Sunday, December 11, 2011

Beyond the person

The 91 year old mother of a friend of mine recently died, or left her body as we say. She had been born on the island of Corfu, where she learnt Italian, and grew up in Egypt where she learnt English, French and presumably Arabic. She then went to live in Israel where she and her partner spoke English (of a fashion) at home - their common language as her partner was from Poland. They came to Australia from Israel in the 1960s.

This woman had dementia, and as the dementia worsened, she reverted to speaking to everyone in Italian, (the later and more superficial layers of her being peeled away...? I have noticed this with my dad, who is reverting in some ways to his earlier identities, without the layer of religiosity which got added in his fifties.)

What is interesting is that my friend's mother went into hospital with pneumonia, had a horrible time of it, (as chronically ill people often do have in hospitals) and emerged far more lucid than she had been for years. She decided she did not wish to continue to live (in/with a body) and refused to eat or drink til she died.

This tale is similar to accounts of devotees of Ramana Maharshi, such as Major Chadwick and S. Cohen and Maurice Frydman, who had all become incoherent but suddenly "emerged" to make clear statements about the true nature of their being before the body died.

Invention dumber lebenty seben

Having trouble keeping floppy adolescents upright? Are you a parent whose child flops on you in shule? R U a teacher who faces rows of slumped adolescents staring blankly at their forearms or school jumpers. We have come up with a cost effective solution, Presenting: The teenage hangar:

We did not have a teenager to model the device readily available ( we could not get them off the computer) so instead we used a more rigid stand-in (forgive the pun), but one which nevertheless should give customers a good idea of the potential of the new device.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reminders to self

People with advanced alzheimers may be some of the free-est beings on the planet – only for that part of us invested in the notion of personality is the break down of memory – the glue which sticks “the person” together – threatening.

Narrative therapy:
What should be internalised is externalised (Wall Street etc) and what should be externalised (shame, powerlessness, anger, hurt) is there is aweful confusion...not, of course, that there are any shoulds

Yes I can cope on my own, but can I thrive on my own?
Yes you can cope on your own, you can continue, but can you shift into more truth, more authenticity, more discipline, more spontanaiety, more joy on your own?

Those of us who are lucky enough to find ourselves in situations of relative peace would do well to treasure it and not seek out war.

“I would say that one of the most important kinds of unpleasantness is boredom, so much so that I think that one of the hell gates that leads to maturity, to satori – the great awakening – is the abilitry to stay with boredom, not to try to jump out of it, do something interesting, or use it for complaining. (Fritz Perls, 1967, Four Lectures, p.43)

Nisargadatta voices a similar sentiment: “Once the mind is quiet, keep it quiet. Don’t get bored with peace, be in it, go deeper into it.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

The phenomenon of reluctance amongst non-Orthodox Jews

How do you get them to shul? With food, with guilt, with pleas to save the dying or near extinct animal of Judaism. But to ask them to come to shul to commune with the Divine, to find strength and clarity for their life challenges - this doesn't work, because people don't really know if they believe in a G-d or what that word means, because their world views are essentially consumerist-secular, and because they have never had that world view challenged in a systematic and fundamental (not fundamentalist) way.

Then how about getting them to come and connect with each other? Existential isolation and disconect is one of the biggest of the modern sufferings. Well, no, because prayer services as currently constituted do not facilitate the exchange of experience - after all tefila (prayer) is not an encounter/support group, unless we mean encounter with each person's understanding of G-d/HaShem.

It seems to me that shules - temples - synagogues are the perfect place for support groups to be for middle aged dads, one for middle aged moms, one for singles, one for gays, one for adolescents, one for grieving people, one for new parents, one for people wrestling with illness, one for people seeking bliss. Such groups build real communities of meaning, and should precede prayer, the surrendering to the higher power. Indeed I doi not believe authentic prayer is possible without the prior clearing of the inter personal backlogue many of us carry.

Another challenge is communal prayer. Judaism has traditionally valued communal prayer over individual prayer, but communal prayer, humans being social animals, engenders all the pomp, hypocrisy, concern about apperances and role playing that get in the way of an authentic contact. In reform synagogues, where most of the congregants are Jewish ignoramuses who dabble in Judaism to keep a vestigal connection of something to something alive, people bob and bow when they think they're supposed to, look around to check if its ok to sit down now, page through the prayer book desperately trying to find something to read, peer at attractive congregants etc. In ultra orthodox shtiebels people mumble the words like automatons, asleep and numb to themselves and the other, or seek kavod with expressions of piety or their physical location in the shul.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Are Evangelical churches really run by Christians?

