We need more Islamophobia – not less. Islam is a death cult, not a religion

Cultural Marxists, a category whose members include most of the political elite, academia and the media, often descry and rage with populist affectation against ‘Islamophobia’. Cultural Marxists moralize that being offended by a pagan Arab fascism, one dedicated to submitting the individual into a collective communal in which the church and state are permanently commingled, is somehow an act of irrationality, almost racist in its scope, and unsophisticated in its approach. As with all matters to do with Cultural Marxism the opposite is of course true. What the vendors of cultural destruction are trying to sell you is the inversion of reality.

‘Islamophobia’ is another juvenile mindless label. We need more Islamophobes not less. We need more people who are educated about the real Islam, and the real nature of ‘Jihad’, not less. We need more realism in identifying the pagan fascist reality of a political theology centered around the racist Koran, founded by an Arab military adventurer who went mad at age 40, deifying the male moon deity of Mecca. Can there be anything more absurd than stating that a program of mindless ritualization, prayer, prostration, irrationality, and following laws emanating from a book which is worse than Mein Kampf, is a religion? Cultural Marxists, are ignorant. It is plainly insipid to criticize someone who understands and resists the evils of Islam.

As with most destructive cultural changes and posturing, the Marxist uses slander, accusing those who defend traditions, Western superiority, or the modern world with calumnies and distortions. So now we have abortion which is simply the killing of a human, turned into a ‘female right to choose’. How kind. Globaloney Warming fear-mongering is now defined as a ‘science’. Queer coupling and Gay culture is now recasted as normal, perhaps superior, in spite of psychological evidence, treatment and studies to the contrary. Misandry or man-hatred is promoted as female liberation. Anti-semitic racism and hating Jews is simply support for the underdog-Arab. Defaming Christianity and inventing lies about the theology which formed the modern world is repurposed as being progressive and ‘secular’. Slandering capitalism and industry is turned into ‘defending the poor and the minorities’. Those who protest against illegal immigration are racists, and are against all immigration. Anyone who disagrees with the Black Jesus obviously hates Blacks and probably all people of any color. When Muslims war that is okay, but if you defend yourself, you are a Bushitler goon. And so on…….

Islamophobia is thus a word like racism, which the Cultural Marxists will use to beat down anyone who opposes a fascist pagan moon cult from Mecca, responsible for some 300 million dead over 1400 years and the conquering via the sword, which still goes on today, of huge tracts of the planet. So how intelligent are these Cultural Marxists?

Anyone who uses Islamophobia is plainly a simpleton. First, most of the people against the theocratic fascism called ‘submission’, are not against individual Muslims. We know from Nazi records that only 2 million Germans were part of the official Nazi party. In Russia, the Communist party numbered no more than 8 million. This would indicate that superficially at least, most Germans and most Russians were not deployed inside non-Western organizations dedicated to the destruction of the modern world. Most likely, most citizens of Nazi Germany were not interested in Germanic race theory, nor in universalist ambition and supremacy. Same for the Russians of the Cold War. But that is immaterial. The cults which ruled these states, and their liturgy, philosophies, ideals and beliefs, certainly were interested in universal rule, and destroying the reality of the 5 senses. Islam is no different.

Do Miracles Not Occur?

Do miracles occur? Have they occurred? Will they occur?

I must admit to not being sure. Certainly, many individuals believe, deeply, in the reality of past, present and future miracles. They hold in my view respectable and conscientious beliefs. But as for my part, many plausible considerations exist which weaken, in cases seriously, the credibility of miracles.

So I remain unsure. But what about the opposite? How would I answer the opposite question, i.e. did miracles not occur? Have there not been, are there not now, and will there not be, miracles?

On that question, I am firmly convinced we can not rule out the possibility of miracles. Despite the credible considerations which cast doubt on miracles, those considerations do not cast sufficient doubt. We must remain open to the possible existence of miracles.

Any why is that? For a number of reasons, and they do not necessarily follow conventional thinking.

Miracles do not need to violate the natural laws

Miracles can be, and often are, defined as occurrences where a spiritual or transcendental power (mainly a God) supersedes, suspends or violates a natural law. That would represent a common characterization, and one that reflects a long and rich record of scriptural accounts, theological reflection and common belief.

And that is fine.

I would argue, however, that this traditional characterization excludes phenomena which can properly qualify as miracles.

Consider just about any modern technology. That technology, be it electricity, automobiles, computers, antibiotics, mobile phones, jet planes, even something as mundane as a refrigerator, all would appear miracle-like to individuals living at the time of Abraham, or Christ, or Buddha, or Mohammed.

Looking forward, can we not envision future capabilities that would appear miracle-like today, even against our current technology? I would say certainly. Consider mind-to-mind linkage; consider direct activation of cellular repair; consider harnessing capabilities of extra-spatial dimensions, consider even circular information loops in time. We certainly should be able to envision them; they arise often in science fiction. And we can conceive that such capabilities could fall within the laws of nature, and even at some point the capabilities of our technology.

Given that, if today a conscious, intelligent God-like entity appeared (God-like, i.e. not simply an alien from another world) and exercised those capabilities, could we not reasonably label the acts miraculous? I would posit yes. They would be miraculous, despite not violating the laws of nature, because they lie beyond, well beyond, current and even near-future human capability and because they epitomize and are consistent with the motivations of a God-like entity.

Note the distinction. The technology involved, however advanced, does not quality the action as a miracle. After all, I have stipulated that the technology lies within natural law, and maybe even some far future human capability. The action rises to a miraculous level on the timing of the action. This God-like entity, not with a magical trick, but with a supernatural capacity, has used a technology well before mankind’s ability to do so and before mankind’s understanding of how it works.

Thus, in my view, no presumption must exist that, say Christ, violated the laws of nature. This line of thought does take us outside convention. Many would respond no need exists to “dumb down” miracles – scripture, revelation and theology support a belief that God can, did and does violate the laws of nature.

That is fine. However, my judgment remains – reported miracles could represent application by a God-like entity of advanced technology, and further, that such an application, being beyond, well beyond, the human capabilities at the time, fits the concept of a miracle. This wider – but in my mind still valid – conception of miracles significantly, even severely, impedes my maintaining, with certainty, the non-existence of miracles.

The apparent lack of current miracles provides no evidence against miracles

In current times, we seem not to experience large-scale or undisputed miracles. No sea has opened, no crowd of thousands has been fed, no army has crumbled at the name of God. Admittedly, the Catholic Church does maintain a list of unexplainable healings, which they have classified (after fairly exhaustive consideration) as miracles. But to many non-believers, the lack of a discernable explanation more properly indicates the limitation of scientific knowledge and investigatory tools, not the power of a God.

So let’s posit that no miracles have, or have been, occurring in modern times.

I would argue that such a fact bears no significance to the existence of miracles. None.

Why?

The Isaac Asimov Foundation series provides an analogy. In that series, the great mathematician Hari Seldon, based on his fictional theory of psychohistory, sets in motion a scheme to shorten an impeding collapse of the Galactic Empire into chaos. His strategy extends for centuries. Across those centuries, the Galactic population will sequence through a series of phases, with each dominated by a controlling paradigm, for example trading, or wizardry, or science.

The Foundation Series extends through ten books, and those ten books contain an underlying theme of the “salvation” of humanity, engineered and lead by an intelligent, moral leader (i.e. Hari Seldon), plus a band of dedicated followers/disciplines.

Religions offer a salvation theme. The underlying current of the Foundation Series parallels, reasonably directly, the proffered salvation themes of religion. And if the Seldon plan (and its supporting and guiding Foundations) steps through differing eras, so could religious salvation.

If mankind currently operates under a spiritual salvation plan, such a plan could contain phases, analogous to the Seldon plan. And those phases could contain variations in the appearance and capability for miracles. Not every phase would involve miracles, and no requirement would exist that a current phase of a spiritual salvation plan involve miracles.

