The Virtue of Torture

Taking the medical analogy seriously. What must it have been like to operate on a patient without anesthetic? To touch the skin with the scalpel, or saw, and feel the whole body stiffen under your hand, to hear the preemptive scream, and to go on and not be distracted. Given the effect of the satiric edge, would a kind person hesitate and draw back? What if it hurts the other? Keep going. If the purpose is to heal what is deformed or corrupt, it will hurt. Surgery was consensual. Public torture was not, at least not for one dismembered.  

Satire today may be as important for the health of the body politic as is judicial torture. Both require a personality type that some may find sadistic or psychopathic. But can we begrudge the professional the pleasures that come with an important social role?

Perhaps in the style of an old New Yorker cartoon

The headsman, in a black tunic, tight leggings, boots, a black leather hood, and his big belly hanging out, lies on the therapist's couch. The caption reads, "I don't know, I just don't love my work that much anymore." Imagine the cartoon, licensed to The Journal of Positive Psychology. It lies open to that page on the table in the therapist's break room in Wealth Bondage, or Gitmo. Imagine the Journal's prose, its bibliography, its peer reviewers..... Somewhere in this is a joke.

On Old School Satire

Another thought - What would bedside manner have meant for a Roman surgeon in 50 BC, when even the most willing patient had to be held down, or strapped to the table? A calm, professional, voice on which the patient might focus while the corrupted part is cut away? If we could recapture that tone, what good might we yet do? The problem is that I enjoy it too much. And it spooks the patient. Remember, this is for your own good......

Self Medicating for Moral Illness

Separate, lonely, full of myself and my own torments, I have tried alcohol, other vices, blogging, Facebook, Linked-In, and Twitter. I even tried exercise once, but the only thing that has ever alleviated anxiety is kindness, given and received, in community grounded in service. Addressing fundraisers for The Society St Vincent De Paul, I find I am not alone. The wealthy and the poor are the solution to each other's suffering. For us to live so separate is like the heart scanting blood to the feet, so as to be richer alone. We are one body politic. 

Through Wind and Waves

On providing spiritual direction. Written for a Catholic priest for other priests. Found it helpful, particularly in treating of the temptations to which spiritual directors are vulnerable. In a casino catering to vice, the croupiers must be honest or the enterprise will fail. So too, we in Wealth Bondage who cater to the formation of conscience in Ultra-High-Net-Worth-Families may have to renounce sin and insincerity ourselves if we are to optimize the profitable operation of grace. I would hate to think so. 

Disrupting the Market for Spiritual Direction

To advance my work in wealth consulting and to differentiate myself from the imposters who merely pretend to secular priests, I have been studying the business models of what appear to be legitimate Spiritual Directors. I am looking for a way to aggregate and leverage what seems to be a fragmented market. Some kind of Uber-type App to connect wealthy but lost souls with qualified Directors. The problem that I see, other than limited demand, is the pricing. It appears that the going rate is $60 an hour for the formation of conscience, with a daily prayer for the client thrown in at no extra charge. There  is not a lot of margin there. But there have to be some Directors who have taken a vow of poverty, and I could pocket the $60 for making the market.

Effective Altruism as Beggar's Paradise

In The Atlantic.  I guess people have to give for their own reasons. Raised from birth in Wealth Bondage, many have no coherent language of value other than markets and metrics. I note that in the end the author gave to honor his mother. So there is yet hope that giving as a social gesture, within the underground economy of love, grace, and gratitude, may continue to thrive, rationalize it as we will.

To give is to express an identity. What kind of person is this? Do we judge by the surface logic, of unquestioning utilitarianism, the logic of a computer or Spock on Star Trek, or can we read the story as that of a shell cracking open, as something living within, drawn from the mother, seeks expression? Many a seed falls on infertile ground. Yet the seed may sprout, whether rooted or not. We each serve some purpose, if only to make the angels laugh.

The poorer and more miserable the beggar, the greater the marginal utility of the gift - that much I agree with. And as proof positive of my degradation and poverty, I have rags and sores.  Buddy, that dollar would give me more pleasure than it would you! So fork it over, or you are trapped in a fallacy! Come on, Buddy. Your mother would be proud. Thank you, Sir. God Bless! You are a gentleman and a logician.

Philanthropy's Delicate Dance with the Hand that....

Actual title is, "Philanthropy's Difficult Dance with Inequality," by Brad Smith, President of Ford Foundation, at PND Blog. What I love about the article, based on my own professional activities in Wealth Bondage, proud sponsor of Gifthub, is the phrasing, "All these foundations have the same intimate relationship with inequality as the rest of the sector." I know I am no better than anyone else in the sector. I only wish it paid better. And the older you get, the less you get for it, until you become a philanthropist yourself eventually giving it away for nothing. And even pro bono, at a certain point you can't offload it. The last time I actually got paid for an intimate relationship with inequality was..... well, this is a field that depends on confidentiality. Let's just say it  was in the late '70's.  The Scene of Injustice, as they called it, involved four hundred thousand extras in subservient roles, each of us doing our best for the one client. They made a movie, but you can't see my face, thank God. It was a good experience all around, except for Mamie, my friend, who went mad. I had said to her, "What harm in this one time? Everyone else is doing it. The whole sector does it. And they are no different from the other sectors, either." I only wish I could go back in time. A beggar then, a beggar now. If I had never been intimate with inequality, among the millions and millions who are, at least I would still have my self-respect. And if I could have counseled Mamie, and set a good example; she might have become a teacher as she had planned. We might even have gotten married.