Category Archives: Symbolism

Symbols and Psychiatry

sncornskid051316

Corn snake, kco051316

Ten years ago this month, I had just retired my medical and DEA licenses, in search of better ways to inspire people regarding the mind and its potential.  A long-time student of symbolism, I write daily in my journal and regularly include references to astrology, mythology, religion, dreams, and other symbolic languages.  These universal concepts fall loosely into Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s idea of a “collective unconscious” and of “archetypes.”  As most people probably know, Jung was a protege of Sigmund Freud, father of modern psychiatry, whose The Interpretation of Dreams, published in 1900, rocked the scientific world and initiated the field of psychiatry and psychoanalysis.

The following excerpts from my November, 2007 diary show how I play around with symbolism to help develop a deeper appreciation for everyday life.

ON PREDICTIONS AND FREE WILL

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 – I believe if the student fails, the teacher fails more, because the teacher is paid to teach.  The student (ideally), pays to learn.  This is why I’ve never believed in tenure and probably why I don’t believe in marriage or other chains on the future.  As an astrologer, I don’t believe in predictions either, but astrologers as a group would disown me for saying this.  They thrive on making predictions, and people expect them to do it, but no one can say that predictions are consistent with free will.

You have to be a free thinker to understand how limiting predictions are.

This moment, as I sit in my recliner on this beautiful sunny day, overlooking vast expanses of marsh and blue sky, I have access to all time, depending on my focus.  It can come as dream, memory, fantasy, association, feeling, impression, dimly or readily perceived.  A book once read is forever a part of my experience, because I have invested the personal effort to make it so.  A book once written is part of everyone’s experience, whether direct or indirect, as knowledge brought through on the verbal place is “thicker” and more physical than the more ethereal realm of imagination.  How can I know before I read a book how it will change my life?

PENELOPE AND UNDOING

Thursday, November 22, 2007 – I’m approaching my multiple goals in piecemeal fashion.  When everything seems to be at beginning stages, as now, or beyond my capabilities, I feel frustrated and at odds with myself.  Re-doing things makes me feel like Penelope, Odysseus’ wife in The Odyssey of Homer, who undid her father-in-law’s shroud every evening to avoid having to marry any of the moochers who invaded her home as soon as Odysseus stayed gone too long.

I used to think Penelope was a sap, but undoing is a matter of perception, and if you enjoy the weaving and undoing for its own sake, it is no longer a waste of time.  Here we have the clash of the results-oriented and the process-oriented approach.  Also apparent is the stated vs. actual purpose.  Penelope stated she wanted a shroud.  She actually wanted to stall for time, so the actual purpose was met.

She lived in a time when women were possessions, and we have that subversive belief still, although no one admits it.  Marriage is a testament to the people-ownership concept.  While presumably it’s a mutual ownership, no one expects men to be as faithful as women, although this is a generalization and less true than in the past.  In the great sexual shuffling of today, men and women seem equally unfaithful.

Probably few perceive the ownership attitude as clearly as I, the target of so many who want to own by any means available.  Insurance companies, government, bankers, stockbrokers, businessmen, acquaintances, friends, family, partners–all want an advantage and will look for or create excuses to cross the line of equality, move in and take over.

Am I bitter and cynical?  Yes.  I don’t like feeling this way, knowing it only hurts me to have this attitude.  Like it or not, I am a herald, of sorts, meaning I search restlessly for higher and more comfortable ground, especially mentally.  Those who would control will seek first to control the mind.

I can’t control my own mind, nor do I want to.  I like its free ranging ability and thrive on the little lessons obtained from every facet of my life.

How would I know about undoing if I did not live it, feel the emotions associated, know the practice from mythology and the term from psychiatry?

Unraveling a sweater – which I’ve already done once with this one because I didn’t like the stitch – brings many facets into play.

How would someone else handle it?  Who knows?  Most people would not attempt to knit a sweater at all, I suspect, and this is my contention with “most people.”

Nor will “most people” appreciate the value of the process as a means of showing how to solve problems, because this is my real purpose.  Rather than start over, I can adapt mid-sweater and potentially turn a mistake into a success.

SNAKES IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN

Monday, November 26, 2007 – I’ve retired my medical license to become a New Age Profit . . . er . . . Prophet, for the Spirit of Capitalism.

I cut my fangs on Telluride politics and other stories from the Serpents of the Modern Caduceus.  What if there were two serpents in the Garden of Eden, and they ran the interlopers out, better to rest in peace without getting trampled?  Then they can bask in the sun of the Garden, eating of their favorite fruit, the apples from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Now that Adam and Even have departed in search of something better, the wise snakes may rest assured the tree won’t be cut down to build a house, to hold squealing brats who like to torture snakes for fun.  Minimal risk of getting eaten for supper or skinned for belts and purses.  Why, now that God has expelled these demons from Heaven, the snakes are ecstatic.

