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Sunday, January 8, 2012

PSY 727 “My Vantage Point”

Okay, friends, I took a day off after two months of nonstop posting, two long weeks at work, and getting rather ill. This is my first essay for grad school tell me what you think.
3rd January 2012
Week #1 Assignment “My Vantage Point”
            We may start with the understanding that I have an analytical mind, and that implies that I like to understand things by breaking them down into parts. It is common for me to name things because giving something a name is the first human act of understanding. For example, I place my compost in a bin to permit the vegetation to die; because these yard clippings become layers that I must then mix I call this first stage of compost “stratified compost.” When the compost is placed in the rock enclosure it becomes just compost. Likewise, when I cut wood the piece of wood I intend to use I call the “product,” and the wood I will not use becomes “scrap.” The name assignments do very little to speed my work, but still are part of my mental framework.
            A secondary point regarding my personality is that I have worked in the field of uniformed security for the last fourteen years, and that mentality translates into other areas of my life. The primary construct of the Security Officer is “observe and report” and the secondary construct is “provide an appearance of professionalism and diligence.” As a Security Officer I detour crime by making it clear that I am present, that I am watching, and that I am a force of opposition or assistance. Given these two factors you can understand that I will give you a reasonably clear analysis of who I am.
            Genetically speaking I come from cold weather European stalk. The colors of my features are much like that of the Irish with blue eyes and reddish blond hair. You might say that I look like the typical broad shouldered Irishman. In truth my body morphology is more of the Slovak nature with fat that sits on my frame in blankets to shield me from the cold. I believe my stalk is more prone to depression as depression would serve better to survive the long cold winters. Genetically I am a creature of the cold and so can live isolated and alone for long periods.
            Environmentally I have two major circles of influence. The first of these being my work where I spend most of my waking hours and the second being my home. It is possible that I could also include another college or time with my friends, but I feel they would be best addressed elsewhere.
I work at a homeless shelter and stabilization program for people between the ages of eighteen and twenty four. I fear picking up the bad grammar and vulgar vernacular of the residents as many of the other staff members have. Speech tends to bleed into the brain through the ears and become part of thought patterns. Thus, if I speak poorly or use base language this is a result of where I work. The large number of film geeks at this facility may give me a Hollywood outlook on life. In the modern day that tends to mean that I will think somehow it will all work out. Life is so rarely like that and we go to movies to escape life.
My home environment is as disordered as my mind and is a great cause of frustration. I live with my mentally ill brother, and his gross inability to help with the housework plaices a great burden on my time. The very morning I write this I have spent two hours cleaning and would have a home that is not an embarrassment where I to spend the next two weeks at the soul purpose of banishing clutter from my abode. This is a place where something as substantial as a boot can disappear beneath the clutter. They say the desk is a reflection of the mind, but I would say the home is more encompassing. When I am right my home will be right so far as I can see.
Learned Behavior
            Where do I display learned behavior? In this regard I would have to say ‘where do I overtly display learned behavior?’ We all learned to slow down when we see a police car or to step aside when we run into dog mess. One point where this comes up in my early life is anger. I had a group of ‘friends’ who only listened to me when I was screaming so I learned to scream. They complained that I was always angry so I learned to not hang out with them. In the first case the anger response was reinforced and in the second avoiding them was rewarded with less frustration. Both of these instances are negative reinforcement or the removal of a negative experience.  
            It can be said that I have learned to keep redundant systems because I have had computers fail on me when I needed them. Likewise, I have learned to replace my clothing before it gets ratty. This came after spending two or three minutes every morning for a month sorting through the old T-shirts to find one that had a good choler. Over time it became clear that I save time by keeping things in good repair.
Unconscious factors
            Who can truly tell what is going on under their skull? I believe that my mother’s death formed an unconscious desire to stop time leading to my long time collections of useless and worthless junk. I still have my Windows 95 computer for no good reason. I scrapped parts off it a few years ago so it lies in bits on a garage shelf. I kept the old printer cables even when they stopped making printers for them and only tossed them away in 2010 as if they would have made a comeback.
            I often think that my aversion to getting drunk has something to do with my father’s drinking habits. The old man drank cheap booze and got roaring drunk. I have always felt the old man to be less than honest, and so I never drink so much that I cannot drive. You could think of this as an unconscious rebellion or simply a good idea. It had to figure into my brain at some point by way of the unconscious.
Social Influences
            I presently have both a blog and a webcomic because society says these are the in thing. Social media is a large mark of our age, and I slowly and limply participate. Participating in social trends like fashion or music has never played well with me, and I listen to the radio only to have something to do when I drive. I buy clothing that needs little ironing and washes well, but the solid saturated tones I prefer are what are provided. I would like a green shirt but as the Dickies store does not sell them so I do not buy. I could order one online, but I honestly have no need to display my individuality by dressing one way or another.
            If there is one thing I can say about my family it is that it was dysfunctional. Crazy has something of an attraction to itself, and I have a clear understanding that both my father and mother came from dysfunctional homes. My mother died young and as the last seven years of my knowing her she spent most of her time in a hospital or working I will move on to my primary caregiver. My father was the kind of man who would lose the argument and forget about it the next day so you would need to have the same argument over again. He was the kind of man who understood violence and only violence.
            As I was the youngest of the family and had no strength for fighting there was no way for me to win an argument. During my early life I had no means with which to change my situation and that breeds depression and anxiety. From this I took on a cynical nature and a tendency to keep fighting even when a situation is hopeless. I would imagine this would be an advantage in counseling as I will give up on no one.  Thus, the primary aspect of my personality coming from parenting is a dogged nature.
Before I am anything culturally I am an American. I believe Americans to be a people of extreme actions. Those who smoke often make a religion of it as do those who do drugs. In America we see the biggest cars, people, houses, naval ships, and so forth. As a product of that environment I love or hate things with more energy than I need.  America is a big place, and we are by nature a diverse people, but I still cannot call myself much of a Californian or Los Angelino. I would say that I have always been something of a societal outsider, so I tend to be more functional rather than imitative.