Am I arguing such a salvation plan exists? No. I am arguing that the lack of miracles provides no logical basis for maintaining such a plan doesn’t exist, or that miracles don’t exist.

Though a controversial view, Christ did not need to be “really” dead

Did Christ “really” die? Could he have not been in a suspended state? Did he “really” rise, or did he just appear as an apparition, or as an illusion he generated in the minds of his followers?

I would maintain Christ did not need to “really” die, nor did he need to “really” rise in a human physical form, for his Resurrection to represent the cornerstone miracle and act of Christianity.

As before, a preface is needed. Many believe, without reservation, Christ completely died on the cross, undergoing an absolute, utter, total ceasing of any body functioning. They further believe he rose from the dead, bodily, in the flesh, in complete physical form. Theology, tradition, scripture, revelation, and the personal conviction of many, support such a belief.

But others do not believe that either Christ died, or that he physically and bodily rose from the dead.

Just as I maintain a miracle does not need to violate the laws of nature to truly and completely be a miracle of a God-like entity, I would maintain that Christ did not need to completely die and bodily rise for the Death and Resurrection to be truly miraculous.

Let’s assume Christ used some advanced medical techniques, or drugs, or special biochemical phenomena, to maintain a state near death. Would such an act be miraculous?

Consider Christ’s crucifixion. That act inflicted upon Christ extensive, debilitating, blood-letting wounds beyond, well beyond, the ability of any current or near-future medical techniques to maintain life. And certainly beyond the ability of any medical techniques of that time.

Thus, if Christ managed, in some manner, to not “really” die, but rather maintain a near-death status, that would represent an astounding, dare say miraculous, achievement. The crucifixion punctured Christ, draining blood and bodily fluids, after which he received no medical attention, food, liquids or other life sustaining treatment.

In a similar manner, in the Resurrection, Christ did not need to bodily rise. In any manner, Christ’s being present to the apostles represents an astounding, miraculous act.

Let’s assume Christ appeared via some mental telepathy or similar. Today, can any person or device or process externally instill a mental image, across a group of people, simultaneously, via telepathy or mind-to-mind melding? And back two millennia ago, could anyone do so? No in both counts. If Christ’s post-crucifixion appearances occurred via externally-imposed mental imaging, such an act still represents a miraculous accomplishment, equivalent to his appearing physically.

Note here, I am not referring to theories of group hallucination, or peer suggestion, or hysteria, or similar, where appearances of the resurrected Christ stem from, or can be attributed to, mundane human mental phenomena. The assumption here is that we have an external agent causing the phenomena the apostles and disciplines experienced. Given that, the witnessing of Christ does not need to be of a physical body. Any number of other, equally miraculous, mechanisms would suffice for his appearances to rise to the level of the “Resurrection.”

Maybe Christ’s appearances results from holographic projections, or simple, mundane movie projections. Possible, maybe. But such equipment didn’t exist at the time, so the use of visual projections would still represent a reasonably miraculous act. And even today, no mechanism exists to beam such equipment into a locked room, one of the locations the apostles reportedly saw Christ after the Resurrection. And of course wouldn’t such equipment attract attention, and be sufficiently noteworthy to have been reported in some passage?

Again, remember our task, to conclude, somewhat definitively, that miracles, in particular the highest miracle of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, did not occur. I maintain, though we can go back and forth, we can not conclusively prove the non-existence of that act as a miracle.

Attestation to the Miracles

Let’s examine the evidence for, and against, a specific miracle. We will pick the wedding feast at Cana.

At that feast, did Christ convert water to wine? Based on the gospel of John, Christ, with apparent reluctance, acquiesces to the request of his mother, Mary, and “rescues” the marriage celebration by converting six jugs of water into a fine wine.

Did Christ actually perform this miracle?

We can not, I would argue, know the answer. We have insufficient evidence, either way.

Compare this to evidence of the sun rising in the morning. We can know that. We saw the night sky last night, and saw the sun this morning, concluding the sun rose, even if we didn’t see it directly. We have seen the sun rise on other mornings. Essentially every other person reports seeing and having seen sun rises. Weather reports gave us the sun rise time for this morning, and previous mornings. We can explain the events that produce a sun rise. We see pictures, and movies, and videos of sunrises. Historic records across centuries and millennium record, consistently, the cycle of sun rises and sun sets.

What about the miracle at Cana? We have none of this. No currently living person witnessed the event. We have only one written source and no physical evidence. We do not possess pictures, videos or movies. The event is unique and inconsistent, i.e. no pattern of similar events occurred or is occurring, and the event is not consistent with our understanding of nature.

So can we argue that the miracle at Cana didn’t occur? With such scant evidence, we could.

However, our lack of any confirmatory evidence exists both ways. Thus while little indication exists the miracle did occur, little indication exists that it did not. We have no physical evidence the miracle did not occur, no written documents claiming the story a falsehood and of course no living witnesses who actually attended the event. And the lack of pictures, movies or videos prevents our reviewing the event to determine that the miracle did not occur.

We thus have no verifiable information on the miracle at Cana, either way. Lacking such information, we can not know, either way. We can believe one way or another, or develop arguments one way or another, or have a spiritual or intellectual sense one way or another, but we can not know.

We can believe, or discuss, or develop logic. We can conscientiously weigh the considerations: are scriptures accurate; does Christ’s impact speak to the truth of this miracle and his miracles in general; is the description of the miracle at Cana really an allegory or exaggeration; does the inconsistency of the conversion with natural laws make it highly improbable?

We can speculate, but we can not know.

Worldviews represent inductive conclusions

Okay, but be reasonable, you might say. While we might lack definitive, iron clad proof of the non-existence of miracles, can we not assess their likelihood? In many situations other than miracles we lack perfect proof something can not occur, but logic and reason point to a very low likelihood.

Is that not the case with miracles? While we may not be able to prove they didn’t occur, can we not offer logic of a low, if not insignificant, likelihood? We could.

To start, nothing in science and little in our experience fits with miracles. Further, we can explain belief in miracles based on psychology, i.e. the human mind can hold on to beliefs and ideas despite indications to the contrary. We also know that errors and self-supporting biases readily enter into historic accounts, especially those like the New Testament that represent decades of oral transmission. Finally, lacking any scientific laws, ancient cultures often cast unexplainable phenomena as spiritual actions.

Thus, we can provide logic that miracles have a low likelihood.

But we must review this logic with a critical eye. This logic, like most reasoning, rests on a set of postulates. That this logic does so, does not undermine the logic by itself. Rather, that the logic extends from postulates requires that we scrutinize the postulates.

And bluntly, the postulates behind the above logic arise from a particular world view. For discussion, and with a bit of fracturing, I will label that world view as a secular, naturalistic construct/paradigm. In that world view, science provides the superior path to knowledge, the mind explains mankind’s thoughts and consciousness, and appeals to the unobservable (e.g. supernatural) should be viewed with caution.

And that is fine. Such a world view holds great credibility, and can and does provide accurate guidance for our actions and thoughts. But it is still a world view. What is the issue? Again, bluntly, world views – any or all world views – do not represent truth; rather they represent inductive conclusions from our experience. They begin with mankind’s accumulated thought and knowledge, and, based on inductive generalization, extrapolate out to overarching postulates.

Such inductive generalizations are reasonable, useful and natural. However, inductive conclusions, both in principle and in practice, can not be shown to be true.

On the level of principle, and without belaboring the point, philosophers have not yet created reasoning definitively demonstrating inductive logic generates conclusions that are certain. Some say such logic exists, but many say no.

And in practice, world views have fallen and been superceded through history. The gods of Olympus, in one world view, ruled over mankind. Earth once stood, in a world view, as the center of the universe. Newtonian mechanics once provided, in a world view, an explanation underlying time and space.

