We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, July 16. 2014
Educated people often make doctors’ worst patients: anti-vaxxers, cancer treatment rejecters, herbal remedy enthusiasts. Why do otherwise brilliant minds ignore science and reject modern medicine?
Read the article. I think people tend to be skeptical because "the science" is always in flux so many would rather go with their relatively-uninformed judgement than with the expert judgement of the day which may be obsolete next year. Remember the big scare about hormone replacement? Remember when they claimed that broccoli was good for you? Etc. People do know that physicians are smart and well-educated, but they like to make their own decisions for better or worse.
Tuesday, July 15. 2014
In recent history, sexual interests and inclinations outside of bourgeois Judeo-Christian monogamy have been labeled as immoral and "perversions" in the Western world, and in Western Psychiatry. Western Psychiatry has even categorized them in detail but some (such as homosexuality, which I find to be often a dubious categorization of people) have fallen out of favor due to political pressure.
Among the things which the Western world has relatively-recently and variously considered antisocial (lacking in normal conscience) or perverse (defined as outside local social norms) and/or illegal are polygamy, adultery, promiscuity, nymphomania, rape, incest, pedophilia, necrophilia, miscengenation, internet pron, homosexuality, orgies and wife-swapping and related debaucheries, cross-dressing, childrens' pre-pubertal sexual interests, transgenderism, paraphilias and many fetishes like masochism, etc, prostitution, whoremongering, zoophilia, and so forth.
These are all culturally and/or religiously-determined categories of the wacky and disorderly, Bonobo-like vicissitudes of the human sex drive and of human psychology. Many humans successfully repress their inner Bonobo and happily adhere to their local cultural and moral codes, more or less. Many others lack a strong Bonobo streak, but it's not as if normal people never have wacky and aberrant fantasies and "curiosities".
As a Psychiatrist in the Western world, I can easily accept that many such things are statistically abnormal (ie at ends of bell curves), but high IQ is "abnormal" too.
I recently read this: 'Pedophilia is natural and normal for males'. Not "normal," I think, but certainly culturally-normative in parts of the Arab and Asian worlds. Some of our readers are quick to label perversions as "sick" if not just plain appalling or revolting. So is my natural inclination, but I think that inclination is culturally- and religiously- determined. Many human cultures view things otherwise.
Is there a Western socio-cultural trend to normalize previously-perverse and antisocial behaviors and to abnormalize conventional morality? I think so. In Psychoanalysis, we think of these things as embedded in problematic personality structures, but we could be wrong.
Planned Parenthood Teaches 15 Year-Old on Bondage, Whipping, Gagging & Defecation
A judicial move to normalize incest
I am not claiming that I do not make moral or social judgements about behavior. All I claim is that it's complicated because living in a culture is part of being human, so "natural" loses meaning.
I will await discussion, but I may need to tie you up with duct tape and whip you. Here's your fun fetish joke du jour:
Wednesday, July 9. 2014
Monday, July 7. 2014
The Obamacare rules do not require coverage for cosmetic surgery, at least not yet. Somebody will lobby for "Sagging Jowl Syndrome," you can be certain, in the future. When government gets involved with medicine, medicine becomes politicized and "diseases", "disorders", and "dysfunctions" proliferate.
Tuesday, July 1. 2014
As I have said before, humans are a highly-sexualized animal with omnivorous and often confused and confusing appetites and impulses.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:58 | Comments (14) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, June 29. 2014
A few links:
Rabbi Boteach wants women to get lustier in marriage (video)
When women earn more, promiscuity is more accepted
Childless Elite, Spouseless Poor
Casual Sex Is Actually Excellent for You, If You Love Casual Sex
Saturday, June 28. 2014
Friday, June 27. 2014
Thursday, June 26. 2014
How genetic is it, and how moveable is it? Those are always studied and always in dispute. I always enjoy the company of people with higher IQs than mine, just as I enjoy playing tennis with more talented players.
How important is life "success" and life happiness to IQ? Not very much, I think, unless one aspires to being a Physics or Math genius. IQ is just one factor in a human personality but it is one, like height, which is readily apparent.
Via this post on IQ, Last Call at the Milk Bar, I was led to this good and detailed essay on IQ: Race, IQ, and Wealth - What the facts tell us about a taboo subject.
In the end, the facts do not tell us much.
Sunday, June 22. 2014
Friday, June 20. 2014
I have no answer. There are many people who can not be helped. The world is an asylum, and life is tragic.
Thursday, June 19. 2014
When it comes to sex, will humans ever be liberated from the basic biological needs that drove our evolutionary past?
Let's hope not. Actually the article is a critique of behavioral genetics, aka evolutionary psychology, as much as anything else.
