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Monday, December 31, 2012

Thoughts On 2013 and Yearend Reflections

This being New Year's Eve, I thought I'd let my head take its lead and wander over subjects at its own direction. I will not interfere unreasonably. Jonathan Swift famously wrote, "It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into". And so I permit myself to garrulate on a broad theme. At my age, I do not know where it will end but it will begin, I think, in Arizona Territory in 1891.

Photo over this essay was taken of the town of Tombstone, in the 1880s. Old American towns, as you can see, differ from modern ones; they were blurry.  But in this particular town the modern psychological bromide was born. A theory that would find popular publication a century later as I'm Ok You're Ok began here at an outdoor clinic called the OK Corral.

Under the medical direction of Doc Holliday (a dentist who minored in 20th century pop-psych, which hadn't happened yet and wouldn't for 90 years.),  famed therapists, Morgan, Virgil and Wyatt Earp conducted a mental health session with the brothers McLaury and Clanton and, by general account, greatly improved them. But it's New Year's Eve now and getting blurrier. Oooh here's something:
What you see is an ascending or descending orbital geometric plane equidistant or maybe of expanding distance from an X-Y axis. Ok, you try describing a spiral without using your hands. I mean it. Try, I dare you. And don't be discouraged if your early attempts go astray. You can say the word, spiral, which if you join me in another glass of wine you'll see, contains its shape in its sound: Spiiirrraaalll, see it? That's psychology! And there's this:

Spanish and Portuguese Conquistador/Psychologists and several new kinds of idiots used to try to circumnavigate the world with maps like this one. It reflects the wishful thinking of many centuries, but mainly this one and the one the cartographer lived in. My beloved California was thought to be, assumed and hoped to be, an island off Nevada's Pacific coast. The chief explorer, not that one with the unlikely name of Cabeza de Vaca who explored something else but Brazos Largos, discovered the non-existence of the Nevada Channel. He was named Brazos Largos because he could tie his shoes without bending over --much to the admiration of his crew. 

Also, to the admiration of his crew, Largos found an early surfer culture in California that celebrated fitness, suntans and beach parties.  They forgot about the Lost Cities Of Gold and the Fountains Of Youth in favor of their new discovery, which they named Curvas Buenas and called its natives Sirens. Contrary to envious historical records, these Sirens did not cause any shipwrecks. Brazos Largos and his crew dismantled their own ship deliberately to make surf boards.

I would continue this examination of the history of psychology but it is not yet midnight and I have further preparations to make for my own mental improvement. I resume treatment for the jumps this week. To all, I wish a safe and sane new year.


  1. What is sanity exactly? Surely, something different to each and every one of us. Personally, sanity is NOT dying your hair hot pink and poking holes here and there in your anatomy but that IS sanity for some..or so I'm told. Now I'm off a a ramble.. A spiral is an ever increasing (or decreasing depending on which direction you like to rotate) circle of motion, starting or ending in nothing. There you go, but I still used my hands cause I had to use the keyboard. Do you have any wine? Happy New Year!!

  2. Tombstone might be a bit blurry, but there's nothing blurry about your amazingly amusing posts - - which have cleared up a myriad of mysteries(I always wondered how the OK Corral got its name).

    Rumor hazzit that California could very possibly revert to being an island if you have a big enough earthquake......

    By the way, I just sat on my hands and was hopelessly unable to describe a spiral. Then I tried using my hands and STILL couldn't describe it. Too much wine??

    Have a fantastic New Year!

  3. I like the Jonathan Swift quote. this was definitely a "potpourri post" - a little bit of everything! I liked it. Happy New Year my friend.

  4. You're right, spiral does contain the shape in it's sound! (Btw, that entire sentence is quotable.)

    Wishing you a very Happy 2013!!!

  5. I always look forward to your essays--for that's what they are, in the original sense of the word--with their bon mots and verbal trompe l'oeil concepts and imagery, and this piece is a real NYE bonbon to usher in another year of such! Thank you...and what wine were you drinking?

  6. Hi George - Loved these garrulations!!

  7. Delores-- After much reflection, I realize I'm no expert on sanity, but I delight in your "rambles".

    Jon-- Too much wine or not enough, spirals are tricky, but that's OK.

    Keith-- Glad you liked it, so did I. Swift was aptly named.

    Wendy-- Most kind! Onomatopoeia is a delightful study and the universe is our language lab.

    Willie-- The wine was Rex Goliath and has a really big uh rooster on the label. It's a cabernet from Chile.

    Lorna-- Most kind. And in re. to your private comment, maybe if our U.S. politicians practiced a bit more Canadian courtesy, Swift's quote wouldn't be so spot-on.

  8. Pearl-- Then I did something right. World could use more of your kind of dizzy.

  9. Hmmm, I'll drink to that. Great post, as always, but I believe a glass of wine will make it even better. Good to know that valuable information about the OK Corral. Wherever would we learn such things if it weren't for you? Happy New Year, dude.

  10. Would images of spirals from the 1880s be blurry?

    Happy new year, good sir.

  11. Susan-- Thanks! Guys called Dude know how to have happy new years.

    Suze-- 1880s spirals were mostly watch springs, which were sharp and clear. The blurry ones were prairie dust devils.

  12. as a western historian (or at least used to have stuff published in the field), I can say your take on Tombstone is the best I heard.

  13. Just think if we all settled things like they did in the OK corral - good god never mind.
    Happy New Year. Looking forward to your refreshing perspectives!

  14. Sage-- Thanks! Happily tho, group therapy has progressed quite a bit since that session in Tombstone.

    Suze-- My mind likes you too!

    Tesha-- Fortunately science has furnished psychologists with instruments less dependent on gunpowder. Happy new year to you too!


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