This blog has been created to discuss the topics covered in my book : Beyond Discouragement-Creativity.
My goal is to post relevant news articles which both reflect and refute my opinions and observations. As a visitor, your comments would be most appreciated. - Bienvenue. À vous la parole.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grief Is A Certifiable Mental Disorder

Sometimes Life Is Just Really Sad - (Barbara Kay) National Post - 27-04-11

This powerful article refers to the excessive use of pharmaceuticals and the upcoming DSM-5 - (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) - the bible of psychiatrists - which in 2013 will be determining "grief" as a certifiable MENTAL DISORDER. . . i.e.: it will be a treatable (read: medicatable) illness in the future. (I guess we're all safe from being committed until it is published. . . . . .)

So, as Barbara Kay states: If after 2 weeks you are still grieving. . .  the DSM-5 will consider you to be suffering from a mental disorder. Kay's article highlights the pharmaceutical and treatment professions' dehumanization and infantilization and victimization of humanity. Reading it is a MUST.

(Vindicated again!!!!!)  Beyond Discouragement - Creativity brought all of this up when it was published.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Slow on the uptake

Sorry about not being around. Still creating atwork for Bermuda exhibition.Nonetheless, the world keeps on rolling. So here's a quick update on recent media commentary which relates to Beyond Discouragement - Creativity's content:

Drugs good and bad :

Common Pain Killers Make Antidepressants Less Effective - (André Picard) Globe and Mail - April 26, 2011
It seems that combinations of drugs have always been part and parcel of contemporary treatment and now we "discover" that over and above the incredible list of side-effects most of these drugs have on our systems - they work against each other - which means they work against our bodies and minds. But then again - as I have been stating, the research always says : there can be, may be, might be could be side-effects and interactions but nothing is ever concrete. Is this part of a "keep them fearful (ignorant)" campaign? Wouldn't it be nice to have scientists offer us solid information - without the maybes and "not sures"? 

COPS - Spending On Police Has Jumped 41 Per Cent Across Canada In A Decade - What Price For Law and Order? (Adrian Morrow) Globe and Mail - January 8, 2011
 (Adrian Morrow) Globe and Mail - 
So what's next? Altering the definitions of crime to justify the increases and fear mongering?

Study Links Obesity, Economic Insecurity - (Kate Kelland) -  Globe and Mail - January 8, 2011
So what's new. Both obesity and insecurity are discussed in Beyond Discouragement - Creativity. Once again the content is simply being validated. 

Dr. Brinkley's Stem Cell Lotion And Magic Elixir -  Carolyn Abraham) Globe and Mail - January 8, 2011
It seems that scientific research is repeatedly jumping onto a common contemporary bandwagon which has been discussed in Beyond Discouragement - Creativity : the lowest common denominator factor : as stated above: research findings which have no firm ground upon which to stand -  dictate treatment modalities - despite no concrete evidence to back their "possibility" claims.

Self-Esteem Is Falling Out Of Favour. Is The Replacement Just As Bad? National Post - April 2, 2011
Definitely one of my bug-bears. . .  Though this article shows a fearsome side to altering our perceptions re the self-esteem issue, it nonetheless points out that this UBER-ME generation is out of whack and basic common sense when it comes to looking at yourself.  When little girls look at their mirrored image and ecstatically proclaim themselves beautiful for no other reason than that they exist, we
need to re-read (as I did ) the chapter on self-esteem in Beyond Discouragement - Creativity. Narcissism is more like what we have today - not a simple "me" infatuation.

High Opioid Dose Risks Death - (Carly Weeks) - Globe and Mail - April 12, 2011
Prescriptions - i.e.: what the doctor orders. . .  are killing not healing us. Misuse of medication., over-prescriptions. . .  Only one little element in the mile high pile of contradictions and incredible blunders by our medical professions now become "medicators" rather than physicians.We're reaching a time when we will not be dying of illness but rather dying from treatment.

Tough Love Yourself - (Sarah Boesveld) National Post - April 2, 2011 Once again a topic from Beyond Discouragement - Creativity. . .   This article treats the topic of praise versus encouragement - rightly highlights the dangers of such practices which motivate narcissistic tendencies which persist throughout a child and adolescent and adult life. The 70s were the beginning of many new things - this praise epidemic was one of the plagues which now have serious consequences. 

