Ain’t She Sweet….Hooking Up With Lady Neanderthal

Don't judge people by their looks–they might be your relatives.  Recent studies http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/07/neanderthal-dna-found-in-_n_567177.html have documented that we, modern, beautiful Homo Sapiens contains up to 4% Neanderthal DNA.

We got it the way most people get there–through sex.  So we need to face up to the truth that our ancestors either had "beer goggles" or just perhaps….they weren't much better looking than the Neanderthal chicks they hooked up with.

The changes in how we describe those hairy, brutish, sloped-headed Neanderthals has begun to change anyway.  They have been described as having reddish hair and maybe even blue eyes.  Hmm, looking better already.

Wonder how some fundamentalist bible huggers will regard this bit of science?

Probably like anything else that isn't "scripture".  They don't.

But that doesn't make it less true.  Says a lot for the racial "purists" as well.

The Back Field — A Poem

Tom  Smoyak  sat  on

my exam table

Removed  his  shirt

"how do you feel, Tom ?"

"not too bad for 83"

"but look at my back, will ya"

"it's strange how these things"

"have popped up"

 

there were dozens of them

brown scaly

raised edges

wart-like or flat

interposed with small raspberries type

lesions

 

odd

as the rest of him

slows to a quiet

his back

begins

to

flower

SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION & THE LADIES

Is it only me, but are we a nation obsessed with sexual dysfunction?  It is truly ridiculous to observe how frequently commercials for ED are on today's sport's shows.  I will try to count how many there are during viewing the next PGA golf tournament I see.

This Sunday's New York Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/business/27stream.html?emc=eta1 addresses this subject in some depth.

But just realize how every reader even knows what "ED" is.  How ridiculous.  I never heard the term "erectile dysfunction" when I was in medical school.  Of course impotency is a term we were familiar with.  How knew it was such a national catastrophe?

Clearly many men are buying these drugs–the commercials are far too expensively made and extensively shown to suggest otherwise.

It is only fitting that women be the target of this obsession as well.

What constitute sexual dysfunction?  Ah, like beauty, it must be in the eyes of the beholder.

Is there a range of "normal" libido? Of course.  Are there physical / medical conditions which impair such functioning based on vascular or neurological mechanisms?  Certainly.  But that can't account for the vast majority of sufferers.

It seems to me that "dysfunction" all relative.  If a couple shares the same level of sexual desire and libido, regardless of frequency and quality, there is no issue.

But when there is a disparity between the two–watch out!

It is clearly a fascinating topic which will continue to be discussed and probably treated.  If there is money to be made, you can be sure of it.

CHIMPS R US — Scary Truths About Why We Do What We Do

No wonder Darwin was ridiculed when we proposed our descent from primates.  The extreme reaction was merely hiding the fear that evolution is clearly true and that we are hairless chimps.

And don't forget, this was before DNA confirmation (greater than 98% identity) of our profound biologic similarity.

Therefore studying chimpanzee behavior is enlightening as well as frightening.

In his NYTImes article http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/science/22chimp.html?hp  Nicholas Wade explores the study of chimp behavior as it entails the equivalent of war parties which engage so-called enemy tribes.  The analogy with human behavior during war is truly astounding.

The waring party stealthily approaches the target in what may be some altered state of consciousness.  They will attack and confront smaller groups or individuals, disperse when met by larger more threatening groups.

Eventually they even take over the territory of defeated foes.

What is equally fascinating is the comparison between standard chimpanzees and their cousins the bonobos who are not bellicose but instead resolve their interpersonal relationships through having sex.

Hmmm.  Too bad we can't choose our ancestors.

THE INTERNET AND OUR MINDS

Is the enormous volume of information that swamps our minds today good or bad for us?  Hard to know.  Jonah Lehrer in his NYTImes article http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/science/15fath.html?ref=science  argues that we cannot possibly know for certain, at least not now. 

He points to the history of communications.  Every new technology was greeted by enormous fears that our intellectual capabilities would be damaged.  From the printing press, to radio, TV and movies. Critics would point to the devastating effects on the human mind.  Every new technology offered threats to that effect.  Clearly, in hindsight, this has not been the case.

