Letters to the Editor

This page is available for readers to throw brickbats or bouquets, to sound off on any subject that has provoked their ire or promoted their admiration, and generally to share with the rest of us.  

There is no shortage of space!


Threads on ADD/ADHD

From Sep Meyer - December 16, 2003


Thank you for letting me have sight of work in progress on Issue No. 10.  I was particularly interested in the exchange of information of ADHD and the dangers of drug use such as Ritalin.

I think readers need to be aware that Dr Breggin's website contains a very important warning, viz:

"When trying to withdraw from many psychiatric drugs, patients can develop serious and even life-threatening emotional and physical reactions.  In short it is dangerous not only to start taking psychiatric drugs but also can be hazardous to stop taking them.  Therefore withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done under clinical supervision."



From Michael Mallows

I believe that many children diagnosed with and treated for AD(H)D may in fact be displaying symptoms of Attachment Difficulties (or Attachment Disorder as the the DSM would have it).

That is, ADHD itself may be a symptom.

I also think that the intrapersonal skills that many adults display in their interpersonal relationships are evidence of low Emotional Intelligence and may also ensue from Attachment Difficulties.

Attachment Disorder, as you probably know, results from poor bonding during the early days, weeks and months - eye contact with a nurturing parent, for example - creating human beings who lack trust, feel inferior and guilty and who, ultimately, have an underlying or constant state of impotence, futility and despair.

Feeling, basically, inadequate, insecure and insignificant, they look everywhere for someone to blame. Parents, The System / teacher / lover / ....

The preoccupation with how awful life is, how painful love is, how demanding people are, how overwhelming it might all become, how they will be held responsible, how they will probably fail, saps the spirit, deadens the soul, narrows the vision, impairs judgment, shallows the breathing, narrows the mind. In short, it makes it very difficult to pay attention in an orderly fashion. Result? Attention Deficit Disorder!

What if we reframe it as a deficit in the people who 'should' be paying attention.  After all, don't many of the NP article suggests that if our readers learn and apply the techniques, principles and attitudes that we believe in and write about the people they live and work with are less likely to have initials pinned on their souls?

October 4, 2003


From Stephen Bray

I think this very interesting. My view is that although some kind of configuration of behaviour is often represented as ADHD the term ADHD is a powerful 'meme'.

My article would agree in principle with your statement, and suggest one 'family' configuration looks something like.

Mother/child ambivalent attachment.  Parent's history, mother needy and father strong in practical support but with arrival of child, (natural or adopted).  Father's resources
overwhelmed by mother's new 'needy' focus, and becomes absent either:
a) Physically, by taking up voluntary work such as running 'parent-craft classes', often in an attempt to gain more knowledge or resources to meet home-based problems
b) By engaging in almost obsessive DIY work around the house, carried out in isolation from the rest of the family, in a symbolic attempt to 'shore-up' the fabric of his reality.
Or something like that.

October 4, 2003


From Stephen Bray:

"You write: "After all; The world isn't FLAT, is it?"

And I have to reply once more it depends how and where you look. From sea level, the world seems flat. Using the instruments of geometry, (as did the ancient Greeks apparently), one can measure its circumference and thus 'prove' that it's round. Using the 'instrument of a space shuttle' one can perceive it to be round. One might speculate that using the instrument of
the 'United Confederation of Planets Star Ship Enterprise' one might travel far enough from the world for it to appear as a speck of darkness within a swirling galaxy of light. For example, a very respected scientist wrote recently:

"If you look at a hair under a magnifying glass you can see it has thickness, but to the naked eye it appears just like a line with length but no other dimension. Space-time may be similar on human, atomic, or even nuclear physics length scales; it may appear four dimensional and nearly flat. On the other hand if we probe to very short distances using extremely high energy particles we should see that space-time was ten or even eleven-dimensional." (Hawking, 2001).

So, using the instrument of a high energy particle accelerator space-time may be seen to be ten or even eleven dimensional, and therefore neither round, nor flat.

