TV Wrestling and The Three Stooges

I was interested in phoney wrestling matches shown on TV. When I was ten, I had my father take me to Sunnyside’s Gardens in Queens New York to see the “championship fight” between Haystack Calhun and Bruno San Martino. My favorite, the chronic loser Arnold Scoland, did not get to the championship because his role in TV wrestling was as a sympathetic, hometown loser. On TV, Sunnyside Gardens seemed to be filled with screaming fans. In reality, only about 40 dopes were arranged on ring side. These were captured by the TV cameras which did not pan to the rest of the empty arena.

At that age, ten, boys of my generation liked TV wrestling and The Three Stooges. The wrestling and the Stooges appealed to a similar mentality. Ten year old boys sense of reality has not been fully formed. They can easily ‘suspend disbelief’ and enjoy moronic wrestling and slapstick comedy.

You know that Donald Trump has been involved with the current version of TV Wrestling shown on what i think is called WWF. I am not sure what WWF stands for but it is an extensively produced form of fake madness. It can be taken as real by today’s ten year olds and many older, immature men, the kind of people who like Trump. It is as if the Three Stooges and Carl Von Hess, a wrestler who dressed in a Nazi uniform, were running the country. Actually they are. Oh man!!

Conspicuous Consumption

I just came back from a Walmart Super Store. Therein one can seemingly buy ANYTHING. The place is gigantic and stocked with food, clothing, hardware, kitchen ware, camping gear, drugs, electronics, home and office furniture, bath items, toys, automotive items, and on and on. It is the the Mount Everest of an economy built on constant demand for many essential and many stupid products. To me, the place is entirely depressing. Maybe it’s efficient to be able to buy anything you want in one place. But this is not what is disheartening about being there. It is seeing all the buyers trudge sadly through the aisles looking for what they think they need. They search for crap instead of feelings of friendship and love. The things that really matter. These feelings have been replaced by the need to acquire some of what they need and much of what they could do without.

I found it telling that when the virus quarantine was first lifted, people crowed into stores in order to buy new clothes! You know what makes up the largest percentage of land fills? Clothes. Things people throw away. Modern societies depend on constant demand for consumer goods, needed and inane. This requires constant production, ruthless competition for money, and status seeking. These in turn create alienation, class warfare, envy, denial of health needs, environmental degradation, racism, and the election of a schmuck like Trump. Consumer economies have worked to overshoot the carrying capacity of the planet and of human societies. I think this will all end soon and violently .

Seeking Something Old in Something New

When one has lost a cherished relationship they tend to seek a new one. But the new must have elements of the old. All Intimate relations involve satisfaction of needs for the warmth and comfort experienced in childhood. That is, satisfaction of basic, old needs are are a key aspect of all close relations. While the person who can satisfy those needs may be a new person, they still have to met the old, unchanging needs. All of our intimate relations serve the same function regardless of who the other person is.

A barrier to forming new bonds after old ones are severed is feeling of regret and perhaps guilt about the ending of the old connection. This means we may find it hard to be open to a new relationship. So, our basic unchanging needs will go unsatisfied for a long time. Depression, loneliness and despair will occur. How can one overcome this? Somehow we have to honor our needs. Realise that they are universal requirements for life. Denial of our needs is a denial of life. Knowing this can put one in touch with life outside the 3-D. One needs to connect to the ‘spiritual’ side of things. This is a basic need too.

Security, Risk, Gender, and Achievement

Adult feelings of safety and comfort are based, in large part, on memories of experiences in infancy at the hands of a reliable mother. Without such memories a person will have a life of chaos, anxiety, and insecurity that might only be changed by extensive psychotherapy. Without a stable sense of security built on early life interactions with a comforting other, the adults ability to work and love is severely compromised.

If secure in childhood, the person is able to take risks in adulthood. Everyday life involves risk. Small risks are taken after waking up in the morning. Taking a shower, making hot coffee, and driving to work expose you to falls, burns, and fatal accidents. Higher risks are taken when leaving home for college, getting a new job, getting married, and many others. Then there are extremely high risk situations such as new business ventures, daredevil driving, dangerous sports, sex with strangers, military combat and drug taking.