We no longer hold these once compelling world views.

Am I arguing that the postulates underlying modern, secular world views will crumble? Absolutely not. Rather, I simply argue to take a properly skeptical stance. Very simply, world views provide only tentative or assumed bases for conclusions. “If” the world view stands correct, then conclusions from that world view contain validity.

But by its logical nature, and based on the historic record, the “IF” underlying world views lurks in the background, and must be heeded. And as long as this “IF” exists, I can not definitively conclude miracles don’t occur, if the conclusion rests on a world view.

Bottom Line

What do we have then, from my perspective?

  • Miracles do not need to violate the laws of nature
  • The lack of current miracles provides no evidence against miracles
  • The Death and Resurrection stands as truly miraculous even if recast
  • No attestation exists that Christ’s miracles did not occur
  • Logic based on world views can not provide definitive conclusions

From that perspective, I can not judge, with certainly, that miracles have not, or can not, or will not, occur. I do not claim miracles occur; but rather claim we can not prove they do not. And being unable to so prove, I must remain open to the implications implicit in the possibility of miracles.

A Natural Insomnia Cure Can Provide A Good Nights Sleep

What would you think if someone introduced you to a natural insomnia cure that you could use and wake up each day feeling great regardless of how much or how little sleep you may get? Would you give it a try? It is only natural to doubt this a little because we constantly hear over and over again that it necessary to get about eight hours of sleep to be truly healthy. However, life can simply get in the way of getting those eight hours of sleep each night. Therefore, you may have to seek out another way of feeling refreshed and fully energized.

If you happen to be one of the many who just can’t seem to get enough sleep or even enough to just feel refreshed, now may be the time to alter how you think about sleep and change the patterns you have been living. Are you able to block out all the distractions in your life so you can truly enjoy restful and rejuvenated sleep or do you need a natural insomnia cure? You may assume you are able to, but with all of the distractions that have become a normal part of our lives today it can be very difficult to block everything out.

A Natural Insomnia Cure Can Reset The Body’s Rhythm

Due to all the external stimuli and all the stress of daily life, the natural body rhythms we need have been altered. Just like jet lag can throw us out of whack, disruptions to our body rhythms can also leave us feeling off kilter. Everything from staying up too late on weekends, too much work and family issues can cause these subtle disruptions to our body rhythms. One way to find a natural insomnia cure is to in effect reset your body rhythm. This will also help you get more quality sleep in the process no matter the actual amount of time you get in sleep mode.

Just think how refreshing it would be to wake up fully ready to tackle the day and feel like anything is possible. You could face the day feeling strong and refreshed because your body has actually gotten the proper kind of rest needed. If you are one who does not seem to be getting the most out of your sleep, you may want to try a natural insomnia cure that has helped so many others. No matter how little you sleep, you can still rise ready to face the world. You truly can do it and finally shake that exhausted feeling.

How to Use Vicks for Nail Fungus Treatment

How to use vicks for nail fungus treatment is not really the question of the endless controversial debate but rather if it works or not and very few of us has enough time at our disposal to read the infinite comments relating to this debate. We all know Vicks Vapor Rub to be a common remedy to help be at war with colds and making breathing easier.

However, there are just as many for and against medical theories regarding the effectiveness on the success or failure for using Vicks for nail fungus treatment. However, having a closer look, you will find that Vicks Vaporub appear to have the for the most part of it the best and the majority of evidence and testimonials to back up and support their claim. The application of Vicks for nail fungus treatment seems to be rather uncomplicated.

It is recommended to soak the infected nail or nails for about 20 to 30 minutes in warm water. This helps to soften the skin and nails to be treated. After soaking, the areas need to be dried with a clean unused or sterilised towel. In order to prevent spreading of the fungus, all towels, socks and linen that are exposed to the affected nail should be washed in hot water and sterilised by using bleach.

Abrade the surface of the infected nail lightly by making use of a nail file. By making use of an orange stick covered with sterile cotton wool, soaked with hydrogen peroxide, tenderly clean under and around the fungus infected nail. The Vicks Vaporub is applied straight onto the nail, underneath the nail and on and around the cuticles. It is a good idea to rub the Vicks it to your soles or palms of your hands and in and around your toes or fingers.

After the application of the Vicks, it is best to cover the infected nails if possible at all to prevent staining and further spreading of the fungus. It is important to note that this remedy is not a 24-hour cure. It involves patience and could take months before any results are visible. The secret of success are in your ability to persevere.

Worms and Boils

Happened All in One Day

He was rich and need of nothing and had many children, servants, and animals. But one day this wealthy man was horror stricken! He was informed by servants that his oxen, donkeys, and camels had been raided by the Sabeans and his servants killed with the sword. On the same day he was informed that the fire of God had burned up his sheep and killed his servants. Worst of all the news came that great wind came from across the wilderness and stuck the four corners of his eldest son's house while his sons and daughters were eating and drinking, the house fell on the young people and they were killed. The rich man had not been given a chance to mourn his loss on the day disaster stuck!

He Fell to the Ground

The rich man fell to the ground and said 'I came from my mother's womb naked and naked shall I return. The Lord cave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord '.

Struck with Boils

After some time the rich man was stuck with boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And in order to get relief from his boils which were filled with worms, he sat in ashes and used a potsherd to scrape himself. The rich man's body was in such a state that he was advised by his wife to curse God and die. Now the rich man's name was Job. And Job said to his wife 'you speak foolishly; Will we indeed accept good and not adversity? '

All Against Him

Job's friends decided that his life was not right with God and was the reason for his affliction. Therefore, he had no one to comfort him from his justification and cursed the day of his birth.

Worms and Dust

Job explains that his flesh was caked with worms and dust and his skin cracked and breaks out afresh, and that he would rather die than live! Although afflicted he refused to turn his back on God and instead he said that 'Though God slays him, yet, he would trust Him!'

In Anguish he Cried

Job thought that he would die of his boils, as a result, made himself explicit that after he died that he would rise again and live on the earth, without worms and sores afflicting his body. But what Job did not know was that God was on his side and was not the one who inflicted his body.

Satan the Afflicter

One day Satan went to God informing Him that Job loved Him only because He had given Job everything and that if He (God) were to take away all His blessings from Job, Job would curse Him! Now God was not pleased with Satan's comments and in order to let Satan know that he had faithful men and women on the earth who served Him, cave Satan permission to remove Job's blessings but commanded him not to kill Job.

Job's Trial Ended

After his trials, God spoke to Job reminding him that his trials had nothing to do with any wrong act that he had committed. Also, God told Job that he had allowed these trials to befall him because he was being falsely falsified by his greatest enemy (Satan) on earth and that he was having none of it. God also reminded Job that because of his steadfastness Satan was once again defeated.

Alive, Blessed and Accepted

God healed Job from his plague of boils and worms and united him once again with his brothers, sisters, and acquaints that consoled and comforted him. However, God blessed Job and cave him more wealth than before, and Job lived after this for one hundred and forty years.

God Rewards the Faithful

Sometimes when trials come we complain not knowing the reason (s) for our pain or affliction. Job's life is a beacon for us today. His life shown steadfastness, faithfulness, and loyalty. He stood up for what he believed to be right, although it meant separation from those who he loved. He did not allow worldly goods and pleasures to cloud his mind, therefore, earned the victory over his enemy. Likewise, are we to gain the victory over our enemy (Satan) by the grace of God?

Veronique Belmar is the author of Words of Life ( www.wordsoflifeve.com )

The History of Your Favorite Alcohol

Throughout recorded history there has always been alcohol in some variety, think of this, when you are sitting on a Friday night with your vodka and coke or Pernod and lemonade, it does ever cross your mind how exactly the drink came about. Below is a history of some of the more popular drinks that are enjoyed today such as vodka, gin, Pernod and cachaca.

