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Medicine

It is quite sad how conventional medicine and alternative/herbal medicine oppose each other more than they cooperate.

I could sometimes really do with the help of a qualified herbalist/alternative practitioner who a) has had as much medical training as any doctor, b) has an open mind and c) a willingness to keep informed of the most up-to-date research and to think of alternatives for patients not helped by conventional treatment choices d) who isn’t against conventional medicine.

Because what happens right now is that people like me go online and do their research on their own. But us without medical training aren’t really qualified to do that kind of thing. I certainly feel very unsure and incompetent. Alternative is to go to one of the self-taught people who are also unreliable.

But what can I do? There isn’t anywhere I could go with my questions. No specialists I could consult about dosage and possible side-effects. They’d think I’m one of the trouble-maker flat-earthers. No doctor I could take the results of a new study to and ask whether we might test it on me as well. In my dreams, that doctor would then do more thorough research and figure out the best treatment plan or tell me this is too risky to try. That kind of thing is what I’d really like.

I wish that if it became quite clear conventional treatment is not working OR if the patient prefers herbal treatment as a first option, they would be provided with alternatives. You don’t actually need to start the treatment of depression with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, for example. The doctor could ask the patient if they might prefer to try natural remedies first (like with many diseases you start with the milder stuff first if it is possible) and if these don’t work, gradually get more aggressive.  St. John’s Wort has been studied sufficiently as far as I know. 5-HTP seems more innocent as well and appears to have sufficient evidence about its effectiveness.Why not these over SSRIs?

Reality is that if you want to try either, you got to go to Doctor Google, unless you are very lucky and your doctor is open-minded.

And so, as the world polarises in every field, both sides lose and are stupider for it.

I wish one of the epic heroes of Charlton Heston’s would descend and fix the world.

Snobs

The title is to be pronounced in the voice of John Cleese as Basil Fawlty.

 

I spotted a bunch of intelligent folk bashing 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight and some other books whose titles won’t say anything to most people. It was old stuff but it annoyed me enough to inspire. There are moments recently when I feel I have to watch that I don’t become contrary for the sake of it. That I don’t suggest a different take on something because I CAN, not because I believed in it. I do believe in what I’m about to write though, so it’s not an exercise in thinking outside the box.

So, what’s the deal?

Snobs irritate me. Reading how some fifty people were bashing the same book, most of whom had not read it, and were just carried along by the tide of collective hatred and contempt for it, I felt like going “Snobs, you arrogant wannabe middle-class wannabe intellectuals you snobs!” as Basil Fawlty would have done if he had intellectual interests beyond Brahms’s third racket. What was even more striking in these discussions and reviews was that the readers were – more frequently than the law of averages would permit – mentioning how they had just read Houellebecq and needed a break, or suggesting they will get back to their Houellebecq now, after the excruciating experience of having read *insert title of some bestseller of dubious quality*. LOL. There’s comedy in this.

I have a feeling that the success of that book might have partially been based on everyone considering it so bad you gotta read how bad it is to be able to say “This is very bad indeed”. It unites people, hating the same thing.

I have not read either E. L. James or Houellebecq, but both are well-known status symbols in a certain segment of society: absolute trash and contemporary masterpiece. So those intelligent people, who are sadly still lacking in the ability for independent thought and are frequently interchangeable with each other, as they read, watch and enjoy the same stuff, suppressing whatever their individual taste may drive them towards, well, that bunch decorates themselves with the name of Houellebecq and defines their taste by being against the trashy bestsellers.

Now, I’m a mighty insecure person too and I used to do that in my late teens and very early 20s. I read critically acclaimed authors because they were critically acclaimed and watched many a critically acclaimed movie for the same reasons, but that was mostly because I was a newcomer to the world of literature and film and did not know how to find my way yet. I defined my taste against modern literature and people like T.S. Eliot more than any bestseller authors, though. Why would I do that? They were simply not relevant. But that was a long time ago, and I digress.

What I’m trying to say is kicking downwards collectively is a bit wannabe intellectual and suggests lack of independent thought and backbone. I’d find it refreshing if one intelligent person admitted to liking something bad instead of parroting how horrible it is.

