Saturday, 8 November 2008

A Moment on Schizophrenia

So the topic today is schizophrenia and just how to know a few signs to distinguish a guy with the mental disorder. I spent around 45 minutes reading up on this and coming to ten simple signs that stand out.

First, there is a social withdrawal period...where a guy prefers few if any around himself. It isn't just solitude that is drawing a guy in this direction...he wants no company and needs the withdrawal to keep himself in a very careful circle.

Second, there is often some form of hostility or suspicious nature...where you question others or think they are questioning you. You might think they are against you or harming you in some fashion.

Third, you will feel no necessity to sleep...preferring insomnia and staying up as late as possible...then fighting off oversleeping.

Fourth, light moments of criticism simply aren't acceptable anymore. Criticism might be ever so minor and yet totally unacceptable. A simple comment over clothing selection might set you off toward a moment of hostility.

Fifth, a moment of inappropriate laughter or emotion...where a joke simply isn't funny. A laugh could occur over a very serious moment where the viewers would stand there and conclude your interest is non-existent.

Sixth, a statement is tossed out to friends or co-workers or an audience...which simply doesn't fit...being a strange or irrational or odd statement. The words spoken are 180 degrees from what should have been said. Fitting into this problem is the secondary issue of a strange use of words or a way of structuring your comment or speech. You might identify someone or something in a way that makes the audience entirely confused and wondering if you were drunk or high.

Seventh, your memory simply isn't sharp. What ought to be an automatic response or conclusion...is instead a stumble. Your conclusion or answer makes the other person scratch their head because they can't comprehend your response. Names of people don't come easily. Assigned tasks aren't readily comprehended. You need a daily task chart, to keep you focused and delivering what is necessary.

Eighth, there are times when you simply sit there with a flat expressionless look on your face....stuck in concentration but with no real reason. People think you are intensely thinking....but the truth is...you really aren't doing anything but sitting there and gazing at something...stuck in a trance.

Ninth, your personal habits, dressing habits, and even hygiene are all coming under scrutiny. You match clothing that simply doesn't fit. You stop combing your hair. You brush your teeth barely once or twice a week. You wear white socks with your business suit.

Tenth, all of these matters lead to some eventual end where depression resides. The previous nine draw you to the depression because you really aren't functioning at 100 perent or even fifty percent. You'd like to fix your problems, but can't. So depression is the eventual final big trigger.

So I came to study this unusual topic....after having seen a person or two this week on base with the triggers. I'm beginning to realize that more than a handful of folks around me act in some manner with these triggers. Then this morning....watching CNN...I saw a guy in three minutes demonstrate three of the triggers. I sat there in amazement. Obviously a network guy isn't going stand there and say anything...but if you've read up on this disorder....you can't avoid making a comment. I'm guessing a couple thousand folks made the mental note on this guy.

Acceptance Speeches That Don't Come and Go

In 1933....after long discussions and various governments coming and going....Adolph Hitler was asked to form a new government for Germany. Most folks expected this group of political parties to emerge......and fail as the others. It didn't. And so came an acceptance speech of Adolph Hitler. It is curious that we stand and review such speeches almost eighty years later and how the words met the occasion.

Hitler had to deliver a speech that drew not only his crowd to stand by him....but also the masses of Germany as well. He needed consolidated power and support. In the end....this speech really laid out his "hope" for the nation, and geared all of them to a mass movement. So here is the speech:

MORE than fourteen years have passed since the unhappy day when the German people, blinded by promises from foes at home and abroad, lost touch with honor and freedom, thereby losing all. Since that day of treachery, the Almighty has withheld his blessing from our people. Dissension and hatred descended upon us. With profound distress millions of the best German men and women from all walks of life have seen the unity of the nation vanishing away, dissolving in a confusion of political and personal opinions, economic interests, and ideological differences. Since that day, as so often in the past, Germany has presented a picture of heartbreaking disunity. We never received the equality and fraternity we had been promised, and we lost our liberty to boot. For when our nation lost its political place in the world, it soon lost its unity of spirit and will....

We are firmly convinced that the German nation entered the fight in 1914 without the slightest feeling of guilt on its part and filled only with the desire to defend the Fatherland which had been attacked and to preserve the freedom, nay, the very existence, of the German people. This being so, we can only see in the disastrous fate which has overtaken us since those November days of 1918 the result of our collapse at home. But the rest of the world, too, has suffered no less since then from overwhelming crises. The balance of power which had evolved in the course of history, and which formerly played no small part in bringing about the understanding of the necessity for an internal solidarity of the nations, with all its advantages for trade and commerce, has been set on one side. The insane conception of victors and vanquished destroyed the confidence existing between nations, and, at the same time, the industry of the entire world.