When Jews are disproportionately represented in certain areas and certain countries, for example in 'the media' in the USA, conspiracy theorists immediately attempt to impute that there is something sinister or problematic with this.

I was wondering how this might work with other ethnic groups and sectors. For example are Afro Americans dominating basketball and boxing too much? Why is the Catholic Church run exclusively by Catholics? Why are there not more Jewish and Moslem bishops in the Vatican? Is the Catholic Church threatened by diversity? And why are all the rulers of Moslem lands Moslem? And their governments, media, judiciary, armies, and police force staffed exclusively by Moslems. When will we see a Bahai president in Iran? And when will Malaysia appoint a Hindu or Christian chief justice?

What about the over representation of women in women's groups, or the complete domination of horse racing and trophy hunting by the 'caucasian race'?? When will the conspiracy to exlude Jains and Bhuddists from the hunting and pro gun fraternity end? And why are evangelical TV channels staffed and funded by evangelicals. is there something they don't want us to know?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Understanding Existential Therapy

Existential therapy, by focusing on choice, authenticity and what Satre called 'being condemned to freedom' helps clients eventually leave therapy with an increased tolerance for the uncertainty of life. Medelowitz and Schneider (2008) claim: "More sure of oneself, one embraces the challenges and responsibilities of life without knowing precisely what lies beyond" (p.322).

Despite the existentialists claim that they brought a flexibility and dogma free approach to therapy, it seems to me the above quotation is only really a paraphrase of something Freud had said some 100 years prior: "you will see for yourself that much has been gained if we succeed in turning your hysterical misery into common unhappiness."

Perhaps Woody Allan (nee Allen Konigsberg) highlighted the gains one can make in existential therapy best: "...mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to utter hopelessness and despair, the other to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Engagement and inattention

Many people all over the world identified with the struggle in South Africa. The struggle for the rights and human dignity of the majority of South Africans rightly and fortunately attracted passive and active sympathy from people around the world. But once the struggle was no longer sexy, and dissolved into the ambiguity of a post-Apartheid dispensation where crime. corruption, misgovernance and perhaps a national discourse dominated by falsehoods have created (or perpetuated) an unstable, unsafe and unequal society, people have lost interest. (it is an inescapable irony that many of the things white racists predicted would happen in a post apartheid dispensation have) Wellwishers around the globe still cite Mandela as an example of a secular saint, but beyond that feel no responsibilty for what has materialised.

I wonder if the same kind of dynamic is perhaps kicking in with other trendy causes, such as the Palestinian one? Some people may do their best to reshape or replace Israel, in the name of the assertion of Palestinian dignity, and then, if the Jewish homeland is dismembered or so emasculated that it is eventually replaced by another corrupt or fundamentalist or dictatorial Moslem state, people in Scandanavia and San Francisco will shrug their shoulders and turn back to their lives...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fee Structure For Counsellors and Therapists

In keeping with the trend towards the commodification of everything, and as a service to both counsellors and their clients, we have created an itemized tariff structure which makes it very easy for both parties to know exactly where they sit.

Basic services

Passive listening - $ 5.00
Active Listening - $15.00
Collusion, flattery, and lying - $20.00
Unconditional positive regard without empathy - $50.00
Unconditional positive regard with empathy - $70.00

depression - - $100.00
anxiety and depression - $150.00
anxiety with depression and suicidal ideation - $200.00

Ambivalence - $50.00 or $70.00

Positive transference - $20
Negative tranbsference - $200.00

Conter transference - 10% discount

Reflection - youre wondering what the rates are?

visual hallucinations - ^&@#(*&%*
auditory hallucinations - 200 rupees

insomnia - night sessions available, special rates

projection - this will be discussed somewhere where the illuminati cannot track us

angry outbursts
without spittle - $60.00
with spittle - $90.00
catharsis - $150.00
catharsis & allowed to assume foetal
position on floor - $300.00 (includes blanket)


Adlerian, Jungian or Freudian - $20/interpretaion

Kleinian - add 10$/per interpretation

(10% rebate on invalid interpretations)

Seating arrangements

Economy chair without arm rests - $20.00/hour
Comfortable wing back chair - $35.00/hour
empty chair - the price will be negotiated with the chair itself
Throne (for narcissists) - $70.00/hour

Those with low self esteem may sit on the floor for free

Optional Accessories

Tissues - 5c per tissue
Lavender scented tissues - 10c per tissue

Truthtelling - priceless

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Steal these ideas!