Carmen and John refer to this phenomena in Whistling in The Wind  "Disciplines such as physics, chemistry, physiology . . . represent a systematic exploration of the set of mappings between the world and a special set of mental maps known as theories. . . . Typically such activity begins with observations among the elements in the set defined by the product of the neurological transforms - FA. As the instrumental and measurement operations offer such
scientists a second DESCRIPTION of the world." (WITW p 39). (Caps mine in lieu of italics due to the formatting limitations of this bulletin board, not to be taken as Internet impoliteness).
Or, perhaps you will indulge me as I can come at the 'round earth assertion' another way?
"A baby, reaching out to grab a rattle or a mobile hanging above the crib, is being creative. The infant learns from such experiences that there are internal and external worlds that s/he can influence. But what is it that moves? Who reaches out? What is the inspiration that
leads to such creative impulses? Quite simply life has a desire to witness itself in many forms, and, as agents of life, each of us will thrive if we help with this task. (Bray, 2001) 

The case of Captain Grinder:
"I leveraged a transfer to the 10th Special Forces Group in Bad Toeiz Germany - and lived in the beautiful Alpine village of Lenggries, pursuing activities that can best be described as the all-American boy's adventure fantasies." (WITW p. 123)

". . . in the early phases of these experiences I was struggling to master some of the fundamental patterns of these languages. On occasions I even worked hard to present myself as something I demonstrably was not, namely competent in the local language and on occasion as a European" (WITW p. 144)

The question arises: When Captain Grinder was ordered to present 'himself' as 'a European', what was 'it' that was presenting, and what happened to Captain Grinder during the period of the presentation? 

The Case of the Internet Warrior
As you sit at the terminal reading this nonsense a great many things may be occurring in the background reminding you of another identity. Walls, spaces, sounds and perhaps even conversations either by telephone or face-to-face. In such experiences no doubt you hold a different identity to that of 'Internet Warrior'. When someone knocks at the door and addresses
you by name, I doubt that it is for 'Internet Warrior' that they address themselves?

Yet most on this board only know you as Internet Warrior. So are you two people like the above-mentioned Captain Grinder, or are you a continuity of consciousness that may portray at least two identities. Your day-to-day one, and Internet Warrior the Zen Master whose concise questions are like koans drawing such detail from my essential self? 

The Case of the Felled Tree
In the 19th Century Bishop Berkeley suggested that when a tree falls and no one is around to witness the event, it is perceived in the 'Mind of God'. This has been summed up poetically in the following limerick:

There was a young man who said, "God,
Must think it exceedingly odd
If he finds that this tree
Continues to be
When there's no one about in the Quad."
"Dear Sir: Your astonishment's odd:
I am always about in the Quad.
And that's why the tree
Continues to be,
Since observed by, Yours faithfully, God."
(Inernet Source: http://www.mindspring.com/~boba4/TreeFall.htm)

But, as I recall from his 1988 presentation of 'Prerequisites of Personal
Genius', when John Grinder uses the example of a tree falling he sometimes
uses this example:

The man cut down the tree
Which then using the logic of transformational grammar may be deconstructed
The man - using the instrument of an axe - cut down the tree.
However, if we start from Berkeley's position might we not simply write:
The tree fell
Which perhaps may be, (note the hesitant sleight of mouth), deconstructed
The mind of God - using the instrument of man, who in turn used the
instrument of an axe - cut down the tree

The Case of Bateson's Buzzer
In a recent training for aspiring family therapists I set as one option in a series of homework assignments the task of constructing an electric buzzer, and discussing various questions. One question was:

"If you believe that the buzzer has a controlling element, what is it, and give reasons for your answer?"

To which a number of people responded: 'The finger is the controlling element in the buzzer, the buzzer is a mechanical system that is a holon within the human activity system, human/buzzer, which in turn is a subsystem of a larger (supra-system).
Or words to that effect :-)))

So to sum up the question of whether or not the world is flat seems to be one of instrumentation, and space/time co-ordination, but not fact.

However since: "Human beings live in the REAL WORLD. WE do not, however operate directly or immediately on that world, but rather we operate with a map or series of maps that we use to guide our behavior." (Bandler and Grinder p 179). (Caps mine in lieu of italics due to the formatting limitations of this bulletin board, not to be taken as Internet impoliteness).
Whilst we must accept that the real world may not be as concrete as we might wish, in the same way that our identities sometimes change, to all intents and purposes it can be relied upon to operate in uniform ways, when standardised formulae are applied to isolated components. At higher levels of complexity, of course the variables become more difficult to isolate and hence accurate prediction becomes less accessible.

But, for practical purposes we may conclude that although the world may be quite a different shape from how we represent it in three dimensions. As I stand upon it today, it is undoubtedly flat ;-)))

Thanks again for such a wonderful challenge.

October 6, 2003