Saturday, November 29, 2008

First day of "vacation"

I'm officially not at work now, as of yesterday at 4:45 PM. And I officially do not have to return until January 5th, in the afternoon. (L-o-n-g-.........-e-x-h-a-l-e.)

Part of me feels, oddly, very upset by the prospect of all this idleness. Clearly I seem to have, overall, lost touch with my inner irresponsible child parts.

It will be a first real break (longer than three weeks) from work in over 14 years. It will be the first time I will have been out from under the Dark Grey December Sky Lid of the temperate rain forest in 18 years. The part that feels upset is undergoing a taste of Freedom Vertigo, is all. It's a minor cognitive tilt-a-whirl that I'm sure will pass, once I get to Maui and experience immersion in high photon density. Maybe even before then.

I'm thinking I'll get some time to contemplate what I'd like to be when I grow up (a job that is never really over), how to safely disengage from the life I've constructed here and move on, hopefully to a more sunny location, and some kind of reasonable time frame to conduct this transition, make it gentle on everyone including me.

Does the economy worry me? A little.. so it's a good thing that I have never really worried a whole lot about stuff over which I have no control, like the value of money. When the opportunity to move smoothly presents itself, I will do so in a heartbeat, even if I lose money in the process.

If I were really concerned about money, I'd never spend any, and I'd not have become a PT in the first place, because you never get rich doing human primate social grooming. At best, you make a comfortable living doing honest work that's meaningful in the moment, involves helping others, and does no harm. I can do that anywhere. It's one of the things that attracted me to PT in the first place. Who needs more than that out of life? Really?

Speaking of doing no harm, I received yet another missive from my good friend and correspondent, "anonymous," who regaled me yet again on the blogpost I wrote concerning Sandy Nette and her lawsuit. See Alberta woman with chiropractic stroke sues bigtime. Sorry anonymous, I am not going to publish your comment. Surely you can read, and have already read this part:
"Since I put this blogpost up I've received a couple comments from one or two readers, both named "anonymous." I did not allow their comments to appear. They are glaringly pro-neck-manipulation, and I think the pro-neck-manipulators have already had far too much leeway in the realm of swaying public opinion to give them any sort of platform, however buried, obscure and humble this blog may be.

It's because of:
1. chiro training in a rationalized (as opposed to rational), deliberately propagated, bizarre belief system, combined with
2. a cultivated and honed persuasive attitude,
3. which appears aimed at propagating reckless enactment of a type of human physical social grooming (high-neck-manipulation) which is irrelevant and unnecessary in the first place,
4. against all common sense AND scientific investigation,
5. for the sole purpose of making $,

... that this woman became tetraplegic.

I have too much respect for the human nervous system to ever condone manipulation of its high-neck housing; therefore, "anonymous," I consider my prevention of your promotion of it on my blog, a positive choice - an action (however tiny) against letting myself and this blog be a vector for further perpetuation of your particular memeplex. And I happen to think it's an accumulation of tiny actions that count in life."

I suspect that my dear friend anonymous constructed his straw man argument in Word and is simply surfing his way around with the help of google, and like a crazed harpy (even though probably male), is dropping his load everywhere he can. I'm sure I've already read the exact same prose many other times, in many places.. anyway, no need for me to allow it here. I get to set editorial policy in my own blog, anon. Tough darts, but that's how it's gonna be. Try popping this delightful bubblewrap instead.

See? I just guided someone from a harmful activity over into an enjoyable and harmless one. That's part of what I help people figure out how to do in my work.

Another part is helping people figure out how to do what they want to do without having to endure pain while doing it. The last but not least part is teaching people about pain, and engaging with their physical nervous system to relieve it while they and their nervous system simultaneously learn how not to have it. Do I treat necks? Yes, of course I do. Do they improve? Yes of course they do. Do I pop them? Never. See?

Really, I do love my work. But also, really, I do need this trip to a Land of Photons, and I need it now. I want a big blue-dome sky over me and gorgeous glinting light ricocheting around, vigorously bouncing off surfaces of everything instead of feebly allowing itself to be sucked straight into them. I want vibrant color all round, color that here would seem garish but there will seem blanched in the vibrancy of ambient blue-sky light. I want to see light bending off water and water that looks blueblueblue, not this dark green black stuff that we call "the ocean" here where I live, that up close reminds me of wrinkled, liquid trash bags rippling slightly in the breeze, weakly fwapping at the shoreline, sucking away sand, depositing dead cold darkgreenbrown slimey seaweed. I want sharp contrast, not fuzzy edges. I want black shadow, not a dull grey haze. I want light that hurts my eyes, burrows directly into my brain, forces me to wear shades to protect my peepers from sheer sizzle. I want to be dazzled by direct light, not fooled by artificial street lights tossed haphazardly upward from puddles on the street, not placeboed by a sun lamp with which, frankly speaking, the honeymoon was over long ago. Let there be light. Real light. Honest. Sun. Light. Puhleeze.

