Monday, October 31, 2011

EVEN SENIOR CITIZENS FALL IN LOVE -- IN FACEBOOK!

Even senior citizens fall 
in love -- in Facebook!


"Love comes from the most unexpected places." JOSE FELICIANO


By Alex P. Vidal


No, he or she is old enough to do or feel it. No, he or she is just being nice because she or he is really "malambing" (sweet) to younger men and women. Neither feelings nor desires whatsoever. We've heard these statements from time to time from common "friends" in Facebook, among other social networks.
Wait a minute, why the discrimination? Don't lolo (grandpa) and lola (grandma), err tita and tito have the right to fall in love (with younger men and women) even if they are already in their twilight years? Yes, they do. They even have every right to celluloid sex as much as younger men and women do.
In fact, some of them are still sexually "literate" and their libido is still earthshaking, to say the least--if only their physical condition will connive with their desires.
Dr. Ray E. Short, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Wisconsin in Platteville, asks in his book Sex, Love, or Infatuation: "Isn't romantic infatuation only for the very young? Or for those who haven't grown up emotionally?"
"Not so, it would seem," Short answers his own question. "Even the most mature are not safe from the siren call of romance. Haven't all of us seen middle-aged or older couples with stars in their eyes, acting every bit as foolish as any teenager?"


RICH


"Or the rich old codger who squanders his fortune on some flighty young girl? Such affairs happen just often enough that folk wisdom has long since decalred: 'There's no fool like an old fool!'"
Dr. Short, who is a Methodist minister, will be shocked to learn that some male senior citizens are even sending love sound bites like they were teenagers to younger female "friends" in Facebook and other social networks today.
"In our society the wedding ceremony is supposed  to dry up all other springs of romance. But does it?" inquires Dr. Short. "In the Benson study people reported having an average of one other romance after they were wed. While most marrieds reported no other romances at all, some had as many as five. Luckily, few of these were acted on and they did not disrupt their marriages. But they did occur."


GROWN-UP


Let's listen to Dr. Short: "If you're more grown-up in your emotional life than most other people, you're still not protected from romance."
When D.G. Dean set out to test the common assumption that "romantic love is for the emotionally immature," he found that it just isn't so. The real test of emotional maturity then is not whether you "fail love" (become infatuated). 
"That happens to almost all of us," asserts Dr. Short. "The true test of maturity is rather what you do about it. Do you react rationally to this romantic condition? Or do you rush rashly into some foolish, perhaps permanent, commitment before the relationship proves to be sound?"


EXPERIENCE


One thing is certain: romantic experience catches up with all of us, young or old, rich or poor, mature or immature. And with it come perplexity and uncertainty. If romance hasn't reached you yet, just be patient, counsels Dr. Short. "Your time is coming!"
Dr. Short adds: "And if it has already come to you, it will likely come again--and yet again. The issue, then, is how can you act wisely once you are, as Capellanus put it, "wounded by one of love's arrows."
Let's be careful. Cupid's arrow may turn out to be cupid's error! We need something better than a soft-eyed grin and the old "never mind, dear; when it hits you, you'll know it" routine. When we ask an honest question, we deserve an honest answer.


SIGNS OF LOVE


Real love will have an organizing and a constructive effect on our personality. It brings out the best in us. As Hirning and Hirning wrote: "There is an intense and satisfying feeling of greater self-realization and expression, as well as a feeling of having one's own personality reinforced and strengthened and enriched."
Duvall and Hill added that love give us "new energy and ambition, and more interest in life...It is creative, brings an eagerness to grow, to improve, to work for worthy purposes and ideals. Love is associated with feelings of self-confidence, trust and security."
The person who loves makes an effort to be more deserving of the beloved. Two sisters were heard to agree that their older brother's wife is good for them. "Before he met Jane, he had few goals and not much direction in his life," said one. The other nodded. "When he married her, it really made a man out of him." Love lifted him to new levels of maturity and responsible action. It will do the same for us -- young and old.

'Dear is Plato but dearer is the truth'

"All men by nature desire to know." 
-- ARISTOTLE


By Alex P. Vidal



Aristotle entered Plato's Academy as a 17 year-old student. 
He excelled and soon became a teacher. He remained at the Academy until Plato's death, some 20 years later.
Unlike Plato, Aristotle was preoccupied with "the natural process." 
While Plato used his reason, Aristotle used his senses as well: he go down on all fours and studied frogs and fish, anemones and poppies.
The significance of Aristotle in European culture is due not least to the fact that he created the terminology that scientists use today. 
He was the great organizer who founded and classified the various sciences.


REFLECTIONS


Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) thought that things that are in the human soul were purely reflections of natural objects. So nature was the real world.
Why does it rain? 
You have probably learned that it rains because the moisture in the clouds cools and condenses into raindrops that are drawn to the earth by the force of gravity.
Aristotle would have agreed. 
But he would have added that so far you have only mentioned three of the causes. 
The "material cause" is the moisture (the clouds) was there at the precise moment when the air cooled.
The "efficient cause" is that the moisture cools, and the "formal cause" is that the "form," or nature of the water, is to fall to the earth. 
But if you stopped there, Aristotle would add that it rains because plants and animals need rain-water in order to grow. 
This he called the "final cause." Aristotle assigns the raindrops a life-task, or "purpose."


