Greetings to you, it's good to be with you again. What's wrong? Do you really know? Well something is. With all of our awards and notable achievements we should be very happy, content and satisfied. But many are not. Why? Our primary subject for this discussion is the basic causes for questionable, sometimes antisocial behavior in relationships by seemingly otherwise committed, normal, healthy individuals. Individuals when looking superficially at their lives on the outside should be exceedingly happy but for some vague reason are not. Let me start by saying that I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist and I am not speaking as either. I am speaking only as an observant scientist. A scientist, whose disciplines happens to be chemistry and microbiology. The following are my opinions and observations about this at times perplexing problem. I'll be making my point for starting this discussion soon. Usually specialists in my field(s) only assist mental health professionals and surgeons with the chemistry of or occasionally brain disease/microbial identification. It is my opinion that in many ways what is often thought to be depression is not the result of an abnormality or anything easily identified. At times it is the result of people's insensitivity to problems that others have. For example, by deliberately attempting to make others miserable because of things that no one has any control over. Handicaps and race come to mind.
The feelings of dissatisfaction that I speak of here is not lunacy or insanity. It's actually a part of normal behavior that is sometimes stressed beyond its usual tolerance levels. The mental state of unhappiness or discomfort that one partner in a stressed relationship casually refers to as “craziness” may follow some form of anger that is expressed by anti-social behavior. But this time there seems to be no tangible reason for such anger. Still people can do some really stupid things because they are not happy or satisfied with their lives. At times the first reaction to this problem is for the person with the problem to blame the other partner for somehow causing the problem. Often as a result they may change their hair style, wear more revealing clothing or even cheat or have an extra-marital affair. They may think that having more money or “things” will make them happy. Some misguided individuals turn to alcohol, drugs and thievery in an attempt to assuage feelings of guilt or resentment for past indiscretions. In many rather embarrassing cases their thievery can turn into public stealing.
Yes, unhappy people may steal. From $1 to 50 million, why? Politicians, automobile workers, scientists, security guards, garbage men, furniture salesmen, bank tellers, etc., they must know by now with all of the news stories about thievery in office, the work place and beyond that sooner or later they will be caught stealing whatever it is they tend to steal. But steal many continue to do. And there are many ways of doing this. It is routinely said that our children are the most important segment of our society. No one would knowingly steal from a child, right? Wrong! Recently in a large elementary school system in one southern state some children's teachers were caught with greedy hands in the educational “cookie jar.” According to reports 44 schools had test answers “erased or changed” for monetary gain. Scores were spiked up one year and drastically cut the next. Some teachers got up to $25,000 bonuses for grade improvements. Many teachers with lower test scores and poorer achievement were summarily dismissed. While this kind of disciplinary action may be at times called for, it can also encourage cheating in order to keep ones job. Is this action entrapment? But most people who steal do not need any encouragement. This stealing epidemic is only a symptom of society's bigger psychological problems. What psychological problems?
This is not just an educational problem. This is a “people” problem in all professions and on all street corners. People are stealing everywhere in all walks of life. No city, state, country, neighborhood or jungle is exempt. Anything that is not “nailed down” is subject to be stolen. Sometimes even millionaires are caught stealing miniscule things like pencils and trinkets at Wal-Mart! Some psychologists tell us that many who steal are looking to replace something that is missing in their lives. As I said before, perhaps they are angry about something. Sometimes anger can occur as a reaction to a threat or fear of an eminent embarrassing exposure or as a response to a seemingly helpless situation. Normally our primary fear is death. But any number of our “imagined” weaknesses can trigger it. For example some psychologists tell us that the possibility of one being “neutralized” or eliminated from a position or love affair may cause violent outbursts or physical retaliation. Sadly, for a myriad of unconscionable reasons confused adults and even children at times resort to murder.