Point is, the world does not consist of intellectuals or people with excellent artistic intuitions, but enjoying different forms of art is pretty universal and human. I don’t think one should appeal to the lowest common denominator, but it is natural that, for example the third generation intellectuals and artists have their own art and culture with their own standards for quality, and the people who are different – I failed to find a good general term for them – so let’s just say different – they have their art, their favourite books and music, and their own standards for what is good.

Western society has paid lip service to protecting foreign primitive cultures and their right to exist, but what of our own primitive folk culture? It’s not entirely without value and you can find things there that have become lost among the elite. So I don’t like the snobbery. I don’t like how contemporary folk culture is being treated by the wannabes. It is sort of like watching reality TV and then going around telling how awful it is and how the people are idiots. But who watched it? What does it say of self?

It doesn’t have to say anything bad, but it definitely says something.

This sort of kicking downwards is just annoying when it is done collectively. Individually I wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow if someone had bashed trash novels, that’s normal, but collectively, it just struck me as one of those moments when it begins to work against the accusers, making them appear quite silly and brainwashed and in need of someone interfering and holding up a mirror.

Kicking upwards is much more interesting, if sincere. I think that is why I enjoyed that John Clare story about the man who thought Shakespeare was the title of a play. He kicked upwards and he was sincere. Stupid, yes, but we can’t help our own stupidity, can we? That too the wannabe elite fails to realise. We can’t all be intelligent, beautiful, artistically gifted, assertive and socially extroverted because we aren’t born that way. And the things people enjoy, are able to enjoy, and how they enjoy, are just so very different as a result of who they are, and they can’t do much about it. So enjoy and let enjoy, I suppose. Read your Houellebecq and leave the rest to its target readers.

My arrogant opinion is that if you are truly intelligent and confident, and not masochistically curious, you don’t need to lift your status at the expense of lower league competitors. They are just not relevant.

It doesn’t just have to be books and movies either. Interior design is also an area where snobs give you a hard time if you are not following contemporary trends or if your taste is not quite up to generally accepted standards for tasteful home decor as seen on Pinterest and Instagram. Being the trickster that I’m recently inclined to be, I did mean it when I said I’d put a garden gnome on the balcony to annoy the snobs. But there hasn’t been the extra money to spend and it is hardly a priority to be that silly.

Have I mentioned career snobbery? People who say it is your own fault that you earn little? People who think that the reason you are not a business leader or a doctor is because you have made wrong choices in life or been lazy? It’s  not because a person just doesn’t have the right set of qualities, the right environment to grow up in, or the IQ for it? I find it hard to believe how doctors, lawyers and other people in positions that do require some intelligence can use that “it is your own fault that you earn little” argument. It’s like saying being born is a person’s own fault.

In conclusion: SNOBS!

(said in the voice of Mr. Fawlty once more)

 

 

Idiocies

Would someone please, please tell Google not to give me endless pages of Chinese (and other) machine-translated websites when I search for things in my native language. A filter, please, for omitting machine-translations from the results.

#2019 #sucks #googlesucks #discrimination #money #pleasestop

Christmas rant

I’ve ranted about this a lot outside the public sphere of the internet, but since ranting energy is still strong, posting it here might alleviate it a bit also.

I’ve not been an adult that can afford to buy many Christmas presents for a very long time. Maybe about 8 years. Last year I had hardly any money for Christmas presents, but I felt alright about the concept. I don’t recall feeling like I do now. Which is: wanting to boycott the entire consumerist aspect of it.

And frustration, because you bloody hell can’t. How do I just stop giving presents when other people give me presents? It’d be terribly rude. And so many people are stuck in the same cage, are they not? There are probably families where no one enjoys the Christmas shopping madness, but there isn’t that one person to speak out and say “Let’s call it quits”. This consumerism is just making everything so soulless.

