Reposting this, as the original post is acting weirdly.

Maybe “Operation Beautiful” can be seen as a decrapping process? I have a feeling that many of us see crap when we look at ourselves in the mirror – and have been brainwashed into thinking it belongs to us.

Or we spend our lives shying away from mirrors in fear of only seeing crap.

zingerella wrote an article on Livejournal some time ago that I have found very useful. I’m copying it here, with her permission, as it fits so well in with the main theme of this blog. Here it is, in Zingerella’s own brilliant words:


A long, long time ago, a friend took me to Alateen. She and I had bonded, in part, over the substance-abuse problems in our respective families, and she’d found a lot of good in the program. It didn’t take with me, long term, but it didn’t do me any harm, and some of the people I met there had some useful things to say, from their experience interacting with their own messed-up families.

The Wall of Shit theory is perhaps the most useful thing I took away from Alateen, and I don’t think it’s an official part of the program. Here’s how it goes:

Throughout life, everyone has a certain amount of crap hurled at them. Some people get more crap, some people get less crap. Some people, the lucky ones, also get issued shovels, and spend their formative years being shown how to garden and constructing gardens in their hearts. So they’re well equipped for dealing with the crap life throws at them. Sometimes it builds up, but they have their shovels, and use them and the crap to fertilize their gardens, and it’s more or less okay.

Other people get only crap. They get crap from a very young age, and there’s nobody to show them how to deal with it, because the people in their lives are dealing with their own crap, and throwing crap all over the place. So it builds up, in layers around their heart. After years and years of crap, their hearts, which may be beautiful, are pretty much surrounded in crap. Anything they try to send out is either trapped behind the wall of crap, or if it manages to squeeze out, it emerges covered in crap, sometimes to such an extent that it’s impossible to recognize as anything that might ever have been beautiful. The same thing happens to anything that other people try to send in: if it gets in at all, it’s covered in crap, and the person wonders why the world is throwing more crap at them. Because the crap is so thick, nobody can tunnel through from the outside, to find the beautiful heart. People get lost, and the crap sticks to them, and if they emerge at all, they too are covered in crap.

You can’t really blame people for not wanting to be covered in other people’s shit.

Sometimes, if the crapped-upon person can learn to recognize the crap, he or she can begin to reach through it, or learn to look for the openings. If a person’s spent their entire life surrounded by crap, however, they don’t always know to look for anything else—how should they? So you have people on both sides throwing love and kindness and whatever at a wall of crap, and people on either sides of the wall wondering why the people who profess to love them are giving them only crap to deal with.

Throwing more love at the wall of crap often doesn’t do anything, because the person inside all the crap simply can’t receive love that isn’t covered in crap.

There may be one or two little tunnels through the crap, and something may get through these, but, of course, they’re hard to find, and not entirely stable, and surrounded by still more crap. So even if you find a way through the crap, for some love to get through, it’s not going to be easy or pleasant to get it to the person inside the wall of crap.

The person who explained the Wall of Shit theory couldn’t tell me what to do about other people’s crap. He didn’t know if one could do much. Over time, I’ve learned that, when it comes to other people’s crap, my choices are pretty limited. Since the CUP (crapped-upon person) can’t see their own crap, and doesn’t know that they’re throwing crap at me, I can merely decide how much crap I’m willing to endure for the sake of whatever beauty I can see shining through the crap. I can shovel away from the outside, but there’s never really any way of knowing what’s inside the crap, or if I’m even digging in the correct direction. If I can find the tunnels, I might be able to get a shovel to the person inside, but after that, it’s up to them to dig their way out.

They have to dig their way out, or tell me how to find the tunnels, and accept that once I get to them, I may not smell like roses.

See, I knew, when I was a teen, that my dad really cared about us, and really tried to love us. But his love, even when he wasn’t drinking, was sometimes kind of crappy. And I would try to love him, and it would feel like nothing I did was right, like he wasn’t seeing me. Understanding that his own rather messed up childhood, his drinking, and his dysfunctional marriage with my mom had given him way more crap than he could ever hope to shovel through meant that I wasn’t the one sending bad love.

Since my Alateen days, my dad and I have learned to interact a bit better. I’ve learned to keep a cloth on hand, for wiping crap off of things, and not to expect him to send me bright, shiny love. If he lectures me about my professional life, it’s not because he thinks I’m utterly incompetent—he’s trying to help me, and I don’t have to listen to all his advice. He’s getting better at finding paths through the crap, too, and I think he’s not feeling completely defeated all the time, the way he did with my mom. And being grown up means that I just don’t have to deal with his crap all the time, anymore. I can walk away, and say “This crap is not my crap.”

I’ve walked away from other CUPs—people who were so far behind their walls of crap that I couldn’t hope to find them. People whose walls of pain and anger and other emotional ordure meant that no matter how much I wanted to love them, I could send them only things covered in crap, and they could respond only with more pain that I would send them crap. I mean who needs more crap? Their crap, however, is not my crap.

Right now, nobody in my life seems to be throwing crap at me. So it’s easy to pitch in and help the people I love shovel the crap that comes their way, if they need it, and spread it around to see what grows.

Comparing a Diagnosis of Cancer and Psychiatric Disorder

In Critical psychiatry  I found a link to an article that fits right in with my previous post, “The most destructive force …”

Comparing a Diagnosis of Cancer and Psychiatric Disorder

Amongst other things, John McCarthy wrote:

“As I progressed and formed a relationship with my team of doctors, I realised something about the whole series of events and I asked my admitting doctor who carried out my original examination when he was probing my stomach and my back with his fingers, did he realise then that I had a tumour?

