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
Tuesday, October 14. 2014
Dr. Ekman's work is fascinating, but Is Paul Ekman stretching the truth?
Thursday, October 9. 2014
I know how complicated a question that is. Are we talking about a date, a party conversation, a friend, a one night stand, friends with benefits, a husband's pal, an affair, a boy-toy, a potential marriage, etc?
If one is fortunate enough to be an appealing female, you know that all men will consider the notion of having a romp with you. They can't help it. Indeed, it is a no-brainer. You are a love-or-sex object before they even know you. Your Mom taught you that oafs want their hands on your body, creeps want to sneak into your head, and gentlemen try not to be either oaf or creep.
Women do live in a somewhat different mental world from men. As a shrink, I know both worlds. I know that many women find physical attractiveness appealing, tall guys with masculine physiques and regular features, etc., but I'm not asking about that, or that alone. And I am not asking about "marriageable," with its implications of good prospects, money, breeding, cultural affinity, intelligence, knowledge, skill sets, potential to make a good parent/mate, etc. Seductive expert men who try to get into your head? Red flag, always - those are would-be Bill Clinton types. Many women are drawn to charming sociopaths, and they know it because it connects with their own flaws. Been there in youth, done that, recovered, as have so many young women.
I am just asking about general "appealing," like somebody you want to talk to at a party and feel drawn to. Readers know that I have always loved Atticus Finch and that I married the closest I could find who also had good genes, who has effortfully made a lot of money while I pursued my medical calling, and been a great dad, a very hard-worker, a boy scout, and a loving and loyal husband despite his own difficult imperfections. Lucky me.
I will start it off:
The traits I find quickly appealing and charming in men are courage, honor, manliness, humor, shyness, but a confident attitude towards life and an easy, relaxed deportment which says that they are comfortable in their skin. They like to play sports and to play with power tools, books, and guns. Those things are instantly appealing to women like me, chemically. You do not have to mate with them, but I can just like it the way you like that chocolate dessert that you do not need and will not eat. We are not animals, but we do enjoy some people more than others. Decent men are the same way with the charming women they meet and enjoy. Normal guys who are out in the world develop instant crushes several times daily just from a chemical reaction.
How about you ladies? What appeals to you, in guys?
Wednesday, October 8. 2014
At one extreme, there are those who practice as if there were neither mind nor soul, as if there were nothing to a person but a bag of chemicals.
At the other extreme, those who practice as if there were no protoplasm and nothing but a bag of conflict and developmental/situational hang-ups.
Both extremes suffer from some form of psycho-utopianism. Most of us come in somewhere in some grey zone, in a confusing and challenging grey zone which keeps our brains working hard. A zone of ambiguity and mystery.
My close colleagues and I tend towards Dr. Levinson's view: Psychiatry’s Underground Economy. (It's not mainly about money, it's about how we think about patients.)
Tuesday, October 7. 2014
It begins like this:
The Trailhead Queen was dead. At first, there was no overt sign that her long life was ending: no fever, no spasms, no farewells. She simply sat on the floor of the royal chamber and died. As in life, her body was prone and immobile, her legs and antennae relaxed. Her stillness alone failed to give warning to her daughters that a catastrophe had occurred for all of them. She lay there, in fact, as though nothing had happened. She had become a perfect statue of herself. While humans and other vertebrates have an internal skeleton surrounded by soft tissue that quickly rots away, ants are encased in an external skeleton; their soft tissues shrivel into dry threads and lumps, but their exoskeletons remain, a knight’s armor fully intact long after the knight is gone. Hence the workers were at first unaware of their mother’s death. Her quietude said nothing, and the odors of her life, still rising from her, signalled, I remain among you. She smelled alive.
It is a short story. Read it all.
Sunday, October 5. 2014
My impression was that the "disease" model became popular for three main reasons; 1) it made it more comfortable for the addict, 2) it made it more likely to get insurance coverage for treatment and 3) addictions do have a physiological aspect. It never occurred to me that politics had anything to do with it.
