Book Feature: Great Objectives by Robert Finch

 

 

 

 

In his book Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill refers to the great objects of human life. We may assume that that what Mill calls an object is the same as an objective in modern parlance. The examples of great objectives that Mill cites include power, fame, and money. One wonders how seriously Mill was actually endorsing such aims to be the overarching objectives of living or whether he was simply expressing his finding that many people actually do take such aims as these for life. The contention is that Mill was indeed recognizing that people do choose such goals in life. After all, happiness has been recognized as an objective of life at least since the time of Aristotle, and virtue has a similarly ancient pedigree. It is quite common for ordinary people to adopt such mottos as “Healthy, wealthy, and wise” as aims for life. But we know that having more than one such value can lead to conflicts. This had been a concern to Sidgwick as well as other nineteenth-century moralists. A resolution to the problem was found by the time of the twentieth century, when it was realized that we should not try to achieve definite objectives, but instead look to some other procedure, such as a variety of evolution, to shape our objectives. In that case, we make plans and evaluate them, as we proceed. We should use our values, as Dewey recommended, for guideposts. The book discusses the methods of arriving at such plans and weighs some of the ethical and moral problems an individual or a society might face at the present time.
Robert Finch is the author of five collections of essays and co-editor of The Norton Book of Nature Writing. He broadcasts a weekly commentary on NPR and serves on the faculty of the MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville, KY. He lives in Wellfleet, MA.

Guest Post from Raymond Floodgate, author of Life 2 the Full

 

 

 

 

 

Life 2 the Full is a self-help book that shows the reader how to improve health and well-being by preventing Illness from happening in the first place. This book will guide you through the elements needed to help you live your life to the full. Life 2 the Full covers such subjects as health and well-being, food, exercise for the body, and exercise for the mind. Stress is also covered in this book, including ways to eliminate it. Other topics include breathing, relaxation, meditation, money, and abundance. The goal is to help the reader achieve a life that is lived to the full. If you are struggling with your life through constant recurring illness, stress, food-related problems, or lack of purpose, Life 2 the Full will teach you how to change the life you are living now into a life that you never thought possible. The book is written in plain English, is easy to understand, and will give you an insight into how easy it is to change your life should you want to.

Guest Post
There is no mystery about living life to the full. Once you know about
it, it is obvious. It has always been there but you just probably didn’t think
to look. It is not something that is taught in schools, even our teachers have
not been taught it.  It is not a part of
the curriculum at any level of education, so why should you know about it?  Our society has totally overlooked this way
of living and opted for the “get more money and grab everything you can” type
of existence. However, when you live life
to the full
, your life becomes rich and abundant in every way and this can
be obtained with little effort on your part.

Every society today, associates wealth as money and
possessions, which is a very narrow view of what wealth truly is.  Money and possessions are absolutely a part
of wealth but only a small part.
Raymond Floodgate is a certified Reiki master and teacher, a qualified practitioner of energy healing, and an energy healing teacher. He was a practitioner and instructor of Shotokan karate for twelve years but now focuses on preventing illness. To this end, he has studied Tai Chi, Qigong, and meditation.

Book Feature: My Brain is Out of Control by Dr. Patrick Mbaya

 

 

 

 

Although Dr. Patrick Mbaya’s illness caused a lot distress and nearly took his life, the emotional symptoms of the depression he developed helped him understand and empathize with patients and how they feel when they become ill. In My Brain is Out of Control, Mbaya, fifty-five and at the peak of his career, shares a personal story of how he suffered from a brain infection in 2010 that caused loss of speech, right-sided weakness, and subsequent depression. He tells how he also dealt with the antibiotics complications of low white cell count and hepatitis. He narrates his experiences as a patient, the neurological and psychiatric complications he encountered, how he coped, and his journey to recovery. Presenting a personal perspective of Mbaya’s illness from the other side of the bed, My Brain is Out of Control, offers profound insight into battling a serious illness.