 But ultimately what we have always experienced is change.

Change can be either beneficial or damaging to us.  It is inherently neutral. 

Clearly we can make the best use of new technology.  Yet just as clearly periods of transition are fraught with difficulties.  Will we loose the ability to write traditional letters–perhaps.  Will we obsess over the continual bombardment of news, most of it bad?  Perhaps.   Will we lose our sense of privacy and peace when we continually check our emails, text messages and tweets?  Perhaps.

What remains to be seen is how we navigate these strange waters.  The tendency to be overwhelmed and obsessed with new technology will hopefully be balanced by the realization that it is just a tool which needs to be understood and seen in perspective.

It is a challenge, like those before it, which will find its place within our culture.

CENTRAL PARK BLOGGER

For those of us old enough to remember, this posting title may revive memories of the horrific crime of rape and assault on 4/19/89  referred to in the press as "The Central Park Jogger" case. This is not the intention of this piece.

I have previously referred to Central Park as a "Vortex Site" by linking it to other locations around this country and the world in which individuals subjectively perceive a powerful attractive "energy" which leads to feelings of harmony and healing.

But clearly the Park is the home of literally thousands of joggers.  It may be the most heavily jogged site in the country if not the world.  But strangely for me, as a former jogger, I have never been able to run there.

I recall nearly five years ago when my wife and I moved into our apartment near the park and I automatically donned my running shoes and entered the park in order to jog.

I soon found that I was unable to jog and pay attention to the scene that opened up before my eyes.  There was something about the up and down jarring effects of jogging that interfered with my experience.  I have subsequently only been able to walk through the park.

Walking allows me to scan the beauty of the natural setting while gazing at the people, pets, vegetation.  Each experience is unique.  I have never been bored or uninspired by any outing.  How could I? Everything changes– from the light, seasons, people, events.  I notice how nearly every pathway in the Park is curved not straight. This is by design.  It is the "anti-City" experience of right angles, of longitude and latitude.  Walking allows me to appreciate that the designers Olmstead and Vaux were true artists as well as architects. 

I am able to inhale the copious quantities of oxygen being released by all the photosynthesizing greenery while allowing my mind free reign over its inner machinations.  This invisible gas of life emanates outward to the rest of the City. 

 I guess my brain is more sensitive to the jarring nature of running than it should be.

I am sure there are numerous joggers who would vehemently disagree with my perceptions.  But in truth, when I observe the many who run past me, they seem focused only on the path in front of them.  Many are listening to music, others talking to other joggers, many panting and sweating.

Perhaps I have less ability than they to be "in the Park" while running through it.

But I will continue to enjoy the experience my way–an ex-jogger, but energetic blogger.

MINDFUL AWARENESS –Healing Painful Emotions

A close companion privately revealed that he was feeling anxious and depressed. He felt like he did not want to eat or go out or talk with anyone.   The source of these feelings were based on personal problems with his adult children as well as financial concerns.

He was particularly concerned about the quick onset of these feelings and that he was not, in general, a "depressed person".

In fact it seemed that he was as upset about the way he was feeling as he was concerned about the source of these feelings. He was deeply disturbed by the sense that he was no longer in control of his feelings.

I suggested that he adopt a "mindful" approach to these feelings.  Acknowledge them, don't attempt to suppress them or ignore them.  But immediately recognize in a mindful way that these thoughts are NOT him. 

I suggested that he create an internal dialog with himself and take note that he was not these feelings but the witness of them.

This notion that we are not our thoughts and emotions but the being who has them and can observe them from a distance adds a healing perspective.

My friend initially found this suggestion rather confusing and quite troubling.  He strongly doubted that merely deciding to witness these feelings rather than remain in his usual state of consciousness would make any difference.

He reported back to me the next day.  He was astounded that this cognitive approach really helped him.  Of course the underlying source of his angst did not change.  But his emotional reaction to them did.  By witnessing these feelings he was able to mitigate their impact on his mind and body.

This lessening of the physical symptoms and emotional intensity gave him a sense of regaining control.  The previous feelings of lack of control merely intensified his sense of depression and the associated symptoms.

The mindful approach to one's emotional life can allow for acknowledgment, repair and healing.