Category Archives: Modernism

Grey Hair & Fenimore Cooper 2017

In James Fenimore Coopers classic novel Last of the Mohicans, the native villan, Magua nicknames The English General “Grey Hair.” Well, I’ve been called worse. And it just so happens I started going salt & pepper around 26. One grandmother wasnt even a true salt till she reached her 70’s but the other was COMPLETELY white haired by 45. ( A side effect of meningitis in her 30’s we were told.) 

Here is the recipe I’m using to go true grey.

  • Age Beautiful Creme Lightner for aging hair x 3 with 40 volume developer. I have long hair, So I’ve had to double product. I COULD have gotten ALMOST AS LIGHT AS NECESSARY for a true to swatch color deposit but didn’t have double product the second time. I was left with a red tone in the undermost layers and a yellow cast on top. So tomorrow in fact, the third time should be the charm. 
  • Ion color brilliance permanent color in Chrome. I had purchased Splat Silver Mist but decided to hold off for the first test. 
  • Paul Mitchell Blue Violet color toner. 
  • Foil One & Only Argan Oil Ash 8A. 

Did I mention I’ve never gone to Cosmetology school and don’t do hair professionally? True. 

Inspirations:

See the gold in my most current decent photo? That it’s a DL photo is a hoot! It’s yellow as a proverbial canary and is more flattering than I normally expect when I step in front of a camera. The gold has to go! Lightening again tomorrow. 

I think and emphasize THINK is approximately the way my crown would look if I allowed it to emerge naturally. 

The photo above is the grey base color I plan to create. I’ve wrestled between this and the following photo as a base for months. If I end up going back to a professional for this the application process will be reversed. My preference is actually the photo below for a base but my lack of training forces me into minimalist simplicity of application found above. 

The effect below strikes me as a nod to Helena Bonham Carter’s portrayal of Bellatrix Le Strange and Angelina Jolie’s Maleficient but all who look outward for such signs and symbols can’t forget Morticia Adams either!

This is a shut up and cry boys photo. This striking is a goal. Approachability optional. 

I should be able to post the results in two weeks! 

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Thought for the Day: Defining Bullshit

The Chronicle of Higher Education has just made my day, or rather two professors at The University of Washington. It’s a crying shame they aren’t located in D.C. and/or that they haven’t YET exported their wit to every State in the Union.

Here is the opening line from The Chronicle’s current Post Truth issue:

“Facts and figures are like cow pastures. Unless you squint, you can’t always tell how full of bullshit they are.”

That’s correct readers. It seems AT LEAST TWO tenured (?) academics have struck marketing gold! At my Alma Matter, the class was titled Borderlands of Science and Religion and you can view the wit who created it, under this blog’s About tab.

The current Chronicle article has a Q & A with the academics in question and I recommend giving it a read.

Absolute Values Part Three: Language and Professionalism in Context

*This is the third installment of a four-part series on Professional Development for Spa Therapists. The series utilizes the terms Masseur, Masseuse and Massage Therapist as a Touchstone.

What does the structure of language have to do with Professional Development for Spa Therapists/Technicians?

What is the difference between an adjective, a metaphor and a simile? Are they synonyms for one another and if they are not, what makes them distinct and discreetly different? Why does it matter what anyone calls themselves as long as they give a ‘good’ massage?

adjective noun

An adjective is a word that describes a noun and can include the words Masseur and Masseuse.

  • The red car.
  • I am tired of dating him.
  • He is too idealistic.
  • He is a self motivated professional.
  • The name of the book is Stone Soup.

metaphor-diagram

 

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase compares two very different objects, concepts, ideas, or feelings to provide a clearer description.

  • He is the black sheep of our family.
  • You ain’t nothing but a hound dog. – Elvis Presley
  • A blanket of snow fell today.
  • I have a half-baked idea in mind.
  • “Why I am a little black rain cloud of course!” – Winnie the Pooh

Giraffe Similie

Metaphors are different from similes. A simile is a figure of speech involving the comparison of two different things and 9 times out of 10 will incorporate the words “like” or “as.” Because simile’s AND metaphors serve the purpose of enhancing a description they are both considered literary devices. More precisely, the true distinction between a metaphor and a simile is that a simile makes an explicit comparison, while a metaphor makes an implicit one.

BUT WAIT!!! What does this have to do with Professional development?