GUEST POST

CLINICAL
DEPRESSION
 Clinical
Depression is a common illness, different from
ordinary sadness, which is a normal reaction. It
can affect anyone, including doctors like myself, and indeed I suffered from
this, during my illness. It is not a weakness.
It may occur spontaneously in vulnerable
individuals, like someone with a family history of depression. Severe
stress or traumatic events in childhood, may also make an individual vulnerable
to developing depressive illness, later on in life. Recent research has shown
that this could be due to the effect of stress hormone cortisol, on the
developing brain. Severe stress or loss events (like losing a family member)
can cause (precipitate) it. In my case the brain infection I suffered, affected
the limbic/emotional brain (see below).
Emotions, and certain
behaviours
are
controlled by the limbic (emotional) brain. This is like a circuit
comprising of connections from the brain stem (stem of the brain), to the front
part of the brain (prefrontal cortex, the part in front of the motor cortex),
then to the medial (inner side) of the temporal lobe structures like amygdala
and hippocampus. In my case, it is the left prefrontal cortex, which is next to
the motor cortex (which caused weakness on my right side) and the speech (Broca’s)
area.
There are different theories about the biological
causes of depression within the brain. However, there is a lot of clinical, and
research evidence that depression is associated altered levels of chemicals
(neurotransmitters) that control emotions, and

behaviours
. The two
main chemicals (neurotransmitters) being serotonin and noradrenaline (also
known as norepinephrine). These chemicals are made by the brain from the food
we eat, like bananas (I asked my daughter to get me bananas during my recovery
phase). Emotions and
behaviours like mood, sleep, appetite, enjoyment,
concentration, short-term memory, energy, and some forms of thinking are
controlled by these chemicals.
There is both clinical, and research evidence that
these chemicals become imbalanced, causing symptoms of clinical depression
including persistent low mood, tearfulness, poor sleep, lack of enjoyment, poor
concentration, short term memory, reduced interest in things, poor appetite,
feeling negative (like
focussing on past traumatic or unhappy events, or being
emotionally affected by current sad events) up to including suicidal thoughts.
(Recent research has shown that amygdala become very active in clinical
depression, negative traumatic past events tend to re-surface and the
individual becomes pre-occupied with these events, feels hopeless,
worthless, and has suicidal thoughts, and these symptoms are reversed by effective
treatment of depression). 
These
symptoms tend to be worse in the morning (diurnal variation, possibly related
to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol) and can improve later on during
the day. Like in my case, my mood was worse in the morning. “I was emotional and found myself crying
without a moment’s notice.”
As depressive illness can affect confidence,
energy, motivation, concentration, short term memory, level of functioning is
impaired (the ability to carry out activities of daily living, even to the
point of being unable to work,
socialise or to go to school). The World Health Organization
(WHO) found out in a study (1990), comparing medical illnesses, that depression
was four in the league table, as a cause of health-related disability. They
estimated that by 2020, it will rank second to heart disease!
Current research has shown that severe stress
increases the levels of stress hormone cortisol, which in turn reduces
serotonin, noradrenaline, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF, also
known as brain fertilizer, which protects against cell death by cortisol),
in the brain, causing depression.
Antidepressants work by increasing these chemicals/neurotransmitters
(improving symptoms, and level of functioning), and may protect against severe
stress causing depression. Psychological treatment like cognitive behavior
therapy (CBT), is also effective in depression, especially in combination with
antidepressants. Current guidelines recommend psychological treatment for mild
to moderate depression, and antidepressant medication, plus psychological
treatment for moderate to severe depression.
Dr Patrick Mbaya MD FRCPsych.
References: Cancel reply
Duman Ronald. Depression: a cause of neuronal life and
death. Biological Psychiatry, 1 August 2004, vol.56:140-145
 Cancel reply
Global Burden of Disease, World Health Organization,
1990.
Mbaya Patrick. My Brain Is Out Of Control. Author
House. September, 2016
Shimizu Fiji et al.  Cancel replyAlterations
of serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in depressed
patients with or without antidepressants; Biological Psychiatry, 1 July
2003,Vol 54(1): 70-75
Stahl Stephen M. Essential Psychopharmacology,
Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications. Second Edition.  Cambridge University Press.

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Stress and Plasticity in Limbic System, Robert M.
Sapolsky; Neurochemical Research, Vol. 28, No. 11.
Dr. Patrick Mbaya is a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. He is a consultant psychiatrist and honorary clinical lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He has a special interest in mood and addiction disorders.

