Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Our Families and Workplaces

Causes, Solutions, and Signs.

With the news putting such an emphasis on autism and autism spectrum disorder, it is perhaps appropriate to discuss another disorder permeating our families and workplaces- Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).NPD is described as:

“A personality disorder with a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.” (1)

Symptoms of NPD include:

  1. “exaggerated feelings of self-importance,”
  2. “excessive need for admiration,”
  3. “lack of empathy” (1)

Much like autism, the origins of NPD are currently unknown. However, unlike autism, there is also no known treatment. It is often said that, in families with individuals suffering from NPD, it is the only disorder where everyone is in therapy except the person actually suffering from the disorder.NPD causes marriages to fall apart, siblings to become estranged, and younger children to be left behind, without adequate levels of attention or care. In workplaces, it can lead to horrible bosses, toxic workplaces, and mutinies by the staff. But, this then begs the question of, why does this disorder exist and what, if anything, can be done about it?

Interviews with parents of children with NPD provide some insight into the disorder and its origins. The parent of one child with NPD stated, “****** was born wild. From the day I brought her home from the hospital, she was always getting into trouble, and it was never her fault. For years, all I wanted was a baby, and then I got ******. Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.” (2) Further discussions with this subject point to the disorder only worsening with the passage of time, leading to the mother’s estrangement from other mothers in the neighborhood, and subsequent problems in her marriage. Interviews such as this point to biological causes of the disorder, completely non-dependant from the environment, diet, or other factors. (2)

If one rules out environment and diet as causes of NPD, then only biological factors remain. Recent studies have identified “a structural abnormality in the brains of those with a narcissistic personality disorder, specifically noting less volume of gray matter in the left anterior insula” and as well as “reduced gray matter in the prefrontal cortex. The brain regions identified in the above studies are associated with empathy, compassion, emotional regulation, and cognitive functioning.”Subsequently, individuals born with less grey matter have “a compromised capacity for emotional empathy and emotional regulation.” (1) In short, children with NPD are born with this disorder, and literally, nothing can be done to correct the issue within them.

If NPD has biological causes, and there is no cure, where then does that leave the families of individuals with NPD?Or workplaces with an individual who has NPD? Families with children suffering from autism often go to therapy together and learn how to function as a cohesive family unit that takes into consideration the special needs of its members. Workplaces encompassing autistic employees often make special considerations for them, such as quiet offices or individualized tasks. Can similar steps be taken for individuals with NPD? Unfortunately, the answer is currently no. While psychological treatment has been attempted via psychotherapy and group treatment strategies, no long-term treatments have been subsequently identified. Unlike autism, where special considerations can be taken that lead to positive benefits, NPD has no such solutions. Unfortunately, families with children suffering from this disorder really have no other effective option other than to separate the child from the rest of the family, via placing the child in a special needs group home or giving up custody of the child to the state. Workplaces with individuals suffering from NPD are sick, and the only cure is to remove the person with the actual disorder. This solution may seem impossible to implement, but in the end, it is truly the only effective option. In cases such as this, where the welfare of others must truly become paramount, the health of the family or business must be saved, even to the detriment of the person with NPD.

Removing the person with NPD from families and workplaces is often not only for the well-being of others but also for their own well-being also. While studies show that individuals with NPD are arguably more likely to commit crimes, one can argue that they are more likely to become the target of them. In the absence of a cure or real solution, frustrated victims may lash out by harming their perpetrator. The best thing one can do, if faced with a person suffering from NPD, removes them from the family or work unit, or leave themselves.

Following are warning signs that a person in your family or workplace may suffer from NPD:

  1. Success At Any Cost. A close inspection of past relationships may show a failure to treat people kindly for the promise of a grandiose, yet superficial success. Beware of flaunted expenses, especially if there is a lack of people to share in the enjoyment.”
  2. Narcissists may be hypersexual, often in relation to power and control. Incest is frequently reported as well as a lack of regard for partner and boundaries.”
  3. Incessant Blaming. A lack of personal responsibility is a key sign. Often a narcissist will play ‘the victim’ even when he/she has hurt someone else.”
  4. Violence. Since their ego is so fragile, to begin with, any criticism received feels like an attack. They fight back much harder than what is doled out. Someone who uses violence frequently demonstrates a lack of impulse control and may also have multiple addictions.”
  5. Manipulation. Pitting people against one another for the ultimate goal of loyalty is often used by narcissists. In this case, loyalty often means isolation.” (3)

