Our Trip to India: The Journey Home (Day 19)

by Siegfried Othmer | November 13th, 2014

by Siegfried Othmer, PhD

Sue and I have just returned from a sojourn to India, where we taught our training course at the Tibetan Medical Institute, Men-Tsee-Khang.
Day 19

October 4 (Saturday)

At breakfast at the Hilton Barbara ordered a couple of scrambled eggs—“but not too runny.” The waitress showed up with two plates of scrambled eggs and two orders of sausages that went with them, and placed them all before Barbara. Really? It would have taken Shaq himself to down all those sausages at one sitting.

At the gate we were met with headlines in the pablum press such as “Anti-age your memory,” and “Train your brain and you will never forget things again.” This from the Daily Mail. Our day must be coming. Actually forgetting is just as important to effective brain function as remembering, but this is not about scientific validity. It is about selling newspapers.

On the flight, I spent the hours reading the thick weekend edition of the Financial Times. If there is anything that can bring you back to reality, that will do it. But why the Financial Times? Media focusing on economics serves a function in society similar to the role our autonomic nervous system plays for us. The analogy can be drawn to a nervous system with interests that extend broadly to all areas of the world, and cover a variety of disciplines. Their audience expects to be informed rather than entertained. One may lament the fact that society is increasingly organized on the principle of “economic man,” but one cannot ignore the implications. Monolithic though it may be in terms of value systems, the economics press is comprehensive and competent in its coverage.

The other part of our societal autonomic nervous system is constituted by our intelligence services. But like much of our own ANS, that part is subconscious. It does not publish newspapers or issue press releases. Like we ourselves, it can become hyper-sensitized to threat, and it can undergo institutional PTSD. And then the whole organism suffers.

In the Financial Times there was a section titled “We need to talk about mental health,” referring to executive mental fitness. This is where neurofeedback starts to be taken seriously, with the indispensable people.

In Los Angeles, we are sometimes met with the greeting “Welcome home” by the passport clerk or the customs official. Not on this occasion. But it did not need to be said. Somehow it was a relief to find things much as we had left them. Even the familiarity of dysfunction is a comfort.

Our Trip to India:

A Look Back

Siegfried Othmer, PhD

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