After the Tropic Storm devastated the village I live in (specifically South Newfane, but calling ourselves a “village” is a bit of a stretch. The small area of three villages — South Newfane, Williamsville, and Brookside — were really clobbered by the storm. The rivers filled to overflowing to the point that trickling brooks became roaring torrents with tens to hundreds of full-grown pines, firs, spruces, and maples came roaring down them. One house was washed from one side of the road to the other, completely destroying it. In another place, not only the house but the land under it was taken by the river, leaving nothing but rocks and sand. A man two houses downriver from me lost a couple acres of wooded land as the river veered right where it used to go straight. Two bridges were completely destroyed and a third had one end six feet lower than it was before the floods.
Other towns got hit even worse, I’m told. Some towns were underwater and others were completely isolated from the rest of the world as the only access roads and bridges were destroyed.
The process of responding to all this was an intense community effort. I’ve just added the online version of the an article I wrote for the Commons, a weekly free newspaper published in Brattleboro. You’ll find it under the title “A Vermont community struggles to recover from Tropical Storm Irene” in the Community section of the blook.
Today’s the day – I’ve added my essays on the cult/community (Dreaming of Community), God or Not (Stuck in Reverse), on being lost (Lost in Orleans), and, more importantly, sent emails to my friends telling that the site exists and where to find it.
(If you’re new to my site, this blog is currently solely for where I post info on additions and updates, rather than an ongoing gutter of consciousness.)
Added essay that focuses on the importance of conscious experience and personal choice in determining who we are psychologically.
Added article on the uselessness of most feelings of guilt.
Added article that goes more deeply into why “medication” for psychological problems is not a “solution.”
Two articles added today. To some extent, they might seem contradictory in that one says there’s “No reason to be afraid” and the other (“Razor’s Edge”) says that fear is, to some extent, inevitable. Also added short article on hope and despair.
Added “Incorrect Diagnosis” article today criticizing the focus on pharmaceutical drugs as the solution to psychological problems. This is something I’ve been upset about for most of my adult life. It drives me crazy that the drug industry, what we politely call “psychoactive pharmaceutical companies,” has been able to pull the wool over quite intelligent people that the solution to being “psychologically healthy” is to take “medication” in the form of their latest chemical concoction. What drives me even crazier is that a lot of intelligent people stop even thinking about life at all psychologically, at all in terms of the their own personalities, at all in terms of their actual relationships between others, at all in terms of emotional past experiences.
I’ve encountered this frequently in teaching psychology. I’ll suggest something might have to do with past or current emotional interactions, say, between parent and child — and a student will comment, “Yeh, but isn’t it all really chemicals anyway? Isn’t it just the way we’re wired, you know, genetics and all?” Generally most people in the class agree with this comment.
There’s something insidious about this way of thinking. It stops you thinking about how things are connected, how your feelings now are connected with other feelings, whether in memory or happening at this point in one’s life. Anyway, that’s another topic that will come up a bit down the road.
Check out “Incorrect Diagnosis” and see what you think.
I’ve posted the first two articles criticizing psychology for its ignoring conscious experience and personal choice as crucial elements of understanding ourselves.
I have begun putting essays out there. Strictly speaking, this blog is intended to help readers follow what has been added or changed recently rather than being a steady flow of off-the-cuff ideas. The ideas are contained in the “chapters,” beginning with the Introduction section. This currently contains three chapters. The first is an overview of the core ideas of the blook. (“Blook” because it’s similar to blog but organized as chapters in a logical sequence rather than unedited observations in time sequence. I thought for a while that I’d coined the term, until I googled it and found out it had been around for quite a while and that there was even a Blook Prize for the best blook! Oh, well…) The second is a quick “disclaimer” you might say. The third lays out some central ideas that have guided the writing of this over the ten or twenty years I’ve been at it.
The first essays I’ve added to the main body of the blook are two on creativity. The first focuses on the urgency of the need for creativity throughout life and the obstacles to it within our culture.
The next set of essays are about psychology. Mostly what’s wrong with psychology as most people understand it today. I’ve got many articles in this section and what I’ve put out there so far is just an initial one.
There will be a section after this about community. This will focus on The Fourth Wall / Sullivan Institute, a cult-ish community I belonged to for more than twenty years. I’ve found writing about this experience to be extremely difficult. I’ve got a couple essays completed, but want to review them before posting.
Then, following this expanding circle from the individual to the societal, are two articles on the struggle for socialism in South America. So far I’ve just posted an article I wrote in 2005 and its translation into Spanish, as published in Punto Final, an excellent bi-weekly publication in Chile. I will soon post my more recent article, published this year in several journals in Chile and Argentina, in both English and Spanish versions.
Finally, not to be daunted by my own ignorance, I have what I consider a little fun exploring my own agnosticism. Nothing posted yet, just need to do a little more editing before this goes out.
This is a test (of my blog). This is only a test. Had this been a real first post, you would have been advised to duck under your desk, bury your head between knees, and kiss your ass goodbye!