Individuals with NPD have been found to have less grey matter in the parts of the brain that are associated with empathy, compassion, emotional regulation, and cognitive functioning. (1) Unfortunately, at this time, there are no known effective treatments for this problem. As a result, it is important to learn the signs of NPD and to disassociate oneself from those with it. Failing to do so can lead to grave consequences in oneself place of work, family, and overall life. Perhaps in the future, other solution will avail themselves, but in the meantime, there truly are no other known options.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder
  2. Interview by Katherine Fry of an anonymous subject, Dec 26, 2018
  3. https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-ties-between-crime-and-malignant-narcissism/

A Brief History of Womens’ Reproductive Rights in the United States

Apothecaries, the AMA, and Female Reproductive Empowerment

The history of reproductive freedom in the United States is a long and complicated one. Most people would say that the United States illegalized abortions until the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade. However, in reality, this is far from the case. Women would seek out female apothecaries to aid with their reproductive systems’ needs, especially in times of unwanted pregnancies. This tradition only changed when the male-ruled American Medical Association stepped in and decided women needed “proper” supervision. While women today once again get to control their reproductive systems, it is still under the watchful eyes of the AMA and threatened by the United States government.

Contrary to popular belief, colonial governing structures and their laws did not prohibit abortion. In fact, colonists divided pregnancy into two distinct stages, much like we do today,-“unquickened”, or non-moving, and “quickened,” or noticeably moving. Women in this time period often ingested potions or pills before the point of “quickening” to end early term unwanted pregnancies. The word “abortion” only referred to the termination of a pregnancy after “quickening.” Terminating a pregnancy after quickening proved much more difficult, and as a result, occurred only very rarely-much like today’s late-term abortions. (1)

None of the U.S states recognized abortion as a major criminal offense until 1860. During this time, the newly created and male-only American Medical Association (AMA) decided to monopolize the medical field by eliminating apothecaries as competition. As a result, most states made apothecaries illegal and, subsequently, the use of pregnancy-ending potions and pills. The criminalization of all forms of birth control soon followed, with most states prohibiting them under federal obscenity laws.

In 1938, following a great deal of activism on the part of birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger, a federal judge lifted the US ban on birth control. As a result, diaphragms emerged as a popular method of avoiding pregnancy. In 1960, for the very first time, the US Food and Drug Administration approved an oral contraceptive. In 1965, the Supreme Court gave married couples the right to use birth control, ruling that the Constitution protected its use under the right to privacy. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that all unmarried women also had the right to oral contraceptives. In 1973, the Supreme Court established a woman’s right to an abortion, as long as a physician belonging to the AMA performed it. (2)

Today, although abortion and birth control are legal, they are still only allowed under the watchful eyes of the AMA. Apothecaries are still illegal in most states, and this ban prohibits the majority of nurses and physicians assistants from providing any sort of meaningful healthcare. Some areas of the country, however, have taken steps in allowing midwives to assist women before, during, and after birth, in place of a physician. However, the monopolizing reign of the AMA still endures. Furthermore, some of the states have once again reared their heads, attempting to strictly regulate female reproduction. So far, on a federal level, their attempts have been unsuccessful.

Controversial aspects of female reproductive health have not always been so controversial. Women apothecaries, who understood the female body, would assist other women with their reproductive needs. Only after the dictation of the male-run AMA did abortions and forms of birth control even became illegal. Today, because of the advocacy of individuals such as Margaret Sanger, women once again have control of their reproductive systems, but only under the supervision of the AMA. Furthermore, female reproductive freedom still currently faces threats from various states, who are attempting, once again, to prohibit and/or strictly regulate certain aspects of female reproductive health. Only time will tell how far their efforts will restrict the access of women to the tools necessary for their reproductive empowerment.

  1. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/roe-v-wade
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_control_in_the_United_States

Straddling the Divide

Bernie Miller, Ethnicity, Commonality and Peacemaking

In “Uneasy Lies the Head,” King Hussein of Jordan discusses straddling the divide between Jordanians and Palestinians, as well as Muslims and Jews. In doing so, he discusses life on the edge, straddling conflict, and ultimately discovering a role of biblical proportions-that of a peacemaker in a region torn apart by religion and ethnic conflict.

Like King Hussein of Jordan, Pastor Bernie Miller of New Covenant Fellowship Church in Chattanooga, TN., has taken on a similar role, in the ethnically and religiously conflicted area of Chattanooga, TN. Spurned on by census data indicating the multiple ethnicities living in the area, Pastor Miller left a successful career in the music industry to follow his calling of creating a multi-ethnic congregation in an area often torn apart by hate.

