PEACE POETRY - PROSE - N-Z

NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION (PLATO)
Creativity cures crisis. So let's be visionaries and missionaries, who value creativity and view crises as painful, but productive, prerequisites and preludes to progress and success. Intimidating but stimulating, and aggravating but animating, our copious social, political, financial, and scientific crises are cris de coeur for creativity and vivid, viable overtures to invention. Innovation deserves a standing ovation.

NEUROPREJUDICE: THE NEUROANATOMICAL BASIS OF PREJUDICE
Traditionally, prejudice is considered racial, ethnic, or religious hostility. Alternatively, prejudice can be considered a universal neuropsychiatric disorder that is rooted in our autonomic nervous system, which controls our temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure, digestion, sexuality, and emotional expression.

Our autonomic nervous system consists of two vital, but opposing branches: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic system, which originates in our chest and abdomen, responds to fear and pain with rigidity, hate, and “fight or flight.” The parasympathetic system, which originates in our head and pelvis, responds to trust and pleasure with relaxation, flexibility, vulnerability, and creativity. (Note that “sympathetic” and “parasympathetic” are scientific terms that refer to biological, not psychological, responses.)

Ideally, the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are in dynamic balance, so we can function comfortably and appropriately. But just as fear and pain can overpower trust and pleasure, the sympathetic system can overpower the parasympathetic system. Prolonged sympathetic dominance (sympathicotonia), which is very common, causes us to fear and hate the vulnerability and creativity of the parasympathetic system.

I propose that prejudice is the externalization and projection of the unconscious fear and hatred we all feel for the vulnerability and creativity of the parasympathetic nervous system. Groups which embody characteristics of the head or pelvis are unconsciously associated with the parasympathetic nervous system, and therefore feared and hated.

Two groups are lightning rods for prejudice: Jews and Blacks. Jews are stereotyped as intellectual, and thus equated with the head. Blacks are stereotyped as athletic, and thus equated with the pelvis. This neuroanatomical polarity of Jews and Blacks illuminates their love-hate relationship. Prejudice against women, children, the elderly, and the disabled is based on the meek, compliant nature of the parasympathetic system as a whole. (Note that my theory does not endorse or promote any stereotypes; rather, it seeks to explain why certain seemingly positive stereotypes can ironically lead to prejudice.)

In summary, my theory, which I call “neuroprejudice,” states that prejudice is a universal neuropsychiatric disorder rooted in neuroanatomy. Specifically, prejudice is a projection of the fear and hatred we feel for our vulnerability and creativity, which the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system provides for us. The antidote for prejudice, and most of society’s woes, is to safeguard the meek, compliant, creative parasympathetic system, by responsibly promoting trust and pleasure, not fear and pain.

NOTHING IS SOFTER OR MORE FLEXIBLE THAN WATER, YET NOTHING CAN RESIST IT (LAO TZU)

Water is life, and the water cycle is the fountain of life. Drenching and quenching, water hydrates and animates, then liquifies and purifies life's essential and existential, but unmentionable, stenches. So water is the molecule that mollycoddles life.

OBAMACARE: FACT OR FICTION

The Sunshine Act of The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which focuses on the financial ties and conflicts of interest between Big Pharma and physicians, curiously ignores the very same financial ties and conflicts of interest between Big Pharma and CDC, FDA, and NIH, the powerful agencies, which not only regulate healthcare, but also enjoy a lucrative revolving door with Big Pharma. To quote Karr, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” 


ONCE UPON A TIME...

Fictitious, superstitious, and full of selfish wishes, myths and legends are morbid morsels, sordid stories, gory allegories, and hardscrabble parables that babble and battle about our preferences, references, inferences, and differences.


PACIFISM, NOT PASSIVISM

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." With these incisive words, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. diplomatically expressed his frustration with the prevailing silent acquiescence and tacit consent to America's egregious discrimination against people of color. Like his mentor, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King was assassinated, but both men will live forever in the pantheon of human dignity, civil rights, and social justice. 


PAGING DR. FREUD

Psychiatric intervention is reflexively synonymous with pharmacotherapy. Modern psychiatry is dominated by reductionist, mechanistic psychopharmacology, which focuses almost exclusively on synapses, neurotransmitters, and SSRIs. Unfortunately, modern psychiatry has largely dismissed the seminal work of Sigmund and Anna Freud. The former described structural theory (id, ego, and superego); topographic theory (conscious, preconscious, and unconscious); oedipus and electra complexes; and transference and countertransference. The latter described ego defense mechanisms: repression, denial, rationalization, sublimation, identification, displacement, projection, and reaction formation. In my opinion, it is difficult, if not impossible, to truly understand someone's motivation and behavior without an appreciation of these two great pioneers.


PARADOXOLOGY

Life is a parade of paradoxes. We are perpetually perplexed by dizzying dualities: pain-pleasure, reality-fantasy, right-wrong, tragedy-comedy, faith-reason, fate-free will, and life-death. How can we resolve such perennial puzzles? We should ponder and wonder, while accepting that life's daunting dualities are not galactic accidents or cosmic conundrums, but individual lessons and meticulous memorandums from our Creator, who poignantly pinpoints each of us with predetermined paradoxes that design, define, and refine our spiritual confinement, personal alignment, and final assignment.


PARASITOLOGY 101

The world is full of parasites. They are in our air, water, food, home, bedding, and clothing. They even live in and on us. Some of these parasites are harmful; some are harmless; and some are even helpful. How can we deal with all these parasites, and how should we feel about them? First, we should maintain proper hygiene and take all necessary precautions. Second, we should seek medical care when necessary. Third, we should be philosophical and recognize that life is a complex, endless food chain, in which we are both predator and prey, diner and dinner. In short, parasites are part of the price that we pay for living.


PARASITOLOGY & PUBLIC HEALTH
Prolific and horrific, parasites are Mother Nature's army of mini-monsters that invade our lives and trap us in a morbid Möbius loop and biphasic food chain, in which we're both victor and vector, predator and prey, chef and buffet, diner and dinner, and winner and loser. To combat parasites, we need personal prevention with merciful intervention.*

*Parasites include viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, worms, insects, and arachnids. The best antiparasitics are hygiene, nutrition, and aerobic exercise, since vaccines are vexed, and we're in the post-antibiotic era of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and superinfections. To quote GB Shaw, "Science never solves one problem without creating ten more."

PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW (ROMEO & JULIET)

Saying goodbye is awkward. We never know how or when to say it. It’s always too soon or too late. It’s never the right time. What should we do? We should realize that it’s always the right time, because once we’ve shared a heartfelt goodbye, we're ready to embrace each other with a real hello, and face a final goodbye.
 To quote Tennyson, "It's better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."

PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

Life is full of unfinished business. We're all burdened with a backlog of unsolved mystery and unresolved history. How do we balance this backlog with the pressures of the present? We should peruse the past, in order to prepare ourselves for projecting the present into the future. But sadly, we're never finished with the past, and we must live with it forever.
 To quote Soren Kierkegaard, "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."

PEACE & HEALTH 1
Peace equals health, but health is the prequel, and peace is the sequel. Health is nutrition, not addiction; and peace is contrition, not conviction. Peace and health are inseparable, because life is insuperable, and suffering is insufferable.

PEACE & HEALTH 2
With a myriad of mysteries and mercies, the humane terrain of peace and health rings and reigns with sweet refrains, from the peak of the meek and the hill of the holy, down to the demonic domains and parallel hells of war and sickness in the valley of the bully and the gully of the guilty.

PEACE & HEALTH 3
Peace and health offer a comprehensible consensus, not the reprehensible menace of war and sickness.

PEACE POETRY 

Religions are based on scripture, which is mostly poetry. So it only makes sense that religious conflict must be resolved through poetry, and not through politics, negotiation, or war. I propose that all religious conflicts be redefined poetically, so that they can be resolved without bloodshed, winners, or losers. So let's sharpen our words, not our swords; send missives, not missiles; and apply our minds to metaphor, simile, rhyme, meter, and prosody, but not pomposity, animosity, ferocity, atrocity, or monstrosity.


PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF AND THY PROFESSION

Physicians who reflexively blame themselves or their patients for poor clinical outcomes are overlooking other possibilities. While it is true that some physicians make mistakes and that some patients don’t cooperate, it is equally true that healthcare is imperfect, and that some modalities simply don’t work. This is why physicians don’t enjoy better health than their patients. So disappointed or disaffected physicians and patients should learn to question the underlying assumptions and science of healthcare. 


PHYSICIAN IMPOSSIBLE

A physician with a sick family member is faced with the difficult, if not impossible, task of relinquishing the role of physician and accepting the role of co-patient. This role reversal is an awkward dilemma for all parties and should be discussed openly with flexibility and compromise. One possibility is an ad hoc clinical alliance between the treating and non-treating physicians which bridges the divide between physician and patient, so that irrespective of the outcome, all concerned will feel they did their best, and will not be haunted with doubts, regrets, or guilt.


PLACEBOS: TRICK OR TREAT

Psychoanalysis teaches us that there are two kinds of thinking: primary process and secondary process. Primary process is magical thinking characteristic of children. Secondary process is rational thinking characteristic of adults. Since we never really outgrow our childhood, we never fully give up our primary process thinking. Ironically, education sometimes promotes primary process thinking, rather than secondary process thinking. This happens in medical education, in which medical students are taught that the use of placebos promotes a sense of "healing" in the patient, and moreover, promotes a sense of "success" in the physician. Sadly, a sugar pill is being used to "treat" both patient and physician. Since health care is ostensibly based on science and secondary process thinking, it's time to dispense with placebos and to stop dispensing them to patients.


