Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Cross Country 40-The Stimulation of Eccentricity

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Cross Country 40-The Stimulation of Eccentricity

    Note to the reader: “The News From Cuyahoga Falls” is my version of a blog regarding my life and its relation to therapy. Those that have been archived here proved very popular on the site they previously appeared and reading these you’ll learn more about my approach to therapy. I always write an episode about my latest teaching tour for Cross Country Education, and this is the fortieth of those.

    It’s been a quiet week in Cuyahoga Falls…

    Lying in bed in a hotel in Twin Falls Idaho last Tuesday night it suddenly occurred to me that I had failed to pack my dress shoes. Now, I’m not going to go into the intricate neurologic connections that led to this revelation (not that I don’t know them you understand-my unconscious replies, “yea, right”) but I was, as always, impressed with the silent activity of my mind. Part of me was watching yet another episode of Law and Order but another part was obviously reviewing the check list for packing that I should probably actually write down somewhere.

    I had two choices; I could wear my running shoes with my suit or just go with dark socks. Bare feet weren’t really an option for me. Of course, I chose the Nikes and thought of a few semi-funny things I might say about this odd look, the emphasis being on the word “semi.”

    In ’88 I got a long article published in PT Bulletin titled “Creative, Eccentric, or Weird…Proper Definitions Important to Professionals.” It ran about 1800 words (long for me) and had 19 references. As I look though it today I feel certain 18 years later that today this publication would reject it immediately. It is about the things we observe and the decisions we rapidly make about their origin and nature-decisions rooted in our unique ways of understanding how the universe works whether or not we’re right about that. Gladwell’s bestselling book Blink contains the same subject matter but didn’t come out until a year ago. I think he must have read my stuff first, but I’m just guessing.

    I walked to the front of the class in Twin Falls, perfectly silent on my padded soles, and, thinking the class was owed an explanation, told them about the highly polished dress shoes that normally complete my dark, distinguished and classy ensemble. To my surprise, nearly everyone was totally disinterested. Several commented that they had already concluded this was the way I always dressed and didn’t feel it represented anything other than a personal choice somehow connected to comfort. They had already forgiven me for looking like a fool, which was the thought that came to my own mind every time I looked down.

    My essay in ’88 begins with this line: “Suppose you were to come to my home and I answered the door with a girdle wrapped around my head-what would you think?” I go on to explain how the use of the girdle might be seen as creative, eccentric or weird behavior on my part, but that which of these it actually was would require that you spend time investigating various aspects of the girdle’s use and my thoughts about that. I do this by speaking of the problem of inductive reasoning, Thomas Hannah’s Somatic philosophy and the discipline of ethology according to Lorentz and Tinbergen. (And I wonder why nobody ever read this thing) I finished with a short meditation on the use of Simple Contact as a therapeutic approach and how it is related to a girdle-hat.

    Looking down at my shoes on Wednesday morning, feeling as if they were lighting up the room like a Roman candle, brought all of this back to me and this episode of “The News” was born. I’ve more to say and hope that those reading this will comment so that I can see what else is in my head about it. That sort of thing happens most effectively as I write.

    Copies of the PT Bulletin article are freely available to anyone providing their fax #.
    Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 09-01-2006, 03:01 PM.
    Barrett L. Dorko

  • #2
    Barrett,

    I've been reading your writings for a long time, and very well could have read this article when it was written. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you again for sharing your insights.

    When I grew up, I hardly ever wore shoes. 6th grade was the first time I wore shoes to school, and that was because they passed a law saying shoes had to be worn to public school. It was 7th grade before I wore shoes to church. The first day wearing shoes (tennis shoes), I kept them hidden under my chair in Sunday school, and under the pew in church. I felt like everybody was looking at them, but of course only my close friends even noticed. Everyone else had always worn shoes, and I was now "fitting in", even though I felt like I was standing out like a sore thumb.

    I'm sure I was not being creative by going bare foot in elementary school. I'm going to have to think about whether I might have been eccentric or weird...
    Not every jab needs to be answered with a haymaker. - Rod Henderson

    Comment


    • #3
      (Gerry, I grew up barefoot too - shoes came out only when the weather became cold in the fall and went back in the closet as soon as spring arrived. I remember the half-inch thick callouses on the bottoms of my feet that had to be scubbed clean each night before bed. What a sense of freedom, even though there was the occasional step onto an exposed nail or something, which meant having to get a tetanus shot.) Barrett, except perhaps in very judgemental 'haute' fashion circles, no one, especially in PT circles, cares about shoe fashion. Sporty or practical is always perfect, even if the racing stripes on the shoes are a different color than the pin stripes in the suit/tie.
      Diane
      www.dermoneuromodulation.com
      SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
      HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
      Neurotonics PT Teamblog
      Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
      Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
      @PainPhysiosCan
      WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
      @WCPTPTPN
      Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

      @dfjpt
      SomaSimple on Facebook
      @somasimple

      "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

      “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

      “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

      "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

      "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

      Comment


      • #4
        Gerry and Diane,

        Unlike many people who post I’ve met you both in person. Perhaps you’ll get my meaning (and “see” my face) when I say that though I appreciate your responses to “The News” and realize that you’ve both gotten my point-I now know more about your feet than I ever really wanted to.