Pre-civil rights movement Chattanooga encompassed ethnic as well as economic inequality. As stated by former Congressman Moses Freeman, “Survival was really important back then. Black families made less than half of the income that white families that did the same job. My mother made $3.00 a day plus car fare for a bus ride to go to and from work. She couldn’t get a job that paid decent wages working as a secretary or a clerk. Whites who had the same level of education as my mother could go and get those jobs.” (1) He goes on to state, “You were always aware that you could be stopped at any time by the police; which happened very often. We were subject to what they called fee grabbing where African Americans would be required to pay the person who stopped us. That person was sometimes not a police officer or county official.” (1)

The Chattanooga of today is one of great ethnic diversity, but with a news cycle overwhelmed by black on black crime. While segregation is over, many young black Chattanoogan’s still experience inequalities arguably attributable to their ethnicity. Drugs have contributed to the break-up of black families, and, as a result, “many young African Americans are dropping out of school to join gangs. Many blacks can’t get good jobs because they either have felony convictions on their record or they don’t have the foundation of pride that was once the staple for African Americans who lived through segregation.” (1)

According to Miller, the Chattanooga of today is plagued with a lack of trust, often divided along the lines of one’s political persuasion. He goes on to state that these political lines often, unfortunately, find their way inside church walls. Some pastors have resorted to preaching their politics and making the grave error of thinking that everyone sitting in their congregation, black or white, agrees with their point of view, when this is often not the case. This dangerous assumption has contributed to congregations becoming conflicted and sharply divided, often cutting across lines of race, gender and class. (2)

As a harbinger of peace, Bernie Miller unites his congregation by simply preaching the word of God, as it is expressed in the Christian Holy Bible. “It is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.” By preaching the word, it is easy to discover “the motives of man’s heart.” (2) Miller reflects on two years ago, when the presidential election encompassed Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. Amongst his own congregation, Miller personally witnessed nasty posts making their way onto Facebook and other forms of social media. Despite the rhetoric, Miller refused to be drawn into the conflict. However, he did warn his church members that once an opinion is expressed on social media, it is essentially in the public domain forever. (2)

Miller witnessed a huge divide in his church, as well as Chattanooga as a whole, during Barack Obama’s tenure. He goes on to state that Obama’s policies did not hit the Bible Belt well, creating a very real conflict, again surpassing race, gender and class. Division within his congregation manifested itself along political lines, and members felt they had to take a side regarding the conflict. In regard to this issue, Miller states that while Obama showed great compassion for the LGBT community, he failed to show that same compassion toward the Christian community. Miller points out that while Obama shined the rainbow colors on the Whitehouse following the legalization of gay marriage, he did not lower the American flag when Muslim terrorists killed Christian martyrs around the world. This lack of compassion toward Christians led many African Americans to abandon the Democratic party-the only party with which many of them had ever felt any sort of affinity. (2)

Miller argues that Hillary Clinton is initially to blame for fueling the African-American hatred toward Trump. He points out that, following her defeat in the 2016 election, Hillary sent her campaign manager down to meet her throng of supporters, rather than coming down to speak with them herself. The night of the election, Hillary’s supporters waited for a concession speech, which they never did receive. This lack of closure, Miller argues, led to her supporters funneling their hatred toward Trump. As Miller states, “They needed Hillary, their champion, to come and speak to them-not her lackey.” To this very day, Hillary’s failure to personally concede to her people has led to a lack of trust and hatred amongst Americans. Charges of racism against Trump have proven to be untrue, asserts Miller, and are merely fueled by the vacuum created by Hillary failing to face her supporters following the defeat. (2)

The political minefield of American politics has brought many controversial issues to Miller’s doorstep. As a peacemaker, however, he feels his job is to find common ground amongst his congregation members. (1) In regard to the death penalty, Miller turns to scripture where it states, “‘Take a life, and life shall be taken.’ Once a court has sentenced someone to death, it is no longer important what I want.” (2) In regard to abortion, Miller states, “I am pro-life and pro-choice. However, I wish more people would choose life.” (2)

During his tenure as a pastor, Miller has personally witnessed how race affects one’s class. He states that the average black person needs to have double the education of his or her white counterparts, in order to compete for the same type of job. He also asserts, however, that this is not something about which people are necessarily intentional, or of which they are even aware. The divide begins, Miller argues, in the university setting, and is fueled by the fact that blacks and whites often share increasingly diverse backgrounds. In many ways, Miller asserts, this defeats the purpose of such individuals even being at a university since these universities so often lack an exchange of diversity. (2)

