Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

I had to turn off the TV yesterday morning after being confronted with the left-side, right-side mindset following the revelation that Elliott Spitzer used a prostitution ring. The male talking heads were all about explaining how the strains of public life and the seduction of power might cause someone to use such a service without thinking (poor Elliott) the women were all about how and why men cheat (naughty Elliott) and there was the noxious presence of “expert” Laura Schlessinger (“Dr. Laura”) on the Today Show suggesting that women are to blame when their men stray (oh those inattentive spouses). All I wanted to do was sink my fist into the flat screen TV, which is probably some weird combination of left and right brain activity. No wonder I often feel as if I’m from some other planet altogether.

Anyway, I turned to other news, wherein I contemplated some recent statistics: One out of every one hundred Americans is in jail and one out of four US teenage girls has at least one sexually transmitted disease. Oh, and before I turn the TV back on and hear various pundits rant about the decline in morals in our increasingly secular society, how about this one: America is still one of the most religious countries in the world. according to the Institute for Social Research. So I wouldn’t rush to blame this craziness on a vacationing Supreme Being.

Someone looking in from, say, Venus or Mars (or even Europe) might think that Americans  are prurient, judgmental, voyeuristic, moralistic, undisciplined, self-centered, overly analytical, unreasoning, intellectually lazy and thoroughly confused about priorities. God, we’re one mixed-up bunch of people. Beam me up, Scotty.

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The Human Animal

Last week my dog and I were off the mark. She had an ear infection and a sore paw; my hip was bothering me. I was crabby all week, predicting everything from shots to surgery to life in a wheel chair down the line. She was slightly annoyed, which meant she’d scratch her ear or shake her head; however the rest of the time, she seemed happy and content. Which got me thinking: we study animal behavior to understand how and why other species behave as they do, an academic area known as ethology. We also look at such behavior to compare and contrast it with human behavior; studies have shown that basic biological influences are at work throughout all species. And my own non-scientific study of my dog Molly’s behavior has left me convinced that, despite all those obedience classes, she is disposed to being both willful and manipulative, possibly a consequence of her being so good-looking. In that respect, she is an awful lot like people I know and others I read about on the gossip pages. On the other hand, she doesn’t appear to hold a grudge, obsess about things she can’t control, seek retribution, plot revenge or choose to harm others and then justify her actions. Perhaps we humans have evolved but sometimes I wonder if somewhere along the road, we missed a turn.

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