        Having said that I thought I’d go on with a little more about the distinctions between and among the terms creative, eccentric, and weird. In my original article I drew upon several resources to come up with definitions and settled upon the following:

        Creative behavior may appear unusual and is non-traditional by nature. It proves, at least in retrospect, to have rational and logical origins that lead to useful ideas or procedures.
        Eccentricity, while unorthodox, does not eventually any rational explanation or purposeful sequence. It has the connotation of harmlessness and is openly pursued.
        Weirdness-this may be similar in many ways to the first two concepts but is primarily characterized by an irritating quality at best and, at worst, the potential for danger. It has a tendency to be hidden and emerges suddenly without expectation.

        I’m wondering where therapists see these things in the clinic-in both the patient and the therapist-and how they’ve come to recognize and deal with them.
        Barrett L. Dorko

        Comment


        • #5
          Barrett,

          Actually, I have come across very few of these characteristics in PTs....creativity as defined in your post is there for some. PTs are remarkably homogenous, in my part of the world anyway.

          In patients...well, it all hangs out on the clothesline for most to see.

          Weirdness is the challenge, because they don't conform to our expectations of how they should perform for us. PT needs to revise what is normal in society, and go with the flow. If overwhelming and outcomes are zero..refer on.

          Eccentricity..should be more of it. Staves off the boredom of hearing "I've got this pain and the doctor said......" Can be a great source of humour which is a pretty good analgesic anyway. I will never forget one fellow who took not the slightest notice of anything I said, but would rave fluently for a long time about the state of the world. He was fascinating...but did not come back by mutual agreement.

          Creativity..some patients are highly creative and can be useful sources for inspiration. They are far less likely to need us long term. However, manipulative patients can be highly creative, resulting in difficult and fruitless liaisons.

          I hope this doesn't sound flippant; it's not meant to be.

          Nari

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the replies. And Nari, thanks especially for not mentioning anyone’s feet.

            Without darkness there is no light. (Please feel free to quote me) Because of that, a brief examination of “normal” seems in order here. For me, James Hillman is a wonderful resource. He invented Archetypal psychology and when he speaks I listen carefully. I want to say a few things about normal he’s written but certainly don’t want this mistaken for my own work. Here goes:

            “Normal” comes from the Latin, norma, which means “at a right angle” and was first applied to geometry (anybody thinking “posture” here?). In the 19th century the word went through several transformations of meaning from “regular” to “average” to “usual,” each time changing slightly our feelings about its use when applied to situations we might not prefer. After all, if poverty were “normal” (meaning “usual”) might that not be used to add to the complacency of the government toward poor people?

            Today, normal can be understood in two ways. The first is average or standard. This means that anything out of the midline is “abnormal” or marginalized. Anything not deemed normal in this way carries with it the connotations of oddity, deviance or anomaly.

            The second way normal can be understood is as “ideal.” We somehow come up with a preestablished image that represents that and proclaim that whatever is closest to it is “the most normal.”

            This “News” about my shoes (as opposed to my feet), the girdle hat and behavior (creative, eccentric or weird) revolves around these definitions of normal, I think. And now that we know them we can go on to consider how all of this fits into our tendency to practice in certain ways and to judge the practice of others. At least, that’s what I’m hoping it will do.

            More from me soon. I’d love to see the thoughts of others here as well.
            Barrett L. Dorko

            Comment


            • #7
              On Christmas morning I opened a large box sent me by my twin sister, Leah. Over the years my family has learned to approach her presents carefully. Never lavish in the sense that they are expensive, but, without exception, elaborate in their packaging and thoughtfulness. Handmade or purchased in a store in South Philadelphia that has no franchise in Northeast Ohio, these gifts represent Leah’s thinking, and it should come as no surprise to me that she thinks of us as no one else does. Understand, I only actually talk to Leah a couple of times each year.

              My gift this year included items for my office and desk. I paused when I unwrapped a framed saying: No one should ever underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity. Later on the phone she reminded me that this is a line from Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues, said by a soldier after his drill sergeant is thought mentally unstable enough to be relieved of duty. His replacement proves quite boring.

              As it happens, I was forming this column in my brain and the shoe debacle in Idaho sealed it. Since, to me, everything is connected to my clinical life, I began thinking of the movement I see every day that is thought weird by so many I teach.

              Consider this: If I discovered one day that compressing my cranium with my hands provided a head pain of mechanical origin some resolution, wouldn't it make sense to wear a girdle hat? Wouldn't this seemingly weird or, at least, eccentric behavior actually represent some creativity on my part?

