll get boring. That’s why we save turkeys for the holidays, to make them special. Turkey’s aren’t all that. Try replacing chicken in your diet with turkey, and see how fast you get over turkey. Compared to chicken, it’s a boring bird. But on Thanksgiving, you don’t want chicken, and you don’t want duck, you want a big turkey on the table with its legs sticking up. So eat a variety of food, and good food, and foods that you love. If you are truly present for the consumption of your food, you will walk away satisfied, and you won’t eat too much. Your neuropeptides will tell your nucleus accumbens when you’ve had enough. They won’t let you overeat, because you will satisfy your hunger and your appetite…

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The World's Most Abused Substance

It’s 2011—the peace rally is over, and the hippies are all in 12-step programs with the exception of a few that are not back from Woodstock yet.  People are more concerned about health and the environment than ever before.  Electric Kool-Aid, Peruvian marching powder, and booger sugar are out—spirulina, comfrey root and sparkling water are in.  PCP, THC, KFC, and BK, are just not cool anymore.  Even the So Cal Venice Beach is a smoke free environment these days.   Using aerosol cans is almost as contemptible as wearing fur, which you better not be caught doing—unless you are walking on all fours and have a shiny, wet, nose.  I am NOT talking about women of color, crawling home from a 24-hour Fitness high aerobics class. 
But what about the single most abused substance—the one inescapable vice that we humans have had since the beginning of time?  Love.  Now’s here’s something that’s worse than anything that people were smoking, snorting, or popping in the last four decades. True, cocaine will leave you physically weary, psychologically devastated, emotionally crippled, financially drained and in desperate need of sleep.  A bad love with an unemployed actor will do the same thing in much less time.    Yeah, killing animals for fur is barbaric—but love will take the fur off of anybody’s back and make a necklace out of their very last nerve.  Granted, too many years of too much red meat almost always leads to cardiac arrest; but it only takes a couple minutes and a drop of truly bad love to cause a coronary disaster.  Love is worse than heroin. At least heroin junkies sleep most of the time.  When is the last time you saw a lovesick woman nodded out in a doorway?  
Love makes people do some incredible things.  Love will make Queen Elizabeth check into a Motel-6 with B.B. King.  Look at what it did to Romeo & Juliet, Antony & Cleopatra, Lancelot & Guinevere, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton et al.  Not to mention Bri Vandekamp and Susan Delfino on Desperate Housewives or desperate businessmen married to former Rockettes.  
.  Love once made me write an 83-page, handwritten, letter and attach it to the door with a steak knife.  
 What is more stressful than being in love?  One thing: Being in a bad love.  What’s worse than that?   Not being in love at all.    Now why is that?  Where’s the logic in that?
In the Bible, St. Paul says, “Love is patient and love is kind…”  say that St. Paul never tried to get to a movie on time with my husband.   Corinthians also says “love is not jealous or boastful…” Oh really is that a fact?  Obviously St. Paul never saw Divorce Court or been at Hollywood cocktail party. “Love is not arrogant or rude…” Oh please, doctors fall in love, and you show me a doctor that’s not arrogant and rude and I’ll show you somebody with a phony medical degree.  “Love does not insist on its own way...” On which lost episode of the Twilight Zone did this happen?   “Love is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices at right.”  Tell that to the keyed sports cars and the slashed tires in this world.  Love will stop rejoicing in wrong when one size fits all, Lindsay Lohan gives up shoplifting and Shaq and Kobe kiss and make up. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.  Faith, hope and love abide—but of these three, the greatest is love.”   Right—the greatest single cause of clothes being shredded, plates being smashed, photographs being ripped up and horrible text messages flying around like a gaggle of drunken geese.  
What was St. Paul thinking when he wrote this?  Are we sure it was Christianity he found on the road to Damascus?  This sounds more like something that Timothy Leary and Wavy Gravy found on the road to “…where were we going now?”      Anybody that thinks love does not insist on its own way has not been in love, or at least not with a human.  And love is more irrational than Rush Limbaugh was during his Oxycotin phase, so we have no idea what they’re talking about. 
The marriage vows should say, “Do you promise to compromise, relinquish, surrender, and become a disconsolate, gloomy sex camel trudging the rocky road of an inevitable and ugly destiny until their funeral and your trial do you part?” 
Love is messy, at best.  Who needs it?  As my Aunt Verdean use to say, “I don’t want no messy loving, all I want is a house, a car and a little grocery money.” Yet, there was much messy loving in her life, because as Janis Joplin put it, “One good man ain’t much, it’s only every little thing.”   How could that possibly be?  In this day and age, with our technology, sex is an easy commodity—www.getanythinganywhereanytime.com.  So who needs it? 
Well, let’s start at the beginning and go to the end.   Love usually starts with a look, which in terms of the brain is visual input. The areas involved are, in the cortex, the medial insula, anterior cingulate, and hippocampus.  In the sub cortex, you have parts of the striatum, the nucleus accumbens, which make up the basic parts of the reward system.  The passion that accompanies love creates a euphoric feeling that is illegal in all 50 states when it comes from a powder.   This is because the areas that are activated in response to romantic feelings share the same boundaries with brain regions containing high concentrations of dopamine, a neuro-modulator associated with reward, desire, and the euphoric states leading to addiction.
It is all about the dopamine; humans are dopamine whores. Dopamine is the feel good drug in the brain.    When people are in love, dopamine is released by the hypothalamus, among other neurotransmitters and hormones linked to romantic love.  The hypothalamus is located deep in the brain and serves as a link between the nervous system and the endocrine (hormonal) system.  The nervous system coordinates actions and transmits signals between different parts of the body via neurons. The endocrine system is also a communication network.  It transmits signals via secreting hormones into the blood, regulating mood, metabolism, tissue function, growth and development.  So now think about it.  If you are stimulating something that serves a link between a system that transmits signals regarding actions, and another one that regulates moods, when you crank it up the upward synergy is going to be real good.  When you turn it down, the crash is going to be a mega-sized “ouch”.   That is partially why love is such an upper when you have it, and such a bummer when it goes south.   Since these same brain regions are activated when you use (theoretically of course) euphoria-producing drugs, like cocaine, love has the same addictive qualities.  So it’s the dopamine release linked to the romantic relationship that puts you in that “don't make hurt you cause I love you" state of mind.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The "R Bug"--it is like a virus

