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  • Peace

    Posted by Barrett1<script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2004,4,12,7,39,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> (Member # 3214) on 12-05-2004 14:39<noscript>May 12, 2004 07:39 AM</noscript>:

    It’s been a quiet week in Cuyahoga Falls…

    There’s a small strip of grass bordering the fence behind the parking lot of the SNF I’ve been working in lately. Beyond the fence it’s just weeds and woods surrounding a little used bike trail. Looking out the back window of the rehab department on Monday I noticed that someone had erected some yellow “caution” tape around a rectangular patch of freshly dug ground. This scene stopped me in my tracks for a few moments and I’m still trying to figure out why.

    I’m reading James Hillman’s new book, “A Terrible Love of War” just now. Hillman invented archetypal psychology several decades ago and remains one of my favorite philosophers regarding human matters. In this book he proposes that war persists to the degree it always has for a reason not often considered-we love it. Denying this just leads to more warfare. I believe he’s right. Two nights ago before falling to sleep with the book in my hands I read a passage about the nature of peace-something Hillman refers to as “a void of forgetfulness.” It is this forgetting that makes peace so rich with the possibility of new conflict, says Hillman. If war only ends in peace and the collective cultural amnesia erases what we knew and felt while actually at war we will start to march again before long. History certainly bears him out.

    On Monday when I paused at the sight of the barren ground I had just finished evaluating a patient for whom a therapy order had been mysteriously written. I say mysteriously because no one seems to know what moved this persistently absent physician to do it. The patient is immobile, nonverbal, ravaged by a multitude of debilitating diagnoses, requires a constant stream of supplementary oxygen and, well, you get the picture. I stood alone at the foot of her bed and consciously willed myself to raise the sheet above her knees so that I might gain some sense of her range of motion and response to command. My commonly occurring feelings of inadequacy in this place grew exponentially until I left that room.

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines peace in this way-“Freedom from disturbance or perturbation, especially as a condition of an individual; quiet, tranquility.” I get the feeling that this sort of personal peace includes a specifically selective remembrance rather than a dangerous forgetting. In other words, when a culture achieves peace war is imminent, when an individual manages this it is a rare achievement that prepares the ground for the transition to death.

    I found the disturbance of the grass next to the fence offensive in an odd way. It seemed pointless and I began to wonder what kind of make-work scheme the groundskeeper had devised in order to keep his men busy.

    Now as I write this I think I know why this small patch of ground wouldn’t allow me to ignore it.
    Last edited by bernard; 30-12-2005, 06:02 PM.
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. L VINCI
    We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. I NEWTON

    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not a bit simpler.
    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein