Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Could It Be…?

Check out Newsweek, June 8th, 2009 edition. Talk show hostess Oprah is on the cover; article about her on page 54. The slant? Crazy talk with Opie, taking her to task for promoting wacky cures. (Online version here.)

For example, 62-year-old actress Suzanne Somers was on the Oprah show one time, talking up estrogen products: cream on her arms, a shot into her vagina. She also swallows a lot of other stuff, like 60 vitamins and other preparations daily.

Why? To stay healthy and live long. The goal: to see her 110th birthday.

So let’s say that Suzanne does live to see one century plus a decade. That would really p.o. the skeptics. But if she makes that goal, what could be the explanation? Among the possibilities:

1.] She was born with good genes, had access to good traditional health care, and all the extra “wacky” stuff didn’t make that much difference.

2.] Her genes were average but the “wacky” additions were very beneficial.

3. ] Good genes, health care and the wackiness worked together to allow her to live to be 110.

But could there be another explanation?

How about a transdimensional prankster who bestows a bit of magic that trumps science? The Chaos Purple Elephant who likes to thumb the collective nose of skeptics. Invisible, intangible, he’s beyond the reach of science. Beyond disproof.

Hey, just as sensible as a syringe of estrogen injected into a vagina.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Psychics Fulfill Needs

She (they’re usually female) sits at a table in one corner at a coffeehouse. Or maybe she has a booth or kiosk set up at in outdoor pedestrian mall. She speaks confidentially with the attentive person sitting across from her, providing to that individual what can’t be found with a clergyman, counselor, psychiatrist or even friends.


That’s why psychics have cornered a good share of the human needs market.

I’m skeptical about psychics when it comes to their claims of “auras” and “spirits” and “karma” or whatever new age stuff they believe in. But I’m also skeptical of some parts of traditional medicine and psychotherapy. Mainstream health services have their own share of BS.

When the professional experts fail, those seeking help might end up trying a psychic reading, another form of counseling or psychotherapy from what I’ve seen.

Science and medicine can be like priesthoods with secrets and mystery. Take a look at the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Instead of terms like “auras” and “chakra” the DSM has occult words like “bi-polar” and “schizotypal personality disorder.” But therapists and medical practitioners are usually aloof priests hiding behind a wall of professionalism. The human element is ignored.

That’s why psychics attract so many people. They provide their own explanations but in a personal setting. They don’t treat their clients like children who don’t know better, the major difference between a psychic reading and a doctor’s appointment.

A doctor or therapist can rattle off some technical mumbo-jumbo – which can be proven – but he has to compete with a psychic offering easier to understand (but unproven) mumbo-jumbo. Also, mainstream practitioners can’t provide a reason why something happens beyond a simple bio-chemical explanation. The cancer has metastasized but why did it spread after treatment? The doctor shrugs his shoulders, basically saying that’s how it goes sometimes.

But the psychic can provide explanations like karma or auras out of tune with nature. Both she and mainstream healers try to make sense out of the daunting universe but the traditional experts fail to make the unknown less unknown, less controllable. Sympathetic to a client’s problem, a psychic can offer a bit of hope like working on interpersonal relations to improve karma or getting the aura back to its proper color.

And if that fails?

Well, there’s the promise that the spirit lives on, that you can be reincarnated.

How can any doctor or therapist compete with that claim?

Faith beats facts.