Who's Your Role Model? Probably Your Mother - (Misty Harris) Ottawa Citizen - 15-04-11
Isn't it amazing how "scientific bodies" seem to need to study the obvious - and then expect us to respect the "superlative knowledge"  upon which their erudite thinking is based?  Good or bad, pro or con. . .  The facts have been borne out for millenia. . .  Mother's have enormous influence over their children! It doesn't take a doctoral thesis to prove that . Maybe what needs studying is whether parents are doing a good job of parenting and why.. . Are we actually parenting or are we simply : "providers" as discussed in Beyond Discouragement - Creativity?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Growing up bullied

Why such a topic? What does it mean to grow up bullied?

Bullying is as prevalent in both elementary and high school as it is too often pooh-poohed by school authorities. No one seems to take it seriously - parents are somewhat annoyed but the academic world is not. And that is not only sad for the children involved, it is dangerous for the societies which deny or belittle its existence.

The fact of the matter is, bullying is becoming universally endured if not accepted as a “norm”.  And the stretch from child to adult environment bullying is not that great. But only children seem to know of it. They are like canaries in a fowl mine. They know something uncomfortable is lurking but they don’t have the power to stop it. We adults seem less aware, if not neglectful. Possibly, it’s because we don’t think as much as we feel these days.

In essence, the only components which have been missing for bullying to be fully integrated into society are 3 in number. . .  The environment has to be ripe for the plucking, there has to be a profit margin. . . and most especially, everything has to be “personal”. Until then, bullying awaits on the sidelines.

First : the environment

Bullying is snake-like. Fearful and threatened by the strengths of others, a bully’s motivation is fashioned by its own weak ego. It usually slithers along unnoticed - rearing its ugliness only when there is no way of defeating it. It cannot endure individual or collective strength. Bullying thrives on individual and collective weakness and submission - when, finally, everyone is mesmerized by it. Until then it lies in wait hibernating, gaining strength. It can only exist in a flabby environment - one in which life is taken for granted and cultural values and integrity are ignored.

But the fact of the matter is : we like bullying. . .  Without realizing it, it is part and parcel of the aggressive and often times manipulative attitudes which dominate our work and family lives - as well as sport and entertainment choices. Children are not the only bullied individuals in our society. They may spend more time killing off undesirables in their computer games, but we watch TV reality shows which promote “nothing” as a viable lifestyle and losers as “victims” - and because they are  - we call them heroic. . . So what’s more virtually inane? Us watching individuals making fools of themselves for 15 minutes of fame? Or, us watching freak-show styled programming or cheering-on hockey goons smashing opponent brains into stanchions - without conscience or consequence?

All the while. . . our children wonder why nothing is being done about school yard and internet bullying?

Second : The profit margin

TV reality shows - due to their larger and larger audiences are proving themselves to be cheaper to produce and more lucrative than standard fare. And so. . .  On with the sanctioned bullying process! Add to this a bonus - an addiction to a bullying mentality can be practised in the privacy of our own homes. . . where we can all pretend that we don't really watch. . . such horrible stuff.

In essence, bullying is only possible in such environments where reaction is more prevalent than action. Bullying thrives on a flabby environment - one which, unbeknownst to itself, is gradually rendered weak and submissive by the lowest common denominator mental food it imbibes.   Only in this way can a smaller group of individuals play havoc with the whole - in order to impose, control and . . . well, bully. 

And what of the canary children? Well, they see us mesmerized and enthralled by the displayed faults and failure and laughable weakness and disturbances of others on TV. . . And they can only fear the day that attention will be turned to “their” situations. . .  Their parents and others could be laughing  and sneering at them one day too. . . Who knows? . . . Who knows when?

Third : The personal factor

A bullying environment opens the door wide to everything becoming “personal”. Everything personal gives authority to those who have the power to control how we feel and if and when we can think for ourselves. Children may not “know” this but they feel it. . .

Bullies bully as long as they are mesmerized by our submission and we, by their gall. And they can bully even more powerfully when that submission is generalized rather than individual. And this is where corporate, governmental, societal and parental authorities must weigh in. Bullying is becoming universal and our children are warning us of an impending disaster - if we don’t start to “act our age”.

24 hour a day news offerings where we’re fed daily doses of  lowest common denominator information renders us feeble-minded, submissive and ripe for bullying, political attack ads and snake-oil science. And how we feel about it all (or so they say) is more important than rebelliously thinking about it all. Because if we start “really” thinking and questioning again - we will, once again, become strong. And bullies can’t have that happen. . .

