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September 25, 2014

THE KAZIMIERZ DABROWSKI THEORY OF POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION AND POSITIVE INTEGRATION - PART TWO - Conclusion

Edited Sept. 27, 2014:

I believe to understand the theory of Positive Disintegration (see my two previous posts for links, The Introduction and Part 1), one must create a foundation, what some might call a myth. Theory evolved from myths. Myths were what inspired humankind to dream and learn new things. Things that went far beyond simple replication.

There aren't any "role-models" that I know of that have survived Positive Disintegration to become Positively Integrated. For that reason I can only provide my experiences. That's not to say any role-models died or perished, from disintegration, no. It's just no one has come out and said, "I survived Positive Disintegration; I am now have a Positive Integrated personality; what do you want to know?"

So I'm coming out saying, I've experienced it, the whole nine yards and after much difficult work over the years I have a rudimentary Positively Integrated personality. I also have PTSD and the two don't get along. That aside for now...

In 1974 I began what I now understand was my Positive Disintegration. I can't tell you when it began to happen, how it felt at the time. I can't provide you with a way to do it. Dabrowski's theory suggests that it can't begin in childhood. He may be correct, however I think there are traits present; mild autism perhaps, breaks the rules, experiments, argumentative, takes things apart, a loner, picked on in school, reads a lot, draws pictures often. These are but a few traits that come to mind.

At the time, as much as I read and studied, the Dabrowski Theory was nothing I'd ever heard of. There were plenty of alternative theories which I used to my advantage, so called Self-Help" books, and oddly books like "The Teachings of Don Juan", by Carlos Castenada. I had a hunger to understand religion around age 18, raised Zion Covenant we had to complete Confirmation. A 3 year after school education taking up several months, Friday's.

I'll tell you the thing that turned me off to religion and I was - I have no idea how old I was. It was a Sunday and I was in Sunday School. Our teacher was an older man, with long sideburns which is all I can remember, and tall. I have no idea what the topic was, whether I abruptly asked a poignant, off-topic question, but the subject must have been Genesis as I recall talking about dinosaurs.

I asked, " if dinosaurs were millions of years ago, how could Genesis have taken place a thousand years ago?"

I could tell the teacher wasn't thrilled with my question. He swallowed, murmured, cleared his throat and replied, "dinosaurs existed during the darkness before creation."

The switch in my brain went "click". Dinosaurs existed before Creation??? I didn't think so. If "God created the heavens and the earth..." how could dinosaurs exist pre-creation? I realized then that religion was a hoax and something made up and not based on truth or reality. 

But the whole idea of religion, something I had to endure until I was 18, confused me to the point of anguish and hunger for more knowledge. It was still a mystery to me why it was taken so seriously? And like I said I read a lot. At 18 I was enrolled at the Community College, all quite by the book. So far I was playing the part of the the oldest son.

A year and a half later all that changed. I had been majoring in electrical engineering. Half of the worst part, two semesters of physics were over, complete and I got C's. Good enough for me. Starring me in the face was a semester of math. Calculus I recall. I was close to graduated, but far from it and I changed.

I lived at home, tried to follow the rules (that kept changing) and had a part-time job at a department store nights. I drove an '89 Ford Mustang, dark blue, with a 289ci V8. Chrome alloy wheels and a 3 speed. Yes, "I was living the good life", rising up into the ranks. But it wasn't me, and I sensed it.

I only needed a catalyst to find my true self... something that at the time I had no idea it existed. There's something to be said about the smugness and hold of being raised in a stable, American family. Everything seems so well-organized and predictable. It's Erikson's theory, the 8 steps - the linear movement through society until one get's old and we die. 

I suppose some things are meant to be repeated, and for my followers, my apology; and for my new readers, for both, my Positive Disintegration began in earnest quite by accident.

It was a warm, summer night in August when I met with my childhood buddy and we walked through the suburbs to get to another childhood buddies house. I was probably 19 and 1/2. What we had planned I don't recall. But Fate had something in mind for us and me especially; marijuana.

