The Bases of Behaviour: Body, Mind, and Environment, Stated Simply

Human behaviour is based within a tripartite arrangement of body, mind, and environment. Stimuli are received from inside and outside the brain to precipitate action that manifests as thoughts, expressions, and movement.


The body is of course, a physical object that operates biologically and neurologically. It occupies space through time, and like all living things, succumbs to eventual death, and generally, today in the 8th or 9th decade. It receives and sends messages from and to, its environment. It ‘makes sense’ of the world in a variety of ways through the mediation effects of knowledge acquisition from seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, and tasting. At another level, it is a social being that interacts regularly with other human beings that form a ‘culture’ of the body, complete with changing body norms of social expression, of consuming, of violence, of sexuality/sensuality, of environmental interaction, and of dying and death.


Arguably, the mind consists physically of neural networks and electromagnetic fields, according to the latest research. But it also exists as thoughts and images to each of us, as we evoke them internally to our consciousness, or they are immediately brought to our consciousness by external events, through one or more of our five senses. It discerns, thinks about things (self feedback), and precipitates action as further thought, imaging or physical movement. Intuition, reasons, ideas, meaning, intentions – are all part of what the mind uses or creates. Cognition and emotion are implemented in the physical brain from chemical/hormonal activity, and from external stimuli that can affect a person’s perception, mood, personality and reasoning.


The environment is everything around and within us, including the brain, body organs, skin, blood, and so forth. Trees, birds, animals, pavement, grass, concrete, cars, houses, gardens, people, wind, rain/snow, sun, trains, stars, planets, galaxies, mountains, lakes & rivers, etc., comprise our external environment. Humans regularly experience and interact with many of these external environment forms, and many others not listed.


Humans, unlike most other animals, can refuse to be what they are. They can for example, voluntarily kill themselves and others, for reasons that have nothing to do with promoting the survival of the total species. They can invoke parochial rules that prevent certain others from having access to their respective groups’ communities and values. Humans regularly show biases, prejudices, and hostility towards others not like themselves. Such cultural and traditional norms of segregation and treatment are nurtured from birth through socialization patterns that can be clearly detected. Even within homogeneous groups (same social class, ethnicity, religion, political persuasion, or skin colour) biases can emerge among sub-groups that support new values. Various levels of conflict may occur as these new values are adapted, tolerated or rejected.

This nature-nurture ‘dichotomy’ (innate biology versus learned sociology) that goes on with social change across the world, is actually reciprocal. “Nurture could not affect us if we didn’t have the biology we do. Every cultural trait is really a bio-cultural trait – every trait we acquire through learning involves an interaction between biology and the environment…there is no sharp contrast between nature and nurture. Nurture depends on nature, and nature exists in the service of nurture. This means that we must give up on approaches to social science that try to articulate how humans act or think by nature. Nature alone determines no pattern of behaviour.” (J. J. Prinz, Beyond Human Nature: How culture and Experience Shape the Human Mind, 2012. W. W. Norton & Co., NY. p. 368) This is distinct from other animals who are not aware that they are aware (of cultural change from nurturance).

The photo above represents how humans are capable of planning for social and individual change, with a complexity attached to it that is far greater than any other creature. The complexity involves body, mind, and the environment in constant feedback loops that usually involve corrective action, adaptation and assimilation of new values, knowledge, and procedures. In this sense we often see change as “progressive”, but it can be sporadically reactionary to previous times, depending on the distribution of power and authority in society. In this instance, my daughter received social recognition for effort associated with obtaining a Master’s degree, an index of a ‘rite of passage’ in society (nurture), but others would prefer to say it mostly reflected innate capabilities (nature). Intuitively, it is both working together.

Religious and Ethnic Groups Facing Healthcare Discrimination

In Western cultures the dominant group is still white AngloSaxon Protestant and Catholic, and to a lesser extent, white Atheist and Agnostic.

Therefore, members of any other religious/ethnic group may, at some time experience discrimination. Especially if your dress code, skin colour and language are different. Discrimination is also a risk factor anywhere, in immigration situations. Emigrants who do not get prior education about their new host country are at higher risk.

It is impossible for healthcare institutions to address the wishes of all ethic groups. Policies therefore are mostly generic reflecting by default host culture traditions.

No wonder conspiracy theories are suddenly everywhere — our social media platforms reward inflammatory content | The Star

Nonsense does as well as facts on social media, and it’s hard to separate the unorthodox from the entirely unreal, writes Navneet Alang.
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An important topic rarely talked about.

Ontario’s for-profit nursing homes have 78% more COVID-19 deaths than non-profits, report finds | The Star

For-profit nursing homes have a higher risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths than non-profit facilities, the science table advising Premier Doug Ford …
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Fundamental question: Is capitalism less empathetic than democracy?