One is always balancing security needs with needs to achieve things in life. Some incline to value security more highly. They prefer staying at home in a comfortable family and persisting in uninteresting jobs that, at least, pay a living wage. They are slow to adopt new fashions in clothes, food, music, and beliefs. The risk averse are “conservative”. Those tilting more to achievement than security must be able to tolerate more risk than others. They likely had in childhood, very secure relations with mother and father. In the recent past, only the father was assumed to foster achievement motives in male children. Security motives were the mother’s domain. Now security and achievement needs are thought to be unrelated to parental or child gender. But security and risk taking tendencies must still be balanced.

Divorcing gender roles from security and achievement behaviors is very interesting. ‘Androgyny’ is the tendency to value both social security and achievement motives. For the androgenous, decisions between security and achievement is not a zero-sum, either-or choice. Rather , one need not disavow security motives in order to seek achievement, or forsake achievement entirely to feel secure.

The Misery of “Customer Service”

I just spent literally 2.5 hours getting a new health insurance policy. I spent 2 hours attempting to purchase an account with a computer company. Through both these calls, I was subjected to various sales pitches, suggestions to use online service sites, long wait time, crappy music, and mostly friendly real human beings. However, in the insurance case, the services reps had to recite over 50 features of the policy, 25 legal disclaimers, and a whole other lot of crap. In the case of the computer company, no one on the service line was able to find the right office for me to get help with my problem.

These sorts of annoyances are part of everyday life. This is in part because companies prefer customers to use the internet so as to not hire living service reps. The combination of corporate efficiency motives and excessive legal regulations makes these interactions horrible. I actually have to brace myself before making these calls. There are today few forms of sensible interactions over the phone with companies. Machines and legal minutiae have combined to cause anxiety about trying to buy complex health insurance and other regulated products on a phone. I was told at least 10 times something to the effect that further charges may apply. The sales rep was ‘required by law’ to make me agree to many conditions and exclusions of the policy. These issues are in no small part why people, especially those over 60, are exasperated by living in this ‘modern culture’. The ‘old days’ were much more preferable.

MBA killers

Starting about when Ronald Reagan got into office, college graduates who formerly wanted to attend medical or law school began going to business schools. They got a degree called Masters in Business Administration—the MBA. As far as I can tell, MBAs are taught to make as much money as possible without getting thrown in jail. The best schools, like Harvard, Wharton, Duke, and Columbia seem to attract the most aggressive sharks. There is even a TV show called Sharks on which no nonsense MBA types decide if some naif’s business plan will succeed. The contestants are grilled in a harsh manner and most plans are rejected as being too weak.

I saw this kind of MBA attitude when I took five psychology students to the Columbia business school to participate in a mock labor negotiation. The event was hosted by Margaret Chandler, a famous labor relations scholar. The psychologists played the role of labor, naturally the business students took the management roles. Though this was only a practice exercise the MBAs had the psychologists scared to death. They used a classic negotiating technique in which one person on the negotiation team acts entirely nuts, shouting and screaming like a psychotic This terrified the touchy feely psychologists so much that they lowered their demands to get the thing over with and flee the room.

In the old days MBAs were relatively scarce. They wound up as CEOs, CFOs, and other high level positions. Now, with many MBA graduates around, they often find themselves managing service departments, the mail room, and really every function in organizations. The MBA credo is to turn every office of a company into a profit center. For example, when you call the service department of the company that sold you a phone, vacuum, bicycle, or whatever, you don’t get service. Rather they try to sell you a new, more expensive replacement for the broken one. Now service goes from a cost center to a profit center, from service to sales. MBAs know that sales is where the money is. Service is a loser. Service interactions are a form of ‘bait and switch’. They catch the poor customer with a promise of service but then switch their role to sales. If not illegal, this is a kind of moral crime very common in business today.