"PLEASE, SIR, I WANT SOME MORE." (OLIVER TWIST)

Regarding most institutions, it has been said that the wrong people have the keys. This cynical remark has much truth and raises questions about the legitimacy of our institutions. Oftentimes, luck and circumstances determine who runs the institution and who resides in the institution. I propose that we re-think the whole issue of institutions, including prisons, mental hospitals, and orphanages. These institutions are a blot on society, and their residents deserve much better treatment than they receive. Surely, society can develop more humane ways of dealing with unfortunate people, who are often unable to change their dysfunctional lifestyles.


POETS & PARENTS

Poets are like parents: both are possessive and obsessive. Poets lose sleep worrying about their poetry, and parents lose sleep worrying about their progeny. With reams of ingenuity and dreams of perpetuity, poets and parents preserve the present in order to pacify the past and nurture the future. 


POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: PRO & CON

Let's d/c PC. It sensitizes us to the negative nuances of norms, but it paralyzes palaver with pseudo-peccadillos and faux-pas phobia. Scripted and insipid, PC stupifies us with semantic antics, veridical indirectness, and lame sameness. So PC is a parody of parity that leaves us languishing in language.


POLITICAL SCIENCE: FACT OR FICTION

Political science is an oxymoron. Since politics involves secret alliances, hidden agendas, broken promises, equivocation, and misrepresentation, it's hard to imagine that politics is scientific. And it's not too hard to imagine that politics is, in fact, inimical to science. So science should free itself from politics, and politics should stop masquerading as science. As abstraction and distraction without traction or action, politics is full of infractions and deserves a total retraction, not a trusting reaction.


POLITICKING IS SICKENING

Affable but laughable, and inexhaustible but implausible, politics is a charade and farce with a parade of arses, whose stagey but cagey theatrics of pleas for plaudits, but fear of audits, reduce rationality and nationality to a theater of the absurd.


POLITICS & RELIGION

Mixing philosophy with sophistry, politics and religion spin lofty software for the ardent hardware of our mind. Liberalism and humanism are read-write software that updates but inflates files; while conservatism and fundamentalism are read-only software that copies but co-opts files. Stymied by stylized no-win spinware, our mind seeks new software to soften our hotheaded, hardheaded hardware.

POWER TENDS TO CORRUPT (LORD ACTON)

Despite abundant examples of how money and power often lead to corruption, we continue to be surprised each time another example is uncovered. Why are we so surprised? Perhaps we unrealistically elevate powerful people as exemplars of morality who can function as perfect leaders. Let's resist this temptation and recognize that powerful people are often driven by ambition, greed, and hubris, and must be viewed with a measure of skepticism and cynicism. And let's demand that powerful people provide the public with real evidence of transparency and accountability.


PRESCRIPTION FOR HAPPINESS

There are two kinds of happiness: real, inner happiness; and false, superficial happiness. Real, inner happiness is the spontaneous contentment that comes from good health, creative work, and loving relationships. False, superficial happiness is the contrived fun that comes from addictions, possessions, and power. It's important to distinguish between the two kinds of happiness, and to not settle for false happiness.


PRESCRIPTION FOR PEACE

Aesop's fable "Androcles and the Lion" tells the story of Androcles, who removed a thorn from a lion's paw, and was subsequently rescued by the very same lion. The moral of this story is that kindness can sometimes turn a dangerous enemy into a great friend. So let's not be too quick to hate our enemies. Instead, let's treat our enemies as potential friends, by demonstrating kindness and compassion. It's more humane to cure your enemies than to kill them.


PRESCRIPTION FOR PESSIMISM

Life is unfair. Some people seem blessed with opportunity, while others seem cursed with obstacles. So it is natural for some people to feel optimistic, while others feel pessimistic. How can we cope with the deadening, disabling feelings of pessimism? The trick in life is to turn obstacles into opportunity by using courage, creativity, and perseverance. It's amazing how often this formula works, and I encourage all pessimists to give it a try.


PRESCRIPTION FOR PRISONS

Prisons are a paradoxical public policy failure. The more prisons we have, the more crime we have, and the less justice we enjoy. All too often, crime is a manifestation of addiction with its inevitable fraud and violence. What should we do? We should find new solutions to addiction that naturally curb our craving for addictive substances. In my experience, this can be accomplished through dietary modification, by following a balanced, organic, non-addictive, lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. Addiction is a sickness that needs medicalization, not criminalization.

PRESCRIPTION FOR PROBLEMS
Impervious to peace, interpersonal problems persist and resist, because we consistently personalize, demonize, and stigmatize, but just don’t realize that problems aren't due to race, class, politics, or religion, but the global sickness of addiction. With silence and stealth, addiction blinds us and ruins our health.*

*Common addictions include sugar, honey, chocolate, vanilla, cola, coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, all of which can cause craving, frustration, anger, and violence.

PRESCRIPTION FOR PTSD

Society is plagued by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Despite its epidemic, protean, and refractory nature, PTSD receives little more than cookbook pharmacotherapy with tranquilizers and antidepressants. Prior to any pharmacotherapy, PTSD should first receive interdisciplinary therapy with spiritual, psychological, vocational, marital, and family counseling. Moreover, since PTSD is sustained sympathicotonia, PTSD needs regular aerobic exercise, which stabilizes the autonomic nervous system, and the elimination of all addictive substances (including sweets, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and drugs), which destabilize the autonomic nervous system and aggravate anger and depression.


PRESCRIPTION FOR WORRY

Life is precarious, and there are many things to worry about. Our most common worries are money, relationships, and health, in that order. Unfortunately, this order is backwards. That's why we're so unhappy. If we reverse this order, each worry solves the next worry. Good health leads to good relationships. Good health and good relationships lead to financial security. And all three lead to happiness. In order to reduce our worries, we must establish the proper priorities.


PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL (PROVERBS 16)

Success is intoxicating. It  misleads us into reveries of pride, privilege, perks, petulance, and grandiosity. Sadly, this  happens with scientists, physicians, attorneys, and public official. How can this be prevented or corrected? Continuing medical and legal education should promote humility and gratitude by requiring pro bono work for the disadvantaged in prisons, orphanages, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. It's wise to remember that titles are not entitlements. 


PROFESSIONS & HAZING

The professions are like fraternities and sororities, and hazing is part of the training. This hazing is a mixed blessing. It paradoxically promotes ego strength and esprit de corps, but it also promotes egotism and sadism. So we should temper this hazing with compassion, humility, and humor. Let’s remember that trainees are future colleagues, and they deserve our respect.


PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS: FACT OR FICTION

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by The American Psychiatric Association (APA) contains a growing number of dubious, if not ludicrous, psychiatric disorders that parallel and promote a growing number of dubious, if not dangerous, psychiatric drugs produced by Big Pharma, thus suggesting that DSM and APA serve Big Pharma, not the public. Psychiatry stigmatizes, and Big Pharma commercializes.


PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS: FACT OR FICTION

Psychiatric drugs (stimulants, tranquilizers, and antidepressants) ostensibly help patients by correcting imbalances in neurotransmitters, like dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, epinephrine (adrenaline), and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). But psychiatric drugs are so toxic and addictive, that they are common, covert causes of anxiety, depression, anger, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, and violence, the very symptoms they falsely claim to cure. Psychiatry is up a tree, and lost at sea, in psychopharmacology.

PUBLICITY VS. DUPLICITY
With hyper-uber-hoopla, the publicity for public figures involves public disclosures from private enclosures. So the publication of public lives often contrasts with the privation of private lives.

RATIONALITY AND REALITY

As the most intelligent species, we are prone to hubris and self-deception. We tend to equate our intelligence with honesty, rationality, and infallibility, although our history is replete with quite the opposite. We seem to forget that life is often overwhelming, and that we are constantly tempted by escapism. So as we advance our science, technology, and belief systems, we must be humbly mindful of our many shortcomings and question our assumptions about reality. Let's remember the insightful words of T.S. Eliot, who said, "Humanity cannot bear very much reality."


READERS & WRITERS

Collegial and coequal, readers and writers reciprocate and educate. Readers start at the beginning and work forward, but writers start at the end and work backward. Like alpha and beta, but neither is greater, readers and writers explore reason and reality in parallel, but they need and meet each other in a series of remote tête-à-têtes that let needs be met. 


RELIGIOUS VOWS

Although noble in intent, religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience are nonetheless draconian and difficult, if not impossible, to keep. So it should come as no surprise that many votaries unwillingly succumb to destructive behavior. Prospective votaries should carefully consider the superhuman effort it will take to honor their vows. And religious institutions should alleviate the extreme burdens placed on votaries, who wish to serve humanity and deserve to be treated humanely.


RESPECT EGO BOUNDARIES

"Ego boundary" is a psychoanalytic term that refers to the ego function of distinguishing between self and non-self. One example of an ego boundary problem is the person who invades your privacy and violates your dignity by making gratuitous, unkind remarks to or about you. How should we respond to such remarks? In general, it is best not to respond, for if we do, we only dignify the unkind remark and invite more of the same. So let's not reward boorish, uncouth behavior, and instead demonstrate that it is unworthy of comment. Let's promote a healthy respect for ego boundaries.


