A Psychological Point of View. Deep
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Thread: A Psychological Point of View. Deep

  1. #1
    Ride the winds of change Array scooter's Avatar
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    A Psychological Point of View. Deep

    From ADVrider, Coast to Coast with an Italian Super Model.

    Another BCSB member recommended this ride report and I'am glad they did.


    Dynamic Duo: Man and Machine

    Two ideas I've been wrestling with finally collided while on my way from Detroit to Toronto. It took me a while to piece it all together. It's still not as 'clean' and precise as I'd like, but I'm still going to throw it out there there as-is. There's more to it than this, but I have to save something for the book.

    A psychoanalyst named Spitz in the 40s studied the extremely high mortality rates among children in institutions and discovered that without touching, goochie-gooing, laughing or cuddling, children became sick, lost weight and died. His research led to the development of attachment theory and the realization that an infant “needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for mental, social and emotional development to occur normally.” (This, in turn, led to the seemingly obvious result: solid parental affection leads to emotional balance and a child that grows up feeling secure.) The child who grows up with intermittent affection – or is abused and neglected – will suffer from a life-long sense of insecurity, feelings of doom, lack of confidence and inadequacy (despite what he/she accomplishes) as well as a whole host of other possible behavioral, psychological and health issues. The part of our brain responsible for everything we consider human—love, tenderness, emotions, reciprocity—is called the limbic brain (vs. the reptilian one that controls our vitals and the neocortical brain that is responsible for thought and language).

    For those who do suffer limbic deprivation when young (which can come from enforced isolation, neglect or abuse) life can be a living physiological hell: the desire for love and affection still exists (and is in a lot of cases even greater than in well-adjusted counterparts), but the capacity to actually FEEL loved is greatly diminished. Depression, anxiety, ennui, weariness, despair, aggression, etc. are the easy-to-recognize consequences, but there are others that are not typically seen as a result of the deprivation. Though healthy limbic systems can deal with emotional pain internally by releasing small amounts of opiates (there are more opiate receptors in the limbic brain than anywhere else) when needed; an undeveloped or damaged limbic system cannot. Drug and alcohol use, for instance, perform surrogate limbic regulation that modulate, suppress and compensate for what the limbic brain didn’t ‘learn’ in infancy and can lead to a chronic, lifelong separation-anxiety. Other methods of self-regulation include self-mutilation (an act that is not specific just to humans), which seems like a desperate cry for help, but topical injuries are actually a way to release natural analgesics and opiates. (In one sentence the mystery of why acupuncture works and why people hit walls when they’re angry have been resolved!).

    So why this Neurology 101 lesson?

    I haven’t not felt at peace on my bike ever. One more time: I haven’t NOT felt peace—at any time--while riding. I think clearer on the bike, the symptoms of post-brainiotomy are reduced and, aside from my hamstrings and glutes being cooked, I physically and emotionally feel far healthier on the bike than off. The anxieties and disappointments of ‘real life’ are diminished, I can think about problems without being affected by them and simply feel as if everything is going to be ok. It’s a mild euphoria—and I’m not talking about the excitement that comes from nailing an apex or spinning the back out of a turn without crashing. There’s a connection between man and machine unlike anything I’ve ever had with another non-living thing. We’ve all felt it, but in all the years I’ve been riding, I’ve never heard or read anyone go in depth as to why. It would be easy to assume it’s a psychological result of the freedom we feel on a bike—or perhaps it’s the exhilaration that comes from taking risks--and nothing more.

    But if we examine the stereotypical motorcyclist (rebellious, recalcitrant, problems with the authorities, hard-drinking, self-sabotaging, dissatisfied, frustrated, empty, adrenaline-seeking, tattooed loners who-if they find their place in society-still will never feel like they belong) we witness textbook examples of what? Limbic malfunction. (If there ever was a poster child for this it'd be Leonard Smalls, who, not coincidentally is inked with a "Mama Didn't Love Me" tattoo.)

    So why is it that so many people who have similar symptoms to those with limbic malfunction choose motorcycles? Why not scooters or RVs? My theory is this: Motorcycles function as limbic system regulators and those who have the most difficulty regulating their own internal states gravitate to a piece of machinery that do it for them.

