Friday, 28 January 2011

Protests in Egypt

From the Guardian Liveblog (1:12pm and 1:33pm):
Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch: 
We are in East Alexandria. Immediately after prayer, the people came out of mosque with banners and started marching, shouting 'we are peaceful, we are peaceful'. Security arrived and immediately began shooting teargas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters, about 600. Then one-hour rock throwing clash, but police didn't advance more than one block and kept being pushed back. Then a massive column of protesters came from the other direction and blocked in police, holding up their hands and shouting we are peaceful. Right now police is held up in the yard of mosque and protesters all around, police can't move. They repeatedly ran out of teargas and begged protesters to stop, protesters telling them to join them.
(later) The police have now given up fighting the protesters. The police and protesters are now talking, with protesters bringing water and vinegar (for teargas) to the police. Afternoon prayer has just been called and hundreds are praying in front of the mosque in east Alexandria.
 (originally a comment in this metafilter thread)

Monday, 24 January 2011

Corporations with the rights of People

The Corporation asks "If corporations are people, what sort of people are they?" and comes to the conclusion that Corporations are psychopaths, exhibiting general psychopathic traits such as 'incapacity to experience guilt', 'callous disregard for the feelings of other people', 'deceitfulness (continual lying to deceive for profit', etc. Which makes sense, given that they are entities created to singlemindedly pursue profit above all else.

So, perhaps corporations should be treated like people, but only after careful consideration of the type of people they are. If corporations were treated as psychopaths, I'd be satisfied.

(originally a comment on this metafilter thread)

Monday, 3 January 2011

DSM-V problems

re: Inside the battle to define Mental Illness - Wired Jan 2011

This is the first proper edition of the DSM to come out in the internet age, and so there's going to be a battle about it. It used to be put together by a relatively small group in their own philosophical bunker, but now its open to much more public scrutiny.

Gestalt Prayer and Beyond Perls

Gestalt was originally a German word roughly akin to 'shape' or 'form'. Its English meaning is generally one of unity, holism, and a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

The Gestalt Prayer was written by Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt Therapy (not to be confused with Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy and definitely not with Gestalt psychology).
The Gestalt Prayer

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped.

(Fritz Perls, 1969)

In the 1970s it was popular on posters like these:

... although the posters tended to omit the rather less lyrical final line.

Taken on its own (rather than interpreted through the lens of Gestalt Therapy) it's quite a confident message of emotional independence, of sorting your own 'thing' out before getting tangled up with anything else. A little bit too hip though, and delivered with a shrug and swagger rather than a wise stroking of a goatee beard.

In the Journal of Humanistic Psychology (1972 vol 12 no 2), Professor Walter Tubbs published a poem called Beyond Perls in response. It has a mini-following of its own (apparently its quoted in The Road Less Travelled), and is much more of a wise-stroking-1970s-beard poem. Apparently the 'I and Thou' bit is a reference to Martin Buber, and presumably Professor Tubbs was also weaving various other thinkers into this. But its clear enough that it can be understood without reference to any particular therapy tradition:
Beyond Perls

If I just do my thing and you do yours,
We stand in danger of losing each other
And ourselves.

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations;
But I am in this world to confirm you
As a unique human being,
And to be confirmed by you.

We are fully ourselves only in relation to each other;
The I detached from a Thou

I do not find you by chance;
I find you by an active life
Of reaching out.

Rather than passively letting things happen to me,
I can act intentionally to make them happen.

I must begin with myself, true;
But I must not end with myself:
The truth begins with two.

(Walter Tubbs, 1972)