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Saturday, 9 June 2007
Mental illness
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: special needs

Brian, have you ever read any writings by the German mathematician Georg
Cantor. He developed the theory of infinite sets and also did some
philosophical and theological writing. Cantor also suffered from mental
illness. I often wonder if he could have created his theory of infinite
sets if he had been "sane"! And that brings up a good question; What is
normal and what is abnormal. Some of my best friends suffered/suffer from
so called mental illness. They never seemed that strange to me. Society
can be so judgmental. Michel Foucault, the eminent French writer and
philosopher, contends in his book MADNESS AND CIVILIZATION that French
authorities in the 1600's shut away mentally ill people not for therapy
but to police society. Moreover, Thomas Szaz, professor of psychiatry at
Syracuse University, New York, USA has written books entitled THE MYTH OF
written , " There is no such thing as mental illness!"

Hi Mead! I think that mental 'illness' can cover such a wide range of definition that it can not easily be defined. Perhaps the best example of this occurred in my journal, when a fellow busker (Everts) came up
to me in a bar and said,
"It seems like everyone is acting strange in here tonight."
I replied, "That makes you strange."
That made him laugh, and resulted in his writing of a song where the chorus ran, "The strangest man on Earth tonight? Is it you?"
The term "Busker" can cover such a wide range of motivations and diversity. In the end, it results in the negation of the term as a means to isolate generalisation. It is possible to say that a busker seeks reward
from impromptu and random audiences, but no other generalisation will fit. Every busker has an individual motivation.
I think mental illness is a term similar to "Busker". It is possible to say that a mentally ill person is someone who doesn't behave or think in a way the mainsream of a society may class as understandable, but
no generalisation will fit. Every person defined as mentally ill needs to be studied individually. It is possible to put names onto behavioual patterns and a patient might ape these patterns quite well. But that
doesn't get any closer to generalising the term "mental illness". It simply isolates buskers (analogy) who play the guitar and like to play Bruce Springsteen songs (example).
The kind of "mental illness" my journal gleefully embraced was the "derangment of the senses" unveiled by Rimbaud.
What is normal?
A. Something I am not.
What is abnormal?
A. Something I am (preferably).

Now I shall ask you a question:
If John (imagined person) dies, would he be impressed if his epitaph on his tombstone read:
"Here lies John. He was normal." ?
Suppose he were a politician. Suppose a fellow politician should stand before his mourners and say
"I think the greatest tribute I can give John is that he was extraodinarily normal; and all his works were very normal indeed." ?
As recently as the middle of last century it was possible for parents to commit their teenage daughter to a mental institute for pre-marital sex or even for loving a person considered unsuitable. These victims
were sane, but years of incarceration in the institute led to them becoming institutionalised and effectively mentally ill.
I'd care to bet that you (as a psychologist) look at each individual case on its own merit, using guidelines established over the years by the summary of other similar cases experienced by yourself or other
psychologists. There would be no point in there being psychologists if there was no hope of curing a condition, or modifying it.
It seems that thoughts that are advanced or retarded cause the greatest confusions. If you were to show this e mail to a seven year old and ask them (as a friend, not as an authoratorive adult) what they think
about the issue, I'd care to bet they wouldn't understand a word of it. Because of this, they may well look at this mail and then at you and say, "You're mad."
Bringing in one final analogy: anti biotics will kill harmful bacteria, but they may equally kill good bacteria.
Be in touch. keep in touch.

Posted by buskerbrian at 1:02 PM BST
Emotionally disturbed children
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: special needs


I have seen so many emotionally disturbed children the past few years that
I have reached a few general conclusions. First, far too many children are
being placed on psychotropic medications for even minor disorders such as
the much heralded ADHD. The driving factor here seems to be a concerted
effort on the part of pharmaceutical companies to expand their market to
include adolescents and children. As the Beatles once sang, " I get by
with a little help from my friends!" Second, children, in many cases, are
being reared by parents who are unconcerned, alcoholics, or drug addicts.
Or the children have been abandoned and are being reared by relatives.
Finally, we and the children live in a world gone insane; the rising tide
of globalization in the name of capitalism is creating a world where
people are only concerned with materialistic gain and no longer possessed of
value moral/spiritual ideals.

