Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Sky Is Falling, The Sky.....Uuuhhhh by Peter Reum

Since before we as humans could write, there  have been oral stories passed from generation to generation. There are stories explaining the consciousness of human beings, such as creation myths, divine benefactors, wars of the gods, people coming into this world from another world, and so many more...too numerous to identify. Human being's self-awareness is the driving force behind such oral traditions. I wrote a poem a few months ago called Sagacity's Folly. It is a lamentation of sorts, an expression of the pain that comes with "knowing too much." In the last 3000 years, our hunger for knowledge has outstripped our capacity to use such knowledge in a manner that does not destroy ourselves, our fellow creatures that are alive, and Mother Earth herself.

As befits each human generation that lives on this small rock orbiting our sun, in a backwater part of our galaxy, we approach self-awareness through ordering our surroundings to fit our perceptions. Hence, many of the world's great belief systems, such as science, mythology, religions, stories regarding the end of the world as we know it, offer perspectives on life, our place in the cosmos, something we can call life everlasting (consciousness after death), the world we live on, with our fellow animate creatures,  and the inner world we know from observation.

Because of my dad's job, working in one of the largest research labs in existence for 30+ years, I have struggled in my heart and my mind, as Thomas Jefferson once described this need to order our world, swinging from one belief system to another.  In recent years, the burgeoning and dramatic manner of observation called quantum mechanics has opened a door (some say a Pandora's Box) to the world beyond logic, beyond order, and many physicists have had the dilemma of trying to describe and explain  observations that simply do not conform to what we have known as the scientific method.

I read the other day in an internet physics site that a group of researchers have actually observed anti-matter for the first time. What has been a theory for roughly the last hundred years has moved beyond theoretical physics into applied physics. I do not pretend to comprehend the world these people are observing. The quantum world has thrown many of our basic assumptions about our universe into question, having formally been accepted as proven to be true. The Hadron Collider in Switzerland has brought to light so many new and exciting ideas regarding our universe. The Higgs Boson theory was verified by observation on on the Hadron. What I have found fascinating is that the Higgs Boson was thought to be the particle of assembling matter. I am not explaining this well, but hopefully readers will understand what I am alluding to.

Hadron Collider - World's Largest Particle Accelerator-Switzerland

After the Higgs Boson became a reality observed and verified, some of my recent reading of science news explained that observation of the Higgs Boson has led to the identification of two particles smaller than Higgs, which leads to the old chicken and egg the two particles exist because of the Higgs, or is the existence of the Higgs dependent upon the existence of the two smaller particles....or are they not related at all? If all of our observations come through what is called the Observer, our own brain, is all of this information developed in our minds just to satisfy our unending inquiries about the universe?

Dr, Higgs and a Cross Section of the Hadron Collider

I am left asking myself---was Chicken Little right after all, is science another manner of our own mind trying to make order out of chaos, or, is there an objective reality separate from the observer in our minds, that only science can explain? One of the interesting debates the physicists at Hadron were having when I watched this program on the search for the Higgs Boson on PBS (thank you, public tv) was whether the sub-atomic world opened by the Hadron Collider was formed by chance or by what I will call a Prime Mover. Several teams observed the data from the Higgs, and the teams theorized that there was a certain level of data that would support the chaos explanation, and another that would support the Prime Mover explanation, both of these being theories themselves, by the way. Maddeningly, the data revealed a number roughly halfway between the Chaos and Prime Mover theories of how the universe was formed.

Layperson's Explanation of Higgs-Boson Particle

To extend this our human existence due to billions of years of chance, or, is human existence a result of the work of a Prime Mover?

Copyright 2016 by Peter Reum-all rights reserved

To my friends who are scientists, I apologize for this rather simplistic explanation of a profoundly difficult physics question.

For more information, use the Hadron Collider website: Collider Site

For a fairly understandable explanation of the Higgs Boson Particle: Higgs Biography and Higgs Boson

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Repubes Seduce the Beach Boys by Peter Reum

It appears that the band now known as The Beach Boys has been invited to Trump's inauguration and have accepted the "summons." The invitation seems like an honor, but connects the name Beach Boys to unbashed money grubbing, demeaning of minority Americans, trashing of the environment here in America and worldwide, further polarization of oligarchs from other Americans, and bashing anyone who challenges proposals publicly.....and so much more.

The sad twist about this gesture is that ALL of the surviving Beach Boys will be tarnished by this performance. I personally believe any of The Beach Boys have the right to support who they prefer with respect to candidates running for office. The same is true of choosing to support or oppose various legislative proposals.

As time has passed, the endorsement of politicians by celebrities has become commonplace.  But...the ugliness which was demonstrated in Trump rallies toward women and minorities smacks of White supremacy and misogynistic behavior. White flight has turned into White Fright.