This was 1974. The 1960's had turned America in a new direction. The hippie movement was everywhere. Not all good. But a lot positive. There was Viet Nam, the War, something we were all very unhappy about, and for myself, back then we had a federal draft, and a lottery. I drew the short straw which meant when I turned 18 I was going to the war. The first miracle was due to my birth-date being in September, I witnessed a miracle - the draft was ended August 31, 1974, days shy of my birth-day.

There was no such thing as DARE (Drug Enforcement Resistance Education) then. NORML hadn't been invented yet but while in high school we had been subjected to good old-fashioned anti-"drug" abuse education. It consisted of scaring us half to death with stories of moral and physical decay for those who used marijuana which created a stepping stone to heroin use and death. Simple message. No DARE, no NORML, no DEA... yet despite that, myself and my peers had grown-up to be very anti-drug. So consider the horror I felt when my good friend offers us some Panama Red cannabis???

We both got past our shared horror and indulged. We laughed our asses off, something that only occurs with early users, by the way. Meditative thought quickly follows, along with "dimensional shifts of consciousness" - which are hard to describe but which have nothing at all to do with the experience of drunkenness. Similar to rebooting a computer, the DS is called a "rush" and it envelopes your mind and body into an orgasmic shift where the past falls away and you're reborn. Older users experience a lessening of DS but an increase in insight and a mellow mood, relief from pain which isn't "pain-relief" but rather more tolerance to pain.

That aside. The experience changed my life and opened my eyes to a great big world, and not some drug-inspired world as I'd imagined. I was really opened up to how infinite and beautiful our world really is. Which also opened me up to the atrocities... thank god for the ability to blog today, which we didn't have back then!

What I accomplished, in 1974 and over the next 4 years was phenomenal. I got a full-time job as a custodian at the college, working in the Fine Arts Center... I had free tuition and took every course imaginable. I met and made a lot of friends, had many lovers.

The only two problems were how difficult it was to become an integrated personality without a map or theory, and familial culture and mores. I violated most rules my parents believed, something I've written about previously. Yes, one of my parents took it particularly hard and did everything possible to steer me onto "The One Road". My other parent was actually encouraging, albeit, powerless against the one with the strict ideological theories. Theories I ignored for the most part except for this annoying "bee" that buzzed me with regularity.

Add to that having my heart broken many times, close friends committing suicide, friends dying from alcohol or car accidents and what began as a very positive future rather quickly degraded into, what I now know was negative disintegration. That was late June of 1978. I lost most of what I'd attained during those 4 years, in the 10 years that followed. I was 35 - 40 before I found an equilibrium, and between then and 50 I found a balance in life and survived. I did okay.

Around turning 50 I took a downward spin. It began with a ten day stay in the hospital with acute pneumonia. Afterwards things changed. Things I remember less about than I do between 35 - 50.

It was only just before turning 60 I was shown Dabrowski's theory. I'm still studying it. It's deep.

To me it explains a lot, and for others out there I post this hoping it will help you too.

September 22, 2014

THE KAZIMIERZ DABROWSKI THEORY OF POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION AND POSITIVE INTEGRATION - PART ONE

Critical to being an individual who will gain insight into themselves from Dabrowski's theory are those with DP - "Developmental Potential".

The term itself is like high pressure hose gyrating like a snake... there seems no way to pin down what DP means I layman's terms. Simple, understandable terms.

You may want to read more about Dąbrowski himself, which in turn will fill in much that you question should you find yourself interested, click here: Kazimierz Dąbrowski

"DP" however is defined in many ways. The following are helpful, quoted from the preceding link:

"A new type of perception [is required in an individual which] involves multilevelness, a vertical view of life that compares lower versus higher alternatives and now allows the individual to choose a higher resolution to a crisis over other available, but lower, alternatives — the developmental solution."


"Unilevel crises are not developmental as the person can only choose between equal alternatives (go left or go right?)."
 

Which means what, exactly? It means there is not "one road in live", something I've written about previously. You can't base your life on a book. You can't be willing to turn yourself over to another person who proclaims their self the "holy one".

Also quoted from the previous link:

"... we need to find a way to a higher level of existence, one where our conscious self is integrated with the full contents of our unconscious."

As children we feel no "DP". Nor do we have an autonomous personality. "Going with the group" is normal. As we age into our late teens/early twenties we have the potential to develop "DP" That's Developmental Potential".