Various professionals also tell us that people generally do not get angry with others until they see them exhibit behavioral patterns and tendencies that they “hate” in themselves. Hypocritically, this really tends to “float their boats”. Other than threatening some form of bodily harm to us, what others do usually goes unnoticed. But anger can also be “sexy.” The guy who gets angry with another and threatens to “deck” him is somehow seen as “manly” and is often more attractive to women than the “meek” intelligent man who seeks a quiet, peaceful solution to the event. The gardener is often thought to be more desirable than the banker. It has been said that up to the age of eighteen we “ripen” and after eighteen we “rotten”. It seems that there is a day and night mad dash to reproduce, fornicate and do all manner of unholy things before rigor mortis sets in. We see this every day. Is it out of fear or just desperation? And competition for attention is definitely not welcomed.
Many people today don't really like each other, let alone love each other. Some are only “faking” it and pretending to love others. They really only tolerate other people. Some string their lovers and mates along only for convenience and drop them when times get better. They lie, cheat, steal and ignore human suffering. They cheat on cement mixtures diluting the mix (for money) causing weak bridges and buildings to fail, collapse and destroy lives. They sleep on jury duty, freeing rapists, murderers, and domestic abusers, and then complain about crime. We read about perverts arresting perverts, criminals imprisoning criminals and male judges sentencing perpetrators of sex crimes to long jail terms while secretly wearing no clothing under their judicial robes except female garter belts, panties and high heels! Scientists store used uranium and plutonium in underground vaults and mountain caves knowing that the location of these materials in time will be forgotten and therefore be disturbed. These materials are still radioactive and will pose a significant danger to future generations. With a half- life of 4.5 billion years for uranium and 24 thousand years for plutonium what do you think is going to happen sometime in the future? Do they care? What's wrong with them? Obviously these are not happy people.
- I don't love him anymore (again)
- I don't love her anymore (again)
- I made a mistake (again)
- I met someone new (again)
- Question: Do you want a lasting meaningful relationship or just an increase in your funeral attendance?
Malfunctioning brain electrical fields is one reason thought by scientists to be involved in these irrational, questionable, and sometimes dangerous decisions. There are 7,000 trillion, trillion atoms that makeup the human body. Therefore, these malfunctions, short-circuits, and mutations are commonplace. I believe that love relationships suffer the most from this “Discontentment Syndrome”. But I think there is something else operating here that may be the basis for much of our problems with relationships and life in general. And it is this:
*Who Are We?*
The following opinions are the results of my research, and while these opinions may differ from those of other analysts, it is exactly that, my opinion. This is not an attempt to “proselytize”, just to inform. There have been two genes recently discovered by scientists that pose some interesting questions (to me) about our origin or evolution as species Homo Sapiens. This may also help us to define our tendency to become dissatisfied and bored with life and relationships with others so easily (no matter the heights we attain, or who we partner with). There exists in our biological brain components both what is popularly known as a “God Gene” (SLC18A2 / Vesicular Monoamine Transporter2 (Vmat2), and a “Language Gene” FOXP2 found on human chromosome 7(7q31, at the SPCH1 locus). Based on neurological and psychological studies of the human genome, spirituality can be quantified by psychometric measurements and behavioral genetics. As we study this biology further, we suspect that there may be shoes (inside) too big for any secular type of relationship to fill.
Our language gene specifically gives us the ability to explain our reasoning for doing (and thinking about doing) literally thousands/millions of communicable things, talents and ideas. This includes surrounding our consciousness with meaning and imagination. There is no other mammal or any of the other 8.7 million species on earth that comes even close to the human being in this ability. Some kind of historical “Event” took place creating these systems (as is) in us! This “event” caused a once rather “Ape like” creature to now plot courses for the exploration of Mars and beyond. I could explain our amino acid numbers and genetic comparisons with those of other species but this is not a scientific paper written for the scientific community. This ability is so developed in some of us that this gift is almost “God Like” in its imaginative capabilities. This gene and its ability did not evolve from lower animals because there is one amino acid structure that we have that seems to have come out of nowhere! Is this “design” intended to enable us to communicate above our level? Both of the above genetic structures can also be traced by DNA back to the Neanderthals. This finding may question the dating projections of some creation theories.