ROMEO AND JULIET (SHAKESPEARE)

To varying degrees, every mixed marriage is a potential Romeo and Juliet with feuding families. How can we avoid such a tragic outcome? How can different races, ethnicities, nationalities, and languages live in peace and harmony? First, we must advance beyond the tired, passive shibboleths of diversity and tolerance, by actively befriending those who are different from us. Second, we must free ourselves of negative stereotypes and recognize that feuds are "much ado about nothing." Otherwise, our world will not survive.


Rx FOR AMBIVALENCE
If your head and heart disagree, either follow your head and prepare yourself for a heartache, or follow your heart, but try not to lose your head. But either way, don't try to resolve your ambivalence  with addiction.

Rx FOR COMPETITION

Competition is a mixed blessing. It can motivate us to improve our performance, but it can also dominate us with fears of inadequacy. The best way to deal with competition is to compete with ourselves, but not with other people. Try to focus on achieving your goals and improving your abilities, but don't worry about how you compare with other people. Learn to accept yourself and appreciate your unique humanity, regardless of whether you achieve your goals.


Rx FOR CORRUPTION

Blatant and patent, not latent, our chronic corruption cries out for an abrupt disruption of core corruption via newsy newbies, nervy netizens, and savvy citizens, who right ‘em and write ‘em, item by item, ad infinitum. 


Rx FOR COURAGE

It takes courage to live. Problems loom large; resources are scanty; pessimism is pervasive; and the air is heavy with hopelessness and helplessness. So how can we persevere, let alone prevail? We should remember that we are not alone and turn to the emotional support of teachers, family, and friends, who can provide us with advice, sympathy, and encouragement. We should also turn to the divine guidance and mercy of our Creator, who is rooting for us, but will always love and accept us even if we fail.


Rx FOR CREATION

Insuperable and insufferable, the superabundance of natural and man-made disasters in the world suggests that the world is flawed, and that God should have spent more time on Creation, and less time on recreation, by working a half-day on the Sabbath. So Genesis is our nemesis, and Creation must be fixed by a Messiah, who knows frailty, faith, anguish, and language, but reacts with didactic facts and galactic acts of earthly mercy, mirth, and rebirth.

Rx FOR CULTURE CLASH

Cultures conflict. Western culture credits the conscious and free will, but Eastern culture credits the unconscious and fate. Fortunately, art can resolve such conflicts via creativity, symbolism, and the juxtaposition of opposites. Cultures conflict and reveal, but art depicts and heals. Start art stat.


Rx FOR DISCRIMINATION

Discrimination is natural and instinctive, but limiting and destructive. It's only natural to fear and avoid people who appear different. But this fear poisons our mind, limits our relationships, and destroys our opportunities for growth. So discrimination victimizes the bigot as well as the object of bigotry. How can we deal with discrimination? We should expect and accept it as a natural, albeit hypervigilant, defense mechanism that needs remediation through education, reassurance, and positive experiences.


Rx FOR FDA

Like most regulatory agencies, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is compromised by financial conflicts of interest with the very industries it ostensibly regulates. These conflicts of interest raise questions about the integrity and/or agenda of the FDA, and thereby frighten and confuse the public. The first priority of a new FDA commissioner is to restore the public's confidence in this vital agency by eliminating all of its cozy relationships with industry. Let's make sure that FDA doesn't stand for Force Drugs and Devices on Americans.


Rx FOR FEUDS

Despite its high profile, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not unique. Like other chronic conflicts, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a feud impervious to negotiation or reasoning. So let's stop our polarizing, stigmatizing rhetoric, and redefine all conflicts and feuds as humanitarian health crises due to global dehydration, malnutrition, and addiction, all of which causes massive frustration, anger, and conflict. To stop a feud, change the food.


Rx FOR FLU: LEMONS & LIMES

We live in the post-antibiotic era of superbugs and superinfections. In my experience, both often respond to organic, fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice. Both lemons and limes are excellent sources of Vitamin C, and both are natural antibiotics and antiviral agents. I recommend 1/4 tsp of lemon or lime juice in a large glass of water 3 times a day for 1-2 weeks. To quote Hippocrates, "Let food be your medicine."


RX FOR FRONTIERS
Go slow: exceed your limits, but heed your limitations and need for patience.

Rx FOR HOSPITALS

The hospital is a battlefield in which doctors and nurses fight sickness. Doctors are officers, and nurses are enlisted. Doctors have authority, issue orders, enjoy comforts, and receive rewards; while nurses lack authority, take orders, do dirty work, and receive blame. This gross inequality is counterproductive, because it hurts nurses, creates internecine conflict, subverts the hospital’s mission, and subjects patients to suboptimal healthcare. The Hippocratic Oath should include the doctor-nurse relationship.


Rx FOR INFANT COLIC
Despite theories of indigestion or obstruction, most infant colic (excessive crying) is merely loneliness and a cri de coeur for soothing skin-to-skin contact, as described in the marsupialization of kangaroo care. To quote the Beatles, the colicky infant is pleading, “I want to hold your hand.” Sometimes, it's normal and healthy to be a cry-baby.

Rx FOR JERUSALEM

Despite the conflicts in Gaza and the West Bank, the central issue between the Israelis and Palestinians is philosophical, and based in Jerusalem. Like most cities, Jerusalem is divided by competing political and religious philosophies. Unfortunately, the competition associated with these well-meaning philosophies often creates unintended conflict. I propose that Jerusalem, and other cities, counteract such conflict by developing a new, non-political, non-religious, non-competitive philosophy based on our common humanity. Such a philosophy would emphasize that all people, regardless of politics or religion, or any other divisive factor, share common origins, needs, and rights.


Rx FOR LOGICAL REASONING

There are two kinds of logical reasoning: deduction and induction. Deduction reasons forward from cause to effect, and from general to particular; induction reasons backward from effect to cause, and from particular to general. Deduction is the logical reasoning of science; induction is the analogical reasoning of the arts. And faith is the illogical, ontological, cosmological reasoning of religion, which can either complete or deplete our sanity and humanity, depending on our civility and humility.


Rx FOR LONELINESS

Life is lonely, and there are two kinds of loneliness: the absence of loved ones, and the presence of unloved ones. The former is haunting, and the latter is daunting. What should we do? We should cultivate a reliable relationship with ourselves, because we are the only loved one who will always be with us. 


Rx FOR LONELY HEARTS

People who are lovesick or love-starved, are sick from toxins and addictions,* and starving for nutritious food.**

*sugar, honey, chocolate, vanilla, cola, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and drugs.
**organic lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet that excludes toxins and addictions (LOVE Diet).

Rx FOR MARRIAGE

Marriage is an unconscious attempt to recreate and repair childhood trauma. So it's no surprise that marriage often ends in traumatic divorce. Considering the prevalence and pain of divorce, we should be married by lawyers and divorced by clergy. Sadly, we need more apprehension, prevention, and merciful intervention.


Rx FOR MEDICAL STUDENTS

Medical school is an intense, demanding process of education and preparation, in which young people are transformed into physicians. Since this process coincides with physical and emotional maturation into adulthood, medical school is a time of great change. The task for the medical student is to incorporate all these changes into a unified, cohesive identity. The best way to accomplish this is for the medical student to focus on being humble, by identifying with the poor, sick, and disadvantaged. This will help to neutralize the inevitable hubris that comes with being a physician.


Rx FOR MDs

The role of a doctor is impossible. First, the doctor must recognize that he or she is sick and scared, just like the patient. Second, the doctor must weave a tapestry of hope and hopelessness, by functioning as clinician and magician, scientist and alchemist, parent and priest, athletic director and funeral director. All of this haunts doctors and alienates them from their families and communities. Doctors should not be expected to function as apologists or salesmen for a healthcare system that obviously does not have all the answers.


Rx FOR OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)

OCD is a symptom of addiction. As a morbid condition with fixed, rigid convictions, addiction's many obsessions and compulsions preclude cognition and volition. The best way to treat OCD is to cure the underlying addictions.


Rx FOR POVERTY

Poverty is pandemic. It has an ever-tightening death grip on every country and reduces many lives to squalor and hopelessness. Why is poverty so ubiquitous and intractable? Perhaps our hubris and greed have blinded us to the reality of hunger and need. Lets renew our commitment to the Earth and its life by being stewards, caretakers, and friends, not landowners, bosses, and fiends.


Rx FOR SELF-ESTEEM

Self-esteem is a paradox. Each of us feels unique and uniquely important, but society regards and treats us as ordinary and unimportant. This discrepancy threatens our self-esteem and alienates us from society. What should we do? We should recognize that our uniqueness is a hidden treasure that can only be discovered by our loved ones, and most of all, by our Creator, who endows us with divinity and knows us to infinity.


Rx FOR SOMALIA

Although Somalia’s status as a failed state is well-known, Somalia’s status as a center for khat cultivation and addiction is not well-known. Khat is a highly addictive stimulant that derives from Catha edulis, a flowering plant native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Perhaps this explains why Somalia continues to be a failed state. Failed states should be re-defined as states of addiction.


