“Man, I played Andres Segovia, Elmore James and BB King. Even with one string short, I played classical music, soul, country and western, and rock’n’roll. I played my ass off. Every lick I knew and then some I didn’t. When I finished, Dad was in shock. He couldn’t believe how good I had got and he’d been real selfish holding on to that guitar for himself.” -Bobby Womack
The Meaning of Anger & Success by Timothy Schinsky
Centuries have passed and mankind continues to struggle with problems associated with living together, often resulting in anger and argument. Of course we all want our ideas to succeed but at what expense when the results become entangled in anger and frustration, instead of success.
In the year 2017 we can find anger at its highest pinnacle in St Louis, Missouri in part due to its strict years of segregation between classes and race. This formula is no doubt a recipe for much more than the status quo of standing still and sometimes erupting in death and destruction.
So what should we do? We have found throughout history that we cannot simply decide to all get along, we must come up with a plan of action and you may be surprised how little effort is required we we simply do nothing.
Here’s a story from ancient times that may be enlightening to some or a smile for a few.
One day Buddha walked through a village. A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting him. “You have no right teaching others” he shouted. “You are as stupid as everyone else. You are nothing but a fake.”
Buddha was not upset by these insults. Instead he asked the young man “Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?”
The man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered “It would belong to me because I bought the gift.” The Buddha smiled and said “That is correct. And it is exactly the same with your anger. If you become angry with me and I do not get insulted, then the anger falls back on you. You are the only one who becomes unhappy, not me. All you have done is hurt yourself.”
The man looked all confused. Buddha continued, “If you want to stop hurting yourself, you must get rid of your anger and become loving instead. When you hate others, you yourself become unhappy. But when you love others,” The Buddha smiled, “everyone is happy.”
The path to success is really that easy, not by literally doing nothing, but by not reacting to others. Instead, you act only upon what you have done and allow others to do the same. And you do this with consistency and discipline which is the hardest task of all, but all have testimony it is the very thing that made them successful. Perhaps they didnt know they were practicing ancient philosophies and thought they did it all by themselves. Indeed, they did find the discipline and consistency to succeed all by themselves but it was simply by eliminating anger with others and the action of not reacting that brought the greatest gifts of all, happiness.
Thinking the Way Animals Do:
Unique insights from a person
with a singular understanding.
by Temple Grandin, Ph.D.
Department of Animal Science
Colorado State University
Western Horseman, Nov. 1997, pp.140-145
(Updated January 2015)
Temple Grandin is an assistant professor of animal science at Colorado State University. She is the author of the book
Thinking in Pictures. Television appearances include 20/20, CBS This Morning, and 48 Hours.
Dr. Grandin has autism, and her experiences have helped her to understand animal behavior.
She teaches a course in livestock handling at the university
and consults on the design of livestock handling facilities.
As a person with autism, it is easy for me to understand how animals think because my thinking processes are like an animal’s. Autism is a neurological disorder that some people are born with. Scientists who study autism believe that the disorder is caused by immature development of certain brain circuits, and over development of other brain circuits. Autism is a complex disorder that ranges in severity from a mild form (such as mine), to a very serious handicap where the child never learns to talk. The movie Rain Man depicts a man with a fairly severe form of the disorder.
I have no language-based thoughts at all. My thoughts are in pictures, like videotapes in my mind. When I recall something from my memory, I see only pictures. I used to think that everybody thought this way until I started talking to people on how they thought. I learned that there is a whole continuum of thinking styles, from totally visual thinkers like me, to the totally verbal thinkers. Artists, engineers, and good animal trainers are often highly visual thinkers, and accountants, bankers, and people who trade in the futures market tend to be highly verbal thinkers with few pictures in their minds.
Most people use a combination of both verbal and visual skills. Several years ago I devised a little test to find out what style of thinking people use: Access your memory on church steeples. Most people will see a picture in their mind of a generic “generalized” steeple. I only see specific steeples; there is no generalized one. Images of steeples flash through my mind like clicking quickly through a series of slides or pictures on a computer screen. On the other hand, highly verbal thinkers may “see” the words “church steeple,” or will “see” just a simple stick-figure steeple.