PLENTY! And here is WHY: As you may have already noticed, the definitions above OVERLAP. What one person will call an adjective may be further categorized as a metaphor or in some instances as a simile depending on the usage. These definitions underscore both the creativity and subjectivity involved in personal self-expression.

Massage Therapist: Tenor or Vehicle?

I’m not talking about music or cars! So what do Professionals mean when asking the question above?  Metaphors can be described by several means and methods. Tenor and Vehicle are terms that were coined by I.A. Richards in the early 20th century.

  • The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the terms this way: “tenor and vehicle, the components of a metaphor, with the tenor referring to the concept, object, or person meant, and the vehicle being the image that carries the weight of the comparison.” This is not the only way to define the terms.

Here is a broader definition.

An academic source from Carson Newman College’s English Department affords tenor and vehicle more liberal definitions: “In common usage, tenor refers to the course of thought, meaning or emotion in anything written or spoken.”  

“A modern theory would object, first, that in many of the most important uses of metaphor, the co-presence of the vehicle and the tenor results in a meaning (to be clearly distinguished from the tenor) which is not attainable without their interaction. That the vehicle is not normally a mere embellishment of a tenor which is otherwise unchanged by it but that vehicle and tenor in co-operation give a meaning of more varied powers that can be ascribed to either. And a modern theory would go on to point out that with different metaphors the relative importance of the contributions of vehicle and tenor to this resultant meaning varies immensely. At one extreme the vehicle may become almost a mere decoration or coloring of the tenor, at the other extreme, the tenor may become almost a mere excuse for the introduction of the vehicle, and so no longer be ‘the principal subject.’ And the degree to which the tenor is imagined ‘to be that very thing which it only resembles’ also varies immensely.” (I.A. Richards, The Philosophy of Rhetoric. Oxford Univ. Press, 1936)

Philosophically speaking, the witty amongst us will have already noted that Richards describes a “modern theory” and thereby indicates that he has a basis for making a distinction between tenor and vehicle that avoids the solipsism he is describing!

Richard’s may have had an agenda of sorts or not. Regardless of his own views of what constituted “modernism” or even his private politics, by categorizing “modern” rhetoric as having “relative” meaning Richards accomplished or obscured two important historical developments of his era. Richards wrote the passage above in 1936, prior to Hitler, Hiroshima and the Holocaust. As previously noted in this series, logical positivism was reaching it’s zenith in Europe in the 1940’s as the discovery of the atom bomb illustrated. The taxonomy Richards created and “embellished” beyond rhetoric and into literature as a whole stream of thought, rather than the nuts and bolts of language structure allows us to note that the solipsism he describes is a feature of both logical positivism AND relativism which facilitates the unspoken “POST MODERN” label predicated on Richard’s own definitions which imply reflexivity.  This occurred at least 40 years prior to the supposed advent of the term in the 1970’s according to art historians.

The relationship between logical positivism and language as we have noted in prior installments of this series was carried forward by Ludwig Wittgenstein and his contributions to logic and language. Popper and Kuhn built on this existing legacy and made contributions to the philosophy of science that form the basis of many massage education curriculums today.

Professional Foundations and the Individual: Why and Where does gender matter in professional communication?

Let’s revisit the second post in this series to provide a starting point and context from which to answer the question above.

“Logical Positivism was supposedly abandoned because it was revealed that empirical PHILOSOPHICAL claims which were presumed to undergird scientific endeavors cannot be VERIFIED to be UNIVERSALLY true and that this revelation placed limits on how much we can know. This “revelation” (a form of knowledge itself) filtered into common parlance (language) in phrases such as “the linguistic turn” cited above. It is also another way to describe phrases such as “asymmetrical information” which are frequently floated to describe a variety of imbalances in power implied by terms such as “Balkanization” and resulting abuses.”

Awareness of how the growth of modern views on language and linguistics fits into the history of science can shed more light on WHY the professional massage, spa, wellness and allied CAM community has agreed by general consensus to uphold the term “massage therapist” as the most appropriate term for professional use by bodyworkers.

“Masseur” and “masseuse” are descriptive stand alone words. With such gendered terminology as a starting point, who is the observer and who is the subject?

Massage Therapist is not a metaphor any more than Masseur or Masseuse: therefore it is illogical to ask what is the tenor and what or whom is the vehicle in this word phrase.