The diversity in Miller’s congregation is intentional and purposeful. Miller is very intentional about being diverse, and helping members of his congregation find common ground through their faith and in their lives. Diversity is a broad theme, and he aims to find commonality between genders, races, movements, and political beliefs. Feminists have a place in his church, as do more conservative individuals. As a peacemaker, Miller feels his job is to unite all of these different groups together through the word of Jesus Christ. (2)

Our world has, throughout time, witnessed peacemakers who enter a society, uniting individuals through a common theme. In Jordan, King Hussein united warring individuals through his simple humanity. In Chattanooga, Bernie Miller has united warring factions by finding common ground in teaching the word of God, as it is expressed in the Christian Bible. Racism, sexism, and politics fail to hold a candle to the loving inspiration provided by a peacemaker in modern times. As Chattanooga grows and changes, the intentional congregation created and fostered by Bernie Miller will continue to assist the people of this area in finding their way to a more meaningful, united future. (2)

 

 

  1. https://wdef.com/2015/02/24/black-in-the-day-a-close-look-at-black-history-in-chattanooga/
  2. Interview, Bernie Miller by Katherine Fry, 4/30/2019

Why Does the Electoral College Exist?

Republics, Democracy, Our Founding Fathers and ”Mob Rule”

The United States of American is a republic. A republic is a country governed by the rule of law and not of men. The rule of law “means that people are subject to a known set of written laws. This is distinguished from the rule of man, (which is) most notably exemplified by an absolute monarchy.” (1) In such a case, a person governing a nation “could issue any decrees he like, (and) repeal or amend such decrees at any time.” (1)

The United States is also a democracy, but it is not a pure democracy. A pure democracy is defined as a country “in which the power is exercised directly by the people rather than through representatives.” (2) Athens represents an ancient example of a pure democracy because its citizens acted as the lawmakers, without elected representatives. (2)

Our founding fathers never intended for the United States to be a pure democracy. While treasuring the ideals of pure democracy, they nevertheless, felt the need to protect the country against what is called “mob rule,” or the power of factions. James Madison, in the Federalist Papers, defined a faction as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” (3) In essence, he felt it a requirement to protect the rights of the minority from a hostile majority. In order to do so, our founding fathers put into place a system of checks and balances between the state and federal levels.

In order to balance their desire for a republic, combined with the ideals of a pure democracy, our founding fathers created a form of government called “representative democracy.” Representative democracy is defined as “a type of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people…” (4) It is meant to allow the populous to vote, while disallowing passions to come into the play of lawmaking. The founding fathers felt that the presence of representatives would allow cooler heads to prevail, during the legislative process. As a result, we have elections, where we vote for representatives, who subsequently vote on our behalf. Many feel that this is unfair, but it nevertheless encompasses the intent of our founding fathers.

The Electoral College is an example of representative democracy at the highest levels of government. Essentially, each state, individually, votes for president. The number of representatives applied to that state, based on population, then take their results to the Electoral College. The presidential candidate who receives 270 electoral votes subsequently wins. (5)

The utilization of the Electoral College during our presidential elections combines the tenants of pure democracy on the state level, with the desire for a republic on the national level, through the safeguards of representative democracy. For example, a state may vote individually for one presidential candidate, based on the popular vote, and therefore have its collective representatives cast its electoral vote for that candidate on the national level. However, this does not necessarily mean that said candidate will take all of the states and subsequently win. In this case, the desire for a republic is balanced with the ideals of a pure democracy, through the exercise of democratic representation.

The United States is both a republic and a democracy, which is what our founding fathers intended. Essentially, in order to balance the rights of the states with the powers of the federal government, our founding fathers created what is now known as a “representative democracy.” During our presidential election, the Electoral College executes the desire for a republic on the national level, with the ideals of a pure democracy on the local level. In doing so, our founding fathers respected the will of the states, while putting into place safeguards against “mob rule.” In short, the Electoral College works, just as our founding fathers intended.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_law
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy
  3. https://www.bartleby.com/essay/The-Dangers-of-Factions-Explained-in-James-FKUJGGATC
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representative_democracy
  5. https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html

Urban Gardening, Hydroponics, and the Grow Green Garden Center

How Growing Food Hydroponically Can Contribute to a More Self-Reliant Urban Lifestyle

Grow Green Garden Center burst onto the Knoxville scene in 2012, as the only hydroponics shop in the entire city. With the home-grown knowledge of growing up in a Knoxville farming family, owners Charlotte and Ty Nance embarked on the lofty ambition of bringing the benefits of rural farming into the city. This goal, in order to be successful, would also need to include teaching residents how to create and cultivate their own urban gardens.

