gnargtharst

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About gnargtharst

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  1. Thanks for the replies so long ago in this post. I have, since originally posting this, done a lot of reading (particularly Beck), and a lot of observing of my brother's situation (we live in different cities and our interaction is infrequent). (My amateur diagnosis is: delusions of grandeur and persecution delusions, associated with clinical depression). (Note: I dont' give any weight to this "disgnosis"; I am not a professional, I realize that I could have a lot of things wrong, etc. -- don't worry, I am not going to play mental doctor with my brother as guinea pig. But the details I describe are accurate.) I have not heard any further examples of "gibberish" or weird-syntax or non-sequitir speaking. But the delusional aspects continue. My brother has closely flirted with the idea that he himself is mentally ill. Sometimes by implication by things he says, sometimes as explicit if rhetorical self-questions. The only reason I haven't jumped on the bandwagon and run with his musings is due to lack of appropriate situations (for example: don't really want to delve into that topic at the dinner table, or with only a minute or two available to discuss, etc.) But it does seem clear to me that 1. He is as open as I can imagine to considering his own metnal health, and 2. I am the one who must broach the subject with him, or at least, advance the conversation. I believe that as a precondition to any progress, he will have to admit that he is delusional. So, a question, hopefully to anybody who knows by example -- i.e., a mental health professional: what's the best way to go about telling somebody they're delusional? The common sense way would seem to me to simply respectfully tell the person such-and-such, with sympathy to the inevitable defensiveness, etc. BUT... with absolutely no experience in such a thing, I don't pretend to know if my "common sense" is really that sensible. Do most delusional people respond well to such attempts? Are "interventions" useful? (rhetorical, as there's only one of me to "intervene"). Should delusional people be "tricked", for example, asked to expand on their delusional ideas, until they must certainly eventually come face-to-face with the contradictory aspects of it? I'll bet some psychologists deal with this all the time; anybody with any experience to share would be helpful. Essentially, I know what I have to do, but I have virtually no idea how to do it. An "Idiot's Guide to Convincing Delusional People That They Are" would be helpful. Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. I have a brother, who has been acting stranger and stranger over a period of many years. At first, I thought all his problems were cognitive (blaming others for his problems, avoiding solutions, exteme defensiveness, etc.), and that he could solve them by simply committing to and working at them. His various traits were self destructive, leading to: no professional life of any kind (still lives with parents), no lasting romance, etc. It was frustrating to me to see all the wasted potential -- he is very smart, graduated medical school, likes to invent and build, etc. Especially notable is his unhappiness: happiness seems transient at best, with interspersed periods of dread and depression. Recently, a couple of things occurred which indicated to me that his problems weren't simply bad habits and bad ideas (at least I think so -- I don't know if these issues could evolve from bad ideas...): on 2 occasions he lapsed into a moment of very odd gibberish -- not nonsense words or syntax, but just very strange non sequitirs (to give a sense: we were watching a show with animal videos, and he said something like "...but just imagine Dad, with his friends from the war, and they never see the planes but they still talk about them." [note: our dad was never in a war or anything similar]. The other big event that signals to me a flat-out break with reality: delusions of grandeur. He has latched onto a theory, devised by him, which is absolute nonsense. I won't go into it -- I think this account could still qualify as anonymous if I skip the details of this theory? -- but it is akin, epistemologically, to phrenology or time travel or something similar -- just utterly at odds with so much evidence (thinking about it, it is even less plausible than phrenology or time travel, etc.). The theory is replete with conspiratorial-sounding ideas about how he'll never succeed with these ideas because the world will persecute him for going against the staus quo, etc. but that his ideas shake the very core of science iteslef, etc. To my untrained mind, his rantings sound like a vast rationalisation about why he never succeeded at any career ("..because *they* couldn't handle this monumental truth...") So, it is evident to me that he has gone 'round the bend. I would very much like to help him. In a way, it's almost a relief to think that he has an actual mental illness, because it seems like it may be "curable", as opposed to such a heap of volitional bad ideas which seemed almost insurmountable. But, what to do? I barely trust the psychiatric industry -- it seems many of them are nuttier than their patients, and the theories I hear sound horrific. And even if I could trust someone in particular, the largest obstacle seems to be convincing my brother that he should "solve" his problems (how do you convince a paranoid person that *they* are the one that needs to fix their mind?). Should I politely challenge him on his nutty theory? Would going into details, and calmly identifying the irrational components bring him back to earth? I dont' even know what he "has". A cursory reading of wikipedia articles on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder reveal some familiar "symptoms", but I'm not a doctor and can't reasonably make that jump. Finally, my motivation in this is: I love my brother and I think he has true potential to be happy, and to make something of himself. It would make me happy, if he could emerge from this fog. If some sort of choice arose, which pitted this issue against my own family (wife and kids), I would not hesitate to choose my wife and kids, who are my first love and loyalty. But no such choice is evident yet. So, I'm not conflicted about a potentially altruistic action; it's not. Also, it appears that if anybody is going to address this, it will have to be me -- he has alienated friends, and my parents are, at least so far, clueless as to his condition (in particular, they are not scientifically literate enough to infer mental illness from his "theory"). If anybody has any ideas, please mention whether you speak from experience, esp. any expertise in mental health profession. Thanks.
  3. Partial Birth Abortion versus Abortion

