Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011.01.23 — The latest big toy (NaSmaStoMo#23)

The latest big toy
filled the home with a frantic
manic craziness.

2011.01.23 — On Obedience to Authority A Fushigi*

Okay, fushigi-philes, get ready for a rough ride. This is an elaborate one that begins innocently — as they always do! — with my transcribing (via scanner), on this Sunday afternoon, from Chomsky's Language and Responsibility his strong criticism of the poor quality of empirical thought in psychology(48-52). (That I'd read this at this time was a near fushigi because I'd posted Jung slagging psychologists for their lack of scientific acumen and practice earlier in the month.)

So, after supper, and before finishing with Chomsky, I meandered into the Goodreads poetry threads via my e.mail of the group summaries, and stumbled into:
"There is a psychological experiment that has been repeated many times with the same result. An unsuspecting subject is placed with a group of people who appear to be strangers but in fact are part of the experiment. A simple question is asked, such as "What is 2 +2?" Each person is then asked to give the answer, leaving the subject until last. If every person before the subject gives the wrong answer, the subject will usually agree with the group and give the wrong answer as well."

While I've seen group experiments that support the idea that people want to fit in with a group structure, I have never seen that need so strong as to completely alter someone's grasp on what is mathematical fact. I really would need to see that study. This is off-topic I know but I'm incredulous.
(Here's the link to the comment, and the author is J.)
It is interesting to note that he acknowledges that his post is off topic — which it is, because the thread had wended down the subjective/objective discussion.

I replied to the post with the suggestion that J might want to read Stanly Milgram:
You may want to read up on Stanley Milgram's experiments on human behaviour in his book Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.

C.G. Jung talks frequently throughout his works about the problem of the group on the individual, and refused to consider as helpful to the individual any therapy beyond one-on-one.
(The link to it is here.)
After I wrote that, I realized that Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View is a book I haven't added to my Goodreads' library. So I proceeded to do so, and wrote a review, too:
This is a powerful cautionary tale about the nature of the human sheep. I see this book as an impetus for those truly interested in their own true individuality to begin the challenging, even painful, task of examining themselves in order to see and even understand where it is within them. Especially where they don't expect it, in the unconscious accepted truths of some so-called authority that they are following but which are invalid and destructive either personally or socially.

This book was one of the most important ones I read in that it began in me the unstoppable need to question the authority of the media. It raised in my mind the strength and impetus to really see the nature of how the media presents its 'truths,' and the the truths of those who support their corporatist owner's ideology. What do I mean by that? Just listen to the parade of experts and so-called experts that they use to influence every human behaviour from buying the right hamburger or the right government, to agreeing to seeking WMD's in a foreign desert or abolishing civil liberties in the name of terror. (I didn't discover Chomsky until about ten years after first reading Obedience.)

I read Obedience the first time in 1981, and then re-read it in the 1990s. As I get older, and as I see countries like the USA spend their wealth building bombers and invading other countries instead of keeping band classes in their public schools, or rebuilding the lives of their own countrymen devastated by hurricane Katrina, it strikes me as an even more accurate testament to human sheep-dom than I had originally feared when I read it even fifteen years ago. It is with great authority that their governance justifies impoverishing the population and the greater social infrastructures for the sake of greater goods and so-called homeland security.

Obedience to authority is alive and well. And so it is that when the one enlightened lemming stumbled into the other enlightened lemming, it said "We're going the wrong way!" Between breaths, the other agreed, "Yes, yes we are!"
So, in typical fushigi fashion, this is all, well, how do you say it, boring. But now things get interesting. Immediately after writing my review, I recommenced with my quick skim through Goodreads's summary, and came across a new entry by Danny Earl Simmons, who quite often has fun challenges, and/or very good poems that he posts looking for critical comments. Was I surprised to read the following:
A blog I visit sometimes (http://rallentanda.blogspot.com/) put up this quote as a poetry prompt: “we had been given our own small version of Paradise” - "Clean Straw for Nothing" by George Johnston. I thought it might be an enjoyable prompt for us. Here is my stab (yes, yes, early draft, but excited to share).

Paradise
      by Danny Earl Simmons

We had been given
our own small version
of Paradise
and it came
with rigid rules
and shameless shuns
and petty guilts
and caramel apples
served up as answers
for every difficult thing.
It came with mindless
smiles and mindless
obedience and mindless
nods that never
ever stopped.
It came with Faith.
We had been given
our own small version
of Paradise
and I said,
“I'll take Hell.”
          (Here's the link to it in Goodreads.)

Now, if that isn't a real fushigi, then I've never come across one.

Oh! And I enjoyed 'Paradise,' although I don't think it is the best I've seen from DES.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011.01.02 — Digital Clock Face (NaSmaStoMo #2)


Digital clock face
Flits through time in black and green
While I'm still in bed.