    A quick examination of mammalian limbic synchronicity reveals some striking parallels with characteristics of motorcycles. There are specific sensory inputs that function as stimulators and regulators of internal systems in mammals. For instance, warmth and smells cue activity and metabolic levels, tactile stimulation increases growth hormone levels, feeling the heart rate and rise and fall of another’s chest regulates heart rate, respiration and circadian cadences, and immune system strength increases or decreases based on sensory stimulation. And if you look at the external cues that influence positive internal changes in mammals, we see how motorcycles produce mammalian signals that we desire with human physical contact. An engine is a pulsing heartbeat we feel, rpms rise and fall like air in and out of lungs, the wind caresses our hair and face and bodies like a lover would (a reason why so many riders ride helmetless even though it makes no ‘sense’?), there’s warmth from the engine, the bike embraces our bodies (sportbikes put us in the a fetal position, a Harley spoons you from behind), and perhaps most important the bike reacts to our every input and responds to our inner states—if we’re restless it speeds up, if relaxed, it slows down.

    And when we talk about being “one” with the bike or the road, what we’re actually experiencing is a limbic resonance where our physiological rhythms is adjusted and modified through synchronized contact with our beloved motorbikes. (And while we’re talking about being “one” with the bike, it is interesting to note that the term “stress” originates from the Latin word meaning “to pull apart” or “separate”. Basically, stress is the result of being separated from an attachment figure and, in their absence, our bodies physically feel the separation, which leads to illness and disease. It’s the exact opposite feeling we obtain when riding. And if stress and not feeling complete lead to illness, it’s not a stretch to assume that feeling one with the bike will lead to better health and longevity.)

    In short, neural and physiological stability requires synchronization from an outside source. Many of our internal processes are not self-regulating. Motorbikes provide a surrogate regulator that modify everything from cardiovascular health to immune function, hormone levels and circadian rhythms. It’s only natural to become attached to such an object, going so far as to refer to them with names and attributing gender (nearly always female, no coincidence).

    Funny enough--my whole life I refused to name any of my cars or bikes. I referred to them simply as “it,” because I thought I loved them precisely because they weren’t people. But the whole time my beloved vehicles provided me with the mammalian contact and regulatory synchronization I desperately needed.

    And why is this topic so important to me you might be wondering? I wasn’t abused as a child, but as a newborn I spent 14 days isolated in an oxygen tent. It was an event I’ll never be able to remember, but the impact of those two weeks have persisted my whole life.

    So now, for the first time in my life, it’s time for me to give her a name she deserves.
    Ducati 1199 Coast to Coast Ride Report

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  3. #2
    Ride Solo Array GSP's Avatar
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    haha. Just came from reading the first dozen pages of the same thread. But I can see you're ahead of me, so I'm not going to read what you posted.
    "When in doubt accelerate.
    It may not help you avoid the problem,
    but it'll end the suspense."

    WMRC #96 (retired)

  4. #3
    Ride the winds of change Array scooter's Avatar
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    It looks like he is going to write a book. He's a talented writer.

  5. #4
    Registered User Array MrDsylexia's Avatar
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    Daaaaaamn that's deep. I do notice that I feel like all of my problems disappear when I'm simply working on my bike or practicing unpowered maneuvers around the parking garage or even just sitting on it.

    A much welcomed reading change from Microsoft and Cisco textbooks... On another note, I bought my bike to get away from it all... family, work, school, city life. Anyone else care to chime in?

  6. #5
    Registered User Array Infuria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrDsylexia View Post
    A much welcomed reading change from Microsoft and Cisco textbooks... On another note, I bought my bike to get away from it all... family, work, school, city life. Anyone else care to chime in?
    What are you studying? I finished my CCNA a few months ago and have been thinking about moving to CCNP. Going to go for the Server 2012 exams as soon as i finish my CCNP.

    Back to topic...

    That is a great read!

  7. #6
    Registered User Array 2cans's Avatar
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    You don't find peace on the bike?

