Keeping Prejudice Alive



Some of the latest thinking on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (just getting those letters all out in correct order is enough to give me ADHD) argues that the condition is not really a bodily or mental affliction but a natural state for some people, especially children. Being fidgety, having a short attention span, not being able to concentrate for long on anything in particular— these traits are more or less brought on by the over-regulated, prescriptive world we live in. That sounds plausible to me. But then the learned scientists who are arguing this way go into examples (“A Natural Fix For A.D.H.D.” by Richard A. Friedman in the New York Times, Nov. 2, 2014). They suggest that  ADHD people would be right at home in a hunting and gathering society, like in Paleolithic times, when daily life shifted rapidly from one exciting, dangerous situation to another. It was not until humans settled into the boring routine of sedentary agriculture that such people became estranged and out of touch with the rest of society and started suffering from what would later be diagnosed as ADHD.

Once more farming is depicted as boring. After a lifetime of being subjected to this kind of stereotypical thinking,  I know I should just ignore it.  Anybody who has had the least bit of experience in agriculture knows it is one of the most  exciting ways in the world to lose your money or your life. But when the stereotypical thinking comes from places like the Weill Cornell Medical College, I must protest.

Before I even get into whether farming is boring or not, the article quoted above has it all wrong about hunting and gathering too, in my opinion. Since none of us lived in Paleolithic times, we can say anything we feel like saying and get away with it but I have done my share of hunting and gathering and take strong exception to the article’s claim that “a short attention span was useful to hunter-gatherers.” Quite the opposite. A successful hunter must wait quiet and patiently in a tree stand, or a blind or on a stump in the woods sometimes for hours to get a crack at his or her quarry. The real problem with hunting today is that there are too many ADHD type hunters out there, tearing up and down the back roads in pickups, hooting and hollering and blasting away at wild animals in wild abandon, scaring their quarry into the next county.

Compared to sitting in an office making stereotypical remarks about mankind,  farming is breathtakingly exciting. I grant that there are days when you might spend hours in a tractor cab, listening to talk show rant or gabbing on your cell phone while the tractor drives itself. But the second you quit paying attention to what’s going on, or almost slumber off to sleep in boredom, bells and whistles are likely to start clamoring away, indicating a loose belt or a broken pin or a plugged up auger or the embarrassing fact that you just plowed half way through the township road bordering your field. If anything, ADHD-afflicted people should by all means get into farming. They will succeed like no other personality can, except maybe those who have an uncontrollable urge to gamble.

Every day on the farm is full of gut-wrenching situations. Farmers live with one eye on market reports streaming across the computer screen and the other on the sky, scanning for either fair weather or foul. He or she must be ready at all times to click a button that might mean losing or gaining a hundred thousand dollars or so on the grain and livestock markets. And the tension never ends. Used to be there would be time in winter for a little relaxation. But the government keeps making regulations in all seasons and the connivers keep finding ways to get around the regulations, so one must be ever vigilant and ready to outwit both. What farmers yearn for more than anything is a month or two of boredom every year. Or medicine that would make sure that they are never cured of their ADHD.


Saw Gene being interviewed on the show GMO OMG and was very impressed. The health and wellness company I’m with uses non GMO plant based products and undenatured whey protein that promotes healthy eating and living. It has done wonders for me. The show GMO OMG made me take an even deeper look at and be more serious about not eating processed food. Trying to go completely organic and trying to urge people to take a closer and more serious look at what they’re putting in their bodies.

I have always believed, since ADHD came into our lexicon, that it nutritionally and/or based in allergies and I have seen evidence to support this. I have also known people with this diagnosis and most of their diets are not good. I also know of a child who had everything, including drugs, tried on him until it was suggested that he needed allergy testing. In his case, that was the problem.

Jim Marrs, in his book “The Rise of the Fourth Reich,” explains that at the end of WWII, we had about 40 mental mental diagnoses. Today, there are around 400, and it seems that are several drugs for each one. I believe this is to make Big Pharma richer and more powerful. Drugs are not the answer for children with behavioral problems.

Also, school districts get more federal money when children receive a “diagnosis.” My son’s schools tried to tell me he was hyperactive. I told them he was a normal boy. Boys run, jump, climb, get into things, etc., and so do many girls (me as a child). Reject Big Pharma!