One of the facts of professional practice for LMT’s in the 21st century is that the massage profession will never be able to replace the scientifically mainstream profession of physical therapy. Due to this impasse, the massage profession is viewed by some within the industry as ‘struggling’ against everything from health care politics and monied vested interests, to conspiracy theories of every stripe and even with private matters for individuals such as religion, faith and sexuality.

Choosing the term “Massage Therapist” is in many respects a discretionary decision. Many LMT’s make this choice because it is what they were taught. Other’s make this distinction predicated on axiology and value judgments. Yet others if asked will say that they find the decision to utilize the professional designation “Massage Therapist” because they are supporting the growth of the profession and of the wellness industry as a whole.

Regardless of the reasons one has for choosing to ‘follow the crowd’ there are still more reasons than we have yet discussed for chosing to adhere to the term “Massage Therapist” as a professional designation.

We will touch on some of those reasons in the final installment in this series. Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boredom: What is it and How should we respond?

right-answer-to-boredom1

What is Boredom? Why would anyone other than someone who is bored be interested about the topic? Why write about it unless your creating solutions to a problem? Could boredom ever be healthy? Is Boredom contagious?

Boredom is a feeling first and foremost. It lies at the root of many illnesses, so many in fact, that the modern tourist economy can be traced to the rise of consumer based economic theory. Entire forests have been felled to produce the volumes of literature devoted to dispelling this fearsome specter that brings chaos in its wake. The Archbishop of Wales opined:

“We are a deeply, dangerously bored society. And we’re reluctant to look for the root of that. Why do we want to escape from the glories and difficulties of everyday life? Why do we want to escape into gambling or drugs or any other kind of fantasy? Why have we created a culture which seems more in love with fantasy than reality? Whether that’s gambling or drugs or, for that matter, the national lottery, we should be asking “What’s happened to us? Why are we so bored?”

In a comment about the presumed differences between urbanites and suburbanites, Reinhard Kuhn states ” She is tired of the magazine that she is reading or the television show that she is watching and mixes another cocktail for herself. Or perhaps she telephones an equally bored friend and they talk for hours about nothing, or perhaps she drifts into an affair that means as little to her as the television show or magazine article.”

These descriptions aren’t a flattering picture of modern societies and womanhood are they? Is it an excuse for anti-feminism or for economic criticism, religious criticism or is it indicative of an adjective, a description that in its discursive slant, illustrates the problem that hides in plain sight?

Anais Nin

Richard Winter broaches the subject of boredom by listing adjectives to describe it.

  • Apathetic
  • drab
  • dull
  • colorless
  • ennui
  • humdrum
  • insipid
  • interminable
  • irksome
  • lifeless
  • lethargic
  • monotonous
  • mundane
  • repetitious
  • routine
  • stale
  • tedious
  • stodgy
  • tiresome
  • uninteresting
  • vapid
  • wearisome

Antonyms for Bored and Boredom are

  • interesting
  • absorbing
  • amusing
  • attractive
  • captivating
  • charismatic
  • compelling
  • delightful
  • engaging
  • engrossing
  • enthralling
  • entrancing
  • exotic
  • fascinating
  • gripping
  • riveting
  • stimulating
  • exciting

To bore someone is to weary them by “being dull, uninteresting or monotonous” and as Winter notes, is also mildly aggressive. To even argue that by enforcing boredom, we inflict pain on our spouse, our friends or loved ones, would require that we understand and recognize the emotion within ourselves.

Academics have only confused and conflated the problem of identifying emotions such as boredom with quotes such as this one: “a metaphor for the postmodern condition” – when writing about the emergence of the word into the cultural lexicon of the 1750’s!

Andy Warhol has summed up the modern view of boredom in his film Sleep where an audience (presumably pays) to watch a man sleep for 8 solid hours! Rest assured, the clip below is only a minute and a half long, and at that length, may be longer than some sexual encounters, which brings up the various maladies and health disorders associated with boredom.

Addictions, family dysfunction, abuses of communication between those who love one another, all these are yet more symptoms of undiagnosed boredom that we attempt to treat with medication or with wellness paradigms that fail to educate about the emotional states common to the human condition. We are taught to climb rock walls to learn new ways to get high, to try dating and sex and even unprotected risky sex before we are ready, and of course, there are always other impulse control disorders where boredom can be regarded as a trigger factor or as a symptom.