Nonetheless, the first step is to take back the 3 elements which make up our birthright as individuals : thinking, questioning and creating. . .  And then let’s practice the one thing our children are desperate for : encouragement. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

"F U"

It’s All About U - (Ken Coates & Bill Morrison) - National Post - 11-04-11

In another book : Campus Confidential,  2 authors give us a painful truth about student life and university campuses - a truth which I discussed in Beyond Discouragement - Creativity, including a quote by an Ottawa  college professor. Things are not well in academe.

It seems we have raised a few generations of entitled and spoiled young people. Like China, through its one child policy, we have raised  generations of little emperors. (We just made our lives more miserable by not limiting how many 2 to 18 year olds would be telling us what to do. . .  Ha!)

But it is in elementary, high school, college and universities where we see the most tangible results of our abdication of societal and parental responsibility. Universities are filled with a ragtag bunch where, today, a predominant group exists. If not the most numerous it is the most vocal collection of domineering characters.

The most generic term used for them is "The entitled".

Pros:    They are “more assertive than in the past. They are very confident, able and willing to express their opinions and they are not intimidated by adults and professors.They are, in essence, very sure of themselves.

Cons: They are inconsistent in their class attendance, but expect good marks. They lack respect for professors and have poor classroom behaviour. They are litigious, and reluctant to complete assignments. They have high expectations, despite their low performance. They are unreasonable in their demands and expectations of others. They have more money than they can handle. Society allows them to do and say what they want, They come from child-centered schools and homes which had no control over any of their behaviours. But mostly, they have a deep sense of entitlement. They expect to be well off and if they are not it is the fault of someone or something else.  They expect school to be easy and exams to give them passing grades whether they have earned them or not. Mean spirited retorts and litigious action is not far off if they don’t get what they want or their parents are unable to coerce the system to bow to their demands. They expect deadlines to be changed, their explanations for lax performance taken in without question and demand that courses fit their requirements.

The result (since universities are now businesses) is that the academic milieu bends to their demands - even if the ultimate outcomes are devastating to the universities, the future work force and the country as a whole.

So, once again. . .  The times they are a wasting.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cognitive drugs. . . Who would have thunk?

Academic Doping - Tom Blackwell) National Post. 09-04-11

Wow. . .  How stupid of me to think that the only way to get an edge on other students and achieve higher marks was through studying harder! How naïve. . .  How dumb of me!

Nothing like being vindicated by the best. . .

Chomsky Talks Fear in Western Society - (Robert Riley) Ottawa Citizen - 09-04-11

Noam Chomsky. . .  professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, widely acknowledged as the most famous and most cited public intellectual in the world said to students of Carleton University in Ottawa on April 8th, 2011: 

Students, like many other groups in contemporary society, are being indoctrinated with notions of privatization, efficiency and distorted ideas about capitalism to keep them passive and obedient so rich people who run the corporate world can become more wealthy. . . Such a system, Chomsky states, fosters fear and insecurity among people who, burdened by debt, anxious for their jobs or stuck in low paying jobs  are afraid to question or challenge the system. . .

I knew that when I wrote my book I was not wrong. . . But to hear these words from the greatest mind of our times is definitely MOST reassuring.

Media Reference Updates.

A few more media references highlighting Beyond Discouragement - Creativity content:

A Road Map For Harnessing Creativity - (Harvey Schachter) The Globe and Mail - 30-03-11. Ideas are fine but without structure and discipline - Nada. . .

Graffiti May Be Art, But Taste Is Individual - (Linda Mathies and Patricia McCarthy) - Letters to the editor, Ottawa Citizen. It seems that graffiti - as in : "I am imposing my perception of beauty and artwork on you whether you like it or not" is a mater of "personal taste????? Wow. I'd love to hear the comments emanating from the brilliant minds of this world (those who consider imposition an entitlement) when the graffiti artists decide to desecrate their private property. . . 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Finally, some positive feedback from the press

Take The Rocky Road - (Mark Fenske) The Globe and Mail.
Finally, an article of encouragement in the press. It seems that technology is taking over, making our lives "quick" and "easy". . . .  (Sounds like familiar information. . . as from that latest book entitled : Beyond Discouragement- - Creativity. . . )
It seems we have unwittingly relinquished the control over our lives and capacities to technical wizardry. In so doing. . .  we now fail to use part of our brain which in essence give us the freedom to "be" something other than a "being" - that part which allows us to create and succeed despite the odds. . . Cognitive control is being lost. And in the words of the author : ". . . some ask whether the technology designed to increase our performance and productivity is instead MAKING US STUPID. . . " Something to think about.