Unfortunately, the Garden of Eden isn’t quite as lively as when the humans were around.  They provided entertainment, if only by making God mad.  We snakes can make God mad without even trying.  All we had to do was show him how dumb his latest invention was, and he threw them out and has been moping around ever since, feeling guilty about over-reacting.  Now, look at the mess man has made of his lives.

All we said was “Wise up.”  We didn’t say do it the hard way.  No.  That was Adam’s choice, to do it the hard way.

We snakes wise up the easy way.  When our skins get too small, we shed them and slither on out to greater dimensions of girth and wisdom.

Yes, snakes are hated and feared, because we are so smart.  We see life from the ground up, and we know where our support and strength lie.  Our raw intelligence knows its own turf and doesn’t seek to intrude on that of others.  Snakes don’t go looking for trouble, unless it’s entertaining trouble that enhances our wisdom and gets a potential threat redirected into other dimensions, like hell on earth.

The Third Party Payer Shuffle

From the Museum of Appalachia, Norris, TN kco0406

From the Museum of Appalachia, Norris, TN kco0406

September, 2015
Introduction by Dr. Kathorkian, an alter ego:  I wrote this prophetic piece in December, 2004, when George W. Bush was president.  But Dr. Obama has surpassed him in making the Third Party Payer Shuffle the national mandatory dance.

As long as Juris Doctors are practicing medicine, they should be personally liable for medical malpractice.

THE THIRD PARTY PAYER SHUFFLE
(Danced to the tune of “Tramplin’ Toes”)

The “Third Party Payer Shuffle” is the latest rage in disco health care. It’s a competitive dance, like a game, which combines the benefits of exercise and team sports. It is absolutely fair, because nobody wins.

The Shuffle requires three dancers, who hang arms over shoulders in a tight group hug. They spin in circles, to music that runs backwards.

Dancers maintain steady eye contact while stomping each other’s feet. This hot-footed light-step keeps dancers on their toes and off-balance, so they lean inward for support.

Tornadoes of whirling shufflers have taken the nation by storm. The dance has embraced governments, universities, schools, corporations, hospitals, special interest groups, businesses, and doctor’s offices nationwide. The demand has led to dangerous overcrowding of shuffle facilities.

The star shufflers dance on broken toes and smashed feet. Prized for their courage and praised for their loyalty, the very best continue to spin long after their soles are crushed and bleeding.

When a dancer’s feet cave in, everyone falls, and the partners lose the dance. To solve this problem, the rules have changed to allow more than three shufflers to form a team. This reduces risk for the group and increases the pool of feet. Economists say this will stimulate the economy and contribute to job growth.

But shuffle critics are becoming more vocal. Some, who have never tried the dance, are said to be clumsy, bad dancers, and bad sports.

A growing cohort of maimed ex-shufflers now crowd the sidelines, taunting dancers with boos and catcalls. These detractors take up so much space that everyone insists more facilities would benefit both groups.

Meanwhile, extremist ex-shufflers are using more dangerous tactics. Last week, they staged a crawl on Washington, begging the President to stop the dance. The Department of Homeland Security, claiming it a terrorist act, arrested over 100 ex-shufflers who were screaming bloody murder.

Despite dissent, the shuffle has become so popular that other dances have been abandoned. Shuffle Fever, a non-profit organization and musical group, is hosting large fetes in DC and lobbying Congress to make it the national mandatory dance.

According to a Associated Press poll, most Americans believe this is our most critical political issue.

While generally supportive, some legislators express concern about the cost. Facilities are so crowded that dancers no longer have room to spin, and so loud that no one can hear the music. The Congressional Budget Office says the cost of adding enough facilities to meet demand could exceed all income forever.

The President, a Master Shuffler, discounts the CBO’s pessimistic outlook. Democrats in Congress have taken a loyal stand for the President. They want to make it mandatory in schools and fund lessons for the underprivileged. Republicans are avid shufflers, too. Considering this vigorous bipartisan support, the shuffle will undoubtedly win unlimited funding for more facilities. Giving dancers more room to spin faster will remove them sooner from the dance. This will keep future costs down.

The President is also considering adding a shin-kick step and a head-bash maneuver. Enthusiasts claim this will also reduce costs.

Begging Me to Run for President

Introduction by Kaka Big Chicken:  The media is crowing over the upcoming presidential elections, over a year in advance of The Event.  My perennial choice, “None of the Above,” is never on the ballot.  However, the federal government seems to be imploding, with no help from me, having borrowed against the future until beyond the time the sun burns out.

Speckles crowing

Speckles crowing

BEGGING ME TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT
by Katharine C. Otto
March, 2010

I was fantasizing about being begged to run for president.

“No way would I take a government job,” I would say.

“That’s why we want you,” people would respond. “You would downsize government.”

