While We're at It. (the Public Square: A Continuing Survey of Religion and Public Life)
Neuhaus, Richard, First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life
* In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, federal agencies, the Red Cross, and various charities granted more than $300 million for psychological help to New Yorkers in the form of grief, stress, and trauma therapies. To the amazement of the experts, there were few takers for the proffered help. At mental health clinics, fewer people showed up than at the same time the year before. Sally Satel, a psychiatrist, comments: "The vast majority of people--especially those whose lives are not endangered and who do not suffer profound losses in the wake of catastrophe--get better on their own. The ethos of the mental health profession overstates people's psychological fragility and too readily confuses pathos with pathology. A professor of epidemiology at Columbia University recently pressed for a `determined effort to help the population withstand such attacks on the psyche.' But such sentiments imply we must rely on professionals to prop up our psyches. They raise doubt when confidence is what we need." Well, they get better not quite on their own, I expect. Families, friends, voluntary associations, and churches do their part. But these agencies of effective support and healing do not get hundred million dollar grants. Of course, another explanation for people not availing themselves of professional help is that New Yorkers are too disoriented to know they're disoriented. Anyway, and to the distress of those selling therapy, they don't want the therapy, even when someone else is paying. A measure of generalized craziness is what makes New York New York. There are no doubt better ways to use that $300 million. Given the track record of government programs and large philanthropies, the best thing might be to return the money to taxpayers and donors. Although I expect a sizable chunk of it has already been spent on an advertising campaign to persuade New Yorkers that they really do need expert help. And another chunk on therapy for the injured self-esteem of therapists.
* I don't know who wrote it. These things come in over the Internet transom, so to speak. But the following science report may possibly be pertinent to matters governmental, educational, corporate, and even ecclesiastical. "A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science, with an atomic mass of 312. This new element has been tentatively named `Administratium.' Administratium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 111 assistant deputy neutrons. These particles are held together by a force called morons which is surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Administratium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take only a few minutes. Administratium has a normal half-life of three years; it does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization, in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons and assistant deputy neutrons exchange places and additional peons are added. In fact, Administratium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization causes some morons to become neutrons forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Administratium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as `Critical Morass.'"
* The ELCA Lutheran church council has finally come out with its long awaited statement, Message on Commercial Sexual Exploitation. At the risk of spoiling the suspense, they're against it. But Richard O. Johnson, associate editor of Forum Letter thinks they may be against it for the wrong reasons, or at least not for the most crucially …
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Publication information: Article title: While We're at It. (the Public Square: A Continuing Survey of Religion and Public Life). Contributors: Neuhaus, Richard - Author. Magazine title: First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life. Publication date: November 2002. Page number: 79+. © 2009 Institute on Religion and Public Life. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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