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Chungwo, China, Middle Kingdom – but my sense is “Middle Kingdom” may not give the full flavor of the name.   Kingdom that is the center of everything may be better. Or simply center of the world.   Bicycles are gone. Urban China belongs to cars in bewildering numbers being driven so assertively that it seems that a twenty four hour game of chicken is being played on the roads.   The pedestrian does not have the right of way and the carnage is considerable. Vehicles collide with vehicles and vehicles collide with people on foot.   You have to be very alert crossing the street.     In the last thirty years China has built a road system that spans the greater part of the nation. This has involved the construction of innumerable bridges, overpasses and tunnels. Much of motor vehicle travel in China feels modern, although there are anomalies.   On a road outside Pingyao a shepherd and his working dog are moving a flock of some hundreds of sheep. This brings to an unhappy halt convoys of heavy trucks headed in both directions.   Cars and trucks produce carbon emissions far beyond what bicycles do.   This is not good for the air.   In fact, the air in cities is often miasmatic, obscuring the sky, threatening the health of the lungs that breathe it.   Of course, the burning of coal, often coal that is dirty, is responsible for much of the degradation of air quality. The energy is needed to power development, but it comes with a bundle of costs.   Could development be smarter and slower?   “Ah,” says one of our local guides... read more


Each patient resonates differently. Resonance is a matter both of the inner strings of the therapist and of the inner strings of the patient.   When a note is truck near a piano, it often sets strings singing, waking sound from them by elective affinities. It is a matter of a string’s recognizing something of itself in the waves of sound that reach it.   So it is between patient and therapist.   Resonance explores links and kinships that may not be obvious.   One was a young guy, big, burly, voluble when his mood was not so low that it interfered with his getting out of bed. He was unmarried, without a girl friend.   He had no children. He had hallucinations, delusions.   Sometimes he did things hat made perfect sense to him, but only to him because he had his own distinctive take on what was going on around him.   Or you could call it his own idiosyncratic rake on things.   He was sometimes too much for himself, often too much for others.   His size scared people, as did his intensity, suggesting that he was out of control.   Most often, when others saw him as out of control, he was not quite out of control, near there but not having reached it.   He had suicidal impulses, not just when he was down, but also when he was flying high.   Yet he had never gone too far and injured himself or anyone else.   He could not tolerate sitting still in an office and talking.   So we walked and walked and walked and talked as we walked, noticing what was... read more


At the very height of the financial crisis as the sub-prime mortgage bubble burst,the federal government was spending some tens of thousands of dollars to send apatient, let us call him Hugo, who had been involved in a piece of financial chicanery to finance his education to jail.   Hugo was guilty as charged although he argued that he had been subtly entrapped. Did Hugo lie about a number of things? Of course he did.   Once the indictment came down, Hugo was deserted by almost all of those he thought were his friends and allies. There were a few exceptions, for which Hugo was deeply grateful. But he was terribly hurt by what amounted to a shunning that deprived him of his social and work milieu.   A man of quite frail self-esteem to start with, this shunning was devastating and dangerous. It made him think ill of himself against his own will.   The prosecution and the subsequent incarceration were costly. They were justified on the grounds of the importance of protecting against “moral hazard.”   Less than thirty thousand was involved in the patient’s financial chicanery, not billions. The little man takes the fall. The big guys smile, apologize, asking for permission to do it again, and move on to do it again. Hugo was fully aware of this.   With a rueful smile of his own, Hugo remarked that he had always been a little guy.   Upon conviction, Hugo was suicidal, overwhelmed by sorrow, shame and dread.   He had grown up in the midst of South America’s most bitter civil war . The dead were a part of everyday... read more