Now here's where Dabrowski's theory seems to veer wildly away from Erikson's theory of personality development. Yet it does something else - adds depth to Erikson's theory in that human personality is not a fixed point in time and reality. It means that to understand who we are, one theory can't describe it... we need to consider the unwritten theories too.

Essentially in late teens, early 20's we feel we are different, that we don't fit in.

We see potential in diversity, find ourselves non-racist, don't buy into the cut-throat approve to finding success, and certainly don't worship money. So what's wrong with the picture?


Nothing.

Add to that physical or mental abuse from whatever source, opinions growing up that you'd never amount to anything, or due to an apparent neglect of your studies and being a non-conformist.

"DP" is a lot like finding your self open-minded, when others around you jump on the band-wagon because well that's what they all do. It's standing there as the others pull away calling you names for not joining them. It hurts. And there's not much in our society to provide answers or solace.

See the "Unilevel" crises shows only two ways to live - the right or wrong way. Succumb to berating yourself because you can somehow never get it right either means you are simply trying hard to fit in and be a hero of the masses, or that you have "DP" and you want more than what society has to offer. You don't want to forsake or harm society, you simply want to find your way of living in this society.

That is what Dabrowski offers in his theory. A way forwards. A way that doesn't include harming yourself, as you'll learn to appreciate yourself and your individuality.You'll learn to do this understanding that, to achieve Positive Integration, it is natural to undergo a Positive Disintegration first. To survive growing up we are provided with what may be a adolescent personality. One we find we need to shed when we get older.

Nothing in our younger years prepares us for this shedding, or disintegration when we are older. Many psychologists aren't even aware of it, however most are not going to try and change you, indoctrinate you or cast aspersions on your dreams.

What Dabrowski suggests is really not that far out there unless you compare him and judge him based upon some hypothetical measurement for conformity.

One of the things I learned about in my early twenties as I was finding myself was the concept of "Universal Knowledge", UK. There are two ways to look at this concept. 1) Spiritual or Jungian in nature - in that "UK" is a spiritual connection to the beyond or ultra-dimensional realm where all knowledge resides, or 2) imagine since we were in our mother's womb we took in sensations, and when we were born we began to take in more, and although consciously we seem to only retain a small fraction of what we're taught and what we experience, in reality our sub-conscientious hears and senses all of it. It is "universal knowledge" contained within our sub-conscious.

The potential is there, not to find "free-will", that is not the goal, but rather, our goal is to find a self-fulfilling, integrated personality, one that is our own.

September 18, 2014

THE KAZIMIERZ DABROWSKI THEORY OF POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION AND POSITIVE INTEGRATION - INTRODUCTION

The theory I'm going to pontificate on here and hopefully illuminate brightly to a few of you is from the work of Kazimierz Dąbrowski (1902–1980), a Polish psychiatrist and psychologist. WIKI LINK: KAZIMIERZ - "POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION".  I think his name is pronounced, Kaa-Za-Mertz Da-Brow-Ski.

Now I'm a journalist, and a tech guy, and an artist... not a doctor or psychologist. However I love research and I'm pretty sharp about something new and important in psychology.

Everything in psychology is a theory. But the world of psychology is a scientific discipline and an art to those who practice it. Science seeks to be objective and accomplish feats to marvel at by calculated research, experimentation which yields facts. Yet all of it begins with a theory. In any field of science.

There are other theories out there and these theories are well respected. Like the theory proposed by Erik Erikson,  a stalwart theory of many psychologist (or at least they had to study it). Here's the Wikilink: "eight stages of psychosocial development", as articulated by Erik Erikson. He makes a lot of sense, meaningful in the sense that you can feel it if you try, however it feels very linear, and to me constraining, when compared to the theory of surviving as an individual by Dąbrowski.


It begins with Positive Disintegration. My interpretation is the disintegration of one's personality. If you read Erikson, the development of personality is obviously linked to a successful integration into society. It's as if there is a road-map to growing up, being productive and finally after a blissful retirement, fading away. Maybe to many people this sounds good, and according to Dąbrowski, this is normal.

He begins his theory with a rather generalized term - "Developmental Potential", "DP". I'm sure many will raise there arms proclaiming they have that! But sorry, many of you don't have that. In fact many may get the idea at first that what Dąbrowski is alluding to is Free Will. He's not.