Did you see that film?
Which one?
That Italian one...or maybe it was Yugoslavian
He goes somewhere, they meet, then she comes backtell me more
it was by that director, you know the one who also did that film about the war, Golub, Hiroslav was it, maybe Miroslav
ah yes, i think i know, it was called the lost, or the damned
yes, something like that...the forgotten maybe. Anyway this one was very good. After they leave it turns around completely and both of them discover each other's past.
Was that the one with Marcellioni?
I think so....Marcellioni...Martrevioni...something like that. He was superb. And at the end the both leave.
they're making some amazing stuff these days,eh?


slovakian vs slovenian...never quite sure where they are...ok slovakia must have been Checheslovakia, but was slovenia transylvania. or am i getting completely mixed up?

A therapist is seeing someone in prison, a sociopath, who has been ordered into therapy, and wants them to become soft and vulnerable. But he knows that in the abnormal context of prison it is taking away the shield and armouring that protects them, and leaving them "naked", so to "heal" the client is to place them in danger. Another dimension is that the prison authorities exert great pressure on the therapist to collude with their judgement, to slap a label on the client so that they can put him into a higher security wing or remove certain priviledges.

As they explore the client's past, with a focus less opn what he did and more opn what was initially done to him...


A Jewish therapist/psychologist with a young neo-Nazi or Moslem ganster who has been ordered into therapy after killing a man who he thought was Jewish.At first there is complete non-compliance, while the therapist wrestles with his own demons (a son who suicided). Quite early in the process the young man realises the therapist is Jewish and hurls a string of abuse at him. The therapist tells their supervisor they cannot continue, but then regrets this decision and decides to continue:

I don't want you to abuse me
Fuck you Jew cunt
[Now how does he repond? with a feel good for the audience physical assertion of his boundaries as per Robyn Williams in Good Will Hunting, or a more subtle response....?]
For example he leaves the room, and the client has to come for every session and sit there on his own for 50 minutes..which he does for five or so sessions, each time abusing the therapist, each time the therapist gets up and leaves, eventually the client stops with the abuse because he is bored, so they sit facing each other in silence.
Lets see if we can find something we can agree on, says the therapist, fishing for something on which to begin building a therapeutic alliance...
We can agree that you're a Jew cunt. He folds his arms defiantly across his chest. The psychologist gets up....
wait..wait...sit down
The psychologists sits
You married, eventually the client offers?
If I were married what would that mean to you?
Nothing, I was just making conversation. But if you're going to do that
psychology bullshit on me I won't.
The therapist considers this:
Yes I'm married
Long time
17 you call that long?
Yes that's long.
Why do you ask?


Children, along with water proofing and stranger danger classes (ironical since most abuse happens in the family from perpetrators familiar to the recipient of the abuse) could be given advertisement proofing training as well 

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Bullies of the BSD "Campaign"

From my point of view the BSD campaign is divisive, polarizing, profoundly unconscious (its based on projection rather than ownership), and profoundly reactive. Its blanket condemnation of Israelis, without distinguishing between those who priorities places - mostly burial places (kever Avot, the 3rd century synagogue in Jehricho) above people, and those who prioritise an abstract "am yisrael" above the need for peace and stability that most Israelis express - this blanket condemnation of all Israelis and Zionists makes "settlers" of us all.

As such the BSD com-(pound)-pain is less likely to reduce human suffering than to increase the energy blockage that swirls around the Israeli-Palestinian wrestle-embrace. Making the other wrong is never fertile ground for change. But perhaps the people who align themselves with it aren't interested in reducing suffering, but in making themselves "right"?

Rather than being coerced and intimidated many people (such as myself) will go out of their way to

a) Buy Israeli products and support Israeli owned businesses

b) Support political parties that promote an even handed approach to the conflict, rather than a punitive and predjudiced one

I also suggest that people look to make contact with Hindu communities in your towns and cities, and establish Jewish Hindu cultural exchange programmes, as there is a natural affinity between the two cultures (despite the ultra-orthodox's misguided labelling of some forms of Hinduism as 'avodah zara" - "idol worship" - but how would they know, they've never stepped outside their mental ghetto to find out, and anyway the ultra-orthodox are no more representative of the Jewish people than the Assad regime is representative of ordinary Syrians.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Its Curtains!