    Anyways..., (didn't read the link)... maybe it's just the way some are born. The first sound of gasoline burning to make something go seems natural enough. All physics and elements of this planet combined to make go powar. How would you know if someone got excited about that? So do, some don't, some might. It's a theory to discuss. I've tried to understand my addiction (er, limbic system or whatever) but I can't. It's happened with motorcycles, bicycles, skiis, snowboards, inline skating, windsurfing, cars, anything that can carve turns... I'm sure I could add surfing (but I'm too outta shape and maybe uncoordinated), flying machines (but I'm too poor), and/or water skiing (but need a kick'n boat).

    Motorcycles still rule but its doesn't explain why I like watching the Canucks? Seeing a bunch of gazillionaires slap a little back rubber object into a net on ice, doing whatever and beyond to do so more than the opposition and drinking beer and belching all at the same time.

    It's all part of human nature, I figure. Abused, neglected, babied, cuddled, held, solid social interaction, blah, blah... Maybe some of the answer lies in genetics. Some are predisposed. I can't imagine anything happening to like or dislike motorcycles. And I think the one's who dislike them, need to be doing more figuring out. Being into motorcycles ain't a problem or a symptom. It's a gift.

  8. #7
    Registered User Array GhostFlame_zx7r's Avatar
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    I have read most of that ADVrider posts, and do find his writing interesting, and often times insightful. His exploration into explaining the "passion" for riding does in fact hit square on for many of the psychological and physiological reactions to riding. Whether the reasons for my "passion" is based on childhood emotional deprivation or physical abuse is irrelevant for me, for I can not change what has been in the past. I can only change what I do in the present and future.

    Riding provides me with a state of calmness, unfathomable to other life experiences for the most part. I have experienced similar feelings and emotions from other avenues very infrequently.

    Once while on horse back riding into an inactive volcano crater in Hawaii, Looking out, seeing the water surrounding the island, noting how small I felt to the magnitude of nature around me, seeing what appears to be a desolate landscape, but yet on closer view, how utterly "alive" the crumbling rock under my horse's hooves was, the plant life, insects, lizards and noting how life is still a constant in what appears on the outside to be dead. Feeling the horse's muscles and body move between my legs, directing him, but yet allowing him to move as he should, learning his way down the steep slope, and putting trust in the animal to get me safely back up in the end, and being responsible for myself and horse.

    I feel this similar reaction on a bike. Being in control of the direction and movement, but yet feeling the machine behave as it should, trusting that the parts and mechanics of the bike will keep me safe, trusting in my learning as to how the bike behaves and handles, being only responsible for myself and the bike. I feel calm, I feel free, I feel alone in the world, even when I am not.

    I am a loner by nature. I do not particularly need people around me to make me feel complete. I would much prefer my animals or my bikes to people. However, to those individuals I call friends, they all know I am there watching their backs no matter what.

    But that so called "oneness" with a bike is something hard to explain to others. I don't know if I could ever properly express the feeling to non riders. I know that for me, other avenues rarely give me this feeling, this strength. It is a strength to me to feel free, to feel one with nature, to let my mind wander while riding, and work through problems or issues, but yet still be very aware of what is going on around me. To listen to my music while I ride, seeing the landscapes pass by, feeling the power of the bike, feeling the road changes, moving in synchrony with the bike, knowing if I do this, the bike will do that.

    The bike does not expect me to "baby" it, its mechanics and specifications makes it a high performance machine. The machine is set up to perform like it does, and a rider responsive to this, makes the "riding" experience second to none.

    All I know is, when I want to get away from my life and it's stress, Riding is the first thing I need to do. I do not want to talk to my friends. I just need to get onto the bike and hit the open road, and when I return, I will be in a inner state of calm.

    Nothing else I have ever done to try and relax gives me that complete sense of wholeness.
    Last edited by GhostFlame_zx7r; 12-05-2012 at 10:40 AM.
    LIFES A BITCH...... Then you just do it all over again

  9. #8
    backslider Array K-rod's Avatar
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    this sense of 'one-ness' is, in part, due to while riding passionately (and fluently/smoothly/gracefully - FAST) one moves the center of one's thought processing from the brain's left hemisphere into the right one, which is the side of the brain that is the locus for holistic thought, intuition, feelings/emotion, imagery, and unified/connective non-linear thinking processes (whereby one's awareness of time dissolves) ...

