Monday, April 27, 2009

Ragbag of bollocks

Why do newscasters feel they have to say that people are "battling" cancer? You cannot battle it. You can have it treated by specialists; you can try to keep yourself in as good shape as possible; you can do all sorts of things that have very little effect, if any. But this is not what "battling cancer" means. It usually means "dying of cancer".

I was struck by it when reading news about celebrity chav Jade. She was "battling cancer". And died quickly. Well, that's how it is. You "battle" diseases in your mind; they kill you in the physical world. The two do not overlap. Rampant cells do not, whatever you might believe, respond to the power of thought. They may or may not respond to chemistry, if we know which chemistry will kill them and not you. But it is not in itself much of a battle to have cancer treated. Few refuse to.

My granddad -- my dad's stepdad -- died of lung cancer. When diagnosed, he did not resolve to battle it. He was a gambling man, and he knew what long odds he faced. He was also smart enough to know that no amount of fight would shorten those odds. He accepted his fate, battled not at all, and died.

Cancer is like the wind. You can't battle it. It doesn't fight with you. It just is. It can be mitigated if you catch it when it is a breeze, but when it is a hurricane, you cannot hope to stop it. All you can do is get blown to shit.

***

But life on the whole is like that. When it ails you, there's not always much you can do about it; and when you're running hot, it's often not down to you -- all you can do is surf the wave and hope that when it breaks you don't hit the sand hard.

Or maybe that's just my life. I dunno. Maybe everyone else is driving their own train, not looking out the window wistfully at the scenery passing by.

***

So I am insanely proud of myself anyway. I have mastered reggae. Yes, I know that it's not a herculean task. But I have grasped why it works, and how it is put together. It took some doing. I love making music, and I generally grasp theory well, but I have no ear for it, even though I enjoy listening to it.

I don't mean I am writing reggae. I am aiming for dub techno. You have to go through reggae to get there though. Or I do. I don't know how other people learned what they know.

So now I am listening to music carefully, thinking about which beat notes fall on, how effects that I like are constructed. And then I will make music that is nothing like what I'm aiming at, because that is what I do always.

But who knows? Maybe one day you'll see my name in the charts or in a mix or on MTV, with hot chicks waggling their booties to my pumping mix. It's about time something about me pumped, let's face it.

18 Comments:

At 10:43 pm, Blogger P. said...

I have mastered reggae.You did indeed and you seem, to my ear, to have a flair for it. Your dub will do well I reckon.

 
At 12:21 am, Blogger Paula Light said...

Thank you. That "battling" thing drives me insane. There are some who look at the odds and choose not to be sliced up and ingest probably useless poison to ruin the quality of the small portion of remaining life, but instead just get the pain relief from day one, and they are looked at as lesser -- "but you're just GIVING UP!"

 
At 2:48 am, Blogger P. said...

probably useless poisonIn the UK we have the NHS and the only free poison they're in the habit of giving out is in the form of poor sterilisation. Speak to some of those for whom your poison worked, Paula, for there are many.

 
At 7:18 am, Blogger Looney said...

Certainly not useless poison.

Regardless, it sure seems like a battle to me, but more to secure the best care possible and to ensure the doctors were doing absolutely everything possible.

Re: Reggae.

Here's all you have to know about theory for your reggae

I, IV, V, an occasional VIm

heavy on the backbeat. Jamaican accent.

You're all set :-)

pluti

 
At 6:45 pm, Blogger nobody said...

Zen wrote,

"You 'battle' diseases in your mind; they kill you in the physical world. The two do not overlap."

The mind and body clearly do overlap or you'd be wearing diapers instead of controlling matters to your convenience; I'm sure your statement was some literary device however, not the simple bollocks it reads.

"I love making music, and I generally grasp theory well, but I have no ear for it, even though I enjoy listening to it."

It's about damn time you tried being who you are, doing the things that, for you, do themselves, instead of spending yourself whining about things you do only because you must. If you can actually manage to enjoy yourself doing something you love, you may find that seed of fulfillment growing out into other parts of your life.

"...hot chicks waggling their booties to my pumping mix..."

Don't let the dreams seduce you away from enjoying the moment, eh?

Rock on! <g>

 
At 7:15 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

As it happens, I agree with Paula L. Extending life for a few weeks is barely worth doing. Really, fighting a losing battle is second best to accepting that you are going to die with grace in my opinion. I understannd why people value quantity over quality of life, but a good year is surely better than a bad decade.

boots, the mental and the physical do not overlap whatsoever. You cannot think your cells healthy. Indeed, you can't think any actions at the cellular level. Or any other level, obv., but that's a whole other story.

Thanks for your kind words about music. I used to spend a lot of time tooling around with my tracker and I do enjoy it a lot. Maybe you're right that the positivity will seep into other areas of my life.

 
At 11:18 pm, Blogger P. said...