A quote by  Friedrich Nietzsche:

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself".

What I'm talking about is not the ambitious, dog eat dog strive for the top of the corporate or political world kind of person. I'm talking about the kind of person who may be an artist, a writer, a philosopher, activist... the kind of person that seems to be spinning their wheels in fantasy pursuits of finding themselves and missing Erikson's linear 8 steps altogether. The person may seem loony and even crazy, however there is a fine line between having crazy ideas and being over the edge crazy.

The people I'm talking to here may feel very alone, depressed, may consider suicide, all because they feel they don't fit in. They may have good jobs, a family, put on a great show of being a model citizen... and that's not unusual, as we're really talking about people that learn to survive in a society that makes positive integration impossible and a society of masks where no one is really who they seem to be.

I know you'll be tempted to click on the link I provided before I can get my next post out, Part 1. And I hope you do, as I'm sure it will shock you, and if it seems like the ravings of a lunatic you can always select the link to Erikson.

Happy Autumn :)



September 05, 2014

THE BASIC, REAL LIFE FACTS ABOUT MARIJUANA

Over time, my empirical understanding of marijuana has sharpened to a near point of total clarity. With legalization for both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana in two states now, and persons over 21 buying marijuana, it rather sucks for the rest of us, given that in a recent post I highlighted how in many states law enforcement has increased it's arrest rate of marijuana offenders. The fact remains... within the United States of America marijuana is legal for use in at least two states as long as your 21 or older. The City of Portland Maine also legalized possession of 2 ounces of marijuana by adults and the State of Maine will vote on legalization in 2014. I believe it's likely to become a reality, as it should - Maine is the Vacation Land in the northeast.

With these facts, although I may have tackled the topics previously, I've realized what is not being said, and that is what exactly does marijuana do to me? Why would I use it and why is it suddenly safer than alcohol?

First off, what about the fact that it makes some people paranoid?

Lets start with some pics I've collected from free sources on the internet (if not free to use please let me know):







 Would you want your ten year old child smoking marijuana?

None are what I'd call relatively relevant - all are fantasy of sorts. The "No To Drugs", without drugs our society would be mostly dead. And to have a picture with assorted illicit drugs together is a generalization, and they don't measure up. As for marijuana and children, the legal age recommended is 21, like alcohol, so like alcohol, safeguards are in place.

Lets take the last question first. Why are some people paranoid when smoking marijuana?

1) If your parents and you were subject to arrest as in committing a violent crime, wouldn't you be paranoid? Yes, I know that is a cliche by now, but the truth is, science. There was a study i watched a couple of years ago in which a woman volunteered to be a subject in an experiment. She was injected with pure THC. And guess what... she became extremely withdrawn, paranoid and very uncomfortable. Why? Because that is what pure THC does. The marijuana plant however contains many other cannabinoids.  The most important is Cannabidiol (CBD). It doesn't get you high. What it does is it balances the effects of the THC, making one mellow and relaxed. It can stop seizures. But it alone, just like THC alone isn't the answer. And that's why the whole plant, the flowers in particular are useful and beneficial. A pharmaceutical cannot replace the plant.

2) Why are people arrested for marijuana if it's not dangerous?

Good question, terrible answer: Or should I say a logical answer that prohibitionists don't want to hear? Marijuana was made illegal in 1937 as a knee jerk reaction in Washington. There was no scientific basis for making it illegal, only fantasies. I've already covered all that in previous posts.

It was President Nixon in 1970 - 71 that caused the real harm. He began the War on Drugs with marijuana as the centerpiece of his idea. Ironically several states had begun reducing penalties for marijuana around that time... NY for one.

Nixon and then First Wife Nancy Reagan solidified opposition and fear of marijuana... the "stepping stone drug" - which is fiction.

People are arrested for the same reason people were arrested as witches in the 1600's. It's also a way to enforce conformity within the society.

3) What if I have marijuana available to me but I can't handle the feelings?

Give it a break. Bear in mind marijuana has a tendency to draw one's inner-self out. That can be difficult to deal with during early use. Eventually, the hope would be dealing with those feelings, seeking mental heath visits, and getting one's act together would be achieved. Marijuana is meditative... it's not an intoxicant. That's why artists in particular enjoy it.