Rx FOR SUCCESS

Apart from the few gifted people for whom everything comes easy, most of us have to work hard to achieve anything. Often our efforts are unsuccessful, and we must deal with failure, disappointment, and discouragement. However, we must remain hopeful and persevere with dedicated, continued efforts. Like the basketball player who makes a second effort by charging the basket after shooting the ball, we must make secondary and tertiary efforts to achieve our goal. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill: Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never, never.


Rx FOR TECHNOLOGY

Today's world is a virtual reality that has been morphed, warped, and dwarfed by technology. We live in a world dominated by TV, radio, movies, internet, and cell phones. All of this technology is a mixed blessing: it connects us with others, but it disconnects us from ourselves. In order to reconnect with ourselves, we must "disumbilicate" ourselves from technology, by spending at least one hour a day in solitude, silence, and inner reflection. Let's rediscover the soothing nature of aloneness, which allows us to commune with ourselves.


Rx FOR THE GATES FOUNDATION

The most neglected diseases are poverty, hunger, homelessness, and addiction, all of which are intractable and ubiquitous. These pandemic diseases are especially devastating, because they leave victims stigmatized, ostracized, and isolated - without opportunity, hope, or the will to live. The Gates Foundation should approach these diseases as interrelated elements of a single syndrome and fund non-pharmaceutical interdisciplinary research which seeks new understanding and practical treatment modalities. Let's shine a light of attention and compassion on those who are neglected and helpless.


Rx FOR TRUTH

The information age is upon us, and we are drowning in facts, but starving for truth. Despite all the scientific and technological advances, our problems remain the same, and our institutions are failing. Even worse, our institutions are shirking their responsibility by covering up their failures with hype, hoopla, razzle-dazzle, and misdirection. However, one bright spot is the free and open internet, which has exposed and challenged the hegemony of the stagey, elitist mainstream media. Now we need a plenipotentiary truth and reconciliation commission that will provide us with full transparency and accountability over our previously trusted institutions.


Rx FOR VIOLENCE

Violence is a worldwide mysterious plague that infests every level of society. It baffles and frightens teachers, doctors, lawyers, police, and politicians. What is violence, and why is it so powerful and pervasive? Violence is a predictable and inevitable result of addiction. The addict suffers with insatiable cravings, frustration, and anger, all of which frequently leads to violence. The best way to deal with violence is to identify and treat the underlying addictions.


SALT: PRO & CON

Our free and easy access to table salt is a mixed blessing. Salt enhances the taste of food and helps to maintain electrolyte balance and fluid volume; but it also causes hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, we must monitor our total daily salt intake, so that we have enough but not too much. In my experience, the average healthy adult needs about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 8 glasses of water per day. I prefer plain (non-iodized) sea salt, because sea salt has more trace elements (like iodine) than land salt, and because we only need iodine in very small amounts. 


SAVE THE CHILDREN

Children are a paradox. Their innocence ensures their honesty, and makes them good lie detectors and truth reporters. This perennial paradox is memorialized in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, The Emperor's New Clothes, which contrasts the real perception of a child with the surreal self-deception of adults. How ironic that adults must fear and feign the sincerity they once enjoyed as children. To quote Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., "Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by children."


SCIENCE & PHILOSOPHY

Mixing metrics with ethics, truth fuses science with philosophy. Science quantifies and classifies truth, while philosophy qualifies and clarifies truth. Without this crucial fusion, we wallow in confusion. 


SCIENCE VS. TECHNOLOGY

Many people equate science with technology. This is unfortunate, because the two are not the same. Science is a pure pursuit of knowledge with no agenda, while technology is applied science with a political and/or commercial agenda. Therefore, science should lead technology, and not the reverse. Sadly, we live in a world in which technology leads science. This is why politics and commerce are so prominent, but scientific discoveries are so rare. We need a new scientific revolution, in which pure science exists for its own sake, and not for the sake of politics and commerce. 


SCIENTISTS ARE NOT DEMIGODS

Science is scary, and scientists intimidate us. Like modern-day Merlins, they mystify us with their jargon, potions, pills, procedures, and results. But we forget that science is incomplete, imperfect, experimental, and a work-in-progress. This is why scientists can't fully heal us or solve all of our problems, and this is why they sometimes hurt us or the environment. So let's respect and appreciate scientists, but let's not worship them or give them our unqualified trust.


SELF-ACCEPTANCE

Self-acceptance is the ultimate act of courage and compassion. After all, none of us really likes himself, and we all pretend to be someone we're not. The road to self-acceptance is bumpy, and there is much denial and pretense along the way. How can we expedite or ensure self-acceptance? We should regard self-acceptance as a lifelong goal that needs constant self-examination plus nurturing from family, friends, and professionals. The world would be a better place, if we could all learn to accept ourselves and others.


SEVEN DEADLY SINS

The Seven Deadly Sins are lust, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, anger, and pride. Unfortunately, these sins pertain to individuals, but not groups, and thereby, exonerate societal sins. I propose that the Seven Deadly Sins should be supplemented with Society's Seven Deadly Sins: hunger, thirst, homelessness, sickness, illiteracy, bigotry, and poverty. These sins violate basic human rights and reflect institutionalized societal neglect. Let's evaluate and grade societies accordingly.


SHERLOCKIAN REASONING

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a tour de force of backward writing, in which Doyle writes from the end to the beginning. Thus Doyle creates masterful mysteries that contrast Dr. Watson's plodding, deductive, a priori, forward reasoning from cause to effect, with Sherlock Holmes' incisive, inductive, a posteriori, reverse reasoning from effect to cause. Needless to say, none of this is elementary. 


SHIFTING GEARS

Like a car that accelerates by shifting gears, society progresses by shifting science, technology, philosophy, and the arts. However, while shifting, both society and cars are temporarily disengaged. Hopefully, our endless sickness, poverty, corruption, and wars are just an extended interval of disengagement, and soon, God willing, we will finally get in gear and be on our way. Vroom Vroom! Beep Beep!


SKIING AS METAPHOR

Skiing is more than an Olympic winter sport that has captured the interest of average people. It has become a metaphor for life, because it epitomizes the strength, courage, and endurance that life requires. But life also requires flexibility, which we seem to lack. Life asks us to zigzag right and left around obstacles, as if we are on a slalom course. But we like to proceed fast and straight, as if we are schussboomers. Since life is a slalom, but we are schussboomers, it's no wonder that we so often plow headlong into problems.


SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS

Social entrepreneurs are altruistic visionaries whose innovative ideas help to launch beneficent new businesses. Sadly, many of these businesses fail financially, because the entrepreneurs are more motivated by idealism than pragmatism. In order to succeed, the entrepreneurs must team up with accountants and managers whose pragmatism can shelter and nurture the entrepreneurs' altruistic vision, which is sometimes worth its weight in gold.


SOCIAL JUSTICE

Society's legal system is a mixed blessing. It provides us with the stability of law and order, but it also provides courts and attorneys with the ability to defraud us with impunity, none of which goes unnoticed. Many of us have the impression that courts tend to promote pre-determined biased agendas, which consistently benefit the powerful and wealthy. Sadly, there is often a world of difference between legal justice and social justice, even in so-called developed countries.


SOCIAL MEDIA: PRO & CON

Social media are a mixed blessing. They facilitate private and public communication, but they can also blur the boundary between the two, and in doing so, violate confidentiality, privilege, and proper judgment. It’s important to remember that all communication includes trusting disclosures that deserve to be honored.


SOCIETY AND SUPERIORITY

Society is stratified. Dictatorships have tyrants and victims; monarchies have royalty and commoners; governments have officials and citizens; military have officers and enlisted; hospitals have doctors and nurses; and businesses have bosses and workers. Stratification is a lopsided, stagnant system, in which a few fortunate people luxuriate in elitism, while many people vegetate in defeatism. Stratification devastates scientific progress and social justice by beatifying a few, but mortifying many. In short, stratification lacks science, conscience, and prescience. 


STEREOTYPING: PRO & CON

The world is a kaleidoscope of activity. In order for us to understand all this activity, our brain sees stereoscopically and thinks stereotypically. Thus we reduce all this activity into patterns that enable us to cope with the present and predict the future. But sometimes these patterns distort reality and create problems. For example, we tend to stereotype other people and (mis)treat them accordingly. Let’s monitor and moderate our stereotypical thinking by recognizing its limits and giving each other a chance.


SUNSHINE IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT (LOUIS BRANDEIS)

The world is full of cruel, audacious dictatorships that routinely violate human rights. These violations are outrageous, infuriating, and heartbreaking. But private citizens, governments, and non-governmental organizations are often helpless to effect change. Perhaps our best option is a media campaign to expose all violations and guilty parties. Hopefully, this will shame dictators and their henchmen into better behavior, and sensitize us to governmental abuse of power. To quote Lord Acton, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."


SUPPORT GROUPS: PRO & CON

Support groups are a mixed blessing. They can provide us with information, sympathy, structure, and hope; but they can also subject us to misinformation, criticism, oppression, and misery. How can we maximize the good, but minimize the bad? We should accept help from carefully screened support groups, but we should also recognize that no individual or group has all the answers, and we should not completely surrender our independent judgment to others. In the final analysis, our life is our possession and responsibility.


