I keep drawing the Two of Swords, which I can't figure out. I've never drawn it for myself until lately. The problem with attempting to read one's own tarot (or be one's own therapist!) is that you simply can't figure out this stuff for yourself, just as we can't always figure out we don't look good in certain clothes we love anyway. No objectivity!
And it doesn't help that many of the tarot-experts and sources can't agree on the card's meanings. Hm.
I choose the meaning I think is most likely: Stalemate. I am stalemated. At least I know that much.
However, if I am indeed lying to myself (one of the meanings of the Two of Swords), how could I know what the card means? Obviously, I am already in denial, and that means I don't have a clue.
She really needs to take off the blindfold!
Speaking of blindfolds (how's that for a segue?), Chaos is Normal posted FTY: Students, which included an excerpt from a bang-up interview (by Amy Goodman) of one Canadian Dr Gabor Maté. This incisive excerpt sent me over to Democracy Now to listen to the whole show, titled Dr. Gabor Maté on the Stress-Disease Connection, Addiction, Attention Deficit Disorder and the Destruction of American Childhood. Highly recommended!
I hear about ADD every day, as my customer-parents attempt to deal, often buying supplements for their children. I hear all about the endless "symptoms"--which so often to me, sound like, well, just being a child. When did simple childhood become a disease?
I didn't grow up hearing about ADD, which also fascinates me. Is this some "new and improved" diagnosis, in that case? If so, is our culture to blame for stigmatizing certain behaviors? And as with autism, are those same behaviors possibly 'rewarded' elsewhere? (i.e. the preponderance of autism in the Silicon Valley) Dr Gabor Maté believes actual brain development in children has markedly changed over the last generation or so, due to our radical changes in culture. (I have often believed this about addiction, so when somebody with smarts comes out and backs me up, I am thrilled.)
Quotes from Dr Maté I found especially pertinent:
In the United States right now, there are three million children receiving stimulant medications for ADHD... Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And there are about half-a-million kids in this country receiving heavy-duty anti-psychotic medications, medications such as are usually given to adult schizophrenics to regulate their hallucinations. But in this case, children are getting it to control their behavior. So what we have is a massive social experiment of the chemical control of children’s behavior, with no idea of the long-term consequences of these heavy-duty anti-psychotics on kids....
And I know that Canadians statistics just last week showed that within last five years, 43—there’s been a 43 percent increase in the rate of dispensing of stimulant prescriptions for ADD or ADHD, and most of these are going to boys. In other words, what we’re seeing is an unprecedented burgeoning of the diagnosis. And I should say, really, I’m talking about, more broadly speaking, what I would call the destruction of American childhood, because ADD is just a template, or it’s just an example of what’s going on. In fact, according to a recent study published in the States, nearly half of American adolescents now meet some criteria or criteria for mental health disorders. So we’re talking about a massive impact on our children of something in our culture that’s just not being recognized.
The normal basis for child development has always been the clan, the tribe, the community, the neighborhood, the extended family. Essentially, post-industrial capitalism has completely destroyed those conditions. People no longer live in communities which are still connected to one another. People don’t work where they live. They don’t shop where they live. The kids don’t go to school, necessarily, where they live. The parents are away most of the day. For the first time in history, children are not spending most of their time around the nurturing adults in their lives. And they’re spending their lives away from the nurturing adults, which is what they need for healthy brain development....
In ADD, there’s an essential brain chemical, which is necessary for incentive and motivation, that seems to be lacking. That’s called dopamine. And dopamine is simply an essential life chemical. Without it, there’s no life. Mice in a laboratory who have no dopamine will starve themselves to death, because they have no incentive to eat. Even though they’re hungry, and even though their life is in danger, they will not eat, because there’s no motivation or incentive. So, partly, one way to look at ADD is a massive problem of motivation, because the dopamine is lacking in the brain. Now, the stimulant medications elevate dopamine levels, and these kids are now more motivated. They can focus and pay attention.Daisy pauses to scream a hearty YES!
However, the assumption underneath giving these kids medications is that what we’re dealing with here is a genetic disorder, and the only way to deal with it is pharmacologically. And if you actually look at how the dopamine levels in a brain develop, if you look at infant monkeys and you measure their dopamine levels, and they’re normal when they’re with their mothers, and when you separate them from mothers, the dopamine levels go down within two or three days.
So, in other words, what we’re doing is we’re correcting a massive social problem that has to do with disconnection in a society and the loss of nurturing, non-stressed parenting, and we’re replacing that chemically. Now, the drugs—the stimulant drugs do seem to work, and a lot of kids are helped by it. The problem is not so much whether they should be used or not; the problem is that 80 percent of the time a kid is prescribed a medication, that’s all that happens. Nobody talks to the family about the family environment. The school makes no attempt to change the school environment. Nobody connects with these kids emotionally. In other words, it’s seen simply as a medical or a behavioral problem, but not as a problem of development.
You see, now, if your spouse or partner, adult spouse or partner, came home from work and didn’t give you the time of day and got on the phone and talked with other people all the time and spent all their time on email talking to other people, your friends wouldn’t say, "You’ve got a behavioral problem. You should try tough love." They’d say you’ve got a relationship problem. But when children act in these ways, we think we have a behavioral problem, we try and control the behaviors. In fact, what they’re showing us is that—my children showed this, as well—is that I had a relationship problem with them. They weren’t connected enough with me and too connected to the peer group. So that’s why they wanted to spend all their time with their peer group. And now we’ve given kids the technology to do that with....
...human beings are shaped very early by what happens to them in life. As a matter of fact, they’re shaped already by what happens in uterus. After 9/11, after the World Trade disasters in those terrorist attacks, some women who were pregnant suffered PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. And depending on what stage of pregnancy they suffered the PTSD, when they measured their children’s cortisol levels—cortisol being a body stress hormone—at one year of age, those kids had abnormal cortisol levels. In other words, their stress apparatus had been negatively affected by the mother’s stress during pregnancy. Similarly, for example, when I looked at the stress hormone levels of the children of Holocaust survivors with PTSD, the greater the degree of PTSD of the parent, the higher the stress hormone level of the child.Listen to/read the whole thing; Dr Maté has an overall approach you probably haven't heard before. And I think it helps immeasurably that Dr Maté has ADD himself, and has the necessary inside-understanding to talk about the issues.
So, how we see the world, whether the world is a hostile or friendly place, whether we have to always do for ourselves and look after others or whether we can actually expect and receive help from the world, whether or not the world is hostile or friendly, and indeed our stress physiology, is very much shaped by those early experiences.
His newest book is titled In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, which I have just ordered from AMAZON.