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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • A beautifully written article, Sylvia.
    I think I got the gist.
    When it comes to caring about animals, I've met quite a few of those people with cold, steel-like pumps embedded in their chests, performing only the basic intended purpose.

  • Okay for YOU, Babzy! If nothing more, take a gander at Endnotes 2 and 5 - then show them to Ruthie.
    Your own narrative style has a richness and maturity I'd be glad to emulate.
    Pass this along to your sister: YES! I spied someone in there guaranteed to drain the infernal epididymis so I can get out there and hoe my patty-pan squash in peace!!! -- Also tell her I'm heading up to the lib. this Tuesday. xx

  • Hiya, Kylie!

    One of ancient Greece's greatest philosophers said of himself: 'I know that I know nothing.' He had what may have been the most sophisticated intellect in Athens, yet he claimed to know nothing. It's usually the know-it-alls who are unknowing. Why? Because they never suspect there are things they DON'T know. Socrates KNEW he didn't know! The ones who 'think' they know everything, are blissfully unaware of life's mysteries.

    You have so many thousands of kinds of knowledge stored away in your brain since you were born, you couldn't count them, even if you tried. As to not understanding some things -- don't you think just about everyone feels that way much of the time? Sure as heck know I do!

    I'm sorry you're feeling under the weather. Hope you'll be better when you return. Perhaps it might cheer you to join some local group or organization? In-person meetings are a far better way to make friends than the Internet. One is reality, while the other is only a screen and a keyboard. Anyhow...just a thought. Take care of yourself!

    • Hi Sylvia thanks for such lovely and kind words,that really helped me in so more ways. Yes Its winter Season over here :( Hopefully this week will be a better week im hoping. I'm doing abit better. Its amazing, when your feeling sad or down or even just not coping,they automatically know. Jasmine has been so great for me lately. She cuddles right in and gives me sandpaper licks. Yea im going to get into going to Adult literacy & other things this week and hopefully some swimming. Had to deal with finding another baby rat again in the bathroom. Although I have 5 cats they only want to play with the poor thing. So I had to try and get it with the cat cage. So i released it happily into the bush with the cats all lined up wanting to catch it again. Anyway thanks again keep well xx

  • Wow Sylvia your heart was in that writing, so eloquent and so right, morons who abuse animals don't have hearts they only have the necessary mechanics to keep their blood circulating. Maybe it's my age but I have the attention span of a gnat these days so I didn't get right through it, but madam I am impressed by your skills. x

  • Yea im sorry i don't really understand half of what is said. I must admit, i do struggle sometimes understanding some terms i, get easily confused what is being said. I'm not doing very well mentally so i might be away for a wee while. Also its that time of the year when things often go wrong. So when im feeling better ill come back. Nice article anyway. :)

  • Thoughtful comments, Marc. Enjoyed reading your input. But I disagree with one point you make. 'I thought oxytocin was a matter of choice to some extent.'

    I'd hesitate to extrapolate, but would doubt it was matter of choice for you to sit holding Red and (am I right?) leaking tears the size of quail's eggs. You couldn't have done otherwise, even if you'd tried.

    And if that's what you did - hold him and weep - according to the scientists maintain it was the oxy. & other biochemicals coursing thru your veins.

    A materialistic way of putting it? Yes! But it's what experimental studies have revealed.

    To offer you an example or two: I have a contractor who comes over to my house periodically. He was here last month and, when I opened the door, I was in tears because of the memories I have of my boy.I cry over him every day - actually - not every day. It's down to every two days. Yesterday was the anniversary of his death: he died exactly nine months ago, and my litte girl four months ago.

    Well, I was dripping brine as I greeted this guy. When he asked me why, and I briefly explained, he instantly turned away in irritation. 'I really don't want to hear about that!' he snapped.

    Is he a so-and-so? No. In fact he's a decent guy. He and his wife have raised a bunch of kids. He's worked hard all his days caring for his family, and worked hard on his farm. He volunteers in the community, and donates money to homeless shelters every x-mas. He's also devoutly religious. Do I trust his integrity? Yes. He does excellent work, charges a fairly reasonable fee, is punctual, and honest as the day is long, far as I can tell.

    Furthermore, he has companion animals all over the place - dogs and barn-cats galore. And when the cats or dos show signs of a slightly lingering illness, he takes them out in the woods and shoots them. Is he a psychopath? Well, as he tells it, he can't afford to do otherwise. Does he shed tears over them? Apparently not. He doesn't have that depth of feeling. It is not there, and nothing will put it there. May as well look for figs from a thorn-tree. Would he spend hundreds - correction - thousands of dollars on an old cat? The way he sees it, anyone who would do such a thing is a flaming head case. Does he have torrents of oxytocin flowing through his brain? Would doubt he has any such thing, and is better off w/o it.

