Sunday, May 26, 2013

Your Teens Have Grown Up Watching Hard-Core Porn, What Have You Been Doing to Balance Out That Influence?

Teenagers' Vulnerabilities: 
  1. A disturbing 'universal truth' that leads to...
  2. A disturbing 'trend'.
Those of you who've read me before know my 'thing' is insights into what motivates human behaviour, those insights that research is uncovering and those that I see when one plus one equals three in my brain.  Let's see if you agree on these points. 

1.  A Disturbing 'Universal Truth'

Here's a fact of human nature that has helped our species propagate:
Human females, of any age, find the notion of being 'worshiped' by males for nothing more than the way they look to be irresistibly seductive.
I've often gone on about the dangers of the "Disney-fication" of young girls around the globe.  What I mean is that, versus the natural state our species lived in for the majority of our existence in small nomadic tribes roaming the planet, eking out survival and occasionally interacting with other tribes, the current sedentary state of urbanization we find ourselves in convinces us that THIS state is normal.

It certainly is normal for young girls to pine to hear and fantasize about fairy-tales, about legends of powerful god-like figures descending from the heavens to sweep up teenage beauties and whisk them off to Valhalla to live happily ever after, but in the reality of our most natural human state, these tales remained fantasy, repeated only infrequently (though likely played over and over in their heads).  What's not so normal, given the way our species evolved, is for young girls to have access to pocket-sized video players and TVs on which they can watch animated films over and over, ad nauseam (and they do, racking up thousands of views before reaching their teens).

Disregarding trips to Disneyland and shops that sell princess outfits to kids (and as wedding dresses - ICK! - to average-to-plus-sized adults in the US), what I see as a problem to this endless repetition of these fantasy stories during a period of brain development when permanent synaptic connections are being laid down that will last their lifetimes, is that it becomes extremely difficult for the adult women that these girls become to let go of the fantasy later in life.  Not only does it lead to unrealistic 'projection' onto partners right into their '30's, setting countless relationships  up for failure, it lays down a 'baseline' of 'female as object of adoration/worship' that is insidious.

What so many parents/adults see as cute and harmless, allowing/encouraging little kids to re-watch these Disney films over and over, is laying down permanent hard-wiring (we now know from brain research) that assures these little girls that it is 'normal' for post-pubescent women to be idolized and adored for nothing more than their physical features.  "So what?" you might be asking.  Well bear with me, because what happens next is that, LONG before their brains are finished laying down the permanent, parsed-down thought pathways that they'll be stuck with for life (experience having weeded out the pathways that will be unnecessary for the circumstances they live in), today around the time these little girls shift into becoming teens, they're given cellphones that allow them the opportunity to text each other endlessly and compulsively virtually 24 hours a day.  And they do.

They text incessantly NOT because they stop and think about other activities they might do instead and decide non-stop social communication might be more fun, but because their teenage female brains compel them to do so.  What they're texting/talking about, in one form or another, is their sexual appeal to males and their social connections to each other.  Male relationships throughout life tend to be transitory (i.e. they are 'tight' with whatever men they happen to be around at the time), females tend to maintain lifetime attachments to their childhood girlfriends.  Why?  Because throughout most of our human existence our parents and other familial supporters died before they reached 35.  Teenage girls are cementing relationships with the same-age support group they USED TO rely upon to keep their babies alive for the majority of human existence (millions of years of nomadic tribal movement versus the past 7,000 when we started to live in permanent dwellings in villages).  The tribe was a female's best defense.

And versus today, for most of our human existence (not our evolution, but rather the 150,000+ years that our Homo Sapiens Sapiens genome has existed largely unchanged) at puberty girls started having babies.  Yes, your little 'sweet 16-er' would likely already have had two children back in our most natural human condition.

Something that disturbs many of us today made a lot more sense in our more natural circumstances: teenage females tend to be more attracted in their early to mid-teens to older, powerful males than to their awkward, less mature male peers.  We have all kinds of legal and societal/cultural barriers to these unions today, yet they still happen, as has always been the case with a wide variety of powerful (money and fame is power) older men...
Now what is interesting in BOTH of these cases is that the girls' mothers both encouraged them to 'date' these men.  Without getting into whether this was because they wanted to launch a successful future for their young daughters, or to re-live their youth vicariously, or to benefit financially after the fact, the point is that before these two girls were sufficiently mature to make level-headed decisions for themselves (understanding the long-term consequences of short-term impulses is a brain function that only fully matures about 25), their 'authority figures' not only gave them permission, but pushed them out of the proverbial nests.  I suspect you'd find an awful lot more of these kind of 'hook-ups' happening if it were not for MOST moms and dads aggressively discouraging them (something that is quite the opposite in some cultures, like that of Cuba).

