Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Lottery Of Birth

John Taylor Gatto, "Tyranny Of Compulsory Schooling"

"Modern scientific stupidity masquerades as intellectual knowledge - which it is not. Real knowledge has to be earned by hard and painful thinking; it can't be generated in group discussions or group therapies but only in lonely sessions with yourself. Real knowledge is earned only by ceaseless questioning of yourself and others, and by the labor of independent verification; you can't buy it from a government agent, a social worker, a psychologist, a licensed specialist, or a schoolteacher. There isn't a public school in this country set up to allow the discovery of real knowledge - not even the best ones - although here and there individual teachers, like guerrilla fighters, sabotage the system and work toward this ideal. But since schools are set up to classify people rather than to see them as unique, even the best schoolteachers are strictly limited in the amount of questioning they can tolerate.

The new dumbness - the non thought of received ideas - is much more dangerous than simple ignorance, because it's really about thought control. In school, a washing away of the innate power of individual mind takes place, a 'cleansing' so comprehensive that original thinking becomes difficult. If you don't believe this development was part of the intentional design of schooling, you should read William Torrey Harris's The Philosophy of Education. Harris was the U.S. Commissioner of Education at the turn of the century and the man most influential in standardizing our schools. Listen to the man.

'Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred,' writes Harris, 'are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom.' This is not all accident, Harris explains, but the 'result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.' Scientific education subsumes the individual until his or her behavior becomes robotic. Those are the thoughts of the most influential U.S. Commissioner of Education we've had so far."

Essay in its entirety: http://www.filmsforaction.org/news/the_tyranny_of_compulsory_schooling/

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bill Plotkin, "Wild Mind"

A few months ago, I was thrilled to receive a copy of Bill Plotkin's newly published book, Wild Mind:  A Field Guide To The Human Psyche.  The book is a worthwhile and important addition to the fields of depth and eco psychologies.

Just as in Plotkin's other two books, Wild Mind organizes its material in a wheel-like fashion (similar to medicine wheels within Native American cultures), using the cardinal directions as focal points.  In his previous works, Plotkin used the wheel format to describe the different stages of life that a human should go through, from birth until death.  In Wild Mind, Plotkin expands the use of the wheel format to describe the aspects within a healthy human mind, at any stage of life.  He calls these "the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness".  The better we are at fostering these four dimensions, the healthier and more fully alive we will become.  Conversely, if any these dimensions are lacking, imbalances in the self will occur, and negative aspects will arise.  Plotkin calls these aspects "subpersonalities." The negative subpersonalities are not to be shamed, however.  They are a part of us and need to be embraced.  Otherwise, we will continue to run away from our selves, avoiding (via antidepressants, alcohol, shopping, etc.) the psychological problems within us for eternity (not good!).  They need attention, acceptance, and love.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, especially Plotkin's analysis of the subpersonalities.  Using this book, I have been able to map out the facets of my self, realizing which ones need more fostering and attention, and where in life I have been lacking. 

Wild Mind is not something just anyone can pick up and read.  The book has a bit of an academic feel to it, it is a little dry, and takes time to get through.  I feel the writing style of Wild Mind is more similar to the Plotkin's other book, Nature and the Human Soul-- a rather dense read, compared to his first book, Soulcraft--quite the page turner.  Nonetheless,  there is a breadth of knowledge oozing off of each page, and I highly recommend this book to all who are interested in depth psychology or for those who are interested in overcoming their shadows, and becoming more fully human.

To offer a bit of my own bias:  I originally found Plotkin's first book, Soulcraft after essentially being torn to pieces by other enivironmental authors who wrote of the psychotic state of the culture I was born into.   I was very thankful for becoming more aware, but I was also a bit like Humpty Dumpty who fell off the wall.  Thankfully, Bill Plotkin (and a several others), did a much better job at putting me back together again than any of the king's horses and men.

- Teddy

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hundred Waters - "Boreal"

Beasts, mermaids, and children in the woods:  A perfect combination.


"We don’t see things the way they are, we see things the way we are."

- Talmud

Friday, June 7, 2013


“A friend is one in which you support and encourage the other's expansion in either the mind or the spirit. Otherwise they are people you are sentimentally attached to because they would eat cinnamon bun with you. And they will say 'hee, hee, hee! Aren't we having fun?'.

Drug addicts do the same thing. Drug addicts want to be around people who will support them and be away from real friends. Do you know why? Because it feels good. To be a member of a mystery school can be catastrophic to the ego and to the ego's habits and to the propensity for mediocrity. No one ever cried striving for excellence. They only cried when their mediocrity was taken away from them and pointed out to them.”

- Jerhoam


"People convince themselves of their own lies, becoming victims of their own inventions as they begin to direct their lives by standards of behavior, ideas, feelings, or instincts which do not correspond to their inner reality. What is truly serious in this matter is that the individual loses all points of reference regarding what comprises truth, and what comprises lies. He becomes used to considering as true only that which is convenient for his personal interest; everything that is in opposition to his self-esteem or in conflict with already established prejudices, he considers false."

- John Baines

Thursday, April 11, 2013



"I am an ex-citizen of nowhere, and sometimes I get homesick."

- Lee Marvin -

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Bear That Wasn't

An old cartoon that my buddy Oliver and I once watched late one night in the 1990s. It stuck with us both, especially the song.  Years later, I realize there a much deeper message in this animated short, which is surprising, given the era it came out of.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Divine Self

"One should worship a divinity by becoming oneself a divinity. One who has not become a divinity should not worship a divinity. Anyone worshipping a divinity without becoming a divinity will not reap the fruits of that worship."

- Gandharva Tantra -

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Genetic Connection: The Highest Of Highs, The Lowest Of Lows

"In recent years, studies keep accumulating that show the importance of gene by environment interactions. But researchers aren't just finding that the environment matters in determining whether mental illness exists. What is being discovered is far more interesting and nuanced: Some of the very same genes that under certain environmental conditions are associated with some of the lowest lows of humanity, under supportive conditions are associated with the highest highs of human flourishing.

Referred to by some scientists as the 'differential susceptibility hypothesis' or journalist David Dobbs as 'The Orchid Hypothesis', these findings shouldn't be understated. They are revolutionary, and suggest a serious rethinking of the role of genes in the manifestation of our psychological traits and mental 'illness'. Instead of all of our genes coding for particular psychological traits, it appears we have a variety of genetic mutations that are associated with sensitivity to the environment-- for better and worse.

Only a few genetic mutations have been discovered so far that demonstrate differential susceptibility effects. Most of the genes that have been discovered contribute to the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Both of these biological systems contribute heavily to many aspects of humanity, including our cognitive exploration, engagement with the world, positive emotions, anxiety, depression, and mood fluctuations. So far, the evidence suggests (but is still tentative) that certain genetic variants under harsh and abusive conditions are associated with anxiety and depression, but that the very same genetic variants are associated with the lowest levels of anxiety, depression, and fear under supportive, nurturing conditions."

Article in its entirety:  http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/new-sensitivity-gene-discovered?page=0%2C0

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Shooting Spree - Antidepressant Connection

"This website is a collection of 4,800+ news stories with the full media article available, mainly criminal in nature, that have appeared in the media (newspapers, TV, scientific journals) or that were part of FDA testimony in either 1991, 2004 or 2006, in which antidepressants are mentioned."

Database: http://ssristories.com/index.html


"The machine appeared
In the distance, singing to itself
Of money. Its song was the web
They were caught in, men and women
Together. The villages were as flies
To be sucked empty.
God secreted
A tear. Enough, enough,
He commanded, but the machine
Looked at him and went on singing."

- R. S. Thomas