Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

Toilet Paper – A Note

16 April 2020
toilet paper roll

There was a big thing a while back – and it still vibrates around the internet – involving all the extra toilet paper people were buying.

I was aware there was a problem with TP in the stores after this whole thing started. But I didn’t bother to read about it until later.

On 2 April a writer named Will Oremus (who seems like a very competent writer, by the way, and quite prolific) got an article published on “Marker” (a website featuring various stories) which quickly got pushed into my browser feed. This article sought to explain the TP problem.

First, he listed all the people and organizations who were making a big thing out of this being some sort of irrational hoarding behavior:

  • U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar
  • the president of a paper manufacturer
  • psychologists
  • the BBC
  • the Mises Institute
  • The Atlantic

Then he brings out the person who probably got it right: Jim Luke, a professor of economics at Lansing Community College, who once worked as head of planning for a wholesale paper distributor.

In the following week (April 10), NPR interviewed professor Luke on the same subject.

Our intrepid writer also contacted a person from Georgia-Pacific to confirm this theory.

The theory is: More people are staying a home. Thus, more toilet paper is needed at home. Less is needed in schools and businesses, and they get their TP from totally different sources (usually) than home dwellers. People were just preparing for more bathroom use in their houses, and this pushed the whole supply chain out of adjustment, because it is built on the assumption that demand for TP at home remains very constant.

Irrational behavior? I think not! Just a new (temporary) need not artfully handled. End of story!

What does Spirit have to do with it?

7 April 2019

With this post, I introduce a new category on this blog: Spirit.

Most people who I meet outside of my church have little or no concept of spirit beyond something like “team spirit” and similar senses. Or they may think of it as a substitute term for the soul of religious or psychological texts.

Indeed, any dictionary reflects these various meanings. Mine gives as the second definition, “the thinking, motivating, feeling part of man, often as distinguished from the body.” And the third definition, “life, will, consciousness, thought, etc., regarded as separate from matter.” It is taken from a Latin word meaning “breath.” Thus, when a body stops breathing, you may say that its spirit has left it.

Reading this, one may be tempted to ask, “Well, fine. But what difference does it make?”

In the posts I assign to this category, I will invite the reader to consider the possibility that it does, indeed, make a big difference!

In my youth I, likewise, did not see the point. Yet I, in my youth, made a simple yet perhaps quite profound observation: That a huge majority of the population of earth follow some religion. If religious concepts – including the concept of spirit – have no relevance today, why do most people still think they do?

Religious experience

One reason many people still “believe” is that many people still have “religious” experiences. These are experiences which – for lack of a better definition – are not explained by science or similar rational thinking processes. Thus, while a sudden thunderstorm may have seemed like some heavenly mandate in years long past, climatologists now understand most, if not all, weather phenomena.

While this category still encompasses a quite wide range of experiences, there are a few that are persistent, unmistakable, and if anything, better documented now than they were in the not-too-distant past. One is the experience of death (body death), obviously followed by a return of life in all documented cases. Another is the experience of being outside one’s body, whether or not clinical death occurred. Then there is the distant relative to these, past life recall.

We are not talking about anecdotal evidence here; these are carefully documented cases studied by medical doctors and similar clinical researchers. The point is, “science” is aware that these phenomena, in particular, are real. It is only that scientists, for the most part, reject a spiritual explanation for them. Religious people, on the other hand, have much less back-off in this regard, though they may display some amazing biases of their own.

The question of consciousness

While “consciousness” can be variously described, it is – most obviously – the thing or quality that leaves a body when it dies. Furthermore, in man it is the part of us that is capable of remembering and interpreting experiences, as well as inventing experiences that never happened, dreaming, and hoping for, wishing for, or working for future experiences that haven’t happened yet.

Consciousness has, as have many subjects of this kind, been approached from two main angles. The philosophic approach seeks to devise high-level explanations that will encompass – or at least shed light on – the various unexplained phenomena. And the scientific approach (typified by psychology) seeks to understand these phenomena at a more practical level, like: What can you do if someone has an experience that continues to bother them? It should be noted that “psychology” is based on the Greek psyche, from whence Latin gave us the word spirit.

The point most often made by people who think the subject of consciousness is important is that we won’t solve some of the most fundamental problems of human existence, like insanity, crime and war, until we get consciousness right. And I agree with them about that.

Having a working understanding of life

If we can get the question of consciousness answered correctly – at least for the psychologists, if not for the philosophers – it would open the door to a lot of handlings on this planet that currently seem basically impossible.