2011.01.02 — Of Dreams and Pair of Fushigi* Feet

The fushigis have been pouring in! Too many to document, but the following is just too weird to not make the effort.

It begins with my correspondence with SMF about lots of things, two of them being dreams and mind/body connection.


From e.missive to SMF 2011.01.01 (11 pm)
Back to dreams. So when I dreamt the dream of the motorcycle it was simply a dream. That was until later that day when my mother told us that one of the regulars to the drop-in centre she volunteered in announced out of the blue that he was going back east. He told her that he had no desire to carry his Honda 50 motorcycle back with him because it was broken, and gave it to my mother for our family. You have no idea how excited we all were! Unfortunately it's frame was broken and was unrideable. My handyman grandfather wasn't going to be able to fix it until the following weekend, which seemed like an eternity for us kids. But that night I dreamt it was fixed the following day, and sure enough, he drove up unannounced with his welding gear and fixed the bike.

When I was 21 I remember walking into my new place of work, on day one, in the big city of Vancouver. When I opened the door I was stunned. I had seen the room before, down to the last detail. I recognized the dot matrix printers, the woman at the desk, the colours and the feeling the room evoked. As clear as a bell. I've had several similar experiences with dreams throughout my life. And, I've been precognitive at times to the extent that I have been in a conversation and suddenly I recognize the conversation from a dream and can, occasionally, even remember the dream so well that I can anticipate what is going to be said. That hasn't happened too often, but just often enough that I cannot dismiss as irrational or stupid or silly what ever it is that comprises dream-energy. Such experiences change forever how you react to dreams and to the apparent time-line we associate with physical reality. However, no amount of relaying such experiences to the 'rationalist' can convince them that rationalism is a weak structure built on foundations buried in the unconscious.

[And] I used to have serial dreams, dreams that would continue the next night from where they left off the previous night. Those were fun.

The not so fun dreams I used to have on a regular basis were the falling dreams. I would trip over a crack in the sidewalk, fall forward, but the sidewalk would have disappeared. Or I would be on a swing, but the down swing would never reach the bottom and go back up and so I kept falling. At some point I read about lucid dreaming. Now that set my dreaming world free, because the falling became a clue to me, in my dream, that I was dreaming. And once that awareness happened, I would think "Hey! I'm dreaming, so I can do anything!" And then I would fly. I visited the stars on many occasions.
From e.missive to SMF 2011.01.02 (1 am)
Anyway, at about 28, I had had enough of my feet being chronically cold. I mean an icy cold that could chill a bathtub of hot water. I realized (as a small awakening, I guess), that my cold feet were because I'd removed my Self from them, had left them 'out in the cold,' so to speak. So I began to imagine that my feet existed within my heart, that my body's wholeness included touching the ground with my heart in my feet. I proceeded to visualize that there was no separation or barriers between my heart and feet and Self. I did this for about a year or eighteen months. Eventually my feet stopped being cold. The process was largely without words.
Now for the fushigis.
Top 2 on Blog List 2011.01.02
This morning, after completing various things, I took a quick look at my blog list, and was very surprised at the top two items. [See snapshot right.] This is already an interesting fushigi

But, even that doesn't tell the whole fushiginess, because the blogs themselves are even more interesting.

From 52 Weeks of Wordage, with the title:
Nice to Meet You, Foot. Oh, you want to live inside my mouth?
That's a little weird, but okay... I guess that's doable.
.
When taking NyQuil, one surely will get a solid block of uninterrupted sleep, but one will also have strangely and terrifyingly lucid dreams.
I have a hard time differentiating between dreamland and reality on a normal basis, but this problem is exacerbated by NyQuil, and I frequently wake up thinking that what has just happened in my dream did, in fact, happen in real life, and it takes quite a bit of mental stamina to separate the two. I'm sure that I am walking around today with memories in my head that have actually never happened.
And this has an amazing correspondence to what SMF wrote about dreams and memory:
Which reminds me, I've been thinking a lot about how we never actually "dream" of anything at all. Even our projections of the future are memories, as we have no dealings with the future. That is why our dreams sometimes look differently when we get there. We hadn't had the experience to remember into our dream yet...Which makes sleeping dreams so amazing, as they use our images and tactile experiences to create completely new arrangements... and for what purpose?"
Now, from At the Half Note, with the title In My Dreams, in which KB shares an interesting dream, which ends with:
It didn't matter because when the clouds cleared, I saw that I was never in danger, I had always been standing with my [bare] feet on the ground, and the rest... it was just an illusion.
Now, if I am to fully complete this, I could add that in the series "Bly & Woodman on Men & Women" I have been transcribing from Betamax tap to the computer last night Bly cited a poem about leaping off a cliff to fly like an eagle (as metaphor for living your 'dream') life, and talks about the meaning of the firebird in their fairy tale flying to to one's rescue from an un-lived life.