    Cabbie, I think you've reasonably addressed your chosen topic, but I think the topic you've addressed is non-essential to the issue of abortion. I think the primary issue regarding the morality of abortion is not the development of the fetus, but the separateness of the fetus. Until the fetus/baby occupies a different space than the mother's body, the mother has dominion over it. However unique this particular part of her body, it is still, literally, part of her body, i.e., actually occupying her bodily space. Discussion of its progress toward fully-developed being is irrelevant. If the process of birth were somehow cosmically skipped and the fetus developed into a 34-year-old tax accountant... it still wouldn't matter: the owner of that living space has the right to evict the occupant under any terms she chooses. One could combine these points to say that "development" is not truly complete until separateness has been achieved.
  4. Larger print editions of Atlas

    Of the editions currently (April 16, 2009) for sale on Amazon, does anybody have any recommedations for one with a font size that doesn't require a microscope? My wife, who's never read Atlas but wants to now, tried to start reading my edition (the white cover popular about 10 years ago), but had such a hard time reading it that's she's shopping for an easier version. Any recommednations? Thanks!
  5. Peart R-30 Drum Solo

    I've been a huge Rush fan for 28 years now. Geddy's voice is one of my favorite things about the band (my other favorite things being his bass playing, Alex's guitar work, and Neil's drumming :-) I liked Geddy's voice even more in the earlier years before it mellowed (i.e., before he got too old to wail like a banshee). One of my all-time favorite music snippets is the vocals passage just after the solo break in Freewill... "EACH of us, a CELL of awareness..." /goosebumps/ ...what was the original topic again? Oh yeah, Neil's drum solos. I consider Neil a very *musical* drummer, i.e., his phrasing and flourishes are very integral to the songs, instead of just a metronome timekeeper; I could hum a dozen Neil drum phrases off the top of my head, something I can't do with most any other drummer. Plus, it was he that introduced me to Ayn Rand, so that's a plus, too.
  6. Question about Zoning Regulations in a neighborhood

    I've heard a criticism of CC&Rs that I've become more sympathetic to: that while they are an improvement over zoning/code regulations, they can still become quasi-governmental, in that the CC&Rs inhere with the property, rather than with the owner. For example, in my town we have a house on the main road which has in its front yard a large green neon sign that says "God is Love". The sign is decades old, and by this time, nobody (including its current owner) wants the sign, except local chrchy rabble rousers, who appear at city council meetings with a copy of the former owner's deed verbiage that says the sign shall stand in perpetuity. I may be misunderstanding some legalities of this, but that's the situation as I understand it. So it seems that, rather than deed restrictions, a community, such as the questrian ranchettes that Betsy mentions above, could be set up with the deed restrictions inhering with a living 50% owner, such as a perpetual homeowner association or original developer, instead of with the property itself. That way the arrangement always remains voluntary.
  7. A clip from the movie Tucker- The man and his dream

    I love this movie. A few philosophic flaws, but, in sense-of-life terms, one of my favorites. For 18 years I've had a framed Tucker movie poster on my office wall. Preston Tucker oversees all our operations. Also, recently ought the soundtrack. I like to listen to "Hold that Tiger" while racing a deadline.
  8. Organic Foods

    From PhilO: "I'm not disputing the general sensibility of considering one's diet and exercise, but the point with the study is that it showed that their extreme longevity - for those fortunate enough to possess their genetics - was explicitly *not* correlated to their particular diets or lifestyles." Agreed. Reading back, I think my comment was irrelevant -- the correlation was between the genes and longevity, regardless of lifestyle. Presumably, further correlations might be made within that group based on lifestyle, but the linked articles didn't speak on that (caveat: my reading was very quick; haven't had time to read more thoroughly yet).
  9. Organic Foods