Creating a self-sustaining lifestyle has become very popular in certain parts of the country. While some people have moved completely out of the cities and turned toward living off the grid, this is not an option for everyone. Grow Green Garden Center is providing the opportunity to create a “self-reliant” lifestyle while living in the city. Why would city slickers want to create a self-reliant lifestyle?

  • It is more affordable in the long-term long term and can result in “a large stockpile of emergency cash or long-term savings.” (1)
  • Many people report feelings of long-term satisfaction from being able to do things themselves, and children emerging from such households tend to have happier, more successful lives. (1)
  • A self-reliant household is less dependant on the government during times of crisis, essentially creating a safe-haven for family members during times of war, famine, or natural disaster. (1)
  • The type of food consumed in a self-reliant lifestyle is typically less toxic and much more nutritious than that of the typical urban lifestyle. Members of self-reliant households are much less dependent on the processed food of grocery stores.

The lack of access to soil has created a major stumbling block for many people wanting to create a more self-reliant urban home. For example, many people living in condominiums, apartments, or homes with little to no yard, may feel they have no other option but to eat at a restaurant or buy their food in a grocery store. However, growing food hydroponically provides an excellent solution to the urban gardening quandary. Benefits from growing your own food, in addition to increased self-reliance, also include little to no physical exposure to harmful pesticides. (2) It is a fact that adverse health effects from pesticides include cancer, effects on reproduction, immune or nervous systems.” (3) An urban self-reliant lifestyle provides city slickers with the opportunity to eliminate or at least alleviate this harmful exposure to deadly toxins.

Growing food hydroponically means growing fruits, vegetables, or plants without soil. In opening their store, Ty and Charlotte Nance have successfully created a community of self-reliant individuals running successful urban gardens within their homes. Their mission has grown to include “help(ing) others reach their goals and provide the highest quality supplies and information with regards to urban gardening, hydroponics, horticultural and sustainable living.” (4)

Their newest location, at 4644 NE Walker Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37918., has emerged as a community center “where people go to get information as well as supplies. The urban gardening community trusts that we are providing the best information possible and that level of trust has grown over the years.” (4) In addition to the health benefits of growing food hydroponically, “hydroponics allows for much more rapid growth rate than that of soil, increasing yield and production,” further reducing the dependence of urban gardeners on the grocery store. (4)

For further information about the benefits of urban gardening and creating a more self-reliant urban home, please reach out to Ty or Charlotte Nance at 865-249-8259, or go to their website at www.growgreengardencenter.com

  1. https://offgridsurvival.com/selfsufficient-urbanliving/
  2. https://growgreengardenshop.com/about-us/
  3. https://www.who.int/features/qa/87/en/
  4. Interview. April 11th, 2019

Religion, Ritualistic Avoidances, and Capitalism

Do the Benefits of Capitalism Transcend Traditional Religion?

Islam, Judaism, and Christianity currently constitute the three major religions of the world. They are distinguishable from one another through some major theological differences. However, one concept they all have in common is that they make certain things or people the object of ritualistic avoidances.

Objects of ritualistic avoidance can more succinctly be described as people, things, or ideas that do not fit into an expected or “proper” category. For example, when an animal bleeds without stopping for several days, it is expected to die. However, women bleed every month, for several days, and nevertheless live. Because of this fact, women, in many religions and cultures, have become the object of a ritualistic avoidance. According to ancient texts of all three major religions, women are supposed to cover their heads and men are supposed to avoid them, except in marriage. Women are prohibited from co-mingling with men in mosques and orthodox synagogues. In the past, men and women were separated into churches. Furthermore, many women, even today, are kept primarily in the home, away from people they do not know.

Homosexuals are often another object of ritualistic avoidance because they do not fit the expected category of a male husband and a female wife. Furthermore, they have sexual relations but do not have children. As a result, they too, like women, are often made the object of a ritualistic avoidance. For example, homosexuals are prohibited entry into many places of worship, and most religions will not provide a ritualistic coming together for them, such as a marriage ceremony. Like women, in many societies, homosexuals are often avoided.

Transgendered individuals provide a classic case of individuals who do not fit into a category. Neither exclusively male or female, they defy convention. Many religions or denominations have condemned them to hell, denied them entry into places of worship, and prohibited them from even being around church members. They are fired from jobs, kicked out of families, and often left on the streets. Arguably, it is difficult to contemplate a more uncertain social position, where the traditional categories simply do not apply.