Life's subtle interconnections are interesting!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011.01.01 — A Keyboard (NaSmaStoMo #1)

A keyboard
Surrounded by pens and stickies, and
The dream of paperlessness.

2010.12.30 — Two Red Ears and Pumped — I'Ve Been I.V.ed

And so the experiment continues with an early morning visit to my local emergency on Boxing Day (Dec 26).

Quick back-step: as Christmas Eve day progressed, the inflammation and infection began to spread, and by the next morning I could feel and see it in my cheeks and neck.
My ears were near blood red,

extremely swollen and unbelievably painful.

The discomfort ranked up there with kidney stones and gout, both of which I've experienced.

But, I managed to get through Christmas before succumbing. And, of course, that was a bad thing to do, because by Boxing Day it had become, as I came to learn, quite serious. And, of course, many people are like me and put off hospitals until after Christmas, and so Emergency was busy — although I got there early enough that my initial wait wasn't too, too bad, although I wound up being in various parts of the emergency ward for 4 hours. I found ER lands new to me, too! I was prepared for the wait: I'd taken C.G. Jung's Analytical Psychology: Its Theory and Practice with me (and entangled myself in a long continuous fushigi with SMF.)

After my initial wait of an hour or so, the ER doctor took a look. We talked. He put into each of my ears some drops [See Medicine #1], then some packing and a tube. "These drops will do for now, but I'll prescribe you something stronger you have to get from a pharmacy." And he wrote me out a prescription.

Medicine 1:
Sandoz Opticort
"Is that it?" I asked? "No," he said, "you will be seeing a lot of me in the next several days." "I have to be admitted?" "No, you will be going on IV Therapy." He then directed me back to the waiting room, where I was to wait until my name was called.

When it was called, I was given some papers and directed to follow the green arrows past 'Triage.' The arrows lead me to a wall mounted 'in-tray' for the papers, and then continued towards an inner waiting room. After some time had passed, my name was called and I was to discover the OPAT (Out Patient Anti-Biotic Treatment) room. (OPAT is likely an old name because the staff and literature refers to it as  "Outpatient Intravenous Therapy" or simply "I.V. Therapy," but the old name is still on the door, and shows up in a confused way within their brochure.)

In the room were six reasonably comfortable looking chairs and a small doctor's examining bed behind a curtain. And an HD flat screen TV. The room was exuberantly decorated with Christmas balls and lights of various sorts hanging from the ceiling and just about everything that wasn't an actual I.V. drip cart and pump. I was directed to take a seat, and the routine of questions about allergies and other like questions are asked and answered. 

A saline lock mechanism was then easily inserted, albeit after having a significant patch of my arm hairs being shorn. But as they are about to hook me up, I was asked if I'd taken the two white pills I'd been given. Since I hadn't been given any to take, I said 'No.' 'Oh.' Surprise and consternation.
Medicine #2: Probenecid
I was instructed to take [Medicine#2], which I was told slows my kidneys so as to allow the drug to remain in my system longer. And I was again and directed to return to the waiting room, as these pills are to be taken at least 30 minutes before receiving the I.V. therapy.

Medicine #3: Ancef aka CeFAZolin
I am eventually connected, and so I am being pumped full of something [Medicine #3]. It is not until today, the last day of my I.V. therapy that I even asked what was being pumped into me. I was told to eat yoghurt to try to counteract the negative effects of the drug on my system's 'good' bacteria.

The drip process took 30 minutes, and I was released with the strict order to return at 10 pm. And, amazingly enough, within a couple of hours, I could feel my ears feeling better. When I returned at 10, there was already a huge improvement.

I asked the nurse, L., how long I would be doing this for. "There is no way of saying. There are people who have been coming for months, even years. But I don't expect that will be in your case." And it wasn't!

As soon as I left OPAT, I went to my nearest open pharmacy, and after quite a long wait, received my next medicine [medicine#4].

Medicine #4
Ciprodex Otic Suspension
By Wednesday night the routine had become a part of my life. 30 minutes every 4 hours putting drops in my ears, and drive to ER every 12 hours. I saw the other 'regulars.' It has a kind of surreality to it, in a way I can't quite put my finger to. On Wednesday my ears felt so much better that I was hoping a return wouldn't be necessary, but Dr. N. thought two more visits were best.

Medicine #5: Ciprofloxacin
Thursday morning, oh frabjous day, callooh callay! Dr. M. overruled Dr. N., told me I was done with I.V. and could now continue on oral penicillin for ten more days. He wrote me a prescription [Medicine #5]. I went to the nearest pharmacy, and was told under no circumstances am I to ingest dairy, including yoghurt.
Medicine #5: Ciproflox

And, as if this hadn't included too many details already, just for completeness here is what swabs of my ears told the doctors:




Happy New Year! I am happy to begin the year with y(ah) ears that feel normal again. And it would seem I have suffered no obvious short term side effects!