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Pain, pins and placebo



Stories such as this are perennial favourites in the Fairfax press, it seems that they just love any piece that validates “alternative” medicine and you know what I am happy to admit that for some people any kind of mumbo jumbo will appear to be efficacious but if you burrow down into things like this you will find that the result is almost certainly an artefact of the placebo effect, where faith in the efficacy of a treatment makes it so. In essence its a case of “patient heal thyself” . Cynics like yours truly who have a rather negative view of acupuncture will of course get no benefit from being poked with needles, and yes I have tried it and found it to be utterly useless.

  Cheers Comrades

Acupuncture to treat existential pain

Acupuncture to treat existential pain


Radical honesty, or strapped for tact.

We live  our lives steeped in expectations that we should be eternally vigilant lest we upset the feelings of others and you know what I can see the social value of that in providing a sort of social lubricant  that belies the need to explain what you really feel and then to subsequently ameliorate any unintended hurt or offence that your straight shooting honesty may have caused. This when someone asks us  what we think about that new outfit or hairdo  we are more likely than to give them some sort of positive affirmation even when we sincerely think the result is, well, not an improvement or even at all atheistically pleasing. It takes an effort to do this if you are at all self-aware  and one thing that chronic pain does is make you hyper-self -aware and often  rather strapped for tact.

In the normal course of the day I don’t actually see that many people and those I do see tend to be those I genuinely care about so its rather easy to make the effort not to be brutally  honest in my interactions with them. For those who are out side this circle of compassion I seem to be generally able to at least be neutral in my responses to their clear need for affirmation.

One of the downsides of our Christian society seems to be the rather  bizarre expectation that no matter how much someone has sinned against you  you are expected to offer them compassion and concern when they are laid low by some major health crisis. No matter how much of an arse they have been it is clearly considered bad form to be radically honest with them about your indifference  to their plight or worse yet to suggest that they may have even deserved  their medical  misfortune.  Frankly I say no to this sort of dishonesty and if ever there is a time for some radical honesty its when your self styled enemies are having to perform a bit of self reflection about the way they live their lives and to contemplate their own mortality. If they have offended you I see nothing wrong whatsoever in sharing to the seductive pleasure of schadenfreude   with the object of your disdain an appreciation of Karma, that in the larger scheme of things there is a sort of divine justice.   It is after all just how I feel about the acts and behaviour of others and even myself. We all carry a chain that is forged by the things that we do in our lives and of course I acknowledge that I have my own clanking baggage, but I can’t change the past  and I refuse submit to any regret or the vain wish that the timeline be different. All that I can do is live in the now as I now think is the most honest and honourable manner to show as much kindness as I can to the deserving and as little cruelty  to those who deserve it as I can.

Cruelty is rather like chilli, a little is a fine garnish  but too much causes burning at both ends and can even be fatal in a high concentrations. If we are radically honest with ourselves then we can admit that we all, on occasion, take some delight in the suffering of  an enemy or unpleasant opponent in an argument.  I am all together too radically honest sometimes but that is just the way I am and I see no reason to change that. In fact I think that the world would be a better place if at least some of the hypocritical artifice of  faux eternal care and compassion were stripped away from our social intercourse in person and especially on the internet where false flags  are sadly all to common.   I can’t help thinking that those who make the biggest fuss about my radical honesty are not actually upset  by the apparent cruelty of my disdain but the underlying fear that I might just be right. Frankly there is nothing that upsets a sinner like pointing out their sins and the divine justice that they have so well  earned by the way that they conduct themselves in this all too short turn upon the wheel of life.

Cheers Comrades.



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