Saturday, January 2, 2010

Operant Conditioning and 2009



The past year was not one of my best. In fact on December 28th I was not all that sure I even wanted to see the final days of it. I felt like a victim of B.F. Skinner and Operant Conditioning. Skinner is famous for the Skinner box which tested learning levels with rats through positive and negative reinforcement. One of his most horrid modifications of this was two boxes which were wired to give an electric shock. A cat was placed in one and shocked. It jumped to the other. Where it again got shocked. After a few repetitions of this experiment the cat would just sit in the box and shiver as it got shocked.

As a young college student and lover of cats my exposure to this shocking experiment sent me running from my Psych 101 class and back to the registrar to switch to Anthropology 101 instead. B.F. Skinner even developed a box for his infant daughter. And to this day I wonder where he buried all the bodies.

What I learned personally from this experience is animals are trainable but that old saw about God never giving you more than you can handle is bull shit. If it was true people would not be shivering in straight jackets in lock down rooms in mental institutions. I avoided the straight jacket but I spent large parts of several days just sitting in my easy chair under heaps of afghans and shivering and crying. The purr kids, Skinner was so fond of torturing, and the dogs loved and supported me and demanded I get out of the chair from time to time to feed them and walk them. And help from my two legged and ether friends.

I still feel very fragile and am approaching 2010 tentatively. I am looking in every single box before I decide to trust it. That does make it hard to be positive but I am working on a positive game plan for the year ahead. Dare I hope there are no shocks?

3 comments:

  1. Firstly Jacqui,that B.F.Skinner sounded like he was not quite right in his brain..very sadistic perhaps.

    As for you Jacs..I am more concerned about you than B.F.Skinner. I think most of us feel a little fragile around the Christmas and New Year season,I know I am,too many memories stirred up,and I seem to settle down as the days go on.

    Being Winter also does not help the situation as we become shut inside more,I am sure if the warm sun came through we would be delighted,and would be out there just loving it all.

    I myself having had Christmas all my life in Summer,and I used to dream about a Winter Christmas with all the snow etc..hehe just a dream and nothing romantic about it at all. Give me the Summer Christmas where at least we can get outside..go for a walk along an Ocean beach..sit and watch a full moon up over the sea.

    Is the Winter blues sweet..I know exactly how you are feeling,I just said to Bobby that I would like us to go for a nice long drive today..my way of escaping I suppose.

    Throw yourself into a new venture,my goodness you are such a clever talented lady,maybe try something new(what don't you know lol)Give that active brain of yours a challenge...is what my Mum would tell me,and for me works.

    Well Jacs you know Jacs I suppose at the end of the day,we probably all in the same boat..we not those young things anymore..but we are certainly not old old either..sometimes I think we just have to sit back..reflect on our lives and say..
    'I did it my way'

    As we say back home Jacs
    'She'll be right Mate'
    and she will`!!!

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  2. Jacqui, I think that legal issue is always at the back of your mind and you never get to feel at peace because of it. I know the feeling - been there. Sometimes you do just crash, and no doubt, Christmas, short dark days, and gray skies have not helped. Sometimes a good cry does help, because it just happens to be the only thing you can do at the time.

    Realistically, we have to face each year knowing it will have its joys and its pitfalls, just like all the others. But we have to do our best to keep moving on. There are some blue skies, literal and figurative, ahead. Believe that.

    Try to fight the feeling of giving up. But do some self-nurturing in the meantime. Warm afghans, hot drinks, fur kids all around. And locate yourself amongst your lovely art creations and think and plan about the next ones.

    This shall pass. Truly, it will.

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  3. I think Becky hit the nail on the head, Jacqui. Regardless of the outcome, and I'm always saying this to my own self too, the treasures we store here on earth are only temporary things. So are our lives, for that matter. There are no guarantees. Yet, regardless of the cabin I so loved and lost, and the home you so love and want to keep, there is the simple fact that you've been blessed with a beautiful mind and marvelous talent. I know myself that there are those low-spirited creatures roaming the earth who would rob me of my joy to create and bless others just for the simple fact that they are petty. There are others who are jealous. And I can't tell you how many times others have copied my ideas instead of tapping into and carrying out their own. This is also a pet peeve, ending up with me saying aloud: 'Why effin bother?!'
    Bottom line is: we do bother. And this is the beauty in those who do, who try and are courageous like you, me and Becky to get up again. Get up! Get up! Get up! And I thank God every day I live that I'm alive. HUGS

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