Experienced well-being rises with income, even above $75,000 per year | PNAS

Experienced well-being rises with income, even above $75,000 per year | PNAS
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There is a threshold for contentment, below which one experiences more anxiety, and above which anxiety tends to recede. But more money is not directly correlated with happiness because contentment and happiness aren’t necessarily the same thing.

More Women Are Freezing Their Eggs During COVID-19 Pandemic | Time

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, fertility clinics expected a downturn. But data collected by TIME show that more women are freezing their eggs now. Here’s why.
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Well, what do you think of this? No really, what do you think of this practice, it’s timing, it’s risks, and it’s outcomes?

Suburban Nudism As Normal: “Rethinking of the American [and Canadian] Suburbs”

In her published article entitled Naked Houses: The Architecture of Nudism and the Rethinking of the American Suburbs (November 21, 2015), Sarah Schrank of the Department of History, California State University [] argued that “the existence of suburban nudism forces a reconsideration of suburban conservatism while acknowledging how neatly alternative lifestyles fit into a postwar domestic ideology of atomized family life and consumer capitalism.”

Lifestyles, like everything else, are a function of time, place, and circumstance. Nudists (aka Naturists) are no exception of course and therefore can best be explained by when they live, where they live, and how they live. The nudist/naturist movement in the Western world goes back over 120 years, and has influenced individuals, families, and entrepreneurs in over 120 countries (see the current INF World Guide). There are now estimated to be over 30 million card-carrying naturists/nudists across the globe. Most are urban and middle-class. So although researchers have found them to be primarily white, middle-class, and living in Europe or North America, this does not diminish the growing numbers from the other classes and ethnicities worldwide. Most known nudists/naturists live in the nude in their homes, either totally or optionally whether urban or rural, and partake of social nudism recreationally at resorts scattered across, for example, the US and Canada. Here they can shed the “poisonous sexual and other hang-ups [about body acceptance] of mainstream society” (Schrank). The goal of accepted nudity as the ‘new norm’ is implicit in such well-known texts as Dr. Aileen Goodson’s Therapy, Nudity & Joy (Elysium Press, 1991), and has been acknowledged as a ” ‘must read’ for parents who want their children to develop healthy attitudes and behaviors about their bodies and their sexuality. The ability to understand nudity and sexuality as separate, but sometimes compatible phenomena will protect against sexual exploitation, guilt, and low self-esteem.” (Loretta Haroian, PhD, Department Chair and Professor of Child and Adolescent Sexuality, The Institute for Advanced Study of Human sexuality, San Francisco, California). In her chapter on nudist retreats/resorts, Goodson concludes that “there is ample evidence indicating that nudist resorts do meet all the qualifications for therapeutic communities” (p.341).

A representative study commissioned by the Federation of Canadian Naturists (2000; found that:

  • a total of 20.5% of Canadian households (6.1 million people) have some interest in naturism;
  • people in 39% of Canadian households (11.8 million people) have or would walk around their house nude;
  • people in 59% of Canadian households (17.9 million people) have slept or would sleep nude;
  • the more people in the household, the more likely people sleep nude; and
  • singles sleep nude more than married couples.

In my article for Society (February, 1996; p.24. Newsletter of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association) I stated that “In their myopic understanding of social nudists, the uninformed may think quickly through the following syllogism:

  1. all social nudity leads to immoral behaviour;
  2. immoral behaviour leads to a bad society;
  3. ipso facto, all social nudity leads to a bad society.

The main logical error of course, occurs in the first premise. It is simply not true according to the evidence. And the second premise has its problems.”

Dr. Ruth Barcan, a senior Lecturer at The University of Sydney, in Nudity & Nudism – two essays (December 19, 2013) talks about nudism’s contemporary disconnect to “any form of radical philosophy or politics”; rather its major benefits are now “a relaxed lifestyle and a healthy body image.” She states “Nudism can be differentiated from the practice of spontaneous or private nude bathing (‘skinny-dipping’) in that it is an ongoing, self-conscious and systematic philosophy or lifestyle choice, rather than a spontaneous decision to disrobe. They frequently emphasize the importance of total nudity, arguing that partial concealment is more sexual [which is has been proven] than total exposure.”