It might be possible to solve this problem when you say that you don’t want Christmas presents from anyone and won’t be making any yourself either. I think there are families and groups of friends where this rule applies.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work for me that well. I like making presents SOMETIMES. And I want to continue making presents that come truly from the heart. When I see something ideally suited to someone, I want to be able to give this person this present. And I want to be able to do it so that others don’t get offended, when only one person gets a present that year. I also want to be able to make presents that cost little and not feel pressurised to buy more not to appear cheap. Because you know, sometimes the thing that costs little comes from the heart and the rest is just fluff to add financial bulk. I wish it wasn’t so.

Often enough, I cannot think of anything good to give people or the stores have nothing tempting. I’d gladly skip a year then, rather than give them my best attempt at a Christmas present out of a sense of obligation.

I don’t really know what compromise would be possible. I don’t enjoy Christmas shopping and I want to get off that particular train, but when you want to retain the right to sometimes make and receive presents, it makes it very hard to effect.  Because people do get hurt if they get nothing for several years in a row.

Maybe I’ll have a bright idea by next Christmas, but if I don’t, I think I’ll just go with trying to opt out fully and hope I will be tolerated for it. I’ll appeal to my principles as a moderate anti-consumerist, I guess. Although it is more about it just not feeling right and irking me with its soullessness.

I want giving and receiving to feel right. I’ve been so much happier and full of joy when people I expected no presents from have given me something simple. Like truly simple. A gingerbread heart from a teacher who likes you and wants to cheer you up is a worth so much more than anything more expensive gotten from family members because they “had to”. Gingerbread hearts like that are ‘true presents’. Given without expecting anything for return, not even at the back of your mind.

What I want is, I want to experience surprise and joy that someone has bothered to make me a present, not take it as a matter of course. I want THAT back. The soul of it back.

Zeitgeist is a very suspicious thing

The more I read stuff and observe stuff, the more I feel that zeitgeist is a lie, an over-simplification like gender. Something we cling to for its clarity as it makes the world appear logical and coherent, but which is really narrow-minded and limiting. Half the population sometimes does not live accordingly. I think that’s significant.

Anti-consumerist ramblings

I can’t say I identify as an anti-consumerist at this point, but I’ve had such leanings for several years and I see them growing stronger. Sometimes it is a little bit frightening. I don’t actually want to become the spoilsport activist who goes around loudly disapproving of things that other people enjoy or are not educated enough not to enjoy. If I were to go down that route, I’d like it to be my personal thing, like religion is personal to a lot of people, except the fundamentalists and those that desire to convert everyone.

Its roots are probably in my slightly animistic thinking, love of nature and general sentimentality. I like items to be special, have a story to tell. People who mindlessly consume do seem to lose the ability to enjoy simple things. They would  need even greater luxury or greater quantities to feel an item is special. I kind of want to preserve my joy over simple things, so I wouldn’t want to numb my senses with overconsumption to mindless levels.

This modern trend of very expensive weddings and engagement rings, for example, is completely incomprehensible to me. I’m not going to criticise it either because I just don’t understand it. It clearly matters to many people to have things in their wedding that cost a lot but why it matters so much is a bit of….I wouldn’t want to draw the obvious conclusion. There are very few people like me who’d be okay with a 1 euro ring too if it had personal significance. I said I was a sentimentalist, I did.

So I’d like to think that my consumption levels are not very high compared to the averages of today. They are not admirably low either, though. I like pretty things a lot and pretty clothes, so my closet is not minimalist and is never going to be. However, I do find it very satisfying when whatever items I’ve bought get a good amount of use. I feel good throwing away shoes that have become unuseable because the signs of wear are really bad. I do not feel good throwing away perfectly good quality items, though. Those I take to recycling or second hand store collection points. Sometimes I turn some items into sewing projects too. And generally tend to try to find alternative uses for things if I can think of them.

I would not mind living in a world where clothes were so expensive that you could only afford a few, like it was the case in the 19th century.

I am spoilt and like having a lot of choice at this point, but I could live like this too if I made up my mind to it and set it as a goal, and I admire people who do already, unless they are annoying fundamentalists who think everyone who cannot live like them is a worthless human being.

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I’m truly frustrated with the amount of fake materials used in nearly every industry. I would really love to buy high-quality ethically-made natural-material based products. I think very many people would love to. For some the cost may be a stumbling block, but an even greater stumbling block is the lack of such products and how hard it is to find them on the market. If one goes down that route, it becomes your entire life to seek out such products. And that is a point for pause and reflection on one’s priorities.

