Tag Archives: Ethics

The Aesthetics of Gracious Plenty 

The custom of tipping service providers is arguably ancient, regardless of geographic location. Yesterday I was reminded of a cherished regional idiom: Gracious Plenty. Depending on whom you consult, the term in the United States is Southern, culinary, anachronistic (18th Century,) and of course Religious which is somewhat synonymous with Christian -(excuse the Yankees for their decadence we presume?) 

My first client of the day left my tip in an envelope when her session was finished. She wrote my name on the envelope and a personal thank you for what she appreciated about the session. I was humbled. I’ve had some adversity & I’ve struggled with it for quite some time. Arguably it has affected the quality and substance of my work, so to receive praise in addition to a 20% tip was the equivalent of a ray of light in the aftermath of a devestating storm. 

Shortly after resetting my room and a timely break, my co-worker Malia popped in the breakroom and asked if she had left me a tip. I saw no reason to question her question and immediately said “Yes, she left me cash.” Malia asked how much she left and again I saw no reason to think twice and answered honestly “Twenty. Why?” Malia looked puzzled and replied “She didn’t leave me anything.” I showed her my gratuity envelope. It had been sealed, addressed to me with a personal note written on the outside. Without hesitation I asked her “Do you want ten?” And had she said yes, I certainly WOULD have given it to her with no second thought. But Malia said “No. It’s alright. I wonder if I overlooked one in my own room?” And she left to check. 

I immediately said to another co-worker “Ooohh! This is my next blog post!” 

That was three days ago. If Malia found a tip she didn’t say anything. And since I’ve just found out I’m moving I haven’t thought beyond making time to write this post to ask her. 

What is Gracious Plenty? 

The client in question was a very thoughtful and down to earth lady. I work for a smaller spa franchise now and it’s not a hotel. The tip in the envelope addressed to me is within reasonable limits of what the majority of massage therapists and estheticians receive per one hour service on average. A twenty dollar tip has been the industry standard for the entire twenty years I’ve been a massage therapist. I have gotten tips larger than this. I’ve been with my current employer less than two months and already received a larger tip. But what about Gracious Plenty? Whom decides what the ethical response is? 

Gracious Plenty is a concept derived from Axiology. Axiology has a REFLEXIVE COMPONENT. Therefore the question of wether or not to “tip share,”and share the tip, does necessitate an UNSPOKEN UNDERLYING ETHICAL UNITY. However the premise or idea of observer bias can always be derided as a Postmodern”Loop Hole” and not JUST a metaphysical ILLUSION- value judgments CAN BE made with the wrong presumption in mind. 

It can be argued that the chain of casuality began with the client. Her choices presented Malia and I with an ethical quandry. It also allowed Malia and I to exercise our own understanding of what A “Gracious Plenty” means. 

Regardless of our individual choices, Malia and I reached a decision that seems not to have damaged our daily interactions. We still work as a team. We still assist each other and our colleagues in daily tasks and chores. I still put esthetics laundry in the wash and dryer. Malia still makes certain that her clients receive their robe, wrap and slippers before I pick them up for their next service. 

I am certain Malia does a wonderful job for her clients. And I am humbled that the guest in question overlooked her. Presumably her mind was on the last thing she experienced when checking out: the massage she received from me. But Malia ALSO attended to her requests before the client got on my massage table. Neither Malia nor I will ever know the actual impact of the facial Malia provided for this particular guest. What we do know is that the practice and experience of Graciousness is truly an internal one. The presence of Graciousness calls on each to take note: Someone has turned on the stage lighting.  . 

Beauty is power: A smile is it’s sword. – John Ray 

“We bring them the plague and they do not know it.”; Propaganda and President Trump

I do feel secure in presuming that I’m not the only American who didn’t vote in 2016. I also feel no guilt watching President Trump on TV, reading his Tweets, listening to his “alternative facts,” or learning more about how his decisions and actions ruffle and offend my fellow human beings at home and abroad. However, my hope President Trump’s banter or rather verbal jousting, would turn into instructive talking points is fading. 

CNN had a clip of John McCain righteously criticizing Trump over his pro reconciliation stance toward an ancient country by European  standards. The largest Eurasian country that ever existed, originally was called Russia. After the October Revolution, for sixty some odd years the country was known by more pseudonyms than any other country in Europe. McCain’s opinion of Trump’s stance was crystal clear. But his logic…. failed with me in a curious way. That’s right. Pardon me sir for saying as much.

John McCain begged the question folks. While it may be standard rhetorical practice and while the intent does retain integral power, I’m questioning its deployment. He used the word MORALITY and he used it AS AN ABSOLUTE VALUE and he didn’t blink or pause. 

Mr. McCain I know you of all people don’t need me to ask YOUR PARDON for pointing out that you know what begging the question is in visceral way. You don’t need the likes of me, who never served in the armed forces, who doesn’t and hasn’t attended church in quite sometime, to tell you or explain to anyone how and why that move to speak on your part, constitues one step forward and at least one step back. All global humanity still has time to make time. Time to think of Freud and Wittgenstein as some cross their fingers while others around us make a sign of the cross, that your word choice includes more THAN TWO STEPS in logic.  

Absolute value? After Bosnia? Absolute value after Benghazi? Absolute value. Is the Bowling Green massacre an example of an absolute value on the same scale? Why not? For whom? The Ivy League University that is developing the meme further or the pizza joint that a client told me yesterday coined the meme?

Donald Trump is what the private sector allowed him to become and until now, has permitted him to be. Mr. McCain, I’m not going to tell you or anyone anything about anything at all. I am going to mention what I didn’t hear you say. I didn’t even hear it implied in the CNN news clip of you addressing Congress. 