    From Mercury: "In many contexts, personal trauma is required to change an individual's mind..." I can relate. No personal trauma to me, but to so many people around me recently. My brother-in-law lifestyled his way to a heart attack a few months ago (he's still in his 50s). Virtually everybody was surprised; I wasn't at all. And his ignorance of basic diet and fitness will bring the next heart attack soon, I'm sure. Frustrating. Mercury: "More broadly, however, it appears that people are built differently, with some individuals possessing stronger constitutions than others..." Indeed. This is interesting to me. In my own immediate ancestry, about half lived to only medium-old ages, mainly dying of probably-diet-related madadies (e.g., colon cancer). The other half, however lived to be freakishly old. My grandmother, for example lived for THREE CENTURIES! (Hee hee -- sort of... she was born the last year of the 19th century, lived throughout the entire 20th century, and died 4 months into the 21st. See? 3 centuries! Anyway, 3 days shy of 101 years old. And her mother lived to be 101.). So I'm doing my best to give my genes a fighting chance. Barring falling off something or being smote by Allah's minions, I'm planning on going water skiing on my 100 birthday. From PhilO: "I've found the studies of long-lived Ashkenazi Jews to be very interesting..." Thanks Philo. PhilO: "In studies of very long-lived individuals, the biggest single common denominator is that they had abnormally high levels of HDL/larger lipoprotein sizes - which are genetically based - as opposed to a particular diet or lifestyle." I don't doubt the genetic part, but I think it misses the mark slightly to say "as opposed to diet or lifestyle"; somebody with a genetic predisposition toward high cholesterol (or even toward obesity, for example) still ultimately controls their own health through diet and exercise, it just may require more vigilance than somebody who does not have such a predisposition.
  10. Organic Foods

    Bborg: "I challenge you to find me a person satisfied with a diet of salad greens." Do rabbits count? Bborg: "... If you try to abstain from the foods you like, the diet will fail and you'll just resume your old habits." Amen. If somebody told me abstaining forever from pepperoni & jalapeno pizza would add 5 years to me life, I'd probably say "and extra cheese, please". But if I were told eating it only rarely -- rarely enough so that my arteries stayed squeaky clean -- then I'd do what I'm doing now: eat about 90% (as a proportion of calories) healthy fruits and veggies, and not worry about the other 10%. I don't avoid any single food, but I do space them all out with lots of fresh plants of one sort or another. Several leading fatal diseases are linked with absence of fiber, some vitamins, and arguably anti-oxidants, so it *does* matter what you eat to some extent. I'll end by explaining: I do *not* consider eating all these healthy foods as any sort of punishment that has to be endured for the sake of health. After about 2 or 3 days of eating less rich foods, my body -- in particular my taste buds apparently -- craved more subtle tastes such as are overwhhelmed by the rich foods. Most of the time, I'd rather eat a peach now, than a bag of Taco Doritos (Frito Lay and I are still friends though).
  11. Organic Foods

    From RayK: "...your lack of knowledge did not keep you from asking what the average was..." I think you mean to say that it *did* keep me from asking (I did not ask, after all). I proceeded with my reasoning from the assumption I posted. RayK: "...before you came to your skeptical conclusion that it could not be done." My conclusion that *what* could not be done? I'm not finding any link whatsoever anymore between what I posted and what is being answered. RayK: "...Do you know what your body does with all those vitamins and minerals that enter your body in excess?... Did you know that one also?..." Etc. Thanks for the metabolism primer, Ray; I'm actually already pretty familiar with the material. Ray, you're obviously very enthusiastic about this topic and have a lot of knowledge to share, however, as I mentioned above, I'm not sure how this particular knowledge jibes with my original comments; my impression is that two different discussions are going on. Further -- and this could be my imagination so apologies in advance if I'm incorrect -- but I detect an undercurrent of defensiveness and even some antagonism. Since this runs contrary to my purposes for discussing such things, I'm dropping this thread with you for now. Best wishes though.
  12. Organic Foods

    Bborg: "...with portion control you can consume the same amount of calories no matter what you eat. ...You can choose to switch to low-calorie foods or you can simply eat less of what you're already eating." Exactly. For example, eat half as much fried chicken, or switch to twice as much broccoli. My idea was that at a certain point, one couldn't restrict one's portion any more, without being perpetually hungry. If one's diet consisted predominantly of french fies, for example, you'd have to eat such a tiny volume of them before you reached X calories, that your stomach would signal constant hunger. Whereas if you ate exclusively salad greens, you could stuff yourself to the gills, and still have consumed very few calories. Because the claim about the study was that its connection to longevity was its 20%-below-average caloric intake, my hunch was that it almost certainly implied a high proportion of fruits and veggies (rather than "no direct link to certain foods"), because: 1. restricted portion diets so frequently fail (the more the restriction the higher the rate of failure), and I would think that the subjects of the study would have to be consistently *non-failing* to have contributed meaningful statistics to the study, and so 2. those who succeeded eating 20% less than average, likely did so by eating more veggies, rather than smaller portions of french fries, as a low-calorie, tiny-bit-of-french-fries-diet is significantly lacking in vitamins A-Z, minerals, anti-oxidants, and fiber, the lack of which does not tend to correlate with longevity. I suppose the argument might proceed: "the study does not *directly* link to eating certain foods, but *indirectly* does". ...which would go full-circle as to why I was sceptical: longevity-promoting diets tend to be proptionately high in fruits, vegetables, and legumes (and thus, lower in calories), and low in (high-calorie) meat, sugar, and oils. I doubt that a study showing longevity would not also show this relationship.
  13. Organic Foods