Pernod

Pernod is an aniseed-based spirit that has been enjoyed in France for approximately 200 years as an aperitif and a zesty cooking ingredient. During the Babylonian era aniseed drinks were known as elixirs with unique qualities to cure a variety of stomach and digestive disorders. It has long been recognized that when you combine wormwood and aniseed plants it contains certain healing powers and has been known to have mood-altering effects.

Cachaca

Cachaça is made from raw sugar cane and the major difference is that the lighter rums are more commonly made from whats known as molasses, (A thick syrup produced in refining raw sugar and ranging from light to dark brown in color) this is a by- Product from boiling the cane juice to extract as much sugar as possible. It is made from fresh sugarcane juice that is fermented and distilled.

Cachaça is Brazils national spirit and the key ingredient in the classic cocktail caipirinha, the history of Cachaça goes back nearly 5 centuries when plantation owners began serving Cachaca to their slaves after seeing that it increased their vigor. Over the next lot of years better Cachaças were being distilled and soon people started drinking it in colonial Brazil while having dinner at home. Shortly after this slavery was banned in 1888, when Brazil was declared a modern Republic.

Gin

Gin The first confirmed date for the production of gin is the early 17th century in Holland, although claims have been made that it was produced prior to this in Italy. In Holland it was produced as a medicine and sold in chemist shops to treat stomach complaints, gout and gallstones. To make it more palatable, the Dutch started to flavor it with juniper, which has medicinal properties of its own.

British troops fighting in the Low Countries during the Thirty Years' War, were given 'Dutch Courage' during the long campaigns in the damp weather through the warm properties of gin. Every time they started brining it back home with them, where already it was often sold in chemists' shops. Distillation was taking place in a small way in England, but it began on a greater scale, though the quality was often very dubious. The new drink became a firm favorite with the poor.

In 1730 London had over 7,000 shops that sold only spirits. Abuse of alcohol by the poor became a major problem, which was tackled by introducing The Gin Act at midnight on 29 September 1739, making gin prohibitively expensive. The Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole and Dr. Samuel Johnson were among those who opposed the Act since they considered it could not be enforced against the will of the common people. They were right.

Riots broke out and the law was widly and openly broken, the Gin Act was finally repealed in 1742 and a new policy was introduced with the help of distillers: reasonably high prices, reasonable excise duties and licensed retailers under the supervision of magistrates. In essence this is the situation which exists today. Since then many companies established themselves as well-to-do manufacturers and the gin became the drink of high quality.

Vodka

Vodka is a drink which originated in Eastern Europe. The name stemming from the Russian word 'voda' meaning water or, as the Poles would say 'woda.' The first documented production of vodka in Russia was the end of the 9th century, but the first known distillery at Khylnovsk was about two hundred years later as reported in the Vyatka Chronicle of 1174. Poland lays claims to having distilled vodka even earlier in the 8th Century, but as this was a distillation of wine it might be more appropriate to consider it a crude brandy. The first identifiable Polish vodkas appeared in the 11th century when they were called 'gorzalka' originally used as medicines.

During the Middle Ages, distilled liquor was used primarily for medicinal purposes, as well as being an ingredient in the production of gunpowder. In the 14th century a British Ambassador to Moscow first described vodka as the Russian national drink and in the mid 16th century it was established as the national drink in Poland and Finland.

Since early production methods were crude, vodka often contained impurities, so to mask these the distillers flavored their spirits with fruit, herbs or spices. The mid 15th century saw the first appearance of pot distillation in Russia. Prior to that, seasoning, aging and freezing were all used to remove impurities, around this time (1450) vodka started to be produced in large quantities and the first recorded exports of Russian vodka were to Sweden in 1505. Polish 'woda' exports started A century later, from major production centers in Posnan and Krakow.

Types produced included: acorn, anisette, birch, calamus root, calendula, cherry, chicory, dill, ginger hazelnut, horseradish, juniper, lemon, mastic, mint, mountain ash, oak, pepper, peppermint, raspberry, sage, sorrel, wort And water melon.

In the 18th century a professor in St. Louis Petersburg discovered a method of purifying alcohol using charcoal filtration. Felt and river sand had already been used for some time in Russia for filtration.

The spread of awareness of vodka continued through the 19th century, helped by the presence in many partdrunkennesss of Europe and Russian soldiers involved in the Napoleonic Wars. Increasing popularity led to escalating demand and to meet this demand, lower grade products were produced based largely on distilled potato mash.

After the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks confiscated all private distilleries in Moscow. As a result, a number of Russian vodka-makers emigrated, taking their skills and recipes with them. One such exile revived his brand in Paris, using the French version of his family name – Smirnoff. Thence, having met a Russian ZmigrZ from the USA, they set up the first vodka distillery there in 1934. This was previously sold to a US drinks company. From this small start, vodka began in the 1940s to achieve its wide popularity in the Western World.

Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, a number of Russian refugees took their skills and their love of vodka to many parts of the world.

In the 1930s one such exile emigrated from Russia via France to the United States bringing with him the formula to one of the leading Russian makes of vodka.

Through his dealings with another Russian emigre the first vodka distillery in the US was set up in the 1930s. Although not particularly successful at first, this enterprise was sold on again to an entrepreneur who historically made a hit in the 1950s with a vodka-based cocktail – the Moscow Mule. Vodka did not see a great boom in popularity in the West until the 1960s and 1970s when many more brands were launched in the USA and the UK.

The timing coincided with the cultural revolution in these countries – the 'swinging 60s.' With a more affluent younger generation and a generally more relaxed lifestyle and the emphasis on adventure and experimentation – vodka's mixability led to its huge and ever rising popularity.

Vodka cocktails are almost as numerous as those of gin and are seen in the same exclusive circles and stylish bars the world over.

Conditioning Your Shins for Muay Thai

A lot of Muay Thai fighters look to condition their shins by kicking hard wood or something similar. This is not a good way to go about doing this and may result in injury.  If you want to properly condition your shins, then you’ll need to kick something a bit softer than a hard wood.  Certain soft woods can be kicked with moderate intensity, but you still run the risk of damaging your shin.

Kicking hard objects damages your shin because, frankly, they are usually harder [or at least less brittle] than the bone in your shin.  This will lead to the bone getting a bunch of small fractures that can culminate in a serious injury or break.  This is something you want to avoid when conditioning your shins because it can lead to long term damage that may be irreparable.

The correct way to condition your shins is to hit soft wood at a moderate intensity or to hit bags.  A firm heavy bag is a great way to condition your kicks and you’ll be able to go at it all day.  After a while, though, you will feel your shins begin to bruise and you’ll probably want to stop then.  I’m not saying you should stop because it hurts, but just because it’ll slow down your training and make it more difficult to condition your shins properly in the long run.

So why do your shins get conditioned?  Well, the main reason is that calcium deposits form in the bone and essentially build it up.  This will increase the strength of the bone and allow it to take more damage before becoming damaged.  The other reason that your shins get conditioned is because the nerves become less sensitive – this means you can actually get hurt more and not realize it.  This isn’t particularly safe, but it’s useful in a fight because it allows you to continue fighting for longer periods of time.

Learning More about Your Anatomy with a Spinal Cord Diagram

About the diameter of a human finger, the spinal cord is connected to the brain and is an important part of the human anatomy. The vertebral column protects the spinal cord as it descends along the middle of the back. The Cerebral Spinal Fluid is responsible for protecting the nerve fibres from damage due to friction or impact with the vertebrae. The spinal cord itself, along with the brain forms the central nervous system of the body. These are the parts which a spinal cord diagram will indicate to you.