In a seminal article entitled “Naked Beneath Your Clothing”, ( John Veltheim, MD, makes the following case:

“The philosophy and practice of naturism will not solve all of these problems [denial, guilt, shame, abuse, hostility) because they are so ingrained into a system that has too much dependency on the negative fruits of disempowering rules. However, those individuals who choose to embrace the openness, honesty, and vitality off nudism, can at least profoundly enhance the experience of joy, health and peace in their known lives and have a positive effect on those around them. By encouraging a healthy, positive attitude to our bodies, we are encouraging a healthy relationship with our mind, soul, spirit, and our environment. That will make a difference within our own lives and, if enough of us do it peacefully and responsibly, to the world.” (p. 15)

Finally, in my article entitled Naturism and the Family (Going Natural, Winter: 1989. Vol. 4, No 1: p. 6) I made the following conclusions from my own research and a great deal of participant observation in Canada and the US:

“I believe there to be three naturist family types:

  1. DABBLER Family. Here, nudity at home, vacation skinny-dipping, club visits, and the reading of naturist literature are rare occurrences. Naturism is not discussed even with close friends, and children may not be included in parent naturist activities;
  2. TRANSITION Family. Here nudity at home is quite regular, more-so with parents, regular club visits are made, naturist literature is subscribed to by at least one parent, at least one parent discusses naturism with close friends, and children accompany parents to most naturist events;
  3. PROFESSED Family. Here, nudity at home and wherever possible, is the norm for all members, naturism is freely discussed with all friends and anyone who asks, naturist literature is read by all members, parents may be involved politically with naturist groups, and children, even as teenagers, accompany parents to naturist events, and the family acts as a single unit.”

These categories are not mutually exclusive, having spillover in various ways, but rather briefly describe common and general features. The change from DABBLER to PROFESSED may never occur in a family’s lifetime, due to social risks real or imagined that are associated with altering core socialized values and norms. But trying often becomes its own self-reinforcement.

Living in the nude in suburbia is probably a long way off in terms of having complete neighborhoods taking part, and being within community policy rules. Nonetheless, a miniscule win might be for a by-law to be created allowing nudity in one’s own back yard. Nudity within one’s house has always been outside of Western laws governing public nudity, as long as neighbours who are not nudists do not complain from seeing you through a window. Nonetheless, Ontario for example, has passed a law in 1997 allowing women to go topless in public places, e.g., parks, beaches, and Toronto Island has a nude beach. So there has been some shifting going on at the civic level to support body norms of equity. It is also permitted within the criminal code of Canada (Section 160) for campers or vacationers to be nude in “remote areas”, such as Algonquin Park.

Social change takes time, but it may one day be possible for you to sit in your front porch, with a cup of tea, in the nude, and wave across the street or next door at your neighbours. Sarah Schrank’s point about nudity being a ‘neat fit’ within the contemporary capitalist and consumerist ideology is not specious but is within arms length at least of sympathetic politicians. And the stroke of a pen can then work wonders. Just imagine, no more body shame, guilt, and perverted sexual norms! Seriously.

Suburban Bird-feeding

T.L. Hill, MEd, MA, PhD

Co-founder and First President, of the Federation of Canadian Naturists (1985). Retired Professor, Healthcare Administrator, and Medical Sociologist

Ottawa tells hundreds of applicants they’re not Black enough for money from the Black community initiative | The Star

Employment and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen calls rejections sent by his department “completely unacceptable.”
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Fire the guilty bureaucrats!

Donald Trump, isolated and angry, has been defanged, but his poison still courses through America’s veins | The Star

The outgoing president was never the kind of politician who would accept defeat graciously and do the right thing for his country, Edward Keenan write…
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A very ‘sad and sick’ political pall has smothered the American democratic ethos.

Traditional stereotypes about masculinity may help explain support for Trump

Traditional stereotypes about masculinity may help explain support for Trump
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Now THIS is interesting, even more so because the press has never adopted this psychosocial stance in explaining Trump. Nor his mental health (paranoid sociopathic narcissist).

Trump called Georgia’s lead investigator and tried to get him to invent fake election fraud

Just a week ago, news broke that Donald Trump had called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and attempted to threaten him into “finding” enough votes to “recalculate” the results of the 2020 election. That blatant attempt at election…
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Now more than ever, Adam Schiff’s Midnight in Washington speech ranks with the greatest in history.

“Vote to acquit, and your name will be tied to his with a cord of steel and for all of history.” Do you hear that, Hawley, Cruz and 130 House members? You have tarred yourself as much as the Confederate traitors of the 1860s or the Bull Connors’…
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To the point. And prophetic.

Pelosi calls for Trump’s immediate removal through 25th Amendment | CTV News

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called for President Donald Trump’s immediate removal from office through the 25th Amendment, a day after the president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an assault on American democracy.
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I recognized something in the crowds storming the U.S. Capitol. I’ve seen it — and them — before | The Star

Americans who have built their truth around Trump saw Wednesday as a moral imperative.
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How many of these people are university graduates?