The Secrets of Psora

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Since it’s just about a year since I started playing around with the internet, I thought perhaps it is high time to make some changes to my blog, Psora Psora Psora.

Indeed, over the last year, I’ve been asked several times, first, what the name of the blog means and, second, just what kind of blog it is.

The first question is much easier to answer.

Psora is a homeopathic term.  It literally means “itch.”  But it is most often used to refer to any disease that if functional in nature—that relates to an over-reaction or under-reaction on the part of the body.  Allergies, for instance, are a functional disorder that impact the lives of countless millions of disease.  Psoric diseases are those that will not show up on any test, that seem to be rooted in mystery, and yet—there they are.  Things don’t function right, the patient suffers and not reason can be found.

This is the heart of Psora:  a mystery.  Symptoms are its clues.  But, so far, no solution, no answer.  Psoric things are those that we have to learn to “live with.”  That we adapt to, as our lives are shaped by the limitations that Psora brings.

I named the blog Psora Psora Psora for two reasons.  First, as an homage (in other words, stolen from) the old movie, Tora Tora Tora.  As they are homonyms, it seemed apt.  Second, each Psora relates to a different level of being:  body, mind and spirit, as each can get equally fucked up, and, in it’s ultimate meaning, there is no better, simpler definition for Psora than “fucked up.”

Psora, by the way, is pronounced “sora.”  The “p” is psilent.

Now, on to that second question:  just what kind of blog is this, anyway?

Damned if I know.  I started it without a plan in mind and have managed to be very disciplined in that arena since the launch.  Blame it on Psora.  This blog is seemingly an avenue of dysfunction.  Friends of the homeopathic sort complain that I spend too much time writing about other things, about Tina Fey and pickled beets and some-such.  Friends of the literary sort think I spend WAY too much time going on and on about homeopathy.  They think I am seeing Skeptics behind every tree and under every rock and worry that I will soon take to wearing a tinfoil hat to keep the Obama administration out of my head.

All I can say about that is that I care passionately about homeopathy, and yet, if I had to post posts about what remedies to take during allergy season and nothing else, I would go mad.  But perhaps during the second year I can formulate a plan, or spin off another blog on literary matters and leave this to homeopathy. Who can say?

Finally there is the matter of the changes made.  First the look.  I like the new look—very simple.  The legal pad as if I were just jotting down ideas, barely formulating sentences.  That appeals, to me at least.

And the new “motto.”  I never liked “Writing:  Not Rocket Science.  Harder.”  Thought it a bit bitchy and not really true.  I suspect that rocket science is a bit harder than constructing a complex sentence, complete with dependent clause.  Homeopathy on the Hoof is an important concept to me, and one that I will go into in more detail later one.  Suffice it to say that, if we cannot make homeopathy part of our day-to-day life, if we cannot see the symptoms and the characteristics of the different archetypes when we see them, then we can never truly call ourselves homeopaths.

It’s been an intense year, digitally speaking.  I joined Facebook and LinkedIn and learned to Tweet (badly, irregularly) and found out how good it can be to be an Amazon Author.  And I joined the New York Journal of Books as a literary critic.  But no other part of the internet has been as much fun as this.  Here I met the Skeptics and chased those flying monkeys away.  And here I learned not only that narcissism is fun, but that, on the internet, it is expected.

Where Is Carlos Castaneda When You Need Him?

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Is it all right to admit to a certain sense of ennui when I hear that the old Flying Monkeys themselves, this time all dressed up as dragons, are back and stamping their assembled feet (some 400 strong, apparently, and so a total of 800 feet all told), all for the sake of maligning homeopathy?  Is it all right to feel a little irritated as well, as the Monkeys are apparently no better read, no more intelligent or honest or truthful in their work than they were a few months ago when the flew in the window here, kicked the furniture around a bit then then flew back out again with very little ventured and most assuredly nothing gained?  And is it just plain wrong of me to wish that the group would at least attempt to design better logos, posters and such, or is the homemade look all part and parcel with their “just plain folks attitude?”

 

I mean, as logos go, come on:

 

 

Flying Monkey in Dragon Drag

 

 

 

Ah, well, we must go back a bit in order to move forward.

 

Seems a while back a small group of irate folks in Great Britain decided that, because they themselves do not particularly like homeopathy–not that any of them have ever actually used it, studied it, gone to see a homeopathy or even read a book on the subject–that it should not be a legal alternative medicine in the UK.  They demanded that it be removed from the national health care.  When this project failed, the groups spend a little while meeting in its various cells–most of whom meet in pubs, apparently, and one met a while back in a member’s home, where he prepared a nice dinner for them of margaritas and fajitas (for which he kindly posted his recipe online).

 

You almost can’t help but like these guys.  I picture them as a gaggle of guys with the cliched pocket protectors and horn-rimmed glasses.  They seem overtly polite (except for the few who email threats of death to those who write kindly of homeopathy), and infinitely dedicated to homeopathy, unless, one assumes, the meeting is called for the same night as the next Dr. Who special is set to air.

 

So when I heard of their new and thrilling adventure, one in which all four hundred of them, scattered around the globe, would purposely overdose on homeopathic drugs in order to prove that, as far as drugs go, homeopathic drugs are nothing, nada and should, I guess, therefore be thrown in the sea, stomped into the ground, etc, etc.  Click here in order to get a look at the blog posting put up by the irrepressible Rhys Morgan advertising the event a few weeks back.