I was accused in school more than a few times of having a short attention span back in those days no fancy names for such things,but my attention span was only short when I was doing something I didn’t like.I could sit for hours on a riverbank watching Bullfrogs,Kingfishers,turtles and other animals taking in every little thing they did and I think that’s a lot of kids problems today.If I’d of been raised in an apartment I’d of driven everyone crazy like my wife says I drive her crazy on days I stay around the house but on a farm I fit right in going like the blazes from Sun up to Sun down doing all sorts of interesting things.

I don’t know much about ADHD but I know a bit about paying attention, as Russ calls it. I know that I can calm down, think my thoughts, drink in nature, answer my questions, and really pay attention better in the quiet of solitude. Solitude by a flickering fire on a cold day is almost as good as the solitude of being outdoors on my place. Nothing to distract me from taking it all in, no speed-of-light modern technology vying for my attention, a momentary pause from the noise of our modern world. I don’t have ADHD, but I know this quiet solitude helps me when I am feeling bombarded by outside stimuli. I often wonder why others don’t feel the same way? why they don’t long for a little quiet empty space, but then I remind myself that it would be boring if we were all the same.

That gave me a good chuckle, thank you. I once heard of a man whose son was diagnosed with ADHD. Said man thought it meant that his son wasn’t getting enough attention so he started spending a whole lot more time doing things with his son….the ADHD was cured!

I was an early victim of the ADHD scam, but was smart enough to dump the drugs they put me on and because they thought they had me drugged suddenly I was OK in the school’s myopic view of life. School was just plain boring to me until I got to college. Amazing how the system messes up young lives with mind altering drugs yet if some kid smokes pot the go bats….

Your thoughts about the equipment operator paying attention or not reminded me of a quote from a book published in the early 80’s that I came across by chance a couple months ago. I guess it was a best seller but I did not remember hearing about it at the time. On page 17 of “Blue Highways’ by William Least Half-Moon he writes:

” Sitting full in the moment, I practiced on the god-awful difficulty of just paying attention………any traveler who misses the journey misses about all he’s going to get …..a man becomes his attentions. His observations and curiousity, they make and remake him.”

Seems to me to be a pretty good summary of the underlying theme of your body of work.

On a lighter note the local radio station ran an ad for a water conditioning business this morning. They were advertising how their computerized softener helped a resident figure out why his water bill was so high. They had him check the screen on the unit that showed a flow rate even though all faucets were turned off. With that high tech information and some highly trained consultants they eventually figured out his commode was running continuously. Ain’t technology grand – reminds me of the math students that grab a calculator to multiply 3*12. Paying attention tends to pay good dividends.

I have known people with ADHD. People very close to me. In their cases, it was an ever changing circumstance, different every day. Lost sleep or increased stress levels exacerbated the condition and you could see and hear the fragmented thought patterns showing outwardly in writing, speech, and actions. Counter-intuitively, the best thing for ADHD seemed to be a schedule, an organized environment, and consistency. Balance is the name of the game. With a healthy diet and lifestyle, a schedule we could stick to, and a neat and tidy house, the symptoms became negligible.

The other (and arguably more important) thing that helped was just spending time in nature. This cure is for almost any ailment. A long (or even short, something is better than nothing) walk in the woods/fields/meadows will satisfy the mind, invigorate the body, and soothe the spirit. Observation of nature puts us in our place. We can better accept what we must do after seeing a bird building a nest, or a bee collecting nectar and pollen.

ADHD is not a boon for for those who wish to farm. Patience is a trait needed to nurture a crop or raise stock. Not being able to pay attention is par for youngsters trapped in a pew or a desk bound cubical dweller tied to the Web. The inability to focus on the task at hand can be deadly when operating farm equipment. Yes agriculture is a gamble, but those who succeed in the business side of it are able to minimize the risk and get their excitement elsewhere.

I do recall having read a year or two ago of some European researchers who found a simple “cure” for ADHD in children. They feed them a diet greatly reduced in refined carbohydrates and processed foods in favor of fruits, vegetables, and portioned proteins. Took about a month to take effect. It could well be that we act what we eat.

I will be acting oatmeal with peach preserves tomorrow. Stay warm.

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