We typically associate boredom with under stimulation and monotony. This is the wellness logic behind advertisements promoting exercise and yoga, rock climbing and the outdoors. Romanticism recycled as a cure for the evils and perils of the modern worlds ills. We see this clearly mass marketed in TV shows like Preppers and academics routinely lampoon such “cultural backwardness” as “conspiracy culture” and on and on. As cited above, the term postmodern or one of its variations is trotted out and used to criticize everything and sundry that represents a rejection of “progress.”

But is it? All this, all these ideas are invalidated to avoid discussing an emotion: boredom.

In some spas flotation tanks or “sensory deprivation ” tanks are utilized to promote altered states of consciousness. How do they achieve this? The effect is achieved thru under stimulation. Hallucinations, impaired thought processes, restlessness and mood swings occur if too much time is spent in the tank. For this reason, most spas don’t have the staff to monitor guests mental health and elect not to offer the service. The point however about the side effects of boredom are profound.

Repetition also takes a lot of heat when the subject of boredom arises. Not only does it raise psychological questions that have fueled near culture wars about psychoanalysis, over medication and healthcare, it has been used as a reason to challenge universities that offer wellness programs, as evidence for cultural decline and economic malaise due to globalization.

Boredom. Such a fearsome beast. It’s almost enough to drive people to suicide and one might be pardoned for wondering if it indeed does. What of a once happily married couple who no longer delights in one another’s company? One begins drinking, the other has an affair. Or perhaps it’s drugs or sex or both. Who is to blame? Would suggesting both individuals lack emotional maturity encourage them to slow down and work on self-development help or harm?

What about the common internet troll? What about the chat rooms that proliferate online? I’ve always and still do compare them to buy, sell and trade magazines, or the Sunday shoppers where the occasional rant disguised as a public announcement are often published. Online, it’s easier to recognize a real gripe from some psychological grandstand. Chances are, boredom prompted their rendition of “Teen Spirit” in a “grown-up” venue.

Any parent can tell us about the value of repetition as well. Small children love to hear bedtime stories and never seem to get tired of them, the same ones in their early years. The same toys and blankets, the same voices and smells and to their parents delight, they love to see the same faces day after day. Unlike soured romances and faithless lovers, children and animals know who butters their bread.

Assembly workers are the poster children for the physical ills of repetition. When we’re young and when we allow ourselves to learn something new, we often find repetition has value. We learn 2+2 equals 4, we learn to walk, we learn to listen and to talk. When we get older, some of us learn to think! Athletes put up with a great deal of bodily repetition and show off the results.

Politics and economics are another example. J.M. Barbalet is a sociologist who noted that boredom is also relieved by conflict. Those who have experienced the luxury of distancing themselves from the national tragedy of September 11th, 2001may or may not have noticed that at the time, that a push for “evidence based medicine” had been percolating since the mid 90’s. What may not be as obvious were the effects upon related but distinct discourses and disciplines. Take psychology for example. Freud and Jung were both beginning to be subjected to the processes of not only peer review but presumably, “scientific rigor.” Academia was the excuse as it so often is for those who recognize and can quote the names of modern intellectual gladiators and their forebears. Economics is yet another arena. Naomi Wolf took up this theme rightly or wrongly in her book The Shock Doctrine. And we all have borne witness to what has occurred in American political venues and health care since that time. Meanwhile, criticism of “the French Nietzsche” was advanced and the critics opined it was time to think with “Nietzsche against Nietzsche” as early as 1991 in France. An English language publication of this criticism did not emerge until 1994. Some of us earn our sheepskins and outlive either or both our competitors and our friends and some of us die young. Regardless of what is said about this sordid scene and how everyone was oblivious, it requires a collective variety of denials to say so; Osama did notice. And he wasn’t alone. Those who understand and know the upshot of what this implies should take a second look at history.

Boredom? Say it ain’t so?

Absolute Values Part Two: Epistemology, the Individual and Professional Development

This is the second article in a four part series on Professional Development for Massage Therapists. The series utilizes the terms Massage Therapist, Masseur and Masseuse as a touchstone.

imre-lakatos-philosopher-quote-the-clash-between-popper-and-kuhn-is

The  quote above is by philosopher Imre Lakatos, taken from a paper titled Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programs. The distinction beetween Popper and Kuhn is beyond the scope of this artice but the difference between the two is ONE point of departure to examine questions of Epistemology, Education and Professional Development for Health Professions.

What is Epistemology? (link)

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. If or when this definition is expanded to include “How we know what we know” then the resulting definition begins to reveal an insight into the rationale behind modern disagreement regarding a revised understanding of the scientific method, religion, philosophy and the individual.

