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Re: [The-Burnsville-Socrates-Cafe] 5/15/12 questions and discussion

From: Amr B.
Sent on: Monday, May 21, 2012 1:06 AM
Actually the idea of controlling stress is very popular and widely practiced throughout the country and elsewhere. That's why there are so many stress management groups. It has become a virtual industry.
 
There's so much research out there that, contrary to what Jim is saying, shows very robustly that stress, and other processes such as thoughts and feelings, are not at all amenable to control. In fact a very robust finding is that trying to control or "eliminate" these processes only results in what one psychologist calls a "rebound effect". In this case the more you try to control stress the more stressful you get, and you end up getting chronically stressed.
 
We live in a culture that finds natural negative processes repulsive. The idea that Jim suggests that we "train" children early in their lives how to control stress, or even "manage" it, is part of this persistent obsession with being positive and free of natural thoughts and emotions. It's such a hideous suggestion. We would do a lot better if we were able to model a lifestyle, not only to children but to adults as well, that is not conducive to the fast-paced frenetic lives people seem to prefer.
Amr
-----Original Message-----
From: Jim <[address removed]>
To: The-Burnsville-Socrates-Cafe-list <[address removed]>
Sent: Sun, May 20,[masked]:55 am
Subject: Re: [The-Burnsville-Socrates-Cafe] 5/15/12 questions and discussion

I'm glad to see that someone finally included the impacts of stress in the discussion. This is a favorite topic in my field of study b/c it cuts across all aspects of human experience in inverse relationship to quality of life—which, in turn, translates to effects on others quality of life. It's all related. 

I see the big problem here, not as how many resources to spend on the sick, but as the relative paucity of resources spent on prevention—the most cost effective  intervention being stress management training. Stress is a mental phenomenon — i.e., a consequence of "thoughts we choose" in response to events. The untrained mind easily runs negative thinking, which increases stress hormones. In the worst case situations, where people feel unjustly treated, trapped in unemployment, abused by another, etc., the negative thinking reaches "toxic" levels and hangs there, wreaking havoc on the body, mind and often anyone who is around the person suffering in toxic stress. Our health care system mainly treats the symptoms of toxic stress. Some progressive health centers, such as Boston's Mind Body Miedical Clinic (originally at Harvard Med School), still led by Herbert Benson, famous for his book, The Relaxation Response. 

In Benson's introduction, he recalls being branded somewhat of a heretic and I recall the original report that he was threatened with banishment from HMS if continued researching how people could manipulate their autonomic nervous systems, which was then (in the 1960's) still believed impossible in Western medicine. His book is an interesting read, but sadly its message is still largely absent from primary care, or as a key component of disease treatment.

Stress mgt training is not a panacea that fix everything that is wrong, but if everyone were trained as children about stress and how to manage it, then prompted to do so as part of their daily schooling and primary health care, there would be far less disease, far less social dysfunction, far higher quality of life in general for the vast majority. Effects on brain function that directly impact learning, would also be reduced, making a significant contribution to reducing the achievement gap, a scientifically defensible assertion that I am building into a model to put on line.

So, what's the real problem here? And why is there so much resistance to directly intervening on it?

Jim Baker



On May 20, 2012, at 9:12 AM, Jon Anderson wrote:

5/15/12 questions and discussion

assuming success trumps happiness, what purpose(s) does happiness have?

=======================

if we continue to care for the sick, will our species survive?

Phillip: allowing some to die for lack of investment in health care for all may mean losing  descendants who could save us from future problems. Would it mean losing minds like Stephen Hawking's? One wonders when people with genetic ills produce more kids with the same genetic ills. We don't wanna be like Hitler was, deciding who will live, who will die.

Jon: the inverse being something like the Terry Schievo (sp?) case.

Lynn: didn't someone come out of an 18 year coma . . .?

Jm; exactly. So what are the preconditions for a successful species? We can't just look at intelligence. If we had a subspecies with Hawking's intelligence, and wanted to isolate/magnify that, would that be a net benefit? But that way we can not meet the genetic variability demanded for future survival. Yet how much does variability cost? If we were smart enough to engineer a perfect human that human would be too vulnerable because the future is unpredictable. We're not that smart.

Lynn: we wouldn't agree on what an ideal genetic package is!

Phillip: don't allow anyone who is sick to die.

Jim: is that a moral idea? A practical one? If it's moral, we end up with lots of sick people taking up more of our resources, affecting the rest of our society.

Lynn: we presently overtly control the populations of other species: deer, for example (wolves too?). We also do controlled forest fires to maintain the health of forests.

Jon: how much do political conservatives care about the suffering of others?

Jim; the real dichotomy is the implications of government assistance. What's clear to me is as government scope expands the human sense helplessness/neediness becomes a self-fuliflling prophecy. We conservatives want to help. We don't want to help our government take care of us.

Jon: how might conservatives be selective in their compassion?

Jim: I have an anecdote! I was once in jail in Texas for jumping a freight train to Mexico. I defied a cop who intended to arrest us. He cuffed us, manhandled me. I spun free, got on top of him, ready to hit hi,m then stopped myself. Then he kicked the crap out of me. They had me in jail for aggravated assault. My mother knew a judge and got me out if I pled guilty. My son got into trouble too. He did a dumb thing but I said to myself "this'll be a good lesson for him. But do I trust the system?" We conservatives have a conflict; there are 7 billion people, at some point we have to ask how much is too much? Freedom is at risk as that number grows. Productivity can solve it. But are we willing to make the sacrifices necessary for that level of productivity?

Jon: as the result of 2008's economics my wife's department was reduced from 3 to one person. She is now doing the work of 3 people.

Jim: both her employer and she have figured out how to be more productive.

Jon: but she's made miserable by the added stress of doing 3 people's jobs. She has stress related illnesses. 

Jim: if someone said the role of  government is to help someone find a job I would have no beef. But I see too much focus on housing and health care.







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