Here are some great texts suitable for Jewish Kirtans:

1) Bilvavi - letting go of ego (i.e your stories)

Bilvavi mishkan evneh, lehadar kevodo
uvmishkan mizbeach asim lekarnei hodo
ulner tamid ekach li et eysh haakeydah
ulekorban akriv lo et nafshi, et nafshi hayechida

I will build a sanctuary in my heart, to beautify His presence
and in this sanctuary I will place an alter, to receive His majesty
and for an eternal light I will offer up the fire from the binding of Isaac
and as a sacrifice (giving up the lesser to come closer to the greater) I will offer up my singular being

2) Adon Olam - all or any part - Eternal One

3) Yedid Nefesh - beloved of my soul

4) Telihim Chaf Gimmel - Psalm 23

5) Ana Bekoach -

6)Adoshem Hu Elokim - the Lord is G-d

7) Ayn od milvado - There is nothing besides Self

8) Keyl Rachum ve Chanun - Merciful One

9) Hallelu

10)Shabos Kodesh (the tune of the Moshav Band)

11) Rachmana d' anei, deanei le'anyei


13)Selected verses from anim' zmirot

14)Barechi Nafshi


16)Return return

17) Pitchu li shaarei tzedek - moshav band tune

open the gates of cosmic balance/I will enter, with gratitude to the Divine/ thank you for you have answered/and become my salvation/the stone that the builders despised/ has become a corner stone/this is from Jah/ it is amazing in our sight/ this day, this moment, is as G-d as it gets/ we will delight and take joy in it

18) Avinu Malkeinu - our father, our king!

19)Kol Galgal

20) Ki Va Moed - Carlebach - now is the time

21) Yivneh Beyto - Carlebach

22) Listen listen listen (to my heart's song)

23) Shifchi kamayim - Carlebach

24) Ken bakodesh

25) Lev Tahor

26) Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh - done responsively

ie. leaders: kadosh, kadosh, kadosh
devotees: kadosh kadosh kadosh
leaders:adoshem tzevaot
devotees:adoshem tzevaot
leaders:meloh chol haaretz kevodod
devotees:meloh chol haaretz kevodo
and repeat upping tempo slightly

27) חסד מופלא
קול דממה דקה
שפדה נפשי השבויה
הייתי עיור, הרגשתי חסר

חסד מופלא
מה מתוק הצליל

28)Krakow Niggun


Chanting these word sounds may help to reintroduce G-d consciousness to many people,or states of excitement and or bliss and or repose. To chant shemot (names) of the divine is to be in love with devotion, with the spell of surrender, which is why Krishna Das can chant the name of Jesus ("open up the gates of the church and let me out of here/ too many people have died in the name of christ for anyone to hear the call") and see it merely as a synonym for boundary-less love, which anhilates all effort and all artificially maintained difference.

To get a sense check out Kirtan Rabbi, and Reb Krishna (nee Jeffry Kagel)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

HaTikvah (Ha Amitit)

My only hope is: This world (and is there a world or is it all just my own projection?) is somehow - incomprehensibly - already perfect and nothing needs to be done (except for that which will be done by The Doer). Not perfect from the point of view of the body, of course, which cannot escape birth and death (and if it is not an early death then add to the inescapables decay) but from the point of view of THAT which briefly animates the body for its own ends.

On the other hand, in her shmooze (discourse) "The Lion Courage of the Heart" Gangaji seems to me to be inviting us to abandon such fictitious hopes, which are just another means of postponement, of avoiding whatever is here right now.

Eylu veeylu divrei Elokim chayim...these and these are the words of the living G-d.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


One of our lecturers ( who is a very engaging and passionate speaker and, as it turns out, is also an ex-priest) said that "Freud was of Jewish descent, but did not identify as a Jew". It may have flown past the others but I am (of course?) hyper alert almost anytime someone says the word "Jew" (are they going to attack? praise? neutral or disinterested? [sigh of relief] accentuate us? deny us?) mentally argued with it, because of prior readings.

While browsing wikipedia for our modalities assignment, I came across the following in the article on Freud:

"Freud was a "partially assimilated, mostly secular Jew."[12] According to biographer Ernest Jones "Freud's Jewishness contributed greatly to his work and his firm convictions about his findings. Freud often referred to his ability to stand alone, if need be, without wavering or surrendering his intellectual and scientific discoveries, and he attributed this ability to his irreligious but strong Jewish identity in an antisemitic society, whereby he was accustomed to a marginal status and being set aside as different."[13]Freud once described himself as "an author who is ignorant of the language of holy writ, who is completely estranged from the religion of his fathers—as well as from every other religion", but who remains "in his essential nature a Jew, and who has no desire to alter that nature".[14]

I know there are other places (intro to Moses and Monotheism for example??) where Freud makes it abundantly clear that he owns his Jewishness, and sees it as feeding his creativity and vision. So to all those who would prefer that Freud be pried away from his Jewishness and be only of the euphemistic "Jewish descent" here's your rebuttal. But don't worry even if he identified as a Jew you can still own him, and take anything in his thinking you find useful.