    RayK: "I would also like to add that you seem to know how much was quoted as the total amount of calories being taken in, which I doubt." I do not know by what standard I "seem" to know how many calories were assumed, when I fairly clearly indicated that I did not know. I said "...*if* you intake is 20% less than the average -- *assuming* the average itself isn't some subset with a higher-than-average intake...". Obviously not I nor anyone here could know the baseline caloric intake, as that information wasn't given and you yourself have explained above that you cannot reference the study.
  14. Organic Foods

    [My knowledge of the quote feature is lacking; in the meantime, apologies for my formatting...] From RayK: "Gnargtharst, if you go back and read what I have written with a closer look you will see that I stated people need to eat according to those three fundamentals and vary their foods." My previous post expressed doubt about the conclusion of a particular study cited, and had nothing to do with your 3 fundamentals of eating. Your defensiveness is misplaced. RayK: "...do you think that our ancient ancestors made certain that they received a large amount of vitamins, minerals and certain amounts of fiber? Highly unlikely." Again, this is not germane to my previous post. I will answer though: of course ancient humans strove toward viatmins and minerals. Maybe not self-consciously or scientifically, if that's what you mean, but they did seek out foods with a variety of these vitamins. If they didn't, they didn't survive. Long-term vitamin C derpivation, for example, would take the swing right out of a guy's woolly-mammoth-spearing arm. RayK: "...The reason we have gotten to the place we are now is because man does not require large amounts of anything to survive. In other words, man could have never made it to the point we are at now if he required large amounts of macro and micro-nutrients as he was in a famine state for a very large portion of our ancestral past." I don't know what you mean here. Without some concrete example, I can't figure the point. You say though man does not require "large amounts"; compared to what? Of course man requires *some* amount of macro- and micro-nutrients. I can't figure out what you're objecting to. RayK: "...somehow you think (along with many others) that man has become less efficient with his nutrients and requires huge masses just to survive...." *I* think this? I have no idea whatsoever how the above could be attributed to me. I went back and re-read my post, to see what might be the source of misunderstanding, but failed to find the likely sticking point. To clarify: I have never said or implied that man needs "huge masses just to survive"; infact, I don't even know what it means. Huge masses of what? Compared to what? Etc. My one point thus far is fairly simple: I doubt that any study of a restricted-calorie diet could not at least incidentally imply particular foods, particularly low-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables. As an analogy: if you held up a small purse and told me it contained $100,000, it would be difficult for me to figure how it couldn't contain predominantly $100- and $1,000- dollar bills, rather than nickels and dimes.
  15. Organic Foods

    "In a 25 year international study on longevity and diet it was found that there was no direct link to the eating of certain foods and a long life. The one and only variable that all the people in the study had in common was the totality of daily calories, they all ate 20% less than the average." I'm sceptical of this conclusion, particularly the idea that "certain foods" per se played no part. My reason is this: if you intake is 20% less than the average -- assuming the average itself isn't some subset with a higher-than-average intake -- then you'd almost *have* to eat certain foods over other foods. For example, if you ate fried chicken, but only enough so that your actual caloric intake was 20% below the average, then your volume of food would be so tiny that you'd be constantly hungry. To use a sillier example, to make a point: you eat lard, but in quantities such that your caloric intake is 20% less than average. Thus, your daily consumption would equal about 3 tablespoons. Instead, the math alone leads me to think that any low-calorie diet would have to consist of a good portion of fruits, and vegetables in particular, which are extremely low calorie as a proportion of their volume (ever try to eat 1000 calories of spinach? -- it's virtually impossible as 1000 calories'-worth of spinach is quite a bit larger volume than a typical stomach.). Another thing that leads me to think that this low-calorie, longevity-inducing diet must include lots of vegetables, is that lacking them it would be very low-fiber and low-anti-oxidant; since a number of deadly maladies follow from these definciencies, low-calorie or not I wouldn't think it would correlate with longevity.