REASONING


That is not the nature of scientific reasoning today. We say that although food and water are necessary conditions of life for man, it is not the purpose of water or oranges to be food for us.
But Aristotle believed that there is a purpose behind everything in nature. 
It rains so that plants can grow; oranges and grapes grow so that people can eat them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Knowledge is different from intelligence

"I keep six honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who." RUDYARD KIPLING


By Alex P. Vidal


THE best "definition" we could provide for knowledge is that it is a "power," according to Francis Bacon.
Intelligence, on the other hand, is hard to define. Most psychologists today, however, consider intelligence to be the ability to adjust properly to the environment, particularly when faced with new problems or situations. 
In other words, it is the ability to use the knowledge we have in order to "figure out" what to do in a new situation.
But here's why intelligence is much different from knowledge. A two-year-old child knows very little, because he hasn't had enough time to acquire the knowledge of a grown-up; but he may be very intelligent in the way he uses the little knowledge he has. In the same way, a person who has had little chance for education may be highly intelligent, yet unable to read and write.


MEASURE


Special tests are used to measure intelligence. These are not information quizzes, but tests of the individual's powers of memory, judgment, reasoning ability. etc.
Before an intelligence test can be used, it must be tried out on thousands of individuals. From the results the test psychologist finds out how well the average person of a given age makes out on the test. The test is then ready for use.
To measure a person's intelligence, he is given one or more of the intelligence tests which have already been "standardized" in the way just described. His result on the test gives his "mental age" (M.A.).
For example, if a child does as well on a certain test as the average 12-year-old, he has a mental age of 12. If the child actually is 10 years old, his "chronological age" (C.A.) is 10. The child's I.Q. is then found by dividing his mental age by his chronological age.


TABLE


A person whose mental age is the same as his chronological age, has normal or average intelligence. His I.Q. is 100. The following table shows how people are classified by their I.Q.'s in each I.Q. "bracket," according to High Points in Biology:
I.Q. 140 or over-- classification is genius; 120-140: very superior; 110-120: superior; 90-110: normal; 80-90: dull normal; 70-80: borderline normal; 50-70:moron; 25-50: imbecile; below 25: idiot.
The measurement of a person's intelligence was done after the Bureau of Education in Paris wanted to find out whether the poor results of many children were due to inattentiveness, lack of desire to learn, or lack of intelligence or ability to learn.
They called on Alred Binet for help. He organized a system of tests which were not based on school information but rather on general mental abilities. His work eventually laid the basis for the many tests of intelligence we have today.


TRAITS


Many mental traits and talents seem to be controlled at least partly by genes, research showed.
The histories of several families reveal a high percentage of individuals with such exceptional mechanical ability that it is universally recognized and respected. Peculiarly enough, unusual mechanical ability has been found in feeble-minded individuals, indicating that intelligence is not necessarily related to other talents.
Musical talent seems to be controlled by heredity. However, it seems that many genes must appear together to produce a truly great musical genius. This probably explains why there are so few great composers and performers, and why they sometimes appear among families where no unusual musical ability appeared before. The Bach family is an example of a family with many musical members.
Unfortunately, no accurate studies of this characteristic have been made, but most investigators are agreed that this characteristic may have a genetic basis.

'PHILOSOPHY BEGINS IN WONDER'

"The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life." -- PLATO


By Alex P. Vidal


Plato was 29 when Socrates died, but it is not known when he started to write his many dialogues (most of which we still have) featuring Socrates as their central figure.
Socrates had a profound effect upon Plato whose own ideas only become clearly distinguishable from Socratic thought in his later works.
He may have been in his 50s when he co-founded his school with the mathematician Theaetetus. The school was named the Academy after the legendary Greek hero Academus. 
Though the Academy Plato hoped to provide a good education for the future rulers of Athens and other city-states. The subjects taught were philosophy, astronomy, gymnastics, mathematics and especially geometry.
The inscription over the door of the Academy read "let no one ignorant of geometry enter here." Amongst his pupils was Aristotle who, like Plato, was to be one of the most influential philosophers who ever lived.
Plato (427-347 B.C.) believed that everything tangible in nature "flows." So there are no "substances" that do not dissolve. Absolutely everything that belongs to the "material world" is made of a material that time can erode, but everything is made after a timeless "mold" or "form" that is eternal and immutable.
Why are horses the same? There is something that all horses have in common, something that enables us to identify them as horses. A particular horse "flows," naturally. It might be old and lame, and in time it will die. But the "form" of the horse is eternal and immutable.
That which is eternal and immutable, to Plato, is therefore not a physical "basic substance," as it was for Empedocles and Democritus. Plato's conception was of eternal and immutable patterns, spiritual and abstract in their nature, that all things are fashioned after.

'IGNORANCE IS THE ONLY EVIL'


By Alex P. Vidal

"I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world." -SOCRATES


Socrates is possibly the most enigmatic figure in the entire history of philosophy. He never wrote a single line. Yet he is one of the philosophers who has had the greatest influence on European thought, not least because of the dramatic nature of his death.
Socrates thought that a philosopher is someone who recognizes that there is a lot he does not understand, and is troubled by it. In that sense, he is still wiser than all those who brag about their knowledge of things they really know nothing about. 

