On Thanksgiving…and Other Observations

Monday Musings” for Monday November 23, 2015

Volume V. No 48/256

thanksgiving-day

Thanksgiving 2015 and a Few Other Observations

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 the gift of time; time for study, research, introspection, enjoyment, creating, thinking……the list is endless as witnessed by your diversity of intellectual pursuits.

Thanks for the billions of microbiomes that keep our brain and body functioning (we carry 2.5 pounds of useful bacteria in our bodies that are life giving and probiotic.

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.

Enjoying Chaos

 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 schadenfreude 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

Enjoying Chess

The Chess World Cup 2015 was a 128-player single-elimination tournament held in Baku, Azerbaijan from September 10 to October 5, 2015. Sergey Karjakin won the competition on tie-breaks after a four-game final against Peter Svidler. Both finalists qualified for the 2016 Candidates Tournament. Magnus Carlson the 23 year old Norwegian chess player, a grand master at age 12, and the long-time champion Wiswanathan Anand who had reigned for seven years, are no longer in the picture. Watching these champions 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 Reykjavik, 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.

Fortunately, the current crop of Chess champions are wholesome young folks unafflicted by any neurotic encumbrance and anti-Semitic fervor.

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*The writer is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, Distinguished Life fellow American Psychiatric Association, Life Member, American Medical association, Life Member, Southern Medical Associationand Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012).

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