A radio station person I talked to once said that she had no pictures at all in her mind. She thought in emotions and words. I have observed that highly verbal people in abstract professions, such as in trading stocks or in sales, often have difficulty understanding animals. Since they only think in words, it is difficult for them to imagine that an animal can think. I have found that really good animal trainers will see more detailed steeple pictures. It is clear to me that visual thinking skills are essential to horse training, but often the visual thinkers do not have the ability to verbalize and explain to other people what it is they “see.”
A horse trainer once said to me, “Animals don’t think, they just make associations.” I responded to that by saying, “If making associations is not thinking, then I would have to conclude that I do not think.” People with autism and animals both think by making visual associations. These associations are like snapshots of events and tend to be very specific. For example, a horse might fear bearded me n when it sees one in the barn, but bearded men might be tolerated in the riding arena. In this situation the horse may only fear bearded men in the barn because he may have had a bad past experience in the barn with a bearded man.
Animals also tend to make place-specific associations. This means that if a horse has bad prior experiences in a barn with skylights, he may fear all barns with skylights but will be fine in barns with solid roofs. This is why it is so important that an animal’s first association with something new is a good first experience.
Years ago a scientist named N. Miller found that if a rat was shocked the first time it entered a new passageway in a maze, it would never enter that passageway again. The same may be true for horses. For example, if a horse falls down in a trailer the first time he loads, he may fear all trailers. However, if he falls down in a two-horse, side-by-side trailer the 25th time he is loaded, he may make a more specific association. Instead of associating all trailers with a painful or frightening experience, he is more likely to fear side-by-side trailers, or fear a certain person associated with the “bad” trailer. He has learned from previous experience that trailers are safe, so he is unlikely to form a generalized trailer fear.
Fear Is the Main Emotion
Fear is the main emotion in autism and it is also the main emotion in prey animals such as horses and cattle. Things that scare horses and cattle also scare children with autism. Any little thing that looks out of place, such as a piece of paper blowing in the wind, may cause fear. Objects that make sudden movements are the most fear-provoking. In the wild, sudden movement is feared because predators make sudden movements.
Similarities and Differences between Animals and Autism
There have been some questions about my view and my statements about animal behavior and autism. There are aspects of animal behavior that are similar to autism and other aspects that are different. There are two parts to animal behavior, they are the cognitive (thinking) part and the affective (emotional) part. In my writings, I have discussed how animal cognition has similarities to autistic savants. One example would be bird migration. An animal’s emotions are different than autism. Emotionally, animals are highly social and not similar to autism. In Animals Make Us Human, Catherine Johnson and I make it very clear that the animal mind has emotions. Animal cognition has similarities to autistic savants, but animal emotions would be similar to normal humans. The work of Jack Panksepp makes this very clear. We reviewed it in Animals Make Us Human.
Both animals and people with autism are also fearful of high-pitched noises. I still have problems with high-pitched noise. A back-up alarm on a garbage truck will cause my heart to race if it awakens me at night. The rumble of thunder has little effect. Prey species animals, such as cattle and horses, have sensitive ears, and loud noise may hurt their ears. When I was a child the sound of the school bell ringing was like a dentist drill in my ear. A loudspeaker system at a horse show may possibly have a similar effect on horses.
People with autism have emotions, but they are simpler and more like the emotions of a vigilant prey species animal. Fear is the main emotion in a prey species animal because it motivates the animal to flee from predators. The fear circuits in an animal’s brain have been mapped by neuroscientists. When an animal forms a fear memory, it is located in the amygdala, which is in the lower, primitive part of the brain. J.E. LeDoux and M. Davis have discovered that fear memories cannot be erased from the brain. This is why it is so important to prevent the formation of fear memories associated with riding, trailering, etc.
For a horse who has previously been fearful of trailers to overcome his fear, the higher brain centers in the cortex have to send a fear suppression signal to the amygdala. This is called a cortical over-ride, which is a signal that will block the fear memory but does not delete it. If the animal becomes anxious, the old fear memory may pop back up because the cortex stops sending the fear suppression signal.
Fear-based behaviors are complex. Fear can cause a horse to flee or fight. For example, many times when a horse kicks or bites, it is due to fear instead of aggression. In a fear-provoking situation where a horse is prevented from flight, he learns to fight. Dog trainers have learned that punishing a fear-based behavior makes it worse. When a horse rears, kicks, or misbehaves during training, it may make the trainer feel angry. The trainer may mistakenly think that the horse is angry. But the horse is much more likely to be scared. Therefore it is important for trainers to be calm. An angry trainer would be scary to the horse. There are some situations where a horse may be truly aggressive towards people, but rearing, kicking, running off, etc., during handling or riding is much more likely to be fear based.