Then there is the “God Gene”, in experiments conducted by Geneticist Dean Hamer it was discovered that this genetic structure allows, facilitates or can exhibit a “God” like trance or state of mind. Individuals seem to “yearn” for a fulfillment that cannot be found in any sense other than one of intense awareness of someone or something ethereally close. There is a sense that we as humans physically and mentally have some kind of connectivity with a Deity, or a deep mystic “Spirituality!” It is further believed by some scientists that this gene seems to “allow” us to understand that we, God, the earth and the universe are all part of a molecular “soup” all tied and “floating” together in one and the same life system. This genetic capability seems to be hardwired into our brains somehow. This “Event or Intervention” was accomplished at about the time of our first appearance as a viable, thinking Homo Sapien. Both of these genetic systems do not appear to have evolved. They appear to have been created. I'll leave it up to you to figure out “how, who or what” did the creating. There are three main trains of thought on the identity of this Creator. We do not have time for that discussion now. I know how incredible this may sound to some of you. But please bear with me.
It is said that if we ignore or are not aware of this potential in each of us, we will continue to get bored and lack motivation and contentedness. We will at times destroy important relationships, lie, cheat, and steal out of our lack of spiritual fulfillment. The knowledge of this ability and need is what we are missing, and this may be the reason multitudes of us are not happy. Many lack this necessary psychological fulfillment. People who have a relationship with (A) God or Force whether real or imagined seem to have fewer mental and social problems. You might want to try this (perhaps temporarily): Choose a religion, (your choice, not someone else's) and then choose the temple, synagogue, church, mosque, private home, or jungle hut that you are most comfortable with. Attend the services for a while. Or explore various methods of your own for increased spirituality. After/during the service try meditation, then reflection, and see if it makes a difference. You may be surprised. It really doesn't matter which one or which method you use. Proponents believe that you're already “wired” for some interpretation of God or spirituality and this may also help to attenuate some aggressive or promiscuous behavior. Chances are you will need some type of spiritual connection; If not now, then perhaps sometime in the future.
This physical phenomenon has nothing to do with whether or not your salvation is dependent upon one specific Religion, Savior or Deity(s). Recognizing this ability is for mental contentment, clairvoyance, peace and individual life stability. It matters not that you may be Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Witch Doctor or Atheist. Inside, we're pretty much identical. Conversely, successful though one may be, it is still possible to meander through life aimlessly disillusioned, both proud and angry, looking for something that one already has. Love is not selfish or impatient. Are you? A word to the wise should be sufficient.
“What's Wrong?” Are you happy and content? If so, then probably nothing is. But If you're not, then perhaps something is missing. One might ask “but what about our physical relationships?” Speaking as a chemist and microbiologist I can say that most of us do not fully understand the mechanisms of the devastating power and authority that our hypothalamus-endocrine-hormonal-system wields on our sexual lives. We must be ever vigilant because this system is quite capable of clouding our vision and can even encourage us to make continual fools (or even criminals) of ourselves. Keep in mind that the number of times one can successfully accomplish “stopping old and starting new” relationships is not infinite. Incongruent, one-sided attempts to adjust behavior can lead to rejection and isolation. Discontentment in relationships is not always the fault of one's partner, which is the basis for this discussion. Note: If you have found this article to be of use in your class or practice (and have the time) drop me a line. Stay well.
Question: “Why does ignorance cause suffering?”
Answer: “Because it makes us prize what is not worth prizing, grieve when we should not grieve, consider real what is not real but only illusionary, and pass our lives in pursuit of worthless objects, neglecting what is in reality most valuable.” The Buddhist Catechism
All the Best,
- Henri W. Tartt
Henri W. Tartt
Supervising Chemist &
Chief of Microbiology
City of Cleveland, Ohio (Retired)