4) I really think buying marijuana from the "black market" is harming me - I have no choice in what I buy, no knowledge of it's purity, and since it's always different, I end up stuck with something that's not quite what I want. 

So true... Imagine buying tomatoes on the black market,? In England during the 1600's this was a fact. Tomatoes are red like the devil. Sir Walter Raleigh was incarcerated for possession of tomatoes. Hard to find the story, but it's true.

For persons with medical conditions the black market can be especially bad. It may yield no benefits or only marginal benefits - that's not useful if you're using it to alleviate a medical condition; though on occasion one scores what works; but wow, that's America and it's political views about medicine!

5) I feel really shy when using marijuana.

Of course you may feel shy. There seems to be a common misconception that using marijuana is like using alcohol, or even tobacco (as a social enhancer and relaxing). The later is a completely different plant altogether, one that does have serious carcinogenic properties, is seriously addictive and has zero medical value - rather sounds like a Schedule One drug now, doesn't it? 

Marijuana, since it's more a meditative "drug", one which can bring one's subconscious feelings to the surface, may bring to the surface one's feelings of shyness. Again, seek mental health assistance or lay off the pot for awhile if you can't find a way to cope with being shy. Unlike alcohol, marijuana doesn't cause one to feel uninhibited, but rather the opposite. It has a tendency to make one much more cautious and if by nature you're shy it only goes to reason you may feel more of the shyness while using it. Overtime the hope would be to work through those feelings, cannabis can be enlightening and helpful.

6) I heard President Obama once used marijuana... how did he become President?

Yes, I was taught as a young person that "marijuana use would destroy my mind". It didn't. Quite the opposite in fact.

And yes, President Obama is reputed to have been a "Guru of Marijuana". 

This article by the NY Times puts things into a perspective that answers your question:



The book, by David Maraniss of The Washington Post, suggests one can be young, as the President was then, and still be President of the United States. "As a young man growing up in Hawaii, President Obama frequently smoked marijuana with a group of friends..." he says in his book.

Available at Amazon.com


Fact is... marijuana doesn't make one intoxicated, it's nothing like alcohol or tobacco and it's best if like tomatoes you're able to grow your own, to do what you want and need. 

The fact is that President Nixon, by enacting the Scheduling Act and creating the DEA, created a Catch-22. It's similar to research into stem-cells. Federal law bans such research, at least with federal grants. But it also stigmatizes such research as forbidden. The established fact the federal government stands on regarding research into benefits of marijuana is that there are none. Period. End of story. Go away...

What makes the whole thing so ludicrous is it obviously isn't working. It is making the US a better place. It doesn't protect children when their parents are hauled away. When guns are drawn and pointed and the police are supposed to be there to protect them.

It simply doesn't make sense for thousands of reasons, but simply put, if a person with PTSD feels relief why is that unacceptable?  Ban aspirin? It can cause ulcers.

Facts are marijuana is not for everyone, but then that goes for peanut butter too. And during early use, subconscious feelings may rise to one's surface... there mostly to observe, though hard to know at the time, don't let it scare you - it's a reflection of you. Not as in a drug that reduces inhibitions, but rather as a "drug" that that heightens self-awareness.

The human body itself manufactures cannabinoids... there are receptors throughout the human body and they act like lubricants, killing off cancer cells, letting the brain process things more intimately.

Heck... theories it lowers IQ... why is it pre-marijuana I was like a C student in HS, a C student in college my first two years and then after using marijuana my GPA gradually grew, until my final years at a med school when I graduated, magna cum lauda, with a 3.9 GPA?

The final fact is, like with alcohol prohibition, the White House should move fast and legalize marijuana. De-Schedule it as an herb, which by law isn't restricted. Imagine going to jail for dandelions in your yard - which can be made into a tasty wine. 


This is the future and it's better than the past:

AlterNET Link: http://www.alternet.org/drugs/8-exotic-marijuana-infused-delectables-put-simple-pot-brownies-shame?akid=12202.1116370.x2noAF&rd=1&src=newsletter1018096&t=8

7) What about the chidren?

Dumb question as there's plenty worse out there than marijuana.