I came out of my meeting at the Medical Center feeling so rejected you would have thought I was returning from a blind date with a skin head.

Having to circumnavigate the nuances of being a large, outrageous, black doctor in the old-boys-school ego sport of medicine has given me occasion to become familiar with superficial judgments like racism, sexism, and weight-nazism.  However, I'm one of those easy going, non-threatening,  well-educated, likable negroes,  who prides himself on not being hypersensitive, self-pitying or reactionary.

Still, what I experienced today at the hospital was racism, pure and simple.  To me, racism is like tofu, I'll swallow it when I have to, but you won't ever make me like it.   Normally in a situation like this one today, my reaction would be to throw my head back, and go into my "Not only am I a doctor, I am a University of Michigan graduate--don't ever mistake ME for someone who cares what YOU think." That's a tried and true way to avoid the fact that I'm a human, and I care very much what other people think.  Regardless of what I might tell myself and others to avoid the butt-hurt of rejection.  

My flight to safety in the higher ground of education and occupation grading wasn't working this time though.   Why not?  Because usually my encounters with blatant racism is at the hands of Asians, old white men, or their lucky-sperm-flow, intellectually inferior,  private schooled children.  This person didn't belong to any of those groups.  This was a big black woman, who could have been me in drag, if she had been better at applying mascara.  

How could this be?  Big brother is not supposed to be sitting across a desk, with a face full of Revlon "Dark and Lovely" wearing "Just My Size" cinnamon pantyhose.  How could this woman be treating me like this?  This is supposed to be a sister.  A few years ago, this woman and I might have dropped to our knees together at the Nordstrum's make up counter and said, "Yes there is a God!" when we saw the Barbara Walden's "Walnut to Wicker" line of foundation shades.  She had to have been there. I could see it in her "Berries in the Night" colored lipstick.  This woman should know better I thought.  Then I thought again, long and hard.

Racism-driven behaviors are like a flu virus among humans.  We are all susceptible to them from time to time.  If we think we are not going to fall prey to racist thoughts and actions... we're just deluding ourselves.   Like we all get the flu, we all get the racism bug, at various times.  Like any other disease state, and that's what racism is, a disease state in the mind, it affects some of us more often and more severely than others.  Generally anti-black racism presents in blacks as self-loathing.  However, not always--and this was a prime example of that.  

Like disease states of the body, thrive in certain environmental conditions, (e.g. cold, damp air) disease states of the mind thrive in certain places.  Racism, or as I call it, "the R-Bug" thrives in television, movies, the fashion industry, newspapers, books, humor, the Internet and pornography.  Unfortunately, these are places humans often go.

Because the R-Bug is like a virus among humans, black people are no less susceptible to it than any other people.    The R-Bug is a disease state of the mind, that affects us all in various ways, at various times, but is not a constant.  That's important to understand because we tend to label people who contract the R-Bug  as being racist.  That's silly.  You don't become a cold just because you catch a cold, are highly susceptible to catching colds, or get a really bad one.

