Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Last September, an article in Collective Evolution entitled "Renowned Doctor Slams Medical Education & Says We Have 'An Epidemic of Misinformed Doctors'" begins:
Dr. Asseem Malhotra is known as one of the most influential cardiologists in Britain and a world-leading expert in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Currently, he is leading a huge campaign against excess sugar consumption. What also makes him unique is something he recently admitted took him decades to figure out: that our entire medical system, one of the main ‘protectors’ of the human race, is completely corrupt. He now believes that medical education is a state of “complete system failure,” causing “an epidemic of misinformed doctors.” He also stated that honest doctors can no longer practice honest medicine, and that there is also a growing epidemic of patients who are being harmed.This calls to mind a note from a friend (whom I originally met in a 17th century literature class) after his first semester in medical school: "We really know very little about medicine, disease, the human body. Burton was right!" He was referring to Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. Most of what for-profit science (i.e. bad science) is treating physically is rather rooted in our emotions, how we live... John Locke, who was first of all a physician, and who "wrote the book" on real modern science, basically says the same thing. And Rabelais, too, says the same thing, and so on.
Melancholy, the subject of our present discourse, is either in disposition or in habit. In disposition, is that transitory Melancholy which goes and comes upon every small occasion of sorrow, need, sickness, trouble, fear, grief, passion, or perturbation of the mind, any manner of care, discontent, or thought, which causes anguish, dulness, heaviness and vexation of spirit, any ways opposite to pleasure, mirth, joy, delight, causing forwardness in us, or a dislike. In which equivocal and improper sense, we call him melancholy, that is dull, sad, sour, lumpish, ill-disposed, solitary, any way moved, or displeased. And from these melancholy dispositions no man living is free, no Stoic, none so wise, none so happy, none so patient, so generous, so godly, so divine, that can vindicate himself; so well-composed, but more or less, some time or other, he feels the smart of it. Melancholy in this sense is the character of Mortality... This Melancholy of which we are to treat, is a habit, a serious ailment, a settled humour, as Aurelianus and others call it, not errant, but fixed: and as it was long increasing, so, now being (pleasant or painful) grown to a habit, it will hardly be removed.Have a look at the book, HERE.
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Friday, January 25, 2019
Monday, January 21, 2019
It was very clear last night, and I observed with binoculars. The shadow made the craters stand out in sharp relief...
The shadow also enhanced the spherical 3-D appearance of our orbicular neighbor...
The orange-red color made me wonder how the Moon might have appeared long ago when the surface was largely molten...
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Bells and Harps
If the wind should moan and crave
Merry I go to the churchyard grave
But if one kite should cry
I'll light a candle and close my eyes
If two doves should call
Peace will swell and burst withal
If three ships at sea should sink
All ships' hands the sea shall drink
If four stars fall from the sky
Heaven's watchers wonder why
If five rings on one hand gleam
The other jealous will poorer seem
If six days are passed in rain
The seventh sees the sun again
If seven days touch the sun
Another week will have begun
If eight priests bless the way
In hallow joy we'll sing a lay
If nine swords are raised on high
'Tis a sign for you and I
If ten bells should ring
The lizard's dead, long live the King
If eleven harps by air are brushed
Then in the wind our fears shall crush
For in those airs of circles spoken
We touch life's dreams in passing token
"Mount of Five Treasures (Two Worlds)" Nicholas Roerich
Saturday, January 19, 2019
A Vision of the Peak of Ben More(glimpsed from St Andrews)
Upon the ruin of that broken coneWhere an elide notion may pause and lingerAnd float a riddle there, sidelongThat broad ocean plain of running colorsChanneled in rivulets of wavering formAs cool and flowing as the inconstant skyAh, some trick of time, that three-side darknessA form too geometric, could this beThe repercussion of mere erosion,Broken stone condensed from sacristan fumes?But there it stands, a portal nonetheless:A scree triangle breaks wide to worlds ulterior,A diadem glimmer of crag-hung moodsDrawn in the wake of swift sensation.In that triangle gapes a deepKnotted passage that sounds lowIn tones unheard but full as chorusMemory down through darkness plungingTo sway periodic, to swing and sweep,Now decrescendo, now diminuendoA pendulum moved by odd alignments,Insight again, and sacred laugh,The vision lights, the astral flightsThat pleat against the spheres, then seeSusceptible henchmen run forthTo seize the heavens as they fallThus though dead as ordained life,All that’s born wakes to crawlPushed between thighs of sleepIn visions bred or borrowedOr fed upon Promethean liver, weGrow as maps of blood vessels, websOf radiance condensed upon calcified bandsAnd on the opposite coast at the footOf St Rule’s Ruins, high church canticlesCasting tentacles like shore lights and sea glareBeneath partial clouds and shrieking gulls—Fagin rooks castle on crow’s step gables.While alone the tale of empty cliffsWhere the martyrs’ marks in brick are setHere on this spot the pole-stake was drivenThe mad fire raised high, pacing smokeCarried away the prayers and the criesAnd what else but now onlySilent sorrow condescends a clue,And reason with a furrowed browTakes a seat and repeats obliqueSyllogisms that speak ofRebirth—the rune that spellsReturn to the tale’s essentials….Yet curtains will fall on this scene of passageAnd bursting with dull elementalsWho turn out again and again, and reiterateThe cast of heaven eternal,A troop beyond the millionsLike flint points condensed through thunderFrom vapors that scud through a vision,A horde of thoughts, a host of glimmersTo pinion the clouds that opinion roundA scree triangle against the azure.
"A Vision of the Peak of Ben More" is among my poems appearing in the first volume of Emanations.
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Monday, January 7, 2019
Friday, January 4, 2019
Peter Hacker describes a significant distinction concerning scientific talk (describing the processes and results of experimentation) and philosophical talk (understanding the ways conceptual credulity confuses scientific description).
I agree with most of what Professor Hacker says, except his assertion that animals do not have souls. Considering his own criteria, I should point out that while they do not possess "human language" many animals do communicate, and this communication is of a character that is both emotional and reflective of a consciousness of environment, including comprehending in various ways--predation, location, coordination of activity, establishing territories, mating--other animals in that environment. Also, animals, are capable of registering some rightness and wrongness of their actions--at least they respond to scolding and, as I have observed, do seem to have a sense of guilt that is more than mere shame (i.e registering disapproval expressed by their master).* His point drawing together having a soul with the capacity for moral choice (or moral understanding?) is interesting. One final point on animals and souls: I would like to see Professor Hacker address the phenomenon of animals (cats and dogs) dreaming. Is the capacity to have an "out-of-body" (dreaming) experience an indicator of the presence of a soul? I wonder, if Professor Hacker had a big affectionate Tomcat, or a clever and verbal Cocker Spaniel, and associated with either regularly, if he might revise his views? Watching--or rather listening to--a pair of loving crows expressing affection for each other is also illuminating; indeed, to the point of astonishment.
* I want to ask, too, whether many human beings have a sense of shame but lack a sense of guilt? And how might this affect the character of their souls?