SYMBOLS OF AUTHORITY

Professions have symbols of authority. Doctors have stethoscopes, royalty have scepters, judges have gavels, police have guns, conductors have batons, and businessmen have pricey pens and long ties. Like most symbols of authority, the stethoscope, scepter, gavel, gun, baton, pen, and tie are machismo gizmos with macho mojo but mucho no-go. Visual and visceral, but fanciful and farcical, virile symbols are sterile and puerile, because patriarchies are passé, and symbolism needs feminism.
 In short, ERA is AOK.

SYMBOLS VERSUS SUBSTANCE

Society is long on symbols, but short on substance. We are awash in religious, political, professional, and commercial symbols that promise but don't deliver. Why is there such a disparity between symbol and substance? Perhaps it's because our language is largely symbolic and subject to misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and manipulation. So let's try to clearly distinguish between the symbols and substance of society by minimizing the former and maximizing the latter.


TAKE IT IN WHAT SENSE THOU WILT (ROMEO AND JULIET)

Knowledge with common sense is wisdom, but knowledge without common sense is nonsense. 


THANK GOD FOR CHAPLAINS

Society's institutions are a mixed blessing. They provide us with colleges, hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, and the military. But they also subject us to regimentation, which can be overwhelming, depersonalizing, and depressing. One refuge from such regimentation are chaplains, who offer much-needed emotional and spiritual care for people of all faiths. Literally and figuratively, chaplains are a godsend.


THE ART OF MEDICINE

Modern healthcare is imperfect and full of treatment failures. These failures are disappointing and dispiriting for both patient and physician. Fortunately, healthcare can be enhanced by turning to the fine arts and art therapy. Art is a magical modality, which offers patients a refuge from pain and suffering, and a sanctuary for solace, self-expression, symbolism, and supplication. Let's elevate the art of medicine to a fine art that heals the body, mind, and spirit.


THE CROOKED TIMBER OF HUMANITY

The crooked timber of humanity is Immanuel Kant’s metaphor for mankind’s fundamental flaw. But let’s remember that despite our crooked timbers, loose screws, leaky plumbing, faulty wiring, and dim bulbs, we remain the Creator’s crowning achievement, and we should always be proud of that.


THE DOCTOR PATIENT

The most important role of the doctor is as a patient, because then, and only then, can the doctor truly understand how frustrating and frightening it is to be sick and seek help. This understanding enables the doctor to identify with patients and relate to them in a more effective, compassionate, and humble manner. And this, in turn, improves the doctor-patient relationship, patient compliance, and treatment outcome. In short, having been on both sides of the stethoscope, scalpel, and gurney, the doctor-patient is uniquely motivated to practice and advance the art and science of healthcare.


THE GREATEST DECEPTION MEN SUFFER IS FROM THEIR OWN OPINIONS (LEONARDO DA VINCI)

Many believe and opine, but few perceive or define.
 So having opinions is fine, but being opinionated is over the line.

THE IMMUNOLOGY OF PREJUDICE

Despite our best efforts, we continue to be plagued with prejudice in all its ugly manifestations. Why is prejudice so resistant to all intervention? Perhaps there is a biological component that we are overlooking. Perhaps prejudice is similar to an immune response, in which we automatically recognize and reject foreign protein as potentially dangerous. 

Our immune response is a mixed blessing, because sometimes the foreign protein is dangerous, but other times the foreign protein is harmless. Sometimes our immune response protects us, but other times our immune response turns on us and creates self-destructive autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatic heart disease, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma, lupus, and colitis.

I propose that prejudice is a self-destructive autoimmune disease, in which we automatically and incorrectly reject harmless people who appear to be foreign and dangerous. Let's treat the pernicious disease of prejudice with familiarity, tolerance, reason, good will, and hope.


THE LADY DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH (HAMLET)

Medical media routinely publish squeaky-clean bills of health for Big Pharma’s rich but vexed vaccine industry, despite the fact that the exponential growth of vaccines parallels the exponential growth of autism, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Despite their obvious correlation with multimorbidity and mortality, vaccines enjoy more immunity than they convey. Vaccines vex, and Big Pharma writes big checks.
*

*Autoimmune disease, in which our immune system rejects our own body, underlies many diseases, including allergy, arthritis, asthma, carditis, celiac, colitis, diabetes, encephalitis, fibromyalgia, hepatitis, ileitis, iritis, nephritis, pancreatitis, thyroiditis, and vasculitis.

THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE (MARSHALL MCLUHAN)

Tedious but devious, and smart but smarmy, the media mislead us. They spin, spike, and hype the news with political bias, but omit nonpartisan reportage. Oblivious to obvious bipartisan sins, the media have concocted, co-opted, and adopted covert, venal covenants of reportage, badinage, camouflage, and sabotage. Like politics, the media are a mean, internecine scheme of screaming memes.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME (JEAN-BAPTISTE ALPHONSE KARR)

Government is so consistently dishonest and dysfunctional that the party in power always looks worse than the party out of power, none of which is ever mentioned by the media or changes with elections, thus suggesting that all government and media, regardless of politics or economics, need informed citizens and netizens to right 'em and write 'em, item by item, ad infinitum. 


THE ODD COUPLE

Literature and theater abound in beloved odd couples, who are mismatched but attached, like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, and Oscar Madison and Felix Unger. Why do we love them so much? Perhaps they humorously remind us that we're odd, our relationships are odd, and life itself is odd. So oddness isn't fatuous, anomalous, or incongruous, but the very essence of life's exquisite apposition of requisite opposites - just like DNA's double helix, the original odd couple.


THE PURSUIT OF TRUTH

Our pursuit of truth seems endless, because a clear endpoint is never reached. No matter how much we discover, we never uncover an ultimate basis of reality. For example, the much-hyped Higgs boson (God particle), the crown jewel of particle physics, may yet be a pipe dream or blind alley. Perhaps our pursuit of an ultimate truth is undoable, since we're just creative creatures created by God, who is irrefutably inscrutable and immutable, and who knows that we're unholy and wholly unsuitable for His sacred secrets.


THE RETROSPECTOSCOPE

History is harsh. It focuses on facts, but omits mitigating factors. This happens especially with great people, who have flaws and foibles just like the rest of us. So before we judge such people, we should avoid presentism by understanding their times and circumstances. This will enable us to better appreciate their contributions, and at the same time, to forgive their errors. Sooner or later, we will all be part of history, and we would like the same merciful judgment.


THE RIGHTEOUS GENTILES

The Holocaust was a time of contrasts. There was evil and good, cowardice and courage, and silence and protest. Although the net effect was death and devastation, the courageous protests will live on forever. Some of the greatest acts were those of the Righteous Gentiles, who risked and even sacrificed their lives to fight Nazism and thwart its genocidal motives. The world will never forget the great work of Oskar Schindler, Corrie Ten Boom, Raoul Wallenberg, Miep Gies, Jan Karski, Irena Sendler, and Sophie and Hans Scholl of the White Rose, all of whom have been memorialized in history and the Holocaust Museum.


THE SHADOW OF DEATH

Life is a terminal condition. Sooner or later, everyone dies. Each of us lives in the shadow of death, while trying not to think of it. But some of us must think about death, because of a life-threatening injury or illness. How can we live while thinking about death? While death is frightening and depressing, it is also clarifying and motivating. It helps us to focus on life and its limited time-frame, so that we don’t waste time or take it for granted. Perhaps each of us should spend more time thinking about our death, so that we don’t waste our life. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)


THE SINGLE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN COMMUNICATION IS THE ILLUSION THAT IT HAS TAKEN PLACE (GB SHAW)
Life is lonely, because communication is like an asymptote. Asymptotes are geometrics with two lines that are close but don't quite connect; while communication is dialectics with two lives that are close but don't quite connect. Unrequited and disquieting, our lonely lives lack the nexus of context and impact of contact.


THE SPIRITUAL DIMENSION

String theorists tell us that reality has eleven dimensions. This means that our four-dimensional space-time continuum is incomplete. Perhaps one of these still-undiscovered dimensions is spiritual and corresponds to the afterlife. Let’s console ourselves about the inevitability of death, by recognizing that death is not necessarily final, and that we may someday be reunited with our loved ones. 


THE TIME IS OUT OF JOINT (HAMLET)

We track time. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, and we commemorate decades, centuries, and millennia. The end of the 19th century is called fin de siècle, and the end of the 20th century is called Y2K. With Y2K, we expected a messiah, but instead got terrorism, war, corruption, and bankruptcy. Noetically, poetically, and prophetically, the first two decades of the 21st century have ushered in the pandemonium millennium. Now, more than ever before, time must be realized, not just memorialized.


THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE

Aesop's fable about the race between the tortoise and the hare contrasts the slow, steady, sure progress of the tortoise with the rapid, erratic, ruinous non-progress of the hare. The tortoise symbolizes humility and success, but the hare symbolizes grandiosity and failure. With counterintuition and bountiful cognition, Aesop teaches us to slow down, calm down, check our assumptions, and shed our presumptions.


THE TREE OF LIFE

People are like trees. With their roots planted firmly in the soil, trees stand tall and stately, and survive inclement weather. Likewise, people whose roots are planted firmly in family grow up strong and healthy, and survive adverse events. But without strong roots, both people and trees become weak and frail. Ideally, society is like an orchard, in which the strong and healthy shelter the weak and frail, so that everyone has a chance to be fruitful.