    He says he's an excellent marksman. The cats don't suffer. He doesn't suffer. His wife doesn't suffer. His kids don't suffer.

    I probably have enough oxy. to bottle and sell, and I'm a blithering basket-case. I'm dust and ashes inside. I'm scarred for life, and would never survive the death of another cat. I'm glad for your sake, Marc - if you love your cats as much as you seem to - that they are still young and healthy. Because when they start to decline, they'll shove your heart through a meat-grinder.

    People with human children are massively offended when you dare to draw a comparison, when you dare to hint that your fur-child is almost a human child to you. All I can say is, I'll never survive the death of another cat. And I'd hazard a guess you're more or less in the same camp. It's been several years since your boy was killed, and you're still raw inside. It comes through in your writing sometimes. Though perhaps I'm mistaken.

    As to oxytocin being a matter of choice - yes it is, if you want to buy it in pill form. But you have no choice when your brain churns oxy. on its own, yanking your chain in every direction. And it's vets who declaw, it's people like my contractor, it's people who can roll with the punches who make it through life with minimal pain. Oxytocin plunges you into persistent suffering - it does this to you during your leisure,it does it to you when you are alone, it does it to you when you're overworked, it does it to you when you're with other people. Ruth, my e-friend in England, told me sometimes then that her sorrow reduced her to tears at the end of her workday.

    So don't let anyone tell you that it's a blessing. It may be for those who wring your heart. But it just about grinds you down into dust.

    Unless I am wrong, there's no more free choice in how you react to witnessing pain than there is in a knee-jerk. Even where there is no pain,I have an instantaneous love for just about any animal, including my yardful of garter snakes and four pet spiders, hom I regularly feed. (Mr. Snyder II, Flora, Mildred and Una.)

    Right now - and Ruthie & Babz will freak - I've had a pet rat for several months. Why? Because she makes me smile when I am in tears. Domestic rats are germ-free (and they all have sweet personalities), but the wildlings can be a vector for too any diseases to count. Yet I feed this little girl as if she were my own.(Which of course she is.) If I run out of Dave's 20-Seed, Organic Whole-Wheat bread for $5.75, I'll drag myself down to the store at odd hours and buy a loaf, as I can't have her eating anything unhealthful. She gets coddled eggs, minced steak, cooked veggies, organic non-salted dabs of butter, fresh fruits - the whole nine miles. She started out a prune with a tail, and now she's my little butter-ball, so we have to cut back. But as for the viruses, etc. she supposedly carries ...well.. what can I do? I can't fling her out to fend for herself, seeing as how she's my little sweetie-pie.

    So no - and no again - oxytocin is a curse. It isn't a blessing unless you have unlimited youth, energy, and gelt that doesn't quit.

    Over and out. Again, enjoyed your insightful comments.

    Take care, and enjoy your spring in the Alps.

  • Hi, Leah -

    Thanks for your interest. The post - that is, as far as I could explain the subject (which wasn't far) - is fairly clear if you have the time to take a quick look at a few of the Notes.

    Briefly, here's what neuroscientists are saying:

    'Good,' 'evil' and 'free will' may be figments created by humans through their many religions and moral philosophers over the centuries.

    Which means these scientists are driving the criminal justice system around the bend. Because how can you punish someone who's apparently not responsible for his misdeeds?

    Specifically, they're doing brain scans of alleged malefactors, and these scans are showing the malefactors couldn't HELP their acts of cruelty or murder, etc. That physical ABNORMALITIES in their brain structure 'made them do what they did.'

    Second, the same neuroscientists are saying that certain biochemicals that our brain produces - without our consent - REGULATE our moods and our conduct.

    A way of saying that people are kind and compassionate because of the oxytocin in their bloodstream (combined with many other poorly understood biochemicals - plus primitive memories dating back millions of years).

    Conversely, people are cold-hearted because a bundle of nerves connecting a part of their forebrain to their amygdala (another brain structure)is abnormally small, or poorly developed in some other way.

    Question is, how can the courts punish someone for having been born with these abnormalities?

    Again, these scientists are saying 'It's not the fault of the criminal.' Or to be PoC-specific: 'It's not the fault of vets who declaw. They can't help that money means more to them than the suffering they cause a cat!'

    Compassionate people (with ample oxycetin in their veins) FEEL the pain of other living creatures.

    People with less oxycetin, added to which is an enzyme called 'MOA-3' or something, feel less or no pain -- unless, that is, the pain is their own. They also feel less or no emotional pain (pity/compassion) if they have a brain abnormality.