African-Americans occupy a precarious position within the history of America. Their peculiar beginning in this country has resulted in them becoming the object of ritualistic avoidances, throughout time. The hardships they suffered provided historical examples of how capitalism can transcend systemic racism. For example, the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins of 1960 resulted in an extraordinary loss of revenue to the company. As a result, Woolworths changed its discriminatory policy of not serving African-Americans. Additionally, the Birmingham bus boycott of 1956/57, triggered by the Rosa Parks incident, ended because of the economic loss to the bus lines. The tremendous loss of revenue resulted in the discriminatory law being swiftly changed. These examples of capitalism transcending ritualistic avoidance arguably resulted in a better world for us all.

In the business world, business owners and employees alike, encounter various types of individuals. Quite simply, if a person has the need for a product or service, it is highly unlikely they will be ritualistically avoided. This is because of the economic benefit reaped by the company or individual providing the product or service. In this sense, as displayed in the historical examples previously cited, it can be asserted that capitalism has the potential to be the great equalizer. For example, if a woman, homosexual, transgendered individual, or African-American, expressed an interest in purchasing a digital marketing program, a plethora of individuals within this given field would immediately run to their aid. Denying service to them would result in a negative societal benefit or loss of revenue. Those refusing to provide service would be doing so at their own peril. As a result, capitalism makes approaching, co-mingling, and serving them preferable.

The three major religions of the world encourage the ritualistic avoidance of individuals who do not fit into “proper” societal categories. However, capitalism has quite the opposite effect, providing an economic benefit for supplying products or services for individuals, whether they fit into a category or not. As a result, one can surmise that capitalism has the potential to be the great equalizer, transcending some of the negative aspects of religion as well as their resulting cultural rituals. As capitalism spreads around the world, its equalizing qualities and positive social benefits will avail themselves to further analysis and study.

The North American Emerald Ash Borer Infestation and Solutions

It’s Origins, Solutions. And Consequences

The Emerald Ash Borer is an insect native to North East Asia, that is now steadily migrating across the United States. In doing so, it has affected tens of millions of ash trees in its devastating wake. The insects lay eggs on the bark of ash trees, followed by larvae then burrowing its way into them. Ultimately, in doing so, they steal the tree’s vital nutrients. If not treated promptly, tree death will most certainly occur. These little beetles have caused billions of dollars in damages to the forestry industry. Urban arborists have been reeling for years on how to adequately protect ash trees from this foreign infestation.

The Emerald Ash Borer made its first appearance in the US during 2002 when a crate, comprised of infested wood, arrived in Michigan as a delivery from Asia. Today, it is found in thirty-five states, as well as a few Canadian provinces. As a result, one can argue that they are quite the little travel bugs. However, all joking aside, these insects travel, multiply, and have the capability to wipe out mass groves at a time. The removal of these beetles, and the treatment of the ash trees, need to be taken seriously.

Ways to help prevent the ongoing spread of the Emerald Ash Borer include:

Do not move firewood of off your property, as they are often harboring the Emerald Ash Borer.
Do not purchase firewood from out of state, as doing so could potentially bring more Emerald Ash Borers into your state.
Keep a lookout for D-shaped holes, measuring one-eighth inch across, in the bark of your ash trees. This is the tell-tale sign of adult Emerald Ash Borers.
If you find the signs of the Emerald Ash Borer on your property, contact a certified arborist for assistance.

Ash trees provide urban environments with both shade and aesthetic benefits. Additionally, Ash trees comprise one of the primary components of everyday wood-based products, including furniture and baseball bats. The Emerald Ash Borer infestation has devastated the timber industry and robbed countless neighborhoods of the desired shade. As of today, the Emerald Ash Borer has killed tens of millions of ash trees and threatens to kill the majority of what is left!

Help us save the trees by having your property inspected for an Emerald Ash Borer infestation!

Call Arbor Art Tree Care, Inc. at (615) 299-9999 to set up an appointment today.