NOTHING

Socrates himself said, "One thing only I know and that is that I know nothing."
But while he constantly questioned the extent of his own knoweldge (a method that Rene Descartes was to employ some 2,000 years later), Socrates believed that it is possible for man to obtain absolute truths about the Universe. He felt that it was necessary to establish a solid foundation for our knowledge, a foundation which he believed lay in man's reason. With his unshakable faith in human reason, Socrates was decidedly a rationalist.
In the year 399 B.C., Socrates was accused of "introducing new gods (the "divine inner voices" he claimed to hear in his head) and corrupting youth, as well as not believing in the accepted gods.
Although the government of Athens was one of the world's earliest democracies, Socrates (470 B.C.-399 B.C), on the other hand, let everyone know he believed it was better for the state to be ruled by a single person, whom he described as "the one who knows."

THREAT

Some regarded Socrates' outspoken views as a threat to the very fabric of Athenean life. Worried by his anti-democratic influence over the many young aristocrats (including Plato) involved in the Socratic think-tank, a jury of 501 found him guilty by a slender majority and was forced to drink the poison hemlock. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

'I THINK, THEREFORE I AM'

'I think, therefore I am'


By Alex P. Vidal


One morning inside our philosophy class at the Central Philippine University many years ago, our professor pointed his finger at a crowd of more than 50 students in attendance: "You, the man in red, who are you?"
Everyone hurriedly checked the color of their dress and it was only me wearing a red polo shirt. I looked at the professor's eyes and confirmed I was the target of that philosophical challenge. I stood up.
"My name is Alex P. Vidal; I wear a red polo shirt, yes; and I think, therefore I am."
There was eerie silence and everyone anxiously waited for the professor to further rib me or anybody--regardless of the color of dress--with further questions. 
I told the professor I borrowed that famous line from Rene Descartes, who was a driving force behind the intellectual revolution of the 17th century, and is known as the father of modern philosophy. He was also a great mathematician, I elaborated further.


ENGAGE


Thinking I was prepared to engage him, modesty aside, in a showdown on the subject matter, the professor, who was always dependent on his book, did not make a follow up question; and held his book tightly for the rest of the class like a priest holding the Bible while reading scriptures in the pulpit.
On the night of November 10th 1619, Descartes (1596-1650) had a vision of the way he might construct a precise system of knowledge that could embrace all areas of human learning. This remained his project for the rest of his life. 
While some of the arguments he used have come under criticism, Descartes' method has had an enormous influence on subsequent thought. Like Socrates, he decided to work out his own philosophy. Descartes was a mathematician and wanted to use the "mathematical method" even for philosophising. 


TRUTHS


He sets out to prove philosophical truths in the way one proves a mathematical theorem -- by the use of reason, since only reason can give us certainty. It is far from certain, said Descartes, that we can rely on our senses.
There seemed to be nothing of which he could be sure. But Descartes tried to work forward form this zero point. He doubted everything, and that was the only thing he was certain of. 
But something struck him: one thing had to be true, and that was that he doubted. When he doubted, he had to be thinking, and because he was thinking, it had to be certain that he existed. Or, as he himself expressed it: Cogito, ergo sum. Which means "I think, therefore I am."
Descartes thought that minds and ideas were not physical things. The Englishman Thomas Hobbes, a contemporary of Descartes, completely disagreed. Hundreds of years after Descartes, the mind/body debate is still a central problem of philosophy. Is the mind a purely physical thing? And if it is not, how can it interact with the physical body?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why are we always ashamed

"And they were not ashamed." GENESIS

By Alex P. Vidal

We are ashamed. Always ashamed. 
Ashamed to do this, ashamed to do that. Ashamed to go there, ashamed to decide on something. Ashamed to reject a proposal (a project or romantic relationship), ashamed not to accommodate somebody. Ashamed to wear this, ashamed to fail; ashamed to face the truth. Ashamed to face the mirror. Ashamed of our "Don Pepot" tummy. Ashamed to say no.
Ashamed to download a message and photo on Facebook; ashamed to upload and download a music on youtube and viddler. Ashamed not to text back. Ashamed not to answer a call in the dead of the night. Ashamed of our weight and height, ashamed of our past. 
Ashamed to tell someone "I love you" (even if our heart is already about to explode like Gloria Arroyo's wrath). Ashamed to speak in front of a crowd. Ashamed to join the party. Ashamed of our age. Ashamed of our face (due to wrinkles and other moonraker marks and unfinished public works and highways manholes).

MANY FACES

Is it really shame or toxic fear? Meanwhile, these are the "many faces" of shame, according to John Bradshaw, author of the Healing the Shame that Binds you:
1. Shame as a healthy human emotion
2. Shame as permission to be human
3. Shame as a development stage
4. Shame as embarrassment and blushing
5. Shame as shyness
6. Shame as the basic need for community
7. Shame as the source of creativity and learning
8. Shame as the source of spirituality
9. Shame as toxic
10. Shame as an identity -- internalization of shame
11. Shame as self-alienation and isolation
12. Shame as false self
13. Shame as co-dependency
14. Shame as borderline personality
15. Shame as the core and fuel of all addiction
Ten years before writing the book in 1988, Bradshaw, a theologian from the University of Toronto, had one of those life-jolting discoveries that significantly changed everything: he named "shame" as the core demon in his life.
"Naming shame means that I became aware of the massive destructive power that shame had exerted in my life. I discovered that I had been bound by shame all my life," Bradshaw confesses. "It ruled me like an addiction. I acted it out; I covered it up in subtle and not so subtle ways; I transferred it to my family, my clients and the people I taught."