What is the role of logic within Epistemology?

To ask what the role of logic is within Epistemology without resorting to reflexivity illustrates why early efforts to answer this question were superceded in many professional disciplines during the last century.  When a linguist says a word or a concept is “reflexive” they are saying that there is an absence of logic agreement between subject and object or a circular relationship between cause and effect. Thomas Kuhn approaches Wittgenstein with his emphasis on “the linguistic turn” as part of his rationale for paradigm shifts, which ultimately derive from Wittgenstein’s early and later stages of work. And then, he steps back.

Why?

In the history of science, the logical positivists or logical empiricists as the case may be, were of the opinion that philosophy needed to be legitimized and the resulting legitimacy shared with science – (author emphasis). Logical positivists also proceeded with the idea that ONLY statements verifiable EITHER logically or empirically would be cognitively meaningful. This definition presents issues that we recognize today in debates between science researchers such as Kuhn and Popper.

Logical positivism is justifiably credited with scientific reductionism. Another way to describe this is to define it as A.J. Ayers has done; an “Attack on Metaphysics.” Many academics, intellectuals and political scientists recoiled from Logical Positivism at this time, including many faith based religious groups and denominations. A former note on the result can be seen in the shift of political and voting demographics in the American South after the Second World War from predominately Democrat to Republican.

Logical Positivism was supposedly abandoned because it was revealed that empirical PHILOSOPHICAL claims that supposedly are presumed to undergird scientific endeavors cannot be VERIFIED to be UNIVERSALLY true and that this revelation placed limits on how much we can know. This “revelation” (a form of knowledge itself) filtered into common parlance (language) in phrases such as “the linguistic turn” cited above. It is also another way to describe phrases such as “asymmetrical information” which are frequently floated to describe a variety of imbalances in power implied by terms such as “Balkanization” and resulting abuses.

Professional Development and Massage Terminology

Massage Therapist, Masseur or Masseuse? There are many reasons it is legitimate for a LMT to explore their professionalism and professional growth and development thru language. What is important to note is that the search by empiricists discussed above has several presumptions embedded in it about the limits of knowledge and by default, these presumptions encapuslate the limits of how LMT’s and CAM practitioners can go with a mind-body-spirit paradigm of holistic wellness.

Pop culture’s view of modernism credits Freud, rightly or wrongly, with being the first psychologist to articulate a perceived need for a body based psychotherapy,
predicated on the premise that none existed. At the time of Freud’s early musings on this idea, modernism was in full bloom and approaching what many advocates of a religiously (monotheistic) based ontology for psychotherapy would come to call “decadence” at full speed. This is one reason among many that Freud and Jung continue to receive criticism from both liberal and conservative scientists, researchers and practicing members of the various psychological professions…(not to mention but also implied, are those practicing members of fields such as massage and physical therapy. )

By definition, physical therapists and massage therapists are members of the health professions that would be the counterpart or missing piece of such empirical “solipsism” on one hand or more kindly “the quest” to create a science based view of universal history with all that implies.

Many members of the CAM professions utilize some view of religion, philosophy and spirituality in various ways as a stop gap measure when confronting questions such as the one mentioned above. This is not the only avenue in which gender, (in scientific parlance a mere variable) substitutes symbolically for a subjective view of wholeness; raising additional aesthetic questions about the relationship between individual and universal values.

Ludwig Wittgenstien made a comment many years ago on the role of the subjective deployment of language in order to make a larger point. One way to condense Wittgenstien’s position into something tangible is to do what any Deconstructionist would: take the words apart!

I tried this myself in a college English writing class in 2006, unaware that there was a meme coined by Saturday Night Live by that title and created a pitifully poor poem in my own and my professors opinion! The title of the poem was of course, “The Rapist.”

im-actually-the-rapist-im-not-a-therapist-thumb

image

Knowledge, Language and The Individual

Ludwig Wittgenstien more eloquently stated in his work Philosophical Investigations: “The words of this (private) language are to refer to what can be known only to the speaker; to his immediate, private, sensations. So another cannot understand the language.” But there is more. It is worthwhile to quote another paragraph from Stanford’s online encyclopedia entry on the subject according to Wittgenstein.