Extending life for a few weeks is barely worth doing.So you're given two weeks to live and your daughter's wedding day is in three. Or your daughter's graduation or your son's Christmas play, I don't know. Something that's important to you. You're full of shit to say it barely seems worth hanging on. It's about how much it's worth to the people you're leaving behind. You of all people should empathise with life not always being about you - well the minute you gain a family, nor is death.

 
At 12:25 am, Blogger nobody said...

Zen wrote,

"boots, the mental and the physical do not overlap whatsoever."

When I was a younger man I spent a few years heavily into yoga, and the nurse I threw into an unintional panic by significantly reducing my heart-rate while she was reading my pulse might possibly disagree with you.

"Maybe you're right that the positivity will seep into other areas of my life."

I fucking hope so, you've been rotting from the inside out boyo, and that can only go on for so long. I hope you don't dream too high to enjoy the doing of it, which in the end is what our lives are about.

P, I like your new photo.

 
At 12:31 am, Blogger nobody said...

I should mention that I agree with those who said that when the news media says someone is "battling" cancer it's bollocks in most cases, since what they're battling to do is scratch up enough money to get their vampires ...er, doctors, to battle it for them (ie, feed them poison that makes it impossible for them to do any battling themselves should they be so inclined).

I'm not sure how a doctor would find out that I had cancer, since I have no more truck with them than any other type of avoidable blood-sucker, but if I was told that I damn sure wouldn't allow them to "treat" me for it.

 
At 9:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Studies and (personal experience) have shown that people with a positive mental attitude suffering from life threatening illnesses and diseases have a much better prognosis/outcome than those who are of a negative disposition.

In fact laughter has been shown to have a therapeutic effect.

Your talking shit as usual.

 
At 9:28 am, Blogger Dr Zen said...

By "studies", you mean "anecdotes", as usual.

You want to try laughing it off, go for it. At least you'll die with a smile on your face.

 
At 11:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the mental and the physical do not overlap whatsoever. You cannot think your cells healthy. Indeed, you can't think any actions at the cellular level. Or any other level, obv., but that's a whole other story.


Psychosomatic illness, the placebo effect, stress related illnesses all say you're wrong.

Ask any oncologist about mental attitude and survival ratess.

 
At 3:36 am, Blogger nobody said...

Anonymous said,

"Psychosomatic illness, the placebo effect, stress related illnesses all say you're wrong.

Ask any oncologist about mental attitude and survival ratess.
"

Anon, you'll have a better chance convincing a tree-stump, Zen Knows how it is. He truly does.

Of course what Knows means is that he has a strongly vested interest in believing it so, it lets him retain his whining rights you see.

 
At 8:20 am, Blogger Arleen said...

I'm in total disagreement about your stance about using the phrase battling cancer. Of course it's a battle. It's a battle to get up every day and keep going. It's a battle to decide what's for the best. It's a battle to keep your spirits up so as to enjoy what little time you may have left. And as has been mentioned, one's spirits DO affect just how well the healing process may go. I don't see how you can say otherwise. Our mental health and our physical health can be (not always) intertwined.

Also, you don't know whether or not you're going to be one of the lucky ones upon which the "poison", as you so blithely put it, will be effective. Depending upon the quality of the life that you have, any chance that it could be extended might be worth the risk of suffering the effects of the meds.

So "battle" is exactly the right word for what one experiences while dying of cancer. It's like life super-heightened, and life IS a struggle.

 
At 9:04 am, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Gunt, you'd think anyone who made as much of a twat as himself every time he talks about science would steer clear.

"Psychosomatic illness"? Name one. You clearly don't understand the placebo effect, but it does not involve thinking your cells healthy. Stress-related illnesses, in so far as they exist, are outcomes of hormonal reactions to stress, not outcomes of your finding it a bit tough to deal with things.

boots, whatever.

Arleen, I know you can't see it. Add it to the list of things you are clueless about.

 
At 6:01 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

The longer I live, the longer the list grows.

You're such a sweetheart. :-P

 
At 10:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Psychosomatic illness"? Name one.

http://www.surgerydoor.co.uk/medical_conditions/Indices/P/psychosomatic_disorders.htm

You clearly don't understand the placebo effect, but it does not involve thinking your cells healthy.

No but it is an example of the mind effecting the physical.


http://www.skeptics.org.uk/explanation.php?dir=articles/explanations&article=placebo_effect.php

Stress-related illnesses, in so far as they exist, are outcomes of hormonal reactions to stress

So where do the messages that tell the body to produce theses hormone come from?

Simple example Depression is a mental illness with which you are intimately familiar, tell us about the physical effects depression has upon your body and explain how the mind and body a separate.

 
At 10:35 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Shit. Blogger ate my reply. So, briefly:

No disorders named at your link.
I reiterate that you do not understand the placebo effect. Luckily, you managed to prove yourself wrong with your own cite (my emphasis):
"Physical conditions do not improve with placebos. Placebos do not cure, as many people mistakenly believe; it is the perceived improvement of symptoms that characterizes the placebo effect."
Okay, increase your testosterone by thinking about it. Tough to do, hey?
Depression is not a mystical spirit downer that drifts in off the ether, son. Think on't.

 

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