Update Nov.30
My friend "anonymous" has written to me again. This time, he said he agreed that avoiding neck manipulation was a good idea (which is a step forward), but said I was off the mark on chiro education. Come on Anon, get over yourself. Perhaps your chiro school was (relatively) wonderful, but I have it on quite good authority that there is no particular standard amongst U.S. chiro schools. So don't presume to speak on behalf of all chiro. Go read Chirotalk, where I get all my info about chiro from ex-chiros who are fighting their way back to sanity, who engage true believers in hilarious discussions. It was you who drank the chiro koolaid, not me - I see no reason to change my overall opinion of chiropractic.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Money as Debt"

In that there seems to be a dark blanket of seasonal affective disorder that lies heavily over the economy these days, people might be interested in watching an educational doc. film (made in BC) about the topic of "money" and how it is mostly a concept, not anything real. In fact it's practically an illusion, kept in focus only by the illusion that there's lots of it and that it's OK to borrow as much as you need for whatever reason you want.

The people who actually are invested in keeping this illusion all fluffy, fail when too many people, too simultaneously, want what they think is theirs and ask for a balance sheet. Oops, turns out we don't have as much money as it looked like there was on paper..

It's a very interesting documentary. No wonder the "economy" is in such trouble. It's been running on almost empty for what? Decades. All I can say is that I'm happy I own my own (paid-off) place, I do not have debt, my life style is quite simple, and I'm not forced to retire, ever, if I don't want to. (As long as health holds out. And about that, I'm grateful to live in Canada.)

Here is the movie: Money as Debt.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Barry Beyerstein on Pseudoscience and other related matters

I've been neglecting both blogs I'm involved in, lately... One part of me feels like it's been spinning its wheels in the mental mud of descending seasonal affective disorder, while another part has become rather fascinated with active digestion and absorption of Berry Beyerstein's wonderful 50 page exposition, Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience. I wrote several posts on SomaSimple on the topic, and compiled them into a single "digest" to try to keep life simple.

Important gleanings I took from this relatively short and cursory foray into the topic, are as follows:


From Mario Bunge: rather than dividing cognitive domains into sciences and non-sciences, we might divide them into "belief fields" and "research fields."

Belief fields include "religions, political ideologies, pseudosciences and pseudotechnologies, as well as any mystical system that believes that enlightenment can be gained through revealed truth rather than painstaking examination."
"The primary attribute of belief fields is that, for their devotees, evidence is personal and subjective. I.e., they advocate using emotional criteria to distinguish truth from falsehood. Belief fields hold private feelings and hunches to be reasonable grounds for certainty—or, as New Age writers put it, “You create your own reality.”"

Research fields "can include disciplines not typically thought of as scientific, as long as their practitioners are committed to gathering objective data to support their positions."
"evidence in research fields is interpersonal. That is, it can be compared by disputants, according to open and objective criteria. It is sometimes said that objectivity is merely inter-subjectivity. I.e., an “objective” consensus is reached by comparing various individuals’ perceptions with each other and against agreed-upon external standards."


Contravene any of these and you are skating on thin ice too close to open water.
They are:
1. The inverse square law
2. Laws of Thermodynamics (e.g. the Law of Entropy)
3. Laws of Conservation of Energy, Momentum, etc.
4. Injunctions against reverse causality ("Time's Arrow")
5. One or more of C.D. Broad's "Basic Limiting Principles"
6. Data of modern Neuroscience, psychology, and psychophysiology

"Many pseudosciences claim extraordinary precision, power, or yields, well beyond those achievable by conventional scientists (and often by means of secret proprietary processes, formulas, or equipment)." Chiropractic springs to mind. PT often isn't very far behind however.. and many PTs seem to admire the marketing employed by chiropractors as if it were something to be aspired to instead of either ignored or pointing a finger at.

My favorite is number 6., ignoring the nervous system, a serious error my profession and the PT people in it make all the time, trying to pretend it isn't there, that it doesn't "sense", trying to work around it in order to make life simple for themselves, working from "models" (such as a joint biomechanical model) that refuses to take the nervous system into account at all - even the physical 72 kilometers of it weaving throughout the "body" referred to in "the literature" as "nerves"(!). This is so rampant that there are even PT university profs using the biomechanical model as their teaching platform who have the audacity to declare that pain doesn't exist and isn't our business as PTs. Ahem, I beg to differ, strenuously.

Broad's "Basic Limiting Principles" are listed here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The world felt safe to exhale last night.

This blog is usually, mostly, about the physicality and practicality of living in a human antigravity suit, or treating it. Normally I have nothing to say about politics or any of the other myriad ways we human primates amuse ourselves by creating drama for these social constructions we call selves... but I will make an exception to say something about last night's US election.

It was all anyone could talk about today at work, and I work in Canada, not the US.. My ex-pat U.S. patients were especially pleased. I must say, so was I. It was a riveting process - maybe the last time any world event involving a single individual captured everyone's attention simultaneously was when Princess Diana died and the world stopped en masse to watch, mourn, say goodbye. Check out this headlines link. Check electoral vote, VoteFromAbroad for analysis.

Last night it happened again, and the world sat riveted as one, only this time people danced joyously in the streets and today it feels like the global community is one giant human primate troop determined to pull together to help each other and the world. McCain had to act a bit sad in order to resonate properly with his supporters, but to me he sounded a bit relieved to be able to let go of his impossible effort. His speech was so good I wondered if he hadn't maybe been working on it for the whole month prior.

One thing is for sure - no more will a person who wants to take on US presidency have to first, by default, be a white alpha male human primate. Obama has crashed that perception and the whole world is very happy about it. In fact, it seems to me that the world can barely wait to start cooperating with him, this new brown face that represents not just a new image of the US in the world, but much of the world itself. Massive and nearly palpable placebo effect, response.

Gobama. Thumbs up.