THEOLOGY 101
We traipse and lapse with maps and apps, but God just acts from apse to synapse.

THEORIES OF PERSONALITY

Notwithstanding the many well-reasoned theories of personality, we remain a mystery to ourselves and others. Nevertheless, these theories, which represent the work of physicians and psychologists, provide us with a language and structure that elucidates personality. Sometimes one theory is more applicable to a particular situation. So it is wise to familiarize oneself with as many theories of personality as possible, including those of Freud, Meyer, Rank, Sullivan, Adler, Horney, Reik, Deutsch, Jung, Erikson, Frankl, Hartmann, Kris, and Lowenstein. In order to understand a patient's disease, we must understand the patient.


THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY?

Concerns about the current economic crisis and suicide are evocative of a haunting film called “They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" in which a dispirited contestant in a Depression-era dance marathon commits suicide, after learning that the marathon is a cruel hoax, and that the winner receives no prize money. As the specter of a looming worldwide depression, the current economic crisis is an important reminder that poverty is ubiquitous and iniquitous. For many people, life is a compulsory lottery with great advertising but no prizes.


TIME & HAIR

Time is like hair. Either you have too much or too little. Time and hair epitomize the perverse realities of Mother Nature. She seems to delight in testing and torturing us with excess and deficiency. How can we improve our relationship with Mother Nature? Perhaps we don't really understand her, and we are trying to bend her to our will. What is Mother Nature's will, and where do we fit in? Are we part of her plan, or are we an exception to her plan, and therefore her adversary? These questions must be answered before we continue our struggles with Mother Nature. 


TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM (MAN OF LA MANCHA)

Dreams are amazing. They incorporate the natural with the supernatural, the eidetic with the prophetic. One minute we’re socializing with friends, or struggling with careers, and the next minute we’re flying, or swimming to the bottom of the ocean. Free of our reality (conscious) and conscience (superego), dreams are a safe (symbolic) enactment (fulfillment) of secret (forbidden) feelings (fantasies) of our inner self (id) that our mind (ego) ignores (suppresses) and denies (represses). By fusing our conscious and unconscious, dreams tell us who we are, and who we can become. 


TO ERR IS HUMAN, TO FORGIVE DIVINE (ALEXANDER POPE)

Despite our best efforts, we are all fallible and make mistakes. Some of these mistakes are trivial, while others are serious, and even fatal. How can we best cope with our fallibility? First, we must recognize and accept our fallibility as inevitable. Second, we must provide safeguards for our fallibility, such as checklists and oversight by colleagues. Third, we must treat our mistakes with acknowledgment and apology, not denial and cover-ups. And finally, we must analyze our mistakes, in order to avoid repeating them. Fallibility is an inherent part of the human condition, and we must not be ashamed of our humanity.


TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON...

...and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3.1-2)
Unless the deceased is a centenarian, death never seems timely. And death is never less timely than when it affects the young. But we must remember that life and death are inseparable, and that medicine involves death as well as life. So let's fight for life, but learn to accept the inevitability of death. And let's focus on the quality of life, and not just the quantity.


TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE (HAMLET)

Grading is a lifelong tyranny; it begins in kindergarten and never ends. Sometimes, grading is degrading, because it reduces us to sycophants and slaves. What should we do? We should treasure ourselves, not measure ourselves. It's better to be rejected for who we are, than accepted for who we're not.


TOMORROW! TOMORROW! I LOVE YA TOMORROW! (ANNIE)

Hope is the essence of life. It encourages and enables us to go on living. Without hope, we give up and succumb to "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." How can we keep hope alive? We must dedicate ourselves to work that gives our lives meaning, purpose, and a kind of perpetuity. So that even after we're gone, there will always be a tomorrow.


TOXIC CRAVING CYCLE

Healthcare is hell. The more we get, the worse we feel. Sadly, doctors don’t know that trusted toxins and addictions are common, covert causes of sickness. So healthcare is a vicious cycle of toxins, addictions, and sickness, in which doctors first overlook the toxic, addictive causes of sickness, and then prescribe toxic, addictive drugs. I call this pervasive vicious cycle the “Toxic Craving Cycle”, since craving reflects addiction. Sadly, healthcare makes us sick, by burying us under layers of trusted toxins (vaccines, antibiotics, statins, psychotropics, chemotherapy) and addictions (sugar, chocolate, vanilla, caffeine, cola). To quote GB Shaw, "Science never solves one problem without creating ten more."

TOYS: PRO & CON

Toys are playthings that can spark creativity. Children use toys to stimulate their imagination and grow into adulthood. But adults use toys to stifle their imagination and revert to childhood. So toys are a magical device for the magical time of childhood, which, sooner or later, we must all leave behind. Toys are for children, not childish adults.


UK vs. USA
Monolingual but unequal, and fluent but incongruent, British and Yankee accents are metrical opposites. Brits use iambic meter (short-long), while Yanks use trochaic meter (long-short). Take for example, the words "corollary" and "controversy". Brits say co-ROL-la-RY and con-TROV-er-SY, while Yanks say COR-ol-LAR-y and CON-tro-VER-sy. British iambs and Yankee trochees convey accents with both cadence and character. Brits sound cultured, while Yanks sound common, because iambs sound lambent, while trochees sound truculent. Accents are poetic, and prosody is noetic, if not prophetic.

UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE

Universal healthcare is more than a noble ideal; it’s a sine qua non of modern civilization. While the financial costs must be borne fairly by everyone, the key ingredients are commonsense non-pharmaceutical healthcare and the personal responsibility of patients, who must maintain a healthy lifestyle, free of all self-destructive habits, such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sweets, and junk food. Universal healthcare needs universal self-care.


VACCINES: MILESTONE OR MILLSTONE

Since childhood is an intense period of growth and development, both of which are measured with various milestones, perhaps the viral illnesses of childhood, such as measles, mumps, and rubella, are likewise immunological milestones. And perhaps childhood vaccines are just millstones, which interfere with milestones.


WANTS VERSUS NEEDS

We have four basic needs: hunger, hygiene, home, and hope. Hunger requires safe, nutritious, non-addictive food. Hygiene requires nontoxic air, water, clothes, and home. Home requires safety, comfort, and companionship. And hope requires faith, freedom, and self-expression. If we satisfy these four basic needs, we will not have wistful, wasteful wants and worries.


WAR AND PEACE

War plagues us, and peace eludes us, because we overlook the link between war and sickness. War and sickness are inseparable, just as peace and health are inseparable. In order to promote peace and health, we must first cure the pandemic of dehydration, malnutrition, and addiction, all of which create frustration, anger, and violence, and ultimately lead to war.


WAR AS METAPHOR
War has become a popular, but unfortunate, metaphor and euphemism for society’s social failures. The “wars” on drugs, illiteracy, and poverty have all been lost, and the "war" on terrorism seems endless. Since war connotes conflict, violence, and death, we should dispense with this malevolent metaphor, and instead find beneficent metaphors that are more conducive to peace and health. Words have power and meaning, and they should be chosen carefully.

WAR ON DRUGS: FACT OR FICTION

The War on Drugs is a misnomer. It’s not a war ON drugs, but a war FOR drugs via thugs, turf, funds, guns, gangs, and banksters. Also, it's not a WAR, but a WEB of corruption, disruption, collusion, and intrusion. Like most wars, the "War on Drugs" is fake and on the take, with stashes of cash and caches of hash, and we need to be protected FROM it, not BY it. To quote the Roman satirist Juvenal, “Who will protect us from our protectors?”


WATER & LIFE
Water is life, and the water cycle is the fountain of life. Drenching and quenching, water hydrates and animates, then liquifies and purifies life's essential and existential, but unmentionable, stenches. So water is the molecule that mollycoddles life.

WEANING

Weaning is misunderstood. Its purpose is not to remove milk from the infant's diet, but to weaken the maternal-infant bond, so that the infant can be introduced to other people and other food. The maternal bond is the most powerful and enduring relationship in our lives, and we never fully separate from our mothers. We just find maternal substitutes, like food, friends, teachers, spouses, and doctors.


WHAT ARE SECRETS?

Secrets are sacred safeguards of sentimental sensitivity.


WHAT ARE SPIN DOCTORS?

Empathic but psychopathic, spin doctors are political and corporate media-meisters, who bend, mince, twist, torture, and trash the truth with nuanced innuendos, word wizardry, linguistic legerdemain, imaginary imagery, fantastic fantasy, fluffy puffery, and pungent pandering. In short, spin doctors are lovable liars and rogues in vogue who specialize in the highest bias with hyper-uber-hoopla.


WHAT ARE THE PROFESSIONS?

Essential and beneficial, but enigmatic and problematic, the professions are actually an elite salesforce for wealthy, powerful, secretive industries. Doctors serve Big Pharma; lawyers serve Big Banks; military serve Big Defense; media serve Big Ads; and politicians serve Big Lobby; all of which squashes the big hopes and dreams of little people, who trust the professions.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ADDICTION?

There are two early warning symptoms of addiction: tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance means that, with time, you progressively crave more and more of an addictive substance. For example, if you drink one glass of wine every day, soon you will want two or three glasses of wine every day. Withdrawal means that if you stop an addictive substance, you will feel sick and crave it. For example, if you stop drinking wine, you will feel nervous and irritable and crave wine. In short, tolerance and withdrawal are indicative of addiction and predictive of its insatiable craving, frustration, anger, and poor judgment.