DEMON

He reveals: "Shame was the unconscious demon I had never acknowledge. In becoming aware of the dynamics of shame, I came to see that shame is one of the major destructive forces in all human life. In naming shame I began to have power over it."
Shame, in itself, is not bad, explains Bradshaw. It is a normal human emotion. In fact, he adds, "it is necessary to have the feeling of shame if one is to be truly human. Shame is the emotion which gives us permission to be human. Shame tells us of our limits. Shame keeps us in our human boundaries, letting us know we can and will make mistakes, and that we need help."
The author says, "Our shame tells us we are not God. Healthy shame is the psychological foundation of humility. It is the source of spirituality."
Here's what Bradshaw discovered: shame as healthy human emotion can be transformed into shame as a state of being, shame takes over one's whole identity. To have shame as an identity is to believe that one's being is flawed, that one is defective as a human being. Once shame is transformed into an identity, it becomes toxic and dehumanizing.

FALSE SELF

According to the author, toxic shame is unbearable and always necessitates a cover-up, a false self.
"Since one feels his true self is defective and flawed, one needs a false self which is not defective and flawed. Once one becomes a false self, one ceases to exist psychologically," writes Bradshaw, a management and consultant and author of the best-selling Bradshaw On: The Family.
The process of false self-formation is what Alice Miller calls "soul murder." As a false self, one tries to be more than human or less than human. Toxic shame is the greatest form of learned domestic violence there is. It destroys human life. Toxic shame is the core of most forms of emotional illness.
Gershen Kaufman writes: "Shame is the affect which is the source of many complex and disturbing inner states: depression, alienation, self-doubt, isolating loneliness, paranoid and schizoid phenomena, compulsive disorders, splitting of the self, perfectionism, a deep sense of inferiority, inadequacy or failure, the so-called borderline conditions and disorders of narcissism."

DESTROY

"Toxic shame so destroys the function of our authentic self that clear syndromes of shame develop out of the false self cover-ups. Each syndrome has its own characteristic pattern," Bradshaw stresses. "Toxic shame becomes the core of neurosis, character disorders, political violence, wars and criminality. It comes the closest to defining human bondage of all the things I know."
The Bible describes the shame as the core and consequence of Adam's fall. In Hebrew, Adam is equivalent to mankind. Adam symbolizes all human beings. The Bible suggests that Adam was not satisfied with his own being. He wanted to be more than he was. He wanted to be more than human. He failed to accept his essential limitations. He lost his healthy shame.
The Bible suggests that the origin of human bondage (original sin) is the desire to be other than who we are...to be more than human. In his toxic shame (pride), Adam wanted a false self. The false self led to his destruction.
After Adam alienated his true being, he went into hiding. "And the Lord God called unto Adam...where art thou?" And Adam said, "I heard thy voice in the garden and I hid myself" (Genesis 3:9-10). Before the fall, the man and the woman were both naked and "were not shamed" (Genesis 2:25). Once they chose to be other than why they were, they became naked and ashamed.

SYMBOL

Nakedness symbolized their true and authentic selves. They were who they were and they were okay with it. There was nothing to hide. They could be perfectly and rigorously honest.
This symbolic and metaphorical description of Adam and Eve is a description of the human condition. The unconditional love and acceptance of self seems to be the hardest task for all humankind. Refusing to accept our "real selves", we try to create more powerful false selves or give up and become less than human. 
This results in lifetime of cover-up and secrecy. The secrecy and hiding is the basic cause of suffering for all of us, according to Bradshaw. 
"Total self-love and acceptance is the only foundation for happiness and the love for others. Without total self-love and acceptance, we are doomed to enervative task of creating false selves. It takes tons of energy and hard work to live a false self. This may be the symbolic meaning of the Biblical statement that after the fall, the man and the woman would suffer in their natural activities: the woman in childbirth, the man in his work."

Why are we always ashamed?


"And they were not ashamed." GENESIS


By Alex P. Vidal


We are ashamed. Always ashamed. 
Ashamed to do this, ashamed to do that. Ashamed to go there, ashamed to decide on something. Ashamed to reject a proposal (a project or romantic relationship), ashamed not to accommodate somebody. Ashamed to wear this, ashamed to fail; ashamed to face the truth. Ashamed to face the mirror. Ashamed of our "Don Pepot" tummy. Ashamed to say no.
Ashamed to download a message and photo on Facebook; ashamed to upload and download a music on youtube and viddler. Ashamed not to text back. Ashamed not to answer a call in the dead of the night. Ashamed of our weight and height, ashamed of our past. 
Ashamed to tell someone "I love you" (even if our heart is already about to explode like Gloria Arroyo's wrath) Ashamed to speak in front of a crowd. Ashamed to join the party. Ashamed of our age. Ashamed of our face (due to wrinkles and other moonraker marks and unfinished public works and highways manholes).