In summary, I fear that until we stop the denigration of the human spirit
in the name of a World Economy where every material need is met and every
individual takes a pill to feel "just right" that not only the children
but mankind as well will sink into the deep, dark abyss of

What is your perception? Am I wrong or right?

Best regards,


Hi Mead! Have you ever read "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibram?
It was written in 1923 - and would appear to have been cast aside by the early 20thC mind.
There are some things in that way ahead of its time - and possibly way ahead of the present time.
I came across it while writing the journal, and its value was shown by the journal's reference
to it - especially about laws and how a society can construct a 'criminal'.
I think that, overall, your perception is all too close to right in the way that conglomerates and
governments are presently operating. The way of both seems to be a gradual restriction of
choice. Morality and Spirituality have been trampled on - and made to wear a mask. They are
wheeled in only to make political or commercial gain - and neither morality, nor spirituality, have
much value in the market place.
As Gibram pointed out, a King who can not dance may make a law forbidding anyone to dance
within his Kingdom. There are too many people in high places who have the mean spirit of the
'carpet bagger'. There are too many people ready to apply their cynicism like the Venetians,
who diverted the fourth crusade onto an attack on Constantinople.
The problem is that Capitalism sees itself as the victor in the cold war. My view is that it was
the cultural richness of the West in the '60s and '70s that played a bigger part. Cultural richness
is too diverse to market, so Capitalism gnaws at itself.
Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan introduced a mainstream idea that culture should challenge establishment.
As analogy, Athens (culture and trade) and Sparta (government and control) challenged each other
constantly. However, they eventually joined together in alliance - and became less. Thebes built
an army based on emotional and spiritual bonding - and successfully challenged Athens and Sparta.
In this analogy, Thebes has yet to form.
I can't see how we can have a free market when companies who honourably treat their workers are
undercut and cast aside by scavenger companies who treat their workers like slaves and have scant
regard for anything other than profit. Other scavenger companies have only one aim: to scam the
consumer and get something for nothing.
A generation will come who will tire of this greed. From this will come Thebes.
Nothing is more promising toward this goal than to know that school psychologists can question
themselves and society, because the children under their care may need to do exactly the same
The only thing I can do is publish what I can of the journal (and post journal thoughts) online -
and hope it may reach a mind or two. It runs on the principle: I can't change the world, but I can
influence those around me. They can influence me. Eventually, the world may be changed through
the grapevine.


Posted by buskerbrian at 12:57 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 9 June 2007 1:13 PM BST
Friday, 16 March 2007
School Reform Proposal
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: special needs
 Make the Primary School the only School
The modern media has expelled the need for travelling to a central school for further education. Trouble is no government has realised it.  A sense of identity and responsibility to the local community (for all students) could be achieved by this radical plan, alongside a more stable environment for special needs children.

.... The last seemed to be stressing an assertion that special needs should integrate with regular classes. This doesn't work and is a recipe for bullying and despair.
Personally, I think it is nonsense for up to 30 children to sit in a class listening to an often poorly motivated teacher drone on. If online learning is good enough for the mature student, then it's good enough for schoolchildren - with the induction of online video lectures given by the best teachers in the world. It is time to revolutionise the classroom. With video and TV online, it is possible to make learning fun for even the least motivated child.
The BBC do excellent 'learning zone' programmes. I feel this is the way to go.

I certainly agree with you that it is time to drag education into the 21st century.  Education should move to having the best instructors in the world on T.V. or a web site and then having teaching assistants to help those who need assistance as the lessons advance.  By the way, M.I.T., in America is in the process of putting all their undergraduate courses online. I am currently doing a course in Linear Algebra( vectors, matrices, etc.) All the lectures are free for download and you can take the mid-term and final exam and then grade your work with ideal solutions posted on line. I bought the used book for $20.

See MIT link below.


Knowledge is no longer the exclusive domain of the rich and powerful.
But our schools continue to function like it is. They are, in fact,
antiquated relics of a time gone by. Today, anyone who wants to learn can do so at very little cost.  In many cases, top notch courses are free!

Take care and continue to think, write, and share your exciting ideas!