The ability of a disease to survive lies largely in its ability to remain undetected.  In the case of the R-Bug, one of the ways it plagues us is by misleading us into condemning the person suffering from it as opposed to focusing on the nature of the disease state.   We single out people who are heavily afflicted with the R-Bug (look mommy I made a new word).  Anyway we publicly admonish them and then feel satisfied.  "There we've had justice, now let's go get sushi."  That's dangerous, and it allows the disease state to further itself among us.  We  have to look at the R-Bug for what it is--a disease of the mind.

People are not the R-Bug.  People are highly susceptible to the R-Bug, just like we are  to other bugs, like colds and the clap.  When we learned that epilepsy was a disease we began to effectively treat it, opposed to drilling holes in peoples' heads to let out the demons.  Likewise the sooner we recognize the R-Bug as a very deceptive and clever disease of the mind, as opposed to a character flaw--the sooner we can treat it, effectively.

Understanding the nature of the R Bug, and the various ways it can present, is particularly crucial to people in the United States, because we are not Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, Oceania, North or South America; we are all of them.   Peace out--Dr. G. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Yesterday, Michigan lost at home to MSU for the third year in a row.  Many of the Michigan Faithful, myself included, said, “Rodriguez must go”.   Something we have been saying since day one—not because he’s not a good coach —he’s an excellent coach, but because he’s not “a Michigan man” and thereby not suited to lead the Michigan Football Team, which is much more than merely coaching a collegiate team.   

A MSU fan wrote on my Facebook page yesterday: “You Michigan fans are all the same.  As soon as you lose you want to fire the coach…” That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Michigan Football is the most successful program in college football history.  That position can be liken to the consensual reality of class—only the middle and lower are concerned with it.  We are not, and never have been, in mid or the rear guard.  We’re, as the fight song says, “the leaders and best.”  Being the leader and best is not about winning, losing, offenses, defenses or coaches.  It is about tradition.

Traditions are long-established customs or beliefs handed down from generation to generation, viewed as a set of precedents valued by a particular group of people.  Immodestly perhaps, the cardinal tenet of  “The Michigan Difference” is that we are a cerebral, competitive, exceptional group of people destined to be the leaders and best in whatever avocation.  That is a climate, not a weather condition.  Losing a football game is a thunderstorm—not a climate.  

The Michigan Faithful will never embrace Rich Rodriguez no matter how many games he wins.   Case in point: yesterday, it was late in the fourth quarter.  It was a long 4th down.  We were down by 17.  Rodriguez elected to punt, rather than to go for it.   The way our offense had been stalling, odds were we weren’t going to make it.  So what?  You miss 100% of the shots you do not take.  By punting, it increased the likelihood of losing 34 to 17, opposed to 41 to 17.  Based on Rich Rod’s decision, that was more important than trying to win.  

There in lies the problem.   Collegiate athletics is about strengthening character and promoting leadership.  It is not about winning or losing games.   There is no character in giving up before the game is over.  That is not something a Michigan man would do.  What kind of message does that send to the youth and to the world?  The fact that he would do that is evidence that he does not inherently understand the concept of “the leaders and best”.  Doing that in a rivalry game says that he won’t last long at Michigan.

He won’t be happy at Michigan, nor will we be happy with him because he's not steeped in the tradition of Michigan.   Just as Harbaugh won’t be happy at Stanford—he’s a Michigan man, not a Stanford man.   They are two very different traditions.  True, he was born in Palo Alto, but Michigan men are born all over the world.  Just like Pete Carroll destroyed USC, Rich Rodriguez could potentially do the same to Michigan.   He’s already had to be chastised by the NCAA—not good,  not acceptable.    Rodriguez said publicly, “People in Ann Arbor take football too seriously”.   Excuse me, you are whose football coach?   

It has been 3 years.   Rodriguez has no defense in place, and no special teams.   Explosive offenses sell tickets, but defenses win championships.  To sportscasters that says something about his foresight as a coach, but that's really not the issue here.   This is not about a coach.  The issue is preserving a tradition.

“Champions of the West!” is the last line in the Michigan fight song.  Most people would define champion as a person or team who wins a contest, competition or tournament.   However, at Michigan we abide by the true definition of champion—somebody who exemplifies excellence and achievement.  Excellence transcends winning or losing, and permeates the entire being—and that my friend is “The Michigan Difference”.  It is intrinsic, not acquired, which is the essence of tradition. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Tragedy of Grayson: Portrait of a Crucial Juncture in Evolution

In Ohio, a battle wages between the natural father, and the adoptive parents of a 3 year-old boy.   According to the media, the natural father has been fighting for custody of the child, since his birth.   The adoptive parents refuse to give the child up.  They were present at his birth, and have had him ever since.  My heart goes out to all involved.  There is no right answer to this.  There's something very unholy about taking a child from his biological parent that defies all nature.   