    Meaning, (a) they can kick a cat over a hedge and laugh at the sight. (b) They can declaw a cat and enjoy - free of guilt - their extra income.

    For these reasons, say the scientists, such people have little or no moral responsibility for their acts.

    Sickening? Yes. But I think you'll find it a fascinating concept if you delve into a few of the Notes. There IS some info relating to neuroscience on the Net, though vastly more, it goes without saying, in medical textbooks.

    Thx again. - S.

  • Well, pal Ruthie – if I 'tower over you intellectually, blah-blah' (whatever), then you’re in a state of advanced decomposition. Because I’m nine-tenths brain-dead at this end.

    The other day I was visiting our local bakery, looked into the glass display cabinet and saw this cake covered with frosting roses. Heaven have mercy....on one of them sat a blue-bottle blowfly grooming herself.

    What can I say? Taking a gander at this post produced the same sensation. Couldn't believe MB would think of using it. But there it was.

    Be that as it may, I’ve never really inspected my keyboard, and only this morning discovered that there is indeed a ‘tilde’ key on its upper left corner. Also Accents ‘Grave’ and 'Aigu.’ And all this time I’ve been rummaging through the Equation/Tools/Structure crazy-maker in search of diacritical thingies.

    End result? What I’d hoped might have come out as ‘EX-POE-ZAY’ ends up as ‘EXPOS.’

    Then a few lines down ‘a blond habañero’ comes out as as ‘HABA,’ with parts of the sentence missing beyond that sorry word-fragment.

    Will try this again, for whatever it’s worth:

    ‘So far from pondering the retributions, Dr. Doub is gumption incarnate - a blond habañero - in telling you how some of her former associates couldn’t be bothered with hygienic gowns. Sanitary preps.' Etc.

    Have said it before and will say it again: Shakespeare wrote his plays with a goose quill. I’m so weary of computers, am ready to put this thing on Craig’s list. (Actually, the XP was okay. It’s this Windows 8 that bends the sanity.)

    Michael put himself to the trouble of posting this post, though he knows its language & length are off-putting, as he's said before. Trouble with me is, I'm disobliging in a few things. But what the heck! Only a few!
    Might get up to the library today, Ruthie – if not, then tomorrow. Am transplanting a zillion pole beans today or this evening. It’s drizzling out there, but at least it’s not cold. Take care. Pet the Boyz. Hi to Babz. And have a great weekend. And thx again for the beautiful pic! It was sad-gorgeous....xxx

  • Sylvia your article appears to be beautifully written and I have read some of it but I can't pretend to understand it I'm so sorry.

  • I always thought that oxytocin was a matter of choice to a large extent. In other words, you can choose to feel things associated with it, or not. Love has no boundaries so it only follows that the application of love is where the boundries are. There is a huge lack of love and empathy in the world, and that is because many people prefer to feel other things. I would guess that the choices made to love or not love in any given moment are made based on obvious personal motives. Often people don’t even know what it’s like to choose differently so they carry on the same old loop, forcing the same problems to come up again and again in their lives.

    Sometimes choosing to love can be selfish in that it can make things worse for all or some concerned. Nothing is cut and dry - except perhaps raw human emotion. So the fact that people choose to ignore something which contradicts much of what they think they stand for means simply that money still is what motivates many people, not love. I’m sure when they get money and love in the same token they call it ‘true love’ - people are selectively horrible, in the end to themselves, because they will always feel unsatisfied because they can’t be bothered to love things around them unless they get some kind of energy out of it - so in the end, for many people, the only thig they will love is other people and maybe cats and dogs, but not the rest of the beauty and life on earth.

    I don’t think love should be used selectively and I think the fact that humans are even capable of such incredible levels of emotional objectivity reflects very badly on what we are doing here. That we have become so insensitive, often by default, just goes to show that no matter how much you train your brain and exercise your mental and objective capabilities, you can never move forward until you exercise your emotional capacity too. Plenty of very ‘clever’ people, experts, academics, you name it, people in power, but they act and react like bloody children. It doesn’t matter how well trained or mentally agile you are, if you can’t take opinion or difference or criticism or confrontation without reacting like a 5 year old child then as far as I’m concerned you are also not capable of leading people or business or responsibility progressively forward. That’s I guess why what we see is everything stagnating whilst trying to hold onto the old ways and attitudes that have kept them afloat thus far.

    But as we all know, to climb the ladder past a certain point you have to be willing to step on your coworkers heads, and many other untoward things, so ultimately the people we see who have reached these echelons or power are, by definition, total ass holes for having made it there.

    For this reason alone I will never have any faith in the people who control things around me. The fact that they have that control makes them unworthy of it.

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