In a moment of clarity

One can make one's stand downstream, where the reactivity has emerged as polarised debates, angry fors and againsts, or upstream, closer to the place where these debates have their genesis, closer to the source than the symptoms. How many times have I forgotten this and got lost downstream, contributing to the great and senseless maya of reactive debate. Awake Sir Immanuel!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

For Walt Whitman

See also sulam-yaakov

Studies in Being

Above the village of Koke
sits Moimango
watching over his people
sometimes his son
now also old
comes to pay his respects
in Moimango's abdominal cavity
rodents have made their nests
on his toes and fingers
lichen goes
his head nods forward
around his people
the jungle grows

Poems come up in the night
if I don't write them down
they dive beneath the surface again

The theory of relativity

If I were alone on the moon
then coming across
even the filthiest public loo
... that stank of urine
and shit stains on the bowl
would be like finding
a long lost and dearly loved friend

(see also The General Theory of Ephemerality)



Imagine if wheat got a warning:
now hear this
in 10 hours you will be cut off at the roots
taken from your moist earth fields of gold
and baked to brown in ovens

imagine if cows got a warning:
now hear this
in 10 hours men with prods
that sting like wasps
will bother you to crowd together
for a long thirsty journey
in a cattle truck
to a place that smell of blood and dung
where shuddering one by one
what's done is done

Imagine if the Jews got a warning
now hear this
in 10 hours you will be cut off at the roots
taken from the muddy streets and thin lipped forests
and cathedral cut throat towns
crowded together
for a long thirsty journey
in a cattle truck
to a place where something smells wrong
men and women
with guns and dogs
will crowd you together
one after one
bake you in ovens
and what's done is done

Some thoughts make me feel small
and some thoughts make me feel big
some thoughts are bullies
that push me around and beat me up
some thoughts make me laugh


No purpose can survive the sea
which is why people go there with a fishing line
to hold onto

I squeeze my latest poems out of me
like toothpaste out of a near empty tube


the dessicated overproduced thoughts
of old poets past their prime
desperate to retain
their imaginary sage ship

Second World War Memorabilia for avid collectors
a Mauser pistolA pregnant peasant woman with a bayonet through her bellyA lampshade made from a Jewish youth's skin
A pile of eyeglasses without eyes
A canister of Zyklon B


Does a person
falling into a mass grave
like the tree in the earless forest
make a sound so feint
that after six decades
it cannot be heard at all?

The Big Bluff

I pretended I was confident
(trying fake it til you make it)
I pretended I learnt from experience how not to make new mistakes
I pretended I was both strong and sensitive
I pretended I wasn't scared or sad
and sometimes I pretended I was unhappy
I pretended I was otherwordly when I craved sweet flesh
and pretended I was earthy when the world repelled me
I pretended when there was no need to pretend
I pretended when almost everyone saw through my pretence, but me
I feigned contentment and I feigned
I feigned interest so it wouldn't look like I was alone
I feigned uniqueness
I feigned sameness
I feigned acceptance when I felt anger
and I feigned anger when I was hurt
I pretended to be invincible for my children
and to be helpless for my parents
I pretended yesterday's courage could dispel today's terror
I pretended I was unflappable and cool
I pretended I was one of those
who act on their conviction
(Perhaps I pretended I was convinced)
I bluffed my way through life
often anxious I would be called out
like shaka's witch sniffing
to be dealt with at the side
but I shall have my recompense
when at my funeral
I shall only pretend
to die


Signs of life:
traces of margarine in the jam jar
a to do list that always recedes into the unreachable distance
ants eating a worm on the concrete driveway
bird shit on the brand new car


male supremacy is a

I love me
without any "buts"
without any "because"
not even "because I am"
without I love me
without love
without me
in the hollow curve
from which the last thought
has gone

Goverment Gazette

be safe
don't swing on the branches
don't feel the wind in your hair
don't lie in the sun
don't inhale
be safe
dob on your neighbours
get your cervix and prostate palpitated
don't leave your car
report any suspicious activity
excluding call centres, washing powder ads, reality shows, workaholism and intrafamilial violence
be safe
watch out for exotic species and crumbling cliffs
be confident and assertive
be two metres tall and weigh 300kgs
don't leave your belongings unattended
don't talk to strangers
rather sorry than unsafe
consult your physician
or mental health professional
make sure you live til 90
and die of advanced