There is also something unholy about taking a child from the home he's known, and giving him to a stranger.  Although, in terms of genome and epigenetic considerations the father could never be a stranger.  Metaphorically speaking, human biology   trumps sociology, but sociology makes the bid and plays the hand--its a lose/lose situation.   As a brain scientist, I would say the smart money is on this kid growing up to have a troubled life, riddled with off-centered behavior and suffering.  As a sidebar note--ABC, and the media should be ashamed of itself for retrying this case in the public forum.  It is child abuse.  Grayson's  neuroplasticity (brain wiring) will reap the havoc of this.   

Lets look at the bigger picture here.   Immediately, this problem is a result of the lack of rights that men have in terms of pregnancy and birth.  The fact is women can decide to terminate a pregnancy without the father's approval, or decide to carry it to term and force the man to support the child, again, without the father's approval.  The Ohio adoption laws don't require the adoption agency to supply information about the biological father to the adoptive parents--curious--but not surprising.  

In custody battles women stand a much greater chance of getting custody of the children, although they stand a significantly lesser chance of becoming gainfully employed and being able to support the child. 

What is wrong us?  What drug are we on?   The reason that men have no rights with children is because of the subjugation of women.   We batter women, and in turn we give them primary control of the children.  If the hand that rocks the cradle is shaking and frightened, how evenly will the cradle rock?  And the child?  How steady can its perception of the world be?     

Humans have reached a crucial juncture in evolution.  We no longer need to overlap biologic reproductive function with sexueroticism for the species to survive.   Doing that, when they should not have been is precisely why this child was born into this tragic circumstance.   When are we going to start focusing on the real issue?   Abortion, Adoption, Birth Control, and Gay marriage are not the issue.   Devolution is the issue.   Having sex and not trying to make a baby is dysfunctional. Genitals are designed for two things: urinating and breeding.  I don't care what anybody says.  Sex is for making babies.  If you're not trying to make babies or urinating you're using your genitals for something nature did not design them to do.  

But that's ridiculous.  Personally, I've been having sex since I was 4 years old,  and not once was I ever trying to make a baby.   If I'm not supposed to overlap biologic reproductive function with sexueroticism, then how do I get my rocks off?  More importantly, how am I supposed to express intimate love?  Trust me, I do not know.      If I did, I'd be doing it, so to speak.   But that's what we need to be figuring out.  We need to get to the root of the problem, and stop attacking the twigs and leaves. Its all wrong, abortion, birth control, homosexuality, heterosexuality for any purpose other than the expressed intent to breed is wrong.  Its all wrong, and we all have  been doing one or more of them for a long time.  Arguing over whose less wrong, and more right is ludicrous.   We're all committing crimes against nature if you want to be scientific about it.  So the pots need to stop calling the kettles black, and figure out how to turn off the stove before the place burns down.       


Sunday, September 12, 2010

L'shanah tovah

Please God, for this new year, bring us greater understanding of each other.  Let us all go on our individual journeys towards whatever it is that the Universe has sat forth for us. 

I pray that I become a kinder, and better man than I was last year.  As I sit with my sins, may I learn from them, more than lorn from them.  Help me walk through the fear of things that I do not understand, and cannot understand.  

Please God, help me to be just a little better each day than the day before.  Let me be a little bit kinder, and more understanding.  The tremendous anger for the wrongs I see, the wrongs I've felt, let me leave a little bit each hour of each day.  

I want to be a good man, Great Spirit of the Iroquois, God of the Hebrews, Allah of the Muslims and Lord of the Christians.  May I come to learn to be more accepting like the buddhas.  Lead us not into war and disharmony, but lead us towards our nature as a social creature.      

On September 2nd, I began my final journey around the sun.  May I finish all the things that you have set forth for me to do.  Let it be a busy trip.  I won't ask your forgiveness from you my God, because  if I have to ask, then answer is no. Forgiving is what you do.  If there is any forgiveness to be asked for, I  ask for it from myself.  

Thank you God, for the little joys, and the tender mercies, that have appointed my life.  Thank you for trusting me to carry laughter in my quiver.  Thank you for the people you have surrounded me with.  In these final miles, let me walk in the pathway of service and duty, let me work to the close of each day, and I know you will be with me, and that I have been a bodhisattva.   

- बोधिसत्त्व