Humans are a highly-sexualized sort of ape, with no estrus period as most mammals and even monkeys have (except for the "great apes" of which we are one). It's difficult if not impossible to determine what sexual behaviors are "natural" for humans because mental activity, fantasy, relationships, and culture are such major parts of being human. After all, rape, murder, theft, violence, pedophilia, etc. are all sort-of "natural" for humankind, and there are cultures in which monogamy is considered a mental illness or a form of infantile behavior. It's safe to say that the Western bourgeois ideal of lifelong monogamous marriage and the nuclear family is very far from "natural" despite being fairly effective for child-rearing and overall life stability in Western culture.
It also is safe to say that humans are the horniest of animals and, with our capacity for wild imagination and strange (by animal terms) sexual desires and fantasies, a rather insane species.
Freud explained a lot of that.
Wednesday, June 18. 2014
Tuesday, June 17. 2014
Sunday, June 15. 2014
Friday, June 13. 2014
Thursday, June 12. 2014
There is nothing new there in the age-old nature-nurture game. Does it really need saying that people who are more closely related likely have more traits in common? "Race" and "ethnicity" are just words for common ancestry, like "distant cousins." Early humans spread around the earth, and bred with others in their own neighborhoods just like Darwin's finches. Naturally, differences happened but not to the extent of new species, but enough so that people recognize their cousins.
AA is a wonderful thing which has helped countless people, and countless patients of mine.
I have no idea why our internet friend thinks that we shrinks do not appreciate it immensely: Does AA Work? In fact, I have often said that there should be an AA for non-alcoholics. Its general approach could help people grow up even if they aren't drunks.
As we have posted in the past, the format of AA was based on a Methodist program for personal spiritual growth, and spiritual and emotional maturity.
Sunday, June 8. 2014
Friday, June 6. 2014
No, he did not. You cannot make a diagnosis based on brain imagery.
- An entertaining site, found via AVI: Neuroskeptic
At Maggie's Farm, we are always skeptics
- Does hyper-parenting damage marriages? Of course it does.
Marriage must always come first. It's the job of kids to adapt to the family, not vice-versa.
- Another link re Schneiderman's book: "The Last Psychoanalyst"
Have not read it, but I can sort of guess where he is coming from. However, many of us are still transforming lives with psychoanalytic principles.
Sunday, June 1. 2014
The joint medical school-VA staff there were wonderful and more practically-minded than the full-time academics and researchers at the med school. They let us do things and procedures which the regular med center would never have let us do, and that was good experience. The patients, mostly WW 2 and Korea vets, but some Vietnam vets (they were still youthful and healthy then) were poor, on the whole, lacking in financial and overall life resources. There were plenty of veterans admitted to the regular medical center too but, at the time, I had no interest in how these systems worked.
Now I understand the the VA is plain old government medicine. Here's Charles Krauthammer, MD:
This article is good: Transform The VA Into A Pro-Growth Model For First Rate Health Care. There is no reason for the VA to exist today. It's an obsolete government program and does no favors to American vets.
Thursday, May 29. 2014
How many times have I said that here? Life is traumatic, at times it is a vale of tears. That's not illness.
From Lynn Jones, Each scar is different - PTSD has come to signify the moral, social and political suffering of war. But not all suffering is a mental illness
Sunday, May 25. 2014
Psychiatry has little influence over evil. That's for theology. Evil fantasies are things we (and everybody, pretty much) deal with routinely, but actions are another matter. The devil is stronger than we doctors are. Some evil is everywhere, from boardrooms to government to priests and pastors to teachers to cities to campuses. Please do not tell me that this kid had "PTSD," or an "anger management problem." Some people lack a moral compass almost entirely, but that moral compass spectrum spans from none to spotty to obsessionally scrupulous and fearful. We can deal with the latter relatively easily, but not the former.
The truth is that some people are "born to be hanged," and, at the least, removed from the gene pool. We too often piously imagine that happy and good are default settings for humans as if we could get everybody there with a rearranged psyche and a right environment (we term that "psycho-utopian"). It's an evil lie and an evil vision because it denies the existence of evil itself. My life, and history, have taught me that sin has great power. For all we know, violence, deceit, and destruction of good cheer are the default settings, and civilized behavior a special, difficult undertaking. That happens to be what Freud concluded, and he was smarter and a deeper thinker than I am. Not to mention many prophets, and Christ himself.
It is a positive comment on our level of Western civilization that we are surprised by gross acts of evil rather than taking them for granted. Quite remarkable in human history.
Good and evil remain the basics, as they always have done.
Addendum: I realize that my metaphors sounded as if I believed that evil is genetic. What I mean is that some people simply seem destined for trouble.
Monday, May 12. 2014
I view part of my duty as to debunk folk myths about health and medicine. Readers know that one of my bugaboos concerns the human diet and the First World preoccupation with what we eat as if it mattered all that much. Food faddism has always been part of American life since we became a wealthy country and had food choices.
Eating fats does not make you fat. Carbs make you fat. That is no longer in dispute.
Do saturated fats "cause" heart disease? There is no evidence for it. Bacon and eggs is the Great American Breakfast, with or without grits, or biscuits and gravy. In the WSJ, The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease -Are butter, cheese and steak really bad for you? The dubious science behind the anti-fat crusade.
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