What I find interesting is that, generally, as young women's brains develop into their later teens and early 20's, along with their growing experience, exposure to the world and the maturation of their male peers, their willingness to 'hook-up' with older men falls off precipitously (in most cases -- although the promise of a comfortable life seems to ameliorate the disinterest in many...).  What that suggests to me is that, to 'get in under the wire', much older men need to ensure that the 'bonding' happens ala-Lolita, while the girls are very young and still 'starry-eyed':

To suggest, as these men do, that there's nothing unusual about the fact that these much younger women 'fell in love' with them is quite clearly baloney, they had intimate access to these girls that few non-family men would ever have, outside of the guys who have affairs with their kids' babysitters.  While Jerry Seinfeld at 38 got the phone number of the then 17 year old Shoshanna Lonstein in Central Park without asking her age and ended up dating her for some years, there's something a tad more sinister about the Woody Allen and Morgan Freeman cases wherein they knew the girls from their childhoods.

My point?  While women of any age can be seduced by feeling that a powerful man worships them for they way they look, as was in part the case with Bill Wyman and Doug Hutchison, in the case of both Morgan Freeman and Woody Allen, the girls worshiped the much older men from childhood, giving them both an unfair advantage and the opportunity to step back and resist temptation.  While Woody has defended his actions by saying "The heart wants what the heart wants," it is also the case that the male loins pine for a young hottie, regardless of how the male ends up seducing one of them. 

The phenomenon of girls 'hooking-up' with older men on the basis of the male's 'power aura' and the girl's looks, despite it's quite natural place in both the girls' and men's human instincts and it's role in ensuring that the genes of the successful older males in any society got spread into the next generations, is not likely to become a 'trend' again anytime soon.  Our species has truly outgrown the need for it and society now has erected barriers against it, however the drivers that underlie it do set girls up for something else...

2. A Disturbing Trend

What is a major concern that is not really being addressed today is, at the same time, both probably prudishly inconsequential, and deeply disturbing from the perspective of women's rights/equality.  Follow where these points add up to:
  1. Girls don't just hear fairy-tales at bedtime today, they are thoroughly self-indoctrinated in them via videos and toys.
  2. Young women have ALWAYS wanted to be adored/worshiped by men simply for the way they look.
  3. Puberty is happening to girls as young as 9 regularly these days due to higher carbohydrate/nutrient diets.
  4. Girls much younger than puberty dress in seductive outfits/make-up/jewellery and watch TV shows that promote this.
  5. Exposure to common-sense situations that used to encourage common sense thinking in both boys and girls, is minimized today due to hyper-vigilant 'helicopter parenting' that's cross-promoted between maddeningly over-protective parents.
  6. Young boys are self-indoctrinated not just in violence (video games), but in the degradation of women through video games (pimps & whores in Grand Theft Auto), movies, rap music and pornography.
  7. Online pornography is no-charge, unrestricted (no matter what parents do), 24/7, and extreme in it's depiction of bizarre predilections.
  8. Young men remain in a 'teenager state-of-mind' into their 30's.
  9. Not just the kid down the block, but his parents and maybe yours are hooked on prescription drugs, which are readily available to every kid in every school.
  10. Teen parties aren't in someone's basement anymore, they're 'All-Ages Parties' at downtown clubs called 'raves' with highly sexualized 'dry-humping' called dancing and a very liberal set of behavioural 'rules'.
  11. Young women will blindly and foolishly do whatever they think is required to be 'worshiped' by older boys...
The one thing our society is blissfully unaware of today is the effect of hardcore pornography.  It is watched regularly by both little boys and girls, and especially by teens (no, not YOUR precious youngsters, but certainly by their best friends...).  It's free, readily available and shared between them all at first innocently out of curiosity, then later because it has become so common-place .  Young boys have favourite sites and predilections at an early age, and whenever something is ubiquitous and un-critiqued, it becomes 'normal' (what I call "The New Normal", we humans quickly come to assume whatever our current experience is is 'normal') -- the status quo (i.e. kids think what they see is real, the 'normal' way sex works, such as little foreplay, slapping, gagging and dry penetration).

Even that might be of little concern to the more liberal-minded out there, as they point out that their little princesses are so aware of 'their rights' and 'getting what they want' that they'd never allow boys to treat them like that.  Uh-huh.  What this over-confidence doesn't take into account is that all young women want to be accepted, adored, 'made-out-with' in the romantic way they've become used to seeing as normal.

