Clouds In The Head

Our utopian acts are just gateposts against the chaos
29 April, 2010, 11:34 am
Filed under: All ideas are 1/3 truth, 1/3 lie

We tend to build around us the world that we think exists. This particularly applies to ideologies and governments. But it also applies to us within our towns and families and selves.

Our utopian drives are really drives to prove our world view.

I had this thought (I’m sure it’s not original) after reading an article by Ross Gittins (no link included because I can’t find the article anymore). He was talking about the way in which our governments would prefer to put more police on the streets and build more prisons than do something that actually reduces the crime rate, such as provide serious rehabilitation to prisoners so they don’t become repeat offenders. The latter doesn’t win elections, not with shock jocks the way they are. And also doesn’t provide the much needed feeling of retribution that the voting population needs so it can swallow its daily Starbucks cleanly.

Couple this with the way successive governments have promoted private schooling over state schooling, resulting in a two-tier world where the haves continue to have and the have-nots struggle and strain against their circs, and you get the preconditions for a world where more police are needed on the streets and more prisons need to be built etc etc. For some people it is inconvenient to believe that rehabilitation is the best answer. Counterarguments are leapt upon with avidity.

We do it in our private lives too. If we think we’re going to fail we become masters of self sabotage. If we worry excessively that God doesn’t exist we’ll found a church that is so warped it virtually proves his non-existence – or at least gives us a lovely vision of what hell would be like if it existed. Jealousy creates unfaithfulness. The society that believes that women must be protected from showing off their bodies creates a society where a woman showing off her body invites rape. And these beliefs burrow deep.

The fact is life and society are much more complex and the search for simplicity – the very application of Occam’s Razor – has the Heisenbergian effect of becoming a metaphorical representation of the original definition of “begging the question”.

As a good Dreambody aficionado, I have to admit that my argument, which could probably be dismantled by a first year philosophy student, probably just reinforces my own beliefs. But then, I would say that, wouldn’t I?


Catholic bishops warn of Reiki ‘dangers’
7 April, 2009, 7:26 am
Filed under: All ideas are 1/3 truth, 1/3 lie

March 28, 2009

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has warned Catholics to shun the eastern healing art of Reiki because it lacks scientific credibility and is dangerous to Christian spiritual health.

“Reiki therapy finds no support either in the findings of natural science or in Christian belief,” the USCCB doctrine committee said in a document issued.

In health terms, using a therapeutic technique that has no scientific basis “is not generally prudent”, said the eight bishops on the committee, which in the past has issued guidelines on how to minister to “persons with homosexual inclinations” and frequently asked questions about why only men are ordained.

In spiritual terms, using Reiki carries “important dangers” because the therapy is based on the theory that illness can be healed by rebalancing “universal life energy”, or Reiki, by a laying on of hands by a trained master, and that clashes with Christian belief, the bishops said.

“There is a radical difference between Reiki therapy and the healing by divine power in which Christians believe: for Christians the access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as Lord and Saviour, while the essence of Reiki is not a prayer but a technique,” the bishops said.

And then there’s the fact that “neither the Scriptures nor the Christian tradition as a whole speak of the natural world as based on ‘universal life energy’ that is subject to manipulation by the natural human power of thought and will,” the bishops said.

To use Reiki is to operate “in the realm of superstition, the no man’s-land that is neither faith nor science,” the bishops warned, urging Catholic healthcare institutions, retreats and chaplains to ditch the therapy, which originated in Japan in the 1800s.

A survey conducted in 2002 by the US National Centre for Health Statistics and the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) found that more than 2.2 million US adults have used Reiki for health purposes.


This is one of my favourite articles for years. I can’t help it. I just read and re-read the thing. Having a wife who’s a yoga teacher helps.

And what of my rare readers? Have you little delights like this? I have such creatures as my special Cheer-Me-Up songs (including “Sit Down” by James, “Jump” by Van Halen – and Aztec Camera), special Guilty TV Shows (you’d think you could only watch so much of “Black Books” first series), special Glimpses (the view across the valley is nearly matched by the view of my library spread across the office wall), special Cheer Me Up People (you know who you are). There are Tastes I’ll Never Get Again – Mum’s chocolate cake – and People Whose Voices I’d Love To Hear One More Time (especially Dad), Perfect Books (Farewell My Lovely – and isn’t it bliss that The Wire’s top-billed character is McNulty?). Smells I Can’t Quite Get (many of them seem to be part-glue, part biscuit). Folks I Ain’t Seen In Years.

And the ultimate: Jobs I Just Can’t Seem To Get Through Or Even Get Started On, Betimes.

Ripe For The Arting
25 September, 2008, 4:56 pm
Filed under: All ideas are 1/3 truth, 1/3 lie

Inspired by this object from this site I get to wondering, like, what else is ripe for the arting?

The elements here are: iconic nature, obvious once you see it, executed vividly, pretty before and still pretty now, a dark streak of humour beneath. Although matrioshka dolls are kitsch, I don’t think that’s a necessity (in fact is anything a necessity?).

Is anything a necessity indeed? Ripeness perhaps. What makes something ripe, besides the idea, the seed, the water soil nutrients, the chance, and the fluidity or naturalness of delivery?

All comments and suggestions appreciated. Stapler, do you hear me say? Ah, clearly I haven’t left my desk for a while.