Bullying, the ignored plague.

L'intimidation à l'école - (Sylvie Beaulieu) La Presse Montréal

Bullying is a major problem in schools today. We've learned to sneer and attack others via our addiction to Reality TV and so have our children., They have also learned fear and how to be victims. Our lax attitude in the area of respect and self-respect hasn't helped any either.

Now, children in our schools are afraid, are bullied and cowed by viciousness.Add to his problem that bullies are using the internet and we have a situation which has become untenable. Parents speak with school authorities and report that there is little if any support. . . Bullying is one of the major problems I discuss in Beyond Discouragement - Creativity. I am definitely NOT happy that I was right. . .

On The Mark. . .

Being on the mark is at times positive and at other times troubling.

Though inadvertently, the contents of Beyond Discouragement Creativity is constantly (if not daily)being sited in the media. . . Today is  quite a heavy case in point.

  •   UK School Cracks Down On Bad Manners - National Post. Since over time we have gone from excessive demands of proper behaviour to none at all in this past century - balancing out the requirements of good communal living seems to demand an excessive amount of control in the guise of zero tolerance. We reap what we sow. I think something in that vein is mentioned in my book. . .
  •   Brains Show Political Differences - (Andrew Duffy) Ottawa Citizen. It seems that more conservative brains revolve around fear issues - either taking them in, sublimating them or imposing them on others whereas liberal minded types are more able to handle uncertainty and intangibles.No mater how we look at it, both sides affect creativity and the capacity to think and flower independently. If I'm not wrong, Beyond Discouragement - Creativity deals with the fear and independence factors abundantly.
  • School Trustees Don't Know What's What - (Cathy Curry) Ottawa Citizen. Now, I am definitely busting a gut. . . School Board and trustee issues are definitely a part of Beyond Discouragement - Creativity.
  • Risk, Urge, Desire, Danger - (Susan Krashinsky) The Globe and Mail. The power of marketing and advertising . . .  Once again Beyond Discouragement -Creativity deals with this issue in spades!!!
  • Just Call Me Mrs - (Deanna Wong) The Globe And Mail. This is an issue which has its underlying current in the need for today's parents and teachers to be friends with their children rather than responsible adult guides and mentors - a crucial topic in the Beyond Discouragement - Creativity eassy.  It speaks to the inordinate need of individual members of a society to democratize communication to the point of lowest common denominator, if not oblivion. Elders are more aware of this imposition of familiarity than are younger generations. Respect of strangers has given way to fear of strangers and therefore we claim each other as friends  in order to feel safer as victimized entities. We display familiarity whether the other wishes it or not.                                                                                                                                                          Actually, the problem is rather a simple one to solve - Let's stop calling each other by our first name when we are not family or friend. Historically, it is a practice which was meant to BELITTLE. First names only (when not used between family and friends) date back to slavery connotations where indentured servants and slaves were nothing more than possessions. As such, they were perceived to have no families and therefore no family names - just a first name. . . Once, young people called themselves by their family names out of respect and deference ( a usual college or workplace trait). Today, they call themselves by their first names in order to be democratic - to be equal to each other - to eliminate a trait which causes fear. . .  the dreaded being different. They also call us oldsters (or ask for our first name) in order to "put us in our place" - to render us not more important or empowered than they are. In other words - a contemporary first name basis society - uses excessive doses of democracy (out of fear and anxiety) in order to establish a (safe) norm which eliminates anything which smacks of creative individuality - i.e.: adventure, difference, daring, excitement, innovation, bravery, etc.   Today, we seek what is normal (i.e.: what there is the most of. . .) Ironically (!) Beyond Discouragement - Creativity talks about that too. Sometimes it is humbling to be on the mark. . . At other times it is quite invigorating! Ha!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kids Can't Swim, Tie Shoelaces or Make Breakfast. . . But they can use a mouse , install an app or play a computer game. . .  AVG CEO, J.R. Smith (Backbone Mag.)

A short and not too sweet article describes how our children can fiddle with a dial buit not much else. 2200 mothers of children 2 to 5 were surveyed. in the US, Canada, the EU5, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. 58% to 70% can play a video game, 43% can ride a bike.  19% can use a smartphone app but only 9% can tie shoelaces. I hope electricity and batteries never run out. v. . Our kids would be totally deprived of any ability to function.