Similarities and Differences between Animals and Autism
There have been some questions about my views and my statements about animal behavior and autism. There are aspects of animal behavior that are similar to autism and other aspects that are different. There are two components of animal behavior, they are the cognitive (thinking) part and the affective (emotional) part. In my writings I have discussed how animal cognition has similarities to autistic savants. One example would be bird migration. An animal’s emotions are different than autism. Emotionally, animals are highly social and not similar to autism. In Animals Make Us Human, Catherine Johnson and I make it very clear that the animal mind has emotions. Animal cognition has similarities to autistic savants, but animal emotions would be similar to normal humans. The work of Jaak Panksepp makes this very clear. We reviewed it in Animals Make Us Human.
Effects of Genetics
In all animals both genetic factors and experience determine how an individual will behave in a fear-provoking situation. Fearfulness is a stable characteristic of personality and temperament in animals. Animals with high-strung, nervous temperaments are generally more fearful and form stronger fear memories than animals with calm, placid temperaments. For example, research on pigs conducted by Ted Friend and his students at Texas A&M University showed that some pigs will habituate to a forced non-painful procedure and others will become more and more fearful.
Pigs were put in a tank where they had to swim for a short time. This task was initially frightening to all of the pigs and caused their adrenaline level to go up. Adrenaline is secreted in both people and animals when they are scared.
Over a series of swimming trials, some pigs habituated and were no longer scared, but others remained fearful throughout the trials. In the pigs that did not habituate adrenaline stayed elevated, which showed that the pigs were still afraid.
It is likely that horses would respond to different training methods in a similar manner. Horses with calm placid dispositions are more likely to habituate to rough methods of handling and training compared to flighty, excitable animals. The high-strung, spirited horse may be ruined by rough training methods because he becomes so fearful that he fails to learn, or habituate.
On the other hand, an animal with a calm, nonreactive nervous system will probably habituate to a series of non-painful forced training procedures, whereas a flighty, high- strung nervous animal may never habituate. Horses who are constantly swishing their tails when there are no flies present and have their heads up are usually fearful horses. In the wild, horses put their heads up to look for danger.
Effects of Novelty
As a creature of flight, how a horse reacts to novel or unusual situations or new places can be used to access his true temperament. French scientist Robert Dantzer found that sudden novelty shoved into an animal’s face can be very stressful. A horse with a high-strung, fearful nature may be calm and well-mannered when ridden at home. However, his true temperament has been masked because he feels relaxed and safe in a familiar environment. When he is suddenly confronted with the’ new sights and sounds at a horse show he may blow up.
It is the more high-strung and fearful horses who-have the most difficulty in novel situations. At the show there are many unusual sights and sounds, such as balloons and loud public address systems, that are never seen or heard at home. An animal with a nervous temperament is calm when in a familiar environment — he has learned it is safe — but is more likely to panic when suddenly confronted with new things.
The paradoxical thing about novelty is that it can be extremely attractive to an animal when he can voluntarily approach it. A piece of paper lying in the pasture may be approached by a curious horse, but that same piece of paper lying on the riding trail may make the horse shy. People working with horses and other animals need to think more about how the animals’ perceive the situations we put them in.
Grandin, T. and Johnson, C. 2005. Animals in Translation. Scriber, New York.
Grandin, T. and Johnson, C. 2008. Animals Make Us Human. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York.
Morris, C.L., Grandin, T., Irlbeck, N.A. 2011. Companion animal symposium, environmental enrichment for companion, exotic and laboratory animals. Journal of Animal Science. 89:4227-4238.
Panksepp, J. 1998. Affective Neuroscience. Oxford University Press, New York.
Panksepp, J. 2011. The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have inner lives? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review. 35:1791-1804.
By now most have watched the story about the endangered gorilla shot and killed because of a young boy who climbed through the safety barriers and fell into the cage. And of course there’s no easy solution to the quick decisions made. However, what we do see as a common thread is the quick decision making that has lead to many deaths in America by our protectors.
Everyone wanted the boy to be OK in the end but let’s step back from our own self-actualized rhetoric and see another angle.
This child could’ve died from the impact of falling into an animal cage, since we design and build these enclosures for the purpose of eliminating contact in the first place. He didn’t that much we know.