Book Blast: The Right-Wing Threat to Democracy by Burt Hall

 

 

For over thirty years, World War II veteran and author Burt Hall assessed accountability in government and national security. Now, this seasoned, professional analyst delivers a tough account of what went wrong in our politics and system of government over the past two decades and what we can do about it.
The right wing (not to be confused with Conservatism) has hijacked the Republican Party and wrecked havoc on our nation. It exploited basic flaws in our system to gain power and a series of major setbacks and a weakened democracy have followed.
The Right-Wing Threat to Democracy lays out clearly what the basic flaws in our system are and how they can be fixed. The danger is that an ongoing shift of political power to the very wealthy and suppression of voting rights is silencing the voice of the average citizen.
If elected officials do not fix the basic flaws, the American people have alternatives in our democracy and must take matters into their own hands.
After early careers in the aircraft electronics field and as a CPA, Burt Hall joined the USGovernment Accountability Office (GAO), where he served as group director analyst on national security and other matters. For more than thirty years, he reported to Congress and testified before its committees on behalf of the GAO. Mr. Hall graduated from the Harvard Advanced Management Program and was loaned twice for two years, once to a bipartisan congressional commission and later to the Reagan White House.With Ed Asner, who also contributed to The Right-Wing Threat to Democracy, Hall coauthored Misuse of Power. He coauthored the bestselling book, How the Experts Win at Bridge, with his wife, Lynn.

Book Feature: Dark Mind by Ian Douglas

 

Title: Dark Mind: Star Carrier

Author: Ian Douglas

Release Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

New York Times Bestselling Author Ian Douglas continues his Star Carrier saga as humanity unites against an ancient artificial consciousness powerful enough to exterminate every species it encounters2425. The civil war between the United States of North America and the Pan-European Confederation is over. But before a new era of peace on Earth can begin, humankind must martial its interstellar forces as one fleet to engage in a war against an alien entity in Omega Centauri. Without provocation, it destroyed a Confederation science facility inhabited by 12,000 people, and it must be neutralized before it sets its sights on Earth.

Admiral Trevor “Sandy” Gray of the USNA star carrier America has his own mission. The enigmatic AI known as Konstantin has convinced him that humanity’s only chance for survival is technology found in a distant star system. Now, Gray must disobey orders as well as locate and create a weapon capable of defeating a living sphere the size of a small planet…

Ian Douglas is one of the pseudonyms for William H. Keith, New York Times bestselling author of the popular military science fiction series The Heritage Trilogy, The Legacy Trilogy, The Inheritance Trilogy, Star Corpsman, and Star Carrier. A former naval corpsman, he lives in Pennsylvania.

Guest post from H. John Lyke and Kathryn L. Robyn, authors of Political Straight Talk

 

Inside the Book:

 

Title: Political Straight Talk

Author: H. John Lyke with Kathryn L. Robyn

Publisher: iUniverse

Genre: Political

Format: Ebook

In writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, our Founding Fathers established a democratic republic with a solid political basis. What they wrote was the political map that future representatives would need to follow to conduct the people’s business in an efficient and effective manner. As long as they faithfully carried out the people’s will, our democracy and republic would function in a way congruent with our forebears’ wishes.



What in the world happened?



H. John Lyke, a board-certified psychologist and professor emeritus at Metropolitan State College of Denver, and the author of multiple political psychology books, suggests that ever since George Washington retired as captain of our ship of state, subsequent presidents and members of Congress have failed to use the sailing chart of the Constitution. Instead, they’ve chosen to pursue their own and their political parties’ self-interests.



Lyke uses psychological principles to explore the reasons why our government has fallen so low, and in the voice of a kind but determined therapist, he offers simple and viable solutions to get us back to following our map.