I did not hear you say: 

a.) The freedom of American citizens to travel abroad has been theoretically impinged by the ACA (affordable care act’s) reliance on interstate commerce. 

b.) The President’s comments are a bit too close to Free Speech – the bigger problem Trump’s comments are creating by example can be tied to ideology thru The First Amendment and from there, they could destabilize The Fourth Amendment’s role as a privacy shield. Doing so places an undue burden on the interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Etc. 

c.) The President’s nominee to The Supreme Court, Gorsuch, is comming from Colorado that for the last few years has actively been testing a new policy toward a critical and crucial juncture in the legalization of Schedule I marijuana. 

Mr. McCain I didn’t hear you explaining to Congress WHAT THEY ALREADY KNOW. I didn’t hear the Fourth and Fifth Columns of American government telling me what to think or how to interpret your rebuke either. 

Senator McCain, I haven’t yet watched Dame Helen Mirren’s performance in the movie Winchester but I do plan to make time. Hopefully I’ll be able to view it before I complete my paralegal associates in lieu of Graduate School. I didn’t realize my choice to continue my professional growth and development was a cause of national concern. I appreciate being notified of my subversive transgressions against the 99% of American citizens that aren’t narcissists. That aren’t fascist or communist. Free Speech indeed, that my new android phone just permitted me to write the previous sentence and didn’t label it a fragment in need of revision. 

Artificial Intelligence. Oh really? With a gambler in the house?

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?

Updated AGAIN! Jane Buckle PhD, RN misquoted and referenced by Young Living Esential Oils Conference

Author of Clinical Aromatherapy, Jane Buckle, PhD, RN recently learned that her published work had been misrepresented by Young Living Essential Oils at a recent conference in Utah. While her response is on the picture that accompanies this post1 Aromatherapy and is big enough to read above, additional notes by Gabriel Mojay about the research snafu are below:

  • 1″. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is mentioned only once in Jane’s book, and not in relation to toxicity or safety. ‘Essential Oil Safety’ by Tisserand & Young states that Ocimum basilicum ct estragole essential oil should not be taken in oral doses.”

2. “Clove is indeed mentioned on p78 of her book — in the context of a referenced case of oral ingestion in which 5-10 ml resulted in seizure and coma. 25 ml, as quoted by Young Living, would possibly be fatal. “

3. “Hyssop is also mentioned on p78, with reference to a case of oral ingestion in which 10-20 ml resulted in convulsions — not just vomiting, as Young Living suggests.”

4. “Oregano is mentioned three times in Jane’s book, but not once in relation to toxicity or safety. According to ‘Essential Oil Safety’, oral doses of Origanum vulgare essential oil are contraindicated in pregnancy and breastfeeding, diabetic medication, anticoagulant medication, major surgery, peptic ulcer, hemophilia, and other bleeding disorders.”

5. “Sage is mentioned three times in Jane’s book, but not with respect to toxicity or safety. According to ‘Essential Oil Safety’, Salvia officinalis essential oil should not be taken in oral doses.”

6. “Wintergreen is mentioned on three pages in Jane’s book, but not specifically in relation to oral toxicity. According to ‘Essential Oil Safety’, oral doses of Gaultheria fragrantissima syn. G. procumbens essential oil are contraindicated in pregnancy and breastfeeding, anticoagulant medication, major surgery, hemophilia, and other bleeding disorders. The dosage quoted by Young Living as somehow ‘safe’ is almost 50% greater than the maximum adult daily oral dose recommended by Tisserand & Young.

I posted this article on July 5th, 2014.

I didn’t think much about it but did share the article on Facebook with various groups and on my own timeline and professional page. To be honest, from a small business standpoint, lots of small businesses carry Young Living Essential Oils. But this is not all about money. While I have never used this product or worked with it in a professional capacity in a Spa, I will say that Jane Buckle’s response lacks nuance and depth for several reasons.

  • This may be a simple matter of inappropriate preparation and presentation for a conference. When this became known and public, the appropriate business and ethical response would be to issue a press release, note the error and issue a correction. No harm – No foul. So far, Young Living has not responded to my knowledge and the blogosphere, including me, may need to double check our facts before picking up strange memes on Facebook! Time will tell.
  • While Jane is entitled to defend the integrity of her own work, copyright, authorship and research, the attitude her comment displays is not the best way to address the issue of research literacy both in the mainstream medical community or in the alternative health and wellness community. Obviously, just because Jane Buckle is an author does not make her an educator or a teacher and frankly, this shows in her comments. That said, I have known a number of nurses over the years with varying degrees of academics behind them. I would not put it past any of them to run thru a crowded theatre yelling “Fire!”. If research  was truly adhered to by MD’s and RN’s among many others, there would not be such an emphasis on Evidence Based Practices being adopted across the board by the Health Care Industry. Forgive me Jane, but as a graduate student in Health Care Administration, your pride is showing.
  • Young Living needs to issue a Press Release. That is just basic professional industry conduct and ethics. Period.

Young Living Essential Oils did respond to this blog post. They included this post in their July 6th, 2014 Twitter newsletter. While it’s not the correction that I am sure Jane Buckle would like to see in print, they clearly are not hiding the mistake from their distributors or customers and clearly have no problem with the notes and corrections made by educator Gabriel Mojay. I didn’t intend to ride Jane’s thunder but got a free ride! For a humble blogger and would be grad student, having a Facebook meme get featured in a well known companies newsletter is flattering! Thank you Young Living Essential Oils!

The detailed notes citing the errors at the conference were made by Gabriel Mojay
The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine & Aromatherapy
gm@aromatherapy-studies.com
http://www.aromatherapy-studies.com