Shopping as Instant Gratification in Lieu of Conscience

The end-of-year holidays can be nasty for a lot of reasons, with the some of the most enthusiastic “giving” done by people who would rather not apologize for past hurtful behavior.  They spend money on merchandise that’s going to end up in landfill (or in thrift stores, if we’re lucky), and shortly after making asses of themselves with the presentation they see God in the form of Santa Claus, granting absolution. For many people, the holidays are vulgar, amoral milestones for hiding from one’s conscience — or hiding from the fact that there’s no conscience.  It’s especially horrifying if the … Continue reading Shopping as Instant Gratification in Lieu of Conscience

When “Help” Turns Into a Cult

At the end of this post, please click the link to a New York Times article about a reported FBI investigation of a self-help group called Nxivm.  The name is pronounced “Nexium,” and apparently has no relation to the acid reflux drug. We should be aware that no charges have been brought against Nxivm or its leader.  However, the allegations are alarming, and for the time being any person seeking help with emotional or spiritual issues should probably look elsewhere for treatment. Some treatment programs maintain ethical standards and provide the right support so clients can resume their lives.  Others are looking … Continue reading When “Help” Turns Into a Cult

N.H.S. Patients Must Wait

I live in the United States, where many of us have admired the National Health Service (N.H.S.) in the United Kingdom (which some of us refer to generically as “England,” although England is only part of the U.K.). I was born in 1960, and as far back as I can remember I heard Americans say, “If we lived in England, we could just get treatment without showing an insurance card or having our family arrive at the hospital with a truckload of cash.” (Clarification: In the early 1980s — yes, the Reagan Years, as incredible as that sounds — a … Continue reading N.H.S. Patients Must Wait