WHAT IS A BALANCED DIET?

A balanced diet is tasty and satisfying, supplies all vital nutrients, and conforms to the design of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Our GI tract, especially our teeth and intestines, suggests that we are herbivorous omnivores, which means that we should eat primarily, but not exclusively, a vegetarian diet. This matches the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which excludes meat and fish, but includes milk, eggs, fruits, and vegetables, and supplies all vital vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, soluble fiber, and insoluble fiber. The balance of life is based on our genetics, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and lifestyle.


WHAT IS ALZHEIMER'S?
Forgetful and regretful, but not forgotten or misbegotten, Alzheimer's is bouts of doubt, outage from dotage, and adagios of adios with mournful diminuendos and arpeggios of harps.

WHAT IS AUSTERITY?

Mixing dexterity with insincerity, austerity is the temerity of disparities between the private prosperity of public officials and the public asperity of private citizens, all to the detriment of verity and posterity. 


WHAT IS BEAUTY?
Linking XY with guy, but XX with sex, female beauty is a duty and a burden, whose slavish salons, perilous parlors, rigorous regimens, and surging surgeries may result in remorse, divorce, and rigor mortis, because beauty is sincere and dear, not artificial or superficial. To quote Confucius, "Everyone is beautiful, but not everyone knows it."

WHAT IS BULLYING?

Bullying is ubiquitous and iniquitous, but misunderstood. Although it’s usually considered sadism with vulnerable victims, bullying is actually a neuropsychiatric disorder (which I call “neuro-bullying”) that is rooted in our autonomic nervous system.

Our autonomic nervous system consists of two opposing branches: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic system responds to fear and pain with hate and “fight or flight.” The parasympathetic system responds to trust and pleasure with relaxation and vulnerability.

Ideally, the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are in dynamic balance. But just as fear and pain can overpower trust and pleasure, the sympathetic system can overpower the parasympathetic system. This causes us to fear and hate vulnerability, both in others and ourselves.

I propose that bullying is fear and hatred for the vulnerability of the parasympathetic system. This is why bullies target vulnerable groups like women and children, as well as the poor, elderly, disabled, and socially stigmatized.

Finally, the cure for bullying, and most social woes, is to protect the vulnerable, but vital, parasympathetic system, because vulnerability is not weakness or bleakness, but the greatness of meekness, the elixir of life and fixer of strife.

WHAT IS CHARITY?

Charity is sharing some of our good fortune with those who are suffering and in need. Sadly, some cynical people regard charity as a financial option, tax deduction, or burden, rather than a moral obligation and opportunity to be humane. These people conveniently forget that their good fortune is mostly luck, and that their lives could have been much worse. So let's count our blessings, and share some of our blessings with those in need. Charity is a measure of our humanity.


WHAT IS COMMUNICATION?
Essential and sentential, but preferential and existential, communication is a predictably tricky, sticky mix/mess of tendentious text, pretentious pretext, contentious context, and sententious subtext, with no subtitles or entitlements.

WHAT IS COMPASSION?

Compassion is identification with the pain and suffering of another. But compassion is not unique to us, because it's also seen in other mammals, including our beloved pets. So let’s not flaunt our compassion, but instead realize that it's the very least we can offer those who suffer. Compassion isn't  just identification, but also communication and dedication that dare to care and share.


WHAT IS COPING?

Coping is the art of living. Life is full of problems that can't be solved. Oftentimes, coping is our only option. Here's my coping checklist:

C - Calmness is the cornerstone of coping.
O - Open-mindedness expands the range of coping skills.

P - Prayer and Planning implement all available coping skills.

I - Interviewing experts elevates coping skills.

N - Never succumb to moping, doping, or helpless hoping.

G - Gratitude for all those who offer help.


WHAT IS CULTURE?

Culture is a contradiction. It’s a nest that nurtures, but a cage that controls. Thus, culture injects each of us with paranoia and xenophobia, both of which are inimical to peace and harmony, and require correction. This is the goal and challenge of multiculturalism, a progressive sociopolitical philosophy of tolerance, diversity, and equality. To quote Mahatma Gandhi, "Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart."


WHAT IS FAIRNESS?

Fairness is a paradox. Somehow this short, simple, logical, peaceful word inevitably and ironically leads to endless, complex, vehement, violent arguments. Why is fairness so elusive? Perhaps fairness is so subjective and abstract that it invites selfishness, righteousness, and spite. Before we seek fairness, we must first understand its elusive, paradoxical nature. 


WHAT IS FANATICISM?

Fanaticism is political or religious extremism. Today, politics and religion are so polarized and stigmatized, that extremism and fanaticism are almost commonplace. So it is no longer surprising that we live with terrorism and its terrible sequelae. The remedy for this deplorable state is to depolarize and defuse politics and religion, so that centrism and modernism reclaim their rightful place. Nationalism needs copious rationalism. 


WHAT IS FRIENDSHIP?

Friendship is one of life's treasures, in which a stranger suddenly becomes a confidant and ally in life's travails. Like two musical notes or two colors that enhance each other, friends bring out the best in each other. How can we promote friendship? We must search for it and recognize it, but also test it and nurture it. Ultimately, our lives will depend on the loyalty and love of our friends.


WHAT IS FUN?

Fun is a fraud. It fools and confounds us with forced frivolity. What should we do? We should understand that most fun is illusory and illogical. The fun of being tipsy from alcohol, high from marijuana, energized from caffeine, or sated from sweets, is false, flimsy, and fleeting, compared to the profound, prolonged, painful penalties of addiction. The sad truth is that most fun is hell you enjoy.


WHAT IS GENETIC PREDISPOSITION?

Health and sickness are familial, and both often relate back to genetic predisposition. But what is genetics? Basically, genetics and epigenetics study how DNA affects our hereditary sensitivity to diet, toxins, and addictions. So when we find familial patterns of health or sickness, we should assume that DNA is at work, and search for patterns of dietary, toxic, or addictive factors. This will promote health and make each of us a genie of genomics and prince of proteomics. 


WHAT IS HOSPITALITIS?

Pervasive and invasive, hospitalitis is the depersonalization and derealization of patients, nurses, and doctors, who find the hospital an impersonal, frightening phantasmagoria of gory dysphoria with betterment, bereavement, bafflement, abandonment, and payment.


WHAT IS HUMOR?

Humor is more than levity with physical and emotional relief; it is a window into the inner mechanisms of the mind. In The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Sigmund Freud theorizes that humor satisfies the libidinal instincts of verboten sexual and aggressive material, by catching the ego and superego off-guard. This theory is consistent with most humor and establishes the validity of psychoanalysis as a research tool and treatment modality. Although it has been eclipsed by psychopharmacology and relegated to the dustbin of history, psychoanalysis still has much to offer us. It reminds us that we are more than synapses and neurotransmitters; we are human and have the capacity for understanding, compassion, and choice.


WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE?

Intelligence is misunderstood. Intelligence is equated with the speed, accuracy, and retention of learning, but learning is only half of intelligence. The other half of intelligence is unlearning falsehoods we've been taught. Sadly, most people cling to their education, resist unlearning falsehoods, and perpetuate the harmful effects of these falsehoods, such as sickness, conflict, and war. Let's redefine intelligence to include unlearning, so we can have open minds that promote peace and health. Intelligence is foresight, hindsight, insight, and oversight, not brightness, righteousness, or spite. Sometimes the brightest are not the best.


WHAT IS JUSTICE?

Justice is the science of mercy, because without mercy, there is no justice or science.


WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS?

Mental illness is sensitivity with frightful insights. Troubled with demons and fears, but bubbling with dreams and ideas, sensitivity enlightens us with creative insights. So let’s listen, learn, solace, and support, but not stigmatize, marginalize, ostracize, or hospitalize. Sensitivity is creativity, not negativity.


WHAT IS MONEY?

As the universal medium of exchange, money is both objective and subjective. Objectively, money is fair market value; subjectively, money is interpersonal trust. So money is more than just numbers, symbols, charts, graphs, and equations; it's also compassion, communication, friendship, happiness, and hope. If we invest wisely and fairly in each other, we will maximize our return. 


WHAT IS NORMAL?

Society is a Procrustean bed of normalcy, in which some people, no matter how hard they try, never quite measure up or fit in, and thus are driven to retreat from society. With this retreat, the tyranny of normalcy tightens, and society shrinks by losing its individuality, creativity, productivity, and progress. Society needs variety, and sometimes it's not normal to be normal. 


WHAT IS PAIN?

Pervasive and invasive but evasive, pain is the penalty for living: a headache is the penalty for thinking; a toothache is the penalty for eating; a backache is the penalty for moving; and a heartache is the penalty for loving. Since living is leaving and grieving, we need the feeling and pealing of healing.


WHAT IS PEACE?

Illusive and elusive, peace is a paradox. It’s sought and taught, but it can’t be bought, wrought, or fought, because we polarize, politicize, weaponize, and militarize, but we don’t realize that peace is an elite retreat from conceit and deceit, not an effete defeat.

WHAT IS POETRY?