Hi Mead! Of course, any reform comes down to funding. But the reform (we both agree needs to be done) can be enhanced AND funded here in Britain by this radical plan:
At present, there is the Primary School for children up to the age of 11. They then move on to a High School (Secondary, Comprehensive) up to the maximum age of 18. From here, a student will move on to University or College.
My proposal is this:
Keep the Primary Schools and equip them with IT and TV technology (including laptops for the pupils). Expand these schools sufficiently to accommodate pupils of all ages within the local area. Encourage senior pupils to assume a level of responsibility toward the junior pupils AND toward the local area itself. Parents will have a better chance to get involved and monitor their child's behaviour and progress. Children will not be plunged into that 11+ experience of being 'another brick in the wall' where misbehaviour, bullying, isolation and a sense of difference can cause all sorts of problems within the High School environment. These schools need not be closed once day pupils have gone home. Mature students and extra keen schoolchidren can continue to use the facilities in the evening.
The funding to develop the Primary Schools will come from:
The massive saving on school transport.
Example: students in a village will not have to travel miles to get to their nearest high school. In many cases the student will spend their entire student life making a two minute walk to school.  
The closure and sale of the vast majority of High Schools and an option to close and sell many universities and colleges.
This may seem horrendously radical, but performance and behaviour has suffered under present structures. My proposal seeks to introduce the close-knit 'family' into education. It will replace the present system of competitive facelessness.

Posted by buskerbrian at 1:30 PM BST
Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Mood:  spacey
Topic: special needs

Hi Mead! Well said! My defining term for conformists are 'White Sheep'. My term for those who have something unique and potentially beneficial to the world that can only be delivered through forms of
non-conformity is 'Black Sheep'. Within the mechanism of this (apparently) simple definition is everything from Hitler to Gandhi. It is important to recognise in which camp you should reside, because then it is
easier to recognise that one camp needs the other.
In the same context, a psychologist/psychiatrist may not be able to cure a condition or even diagnose exactly what that condition is - but they can point the way. From this, a patient may recognise there is a
problem and search answers and compromises from within themselves. The journal recognises (through hard experience and the timely reminders from the wisdom of others) that allowing others to see
themselves through their impact on those around them is the most promising way for an individual to search within for a better self.
The journal was particularly harsh with me. Or was it that it was disturbingly blunt? Or was it that it let me off too lightly?
I still don't know.
Because the more, and further, I looked within? I simply came across towns, then nations, then worlds, then universes of thought and motivations that (in the end) made the idea of "Know thyself!" an
impossible task. But perhaps, an entry in one of the last journal books did manage to explain and convey the reason for this inner complexity - and why it is so hard for our outer consciousness to assemble
anything other than a simplified summary from our "inner nations".
Given this, I hope you will see that the task facing your profession is mountainous. I don't think a psychologist can be blamed for misdiagnosing. All he/she receives is a garbled summary (most probably) from
the patient of the 'simplified summary' that has emerged, or is emerging, from that patient's outer consciousness.
With every patient, a psychologist/psychiatrist is attempting to summarise a 'forum' of thousands (or possibly millions).


Excellent thoughts. I posted a parcel to you yesterday with some
information on asperger/autism. I prefer to view autism as a spectrum
ranging from mild to severe. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and that
you will be able to spend time with your daughter.

Re: Book. Make a chapter outline with a goal of 200-300 pages. Then start
writing chapter one with a limit on the number of pages it will contain.
Constraint is the word here. After you complete two or three chapters, get
a publisher to look at it. I believe that you have much to say that is
worth sharing with the world.

Take care and walk in the light.

Best regards,


Hi Mead! Thanks for the book and the autism copies. But the advantages and disadvantages of mild autism are most readily displayed by the modern media. The tsunami, the hurricane and the earthquake
have caught public attention worldwide. Many will receive aid because of this, but many of the second wave repercussion will be ignored because the newsworthiness will have disappeared. In amongst the
millions of voices will drown the truth of many - and the adjudicators will sail into the sunrise of their accreditation with promotion and extended powers. The autism of constant charitable enterprise will suffer
if it does not relate. The noble will see little of the largesses flung about. The emperor will nonetheless parade his new clothes - and none will say that he is naked