MANY FACES


Is it really shame or toxic fear? Meanwhile, these are the "many faces" of shame, according to John Bradshaw, author of the Healing the Shame that Binds you:
1. Shame as a healthy human emotion
2. Shame as permission to be human
3. Shame as a development stage
4. Shame as embarrassment and blushing
5. Shame as shyness
6. Shame as the basic need for community
7. Shame as the source of creativity and learning
8. Shame as the source of spirituality
9. Shame as toxic
10. Shame as an identity -- internalization of shame
11. Shame as self-alienation and isolation
12. Shame as false self
13. Shame as co-dependency
14. Shame as borderline personality
15. Shame as the core and fuel of all addiction
Ten years before writing the book in 1988, Bradshaw, a theologian from the University of Toronto, had one of those life-jolting discoveries that significantly changed everything: he named "shame" as the core demon in his life.
"Naming shame means that I became aware of the massive destructive power that shame had exerted in my life. I discovered that I had been bound by shame all my life," Bradshaw confesses. "It ruled me like an addiction. I acted it out; I covered it up in subtle and not so subtle ways; I transferred it to my family, my clients and the people I taught."


DEMON


He reveals: "Shame was the unconscious demon I had never acknowledge. In becoming aware of the dynamics of shame, I came to see that shame is one of the major destructive forces in all human life. In naming shame I began to have power over it."
Shame, in itself, is not bad, explains Bradshaw. It is a normal human emotion. In fact, he adds, "it is necessary to have the feeling of shame if one is to be truly human. Shame is the emotion which gives us permission to be human. Shame tells us of our limits. Shame keeps us in our human boundaries, letting us know we can and will make mistakes, and that we need help."
The author says, "Our shame tells us we are not God. Healthy shame is the psychological foundation of humility. It is the source of spirituality."
Here's what Bradshaw discovered: shame as healthy human emotion can be transformed into shame as a state of being, shame takes over one's whole identity. To have shame as an identity is to believe that one's being is flawed, that one is defective as a human being. Once shame is transformed into an identity, it becomes toxic and dehumanizing.


FALSE SELF


According to the author, toxic shame is unbearable and always necessitates a cover-up, a false self.
"Since one feels his true self is defective and flawed, one needs a false self which is not defective and flawed. Once one becomes a false self, one ceases to exist psychologically," writes Bradshaw, a management and consultant and author of the best-selling Bradshaw On: The Family.
The process of false self-formation is what Alice Miller calls "soul murder." As a false self, one tries to be more than human or less than human. Toxic shame is the greatest form of learned domestic violence there is. It destroys human life. Toxic shame is the core of most forms of emotional illness.
Gershen Kaufman writes: "Shame is the affect which is the source of many complex and disturbing inner states: depression, alienation, self-doubt, isolating loneliness, paranoid and schizoid phenomena, compulsive disorders, splitting of the self, perfectionism, a deep sense of inferiority, inadequacy or failure, the so-called borderline conditions and disorders of narcissism."


DESTROY


"Toxic shame so destroys the function of our authentic self that clear syndromes of shame develop out of the false self cover-ups. Each syndrome has its own characteristic pattern," Bradshaw stresses. "Toxic shame becomes the core of neurosis, character disorders, political violence, wars and criminality. It comes the closest to defining human bondage of all the things I know."
The Bible describes the shame as the core and consequence of Adam's fall. In Hebrew, Adam is equivalent to mankind. Adam symbolizes all human beings. The Bible suggests that Adam was not satisfied with his own being. He wanted to be more than he was. He wanted to be more than human. he failed to accept his essential limitations. He lost his healthy shame.
The Bible suggests that the origin of human bondage (original sin) is the desire to be other than who we are...to be more than human. In his toxic shame (pride), Adam wanted a false self. The false self led to his destruction.
After Adam alienated his true being, he went into hiding. "And the Lord God called unto Adam...where art thou?" And Adam said, "I heard thy voice in the garden and I hid myself" (Genesis 3:9-10). Before the fall the man and the woman were both naked and "were not shamed" (Genesis 2:25). Once they chose to be other than whay they were, they became naked and ashamed.


SYMBOL


Nakedness symbolized their true and authentic selves. They were who they were and they were okay with it. There was nothing to hide. They could be perfectly and rigorously honest.
This symbolic and metaphorical description of Adam and Eve is a description of the human condition. The unconditional love and acceptance of self seems to be the hardest task for all humankind. Refusing to accept our "real selves", we try to create more powerful false selves or give up and become less than human. 
This results in lifetime of cover-up and secrecy. The secrecy and hiding is the basic cause of suffering for all of us, according to Bradshaw. 
"Total self-love and acceptance is the only foundation for happiness and the love for others. Without total self-love and acceptance, we are doomed to enervative task of creating false selves. It takes tons of energy and hard work to live a false self. This may be the symbolic meaning of the Biblical statement that after the fall, the man and the woman would suffer in their natural activities: the woman in childbirth, the man in his work."

Monday, October 24, 2011

(PG 13) SHE COMES FIRST: Closing the sex gap

"You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how." CLARK GABLE, Gone with the Wind


By Alex P. Vidal


LET'S be honest and heal the shame that binds us.
Dr. Ian Kerner, a clinical sexologist and evangelist of the female orgasm, explains in She Comes First, a book about the thinking man's guide to pleasuring women, why "the tongue is mightier than the sword" and about "the courtesy that counts," among other methods that seek to understanding female sexuality.
"As women everywhere will attest," writes Kerner, "when it comes to understanding female sexuality, most guys know more about what's under the hood of a car than under the hood of a clitoris. And while it seems that men have struggled valiantly since the dawn of time to find ways to reliably elicit the female orgasm, rare is the guy who has the modesty to ask: 'What do I do?' Ironically, the answer has always been right there on the tip of his tongue."
Oral sex has long been deemed an optional aspect of foreplay, but, in fact, it's coreplay--simply the best way of leading a woman through the entire process of sexual response, according to the sexologist from the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists.
Fun, informative, and easy to read, She Comes First is a virtual encyclopedia of female pleasure, detailing dozens of tried-and-true techniques for satisfying a woman and illustrated step-by-step instructions to ensure success. 


