DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Greece: A Whisper of Battles Past

Conn Hallinan
Saturday March 07, 2015 - 04:07:00 PM

The recent negotiations between Greece and the European Union (EU) bring to mind Themistocles, a man who knew when to retreat and when to fight. The year was 480 BC and Xerxes I—“the king with half the east at heel”—was marching on Greece with a massive army accompanied by an enormous fleet. Against the invasion stood a small Greek army, led by Leonidas of Sparta, and an equally outnumbered navy, commanded by the Athenian, Themistocles. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Whose month?

By Helen Rippier Wheeler,
Friday March 06, 2015 - 07:53:00 AM

Disparate treatment of elderly persons occurs as a result of the belief that older people are of less value than younger people. It lends itself to satire, sarcasm, ridicule and stereotyping. Remember Barbara “walkies” Woodhouse (1910-1988), parodied in the James Bond Octopussy film? Fear has a lot to do with it too.

Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and thus, the end of the human life cycle. Euphemisms and terms for old people include seniors (American usage), senior citizens (British and American), older adults (social sciences,) the elderly, and elders (many cultures, including those of aboriginal people).

Ageism (also spelled "agism") is stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. The term was coined in 1971 by Robert Neil Butler (1927-2010) to describe discrimination against seniors, patterned on sexism and racism. It may be casual or systematic. Butler defined ageism as a combination of prejudicial attitudes towards older people, discriminatory practices against them, and institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about them. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Cognitive Techniques Instead of Illicit Drugs

Jack Bragen
Friday March 06, 2015 - 07:40:00 AM

In this week's column I offer a comparison between meditation versus illicit drugs as avenues for relief from the suffering that may accompany a mental illness. I am offering this contrast because, in the case of mental illness, you might need something that offers at least the hope of feeling better. If stuck in pain in the absence of a way out, or even a hoped-for way out, it becomes a lot more of a temptation to use illicit drugs or to take medication not according to the directions.

If you feel okay, the above paragraph does not apply to you.

Cognitive techniques to help deal with mental illness might, by many people, be thought of as out of reach. Many therapists and other mental health professionals might not believe that persons with mental illness have the necessary insight to perform meditation.

Unfortunately, it seems that many people involved in the organized practice of meditation have the same incorrect skepticism. However, gaining an understanding of one's own mind and learning things about what makes it work or not work might be a big help with a lasting and genuine recovery. Additionally, meditation is possible for persons with mental illness. -more-