              Might the resistance to ideomotion for pain relief have a lot to do with our tendency to be rapidly judgmental, even fearful, of movement outside the choreographed "normal" (read ideal) that our profession has mistakenly chosen to use for purposes of training?

              Truly my twin, Leah celebrates her eccentricities and many love her for them. She is the greatest artist and gift-giver I've ever known.

              Maybe there's a lesson for therapists in here somewhere.
              Barrett L. Dorko

              Comment


              • #8
                Back to the definition of 'normal'...I like to think of the third possibility:

                Anormal = not 'ab', meaning away from; within normal limits hopefully but not what conforms to people's perceptions of normal behaviour and bell-curve analysis.
                Abnormal can mean psychopathic or pathologic; I like 'anormal'.
                Probably fits in with weird and eccentric but in a global sense.


                Nari

                Comment


                • #9
                  If I discovered one day that compressing my cranium with my hands provided a head pain of mechanical origin some resolution, wouldn't it make sense to wear a girdle hat? Wouldn't this seemingly weird or, at least, eccentric behavior actually represent some creativity on my part?
                  I've turned this over for a couple days now. It makes me think of Sutherland the D.O., with the frame on his head, that led to the whole pseudoscience fractal of cranial suture movement which is still being fanned and kept alive by otherwise wellmeaning people, and maybe by some that aren't so well-meaning. Whether he was weird, creative or eccentric, he gave us all that whole legacy to deal with.

                  ... So your girdle hat makes me smile... perfectly ok if it's used as a form of creative self-neuromodulation to cope with a headache. Not so ok if it leads to a sink hole in the ocean sucking down millions of cont.ed dollars based on a hardening of a premature cognitive committment that is in turn based on a perceptual fantasy of the girdle wearer.

                  Anyway, looking forward to hearing more. Nari, I like "a-normal."
                  Diane
                  www.dermoneuromodulation.com
                  SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
                  HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
                  Neurotonics PT Teamblog
                  Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
                  Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
                  @PainPhysiosCan
                  WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
                  @WCPTPTPN
                  Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

                  @dfjpt
                  SomaSimple on Facebook
                  @somasimple

                  "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

                  “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

                  “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

                  "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

                  "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Barrett,

                    People of the Kirbati islands in the Pacific wear what they call 'headache' bands. It is a fairly substantial parabolic comb, made of metal, which presses into the cranium, from parietal to vertex bilaterally. They swore it worked very well indeed.
                    The sharp narrow teeth of the comb were useful as toothpicks.

                    Also stops hair blowing in one's face.

                    Not suitable for bald people (pity, ChrisB )

                    Might be more socially acceptable in the classroom?


                    Nari

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Diane, I though immediately of Sutherland as well.

                      Luke
                      Luke Rickards
                      Osteopath

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As is becoming more and more often the case, Wikipedia offers us a definition and commentary that, while yet to be considered the final authority, gives us a lot to work with.

                        Go there and you’ll find: “Eccentricity is often associated with genius or extreme creativity. The individual's eccentric behavior is seen as the outward expression of his unique intelligence or creative impulse. In this view, the eccentric's habits are incomprehensible not because they are illogical or the result of madness, but because they stem from a mind so original that it cannot be conformed to "normal" society. In this vein, Edith Sitwell wrote : "Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd."

                        Eccentric personalities are marked by precisely this disregard for society's norms. The eccentric may comprehend the standards for normal behavior in his culture, or he may not. He is simply unconcerned by society's disapproval of his habits or beliefs.”

                        There are additional comments about eccentrics becoming cranks but I’d just as soon ignore that right now and turn instead to a quote from John Stuart Mill; That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time.

                        The trend toward generic care, protocols for conditions that simply won’t conform to their expectations and the insistence upon increased efficiency (read assembly line care) by many administrators and all insurance companies is an assault on eccentric practice. And by that I mean specifically the eccentrically thinking therapist who not only sees things other therapists don’t but who also sees the same things and interprets them differently. Then, because they aren’t unduly “influenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd,” they use a therapeutic approach others simply would never think of or dare to do.

                        There's this as well: As long as I remain merely eccentric I will always remain harmless.
                        Barrett L. Dorko

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Another view on eccentricity, this time from a lawyer...

                          http://riverbendlaw.com/eccentricity.html

                          The physical definition of eccentricity as used in astronomy is also useful: a variation in an elliptical orbit. Applies to lots of things, including physiotherapy.

                          I suspect the noose of compliance is getting tighter and more acceptable by people as the 21st century proceeds.

                          Nari

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Barrett,

                            the eccentrically thinking therapist who not only sees things other therapists don’t but who also sees the same things and interprets them differently. Then, because they aren’t unduly “influenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd,” they use a therapeutic approach others simply would never think of or dare to do.
                            Good insight.
                            Walt

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Walt, think eccentrically, explain scientifically.
                              "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X