Monday, August 23, 2010

But why?

Yesterday (Saturday) in The Times:

Daisy Goodwin writes in Weekend about whether or not she’s a pushy (enough) parent without reference to what success in life or education might be for, apart from ‘getting a reasonably well-paid job’. Professor Tanya Byron responding thinks it’s all about raising ‘well-rounded, confident, happy young people who will feel positive and of worth’.

Arthur Smith in Playlist opines that ‘comedy lies in the discrepancy between who we are and how we would like to be, between the beautiful possibilities of the world and the brutal truth of it’. There is more honesty here, but he goes and spoils it by adding that ‘the bigger the discrepancy, the harder we must laugh’, which, seeing that he’s a comedian, is a bit self-serving, but also leaves out the options that instead of laughing we might strive in different ways to make good our deficit, or despair of doing so, even commit suicide if we find life so intolerable.

In Magazine, Camila Batmanghelidjh adds to my, by now, almost total frustration by admitting that ‘we are fundamentally meaningless, a speck of dust on this earth’, yet goes on to say there is no point in fussing too much but that psychoanalysis, lying on the couch, is useful. She has founded a charity which works to improve the lives of vulnerable children (meaningless specks of dust?) through therapy, social work and advocacy, as well as providing food, education and holistic care. Why?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dare to be a Daniel

Daniel doesn't get out much - mainly when I take him. He can't make it on his own. Can't even walk without leaning heavily on whatever is to hand. But we walk, or I walk him, and we talk.

The thing about talking to Daniel is there’s no such thing as embarrassment. He's not highbrow. But at the same time we do get into some deep places.

One of the things that amazes me about him is that he never quite accepts his limitations. He speaks, or at least makes utterance, and he expects you to understand and respond. He strives to do things and reach places which I, in my very adult way, know to be beyond him, and he never gives up. It's not that he has no sense of danger. He winces in anticipation of painful consequences when he pushes the boundaries of previous experience. But he is immensely brave, and really quite incorrigible.

One of the things that Daniel can do better than anyone - is give. A smile. A hug. Appreciation. Approval. Encouragement. Affirmation. These are just some of his gifts - and there's no mistaking them. He leaves you in no doubt. When Daniel gives, you know you've been given.

Daniel isn't impressed by appearances. He sees into your soul.

She's onto something

I'm just a peddler of other people's good ideas. Like a biblical theologian. Only not so dangerous, because the words I handle are not directly from God.

One of the people who are on to something and worth paying attention to, but are not God, is Celia Green.

She doesn't think much of what the rest of us call 'sanity' because sanity requires that we deny our astonishment that anything at all exists. Astonishment, she says, is the only realistic emotion. Such is the reality that we are all bent on escaping from.

Risks for Peace

George F Will in The Washington Post reminds us of recent history which too many seem to have forgotten already:

In the intifada that began in 2000, Palestinian terrorism killed more than 1,000 Israelis.
During the onslaught, which began 10 Septembers ago, Israeli parents sending two children to a school would put them on separate buses to decrease the chance that neither would return for dinner. Surely most Americans can imagine, even if their tone-deaf leaders cannot, how grating it is when those leaders lecture Israel on the need to take "risks for peace."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Autism or Chaos?

From a report by Jane Hughes, Health Correspondent, BBC News:

Autism Spectrum Disorder affects an estimated 1 in every 100 adults in the UK, most of them men. It varies from mild to very severe, and people with the condition can find the world appears chaotic and hard to understand.

But what if the world really is chaotic and hard to understand? Would it mean that the 99 in every hundred are wrong? - that it's they who need the treatment?