Basically, to buy high quality, you need to become very, very informed. With clothing it is a little bit easier because there aren’t too many things to look for – just avoid fake materials, like polyester, and seek for brands that manufacture their clothing sustainably, do not use toxic chemicals and so forth. However, the massive problem with such brands for me is that I simply do not like their designs. I’ve looked sometimes, but have not found anything that I would want to buy. Not to mention that brands like that are not available in department stores and if you live in a small country, like me, you would need to order such clothes abroad.

If these brands made more stylish/interesting/feminine/cute clothing and would become more widely available, I’d be a sure customer, but as is the case now, I shop in the same stores everyone else does and hope for the best. What I would never buy are H&M jeans though. The smell of those things is vile. If an item fails even the smell test, then it is very bad indeed. Samsung fridges also smell vile and some washing machines and kettles. I actually bought my current fridge because it was one of the few that didn’t stink to high heaven.

Is this a normal situation?! Couldn’t we just double the prices of everything, give up the attitude that everyone needs 50 items of clothing and all modern tech, AND actually go back to offering high quality again, so shopping isn’t about picking the least offensive item.

I’m moving from the easier to the more complex in terms of how informed you need to be – next step is food. Awareness of chemicals and unnecessary additives is increasing, but it is definitely tiresome that a person has to turn shopping into a battle of intelligence against producers that try to sell you crap. Anyhow, at this point, I’ve not managed to learn everything yet. Some years ago, I didn’t know that palm oil was bad, for example. It looks natural enough on a label compared to E620. There are plenty of things I don’t know now either. And even if I know what is good quality, how am I supposed to access it when no store stocks French fries without palm oil? (Not buying them is not an option all the time because I cannot cook everything from scratch, and yes, I’ve tried many times, I’m just horrible at cooking vegetables). Also, how can I be sure when buying from a local farmer (who is not a personal acquaintance) that they haven’t soaked their fruit and vegetables in chemicals either? If I want to avoid plastic, how can I be sure that in transporting fruit and vegetables to a packaging-free store, massive amounts of plastic have not been used which only got removed in the store? All in all, I have kind of given up trying because clean food is very hard to access, choice is very limited and there is rarely certainty. It only seems possible to eat clean, high-quality food if you grow it yourself. Until I can do that, I just choose the less bad alternatives from whatever is available.

My pathetic attempt to grow things myself on the balcony

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Cosmetics industry requires an education in chemistry to manage to make informed choices. Organic labels help, but are not always sufficient indicators of quality. There is a lot of greenwashing going on, with brands advertising themselves as pure and natural, but having SLS as the second ingredient. If you learn that silicones (things ending with -cone, like dimethicone), parabens and sulphates (particularly sodium laureth sulphate) are bad, you’ve passed grade 1 in orienteering in cosmetics, but it is only the beginning.

It is very much a matter of priorities and convenience too. A lot of the products marketed to us are not really necessary, why would a person need separate moisturisers for their feet and hands, for example? And everyone knows how cellulite got turned into a cosmetic problem so that people could be marketed anti-cellulite treatments. It is actually possible to get all your cosmetics from nature, from the fridge, but since we’ve grown up with getting them out of plastic bottles, it is very hard to rethink it and these things may not work for everyone.

Once again, I’m not there at all myself either. I don’t buy supermarket stuff, I generally buy organic, but that’s as far as I’ve currently gone. My hair is very difficult, so after years of trying with absolutely everything, from medical and organic shampoos to egg and yoghurt, I’m currently using a shampoo with SLS as the second ingredient. It’s a medical shampoo and there isn’t any alternative to it for me, as much as I’d rather like to use something a lot milder.

I think this is the case for very many people in their attempts to turn more ‘natural’, to prioritize quality and sustainability. First, it is so very hard to get that informed to even know what is good. Secondly, when you do know a bit, finding products that meet all your preferred criteria, without causing a massive drop in quality of life, is like finding the holy grail. The compromises one has to make are too great for very many people. I honestly don’t know what I’d end up eating at all if I tried to go one month fully organic/plastic-free. I could probably manage to improve considerably in the clothes & household items & cosmetics department, but not food.