Regions and Spinal Nerves

A spinal cord diagram will show you 4 distinct regions. These are the cervical region, thoracic region, the lumbar region and the sacral region from top to bottom. The cervical region is connected to the eye, lachrymal glands, sweat glands, hair follicles, blood vessels of arms, head and neck and salivary glands. The cervical nerves are also connected to biceps, deltoids, wrist extenders, hand and triceps. The thoracic region is connected to heart, lungs, stomach, duodenum, pancreas, liver and kidney. The thoracic nerves are also connected to chest muscles and abdominal muscles. The lumbar region is connected to rectum, bladder, colon and external genitalia. The lumbar nerves are connected to the leg muscles. The sacral region is connected to blood vessels of lower limbs and perineum, hair follicles and sweat glands.

Numbering System

Another thing you will observe on a spinal cord diagram is the spinal cord level numbering system which is similar to that of the vertebrae. The spinal cord ends at the conus medullaris near the lumbar nerves referred to as L1 and L2. All in all there are 31 spinal nerve pairs which branch off to various parts of the body. Spinal nerves leaving from the spinal cord are numbered based on the vertebra at which they exit the spinal column.

A spinal cord diagram will therefore show nerves C1 – C8 which are related to the upper aspects of vertebral organisms. Similarly there is T1 – T12, where T4 spinal nerve is on level with the nipple line while T6 is level with the sternum bottom. T10 is level with the abdomen while T12 is level with pubic bone. Then there are lumbar nerves L1 – L5 whose sensation is over the legs. The Sacral nerves are numbers S1 – S5. The perineal genital area sensation is related to S3, S4 and the S5 nerves.

Vincent Van Gogh, Death by Bullying?

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most famous and celebrated of all artists, with paintings such as ‘The Starry Night’, ‘Café Terrace at Night’ and ‘Sunflowers’ just a small example of the paintings he is known for throughout the world. Vincent Van Gogh paintings are amongst the highest paid for paintings sought after by art lovers and art investors alike. ‘Wheatfield with Cypresses’, ‘Portrait of Dr. Gatchet’, ‘Irises’ and ‘Self-portrait without Beard’ have brought record prices in the late 20th century and his works art expected to continue skyrocketing in price in the already very busy 21st century art market. He is of course also well known for his madness, his bouts of mental illness that led him to famously cutting off his ear and suicide. But was it really suicide or was it murder?

The authors of the latest Dutch-impressionist’s biography “Van Gogh: The Life” knew they would stir controversy by disputing the widely-held belief that the artist committed suicide with a gun while painting in a French wheat field. Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, who have previously won a Pulitzer prize for their biography of American artist Jackson Pollock spent ten years researching their book and proposed the new theory, that Van Gogh was shot not be himself, but by local bullies who were a constant bane in van Gogh’s already tormented life.

Naifeh and Smith uncovered some evidence that point inconclusively, they acknowledge in the direction of manslaughter.

Their first piece of evidence is a candid and self incriminating interview with respectable partisan banker Rene Secretan given in 1956. In the interview he recalled in great detail how he and his brother had tormented the artists during their teenage years in the Auvers. As the target of bullying for much of his life, the red-headed painter – who suffered from frontal lobe epilepsy – was to suffer it as the price for having some companionship.

Their second evidence is based on rumours heard by the late art historian John Rewald in the 1930s from townspeople in Auvers old enough to remember that Van Gogh had accidentally been shot by two young boys.

Their third piece of evidence is a drawing by Vincent where he depicts a boy in a cowboy hat that the authors suspect is Rene Secretan who attended the Paris World fair in 1890 where Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show from America was a big hit. They theorized that the young Rene duly infatuated with cowboys and guns borrowed a pistol from local innkeeper Arthur Ravoux to shoot birds and small animals, and that this was the weapon that killed Vincent van Gogh. It should be noted that during the 1956 interview Rene Secretan mentioned nothing about any shooting.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which collaborated with the authors, was quoted as regarding the author’s theory as “interesting” and “spectacular” but has not yet dismissed the long-held suicide theory.

In any case, the mystery of Vincent Van Gogh’s death has begun.

Amazing Bio Active Milk Protein – Lactoferrin to boost the immune system and take years of your age !

Our consumer society is becoming increasingly concerned with the chemicals used to see to our everyday bodily needs. Lets take a look at the average persons grooming regime. You wake up in a morning and you roll out of bed to face another thrilling day doing what you love (Love the life you live). You make your way to the bathroom where resides your arsenal of self care products. Toothpaste, soaps, face and body washes, moisturisers, lotions, toners, clenasers, so on and so forth. The likelyhood is, that if your not selective in what you purchase to address your grooming needs, then before you leave the house to travel to work in a morning you have exposed your delicate self to numerous potentially harmful chemicals.

It is a fact that 70% of what is placed upon the surface of your skin is absorbed into the body. It is understandable then that we are becoming more and more selective in opting for natural products, which contain natural ingredients to meet our needs (And rightly so). If you are unfamiliar with phrases like “Paraben” and “SLS” then I suggest you use one of the many available search engines on the net to educate yourself for the better.

I am conscious of what goes into my body and I greatly believe that nature in all her wisdom is capable of providing us with all the protective, nourishment, and remedial substances the body could ever need. One example of natures magic substances is Aloe Vera.  Aloe, or Aloe vera (Latin), has been used medicinally for over 2,000 years. Ancient Egyptians used aloe to treat skin problems, and modern research has proven that aloe is effective as an anti-inflammatory. Natures list of beneficial substances is extensive to say the least. Information on this subject is bountiful on the internet and is there for the health conscious to utilise as they see fit.

So, we are aware of natures wondrous creations and how their functions when used to treat the body can be of great benefit, and this leads me to the star of this article, a lesser known substance named Lactoferrin.

Lactoferrin is an isolated protein derived from milk. Studies have shown that Lactoferrin has amazing properties, that benefit our health when used both internally and externally.

Currently commercial lactoferrin is derived from bovine (Cows) milk, however it is also present in greater levels in human milk (breast milk). Although largely unknown, lactoferrin is being used in infant formulas, food preparations, a small amount of cosmetics and as a general immune boosting supplement.

Lactoferrin is biologically active (Bio Active). Defined this means, having an effect on a living tissue, organism or cell. The real appeal of Lactoferrin has to be its bio active functions upon the body body. Recent research points to the following suprising attributes of this natural substance.

Used Internally – Supplement form

The strong affinity for iron is the key to understanding lactoferrins beneficial properties.  Since it binds readily with iron, it improves the body’s uptake of iron (bioavailability of iron) and so helps prevent iron deficiency and anemia, which are nutritional disorders affecting around 20 per cent of the world’s population.

In binding with iron, it also deprives harmful bacteria of this essential resource and so inhibits their chances of surviving and multiplying.

Apart from this antibiotic property, the binding with iron reduces the chances of the formation of free-radicals and so helps prevent cell damage that is part of the aging process.

Beneficial bacteria

Studies have also revealed the beneficial effect of lactoferrin on gut health. This protein helps maintain optimum levels of beneficial bacteria such as bifidus in the intestinal tract and so prevents gastrointestinal inflammations.

Lactoferrin does not target specific types of bacteria. This nonspecific nature has proved to be a blessing in disguise (Many antibiotics are designed to counter specific bacteria. They can become less effective over time because bacteria are capable of developing strains that are resistant to the antibiotic. This is not the case with lactoferrin).

Lactoferrin has exhibited significant activity against Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Staphyloccocus aureus, Candida albicans, HIV, herpes simplex type 1, hepatitis C, cytomegalovirus and other pathogens in vitro (in a lab dish) studies.

Anti-Oxidant

Its ability to carry iron without generating free radicals is one form of antioxidant activity. This antioxidant activity helps protect the body.

Anti-mricrobial, Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal

Lactoferrin helps protect the body against bacteria, viruses, fungi and other infectious microorganisms, which explains its presence in mucosal fluids. Lactoferrin sequesters iron, leaving little available for the propagation of microorganisms. It can also inhibit the binding of bacteria or viruses to host cells, thus preventing infections.