 

So the event came and went this week.  I had forgotten about it, until a friend on Facebook posted an article from NPR.  (Good to know that NPR is putting all its McDonald’s money to good use.)  To get a look at that, click here.

 

Note:  It’s fun to see the Amazing Randi again (or at least the Amazing Randi muppet that they seem to be using in place of the real thing these days).  Life would be a little sadder and duller a place without the Amazing Quackbuster Randi in it.  And don’t we all feel a bit safer knowing that he is out there busting quacks for our sake?

 

What the Monkeys have proven is that they have the ability, in the age of the internet, to manipulate the media and put their cause before the public.  For that they are to be congratulated.  But not for their experiment itself.  That was a faulty and as wrapped up in Bad Science as the Skeptics themselves usually denounce.  As the Skeptics are all about Good Science and insist that they are as upset about Bad Medicine (of the sort that I have been writing about recently) as I am, then it seems to me that, if they are going to test the perimeters of homeopathic medicine and its efficacy by setting out to willfully overdose, then the should actually set out to overdose and not to just pretend.  If we are all about Good Science, guys, then it seems to me that you should not substitute stunts for science.  If you respect science as much as you say you do, then your scientific experiments should be structured like actual scientific experiments.  At least if you want anyone to actually take you seriously.  Besides the Amusing Randi, of course…

 

Click here for a video from the NPR site that was put online as part of the 10:23 Campaign’s Day of Overdose.  Take a minute to watch the video.  It’s important.

 

Now first thing that you will see is that the Skeptic is most jovial.  A really nice guy, the kind of guy you’d like to have margaritas and fajitas with.  But, when it comes to testing homeopathy by creating an overdose, he has proven nothing except that he has not a clue as to what homeopathy is or how you overdose on it.  Here’s why:

 

First, he has selected a mixed remedy. As anyone who has attended the most basic homeopathic class or read the simplest book on homeopathy can tell you, Samuel Hahnemann, the Father of Homeopathy, railed against one practice more than any other:  polypharmacy.

 

 

"S. Hahnemann"

Samuel Hahnemann, The father of Homeopathy, author of the Organon

 

 

And in his Organon of the Medical Art, Hahnemann says again and again that polypharmacy is wrong, it is ineffective and it is dangerous–both in homeopathic and allopathic medicine.  Second of Hahnemann’s Three Laws of Cure is the principle that says One Remedy at a Time.  So when Mr. Skeptic in the dragon hat selected a substance that had more than one homeopathic remedy it in, he selected something that was NOT a homeopathic remedy at all.  I don’t care where he bought it or how much he paid for it, or what the label says, if it has more than one homeopathically prepared remedy in it, it is NOT homeopathic.  Not now, not ever.  So, before he even sprayed the spray in his mouth, he voided his own experiment because of his complete ignorance of the very thing that he was testing.

 

Now, you can’t blame him.  The concept of homeopathy has been so bastardized these days that some people confuse the word homeopathy for “herbal.”  Others use it interchangeably for “holistic” or even “natural.”  And yet, I assure you that the word homeopathy means something specific.  And that the practice of homeopathy is something quite specific, working from a well thought out philosophy and more than two hundred years of clinical practice.  Indeed, the principles of homeopathy date back far more than two hundred years.  Hippocrates, for instance, wrote about the homeopathic method of working more than two thousand years ago.  So you can’t blame the poor Skeptic for being confused.  What you can blame him for, however, is the fact that he was so ill prepared for his “experiment” that he set it up in such as way as to negate the findings.

 

Now, second, there is another glaring issue with this Skeptic’s “experiment.”  It has to do again with his ignorance of homeopathy.  He bought a bottle of some sleep potion.  I will not judge it one way or another, except to the degree that I already have (if it has more than one homeopathic remedy in it then it is bastardized homeopathy and not homeopathic in any real sense–therefore, I cannot speak for its efficacy).  What I will speak to is the method in which he “overdosed.”  If the bottle of a given homeopathic remedy says to take one pellet or one spray and you double it, you are not doubling the dosage.  The dosage stays the same.  You can drink the whole of the bottle in one sitting and it is still one dose.  What creates an overdose is a repetition of the dose.  Say he took it every half hour.  One spray.  Each new dose would work with the old and the remedy would begin to assert itself.  It is in the repetition and not in increasing the amount of the single dose that you create a “proving” or an overdose of a homeopathic remedy.  (And, let me restate that, as this was not a homeopathic remedy, but some combination of remedies put out by some company, I can’t be sure, not knowing what’s in it, what potency or remedies, whether you could EVER overdose on it or not, however much or however often it is taken.)

 

But what I can say is that, should the Skeptics ever really want to explore the nature of homeopathy and see for themselves whether or not it really works, then they need to go about it another way.  They need to take it as seriously as they would any other experiment.  They need to set it up correctly and to have it overseen and recorded correctly.  If, at that point, they want someone to tell them how they can really overdose on a remedy, they can ask me.  I will tell them, just as soon as they sign the “hold harmless” documents that will protect me if they are harmed in any way while conducting the experiment.

 

Now, for the real skeptics out there or for people who might actually be interested in learning more about homeopathy, I want to give you a link to my newest book.  It is available only as a Kindle download right now, but it will be available throughout the free world–including, however slightly, the UK at present–sometime this spring.  I’ll have to let you know the publishing date.  But here’s a link to the book, called What Is Homeopathy? Those wanting to really know the answer to that question (hint, it’s not “herbal”, “holistic”, “natural” or “quackery”) might want to take a look.