METHODS


These simple methods represent a new era in sexual intimacy, one in which the exchange of pleasure occurs on a level playing field and fulfillment is mutual.
She Comes First offers a fresh new sexual philosophy that inspires every man to make a mantra of Rhett Butler's infamous line to Scarlett O'Hara, "You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how."
In the "Confessions of a Premature Ejaculator," Kerner stresses that when it comes to pleasuring women and conversing in the language of love, "cunnilingus should be every man's native tongue."
As bestselling sex author Lou Paget has written, "Ask most women, and if they're being honest, they will admit that what makes them hottest and come hardest is when a man can use his tongue well."
But as with any language, explains Kerner, in order to express yourself fluently, in order to make your subject sing and soar, you must be thoroughly acquainted with the rules of grammar and style.


ELEMENTS OF STYLE


"One of my favorite books on the subject is the indispensable classic Elements of Style," he points out. "I don't think I would have made it through freshman comp, or survived college as an English major, without that slim, dog-earned paperback tucked away in my back pocket. In the able hands of author Strunk and White, grammar was not simply made understandable and meaningful--it was made beautiful."
Kerner writes that "Elements of Style exhorted readers to 'write boldly and make definite assertions.' And in the spirit of that timeless classic, She Comes First will condense a wealth of experience and expertise into a simple, essential rule book; it will elaborate on the principles and philosophy that underlie those rules and, in doing so, offer nothing less than the definitive guide to the grammar of oral sex." 
The book is for those who want to learn how to give a woman "mind-blowing, body-rippling orgasms with the tongue every time." 
Although the author holds a Ph.D. in clinical sexology, the book is principally written from a practitioner's perspective; by someone who knows and loves cunnilingus, appreciates its role in stimulating female sexual response, and has developed a methodology for consistently leading women to orgasm: one that stems from the conviction that cunnilingus is much more than just a sexual contentment. Call it the "way of the tongue," suggests the author.


PREMATURE EJACULATOR


Let's hear the confessions of the author, who is a premature ejaculator: "I'm not some Casanova or Don Juan, vainly putting words down on paper in order to boast and strut--far from it.
"Through much of my life I've suffered terribly from sexual dysfunction, and I know all too well the humiliation, anxiety, and despair of not being able to satisfy a woman. If anything, this book was written in the sincere hope that other men might develop effective 'sexual habits'--ones that will enable them, along with their partners, to suffer less than I have, or perhaps not at all."
He cites Tennessee Williams who wrote of the marriage bed in his play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, "When a marriage goes on the rocks, the rocks are there, right there!" 
"My initial forays into oral sex were a crutch, a way of compensating for my sexual inadequacies, and they were approached with the assumption that cunnilingus was a poor man's second to the joys and splendors of 'real sex'--like many, I took it for granted that intercourse was the 'right way' for couples to experience orgasms," Kerner admits.


INFERIOR


"But, to my surprise, I discovered that the 'way of the tongue' was by no means inferior to intercourse; if anything, it was superior, in many cases the only way in which women were able to receive the persistent, rhythmic stimulation, outside of masturbation, necessary to achieve an orgasm. 
"I quickly learned that oral sex is real sex, and later in life, when I happened to come across a copy of the seminal Hite Report on Female Sexuality, I was reassured to find that women consider oral sex to be 'one of their most favorite and exciting activities; women mentioned over and over how much they loved it.' When it comes to pleasure, there is no right or wrong way to have an orgasm--the only thing that's wrong is to assume that women need or value them any less than men do."
In her article "Just Be a Man: Six Simple Suggestions," sex columnist Amy Sohn's very first piece of advice is, "A man goes down. No excuses. No hesitation." 
But once down there, what's a man to do? The vast majority of women complain about guys who don't like to do it, don't know how to do it, or simply don't do it nearly enough. 


HARD TO FIND


Flannery O'Connor was right: a good man is hard to find, especially one who's good at taking a leisurely stroll downtown. But once found, a skilled cunnilinguists rarely goes unappreciated. 
In her essay "Lip Service: On Being a Cunning Linguist," author and sex columnist Anka Radakovich sings the praises of a boyfriend who specialized in oral sex: "I become tongue-whipped (the female equivalent of pussy-whipped) and even offered to do his laundry if he would come over and satisfy me. After two months, I put a framed photo of his tongue on my desk."
The confessed premature ejaculator further adds: "Those who know me know I'm a private person. I wouldn't dream of confiding my battles with sexual dysfunction to the world if I didn't wholeheartedly believe that there was a compelling need for this book. I know this based on what I've read, what I've been told, and, most important, what I've experienced firsthand as a clinical sexologist: not only do women crave and enjoy cunnilingus; they require it.
"Any sex therapist will tell you that the number one complaint they hear over and over from women is of an inability to experience orgasm during penis-vagina intercourse. The solution is not simply 'more foreplay,' as magazines often chide us, but rather the skillful extension of those activities we associate with foreplay, namely oral stimulation, into complete, fully realized acts of lovemaking--transformation of foreplay into nothing less than coreplay."