The ‘anything for a buck’ attitude has spread throughout the country. MBA values dominate the entire culture. It is not an accident that two of the worst presidents in American history, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, were graduates of MBA programs.

https://www.bing.com/search?q=harvard+business+review&cvid=a7820cf4231b4fed96aa3416bee60f25&pglt=299&FORM=ANSPA1&PC=DCTS

Sophistication

I wrote a book called ‘Sophistication’. It actually was the runner up in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Co-Op competition. It was imagined to be a ‘self-help’ book. It is perhaps of some help to people wanting to make good, sophisticated decisions in life. But the book is not a typical self-help book. It makes some fun of such books. For instance these books almost always have some list of rules you need to follow in order to achieve success, popularity, spirituality, and so on. I satirize this kind of thing in ‘Sophistication’. It is so facile. In any case, the book that won the self-help category was called “49 Rules for Overcoming Heroin Addiction”. Somehow the judges were unable to get the joke. The winner did exactly what I was lampooning in my book. In contrast I have a list of 6 clever rules to achieve sophistication:

  1. Never believe that anything is caused by merely one thing.
  2. Never say thank you after someone thanks you.
  3. Never try to be normal,
  4. Never try to be abnormal.
  5. Don’t do what doesn’t work.
  6. Do what you want to do.

Now, this list might give you a sense of what the book ‘Sophistication’ is like. When I tried to enter another book contest I was told my book fit into no known category of books and, hence, I was excluded from the contest. When I said, “Isn’t a unique, one of kind book a great thing?. I was told it would not be fair to the other contestants. This the world we live in now.

Buy the book. You’ll love it

https://www.amazon.com/Sophistication-W-M-Bernstein/dp/1519142129

http://williambernstein.com

I Hate the Internet

It is a cliche to start a conversation or an essay with the phrase, “I don’t know about you but…”. However, I am going to say it anyway. I don’t know about you but I really hate how life has been overtaken by the internet. I am too old to have grown up with this annoying thing. Early in my career, I was entirely up to date. ‘Time Sharing’ was big in 1975. At The University of Texas we would sit at a portal in the Psychology Department logged into the mainframe computer that resided about 300 yards away. It was the time when IBM cards were being phased out. One could write FORTRAN code right on your screen. This replaced the cards. There was no internet. One was securely communicating with the big mainframe.

When Personal Computers arrived, I bought one of the first IBM PCs. It cost $6000 and had a tiny memory the size of, well, I don’t even know the difference between megabytes, gigabytes, and those little bytesized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But with a Hayes Modem I could still hook up with the big mainframe at the Columbia computer center. I was really current. But when Windows came on the scene I was totally flummoxed. Things that were supposed to be ‘intuitive’ in Windows never made sense to the FORTRAN crowd.

But things really went sour with the internet. As an aging academic, I can not keep track of the 700 passwords I have for every website that performs every function that used to be written on paper. This includes accounts for banking, credit cards, phone, taxes, utilities, music, you know what I mean. I don’t know about you, but even if I could remember or store the passwords somehow, I can’t seem to enter them correctly using the tiny “keyboard” on the tiny “phone”. It is ridiculous. It actually used to be fun to pay paper bills at the end of the month with paper checks, stuck in paper envelopes with a paper stamp.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Hate_the_Internet

https://williambernstein.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1401&action=edit

Do You Consult Astrologers or Tarot Card Readers?

I wrote two days ago about two different ways people use to comfort themselves. One is getting comfort from themselves or other people. The other is asking god for help. The latter method involves appealing not to a human being but to a giant force that is thought to have created the entire world and should thereby be able to solve any problem. When a problem seems too great to overcome by oneself or other mortals, people often turn to the universe or god to help us. Awful problems for which we seem to need divine intervention include losing a spouse, losing children, terminal disease, and so on. These things no person can undo.

Besides god proper, there are other systems of belief that people seek out when help seems unavailable in the 3-D world. These include astrology, tarot cards, fortune tellers, and other so called ‘mystical’ or ‘occult’ methods. These sorts of comfort systems involve an appeal to the mysterious forces of the universe, as do appeals to god. Belief in the occultism is often called ‘spiritual’. Many people today say, “I am spiritual, not religious”. So there is an assumption that belief in god, which is central to all religions, is not the same as belief in, for example, astrology. But both sorts of things involve some belief in the power of invisible forces.