Hi Mead! My idea is that light is puzzling to define because people tend to look for a generalistic substance, in the same way that 'mental illness' and 'busker' may be puzzled over. With regard to my ideas on
temperature being the same force as time, it offers less mystery to me.
The material of Earth that is bound up and organised into a structure conducive to our eco-system (including us) is only doing so because the speed of time tends to be limited to a range of about 100 degrees
C planetwide (say - 50 C to 50C). Local events and conditions may exceed this, but the mean average remains planetwide. I recently went on a tour around a cave in the dales nearby - and the almost
constant temperature of those caves was 8 C. Nothing organic grew in them, but the insertion of lamps (for the visitors) has eventually caused algae to grow in places.
When light from the sun reaches our planet it is processed and filtered, but I believe there are forms of light that can pass through not only us - but the planet itself. If we view the short wavelength light filtered
out by the ozone layer, the blue (short wavelength) light that is dispersed more easily by our atmosphere to create the illusion of blue skies, the green portion of the spectrum which seems to hold the key to
plant life, the longer wavelength of the red (seen at sunset when the view of light's descent through the atmosphere is seen via a longer path), and the knowledge that our retinas are evolved to generally
exclude violet and indigo to avoid perilously confusing images - it seems, already, that it is evident that light is not one thing, but a combo of many things able to be extracted from the main body.
Any form of light that is able to pass through solid rock is seemingly incapable of nurturing life on this planet, while light filtered out by the atmosphere would destroy all known life, were it to rampage through
Temperature/time can be adjusted by pressure (ie: melting point is affected). So the sun is possibly time moving at its greatest speed. But all the matter, particles and energy that make up light are the same
(minus the filtering) that make up Earth. The physical and chemical properties that make up light are adapted to that level of time speed. Once they enter this planet's atmosphere they will enter our radically
slower time speed - and will be slowed down or stopped by matter on this planet.
To a light 'being', it will appear as though its compatriots have been frozen (or destroyed). But this planet will integrate the light into its indigenous environment.
In my mind, I thought I could explain my view on 'what is light?' very quickly, but what is easy to explain to myself is hard to explain to another. It is often the way with inner understandings.
Light is us and our environs as we would be if we were moving at that time speed. In other words (in all probability), we were once light.... and we will be light once again.
In my eyes, the world has four constant time zones: lava, oxygen, water, ice.


Your ideas on light are very thought provoking and I plan to re-read them
at a later time and offer up some comments. An additional thought on
autism. Psychologist/psychiatrist are very good at diagnosing "mental"
problems but we are lousy at curing them. For example, if Brian meets four
of seven criteria for motorcycle-phobia, then we classify him as a
motorcycle-phobic. Very simple to diagnose but to cure is complex to say
the least. We can choose from at least 40-50 types of therapy ranging from
talking therapies to behavior modification or combinatiuons. We can zap
him with myriad types of psychotropics. And when it is all said and done,
he may not be cured. And we may decide during the course of treatment that
we have misdiagnosed Brian. I abhor putting labels on the children that I
work with but I have to do it in order for them to receive special
education classes and I often wonder if the special education classes
actually do them any good. Brian, if society would only learn that we are
all unique individuals blessed with different gifts and different
problems, it would be a much better world. But society is determined to
make everyone conform. And conformity has never accomplished anything like
writing a poem, painting a beautifiul work of art, composing a sonata,
solving the Riemann hypothesis, or developing a new theory of gravity.
Conformity usually leads to mass chaos under the name of patriotism which
results in WAR! The one thing that a political state can not allow is
nonconformity. Even though I served 28 years in the Reserves including
four years of active duty, I would much prefer to live in a society which
de-emphasizes conformity and allows all people including the "mentally"
ill and autistic to pursue productive lives and creative endeavors without
being " tranquilized" or locked away.

Tungsten Girlfriend

She comes from Venus
My Tungsten girlfriend
Glows in the night
Her mind, a vaporous mist
Melting at 3422 C
My love for her knows no bounds
But to kiss her
Would mean

Best Regards,


Hi Mead! The idea of impossible love is always highly erotic, but to visualise it in the first place is to open a path to discover its actual reality. That can have surprising results.
Speaking to a friend on the phone tonight, he told me that someone may actually have visually recorded beings who move at a faster speed than us on this planet - and may be responsible for crop circles. My
cynicism is high, but my prepared visualisation gives me some data on which to judge any such claims

Hi Mead! As I said, I can judge. The 'foremost' authority on crop circles seems to be an opportunist. He is selling his life research for $500,000. That suggests he doesn't believe in it too well.
Motivation needs to be inquisitive, rather than acquisitive