BEYOND PENETRATION


Kerner's book is not anti-intercourse, but rather pro--"outercourse"-- a conception of sex that goes beyond penetration, embraces mutual pleasure, and is better suited to stimulating the female sexual anatomy to orgasm. 
This model, stresses the author, doesn't exclude intercourse, but instead promotes the postponement of male gratification until after a woman has achieved her first (but hopefully not last) orgasm during a session of sexual activity--a deferment that has the double benefit of vouchsafing female satisfaction while also significantly enhancing the quality of the male climax. 
The book espouses the postponement of gratification, not the postponement of enjoyment, he emphasizes.
Kerner's book offers man and women a surefire "bird in the hand" approach to good sex, as opposed to the high-stakes "all or nothing" proposition of intercourse. 
It's time to close the sex gap and create a level playing field in the exchange of pleasure, and cunnilingus is far more than just a means for achieving this noble end; it's the cornerstone of a news sexual paradigm, one that exuberantly extols a shared experience of pleasure, intimacy, respect and contentment. 
It's also one of the greatest gifts of love a man can bestow upon a woman.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A History of God

"When the solution is simple, God is answering." Albert Einstein


By Alex P. Vidal 


THIS article may be biased against the atheists since the primary question here is, WHY does God exist? 
How have the three dominant monotheistic religions -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--shaped and altered the conception of God?
How have these religions influenced each other? 
In a stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present.
The epic story begins with the Jews' gradual transformation of pagan idol worship in Babylon into true monotheism--a concept previously unknown in the world. 
Christianity and Islam both rose on the foundation of this revolutionary era, but these religions refashioned "the One God" to suit the social and political needs of their followers.


CLASSICAL


From classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as classic.
Armstrong admits that as a child, she "had a number of strong religious beliefs but little faith in God." 
She believes that there is a distinction between belief in a set of propositions and a faith which enables us to put our trust in them.
"I believed implicitly in the existence of God; I also believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the efficacy of the sacraments, the prospect of eternal damnation and the objective reality of Purgatory," writes Armstrong.
"I cannot say, however, that my belief in these religious opinions about the nature of ultimate reality gave me much confidence that life here in earth was good or beneficent. The Roman Catholicism of my childhood was a rather frightening creed."


MEMORIZE


When she was eight years old, Armstrong had to memorize this catechism answer to the question, "What is God?": "God is the Supreme Spirit, Who alone exists of Himself and is infinite in all perfections."
"Not surprisingly, it meant little to me, and I am bound to say that it still leaves me cold. It has always seemed a singularly arid, pompous and arrogant definition. Since writing this book, however, I have come to believe that it is also incorrect," she points out.
"As I grew up, I realized that there was more to religion than fear. I read the lives of the saints, the metaphysical poets, T.S. Eliot and some of the simpler writings of the mystics. I began to be moved by the beauty of the liturgy and, though God remained distant, I felt that it was possible to break through to Him and that the vision would transfigure the whole of created reality.


YOUNG NUN


"To do this I entered the religious order and, as a novice and a young nun, I learned a good deal more about the faith. I applied myself to apologetics, scripture, theology and church history. I delved into the history of the monastic life and embarked on a minute discussion of the Rule of my own order, which we had to learn by heart.
"Strangely enough, God figured very little in any of this. Attention seemed focused on secondary details and the more peripheral aspects of religion. I wrestled with myself in prayer, trying to focus my mind to encounter God, but he remained a stern taskmaster who observed my every infringement of the Rule, or tantalizingly absent.
"The more I read about the raptures of the saints, the more of a failure I felt. I was unhappily aware that what little religious experience I had, had somehow been manufactured by myself as I worked upon my own feelings and imagination. Sometimes a sense of devotion was an aesthetic response to the beauty of the Gregorian chant and the liturgy. But nothing had actually happened to me from a source beyond myself. I never glimpsed the God described by the prophets and mystics.


HISTORICAL


"Jesus Christ, about whom we talked far more than about 'God,' seemed a purely historical figure, inextricably embedded in late antiquity. I also began to have grave doubts about some of the doctrines of the Church. How could anybody possibly know for certain that the man Jesus had been God incarnate and what did such a belief mean?
"Did the New Testament really teach the elaborate--and highly self-contradictory--doctrine of the Trinity or was this, like so many other articles of the faith, a fabrication by theologians centuries after the death of Christ in Jerusalem?
Armstrong admits that the more she learned about the history of religion, the more her misgivings appeared justified. "The doctrine that I had accepted without question as a child were indeed man-made, constructed over a long period. Science seemed to have disposed of the Creator God, and biblical scholars had proved that Jesus had never claimed to be divine. As an epileptic, I had flashes of vision that I knew to be a mere neurological defect: had the vision and raptures of the saints also been a mere mental quirk? God seemed an aberration, something that the human race had outgrown," she explains.