It starts with non-stop video feeds of romantic Disney princess films, then progresses as their hormones and curiousity kick in and the Internet offers them a vast range of stuff to check out, constantly.  While years ago what was available for teens to check out was some on-screen kissing, then fade to black -- it is now no kissing at all, just direct to the bathroom stall and the girl down on her knees.  Graphic, hard-core pornography is how today's kids are learning about what's normal in sex.  Even if adults try to tell them it's all fantasy and acting, once anyone has seen hundreds of examples of it, what they're doing starts to seem pretty common-place!

Think I'm exaggerating?  Read the latest research studies and just think about that list of points above and about what you might have started believing and acting like if that had been your reality.  Yes, this generation of kids will likely 'work it out' with their partners down the road and find a decent balance, but I do fret over what message they're all getting about the equality of men vs. women when 'the norm' has become learning how to perform the kind of service that was formerly restricted to an unwilling porn star named "Linda Lovelace" in a movie titled "Deep Throat".  Really.

Probably time for us to wake up and smell the java script and figure out how to restrict the little girls access to non-stop Disney-fication, the teens' access to highly addictive texting (girls) and gaming (boys), and how to deal with what they're all starting to believe is 'normal' in the sexual arena.

So there are these two things that worry me about what ALL kids today, around the globe with wireless access via personal smart phones to the Internet, are being exposed to WITHOUT the influence of adult guidance as to what to make of it.  Again...

Teens' vulnerabilities: 
  1. A disturbing 'universal truth' -- girls are pre-programmed to want to be adored for nothing more than their appearance by powerful males -- that leads to...
  2. A disturbing 'trend' -- teens of both ages are constantly exposed to hard-core porn without much guidance from adult influencers.
The 'third rail' is what worries me most, however, as most of us don't want to acknowledge it.  Recent brain research is turning up the same thing over and over...

3. The Human Species "Third Rail" -- Addiction

The 'third rail' in a subway is the electrical conduit that both powers the train's movement, and can kill anyone who touches it.  In the uniquely complex, conceptual-thinking brain of human beings, which evolved into its current state literally by accident of evolutionary selection pressures, there is one single phenomenon that drives ALL of our modern bad behaviour, but was essential in getting us to the point of over-populating the planet to the point of wiping out a vast array of other species (there will be no 'wild', unpopulated-by-people places on the earth in 100 years given our species' birthrate).

Addiction is what it's called.

What science is coming to understand about human motivation is that anything that provides pleasure to our brains can be addictive.  Shopping, tanning, gambling, sex, smoking, getting high, playing video games, texting, working, eating, drinking Coke, making money, believing in religions, attracting the interest of your gender-preference, hate-ranting/flaming on the Internet, tattooing/plastic surgery (i.e. self-mutilation), etc.  What those little series of pleasure-seeking lead us to is an inability to argue with our brains' demands to repeat the pleasure-seeking over and over.

What is so frightening as we witness the majority of our population, fueled by shareholders driving the world's stock markets demanding more profit, thus encouraging more irresistible research and development and more effective marketing and distribution, getting obese and shortening their lifespans in the process, is that addiction is so ubiquitous and hard to control today that it is running our lives.  Look at this list again and tell me it does not cover most of what drives most of humanity's problems:
Shopping, tanning, gambling, sex, smoking, getting high, playing video games, texting, working, eating, drinking Coke, making money, believing in religions, attracting the interest of your gender-preference, hate-ranting/flaming on the Internet, tattooing/plastic surgery (i.e. self-mutilation), etc.
NONE of these things existed in readily, constantly accessible form for the vast majority of our human existence, but the reward center of our brains evolved to seek out the little pleasures these things provide.  When the seasons changed, the tribe sought-out the sugary fruits in late summer, the warmer, sunnier places, wine/beer/alcohol in the fall time (we had no means of storing/preserving it for long until we began living in permanent settlements, and the first ever human settlements where in present-day Jordan in a wine-making area), sources of salt, herd migrations, etc.  Humans sought-out sex whenever they could get it (in humans it tends to be more plentiful when we establish strong relationships, or at social gatherings like the summer solstice or harvest celebrations), pretty accessories and useful gadgets like sea shells and flint knives,  besting our teenaged mates at adult skills like spear-chucking and learning how to shoot a bow and arrow (video games).  The addictive things were a strong draw for us, but we couldn't get a steady supply EVER until we began settling, farming and manufacturing (a mere recent blip on our species' entire historical timeline).

What we just recently 'achieved' is the always-on supply of sexual stimulation (Internet porn), social connecting (girls texting on cellphones) and male competition at skill-based games (video gaming on hand-held devices).  These highly addictive sources of small, repeated bursts of pleasure NEVER EXISTED just a decade ago, yet we have ZERO controls on them, much less even have a clue that they have suddenly arrived on the scene and that an entire generation of kids around the planet are totally exposed to them. 