All of this shows a fear that Asian, Hispanic, African Americans, Indigenous tribes, and other Non-White people will treat White Americans the way Whites discriminated against Non- White peoples historically. White Fear is real, and The Beach Boys' good name will inevitably and irreversibly tarnished by association with the incoming White Supremacists that comprise Trump's team. I hope they cancel while they can. The staunch approval of Trump by such groups as the Ku Klux Klan of the Trump election as President is reason enough to bale on Trump's tainted and stinking iinuguration.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cabin by Peter Reum

Here I lay...under ten quilts shivering
A killer storm has arisen quickly
My love is frightened--her lip quivering
Pleading with me to leave this cabin
Before the snow covers all that lives
A nor'easter no mercy gives

The wood is wet, this refuge leaks
A sordid message--the conclusion loudly speaks
Our breaths grow painful-seeking
Relief from dampness quickly freezing

Hunger and exhaustion know no limits
It would be so easy to relent
To the temptation sought
My life I would offer for survival bought
For my love-the warmth she desperately sought

The wolves can be heard outside
Mourning their dead-calling
Out to something or someone
Hoping a force they do not understand
Could stem the tide

We hunker down, resolutely
Hoping the down in our quilts
Does not dampen through the stack
Praying the roof is strong
Absolutely sure that our end awaits
Should the holes we dread appear
We will do our best to control our fear
Wishing that a rescue party is near

We humans think we are so smart
Built for cunning and that
Our higher power will protect
Us from the undesired effect.....
Ravages of Nature we don't

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Knots That Scar the Soul by Peter Reum

In 1982, I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with two graduate degrees in Rehabilitation Psychology and Counseling. I was fortunate to find a job at Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver, Colorado. The positions that I have held have tended to revolve around people who are hurt by the world. Sometimes the wounds I helped people with were physical, for example, paraplegia or hemiplegia. Sometimes the difficulties that people I worked with were due to some form of "labeling," such as moderate or severe developmental disability. The people who seemed to be most disabled were people whose disabilities were invisible.

Those people with invisible disabilities seemed to receive the most bad information leading to  misunderstandings about their condition. In the last phase of my career prior to retirement, I spent almost eight years providing therapeutic counseling to people with what might be termed co-occurring disorders. Most often, these folks had some sort of mental illness accompanied by a type of addictive disorder. Sometimes, it was gambling, sometimes it was alcohol, sometimes it was opioids, other times it was food related compulsive behavior ranging from overeating to anorexia or bulimia. All of these addictive disorders usually began after trauma in some form, mostly physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in childhood or adolescence.

The last several years of my professional life I worked with people either having inpatient or outpatient chemical dependence.   About 4 in 10 males and 8 in 10 females had been sexually abused at some point in their early  years. The biggest proportion of these people had not reported the incident/s to parents when the sexual abuse took place. This was often because the perpetrator was often either a family member or a neighbor. The abused individual most often did not report the sexual or physical abuse due to the abuser being someone who the victim depended on for basic life needs-shelter, sustenance, or transportation.

The discussion of sexual abuse in inpatient or outpatient substance abuse rehabilitation programs can be stunted if the therapist acts judgemental or unsupportive of this most risky of personal disclosures in therapy. In the last several years, my own experience of sexual abuse facilitated my ability to respond supportively to patients who "jumped the canyon" and disclosed their own abuse in group or individual therapy. What began as a huge personal disclosure often became a sign that other patients in the group could feel "safe" to share their own wounds and pain.

One group I counseled in outpatient therapy consisted of six women and one male young man who was in the  group for a Driving Under the Influence arrest that had caused mandatory referral for substance abuse therapy. As the women began to share their life stories with each other, they realized that all six women had been sexually abused as girls or young women. That realization led to each woman sharing her own episode/s of sexual abuse with the group. The fact that I had been a person who was sexually abused as a boy somehow bonded these women to each other, and also to myself.

In essence, this group's sharing of abuse experiences led to the feelings of safety to share these very traumatic experiences with each other and myself. What became apparent was that these women's abuse sexually at a young age became the life event that led to chemical dependence. What was also apparent was that these women had come into using drugs or alcohol excessively, leading to what is commonly known as addiction. Many of these women had reported the sexual abuse to either a parent or trusted adult, only to find out that the common response they experienced was very toxic shame.  The message communicated by the person receiving the abuse report was often shaming, disbelieving, or feeling the reporting of abuse was a waste of time. The minimizing of the report of sexual abuse communicated by the victim was reflected by indifference of the person who was receiving the report.

Because of the so-called "critical mass" in this therapeutic group due to all six women disclosing sexual and sometimes physical abuse in the group and being validated for the first time by other victims in the group, the group was able to deduce that their substance dependence was  a symptom of emotional trauma rather than the emotional trauma being the caused by the chemical dependence. This insight allowed these women to see their behavior with respect to drugs and alcohol was a maladaptive method of trying to drown the sexual and physical abuse histories through "numbing out" the memories.

I feel compelled to share this experience due to a television program I saw yesterday that elicited a strong emotional response from  my seeing a sexually abused mother and child struggling to keep their secrets unknown, due to the abuse perpetrator being a highly respected community member. The program, which was entirely fictional, drew a myriad of feelings from me ranging from volatile anger to tears in response to the program content, due to my own experience with being a childhood victim of sexual abuse. In my case, it was an older male teenager. The shame from the experience led to me not disclosing the abuse until my graduate school counseling/therapy practicum 25 years later.

My hope is that the reader of this piece who may have chemical dependence and mental illness due to childhood abuse will feel empowered enough to find help for both conditions, either in an addiction treatment program or childhood abuse treatment group. There is no excuse for rape, no matter what condition the perpetrator is in when abusing the victim. For those people who need support, find a way to allow yourself to set aside the fear and very toxic shame from what happened to you, and find a therapy group and/or a support group to begin untangling the emotional "knots," as R.D. Laing once called them, that are in your life due to sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.

Copyright 2016 by Peter Reum---All Rights Reserved