Hi Mead! The autism related to Bob Dylan may be very different to the autism of a physically brain damaged person. With the former, it's an attempt to explain:
With the latter, it's an attempt to explain anything, including the wheel.
This child has not yet learnt that the possible should be labelled impossible, because scientists are seeking life within our terms rather than imaginative terms. A girl once told me she had a former life (she was
Dutch). She was a 17 year old female living in Canada in the mid 19th Century. The village accused her of being a witch - and her father killed her in a bout of rage. It was one blow, but it killed her. In this
life, she has 'guardians' who threaten or protect her. The threatening could be viewed as fathering - and former life memories are (thankfully) usually removed from our upper conscious, so the 'threat' is more
from the unknown. But the sorrow of her former life seems to be too traumatic to forget - and she claimed to remember all of this at the age of three. She is now a festival organisor (in some capacity). The
knowledge of her former life gave her the wisdom to survive a potentially dangerous moment. She was able to show no fear when threatened by a man who had given her a lift, who said, "I could kill you
now! No one would know"
The knowledge of her guardians and her former life saw her face the man down and she only fled into quaking once she was home and safe.
Perhaps you could ask the child how this dreamscape could be used beneficially within his life. It may prepare him for the moment when such knowledge will save his life,

Hi Mead! I am familiar with the children crusades. I have taken them as real events. They seem to be accepted as real events by extremely reliable sources and documentation.
But the idea that these crusades were composed of 12 year olds is wrong. This distortion probably arrives from Stephen of Cloyes being a 12 year old shepherd boy. His idea was probably to lead an army
of children, but the 'army' itself was composed of a variety of 'poor people - landless peasants, poor aristocrats and others - who have no real voice in society'.
Quote comes from "Chronicle of the world" - Longmans.
There is a perfect example of how folklore satirised such events as this. The story of the 'Pied Piper' probably originates from the children's crusade. It transforms into a political and economic reality once the
story is applied thus:
A city is plagued by rats (too many poor people, landless peasants, and other troublesome elements etc).
The 'Pied Piper' (Stephen of Cloyes - Pied can be read as pious - Piper can be interpreted as the pipes a shepherd would play) comes to the city and offers to rid the city of rats if the city would pay him
(provision the journey and pay for the ships etc).
True to his word, the Pied Piper begins to play (rouses the targeted populace) and leads the rats out of the city.
King Philip II of France Banned the expedition, but the Pope supported it.
The Pied Piper arrives in Marseilles, where two merchants offer their aid.
We can suppose that the financial backing promised by the 'city' did not materialise - and merchants cashed in by selling the human cargos to slavetraders.
The rats are transformed into the 'children of God' who were tragically averted from their 'holy aim' because of double dealing, double crossing and malicious opportunism.
All of this against the background of movements like the 'Albigensians' shows there was much free thought floating around at that time. The Popes would take a hard line against 'heretics' in the ensuing years.

Hi Mead! As you can see from my possible genealogydirect ancestors, there is an overall theme of drop out.
Both Harald Hardradi (King of Norway) and Earl Tosti Godwinsson of Northumbria (the house of Wessex) are direct ancestors. Harald is 30 generations distant and Tosti 31, though they were not related
directly to each other. They fought in strategic alliance with William of Normandy (a distant relative - son of the sister of Tosti's father in law) for the right to rule England.
Before that, and after that, my ancestors fought for power and wealth - and were malicious and treacherous at times. Despite this, they formed nations and ruled them. They explored beyond the known world
and discovered Greenland and America.
Iceland finally obscured them as their reliance on their own resources became reliance on the resources of others - as mini ice ages swept away the Greenland settlements and the American landings and
dealings (trading, skirmishing) with the skaldings (Indians) became legends.
Much of what I am makes sense through this.
I would probably be as bad as Tosti was as a ruler.
Crusades were bad things in the manner of their execution. The first crusade took Jerusalem and slaughtered non Christian residents of the city. The forming of a new crusade would often mean the green light
for the slaughter of thousands of Jews in Germany and England, so that their wealth could be seized and used to fund the crusade.
Nobility was easier to find in muslim states back then. Saladin, Cordoba, Alexandria... civilisation and a tolerant, questing spirit. Perhaps the greatest tragedy in the field of learning was the fire that destroyed
the library at Alexandria. Priceless writings from Greek, Roman and Persian writers were destroyed.

Posted by buskerbrian at 6:12 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006 7:14 PM BST

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