The misery of our people is horrible to behold!

Millions of the industrial proletariat are unemployed and starving; the whole of the middle class and the small artisans have been impoverished. When this collapse finally reaches the German peasants, we will be faced with an immeasurable disaster. For then not only shall a nation collapse, but a two-thousand-year-old inheritance, some of the loftiest products of human culture and civilization.

All about us the warning signs of this collapse are apparent.

Communism with its method of madness is making a powerful and insidious attack upon our dismayed and shattered nation. It seeks to poison and disrupt in order to hurl us into an epoch of chaos.... This negative, destroying spirit spared nothing of all that is highest and most valuable. Beginning with the family, it has undermined the very foundations of morality and faith and scoffs at culture and business, nation and Fatherland, justice and honor.

Fourteen years of Marxism have ruined Germany; one year of bolshevism would destroy her. The richest and fairest territories of the world would be turned into a smoking heap of ruins. Even the sufferings of the last decade and a half could not be compared to the misery of a Europe in the heart of which the red flag of destruction had been hoisted. The thousands of wounded, the hundreds of dead which this inner strife has already cost Germany should be a warning of the storm which would come....

In those hours when our hearts were troubled about the life and the future of the German nation, the aged leader of the World War appealed to us. He called to those of us in nationalist parties and leagues to struggle under him once more, in unity and loyalty, for the salvation of the German nation. This time the front lines are at home. The venerable Reichsprasident has allied himself with us in this noble endeavor. And as leaders of the nation and the national Government we vow to God, to our conscience, and to our people that we will faithfully and resolutely fulfill the task conferred upon us.

The inheritance which has fallen to us is a terrible one. The task with which we are faced is the hardest which has fallen to German statesmen within the memory of man. But we are all filled with unbounded confidence for we believe in our people and their imperishable virtues. Every class and every individual must help us to found the new Reich.

The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and co-operation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life....

Turbulent instincts must be replaced by a national discipline as the guiding principle of our national life. All those institutions which are the strongholds of the energy and vitality of our nation will be taken under the special care of the Government.

The National Government intends to solve the problem of the reorganization of trade and commerce with two four-year plans:

The German farmer must be rescued in order that the nation may be supplied with the necessities of life....

A concerted and all-embracing attack must be made on unemployment in order that the German working class may be saved from ruin....

The November parties have ruined the German peasantry in fourteen years.

In fourteen years they have created an army of millions of unemployed. The National Government will, with iron determination and unshakable steadfastness of purpose, put through the following plan:

Within four years the German peasant must be rescued from the quagmire into which he has fallen.

Within four years unemployment must be finally overcome. At the same time the conditions necessary for a revival in trade and commerce are provided.

The National Government will couple with this tremendous task of reorganizing business life a reorganization of the administrative and fiscal systems of the Reich, of the Federal States, and the Communes.

Only when this has been done can the idea of a continued federal existence of the entire Reich be fully realized....

Compulsory labor-service and the back-to-the-land policy are two of the basic principles of this program.

The securing of the necessities of life will include the performance of social duties to the sick and aged.

In economical administration, the promotion of employment, the preservation of the farmer, as well as in the exploitation of individual initiative, the Government sees the best guarantee for the avoidance of any experiments which would endanger the currency.

As regards its foreign policy the National Government considers its highest mission to be the securing of the right to live and the restoration of freedom to our nation. Its determination to bring to an end the chaotic state of affairs in Germany will assist in restoring to the community of nations a State of equal value and, above all, a State which must have equal rights. It is impressed with the importance of its duty to use this nation of equal rights as an instrument for the securing and maintenance of that peace which the world requires today more than ever before.

May the good will of all others assist in the fulfillment of this our earnest wish for the welfare of Europe and of the whole world.

Great as is our love for our Army as the bearer of our arms and the symbol of our great past, we should be happy if the world, by reducing its armaments, would see to it that we need never increase our own.