CHILDHOOD


Despite her years as a nun, Armstrong does not believe that "my experience of God is unusual. My ideas about God were formed in childhood and did not keep abreast of my growing knowledge in other disciplines. I had revised simplistic childhood views of Father Christmas. I had come to a more mature understanding of the complexities of the human predicament than had been possible in kindergarten."
She adds: "Yet my early, confused ideas about God had not been modified or developed. People without my peculiarly religious background may also find that their notion of God was formed in infancy. Since those days, we have put away childish things and have discarded the God of our first years."
Her study of the history of religion has revealed that "human beings are spiritual animals." Armstrong believes that "there is a case for arguing that Homo sapiens is also Homo religious." Men and women, she says, "started to worship gods as soon as they became recognizably human; they created religions at the same time as they created works of art."
Armstrong believes that all talk about God "staggers under impossible difficulties. Yet monotheists have all been very positive about language at the same time as they have denied its capacity to express the transcendent reality."
The God of Jews, Christians and Muslims is a God who--in some sense--speaks. His World is crucial in all three faiths. The World of God has shaped the history of our culture. We have to decided whether the word "God" has any meaning for us today, she concludes. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thank you, medicine!

"Therefore the most effective way of preventing mental illness is to remove causes of worry and tension, to explain the effects of such emotions to people who suffer from them, and to educate people in general to accept themselves and their lives as they are."

By Alex P. Vidal

OUR discussion was about the burning of Alexandria by different figures in history when the subject matter shifted on the Theory of the Four Humours introduced by the father of medicine, Hippocrates, thousands of years ago–before Christianity, Judaism, and Islam became dominant monotheistic religions.
The Greek doctor, best remembered for his so-called “Hippocratic Oath”, believed that the secret of health lay in the proper mixture of four body fluids, blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. 

If the wrong mixture was present, disease resulted.
That during the Middle Ages, disease was attributed to devils which were supposed to have entered the body and which could be forced to leave by spells and incantations.
Earlier, in 100 B.C., immunity from disease was already being practiced. 

King Mithridates tried to protect his body against certain poisons by taking increasing doses of them over a period of time. 
In China and India, children were clothed in the shirts, or slept in the bed, of smallpox sufferers. 
Although dangerous, this often produced very mild attacks of the disease and prevented future occurrence of more severe cases.
In the 14th century, more than 25 million people died of bubonic plague in Europe. 

In the 18th century, smallpox killed 60 million people throughout the world. Statistics reveals that even today over 100 million people a year have malaria in India and that about one million die of it annually.

MENTAL HYGIENE

Just as physical hygiene attempts to promote physical health, so does the newer science of mental hygiene attempt to promote mental health.
Here’s for those who carry the world on their shoulders; Atlas Shrugged, in the book of Ayn Rand. 

Most authorities agree that among the chief causes of mental disease are worry, fear, unhappiness, and envy (Facebook and other social network users, take note).
They point out that all of us are subject to these emotions, but that some people are so sensitive to one or more of these that their entire outlook on life is thrown out of focus.
Therefore the most effective way of preventing mental illness is to remove causes of worry and tension, to explain the effects of such emotions to people who suffer from them, and to educate people in general to accept themselves and their lives as they are.
Mental disease often shows itself as an unreasoning fear of certain situations, or an involuntary “compulsion” to perform certain acts. (Phobia, neurosis, and psychosis are some of the terms used to name these conditions, according to Alexander A. Fried of the Department of Biological Sciences, Christopher Columbus High School in New York).
These abnormal reactions may be so mild as to cause very little inconvenience to the individual, or may be so violent as to make the person dangerous to himself or others and require commitment to an institution for special care.

PSYCHOSOMATIC

Mysterious relationships exist between the mind and the body, according to some medical experts. 
It is now known that mental illness can produce symptoms of physical disease in many organs of the body, when actually the organ affected is healthy and sound.
Headaches, upset stomachs, fever, vague pains, rashes, etc., may be signs of a known disease, or may be the effect of mental upset, doctors say. 

They add that in the second case, where the symptoms are brought about by the mind, it is called a psychosomatic illness.
Many phobias and neurotic conditions have been traced to forgotten incidents in childhood, which continue to influence behavior even though the sufferer has no recollection of the event.
Methods of treatment aim at finding these causes in the patient’s “subconscious” and revealing them to him; usually the condition disappears once the patient understands its cause. 

Various types of psychiatric treatment (analysis) have been proposed and used by different psychiatrists; these different methods have the same general goal of finding and removing the cause from the patient’s mind.

RULES

The following rules are useful in keeping mentally healthy, according to Fried:
1. Get plenty of rest, relaxation, fresh air, and good food.
2. Avoid worrying excessively. Most things that people worry about seldom happen.
3. Face your problems squarely, realistically. Be ready to make changes and adjustments in your plans to meet new situations that arise.
4. Use up some of your excess energy and strength in interesting hobbies, sports, and other types of recreation.
5. Do not magnify unimportant happenings into major events. Example: The fact that your friend didn’t smile and wave at you when he passed by was probably because he didn’t see you, not because he was angry at you.
6. Seek satisfaction from those things you do well, and from those natural advantages which you possess (we all have some). Do not yearn for things that are possible only in daydreams. Do not envy others who seem to have more than you; they are probably envying you from “their side of the fence.”
7. Set yourself a goal–certainly! But make sure that it is a realistic one–one that is within the reach of your abilities.