Look at all the effort that has been put into ending war, crime and insanity on this planet. Yet they all still exist, and in more threatening forms, it seems, than ever before.

Beyond that, the mystery of the origins of biological life, and of Mankind in particular, continues to elude us. And we have yet quite to figure out exactly what is holding this universe together; a problem in theoretical physics that remains unsolved.

If we had such an understanding firmly in place, how hard would it be to mend a broken marriage, a broken heart, or perhaps even a broken planet?

These articles are not being written to tell you what I think. They are being written to invite you to LOOK. The most workable set of answers – if not the only relatively complete set – that I know of has already been arrived at. Your introduction to these answers is found here:

I urge you to take a look!

ARC in the universe

Artwork created by CSI, 2018.



About Letters from Generation Rx

17 February 2019

Letters from Generation Rx is a 2017 documentary by Kevin P. Miller. It’s a follow-up to the 2008 documentary Generation Rx. Both these films feature case histories of families who got involved in the Mental Health System and paid for it dearly.

The more recent film was featured recently on the only TV channel I watch regularly,

Towards the end of the film, a Canadian researcher Bonnie Kaplan is featured. She has been doing research into the therapeutic value of “micro-nutrients,” the latest term for vitamins and minerals.

When I looked her up to see if she had done any lecture videos, I found the site Mad In America Continuing Education. Mad In America was a book written by investigative journalist Robert Whitaker about the current U.S. Mental Health System. He has been featured prominently in several Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) videos about psychiatric abuses.

Bonnie Kaplan is prominently featured in a free “course” on nutritional treatments for mental illnesses. She and her colleague Julia Rucklidge go through all the evidence, from anecdotal to full Double Blind Studies, on the mental health benefits of improving nutrition. These are simple, cost-effective ways to improve physical and mental well-being in a community. They can be implemented by any Public Health agency simply by advising clients to eat better and take extra vitamins and minerals. The basic philosophy behind this “therapy” is supported by every sane doctor and healer who has been informed of its effectiveness.

The question is: (and both these academic researchers ask this question) Why is nutritional therapy not widely practiced (in the fields of medicine and psychology, and in our Mental Health System) as our first line of defense against mental problems?

Kevin P. Miller states his answer to that question pretty clearly in both of his films: The U.S. Mental Health System was established, and is operated today, to make money for psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry – with tacit consent from the FDA. People in academia have a hard time accepting this answer. They think of psychiatry, psychology and medicine as “their kind” and cannot believe that trained professionals would stoop so low as to ignore patient deaths in return for industry consulting fees. What is clear to a student of Scientology, if not a student of life such as Kevin Miller, is that elements in the “professions” have always done this, and probably always will.

Our huge challenge now is to remove such persons from positions of power and influence in society before they complete their secret goal of tearing society apart. They are not well-organized, but they can muster amazing “convincing arguments.” And they are protected to a certain extent by the blind spot most well-intentioned people have on the subject of evil intentions. Look at the historical example of Hitler’s Nazis. How many were able to accurately predict the events that included the great war in Europe? These events were being threatened publicly in speeches by Hitler himself. Yet only a few could believe that he would actually go that far. Well, his people did go that far.

The best response this planet has mustered so far to the atrocities connected with World War II has been to draft a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, put it on a shelf somewhere, and hope the problem would go away.

Well, it hasn’t. I must say that it is Scientologists who are at the center of not only pointing out that there still is a huge problem on Earth, but also manning and funding campaigns to turn the planet around. Their story has remained largely untold, as most major media outlets are in bed with the criminals.

And in related news…

I don’t actually follow the news, for the reason stated immediately above. But I do buy fruit, and I do remember articles I have read about various subjects… so I was a bit surprised to find this tag on my Winco pineapple today.


Dole is one of a few very large food companies that operate in “third world” countries but are owned by United States citizens. These food companies have been implicated in a variety of criminal activities in the countries where they operated, activities that were only undertaken to improve or protect their corporate interests and profits. One such activity was the rebellion of Americans living in Hawaii against the native government (a monarchy), resulting in Hawaii eventually becoming a state, which reduced the cost of selling Hawaiian produce in the U.S.

More horrendous stories are told of what American fruit companies did in Central America to try to prevent local influence in their huge plantation operations. Typical was the ouster of Jacobo Árbenz from Guatemala in 1954, engineered by United Fruit Company in cooperation with various elements of the U.S. government. Árbenz had been the democratically elected President of Guatemala.