If, however, Germany is to experience this political and economic revival and conscientiously fulfill her duties toward the other nations, one decisive step is absolutely necessary first: the overcoming of the destroying menace of communism in Germany. We of this Government feel responsible for the restoration of orderly life in the nation and for the final elimination of class madness and class struggle. We recognize no classes, we see only the German people, millions of peasants, bourgeois, and workers who will either overcome together the difficulties of these times or be overcome by them. We are firmly resolved and we have taken our oath. Since the present Reichstag is incapable of lending support to this work, we ask the German people whom we represent to perform the task themselves.

Reichspräsident von Hindenburg has called upon us to bring about the revival of the German nation. Unity is our tool. Therefore we now appeal to the German people to support this reconciliation. The National Government wishes to work and it will work. It did not ruin the German nation for fourteen years, but now it will lead the nation back to health. It is determined to make well in four years the ills of fourteen years. But the National Government cannot make the work of reconstruction dependent upon the approval of those who wrought destruction. The Marxist parties and their lackeys have had fourteen years to show what they can do. The result is a heap of ruins.

Now, people of Germany, give us four years and then pass judgment upon us. In accordance with Field Marshal von Hindenburg's command we shall begin now. May God Almighty give our work His blessing, strengthen our purpose, and endow us with wisdom and the trust of our people, for we are fighting not for ourselves but for Germany.

So the speech ended and the surprise of most political analysts in Germany....this Hitler union of party support....survived. It survived mostly on hope for the future. These Germans were desperate people and needed something that was beyond a normal desire or want. In some ways, they got what they asked for.

A Moment of Mass Movement

I quote Eric Hoffer an awful lot. I have to....because he is one of the ten real intellectuals that America has produced in the past one hundred years. One of the handful of books that he's written....there is True Believer....which studies mass movements. With the curious state of American politics today....I felt it appropriate to pull out chapter four.....ever how short it is.....and repeat is wisdom:

Offhand one would expect that the mere possession of power would automatically result in a cocky attitude toward the world and a receptivity to change. But it is not always so.

The powerful can be timid as the weak. What seems to count more than possession of instruments of power is faith in the future.

Where power is not joined with faith in the future, it is used mainly to ward off the new and preserve the status quo.

On the other hand, extravagant hope, even when not backed by actual power, is likely to generate a most reckless daring. For the hopeful can draw strength from the most ridiculous sources of power---a slogan, a word, a button. No faith is potent unless it is also faith in the future; unless it has a millennial component. So, too, an effective doctrine; as well as being a source of power, it must also claim to be a key to the book of the future.

Those who would transform a nation or the world cannot do so by breeding and captaining discontent or by demonstrating the reasonableness and desirability of the intended changes or by coercing people into a new way of life.

They must know how to kindle and fan an extravagant hope.

It matters not whether it be hope of a heavenly kingdom, of heaven on earth, of plunder and untold riches, of fabulous achievement or world domination.

If the communists win Europe and a large part of the world, it will not be because they know how to stir up discontent or how to infect people with hatred, but because they know how to preach hope.

Hoffer's book.....True Believer....ended up being mandatory reading for most folks in the Eisenhower White House. It never made alot of money or the top ten listing.....but it was seen as a significant study by a self-educated gentleman who picked peaches, onions and potatoes in his youth, and later worked as a longshoreman. Never a day of college in his life.....Hoffer read several books a week throughout his entire life.

The theme of chapter four is simple....hope is the most sought after "gold" on the face of the earth. In Hoffer's day....communism was the threat that most folks saw coming to Europe. Whether a actual threat or simply a perceived threat....it didn't matter. His analysis ends with the weapon that would be used to transform Europe toward the other side.....simply hope. If you could make the folks think constantly about hope and how things might change....then they would buy your discussion and your changes.

This is how mass movements occur. They are not obvious or adorned with bright lights. You make a mass movement occur step by step....and along each of the steps....is hope.

Voting in 1880 Bama

Simply a moment to pause and reflect upon how things worked in 1880 Bama on voting day.

You as the man of the house arose before sunup and had a cup of coffee. Your wife got up with you and made it for you. She had some bacon, an egg or two boiled, and some cornbread that she made up. She made up a tidy little bag of some food to eat for the day. You brought out your horse and saddled him up....and then you rode to the county seat.

The county seat might have been five to ten to twenty miles away. At best on a horse in early November...you might be able to cover the 15-mile course in four hours....maybe five. Around noon you would have arrived at the county seat.

If you were lucky....it was not a dry county and you started at a saloon on the main street near the county court house where voting took place. Typically, the republicans running office locally and the democrats running....would have hired out a saloon with cheap beer and cheap booze. The first couple of drinks would have been free. If you were in a dry county....don't worry....there would be a couple of wagons out in the woods beyond the county court house with lots of barrels on the back and folks would still get their booze. The sheriff would look the other way, just to make things right.