“Immediately after introducing the idea, Wittgenstein goes on to argue that there cannot be such a language. The importance of drawing philosophers’ attention to a largely unheard-of notion and then arguing that it is unrealizable lies in the fact that an unformulated reliance on the possibility of a private language is arguably essential to mainstream epistemology, philosophy of mind and metaphysics from Descartes to versions of the representational theory of mind which became prominent in late twentieth century cognitive science….Wittgenstein suggests that the existence of the rules governing the use of language and making communication possible depends on agreement in human behaviour—such as the uniformity in normal human reaction which makes it possible to train most children to look at something by pointing at it. (Unlike cats, which react in a seemingly random variety of ways to pointing.) One function of the private language argument is to show that not only actual languages but the very possibility of language and concept formation depends on the possibility of such agreement.”

Professional Development and Axiology

Axiology is typically defined by it’s first branch, ethics. In this way it can be said that Axiology is concerned with how value is understood and determined. Axiology however contains a second branch known as aesthetics. Do note, Aesthetics is NOT synonymous with Esthetics. Often, Axiology is accused of putting the cart before the horse and assigning value unethically or dualistically rather than universally; i.e, racism, nationalism, classism etc.

Basic questions derived or culled from Axiology are:

  1. How are values related to interest, desire, will, experience, and means-to-end?
  2. How do different kinds of value interrelate?
  3. Can the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental values be maintained?
  4. Are values ultimately rationally or objectively based?
  5. What is the difference between a matter of fact and a matter of value?

In professional massage, the question of language is actually a settled matter that was reached by consensus. Hence, current manifestations of individualism thru the application of gendered terminology or terms such as body worker, or even those terms that would purport to change the subject object relationship embedded in the professional designation really are a moot point. However, its not wrong to question if there are situations or contexts in which discussion of gender labels and professionalism are appropriate.

Is there ever a time when gender distinctions in professional massage are inappropriate?

All the questions cited above are value based. Because of the historic connections between eugenics, health and aesthetically grounded idealism, yes. There are instances where gendered terminology, art and discourse can conflict ideologically with norms and values embodied in a professional setting for a variety of reasons. That these reasons are 99% of the time subjective and personal matters of taste, style or belief for individuals or groups, illustrates why diversity is commonly considered alongside axiology.

Absolute Values: Professionalism and Manifestations of Individualism

haiku-nyt

This is the first post of a four part series on professional development. The series will utilize the terms Massage Therapist, Masseur and Masseuse as a touchstone.

Massage Therapy is a growing field of professional endeavor. As the last fifteen years have demonstrated, the creation of civic, secular infrastructure to consolidate and incorporate the profession, as a professional body has been implemented.

As the process of civic, social and economic integration and incorporation has progressed for the massage profession, questions about manifestations of individualism and professionalism arise and are discussed more openly than ever before.

One of the most commonly occurring examples of individual expression among both clients and less often among LMT’s is linguistic. It is often floated in the form of a question: Massage Therapist, Masseur or Masseuse? Underlying this question is the concept of Wholeness. If wholeness is a product that professional massage facilitates it is worthwhile to note that culture, where the right to our own and our client’s privacy finds it’s reason for being,  and civilization, which is presumed to facilitate and protect this freedom, and our professional means of making a living are distinct from one another; i.e., culture is a human endeavor and civilization is a non-living by product of the former. Part of professionalism for LMT’s necessitates that as a profession we acknowledge this from time to time. Not only for ourselves as a body of professionals, or privately with our friends and family but also for the benefit of the public good.

The term “Massage Therapist” is the linguistic term with AAA credit ranking in professional LMT circles for a reason. This is a term that denotes a respect and acknowledgement of both diversity and the right to privacy that the ‘young’ amongst us, regardless of age are afforded by their elders as a protection while they undergo professional embryonic development. This deployment of terminology by general consensus is not intended to be a weapon of fascism to stunt growth or stifle creativity or silence self expression.