We also watched as the very powerful gorilla tried to figure out what to do when suddenly his typically boring day as the observed was sent into chaos by a flailing little boy that broke the silence of the pack.
He could’ve easily tossed the boy aside or snapped him like a stick, but instead he crouched over him in an act of protection. If such an act wasn’t for with best intentions he would stomped on him like we do ants.
He aggressively grabbed the boy and ran away from the people and that could’ve harmed the boy but it didn’t. In fact, the boy was quite calm as I watched and waited for the boy to throw a tantrum.
Although there is no clear right or wrong, one thing we can learn from this is to take time to solve problems with the unique gift we have called the cognitive mind. Sure, a tranquilizer could’ve pissed off the ape and pushed him further into the fear corner but I believe that should’ve been thought through a little further.
Animal behavior isn’t as complicated as the human brain which probably would’ve enraged like someone on a St Louis freeway. More than likely the ape would have responded to the dart and not inflicted anger on the boy from spite.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time observing apes in captivity knows that they are very much in tune with the sounds of the zoo keepers and the arrival of food. If the ape wasn’t going to “eat the boy” I would guess he would easily leave behind that screaming chaos in exchange for a fresh meal he didn’t have to fight for. Just as they do daily, luring the animals into the cages would’ve been a better try, in the very least to buy time.
So, let us learn from this terrible loss of an endangered species and begin to understand how we can do better. Time is of the essence and there truly is no hurry in the world that cannot be solved with time itself.
Simply reaching for weapons only uses a force of energy that will inevitably be realized by the same force, which happens to be Newtons law of physics. There’s always another way. Action followed by reaction should be replaced by thinking.
Black Hole and You: A Synopsys
by Timothy Schinsky
A black hole isn’t an actual black hole of missing time and space, but a massive object with extremely high density. And yet the greatest of all conundrums is that it isn’t a mass as we know it, but an alteration of space in another time (or dimension).
It holds the process as to how life begins because it has the potential energy of the three states of being that we do know of as a certainty, the past, present, and the future all at the same time.
Think of existence as happening now. Whether or not you wish to endeavor such a pondering of black holes, their potential energy, or shape, you will in time become a part when you become a were. You a not become pulled into its space in a Hollywood moment but will likely on a very slow track to transform in a realm where thoughts don’t even exist.
Jazz legend Willie Akins playing his signature smooth sound during the 2013 Whitaker Music Festival in St Louis. @mobotgarden #jazz #willieakins #nature #saxophone
Akins passed in his sleep where he was born, in Webster Groves, MO on Friday October 02, 2015.
Although Akins had to slow down in his years his sound was as patient as the careful winds of a warm summer breeze. You knew he had something to tell when he held his saxophone but when the sound greeted you it was as familiar as the voice of someone you knew. That was his gift and jazz was his eternal playground. Photo: Kingtungsten.
This is going to be an unpopular post with some but it’s the truth. Cancer is real and while we are making strides to reduce its occurrence and hopefully reverse in those who have it, we need to be more aware of HOW we can actually make it happen.
We need to pay more attention to what we are eating, exercising on a regular basis even if it’s in small amounts, and help elevate each other in everything we do. This is called Awareness.
And when a few get off track, we should be turning our heads and creating a better alternative for them to learn from, as opposed to qualifying their actions with equal negativity. This was actually addressed by our POTUS as well as the sheriff in Oregon by begging the media not to glorify the shooter of the tragedy that took real lives.
In addition, more of our efforts should be directed toward keeping the corporations in check by making them accountable for their important power of support in our health minded causes. They are the holders of change but if we simply sport their colorful advertisements and stay between the barricades they set then nothing actually happens.
Charitable causes included. Should they be lead with high salaries? For example, The Susan G Komen Foundation has six board of directors, each making from 400K-600K salary, and that was a few years ago.
Sista Strut organizes an army of supporters that dwarfs the civil rights movement but few know that the money they are raising benefits the sponsors more than cure.
But you get a bright t-shirt with matching nylon backpack to advertise all of the sponsors, that a good portion of your entry fee paid for.
It’s a lot of FUN I am certain and organized a wonderful occasion for the community to come together but nobody actually did anything except perhaps push their personal health to the limits with little or no preparation.