You sexy bitch
with your breasts and your ovaries
your lungs and your kidneys
your stomach that burps in the night

you sexy bitch
with your warm wet vagina
sticky with blood every month
how I stuffed you back into your skin
only to have your stubble and breath
trouble me again

"I trust nobody, including myself" Joseph Stalin

In the morning
I lock myself up
in case I escape

like an unblemished etrog
her hand upon the steering wheel
her nipples
two spears that pierce my eyes
and from between her pearl teeth
and plumped lips
the vapours that hint
of body's end
For Walt Whitman

thank you for the letter you sent me
I read the words thirstily

with great sobs of laughter

then threw it away
knowing your next

is already on its way

I am my own factory farmed cow
prodding my tired fattened body
mercilessly on to where freedom awaits
at the abbatoir gates


I don't even know how it is
let alone how it will be
and its not that I have courage
its sometimes that courage has me

if I can't sing then I will write
and if I can't write then I will paint
and if I can't paint then I will act
and if I can't act or paint or write
then I'll get a job selling bogus holiday deals
from a call centre in the Phillipines or Mumbai
on commission
and I'll lovingly craft every phone call I make
to angry people interrupted at their dinner
or to a pensioner glad of the voice puncturing the stillness
as if they were my legacy
for G-d makes no mistakes

dragged apart by heaven and earth
I want to rise
and sink to my knees
at the same time


sitting next to you in the car
feeling safe and warm
a good times song on the radio
wind in my hair
steaming coffee in the holder
battery chickens in their hovels
sex-slaves in their brothels

this is as G-d as it gets/
it don get much G-dder than this


Sometimes I watch the news
hoping to see suffering and general mayhem
and then I might flick channels
and land on an image of an Afghan boy
holding on to parallel bars
long jalabiya wrapping around the stumps
left by a Taliban or NATO bomb
and it slices through the brittle casing
resentment and fear have placed round my heart
and as sadness comes flooding I stop pretending
their hurt can diminish mine


As the human beast grows older
they keep more files
and boxes in dusty storerooms
begin to shuffle at night in slippers
keep track of their investments
if middle class, or if not
sit on a beer crate
and stare at the dust


Teenage girls
their bodies bursting out of their clothes
middle aged men
their eyes bursting out of their sockets

Haiku with Dan

The giraffe eating
accacia leaves what a
journey to travel

The giraffe eating
leaves of the acacia
a long way to go


To Sylvia Plath and HaShem

Love set the universe ticking
like a well made gold watch

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Palestine will be free / equality of misery

Palestine will be free
from the river to the sea
as free as Gaza, the one party state
where to speak against Hamas is to seal your fate
as free as a woman of the Taliban
who can only breathe if her owner says she can
as free as a Bishop in Teheran
who can choose between a bullet or conversion to Islam
as free as Hariri was to crticize Hizballah
til they blew him and 21 others up to Allah
as free as Turkey to bomb the PPK
and any non-combatants who might get in the way
as free as a donkey, explosives strapped to its back
sent by Hamas in a donky-ish attack
as free as Gilad six years alone
denied Red Cross visits and a word from home
as free as a cronies of Arafat or Abbas
to pocket billions of donor cash
Yes Palestine will be free
from the river to the sea

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dream of BellJew Hill

from early hours of 1st January 2009

Dreamt I had an argument with Matt Kameron, a young maths teacher at the school I taught at. He was a store owner selling wallets, and I had bought a large quantity of these wallets from an assisstant and at home discovered two were blemished and was returning them, and

he was politely arguin that it was not a given that they take them back, and I was politely arguing that they should and must, and although my voice was reasonable and my arguments coded in logic in my belly stirred the fears of the irrational - that he would get onto my Jewishness and ascribe that as a possible motivation for wanting to return the wallets, which indeed he did in an oblique polite sort of way, discussing that I lived in Bellvue Hill and Highlands North (my old South African suburb, which Matt has never been to!), and the expectations that would engender in me, and then asked what shul I went to, to which I replied: " why do you assume I go to shul? Do I assume you go to church because you are nominally Christian??"

