“Monday Musings” for Monday November 26, 2013
Volume III, No 46/140
by Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA*
To My Dear Family, Friends, Colleagues and Readers:
Thanks for being
Thanks for becoming
Thanks for all the good inside of us, intellect, trillions of neuronic connections
Thanks for our ability to feel love, compassion, and presence of God in us
Thanks for the arts, the humanities, flowers, music, and trees
Thanks for poetry, dance, ballet, ballads and symphony and
Thanks for science and the universe
Thanks for Socrates’ elenchus
Thanks for Aristotle’s enteleche
Thanks for Zarathustra, Buddha, Rumi, Mohammad, Ferdowsi, Avicenna, Goethe,
Jesus, Gandhi, Mozart, Moses and Abraham. Thanks for Hanukah, Easter, Purim and Bishvat
Thanks for my own mother, for Mother Teresa, Joan of Arc, Catherine of Siena, Virgin Mary, Sappho, Matilda Maud, Susan B. Anthony and Queen Melisende of Jerusalem.
Thanks for family and connectedness
Thanks for the World
Thanks for eternity
Thanks for transcendence
Thanks for America
Thanks for life, and oh, yes
Thanks for timely death
But although humanity has come a long way, we have ways to go as reflected below:
Slavery in America
News media report practice of slavery in India, Africa, Pakistan, and other parts of the world. I submit that we practice slavery in America. I am referring to student- athletes who can barely read and write. They work like slaves to generate a product with sales in the billions of dollars, yet they get punished for accepting any gift from fans. The unfairness is accentuated by the practice of awarding coaches with less than a mediocre record, with contract extension and whopping raises sending their annual compensation into millions.
This is a repetition of 17th and 18th century slavery, and the epitome of hypocrisy and unfairness. The entire system is unethical. It should be illegal and ought to be banned. One reasonable solution is to pay the student athlete a salary and pay teachers to tutor them and bring up their academic standing not with phony non existing classes, but with real teaching, while they play their sport. Also, cut the exorbitant salaries of the coaches and give it to our school teachers who barely make ends meet.
Hype, hyperbole, and hysteria surround the congressional impasse partially shutting down the government. While everybody is fretting, complaining and climbing the walls, I find myself calmly and thoroughly enjoying what is happening. No, I am not a sadist enjoying suffering of others. No, I am not a masochist to enjoy suffering. No, this is not a shadenfreud to vicariously enjoy suffering of others. Then you might ask how could I enjoy the shutting down of government and suffering of the furloughed and idled?,,,
Well, what I am enjoying is the miracle of the Republic our founding fathers have created and graciously given to us: a government with three equal forces and importance who could pull their weight in debate, in polemic discussion and finally in action. It is the system of US government that blesses America that we enjoy. No dictator by issuing fiat is going to tell what Congress may do, and no supreme court may give the other branches of government its marching orders. Three branches of government are not only equal in theory and parlance, but in actuality. I am thankful for America and our Republic.
Readers recall our discussion of forthcoming chess championship a few weeks ago. Well, we had the match last week and as predicted Magnus Carlson the 21 year old Norwegian chess player, a grand master at age 12, unseated the long-time champion Wiswanathan Anand who had reigned for seven years. Although not on camera, reporters have it that Anand wept. Watching Carlsen play chess is like taking a tour of the inside of the brain of Mozart while he was composing the Jupiter Symphony in C major. It puts you little closer to God. A brief note from 1972 championship from a previous “MM”;
“Bobby Fischer died at age 64, on January 18, 2008. I was privileged to be in Reykjavick, in 1972, and see him in action playing chess with his Russian opponent Boris Spassky about whom I have written in the past. What impressed me about the young man, besides his bad behavior and total paranoia and mistrust for everyone, was his total mastery of the game, and his brilliance. His kind of brilliance was unfortunately blinding and not illuminating. It was more damaging than benefiting. He is a good reminder of Richard Wagner (1813-1883), the most brilliant opera composer, writer and thinker of the 19th century. Wagner’s biological father was a Jew. Like Wagner, Fischer was also born to Jewish parents, yet like Wagner, in his life time, he piled an incredible amount of derogation and insult on Jews. Like Wagner, Fischer was an unrepentant and zealous anti-Semite.
There are plenty of reasons to bury the memories of Bobby Fischer and let him fade in dustbin of oblivion. But his brilliance in chess may be selectively used as a role model for teaching focus, determination and devotion to learning to our young people. He provides a good example of how to train the brains of our children and grand children. Let us celebrate him, and his contributions to the honored and honorable game of chess.”
Carlsen, on the other hand, is a wholesome young man unafflicted by any neurotic encumbrance and anti-Semitic fervor.
*The writer is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, Distinguished Life fellow American Psychiatric Association, and Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012). He serves as a Visiting Scholar and lecturer on Medicine, the Arts and Humanities at his alma mater the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health.