The thing I can see myself improving in is actual attitude to consumption, which is what I began this long essay with. I have become increasingly more disinclined to buy stuff I do not absolutely need and frequently try to think of creative alternatives. Because what we think we “need” is often social pressure and skilful marketing. Spotting that and realizing you don’t actually need it can be like a fun game. But giving up frozen fries and all sweets containing palm oil is just too hard for lack of alternatives and would make life a misery for me. Perhaps there will come a time when it will not feel so, who knows.

When I hear consumerist people talking about my kind of life choices, they often use the same argument – that such a life would be misery if you could not have all that stuff and comfort of modernity. I do not view myself as lacking though. I truly don’t care and feel pleased with myself for having a mind of my own about what I “need”.

With “things” I do see potential for social change. It is probably utopian but I think an attitude change could work: if the cheapest dress cost 300 EUR in Western countries, people would pick it carefully and treasure it more, instead of buying a pile of 10-euro dresses. Same goes for every other item. There would be less need to produce that much because people can only afford few. There would be less waste and everything would be better quality because that would be prioritized again. Perhaps with the environmental crisis we are facing, such measures could be introduced: i.e. very strict quality requirements that would drive up prices. But with overpopulation, the food problem cannot really be solved in any way. Food has to be cheap so people can afford it and it is not possible to produce quality food on such scale, as sad as that may be. Making locally sourced food more easily available in supermarkets is possible, though. It’s depressing how they keep selling foreign mass-produced apples when we are having an apple season and there is an excess of them in all gardens….

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Postmodernist meaninglessness

Reading legal documents is sometimes worse than any postmodernist work of doom and gloom and general lack of meaningfulness.

Marriage turns into an economic contract and child custody laws make the child into a property of the parents. The child’s life is thus neatly split between two parents, because the right of both parents to see their child equally is superior to the child’s right to a stable, settled environment. But it’s not really that. I could envision a teenager who may even enjoy the change of scene. It’s the tone of these things. The extreme regulation, the splitting of hairs to achieve equality.

Values

I encountered an opinion that for an intellectually stimulating and rich life one requires money. The reasoning being that otherwise you cannot go to the theatre, travel, go to concerts and participate in various courses.

 

LOL. Stupid wannabe educated middle class narrow-mindedness at its best.

Fossilization

This should be a useful post, a good post. After a long silence, one should do that, I suppose, write something meaningful and pithy. But I’m instead going to write something very dull.

I thought this morning, as I was checking out different phone companies to switch to a cheaper contract, that maybe I should get myself a new phone with the new contract too. A budget smartphone instead of my old regular phone so that people would stop rolling their eyes when they see me take out my phone. I’m not totally immune to that. Also, the thing I’m missing is not being able to transfer photos to other devices more easily and having a chat programme, so I can do away with regular text messages with people who also use the same IM service.

Since I wouldn’t be using most of the gadgets that come with it, the cheapest models seemed to be the thing to go for. I don’t even care for high picture quality. Adequate would do. And if the device gets so little use for all its extras, paying a lot seems foolish.

I picked out two models that seemed okay, but the moment I checked their battery life, I went off the idea completely. Having to charge them every day seems extremely tedious. Particularly if I’d hardly be using the apps and things that take up all the battery. My old phone lasts 5-7 days without being charged and I suppose one could get used to it lasting a day, but given what I would get in return for this increase in discomfort, it doesn’t balance out. For half the price it might make sense.

So I’ll stick to my old phone until it stops working and continue annoying and surprising people with not having a smartphone. The discomforts that come with it are not daily, but occasional at least.

Authenticity dream

Sometimes, truth hits you in the face with a frying pan. And everything you are and were becomes a lie.

I have no wish to disseminate more lies by writing about myself. I don’t like this self.

Let’s see how long my rebellion against falseness lasts. I’d give it two weeks.

Of course, I’d like it to be more. I’d like a rebirth as a purer and truer version of myself.

 

Other than that, my rose is blossoming.

My rose is blossoming