Disney produced a multitude of cartoon shorts in support of various U.S. government policies and actions across the world. Though I have seen some accusations connected with the making of “Saludos Amigos,” a 1943 attempt to improve relations between the U.S. and Latin America, in the face of expanding Nazi influence in that region, I cannot find any particular mention of Disney films supporting the U.S. “anti Communism” crusade against governments in Central America that wanted to curb illegal actions by American fruit companies operating there.

On the other hand, it is now a documented fact that elements of the U.S. government did collude with United Fruit and other companies to overthrow regimes that wanted to instigate reforms on the huge plantations. Many died during those struggles to give Central American agricultural workers a better life. Though the region has become more peaceful, except where the illegal drug trade has taken hold, I don’t know that those issues were ever fully resolved. That is another measure of the intractability (difficulty in curing) the problem of criminal influence in high places.



Don’t talk to strangers

26 March 2013

The tiny flowers that look like snow

The edges of the sidewalk up at the northern end of Grand Ave. have recently become speckled with sprinkles of white. It looks like a little bit of snow hanging on in the last cold days of spring, or the salt sometimes used to make such snow melt at a lower temperature.

But it’s neither of those things; it’s a white-flowered ground cover. I picked one of the flowers the other day and brought it home and looked at it under the microscope. It’s a four-petaled flower only 5mm across (that’s about 3/16 of an inch). There seem to be more than 4 stamens, though. The foliage is dark and looks a little like a succulent, or like bedstraw (a wildflower used as ground cover). I haven’t figured out for sure yet what it is. Walking along, you can’t really tell it’s a flower. Just something white sprinkled on the ground.

tiny spring flower

Our tiny roadside spring flower.

Don’t talk to strangers

A few days ago I saw a girl walking up Grand as I was walking down Grand after work. She looked a little worried or something. Then I saw, up Terre View to the west, a little boy – her little boy. She waited for him at the corner then walked home with him.

The next day (or the day after) I saw him again. He was walking home himself this time, and he took the “shortcut” up to the first level parking lot of my building. Did he live in the Glendimer?

And not soon after that I saw him again. He looked at me like he kind of recognized me, and climbed up the rock at the mini-park at the corner and said, “king of the mountain!” and smiled at me. We walked together for a while, then I asked him if he lived up there in those buildings and he said yes. I told him I lived there, too. I said something else – forget what – and he answered but said, “but you’re a stranger, and I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.” “It’s good they’re teaching you that,” I said, thinking that probably wasn’t exactly true. Then I walked ahead of him and crossed the street. But as I was getting across, he ran to the corner, and I waited for him to cross, and we walked up to his “shortcut.” “I like to go this way,” he said. “I know you do,” I said, “I go around the other way.” When I got up the driveway, he crossed my path again, then took another “shortcut” up through the juniper bushes that cover the hill between the lower parking lot and the next higher one.

Not advice for a lifetime

I wondered later if people were getting stuck with this advice that they were taught as children. I wasn’t taught this. And for good reason: It doesn’t work. Even for a child it doesn’t work. What if you’re hurt and need help? What about your first day in school when everybody is a stranger? How do you make friends? It just totally doesn’t work.

Adults do it, I figured, because they feel like children are too trusting. They haven’t developed adult discernment skills yet, so can’t tell a slime ball from someone who might be a valuable friend. But then, lots of adults can’t tell the difference, either!

The lessons they never taught me

When I was a teenager, I developed quite an upset over the fact that there was no place that taught me about people. How to understand them, how to help them, how to live with them. My parents didn’t seem to know much about this. The only real advice I got along this line was from my mother who told me once that if I got attacked by a bully I should fight back. They’d leave me alone after that. Pretty good advice.

I desperately wanted answers to why people were the way they are, and what to do about it. But just as my parents seemed a bit clueless along this line, so my schools didn’t seem to want to touch this subject with a ten foot pole.

Now they teach psychology in school. But these days, psychology isn’t really about people, either. It’s about behavior and how to control it. That’s what the people who pay psychologists have always been interested in. I don’t know if that’s what most psychologists are actually interested in, though.


What we should tell our kids, and what they deserve to be told, is that we don’t want them to make friends with adults until their parent or parents have met the person. That’s because adults have the skills to be able to tell slime balls from good people. And when they are grown up, they’ll know too, because it’s taught in school.

In fact, being able to talk to “strangers” is one of the higher of adult social skills. And a person who can turn strangers into friends can have a good, full life. One who can’t will still feel like that little boy walking home from school, not sure it’s okay to talk to that somewhat interesting old man.