Friday, October 3. 2014
I am very much convinced of this effect, and would like to see the idea enter the lexicon. It's from this: Why ’6 Reasons I’m Happier Because I Went to War’ went viral
It's always been my view that difficult experiences can eventually result in painful psychological growth as often as they can result in lasting damage. It used to be called the School of Hard Knocks but I call it "Reality Therapy," and it's all the therapy most people ever get.
Psychotherapy, in it's most penetrating and exploratory forms, is nothing more than controlled psychological trauma, just as surgery is controlled physical trauma.
Sunday, September 28. 2014
Saturday, September 27. 2014
Friday, September 26. 2014
Many articles I read about Jihadists refer to "disaffected youth," even this one about the Algerian beheading of the French hiker.
I am sorry to say that these are not "disaffected youth" (as if they were Holden Caulfields or Benjamin Braddocks), they are deeply "affected" people from all walks of life who do not mind dying for their beliefs. They are true believers, Muslim fundies following their scripture and their religious leaders. Any efforts to psychologize them are amateurish, naive, ignorant, and Western cultural-centric.
Multicultural dogma says that we must comprehend people in the context of their cultures, not in the context of our materialist, secular, and therapeutic culture.
Our survival instinct makes death an enemy, but our wisdom tells us that it is not.
Tuesday, September 23. 2014
Freud's approach to his terminal illness was about the same as today's physicians towards their own terminal illnesses.
This is not surprising, but it is interesting. "Schizophrenia" really meant miscellaneous chronic psychosis. We have all always felt that the paranoid psychoses were a different animal. Time will tell whether this information will have any practical value.
Saturday, September 20. 2014
Apparently this sad old line was met with nothing but guffaws from the group.
Friday, September 19. 2014
What are the things which most emotionally engage ordinary Americans? I think love and family, sex, God, money, freedom from government - and death. Two deathy links:
Wednesday, September 17. 2014
The calculus of contagion - In the battle against disease, the difference between a raging epidemic and a passing fever comes down to a single number.
There is some good history of medicine in the article.
Monday, September 15. 2014
Where would we be without scientific studies to demonstrate what humanoids have known for almost a million years?
Thursday, September 11. 2014
Wednesday, September 10. 2014
Tuesday, September 9. 2014
Why Is It So Hard to Stop Sports Concussions? Human behavior conspires with the complex mechanics of head impacts to keep injury rates high. New helmet technology could help.
I have heard the argument that helmets make people more reckless.
Wednesday, September 3. 2014
Many years too late, the MSM and the government are getting the obvious message which docs have known all along. Unless you do manual work all day and are skinny, you don't need hardly any carbs to be fit and healthy. What carbs to eat very sparingly, if at all, to be strong and lithe? See below the basic list of the bad things which few Americans need to thrive:
All fruit (except strawberries and blueberries). Fruit is just flavored sugar, as are fruit juices
Carb-produced fat on your body is the worst thing for your heart, your joints, some cancers, your sex drive, and your youthfulness, vigor, and energy. If you are skinny and fairly muscular, ignore this.
Unless you are too skinny or healthily-skinny, I suggest one to one and a half smallish meals per day, mainly meat, eggs, greens, and vegetables. Why Westerners decided three meals daily was needed is a historical mystery, and very wrong unless you were a farmer or a growing child: most people used to be farmers, who worked until they dropped and their little kids helped all day too. Being overweight was a sign of wealth, and now it sort of functions as a sign of poverty and the underclass.
OK, a sugary dessert once weekly as a special treat. Alcohol as desired. Your hunger and your stomach will shrink quickly, as will your burdensome lard.
You will feel better and more vigorous, if that is what you want. Some people want that, some do not. Our current prosperity gives us that free choice, in the Western world.
Sunday, August 31. 2014
Against happiness: Why we need a philosophy of failure
Thursday, August 28. 2014