“Eliminate the presidency, then. That would downsize it in a hurry.”

“We need you to do that.”

“OK. I tell you what. No government benefits. I’ll work as an independent contractor. I’ll need about $25,000/year for my use and double that for the vampire that bleeds me in taxes. So, I’ll need about $50,000 the first year, until I abolish the Fed. That should cancel out the national debt, so we won’t need income taxes anymore. The second year, I’ll only need about $25,000 for personal use, so we’ll save money there.

“My second year, I’ll abolish all drug and alcohol laws, so we’ll no longer need the CIA, ATF, FBI, DEA, FDA, CMS, CDC, USDA, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, or the TSA. Then I’ll wait for the private sector to absorb the former government employees.

“My third year, I’ll abolish Congress, the rest of the federal agencies, all government employee and pension programs, and Wall Street.

“My fourth year, I’ll abolish the Supreme Court and cancel all government contracts. Then I’ll resign, because I can’t run the country by myself.

“Either side can terminate with 30 days’ notice, for any reason. The 30 days would give me time to move my stuff out of the White House, so I would not be expected to work as President during that time.

”So these are my terms,” I would say, “and if there’s anything illegal about that, have the US Supreme Court and Congress and whoever is president now change the law so I can run on my own terms.”

“Would you do that for us?” they might ask.

“No way,” I would reply. “Frankly, I think it’s a waste of time, because those dorks can’t agree on anything. Why should I do their job if I’m not getting paid for it? I don’t want this job, remember? You want me to downsize government, so we need to find these clowns work in the private sector so they won’t continue to tax taxpayers.

“Nothing against them, you understand, but I don’t believe paying people to boss me around, or in having more stuff than I need. I have all the assets I can handle, and I just want to coast awhile.”

My Opinion on Guns

Introduction:

Guns and gun laws are hot topics these days, especially among the seniors citizens at the political discussion group I attend.  We have the gun advocates and the gun law advocates.  Nobody there wants to hear My Opinion, so I’m posting it here.  I’ve found My Opinion is more popular among the half-our-age generation than in My Cohort, which is living on Social Security and stock/bond investments, thus heavily invested in keeping the federal government and Wall Street afloat.  At the moment, I’m one of the younger members of the group, but listening to the squabbles is aging me quickly.

I wrote the following piece in 2008, but My Opinion has changed little since then.  Please note that it is political satire.  I do not really believe in castration for gun-toting criminals.

ON GUNS

A group of retired combat vets stood around the flea market awhile back, bragging about their guns. They turned to the Constitution’s second amendment, gun control laws, licensing, and the use of guns for self-defense.

I say I’m more afraid of gun laws than guns. Laws put all the legal weapons in the hands of the military and police. The laws create outlaws, raise the black market price for munitions manufacturers, burglars, and anyone who feels the need. So gun laws multiply chances that a bullet will fly my way.

Later, I recalled the two cases in my life when someone assaulted me. Both times, a gun would have been more dangerous for me than them. Without firearms, I used my big mouth to talk my way out of the scrape or scream bloody murder. So, for practical rather than moral reasons, I don’t believe in guns for self-defense. I believe in common sense for self-defense.

I imagine having a gun. If an assailant bursts into my house, I will not have the gun handy, because I frequently can’t even find my glasses, and I use them every day.

“Wait a minute,” I would have to say. “I need to find my gun, load it, and make sure it works. I’ll be right back.

“Better make sure my license is current, too, because I can’t remember when I last renewed it. I’ll bet it has expired. It’s too much trouble to go downtown – or wherever you get licenses these days – deal with traffic congestion, parking, standing in line, government drones, and getting all that nasty fingerprint ink on my hands, plus paying the parking and license fees.

“I may not be able to shoot you, after all, because if my license has expired, the police will ignore you, book and fine me, take my gun and license, and charge me with felony. Then I won’t ever be able to vote again, not that voting makes a difference in today’s market.”

By then I would have bored that robber enough to make him leave. He may even offer me his gun. “It’s not doing me any good, either,” he might say. “You can have it.”

“No way, Jose,” I would respond. “Pack out your own trash. I have enough of it. As long as you came to rob me, what do you want? How about these Wall Street Journals? They can teach you how to make crime pay.”

I figure my best weapon in an emergency is my brain. I’m likely to have a cup of coffee by my side, a book or knitting needles in hand, or if I’m in the kitchen, a kitchen knife. I could throw the coffee mug or book at his face, stab him with knitting needle or knife, and distract him enough to make him drop his gun, so I can borrow it and hold him at bay. Then I could call the police to rescue him from me.

I don’t know statistics on how many armed assailants are male. In my case, it was 50/50 with two women together in one assault. I theorize they are victims of testosterone poisoning, either directly or by proxy, curable by castration, better insurance than gun control laws and more cost-effective for taxpayers.