Guest Post:

Why Bother Writing about Politics?
 Writing about politics is a strange thing. For one, ongoing events make your work obsolete the minute you type the last period. This has certainly been true for John (H. John Lyke) and me, the co-authors of Political Straight Talk: A Prescription for Healing Our Broken System of Government. In fact, the book started (before I even got involved with it) as a blog that John used to keep his previous book, What Would Our Founding Fathers Say?—How Today’s Leaders Have Lost Their Way, current and relevant. Once what was being called “gridlock” in Washington, DC, was clearly not going to loosen up, he knew he had to put those blogs into a new book. Now we find ourselves scrambling with blogs again, trying to keep PST current and relevant.
Because of this terrible speed of being in our time (apologies to Milan Kundera), we don’t approach political writing in quite the same way as other news junkies tend to do. We focus on what John calls “the simple truths of life,” those values that make up a human being’s integrity—virtue, empathy–compassion, and being of service—as well as the psychology of the players and the electorate. These things are universal truths. These things our Founding Fathers held in the forefront in their dealings with one another, though they submerged them in their dealings with those they saw as different: the Native Peoples, the enslaved people abducted from Africa, white men who did not own property or worked for others, and all women in general. As the new government got settled and we developed as a country, the struggles of these groups, as well as the immigrants arriving in waves from all over the world, to achieve the same status of liberty and justice that was promised to all, in the Constitution, would become the history of the progressive movements.
That brings us to today. Events impact these things, but these things don’t themselves change. So that’s how we approach our political writing. We look at the values written down by the Founders and promulgated (or opposed) by today’s politicians and contrast them with the subtext, what values are actually being promoted by the actions of our past and present leaders. Consequently, we find ourselves digging into a complex web of psychological process that affect all of us—how we might think we believe one thing but actually believe something else, as revealed in our behavior.
When we started writing like this—for John, over 15 years ago, and for me when I started working with John around five years ago—no one else was doing it. Now we see the words we use—ego defense mechanisms, narcissism, cognitive dissonance, empathy, compassion, public service, and the like—becoming more and more common. We hope we helped to add that piece of awareness to the national discussion of what keeps the country running well for everyone—or doesn’t, as the case may be.
Please visit the book’s website at www.lykeablebooks4u.com to see what’s happening now. You can find our blogs there as well. And please join us in the discussion to make this a country we can become proud of if you have never been or again if you once were. Mind you, we will ask you to reflect deeply into your thoughts and report honorably on how you feel and why.




Meet the Author:


Dr. Lyke earned his master’s degree in clinical psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia and his doctorate at Michigan State University. He is a board-certified psychologist and professor emeritus at Metropolitan State College of Denver, and was a clinical psychologist for the State of Colorado for many years. He has written the political psychology books The Impotent Giant and What Would Our Founding Fathers Say: How Our Leaders Have Lost Their Way, and co-authored a psychology self-help book, Walking on Air without Stumbling. He lives in Denver and has three grown children and four grandchildren. To find out more, please visit lykeablebooks4u. com, where you can read more about him as well as follow his current and archived blog posts.



More important to John, however, is that you join the discussion at lykeablebooks.wordpress.com, where the blog originates and you can post your comments.

Book Blast: Say What Loneliness? by Chaunda Gaines

 

 

Loneliness is a universal thing that affects us all. It can happen when we least expect or when we isolate ourselves from others. Having experienced loneliness, author Chaunda Gaines reveals her thoughts and suggestions that can help you with the release of her new book Say What Loneliness? This book is an inspirational guide written to help you find out where loneliness fits into your life. It can inspire you to determine if you can make your life better than what it is or even find new directions whenever you feel lost, lonely and clueless. If you know someone feeling really lonely, buy this book for them. Start making a difference with this engaging book today!
Chaunda grew up in Third Ward, Texas. She’s half Hispanic. She graduated from Marion High School in Houston, Texas. She has worked in the insurance industry for twenty-three years. She always had a dream of becoming a writer from the very age of sixteen. She grew up finding about life the hard way. She had nobody to tell her about life problems you experience, the outcome of decisions and choices you make that can scar you for life. This is what aspired her to write to help others. She writes using discernment guided by divine inspiration. When she is writing she can zone herself in that element thinking how you as an individual can be thinking inside your mind. She has gone through many hardships, heartaches, failed relationships, failed marriages and many storms in her life. Her writings are real, simple and plain. Her book is about how loneliness can effect the behavior pattern of an individual life. The outcome of loneliness creeping inside your soul could result in erratic behavior. Which could have you making bad decisions or choices in your life which can end up hurting you. There are twenty topics in this book short and precise which deals with real life issues in our everyday life. In each topic, there is an solution to how you can make your life better than it is to continue moving forward in your life and not going backwards when loneliness is present. She hopes you enjoy reading “Say What? Loneliness.