Salim Hamdan was a driver for Osama Bin Ladin who recently went on trial for terrorist activities. He seemed to have no interest in the trial proceedings, being only interested in being moved from cell block 4 (where he was kept in isolation) to cell block 5 (where he was with other detainees).
"What do I have a lawyer for if you can't help me?" (i.e. get me back into cell block 5) he asked his lawyers, rhetorically.
Samir Kuntar is a Lebanese who snuck into Israel on a boat, kidnapped and later killed a man and his baby daughter. His mother died when he was young, his father was away, and his step mother said he was unruly and difficult to control as a child. He was recently released in a prisoner exchange.
What do these two men have in common? (other than the fact that they are both terrorists).
We'll get to that in a minute. First another topic.
As Charles Hugh Smith writes on his weblog "Of Two Minds" the development of the internet has led to a situation where the traditional gateways of knowledge and power no longer have a monopoly on that valuable commodity known as "the truth". Take the situation of my former employer the Yale University School of Medicine, who recently tried to hop on the cool and politically correct alternative medicine bandwagon by having a conference on "Integrative Medicine". This led to a collective howl from the medical blogosphere about the fuzziness of what exactly the Yale professors were trying to integrate. "Integrative" could mean putting alternative and mainstream treatments together, or integrating thoughts and feelings and spirituality with medical treatments, I'm not sure. Actually I was thinking of a nice afternoon nap so maybe I could audit the standard med school class they teach to do that called "The Patient" (or at least in my day).
Dr. Katz's assertion that if the evidence didn't show that the treatments worked that maybe we should come up with a different way of looking at the problem led to charges of quackery, with his response being that he would rather be a Duck than a doctor. Which led to the following interesting visual.
Anyway the point is that an august institution like Yale used to be able to dish out woo and other tasty treats and tell us that they are good for us and we should like them, but they can't get away with it anymore.
Thanks to the internet.
OK those who have read this blog before might ask themselves "he is a psychiatrist, when is he going to talk about psychiatry?"
OK, let me talk a little about emotion (gasp). Yeah, yeah, I'll talk about paxil later.
A blogger on the website "The Last Psychiatrist" wrote an essay about the Time magazine cover that listed "You" (rhymes with "Woo", a coincidence?) as Person of the Year. Me, meet Youtube, and while you're at it come on into myspace. I wouldn't recommend reading that website for too long though because it might make you cross-eyed; just want to make the point that we are living in a self-absorbed age, and that like Charles Hugh Smith made the point we are using the internet to:
1) free ourselves from the dictators of truth, and
and furthermore that like a drug we never get enough of the "connection fix".
Which gets me back to emotions.
My mother died when I was four years old. Suddenly.
Lately I have been trying to remember what that was like at the time.
(Yup, trying to "get in touch with my feelings", good shrink).
I assumed that the "feelings" would be grief. But surprisingly that wasn't all there was to it.
I felt like everybody had forgotten about me.
It was pretty scary-- like I thought I was literally going to die.
Which gets me back to Salim Hamdan and Samir Kuntar (thought I forgot about those guys, huh?).
Mr. Hamdan shows that it is very important to be around other people. Trumps ideology every time. Which explains the magnetic draw of blogs, the internet, messageboards, myspace, email, etc. We can be connected with people all of the time, 24-7.
And Mr. Kuntar shows that early parental separation can have negative adverse effects. I mean the guy wasn't even a Muslim. He was a Druse for Christ's sake (no pun intended).
So the message of the day is that we all need other people.
Ok, time to log off of your computer now.