Tarot card readings can no doubt help one feel better when there are no obvious solutions to their problems. Most of the tarot and astrology experts on the internet make predictions and give advice that are comforting. Of course, this increases business. No one wants to hear from a psychic or anyone else that the future looks gloomy. Practitioners of spiritual practices explain this bias by imaging that ,in the end, spirits will make everything okay. This assumption is not too different from that made by religions. But religious faith usually includes the idea that if one’s behavior has been sinful, it may take some special effort to get god to help you out. You might go to hell perhaps. In some contrast, spiritualism has less rules. Everything will be okay eventually, regardless of how much of a miscreant one has been.

Some say, “Everything happens for a reason” Now that doesn’t seem especially profound. Of course everything happens for a reason if you believe in causality. What happens today is caused by something that happened previously. But religious and spiritual traditions suspend the usual rules of causality prefered by science. Scientists would think that if a giant rock rolls over you, it is likely you’ll never get up again. But religious or occultist might imagine that the rock fell on you due to your ‘karma’ or ‘god’s will’. These things plays out in the long run. Bad and good karma , and good and sinful behavior will influence what happens in the long run.But as the economist John Maynard Keynes said, “The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.” And that kind of sums this all up. Death seems inevitable unless one imagines that one’s soul never dies. This is, more or less, what both religionist and spiritualists think. Isn’t it?

Horrid Health Care System in USA

I know both the patient and provider sides of healthcare delivery in America. To bill insurance companies for patient visits I had to hire a biller to navigate the absurd complicated rules for getting reimbursed. I had to pay the biller 7% of my fees just to collect the money. Insurers in America are horrible institutions. Every claim they pay is a business “loss”. Of course, they don’t want to pay for what customers pay them to pay. They exclude this or that type of treatment and charge ridiculous premiums. For myself, I had to pay $550 per month for my health policy, and it didn’t include dental care. Aren’t teeth a critical part of the body? Most plans don’t pay properly for mental health disorders. Isn’t the mind important? Most CEO’s of insurance and drug companies may make as much as $30,000,000 a year!

In American health, A few people get wildly rich and most others get shafted. We have to pay too much for less than adequate coverage. Copays, coinsurance, exclusions, and deductibles all obscure the costs policy holders have to pay. Have you tried to read the contracts for the health care insurance? As Woody Guthrie said, “Some will rob you with a six gun and some with a fountain pen.” Corporations don’t exist to serve your needs but to get more and more of your money in exchange for fewer and fewer services and products.

The insurers’ key advantage is if you don’t treat a heart attack, stroke, brain aneurysm, cancer, mental illness, lung disease, etc, you will die. This motivates every shmo to buy the crappy insurance. Everyone knows the system stinks, unless you are an insurer or biller or drug company. But somehow many if not most hospitals in the US are very close to bankruptcy. I don’t quite understand this but I think it is because insurers benefit from cost cutting measures enforced on hospitals. After all, hospital stays cost an immense amounts of money. Insurers want to discourage hospital spending so they underpay for hospital costs. This had led to, for example, breast cancer surgery being an outpatient procedure. Keep ’em out of the hospital or ’em get ’em out as fast as possible. Lot’s of healthcare and comfort in that, right?

I have seriously considered dying before getting medical services that might push me into bankruptcy, as it has very many patients. “Your money or your life?”. I would like say, “Go to hell, shoot me!”. Of course, that is a rather radical decision. But if everyone did it the medical industrial complex would collapse. Its like with Trump. The only way to defeat him is to not pay attention to him. Call his bluff. Ignore the bastard who is working to ruin your life. “Yeah, come and get me!” Would you sacrifice your life to take down the oppressors? It a war. And, in war people often sacrifice their lives for something they believe in.

#cheatsheet.com #fiercehealthcare.com #wiliambernstein.com

.