Anti-Inflammatory

Lactoferrin has been shown to reduce inflammation both in the skin and in the gut. It does this by inhibiting the production of the cytokine mediators that lead to inflammation. It has also been shown to upregulate the proliferation of polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs). PMNs are the first responders to inflammation and are responsible for clearing up any exudates associated with inflammation.

Perhaps one of the most promising uses for lactoferrin may be in its potential as a non-toxic, anti-cancer agent. Extensive in-vitro and in-vivo research with animals has shown lactoferrin to be a powerful anti-cancer agent. Multiple studies using both rats and mice exposed to a toxic chemical (azoxymethane) known to cause tumors throughout the gastro intestinal tract, administered concomitantly with lactoferrin, showed a large reduction in intestinal polyp development throughout the intestinal tract. One study found lactoferrin to be very effective at suppressing the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells. So much so the researchers concluded that lactoferrin “…might become one of the new drugs of choice for the adjuvant therapy against pancreatic cancer.”

There it is then, one of natures secrets is being slowly utilised and is showing massive promise in many areas of health and wellbeing. The properties of this natural milk protein are there for us all to benefit. Used as a supplement to benefit general health and protect against bacteria, used on the skin to delay the aging process of cells and provide bacterial protection and a reduction of any inflammation. More so used as an agent to combat more serious health conditions. Nature gifts us in many ways and Lactoferrin is yet another blessing.

Copyright 2009 Mr J L G Hesford

The Yin and Yang of Strokes

I was fascinated by the YouTube video of brain researcher Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. She somehow managed to study her own stroke as it happened. She felt her brain functions slipping away one by one. First speech, movement and then understanding slipped away leaving her totally numbed by the experience.

Eight years later she has fully recovered and is giving talks about her experience. Her video on YouTube has to be seen to fully comprehend a disease that strikes fear into the heart of every adult over 40.

As a holistic energy worker, I have a distinct advantage over the average doctor confronted by a stroke. I can rely on a pair of clairvoyant eyes that goes by the name of Selvi Ratnam, a 42 year-old school teacher.

Selvi’s clairvoyant ability began to blossom after her teenage years. She began to literally see things that ordinary people couldn’t. She could see the colourful aura of a human being. To her, everyone appears like the colours of the rainbow. People who are sick would have very dark patches over their organs.

When this ability began to make its appearance, it dawned on Selvi that not everyone could see what she saw and she began to think that something was wrong with her.

Only when she met a Sufi master later on in her life was she aware of her clairvoyant ability.

Somewhere in my study shelves, I have over ten books written by a monk called Lobsang Rampa, a controversial Tibetan who in his last years of his life, was walking around in a white man’s body through an ability known as transmigration.

One of the books was titled, The Third Eye. It is an account of how he endured an operation that opened up his third eye, the occult eye that can see beyond the pair of physical eyes.

When I eventually met Selvi during my healing journey, I was literally jumping with excitement at working with someone who could see beyond the physical human limits and perceive dimensions that was revealed in Lobsang’s books.

My forte was kundalini and chakras and Selvi could see the awakening kundalini and the conditions of the chakras quite easily.

Selvi was introduced to me by Sehkar, a Reiki Master and eventually we began to work together at Paru Amma’s holistic centre in Kajang, Malaysia before going on to Kelang to work as a team for close to five years.

During our aura reading sessions, Selvi would tell me what she saw and I would take notes on an aura chart. Eventually a pattern began to emerge. In most women, Selvi would see grey or darkness on the left side of her body. And she would see the same grey or darkness on the right side of a man’s body.

Darkness in the aura indicates an absence of life force. And usually is the precursor of disease. When a person’s aura is totally dark, disease or death is about to take place.

Yin refers to feminine energy which is more emotional in nature and refers to the left side of the body. And Yang refers to masculine energy which is more aggressive and refers to the right side of the body.

Every male or female has both Yin and Yang aspects. Though of course, we have seen men who are feminine in nature and we have seen females who behaved in a masculine manner.

The more emotionally distressed a woman was, the darker would be the left side of her body. It was the same for the man. If he was emotionally distressed, his left side would be very dark too.

In one particular case, we told one woman client in her early 30s that she had a very dark aura on her left side. And I asked whether she was experiencing any numbness.

Numbness is often one of the early signs of an oncoming stroke. She said that it was just beginning on her hand. I then asked about her emotional history and in the conversation that ensued, she admitted that she was sexually and emotionally abused when she was very young and she was still emotionally traumatized by that incident.

We managed to get her to begin a process known as emotional release and we ended it by asking her to forgive the perpetrator and to forgive herself for feeling guilty. As she did so, she felt a surge of energy moving up her left arm and Selvi could see darkness moving away to be replaced by the colour blue which indicates that health was returning to the arm.

As we continued to work on forgiving herself and her perpetrator, more darkness left her left side and a lovely blue and green aura appeared. By the end of that session, her aura reflected the beautiful colours of the rainbow. And the numbness had gone.

We normally find in our healing sessions that forgiveness is one of the most powerful healing tools available to us. Through the process of sincere forgiveness, surges of energy in the form of white light takes place allowing the affected part of the body to regain its normal life-force. This explains how the numbness or absence of life-force, went away.

The lady client was told that continuing to forgive the perpetrator was important. If she went back to the emotional spiral of pain and victimization, she would revert to her old pain body which would eventually result in darkness in her left or yin side of her body. Eventually, that would result in a stroke.

On the other hand, when Selvi sees someone who is very stressed out, who is always in a rush to get things done, or worried over business deadlines, or about the future, their aura on the right or yang side would be very dark – irrespective of whether that person is male or female.

It is quite common for most businessmen to have this kind of aura though the typical woman CEO or high achiever is also affected as well. Stress doesn’t discriminate between genders. Both men and women are equally affected and succumb to stress.

In these type of cases, besides the emotional release process, we often advise these Type A ambitious personalities to take a break or to change their profession or to be more realistic about their goals. Being alive and healthy is preferable to being stressed out and a prime candidate for a stroke waiting to happen.

At the end of the day most corporate types are beginning to reassess their life goals and purpose. Chasing promotion or millions by living life in the fast lane cannot compensate for the debilitation of a stroke. There’s an old saying, we ruin our health by chasing after money. Then we spend all that money to regain the health that we ruined.

So listen. Take time out, try and live as balanced a life as possible. Focus on the little things in life – listen to the sound of running water. Go bowling. Take up tai chi. Paint. Listen to music. Smile. Laugh. Play with your children. Plant flowers. Love yourself and love everyone. And you’ll end up healthier and happier.

Another Original Article written by Andrew khor

A Review of The Family Crucible

The Family Crucible, by Napier and Whitaker (1978), reads like a novel while at the same time laying down some of the fundamental concepts of family systems therapy. It is a case study of one family’s experience in family therapy. While the therapy shifts from daughter to son and then to parent interaction to daughters and son, it is finally the couple’s marriage that must be treated if issues are to be resolved. Even the grandparents are brought into therapy to get at the family of origin issues.

The book opens with a quote from James Agee and Walker Evans: “The family must take care of itself; it has no mother or father; there is no shelter, nor resource, nor any love, interest, sustaining strength or comfort, so near, nor can anything happy or sorrowful that comes to anyone in this family possibly mean to those outside it what it means to those within it; but it is, as I have told, inconceivably lonely, drawn upon itself as tramps are drawn round a fire in the cruelest weather; and thus and in such loneliness it exists among other families, each of which is no less lonely, nor any less without help or comfort, and is likewise drawn in upon itself.”

Through the telling of the Brice family’s story, Napier and Whitaker illustrate underlying dynamics such as structural imbalances in the system and how child focus is a typical method used by unhappy couples to avoid dealing with their own marital and family of origin issues. Fusion, triangles, individual and family life cycle stages, family-of-origin themes, polarization, reciprocity, blaming, and the hierarchy and characteristics of living systems are among the concepts that are explained and illustrated through this family’s therapy experience. David and Carolyn, an unhappily married couple, are the parents of Claudia (the IP), Laura, and Don. The book is well written and hard to put down once you start reading it.

