Saturday, October 27, 2007

Werkloosheid in Vroomshoop (1)

In 1964 werd aan Jean Paul Sartre de Nobelprijs voor de literatuur toegekend en hij weigerde. OVT besteedt aandacht aan deze weigering. Een relaas van een aangekondigde weigering - Sartre had alles gedaan om te voorkomen dat hij de prijs kreeg en toen kreeg hij hem toch. Een brief die niet aangekomen was - een knullig verhaal.

Dat leek het leukste onderdeel van VPRO's OVT, maar tot mijn verrassing werd ik getroffen door een tweedelige serie uit het spoor terug, over werkloosheid in Vroomshoop. Vroomshoop dat ik mij herinner van de indoor tennisbaan met groen vilten ondergrond en daarnaast de trieste houtstapels van naar ik meen De Groot Vroomshoop (Kor, de oudste zoon van De Groot zat bij mij in de klas), een bedrijf dat ook vandaag nog met zijn business in houtconstructies en aanverwante zaken actief is. Geen directe associatie met werkloosheid.

Maar in het midden van de jaren tachtig (dezelfde tijd van mijn herinneringen), bleek Vroomshoop het hoogste werkloosheidspercentage van Nederland te hebben en besloot een van de werklozen daar aandacht op te vestigen met een ludieke actie. Hij schreef een brief aan het Guinness book of records als zou het dorp de hoogste werkloosheid van de wereld hebben. In OVT komt de treurige geschiedenis van het Veen aan de orde. En ook de moeizame verhouding met het naburige Den Ham. Dat was de uitzending van 21 oktober. Morgen gaan we verder.

The purpose centered life

Your purpose centered life is a podcast containing monologues by Eric Maisel. Four episodes have been put out so far and Eric is building his monologue from the sheer meaninglessness of the universe - he is a proclaimed atheist - to a willful quest for individual meaning. A meaning chosen and acquired, rather than discovered. I am on track with his line of thinking, no need to be an atheist to tag along with the feeling of an indifferent universe, and fascinated to find where he will get the listener.

For those who are especially attracted by his philosophy, there is a wide range of books he has published and also his coaching method to be followed. What I am waiting for is ethics or morality to arrive at the scene. But that is just my personal preference. Or maybe, my personal highlight of ascribed meaning.

The novel La Peste by Albert Camus has inspired me to that, many years ago. One of the main characters tries to be 'a saint without god.' It is a necessary implication of true morality. If the whole point of morality is to freely choose good over evil, the existence of god is a bother, it makes for choosing the Godly Good, like choosing the winning team; a pragmatic choice. On the other hand, atheism has a drag assuming morality, without allowing for an absolute good. I am eager to find out how Maisel handles that.

Short history of science essays

The Missing Link podcast is hosted by Elizabeth Green Musselman, a history professor at Southwestern University. She delivers two essays per podcast and aside her own, she allows one of her students to speak. The two essays take together between two and three quarters of an hour. They are light monologues on a topic that is somehow related to the history of science. I applaud this initiative. After three issues, the podcast could turn still in many new directions, but what we have so far is to my liking and should be encouraged to continue.

The first episode considers some of the ways that science fiction has drawn inspiration from planetary science. Guest essay by Megan Healy on how well the depiction of women scientists in 1950s American sci-fi films matched up against the reality of women scientists' lives at that time.

The second episode dives into the differences between women and man. We find they are not opposites but rather human beings with a slightly different hormone balance.

The third is a cast directly from Berlin - this one I still have to listen to.

The Daily Whiplash (8)

I have managed to reduce the amount of pain killers I take. The kind I use, allows for a max of 3 per day, but I have had a couple of days I smuggled in an extra dose and made it to 4. Now I am using 2 per day.

In addition, the orthopedic doctor prescribed me a muscle relaxant containing diazepam. I looked it up in Wikipedia and was surprised to find this is actually valium. I hesitantly tried expecting a sleepy stupor, but was surprised to find that it does exactly what it has been prescribed for: relax the muscles.

Marsha Linehan on DBT

In this issue of Wise Counsel, David Van Nuys interviews Dr. Marsha Linehan, who is the founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), an empirically validated form of psychotherapy useful for treating people who have borderline personality disorder, suicidal people, and other people who are in severe and chronic psychological pain. What is exceptionally interesting about this method is the combination of behavioral and mind oriented approaches of psychology.

Marsha explains that she was bothered that though behavioral psychology offered her tools to bring about change with her clients, she needed to install some peace of mind and acceptance of the situation in them as well. In mind oriented techniques, that is all that is offered, but change was needed just as much. Hence she went out of her way to make a working combination of the two.

Now that she has managed to do that and empirical research shows the efficacy of DBT, she emphasizes for Dr. Dave, the work is not yet done. Still there is fine tuning to do, still she feels she could improve the therapy. She speaks in this respect of 'trimming down' DBT; finding out how the effect can be established with less effort.