Let’s get busy getting busy changing the world and not pretending we did by walking less than the length of the sports paths in place 365 days/yr. Grants Trail in St Louis winds through nature for 10K and it’s free.
An incredible step forward by the passionate Jones, recognizing that knowledge is not only power, but the essential building block to restoring a city plagued by segregation, socially, racially, and culturally. -soix
Posted: Monday, August 31, 2015 8:45 am
(St. Louis Public Radio) – St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones is following through with campaign promises to help reduce the number of St. Louisans without a banking account and increase the number of St. Louis children who go to college.
Through a partnership with national nonprofit Operation Hope and five area banks, the treasurer’s office is hiring a financial counselor who will offer St. Louisans free advice on how to improve their credit scores, buy a home and start a business.
Jones said teaching people how to make the most of their money is important to her because too many St. Louisans don’t use banks or find themselves relying on payday loans or other services that charge high interest rates.
“When I ran for this office I saw some startling statistics,” Jones said. “We are on a mission to rob payday lenders of their customers in broad daylight.”
Just like the financial counseling center launched at Regions Bank in north St. Louis County earlier this year, Operation Hope will run the financial counseling services out of city hall while the banks provide the counselor’s salary and serve as advisors.
Jones said the plan is for the counselor to start work by the end of September or beginning of October.
Once hired, the counselor will set up shop at city hall in the newly renovated Office of Financial Empowerment, which has a classroom and a computer lab.
“We want to make sure people have a place where they can feel comfortable asking sensitive questions about financial issues,” Jones said. “Those are issues that people don’t necessarily like to talk about and we are trying to make sure that we provide a safe space for that conversation to happen.”
College Savings Accounts
The treasurer’s office is also working out the details of a new program to encourage St. Louis children to go to college. If all goes according to plan, the city will open a college savings account for every St. Louis kindergartner enrolled in public schools sometime this fall. Each account will start out with $50, and families will have the opportunity to earn up to $150 more during the year.
“The way to start children thinking about college early and have them identify themselves as a college saver is to give them an account early in life and teach them from early ages that they can go to college and how to save for college,” Jones said, pointing to research that shows children with a college savings account are more likely to get a college degree, even if the amount of money in the account is minimal.
Funding for the college savings accounts, as well as for the Office of Financial Empowerment, comes from unused parking revenue. The treasurer’s office is also collecting donations to help keep the program running in the future.
“We hope this program goes on in perpetuity and that every Kindergartner from this year on received an account from the city,” said Jones.
It’s fairly common for organizations to offer college savings accounts; Beyond Housing started a similar program for Normandy a few years back. But according to Jones it’s unusual for a city to open the accounts. She said St. Louis will be the second in the country to offer the program, following San Francisco.
To Jones, helping the public use their money wisely is an extension of her official job description: investing the city’s money and reconciling the city’s bank accounts.
“I think that’s the job of any public servant and any elected official—to use whatever power they have to address the needs of the people they represent,” Jones said.
SYMPATHY by Timothy Schinsky
You just pulled off the freeway and waiting for your turn to continue your journey when you lock eyes on them, the patrons of one of America’s highest paid professions, panhandling. Clutched in their hands like a Valentino wallet made from folded cardboard they hold their tools that drive stakes directly into your heart of gold. “Homeless” many say but some tap into their creativity with other reasons to turn the heads back to them.
However, as it turns out, panhandling is big business because of what you don’t see, or care to figure out because it requires a calculator and understanding of mathematics. Or your good conscience argues with you that what’s a dollar when you have so much. How dare we judge others when we have so much to be grateful for.
Well, if you decide to take care of them next time watch what happens when the light changes. They fold their sign in half, walk back to the front of the line and prepare for the next wave of cars on their journey. They unfurl their handmade art and turn on the looks over and over again.
Now let’s look at the numbers. Approximately every 30 seconds the light changes, and roughly 6-10 cars are waiting on their journey in that given time. That’s 12-20 cars a minute, and if they collect a mere one dollar for each batch of sympathy, that’s two dollars a minute or $120.00 an hour. Multiply that by six hours and you make a tax-free $720.00 per day, or more if you clock in longer.
How many who are really needy take what they need for food and go eat, which would be probably within fifteen minutes of work? Besides, truly needy folks are weak and impatient to handle crowds and hold their character every day.
So, the next time you feel yourself in a tug of war of guilt and straining to turn your head, know that the job of panhandling pays every 30 seconds.