(All of this paralleled real life exchanges I'd had at one time or another in SA)

I woke up still caked in a thick muddy sleep, my eyes gummed, my head heavy, my throat dry...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today we are all Hamas

Today we are all Hamas
today we all wear kefiyot and feel we are part of something
today we all chant slogans and persecute the Bahai and Maronite and Coptic Christians
today we all blame Israel
an invisible halo of rectitude by association hovers smugly over us
like a dense and poisonous smog
today we all celebrate rockets and mortars falling on frightened
people in Sderot and the surrounding villages
today we say enough!
why must Hamas make do with makeshift missiles and bombs
remove the blockade so that they can blow up Israeli children going to school
with big missiles stamped “made in Iran”
today we are all Hamas
today we throw our political opponents of roofs
and strap explosives to donkeys
today we kidnap soldiers
and don’t allow the red cross to see them
for four or five years
today we promise to ethnically cleanse Palestine
of anyone who doesn’t think
like us
for today we are all Hamas

Monday, July 25, 2011

A question

What does a middle aged man
in the strait jacket of respectability
do with his yearnings
for bliss and oblivion?

Israeli Flotilla sails for Kurdistan

Instead of Israel apologising to Turkey, why doesn't Israel just launch its own flotilla carrying supplies to the Kurds, who have been living under Turkish oppression for decades

I will not insult Islam even if it kills me

In response to the anguish in Norway

Well I don't like the Australian govt's continued blind eye to factory farming or its xenophobia re refugees so I'm just gonna nip down the road and blow up the old ladies at the local lawn bowling club, and then I might shoot up the chinese take away shop and a few stray dogs. That'll teach someone something (but what I'm not sure, except that life is very very fragile)

New stereotypes for the 21st century

As brilliant as a black
As understanding as an englishman
As compassionate as a German
As resilient as an Israeli
As light hearted as a Moslem
As creative as a Jew

Monday, July 18, 2011

Blessing to be said

Blessing top be sid upon seeing a perfectly formed breast and/or nipple:

Baruch ata hashem, elokeynu melech haolam, Ayl shedai chayim

Israeli's living on the West Bank

I have no issue with the Israelis who have chosen to live in Hevron, Schem (which the Moslems call Nablus), or any other place on the West Bank / Yehuda veShomron. Jews have always lived in these areas. In fact Jews had lived in Hebron continuously from Abraham's time until 1929, when an Arab pogrom murdered sixty-seven Jews on 23 and 24 August 1929, and the rest of the Jewish community fled. Jewish homes and synagogues were looted.

Yet here we have a clear choice on what to focus on, those historical facts that promote a perpetrator/righteous victim discourse, or others that modify and shift this, such as the nineteen Hebron Arab families who saved 435 Jews by hiding them in their houses at great risk to themselves.

As the reknowned thinker Byron Katie has said "Victims are dangerous" And what is a victim? Anyone who believes and tells themselves they are a victim. Which is what many Israelis and Palestinians do for much of the time, feeding their "pain bodies" (Eckhart Tolle Incorporated Pty Ltd, what does the man do with all the money??), their "victimhood" with selective facts that reinforce it. With so many "victims" wondering around, no wonder the West Bank is a potentially explosive place.

So it is not the presence of Israelis in Hebron - it is the natural and perhaps G-d given right to be there as much as the Palestinians - but their way of being there that I see as gradually dispossesing me of a bold, flexible, creative, youthful open State of Israel in which I would want to live.

It is the narrative of the "returnees" in Beit El and Tekoah and Kiryat Arbah that I have an issue with. Many of them have a triumphalist "my story is the only story"approach, and their understanding of self and other does not seem to be able to accomodate others - be it equally triumphalist Palestinians, or Israelis who do not see it as useful or life enhancing to claim the real or imagined graves of ancestors. The great and oft examined irony is that settler movement claims that it does what it does in the name of an imaginary and idealised "am yisrael" - people of Israel, while loathing, delegitimising and attacking the values of 70% of the real Jews who make up the real Am Yisrael - leftists, secularists, homosexuals, pragmatists, consumers who want the golden calf of a nicer car and a ski holiday, people who insist on trying to see the other's point of view, Jews affiliated with the progressive and conservative movements, modern orthodox Jews with a more pluralist orientation, anti-Zionist Haredi Jews, indifferent Jews, and so forth.

To call someone who disagrees with you a "traitor" and to physically harass (or assassinate or lay pipe bombs at their door in the most extreme cases), or to verbally abuse them over and over again - surely this can only create cycles of reaction and reactivity, hurt and suffering?

It seems to me what threatens Israel as a robust collective more than anything else is the polarisng discourse which instead of expanding to include a broad swathe of opinion, increasingly tries to pretend the other is not there - or has no right to be there. This is as true of the extreme left as it is of the extreme right. If we cannot develop a mechanism to create an Am Yisrael which is not just in our own image, I imagine we will struggle to maintain independent peoplehood (of course I hope I am wrong in this assumption!)