Within academia, the “organic” model of cultural axiology has been challenged by political scientists, sociologists, historians and economists as essentialist since at least the 1970’s. In a bait and switch that even Freud and Sophocles might recognize, some decades prior to the emergence of the term essentialism, the term “post modern” was coined and since then has been used to describe and isolate everything from art, “anti-intellectualism,” religious movements new and old, violence and terrorism for many of the same reasons. This led to a decline in philosophical focus on aesthetics and since the advent of axiology’s emergence in the late 1800’s, it has been routinely relegated to the three ring circus of identity politics at one end and derided as having contributed to eugenics movements at the other. Less frequently published  in the professional massage community and far more popular are commentaries that frame manifestations of individualism in professional or civic contexts as a dialectic of “free will” vs. “determinism” of various sorts. Unfortunately, the absence of sustained dialogue in the massage profession about philosophy and role of dialectic in general in education and professional development has only served to reinforce the critical views cited above. Criticism of the individual begins with the collective. But as individualism sees only a part of the being, collectivism understands or sees the being as a part. This is syncretism on one hand and solipsism on the other. The latter is a logic based criticism and the former is both an aesthetic insight and a religious objection.  What then of wholeness and holism? What is the ground of being beneath our profession? That many of these views have been noted by scholars post September 11th 2001 as not only reactionary and derivative of conspiracy thinking but also as regressive is a matter of public record.

Richard Hofstadter in his classic work, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (Hofstadter 1952) cites an example of anti-intellectualism when describing the “post-Sputnik furor over American education.” He draws an example from California that had been ‘experimenting’ with curriculum. The new curriculum was criticized for “academic pettiness and snobbery.” The rebuttal of the reformers went on to state: “other goals of education such as preparation for citizenship, occupational competence, successful family life, self-realization in ethical, moral aesthetic and spiritual dimensions and the enjoyment of physical health.” Those who criticized this novel approach paused to note that one of the most complimented features of American education of the past was: “the attempt to avoid a highly rigid system of education. To do so does not mean that academic competence is not regarded as highly important to any society but it does recognize that historically, education systems which stress absorption of accumulated knowledge for it’s own sake have tended to produce decadence. Those who would “fix” the curriculum and freeze educational purpose misunderstand the unique function of education – in American democracy.”

While it is often disquieting for many LMT’s when encountering the terms “Masseur or Masseuse”, it is worthwhile to note that these terms denote one of three things about the LMT when choosing a professional designation.

  • biological sex
  • gender identity

Or in the case of clients

  • gender preference

The English language does not play dice with gender beyond the limit of semiotics. English does not string along gender and definite articles denoting gender as do other languages. For this reason, English in some circles of thought (both domestic and foreign) is presumed rightly or wrongly, to force gender assignment onto the senses by facilitating direct observation and experience. So to speak, facts are facts are they not?

Without delving into how language and semiotics are celebrated and criticized often for the same reasons as those cited above, manifestations of individualism in a professional context still retain and are often coupled with culture based ethical value assignments made by individuals. When the LMT choir sings or repeatedly chants the mantra “Massage Therapist” note the historical age in which we find ourselves. Note the models of culture criticized above and pause to note that a vocation is not a profession regardless of what Wikipedia says or whom they quote.

  • A vocation is a calling.
  • A profession is a structured venue intended to facilitate the process of making a living within the parameters of ethics and axiology.

Professional massage therapy is truly in its infancy. It is less than 150 years old. We have yet to come “a long way baby.”

Of Logical Fallacies, Paradigm Shifts and Process Philosophy

keep-calmSM_BL

  • Step One “We admitted we were powerless over the New Age—that our Higher Selves had turned us into flakes.”
  • Step Two “Came to believe that a powerful bull*** detector could restore us to sanity.”
  • Step Three “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our lower selves and a good psychiatrist.”
  • Step Four “Made a searching and fearless disposal of our crystals, tarot decks, incense, angel cards, rising signs, wands, spells, medicine wheels, pendulums and lottery tickets.”
  • Step Five “Admitted to God, our Guru and our seminar leader the exact nature of our delusion.”
  • Step Six “Were entirely ready to take back our mind, body and spirit.”
  • Step Seven “Humbly asked our Higher Power to @#!$ off.”
  • Step Eight “Made a list of all the New Age assholes we’d been nice to and vowed to treat them all like shit.”
  • Step Nine “Insulted the New Age wherever possible, especially when to do so made us look bad.”
  • Step Ten “Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly relished in it.”
  • Step Eleven “Sought through television and newspapers to improve our conscious contact with humanity, concentrating only on our ability to understand what the hell was really happening in the world.”
  • Step Twelve “Having avoided a paradigm shift as the result of these steps, we vowed to carry the NAA message to New Agers everywhere and to practice being ordinary in all our affairs.”

What is a Paradigm Shift?

What is a Logical Fallacy?

What is Process Philosophy?

And for those of you with a less exalted view of religion and spirituality…..

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