So around two hours into this drinking and discussion stage....you'd likely go over and vote. Don't worry about registration, ID's, or a foreign accent. Every guy gets a vote....and if you were in a slight politically friendly county.....you might vote twice.

After voting, you'd walk back over to the saloon which would be almost out of free booze and then you'd have to pay. You'd have met up with five or six guys from your local area....and somewhere in the midst of afternoon....you'd all buy a pint of some booze and get on the horses to ride back home.

It'd be an hour or two after dark when your horse finally found his way to the house....because you were so drunk. The wife would try to confiscate the booze but you'd fight her off. You'd fall asleep and wake up the next day with a terrible headache.

Down at the county office....as evening came and the doors were locked....the votes were counted. Sometime around midnight, they'd finish up the county and announce the county results. They would telegraph them to the state capital and sometime around noon the next day....some group at the state capital had the final tally of results. These would be telegraphed back to the county seat by nightfall. The bigwigs and heavy players of the county would survey the wins and losses. Most folks didn't know the guys running for governor or state senator....but it didn't matter. You voted a straight ticket....thats the priority. The regional paper might publish their weekly paper next week and announce the state results.

If you were really lucky....the paper might announce the results of the state next to you and how things worked there. The chances of getting a national tally of votes? Maybe a month later....it'd all roll in and you'd realize how the electoral college situation was settled up.

Then, an amazing thing happened. You'd forget about politics or who was governor....for four years. The wife would be so happy to know that in two years....there would be a smaller election....where you'd repeat exercise but alot less booze. It was every four years that she suffered her pain, heartbreak, sorrows and woes.

This was a very simple atmosphere and other than an awful lot of hard drinking on election day.....there wasn't much else to talk about. The curious thing....is that a good seventy-five percent of American men showed up to vote in 1880.....and were fairly drunk when they cast their vote. Whether they voted truly democrat or truly republican or even remember who the heck they voted for.....is a curious point of history today. Thank God we have our wits, CNN, and fancy red-blue colors to keep us focused on election day today.

How to Get Your Bailout (The Bama Way)

First, send a registered letter to your senator...on nice fake company stationary...identifying yourself as a CEO of a Christmas Tree farm in the middle of Jasper, Bama. Weep over the profits and losses...talk about evil Republicans who took away your chance to ship Christmas trees to Argentina or Tonga, then mention that you have a degree from Harvard, Princeton, Colombia, or Yale. End it with a idea you had for carbon-free Christmas trees and environmentally-friendly Christmas trees. The senator is a dope....so he won't know what the heck you are talking about.

Expect a letter quickly back from the senator...asking how much would be necessary to fix your problem. You’d be happy with $800 but then figure...what the heck....ask for $8 billion. A week later, the senator responds that he can fix this up for $5 billion but you need to help his daughter get a major job in your Christmas tree company. So you settle up, and hire his daughter as the Manhattan director of sales for your corporation.

The senator asks where to send the money, and you identify a off-shore account in the Bahamas. You fly over a week later and talk to the bankers there and arrange for the purchase of a Vegas hotel for $3 billion...using your Christmas tree company as a bogus front. The Vegas hotel renames itself “Santas Workshop”. After twelve months....you’ve bankrupted the casino entirely, and you ask the Senator for $12 billion to help the casino carry on. He sends you another free check.

You use most of that check to buy up all of the fishing and lure manufacturing companies in the US....to corner the market in fishing lures. The sad thing is that you accidentally hired a Yale/Harvard economics graduate....and your business folds up in a year or two. So then you ask for more bailout....and the senator sends another $12 billion check.

This time, you buy up a TV network that specializes in Yale & Harvard economics ideas. They flush your money down the toilet in less than five weeks.

Eventually, you retire to Brazil with $80k and just sit on the beach drinking cheap booze. Bail-out mania took the pleasure of fraud out of your life...it just ain’t a good feeling anymore. You can remember the days when you actually worked for a living...made a good check....and didn't know anyone from Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Colombia. These were the good ole days.

Then your cellphone rings there on the beach....the senator hasn't heard from you in a year....and wanted to know if you wanted another $5 billion in bailout. You sit there and pause...sipping the cheap booze, with a smoke in your hand....and then smile. God looks after the innocent, children and fools.