Its also interesting that increasing hysterical "pro-Palestinian" voices in the West (in inverted commas because these so called activists care little for the Palestinians, it is mostly about their own quest for meaning and their own identity needs - a cause bestows meaning and purpose on the leisured class who can afford to hire boats and planes and take off time from work to attack Israeli owned chocolate shops) strangely mirror the internal delegitimising that goes on between Israelis and Jews. We delegitimise each other internally, and then "the world" amplifies this and does the same thing back to us as a collective. Mida keneged mida?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Psychology, symptomatic and systemic dysfunction

Often people seek psychological help when

a) The status quo changes, as with a death, divorce, end of life-stage, move, retrenchment or job loss, an affair or the discoverty of an affair and so forth

b) when a coping style is no longer adequate, or indeed has in itself become a problem

c) at moments of crisis - which obviously also includes the previous two categories - but could also include when the cost of an addiction has grown to great to ignore, or have been ordered into therapy, or a particular behavioural problem.

While some of these can only be dealt with when they arise and crystallise, in other instances it seems the therapist's assigned role is a token one, just as much philanthropy in Australia and much of so called "western civilization" , where problems are dealt with symptomatically rather than systemmically. We fund cancer research rather than tackling lifestyle and consumer habits which drive the production of carcinogenic fuels, foods and cleaning agents. We run anti gambolling programs rather limiting the activities of casinos. We provide no channels to ecstacy and bliss other than chemicals, no outlets for agression other than sport and hunting, no way of dealing with sexuality other than commodifying or repressing it. We educate around type II diabetes while gladly accepting massive sponsorships from the companies who help create it. We decry racism and predjudice while soaking up the reactive media which constantly recreate them/us bifurcations and fear based consciousness. We try to save biodiversity while spoending billions on, and being relentlessly brainwashed by, advertising that sells us things that damage us and our environment, and that we can well do without.

The psychologist-counsellor becomes a token solution, a pawn, a chamber maid who cleans up the mess while the source of the mess is left unchallenged and unattended to. Like Dr River's in Pat Barkers regeneration triology who patches up Siegfried Sassoon so that he is well enough again to go back and die on the Western Front, we work to get our clients well enough to go back into the insanity of daily life, where a thin veneer of civilty hides the "quiet desperation" of most ordinary people.

the assumption and expectation that incest and adult or elder sibling sexual(ised) interactions with a younger child must have deterministic outcomes in itself may set up years of “unnecessary” struggle. Ditto with the terms “abuse”, “bullying” etc which all come with their accompanying story. There are many kinds of interactions in many different circumstances, and not all of them have to be framed as trauma. The child may have had an interaction – or several -  with an adult that was fleeting and unclassifiable; which sat in them as something neither good or bad, but upon contact and sharing with other adults will take on a whole raft of frames, and suddenly graft any outrage, hurt, shame, or anger in them onto those events. Suddenly any pleasure they may have felt will become guilt and complicity which needs to be beaten away with “it is never the child’s fault”. The subtle cues to adopt certain stances in exchange for subtle and not so subtle rewards – sympathy, belonging to a victims club, power over the perpertrator, self righteousness, avoidance of all the other subsequent challenges that have arisen in their lives…all of these set to work clouding whatever happened with a swirling mass of their own and other’s affect. 

Type 4s and the tendency to collude

Some type 4s, being conflict avoidant and seeking to come in to concensus, even when it is an illusory and artificial concensus, may find themselves colluding with positions that are anathema to their way of being. (This one for example.) How to reduce the percentage of collusion? See also water-and-stone

To find the delicate place between collusion and confrontation takes skill and good luck.

In the therapeutic context, its about walking the thin line between collusion and appropriate collaboration i.e the therapeutic alliance

NB A necessary precondition for effective therapy: I am willing to loose my client (straight after this session) ie.just like the judiciary, financial and emotional independence are necessary for a therapist to be able to deliver successful therapy


What is your physical state? how is your sleep? do you get any exercise? r u on medication? do you self medicate? do you have any addictions? (More accurate: what addictions do you have?)

Where is your life working – what wouldn’t you change? (Immediately turns the client towards a realization that their dysfunction is not omnipresent)

if therapy “works” how will your life look? What’s the result you want to create?

How will you and others know you’ve achieved this? (results of therapy must be quantifiable

How important is this proposed change to you? are you willing to sacrifice or give up anything in order to have/create it (turns the client towards thnking about their own levels of motivation, reponsibility and engagement with the therapeutic process. Implicit in the question is that clent is the primary driver of change)

“in the end (and at the beginning) people have to start somewhere”

“what’s a really usefull thing we can do right now” Immediacy – all process is postponement.