Whitaker has been criticized in the field, because many people believe that he does not really have a theory. It is believed that it is only his charismatic personality that drives his treatment. I disagree. I believe that one has only to read his chapter in The Handbook of Family Therapy (1981) and see these concepts illustrated in The Family Crucible to realize the depth and breadth of his theory.

In the service of reviewing the book, it is useful to consider Whitaker’s background and key theoretical concepts. He began as an OB/GYN and had no formal psychiatric training. He became involved in treating schizophrenics after World War II. Whitaker was interested in understanding disturbed relationships in a familial context and in determining whether serious symptoms such as those in psychotics might be reinforced by dysfunctional family patterns and beliefs.

From 1946 to 1955, Whitaker (1981) became involved in treating schizophrenia with a type of aggressive play therapy. In fact, Whitaker’s most formative training was in a child guidance clinic where he learned play therapy (Whitaker, 1981). Whitaker used some outrageous methods, including learning to talk “crazy,” arm wrestling, use of a baby bottle, and rocking, all of which were rooted in his training experience.

At the same time that he developed these techniques, he developed a kind of pyknolepsy, wherein he would fall asleep in the middle of a session. He would dream about his relationship with the patient being treated, and then make his associations to the dream a part of the therapy session (Whitaker, 1981). In justifying his unique techniques, Whitaker emphasized that “Each technique is a process whereby the therapist is developing himself and using the patient as an intermediary, that is the therapist is interacting in a primary process model” (p. 188).

In 1946, Whitaker (1981) moved to Emory, where he became chair of the Department of Psychiatry. It was here that he developed dual co-therapy with Dr. Thomas Malone. In 1964, Whitaker worked with David Keith to develop a postgraduate specialty in MFT at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. The development of symbolic-experiential methodology required students to “. . . take everything said by the patient as symbolically important as well as realistically factual” (Whitaker, 1981, p. 189).

Whitaker (1981) defined health as “. . . a process of perpetual becoming” (p. 190). He emphasized that what is most important in a healthy family is “. . . the sense of an integrated whole. . . The healthy family is not a fragmented group nor a congealed group. . . The healthy family will utilize constructive input and handle negative feedback with power and comfort. The group is also therapist to the individuals” (p. 190). Whitaker also defines the healthy family as “. . . a three to four generational whole that is longitudinally integrated. . . maintaining a separation of the generations. Mother and father are not children and the children are not parents” (p. 190). Whitaker also looked at the degree of volitional access parents and children have to outside support and interests. The families of origin in healthy families are on friendly terms.

Importantly, Whitaker looked to spontaneity as a marker of healthy communication in families. The healthy family allows each member to admit to problems and to identify competencies. Thus, it is emphasized that healthy families allow great freedom for the individual to be himself. Whitaker (1981) states that “. . . normal families do no reify stress” (p. 190).

Whitaker (1981) emphasized that a basic characteristic of all healthy families is the availability of an “as if” structure, which permits different family members to take on different roles at different times. Roles result from interaction instead of being rigidly defined. They are defined by various conditions, including the past, present, future, culture, and demands of the family at a given time. On the other hand, Whitaker defined the dysfunctional family as “. . . characterized by a very limited sense of the whole” (p. 194). Lack of flexibility at times of change, covert communication, intolerance of conflict, lack of spontaneity, lack of empathy, blaming and scapegoating, a lack of playfulness, and little sense of humor are all markers of unhealthy families from Whitaker’s perspective.

Whitaker placed heavy emphasis on the technique of co-therapy. In The Family Crucible, for example, the reader constantly witnesses Whitaker and Napier turn up the power. Whitaker and Napier’s process techniques illustrated in the book are designed to disorganize rigid patterns of behavior directly in session. The exposure of covert behaviors is considered to be the family’s misguided effort to stay in tact by submerging real feelings. There is a decisive here-and-now quality to symbolic-experiential interventions used in The Family Crucible, with a focus upon creating and then addressing en vivo emotional dynamics in therapy session.

Napier and Whitaker insisted that the entire Brice family be present in therapy. Indeed, Whitaker’s symbolic-experiential treatment model considered it crucial to begin the treatment process with the entire family (Napier and Whitaker, 1978). Whitaker (1981) has emphasized that “Our demand to have the whole family in is the beginning of our ‘battle for structure.’ It begins with the first phone call” (p. 204). He asserts that it is “. . . difficult to do process-focused family therapy without the children” and the “. . . experiential quality of family therapy requires the children’s presence” (p. 205). In the book, Napier and Whitaker (1978) frequently attempt change through playing and teasing, especially with Laura, Don, and Claudia. Members from David and Carolyn’s families of origin are invited to session. Whitaker (1981) states that in arranging for four generations to come to interviews as consultants that he is “. . . helping to evolve a large system anxiety” (p. 204). Experience is privileged over cognitive engagement throughout the treatment with the Brice family, as it is conceptualized that experience trumps cognitive growth in this theory.

Napier and Whitaker (1978) describe their co-therapy as symbolic of a professional marriage. Early treatment of the Brice family involved the co-therapists making decisions. Symbolically, they viewed the family as a baby taking its first steps. As such, the family required structure, so it follows that the therapists made unilateral decisions. Once Napier and Whitaker had won the battle for control, the therapists, like parents raising children, soften considerably. In the middle phase of the Brice family’s treatment, decisions about treatment were made more collaboratively. Again, the model for this process is increasing differentiation of the family. As therapy proceeded, the therapists took increasingly smaller roles, watching like proud parents as the Brice family became more integrated into changing themselves independent of the therapists. Whitaker (1981) clarifies that the therapy process “. . . begins with infancy and goes to late adolescence, where the initiative is with the kids, who then bear responsibility for their own living” (p. 107).

Throughout the book, it is implicitly and explicitly emphasized that the self-development of the therapists is the most important variable in the success of therapy. Napier and Whitaker (1978) acted as coaches or surrogate grandparents to the Brice family as therapy progressed. They were active and considered themselves to be the forces for change. Rather than a blank screen, they acted as allies of the family system. Especially in the beginning, Napier and Whitaker were directive. They used silence, confrontation and other anxiety-building techniques to unbalance the system. They acted as catalysts, who picked up on the unspoken and discovered the undercurrents represented by the family’s symbolic communication patterns. The co-therapists privileged their subjective impressions.

More than anything else, Napier and Whitaker (1978) had the courage to be themselves. They knew how to meet the absurdities of life and how to bring out people’s primary impulses. They believed strongly in the healing power of the human being, and, even more, of the family. They insisted that the family be in contact with its own craziness, play, and honor the spontaneous through their own modeling and directing.

The reader could observe how this symbolic-experiential therapy team moved through several stages. In the early part of treatment, the co-therapists battle for structure and they are all-powerful. In the mid-phase, the parental team functioned as stress activators, growth expanders, and creativity stimulators. Late in treatment, the co-therapists sat back and watched, respecting the independent functioning of the family. Whitaker (1981) holds that the “The sequence of joining and distancing is important. It is a lot like being with children. A father can get furious with his kids one minute, then be loving the next. We take the same stance with families” (p. 205). Thus, the role of the co-therapists was dynamic over the course of treatment with the Brice family.