His answer was “yes, but I had to have all the tests carried out before I could stand over my opinion”. What we have within psychiatry is what I can only call an arrogance that allows the doctors opinion to be accepted as medical science and since I began campaigning a number of years ago, I have met so many people who have been severely damaged by the lack of science behind that opinion.”

The most destructive force …

Edited on Jan 12th

 Theodore Sturgeon, in his postscript to “The Image of the Beast” by  Philip Jose Farmer: 

There is a vast number of honestly simple-minded people who can, without hesitation, define:






law and order
science fiction 



honorable peace



and think, and act, and legislate, and sometimes burn, jail, and kill on the basis of their definitions. These are the Labellers, and they are without exception the most lethal and destructive force ever faced by any species on this or any other planet…”

Theodore Sturgeon forgot “mental illness”. 

Mental Health Labellers have the power to 
think, and act, and legislate, and brainwash and medicate, sicken,  incarcerate, and kill on the basis of their definitions. 

I prefer to assume that they are all doing this with the very best of intentions, because they are convinced that they are helping people in the best possible way.

This assumption is extremely liberating, as I don’t have to waste time on considering their motives, and can concentrate on what they are doing, which is …

… to 
think, and act, and legislate, and brainwash and medicate, sicken,  incarcerate, and kill on the basis of their definitions.

I am extremely critical of Mental Health Labellers.

And I have written about helpers who help.

"A Saucer of Loneliness"

Sometimes a story stays with us, becomes a part of our lives, a part of our knowledge of the world.
Sometimes a story changes the way we look at life, at our surroundings, at ourselves.

“A saucer of Loneliness” is a short story written by Theodore Sturgeon. It is 40 years since I read it, and it has stayed with me.

Here is a link to the complete text.

And here is a link to a Wiki article about this story.

Sturgeon is a SF writer that I feel a kinship to, I feel that we come from the same place.

And I have used this poem in the story as a tool – to connect with myself, and sometimes to connect with others who need to get in touch with their inner loneliness and can’t find a way to get started.

There is in certain living souls
A quality of loneliness unspeakable,
So great it must be shared
As company is shared by lesser beings.
Such a loneliness is mine; so know by this
That in immensity
There is one lonelier than you.

And even to loneliness, there is an end.
For those who are lonely enough, long enough.

What are your reactions to it?

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life:"

” The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

Read more here, in RationalWiki

Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind the Utøya Massacre, has been influenced by Ayn Rand, who wrote “Atlas Shrugged”

Dec. 15th: adding more links:

Consider what she wrote in her essay “The Ethics of Emergency”: “The proper method of judging when or whether one should help another person is by reference to one’s own rational self-interest and one’s own hierarchy of values: The time, money or effort one gives or the risk one takes should be proportionate to the value of the person in one’s own happiness.” This statement certainly doesn’t preclude helping others so long as they are important to us. But it doesn’t tell us whether we should make them important to us in the first place.

The Catholic Church as porn seller

Once in a while I  visit the blog “def shepherd : observations from the intersection of religion, science, politics, and culture”.

And today I found this:

The Catholic Church’s $2.4 Billion Bookstore Peddles Loads Of Smut

Eric L Shepherd writes: 

“This month, Buchreport, a German industry newsletter, reported that the church-owned bookseller lists over 2,500 erotic books for sale.
 The church also owns Blue Panther Books, and a 50% share of Droemer Knaur, both of which publish pornographic materials. So, not only does the Catholic Church sell porn, they produce it.”

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

I have no idea if Church Authorities get any “base pleasure” out of causing the creation and selling of porn, but they certainly get “illicit profit”

Tim Minchin on Christmas

I know it’s too late. And I’m posting this anyway. My daughter showed me the video because the song echoes the way she feels about this season, and I agree. 

I hope it’s OK to post the lyrics, as they are great!

I really like Christmas
It’s sentimental, I know, but I just really like it
I am hardly religious
I’d rather break bread with Dawkins than Desmond Tutu, to be honest

And yes, I have all of the usual objections
To consumerism, the commercialisation of an ancient religion
To the westernisation of a dead Palestinian
Press-ganged into selling Playstations and beer
But I still really like it

I’m looking forward to Christmas
Though I’m not expecting a visit from Jesus

I’ll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They’ll be drinking white wine in the sun
I’ll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They’ll be drinking white wine in the sun

I don’t go in for ancient wisdom
I don’t believe just ‘cos ideas are tenacious it means they are worthy
I get freaked out by churches
Some of the hymns that they sing have nice chords but the lyrics are dodgy

And yes I have all of the usual objections
To the miseducation of children who, in tax-exempt institutions,
Are taught to externalise blame
And to feel ashamed and to judge things as plain right and wrong
But I quite like the songs
[ Lyrics from: ]
I’m not expecting big presents
The old combination of socks, jocks and chocolate is just fine by me

Cos I’ll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They’ll be drinking white wine in the sun
I’ll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They’ll be drinking white wine in the sun

And you, my baby girl
My jetlagged infant daughter
You’ll be handed round the room
Like a puppy at a primary school
And you won’t understand
But you will learn someday
That wherever you are and whatever you face
These are the people who’ll make you feel safe in this world
My sweet blue-eyed girl

And if, my baby girl
When you’re twenty-one or thirty-one
And Christmas comes around
And you find yourself nine thousand miles from home
You’ll know what ever comes
Your brother and sisters and me and your Mum
Will be waiting for you in the sun
Whenever you come
Your brothers and sisters, your aunts and your uncles
Your grandparents, cousins and me and your mum
We’ll be waiting for you in the sun
Drinking white wine in the sun
Darling, when Christmas comes
We’ll be waiting for you in the sun
Drinking white wine in the sun
Waiting for you in the sun
Waiting for you…