    Hence, while riding one feels unified with, connected to, and at one with one's immediate enviro (your bike).

    Besides, while out riding, the images of life are all 'coming at you' just like a real live movie in real-time.
    Last edited by K-rod; 12-05-2012 at 12:58 PM.

  10. #9
    Registered User Array
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    Or it's just fucking fun?

    My deep thought for the day... :-)

  11. #10
    Registered User Array bandito's Avatar
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    Motorcycling is genetics for me, predisposed to enjoyment of anything with two wheels... right from a very small age. I fell in love with my bicycle... and it led naturally to two wheeled items that I didn't have to pedal... that would go WAY faster.

    It's a double edged sword. Motorcycling has served me up the greatest memories, and the most painful injuries. It's nearly put me in a wheelchair, and given me the closest near death experiences. SUch is the joy of motorcycles, it simple... it makes you feel alive. In control of something more than a 4 wheeled car, which is very limiting. It gives you creativity.

    I've also met some of the greatest people. And strangely enough, some of the best ones do ride Honda's.
    Long Live Shervin Of The North!

  12. #11
    Fastronaut Array Danke's Avatar
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    I'm still a bit creeped out over him saying HDs spoon you from the rear.

  13. #12
    Registered User Array Wooo!'s Avatar
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    Interesting. I feel most of those traits can also be applied to horses and bicycles though.. and perhaps convertible sports cars.. etc.

  14. #13
    hanging out at timmies Array
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    posing with one of my zukes at 7/11
    a suzisomething
    there is a primal connection between man and machine for sure. not just motorcycles but i have heard this theory
    with airplanes, cars, boats. whatever works for you. Explain and justify it however you want, the important thing is
    if it brings you joy and contentment thats all that matters

  15. #14
    Fookin Prawn Array
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    Although it's mostly the same I preferred reading the story on the Duc forum as there's more questions related to the bike.


    Choosing a bike for a trip isn’t unlike choosing what bike to purchase. Too many struggle with what they want vs. what they 'think' they should get. My advice has always been: "Get the f'ing bike you lust after. Write the check, max the card--you won't regret it." Not everyone follows that advice, but anyone who's ever owned a bike understands that sentiment the moment they are out cruising around and feel a pang of regret when someone goes by on the bike they really wanted. And so the same logic went into my decision on what bike I wanted to do this trip on: the bike had to get my rocks off.

    Oh I was apprehensive--new model bike: strike one. New model ITALIAN bike—strike two! Cross country trip on a ‘torture rack’? Strike three! Errr....not a good idea. Actually, probably a really stupid idea. But it's the ‘stupid’ things we do that we remember the most. All too often the 'good' decisions we make we forget or regret. But the stupid ones? Ahh, those are the memory builders and the building blocks for great stories and adventures that make you smile and laugh years later.

    Additionally, the logic with the 1199 was to not compromise my choice of bike and instead overcome the compromises that the Panigale would require of me. Too often people don’t factor into a decision is our outstanding abilities as humans to adapt to difficulty. The result of overcoming adversity and mastering one's ability to triumph over environmental challenges through persistence, determination and imagination produce self-efficiency and feelings of personal power luxury and security can never hope to provide. The harder the journey, the greater the cultivation of the will—and mastering one thing leads to greater proficiency on how to overcome challenges in other parts of our lives as well.

    In short, adaptation is the precursor to growth and seeking out difficult, uncomfortable and challenging situations accelerates development, enriches our lives and provides us with the kind of awesome fucking memories that will sustain us until a final sleep rounds our little lives.

  16. #15
    Yep Array Ms2uared's Avatar
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    I was reading that thread up till page 31. Followed from the beginning. I enjoyed it, until I realized that it turned into an ad for how practical the new Panigale can be as a sport tourer. Meh!
    Click to View

    Law of Logical Argument - "Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about"

    Quote Originally Posted by MagneticSouth on ADVRider.com
    If i was put here on earth to be a practical functional, purposeful member of society... im a happy FAIL

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