A poem is an answer to a question or problem. Poets are philosophers who ponder questions and problems, and occasionally come up with an answer, which they call a poem. If you want to write a poem, think about a question or problem, but don't try to answer it. Let the question or problem sink from your conscious into your unconscious. Then wait until your unconscious contacts you, in a dream, a random thought, or a sudden insight, with an answer. This answer will form the basis of your poem, which will then require the poetic elements of metaphor, simile, alliteration, assonance, rhyme, meter, and special formatting. Like all creative work, poetry is a joint venture of the conscious and unconscious.


WHAT IS POLITICS?

Eternal but infernal, and pervasive but unpersuasive, politics is false promises based on false premises, and false choices based on false voices; while politicians are euphonious phonies, impostors who posture, bandits backed by pundits, and backstabbers disguised as backslappers. As the circus maximus of politics, elections are a tug-of-war between the left and right with the center of the rope wrapped around the public's neck.


WHAT IS PROPHECY?

Prophecy is the implausible and impossible meticulously and miraculously becoming inevitable and inexorable. 


WHAT IS RACISM?

Epidermal but eternal and infernal, racism is figmental pigments of imagination and detrimental impediments to nations. Confusing hues with views, and shades with grades, racism is skin-deep, but sin deeper.

WHAT IS REALITY?

Serene but surreal, reality is multilayered. Beneath the veneer of everyday life, lies a violent, vexing vortex of biology, chemistry, and physics. But beneath this vivid veneer and vortex, lies God's unseen cerebral cortex, which created reality in order to text and test our mettle. Our task is to illuminate reality by collating its various layers, while retaining our civility, humility, humanity, and sanity.

WHAT IS REALPOLITIK?
Politicians (pols) ostensibly serve and protect citizens, by imposing burdens on them, but in fact, pols split the protections and burdens, so that pols get the former, while citizens get the latter. Thus, realpolitik is a clique’s gimmick.

WHAT IS REGRET?

Regret is poignant memories about past mistakes. Sadly, life is full of such mistakes and memories, and regret is inevitable. So let's not criticize or condemn ourselves, and instead recognize that maturity and wisdom have a price. To quote the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."


WHAT IS RELIGION?

Despite its respectful liturgy and doxology, religion is covert frustration and anger with God, who gave us just enough intelligence to understand life's dilemmas, but not enough intelligence to solve them.

WHAT IS SCRIPTURE?

Noetic, poetic, and prophetic, scripture is divinely inspired, but divisive, epic poetry about a reputed, but disputed, messiah whose supernal power heals our infernal nature by fixing factual, but fabled, family feuds over food, fortune, freedom, favoritism, fairness, fame, fate, and faith. In short, scripture is a fugue of feuding dudes with affinities for divinities.

WHAT IS SELFISHNESS?
Selfishness is the reprehensible and indefensible pretentious acceptance of indispensibles at others' expense.

WHAT IS SEXISM?

Society is patriarchal, even in its mythology and religion. The Book of Genesis says that God, the Father, created Eve to be a companion and helpmate for Adam. Sadly, women have always been second-class citizens subordinate to men. I propose that this universal sexist bias against women is the root of all other bias, including paternalism, elitism, racism, ethnocentrism, and ageism. The best and most efficient way to correct such bias is to extirpate sexism and promote feminism. Patriarchies are passé.


WHAT IS STEREOTYPING?
Stereotyping is ethnocentrism, radicalism, racism, sexism, paternalism, chauvinism, elitism, egotism, narcissism, and solipsism.

WHAT IS TERRORISM?

Terrorism is a Gordian knot with hydra-headed tentacles. Sadly, we hack at the tentacles of ideology, but ignore the knot of biology. Most terrorists are thin, malnourished, dehydrated, and addicted to nicotine, caffeine, sweets, and drugs; all of which lead to insatiable cravings, frustration, anger, and violence. Since biology trumps ideology, we should focus on eliminating malnutrition, dehydration, and addiction. It's more humane to cure your enemies than to kill them.


WHAT IS THINKING?

Thinking is a composite of our conscious and unconscious mind. Consciously, thinking is the organization of facts into knowledge. Unconsciously, thinking is the germination of knowledge into wisdom. By creating knowledge and wisdom, thinking enables us to know ourselves and the world. To know the unknowable, think the unthinkable.


WHAT IS TIME?

Time is a paradox. As children, we long for the future; as adults, we worry about the future; and as elders, we relinquish the future and relish the past. But somehow, we never seem to live in the present. Like a tightrope walker without a net, we are suspended between the past and the future, fearing that we will fall into a timeless abyss. How can we reclaim the present? Let's free ourselves from fear by recognizing that time is not limited or linear, but an eternal and endless loop, with the past and the future spliced in the present. Time is the substance of life.


WHAT IS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE?

There are three kinds of medical science: basic (laboratory), applied (doctor's office or hospital), and translational (patient's home). Basic science enables laboratory scientists to educate physicians; applied science enables physicians to help patients; and translational science enables patients to help themselves. So translational medicine “translates” basic and applied science into clear, concise, practical advice that enables patients to function as partners with their physicians.


WHAT IS TRUST?

Trust is an invisible question mark hanging over our relationships. We ask: Can I trust you? Can I trust God? These crucial questions defy absolute proof, and haunt us with fear and worry. What should we do? We should also ask: Can you trust me? Can God trust me? Can I trust myself? These additional questions are important, because relationships are a projection of self, and trust is a self-portrait.


WHAT IS TRUTH?

Precious and cherished but checkered, truth is like diamonds. Both are multifaceted. Diamonds excite us by reflecting light differently, while truth incites us by reflecting "right" differently. Dazzling but baffling, and mesmerizing but mystifying, truth and diamonds busy us with dizzying diversity and ardent adversity.

WHAT IS WAR?
Promoting ploys with deployment, bombs with enjoyment, and boys with interment, war is a tormented, demented metaphor and euphemism for fraud, linking domestic debenture with foreign adventure. Unwanted and unwarranted, but wildly cheered by profiteers, war is a hyped-up, hopeless trope imperiled and bedeviled by deadly medleys of screams and tears with corpses and caskets.

WHAT IS WORK?

Work is the price and prize of life. As the price of life, work requires effort, dedication, perseverance, sacrifice, and results. As the prize of life, work rewards us with recognition, money, independence, maturity, and self-respect. In short, work is the price, prize, and pride of life. 


WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HEALTHCARE?

Healthcare is failing, and blame is flailing. The blame game is on, and everyone is under fire. So who is ultimately responsible for healthcare? I propose that it’s the medical journals, because they are the only nexus for doctors, nurses, patients, schools, hospitals, insurers, government, research, and media. Without incisive input from medical journals, healthcare reform can never take place. 


WHY CAN'T THE ENGLISH LEARN TO SPEAK? (MY FAIR LADY)

Lerner and Loewe’s Cinderella-Pygmalion masterpiece, My Fair Lady, parodies the peculiarities of English language, pronunciation, and class. In “Why can’t the English?”, Sir Rex Harrison muses, “There even are places where English completely disappears. Well, in America, they haven’t used it for years!” As an American, I can vouch for the fact that Americans often feel intimidated and a bit mystified by the English accent. And as a physician who only speaks English, I salute all foreign medical graduates who have emigrated to the US or UK, and have so ably mastered English as a second language. 


WHY IS US HEALTHCARE SO EXPENSIVE?
US healthcare is so expensive, because the US is the headquarters of Big Pharma, with its army of well-heeled, well-connected lobbyists and their insuperable financial, political, scientific, and media influence.

WINNERS & LOSERS

Success is a mess. It's a zero-sum game where winners are heroes and losers are zeros. The winners act elitist, while the losers act defeatist. But winners are really just losers rescued by luck and pluck. So winners should share their success with losers, since charity and parity are the only real success.


WRITING & QUILTING

Writing is like quilting. Both memorialize and materialize memories. Quilters mend remnants and swatches into precious patchwork, while writers amend remembrances into prescient watchwords. By appending endings, writers and quilters offer archival creations that survive for generations. 


WRITING & WRESTLING

Writing is like wrestling. Both are battles royal, pitting persistence against resistance. Wrestlers struggle with opponents in order to pin them down on the mat, while writers struggle with thoughts in order to pen them down on the page. Writers are like wrestlers, because thoughts are like opponents: they oppose us, since we can expose them.


YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Food is underrated. We forget that life is metabolism, which requires nutritious food to satisfy hunger and create health. So it’s not where you stay and toil, it’s what you saute and boil; it’s not how you look, it’s what you cook; it’s not what you deduce, it’s what you juice; it’s not what you do, it’s what you chew; and it’s not what you think, it’s what you drink. Thus, it’s not who you meet or follow, it’s what you eat and swallow. Food is live medicine; medicine is dead food. 


YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE (CAROUSEL)

Life is lonely. Oftentimes, strangers, good samaritans, and guardian angels are our only hope. So let's do likewise with other lost souls and hopeless cases like ourselves.

YOUR THINKING CAP

Thought is a necessary but mysterious and frustrating function. Life requires us to make many informed decisions, but it doesn't tell us how to acquire or process the necessary information. How can we stimulate and generate thought? First, research the topic and acquire background information. Second, organize this information into a clear, concise format. Third, clear your mind of everything, and allow it all to sink into your unconscious, where it can germinate. Then your unconscious will contact you in a dream or random thought, and provide you with new answers. Simply put, your thinking cap is a metaphor for the creativity of your conscious and unconscious.