More information about the emerald ash borer, please visit us at www.arborart.net/resources

  1. http://www.timesnews.net/News/2010/07/27/Insects-that-destroy-ash-trees-discovered-in-East-Tennessee
  2. http://www.emeraldashborer.info/
  3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerald_ash_borer

Notre Dame, False Dichotomies, and Societal Values

Why Believing in One Concept is not Necessarily Contrary to Another

“Speaking as a Catholic here…please don’t donate money to help Notre Dame. The church is worth $300 billion. Donate to help Puerto Rico recover. Donate to get the people of Flint clean water. Donate to get kids out of cages. Jesus didn’t care about stained glass. He cared about humans.” (1)

As a citizen of the world, I am absolutely appalled by this misguided statement made by author Kristan Higgins. Why am I appalled? I am appalled because Notre Dame is a symbol of not only the Catholic Church, but of a millennium of culture. It is essentially a living, breathing historical monument that gives its own unique perspective on the French Revolution. It holds countless forms of priceless art, not to mention a plethora of religious relics including the purported crown of thorns that sat on the head of Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. This monument to French history is appreciated by millions of individuals around the world, of different faiths and different values. It is a timeless gem, and the loss of Notre Dame, or the lack of its restoration, is arguably truly devastating for all of humanity.

This leads to the next question. Why would someone make such a careless statement? In essence, Ms. Higgins has fallen prey to the misunderstanding brought upon us by false dichotomies. False dichotomies advocate, what some call, “the either-or fallacy,” also referred to as “black-and-white thinking.” (2) For example, individuals offended by the “Black Lives Matter Movement,” argue that “All lives matter.” However, simply because a movement advocates that the lives of African Americans in the United States matter, does not mean, or in any way advocate, that the lives of white, Asian, or other ethnic groups do not matter. Advocating for one group does not mean advocating against others. Similarly, simply because a person is pro-choice, does not mean they are against, or in any way opposed, to women choosing to continue with their pregnancies. On the whole, the pro-choice movement advocates the introduction of choices to young women, and the provision of assistance to them, regardless of what personal choice they make.

The false dichotomy advocated by Ms. Higgins argues that if you give money to a cause such as Notre Dame, you inherently do not care about people suffering around the world. This is not the case. One can care about restoring Notre Dame, and allocate money toward this cause, while still caring about “kids in cages” or people having clean water in Michigan. One must not care about one cause, to the exclusion of the other. Perhaps Ms. Higgins made her statement simply to be inflammatory and to start a dialogue on this matter. However, it is also very possible that Ms. Higgins believes what she stated, and in the process of taking her stance, ultimately misdirected funds that could have gone to help restore this timeless symbol of our humanity. Either way, it is important for individuals to understand the fallacy of false dichotomies, and not to fall prey to individuals making “either-or” arguments.

I am honored to have had the privilege of seeing Notre Dame twice before it burned. I am also thankful that my nine-year-old niece, who is well on her way to being a citizen of the world, also experienced the privilege of seeing and learning about this glorious cathedral. Contributing to its restoration, in any way one can, is a worthwhile endeavor, and it is not to the exclusion of other worthwhile causes around the world. In essence, one can care about the poor, and the restoration of Notre Dame, at the very same time, without degrading the value of the other. I implore you to give, to whatever cause moves you, without hesitation. Quite simply, in doing so, one can never go wrong, and, in the end, all of humanity ultimately benefits.

  1. https://amarketnews.com/2019/04/17/please-dont-donate-to-help-notre-dame-said-author-kristan-higgins/
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

Julian Assange, A Cat, and Diplomatic Asylum

The Role of A Furry Feline in an International Arrest

Julian Assange lived as a guest of the Ecuadorian embassy for more than seven years. Running from various charges, including a rape accusation in Sweden and an espionage charge by the United States, the embassy encompassed his last stand at resistance. Admired by some, and reviled by others, he attracted international notoriety and guests from around the world, including Amal Clooney as well as Pamela Anderson. Nevertheless, as time dragged on, and the presidency in Ecuador changed, the Ecuadorian government began to lose their patience with this famous visitor. Why? Well, at least one of the reasons included the fact that he did not properly care for his cat.

Through natural selection, cats have evolved into our nearly perfect companions. Left with the most basic of provisions, they can seemingly be left alone unattended for days. However, having a cat does take some effort, regardless of how self-sufficient they may seem. For instance, kitty litter must be provided and changed, as well as food and water. Without the supply of these essential items, cats will devolve into the angriest of creatures, often using the entire house as their litter box and meowing until, at which time, they feel properly attended.

In the absence of any specific reports, we are only left to guess how Assange neglected his beloved feline. One can imagine an Ecuadorian ambassador walking through the hallways of the embassy saying, “Is that cat pee I smell? Julian, this cat has destroyed our carpeting! Change its litter box, now!” Furthermore, one can also imagine the feline, pawing and begging at the office doors of the embassy employees, begging for food, because Julian, so caught up in international intrigue and the releasing of classified documents, forgot to feed his baby kitten. Repeated infractions would lead to Julian being branded as, not only a bad kitten father, but also a bad houseguest.