I think it's high time we began a conversation about these problematic issues for the sake of the next generation.  Will they figure things out on their own?  Sure, but there is more technological innovation and discoveries coming, and as long as there is profit to be made from them, highly addictive things will continue to be a key driver behind new developments, so beginning to address these issues now is crucial.  It's the "New Normal" and we had better face it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

No "Motive," No "Narrative," Not "Terrorists," Just a Couple of Pathetic Lunatics.

Only psychopaths (the older brother) and sociopaths (the younger) are capable of taking delight in inflicting human suffering.  We have to stop 'legitimizing' them by calling them 'terrorists'.
In response to an article in the New York Post on April 30, 2013 by Dr. Qanta Ahmed (link), my email to the NY Post:
Dr. Ahmed,
I’m sure you get your share of fan mail as a result of your keen insight and reasoned points of view, and likely even more incoherent hate mail (as do I), but this note falls into the former camp.

Your piece in the NY Post: “Forget About ‘Motive’” spoke to a very key issue in the world’s approach to a frightening global issue for humankind, the increasing power that technology puts in the hands of very, very few of us to create and put to use destructive power on a mass scale.  Where I take issue with your excellent points on the difference between motive and narrative, I believe you missed the key point by stopping short of getting to the bottom of the debate over the use of the word ‘terrorist’ (and the ease with which the media bandies the ‘lable’ about).

What I mean is that, yes, the odd individuals who not only come up with plots to launch attacks on innocents, but actually go to all the trouble of executing their plans, are not motivated by ‘jihad’ or any of the ‘teachings of the Quaran’, but rather by ‘voices in their heads’.  The fact that Islam manages to be a somewhat more ‘radicalizing’ religion than others (and certainly Christianity has and continues to radicalize some oddballs today, and did so with many during the Crusades) is really beside the point.  The point is ‘voices in their heads’.

My point of contention when anyone blathers on about the Muslim religion in connection with terrorism is that for any individual to actually contemplate, and be motivated by, the concept of indiscriminately killing and maiming many fellow human beings with a weapon of mass destruction, they are looking for the type of pat, simplistic, easy solution we humans LOVE to look for in trying to grasp psychotic thoughts.  Again, as a species we would not be here if this kind of thinking was common.  We would not be gradually strangling the planet with our over-population if it was possible for religion to motivate people (generally young males) to annihilate others on a mass scale.

What science is now revealing to us is just how common, at about 1:99, psychosis is among members of our extremely complex-brained species.  Our big brains come with a built-in incidence of faulty wiring that leads about one in an hundred of us to be psychotic.  Add in those who are sociopathic, at about two to three in every hundred, and you get the Boston Marathon bombing brothers, the psychotic leader older brother and his easily manipulated ‘follower’, the younger sociopath. (When we further recognize that there really is not a definitive 'tipping point' at which someone who has all the tendencies on the 'spectrum' but isn't QUITE a dyed-in-the-wool diagnosable pscho/sociopath suddenly becomes diagnosable, then we really have about 10-15% of the human population who are fairly high up in the low-empathy spectrum and are 'at risk' to tip over to 'the dark side'.)

Some genetic factors come into play (see the killing of four female family members by a Montreal father and son duo a couple of years ago in Canada), as does indoctrination by the leader upon the follower, but at the root of all of these acts of madness, whether by a ‘home grown’, small-time nut-job like Timothy McVeigh, or a global player like Osama Bin Laden, is the faulty brain wiring of a member of a very smart social species that leads them to take intense pleasure in the idea of raining death and pain upon many fellow members of their species.  This has absolutely NOTHING to do with ‘motivation’, and little to do with ‘narrative’.  It is aberration.  It is crazy.  It is entirely and completely unconnected with rational thought (no matter how clever the perpetrators are).

The sooner we begin calling these perpetrators ‘nut-jobs’ and removing the false legitimacy of ‘terrorism’ (i.e. The mantle of some inexplicable, but ‘legitimate’ political motivation) and religious inspiration, the sooner we can all begin identifying them at an early age and doing the right thing for them and the rest of us by monitoring and guiding them.  These same individuals tend to be the ‘quiet types’ who are estranged in public school or are the aggressive lead bullies.  They are some parents’ ‘perfect little angels’ whose odd tendencies are studiously ignored in our new age of ‘political correctness’, but they need help and special support to steer them away from the dangerous thoughts and impulses brewing in their heads.

Should you have any interest, more on these insights of mine here:
  1. There’s no such thing as a “Terrorist”:
  2. Bullying:
Best, Kevin Lenard


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