Whether as a training therapist or a lay reader, it is inspirational to study the therapy offered by Napier and Whitaker (1978) in The Family Crucible. Self-disclosure, creative play, teaching stories, spontaneous interpersonal messages, the use of metaphor, and the sharing of parts of the therapists’ lives that reflect a working through in their own living are used generously. Process techniques intended to activate confusion around Claudia, the identified patient, unbalance the system, and open up authentic dialogue between marital partners and between the generations of extended families are used. It is emphasized, however, that it is not technique, but personal involvement that enabled Whitaker and Napier (1978) to do their best. It is continually illustrated how symbolic (emotional) experiences are fundamentally formative in the treatment of families, illustrated poignantly with the Brice family. Therefore, such experience should be created in session. To expose the covert world beneath the surface world is the most curative factor for the Brice family, is it is for all families. By getting inside the Brice family’s unique language and symbolic system, the therapists were able to move the family’s awareness from the content level to the symbolic level.

In THE FAMILY CRUCIBLE, Napier (1978) describes the curative process of Whitaker’s family therapy from the perspective of the co-therapist. The courage to embrace life’s absurdities involves the courage to be oneself, to the point of even sharing your free associations and thoughts with families. Daring to participate in the lives of the families, or even inviting them to share in your own life in order to get them in contact with submerged associations, helps families to get to the primary process level. In fact, the book underlines that the force of the therapist is central to treatment, so that the family’s encounter with the therapists is the primary curative agent. The goal of psychotherapy with the Brice family, as with all families, is to provide therapeutic experiences, and questions should be fired off in ways to unbalance the family. When Whitaker asks Carolyn, “When did you divorce your husband and marry the children?” he acts as an agent of change. He does not care whether the client likes him. And it is here that one realizes that the success of the psychotherapy depends on the emotional maturity of the therapist. The person of the therapist is at the heart of what good psychotherapy is all about. Since Whitaker states that therapy for the therapist is crucial, experiential training is essential for the therapist who would provide his/her clients with experiential treatment. In conclusion, this highly readable, inspirational, and useful book deserves a central place on every therapist’s bookshelf.

References

Whitaker, C. A. (1981). Symbolic-experiential family therapy. In A. S. Gurman & D. P.

Knistern (Eds.), Handbook of family therapy (pp. 187-225). New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Napier, A. Y., & Whitaker, C. (1978). The family crucible: The intense experience of

therapy. New York: HarperCollins.

Cystic Ovary: Understanding Cystic Ovaries, It's Symptoms And Treatments

Cystic Ovaries Are Different Then Having An Ovarian Cyst

If you have been diagnosed with a cystic ovary, you may be concerned about how this condition will affect you in the long run. A cystic ovary is a bit different from the occurrence of simple functional cyst and not nearly as common. Many women, who have PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, have a history of the condition in their families.

Polycystic Ovary syndrome is a set of symptoms that include a cystic ovary where a cluster of undeveloped follicles form cysts. This can occur when a woman does not ovulate regularly. In many cases, there aren’t any symptoms and some women don’t even know they have the condition unless the ovary becomes enlarged to the point that pain is being experienced or they have problems getting pregnant. When the doctor begins to run tests to determine the reason for their infertility, a PCOS diagnosis may be the answer.

In addition to the symptom of a cystic ovary, women with PCOS also experience a hormone imbalance. Approximately 4% to 10% of women during their reproductive years are diagnosed with PCOS, which is actually a metabolic dysfunction.

Symptoms And Treatment Methods You Can Expect

Some of the symptoms include infertility, persistent acne, obesity and an inability to lose weight, irregular periods, excessive body hair, thinning hair and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and breast or uterine cancer.

Traditional medical treatment for PCOS is usually determined based on the symptoms that present. Prescription hormone therapy is often recommended to help regulate and correct hormone levels. If diabetes is present, for example, it will be treated with insulin or diet.

It is important to understand that you can have a cystic ovary and not have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Studies have been done that have shown that many women with polycystic ovaries have no fertility problems whatsoever. Many women do not show any of the other signs of PCOS and see improvement when they make lifestyle changes that help balance their hormone levels.

Hormones Levels, Diet And Stress Can Lead To Cystic Ovaries

Hormone levels in women fluctuate throughout the monthly cycle and are very susceptible to outside influences. Stress can have a negative impact on hormone balance for example. Women who are experiencing high levels of stress may develop a cystic ovary as a result. Making an effort to eliminate stress and the negative impact it has on the body may help the cysts to dissolve.

Other factors, such as diet, have an enormous impact on hormone levels as well. Studies have revealed that women who are obese have a much higher likelihood of developing all types of ovarian cysts. It only makes sense that losing weight would be a first step to take if you find yourself with a cystic ovary.

Food choices are also an important factor. Foods high in sugar, white flour, preservatives, etc. all have a negative influence on hormone levels. Our bodies function much more efficiently when our diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean protein. Some research suggests that a diet high in meat and cheese is more likely to result in a cystic ovary.

Natural Treatment Methods Work Well In Getting Back To Better Health

A vitamin and mineral supplement is also often suggested in a natural treatment for a cystic ovary. It may help to boost the immune system and balance hormones. Herbalists suggest a variety of herbs as a treatment for the underlying hormonal imbalance and use them for their detoxifying properties.

If you have been diagnosed with a cystic ovary, be sure and follow your physician’s recommendations. You may want to discuss a holistic approach. One type of treatment does not exclude the other and a natural remedy may be all you need.

Paranoid Schizophrenia, the Krays, and Freud’s Confusion

There are various types of Schizophrenia, but Paranoid Schizophrenia is the most common. The patient has delusions that people are deliberately trying to persecute her, she may well consider herself of exalted birth, or maybe that she’s been sent on a special mission by the Government, although she’s not always sure what that mission might be.

Jealousy is another unpleasant symptom, together with hearing voices that are either of a threatening tone, or which threaten her directly. Sometimes she smells and tastes things which aren’t real.

The onset of this disease is usually between the ages of 15 and 35, and while there’s no cure, it can be controlled by conventional medications such as Thorazine, Prolixin, Haldol and Stelazine. These drugs became available in the 1950s.

In the last decade, more advanced medications appeared, such as Abilify, Zyprexa, Seroquel and Geodon. However, doctors recommend that if you’ve been placed on a course of the older drugs, you should stick to them and not try to change.

The DSM-IV, (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, volume four), defines the illness as follows:

1 ‘Preoccupation with one or more systemized delusions, or with frequent auditory hallucinations related to a single theme.

2. None of the following must be present. Incoherence, marked loosening of association, flat or grossly inappropriate affect, catatonic behaviour, grossly disorganized behaviour.’

A man with a classic case of Paranoid Schizophrenia was Ronald Kray. He, together with his twin brother Reggie, were two of the most vicious villains that London, especially the East End, has had the displeasure of encountering. Their reign of terror spanned nearly two decades, through the 1950s and ’60s.

Their gang, or ‘The Firm,’ as they insisted it be called, included a character named Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie. They employed him as a hit man and general enforcer. Now Reggie was a lot more balanced than Ronnie, and often fell beneath his twin’s spell.

Jack the Hat had been given 1500 pounds to eliminate a rival gangster. For some reason, he failed to deliver on the contract, and the Krays invited him to a party at a house in Hackney, East London. Except that there wasn’t a party. Jack was the only guest.

As soon as he walked through the door, Ronnie told Reggie to shoot him. The gun misfired twice, so Ronnie took Jack in a bear hug, slipped Reggie a knife and told him to do the necessary. Reggie did so with a vengeance.

That’s just one example. Nobody knew where they stood with Ronnie. He could be your best friend one minute and carve his name between your shoulder blades the next. No reason. Just sudden violence, a sudden desire to kill or maim.

The brothers owned an upscale nightclub in the West End of London, and of course this suited Ronnie’s feelings of self importance. Violence, a dominant symptom of the illness, and jealousy were two of the foremost traits that Ronnie displayed.

Finally, he and his brother were arrested by Superintendent Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read of Scotland Yard, and imprisoned for life.

Freud was of the opinion that patients would be in the grip of serious mental disorders for life and that slowly but surely they’d be dragged down to the gutter. He was wrong, as we’ll see later.