Now, it is imperative to understand that Assange did not view himself as a houseguest, but instead as an asylum seeker. After all, he was subsequently granted this status under the rules of diplomatic asylum. However, one can fairly say, especially in light of recent circumstances, that the rules of pet caretaking overrule the rules of diplomatic asylum when our feline friends are involved.

In November 2017, the Ecuadorian released a nine-page document regarding behavior requirements for Julian Assange. The rules included, amongst others, taking care of his cat’s “well-being, food, and hygiene,” or risk losing the rights to having a cat. (1) In response, Assange released pictures of himself and his beloved feline to the media, showing how much they adored one another. Apparently unable to live according to these unbearably harsh guidelines, Assange eventually released the cat to a local shelter, allegedly for the sake of its own well-being. One can just as easily argue that Assange embarked upon this act for his own well-being, considering his hosts had become arguably disgusted and tired of dealing with their long-standing infamous houseguest.

On the morning of April 11, 2019, London police pulled Julian from his Ecuadorian refuge. In response, hundreds of individuals came forward offering to adopt Assange’s cat, apparently unaware it had already been given away. While escaping to the embassy encompassed Assange’s last stand at resistance, the giving away of the beloved feline arguably represented his last stand at attempting to become a good houseguest. But, alas, Assange had acted too late, with the damage already done, leaving his hosts searching for a humane and legal way to get him removed from their premises. Releasing classified documents is forgivable, but apparently, neglecting a cat is not.

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/ecuador-julian-assange-please-clean-up-after-your-cat-2018-10?r=UK

King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Boeing, and Accountability

Why Maintaining the Trust of Subjects or Clients is Paramount to Business Success

Honesty and accountability are two characteristics required for a business to succeed. Boeing and the Kingdom of Morocco have recently devolved into chaotic situations, betraying the trust of their clients or subjects.

Once a beloved figure of Morocco, King Mohammed VI is now the focus of his subjects’ anger and bewilderment. His wife, the first and so far only Princess Consort, Princess Lalla Salma, has disappeared from public life, simply abandoning her charities and constituents. The Moroccan people are wanting answers, but the King and his court are suspiciously quiet. This is driving a wedge between the King and his country’s trust. Will their disrespect influence the countries with which Morocco does business?

The Boeing Corporation is an American favorite airplane manufacturer. The American government, its people, and other countries around the world, have trusted Boeing completely and rooted for its success. So powerful is this trust, that the Federal Aviation Administration has allowed Boeing to certify its own airplanes, absent the FAA’s final seal of approval. This once beloved company arguably betrayed this trust when they continued to fly the Boeing 737 Max, after two fatal crashes killing every person on board, and one more close call. Their silence and complicity regarding the reasons for the crashes as well as their possible role in it’s occurring, has frightened individuals around the world. Has Boeing’s drive for profit ultimately put its clients at risk? If so, are they willing to stand up and take responsibility?

These situations are similar in the sense that both King Mohammed VI and Boeing are essentially self-regulating entities, entrusted to keep the best interests of their constituents at heart. Their reputations are critical to the success of these “entities,” and a loss of trust will then lead to a lack of sales and/or trade agreements on both accounts.

In essence, a great deal of trust has been put into King Mohammed VI and Boeing. But just as easily as trust is given, it can be taken away. Princess Lalla Salma, once a feminist icon in the stifling Middle East, has simply disappeared from the national stage. The world press has resorted to frantically searching for the missing princess, as the royal court has refused to comment on her whereabouts, or whether she is even dead or alive. On the same token, Boeing made such substantial changes to the 737, that its newest incarnation, the 737 Max, barely resembles its parent, in either form or function. Despite this unsettling fact, Boeing has made no changes to the 737 Max training manual or checklist. Additionally, Boeing has offered its pilots no additional training or preparedness for the plane’s substantial changes. As a result, two horrific crashes have ensued, and the plane has subsequently been grounded by the FAA.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and there are no better examples than King Mohammed VI of Morocco and Boeing. Honesty and accountability are required for any entity to have the trust of its people. A lack of accountability has led to the possible murder of a princess consort, and the untimely deaths of many airline passengers. Businesses and governments must remain accountable and honest, or risk losing their reputation and trust in the ensuing chaos. Once trust is gone, it is very difficult to regain.