Walking Away From Destructive Behavior

Even if you are not a football fan, you have probably read or heard news stories about NFL players being arrested for an assortment of reasons including animal abuse, spousal abuse, armed robbery and even murder. Most of us shake our heads and wonder how a young person given the opportunity to make the type of money that an NFL player commands can be so stupid. Others wonder why the NFL condones such behavior by allowing these players to continue their careers in the NFL.
Baltimore Raven's linebacker Rolando McClain recently retired from the NFL, after three seasons, at the age of twenty-four.  McClain decided to walk away from his NFL career and re-enroll at the University of Alabama because he was concerned about his self-destructive behavior and feared he might eventually do harm to another human being.

McClain told ESPN Magazine that he had dark thoughts. “I felt like Aaron Hernandez,” the former linebacker said in the article. “Like I just wanted to kill somebody.”  According to ESPN, McClain felt overwhelmed by the stresses of the NFL.  He was angry as well.  He told reporters that his friends and relatives asked him for money and that he spent over $600,000 on them after signing his rookie contract.  

McClain's life has not been an easy one.  He was born July 14, 1989 in Decatur, Alabama. He grew up in the projects in Decatur.  At age 15, he had to get a retraining order against his mother, Tonya Malone, after she beat him and threatened him with a knife. She was later arrested after threatening his entire high school which resulted in a lock down. She was later diagnosed as bi-polar. Although McClain's father was awarded custody of Roland, he ended up living with several different families during his high school years.

McClain signed a $40 million dollar contract with the Oakland Raiders in July 2010.   He was released from the Raiders in April 2013 and then signed by the Baltimore Ravens before deciding to retire from football in May 2013.  During his stint in the NFL, McClain was arrested several times.  He was arrested December 1, 2011 for third degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm inside city limits, all misdemeanors, and for a shooting incident the night before. He was found guilty on all counts.  He was arrested again on November 18, 2012 with charges being dropped after the victim agreed to a financial settlement. He was arrested a third time on January 8, 2013 after Decatur police pulled him over for a window tint violation and e gave the police a false name.  He was arrested once again on April 21, 2013 for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. 

McClain has apparently done some soul searching as he decided to walk away from a $700,00 contract with up to $400,000 in incentives after realizing he is full of anger and walking a self-destructive path.  He told ESPN, "I felt like Aaron Hernandez, like I just wanted to kill somebody."

McClain should be applauded for his decision.  How many young men, or people for that matter, possess the self-awareness needed to realize they are headed down the wrong path?  How many are strong enough to walk away from that kind of money and the life style it can buy?  

Watch this video on espn  http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9882568/nfl-former-oakland-raiders-alabama-linebacker-rolando-mcclain-self-imposed-exile

What the World Needs is a Little Empathy & Compassion

Empathy is the capacity to recognize, or feel, the emotions that another person or being is experiencing. Compassion is an emotion that we feel in response to the pain and suffering of another being.  A little bit of empathy is needed in order to experience compassion. 

In an article titled "Empathy & Compassion," Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology writes "In the last few years you may have noticed the increase in warfare, divisiveness, unbridled profit seeking and budget cutting on the backs of the poor, sick or elderly, all examples of lack of empathy and compassion. Quality of life and happiness indices are falling rapidly in the USA, more rapidly than in other countries. Yes, they are related."  

In a well researched article titled "The Compassionate Instinct," Dacher Keltner discusses the collective beliefs that humans are selfish, greed is good, altruism is an illusion, cooperation is for suckers, competition is natural, war is inevitable and the bad in human nature is stronger than the good. Keltner points out that such beliefs have been perpetuated from the time of Plato, who "compared the human soul to a chariot: the intellect is the driver and the emotions are the horses. Life is a continual struggle to keep the emotions under control.," to the present day. 

Keltner writes, "Even compassion, the concern we feel for another being’s welfare, has been treated with downright derision. Kant saw it as a weak and misguided sentiment: “Such benevolence is called soft-heartedness and should not occur at all among human beings,” he said of compassion. Many question whether true compassion exists at all—or whether it is inherently motivated by self-interest."

Keltner then goes on to discuss recent findings and studies that indicate that these old and outdated beliefs have no basis in reality.  "These studies support a view of the emotions as rational, functional, and adaptive—a view which has its origins in Darwin’s Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals. Compassion and benevolence, this research suggests, are an evolved part of human nature, rooted in our brain and biology, and ready to be cultivated for the greater good."

Keltner then provides the reader with a good amount of information supporting the idea that "compassion is deeply rooted in our brains, our bodies, and in the most basic ways we communicate."  

If this is the case, then why do so many people people seem to lack empathy and compassion ?  Why the wars, the greed and the divisiveness?  Although we are born as empathetic and compassionate beings, our beliefs are conditioned by our environment, culture, society and parents.  If we are to make the world a better place, we have to collectively work on changing our collective beliefs and value systems.  We have to learn to cultivate and develop the empathy and compassion that resides within us.  We have to start with ourselves and then those around us.  

Kymatica - A Documentary

Kymatica is a documentary about human and universal consciousness produced by Ben Stewart,  Kymatica was voted best scientific documentary in the 2009 New York Film Festival. It is an hour and a half long and worth the time it takes to watch.  Kymatica explores the metaphysical aspects of reality from creation to the boundaries on our freedom imposed upon us by our own collective beliefs.

"Evolution is a term to define only one organism and that's the self. The self is the universe, the self is the alpha and omega, god, and infinity, and that's the only thing that evolves because we are all part of the self. Nothing goes through an evolutionary process alone or without direct benefit to the whole. So when you begin to think that there's this controlling elite, this controlling hand behind the curtains leading the planet to destruction..."

The Media History Digital Library

The Media History Digital Library is a non-profit initiative dedicated to digitizing collections of classic media periodicals in the public domain for full public access.  Here you will find a wealth of reading material and information on the histories of cinema, broadcasting and sound.  The collections include technical journals, fan magazines and everything in between.  There are literally scans of hundreds of thousands of magazine pages from thousands of magazine issues from 1904 to 1963.


Hollywood Studio Systems Collection 1914-1948
Fan Magazine Collection 1911-1963
Early Cinema Collection 1903-1928
Yearbook Collection 1916-1964
Broadcasting Collection 1896-1964
Non-Theatrical Film Collection 1918-1973
Technical Journals Collection 1924-1954
Government & Law Collection 1912-1995
Global Cinema Collection 1904-1957

Each collection consists of dozens of different publications.  Anyone interested in the history of film, broadcast and/or sound should visit this site.  Make sure you have a lot of time on your hands!