Daily Archives: 10 Jan 14

Why is Geel so successful at ‘treating’ the ‘mentally ill’?

(OR: Why is Geel so successful at helping those with ‘problems of living’?)

“For more than 700 years its inhabitants have taken the mentally ill and disabled into their homes as guests or ‘boarders’. At times, these guests have numbered in the thousands, and arrived from all over Europe. There are several hundred in residence today, sharing their lives with their host families for years, decades or even a lifetime. One boarder recently celebrated 50 years in the Flemish town, arranging a surprise party at the family home. Friends and neighbours were joined by the mayor and a full brass band.

Among the people of Geel, the term ‘mentally ill’ is never heard: even words such as ‘psychiatric’ and ‘patient’ are carefully hedged with finger-waggling and scare quotes. The family care system, as it’s known, is resolutely non-medical. When boarders meet their new families, they do so, as they always have, without a backstory or clinical diagnosis. If a word is needed to describe them, it’s often a positive one such as ‘special’, or at worst, ‘different’. This might in fact be more accurate than ‘mentally ill’, since the boarders have always included some who would today be diagnosed with learning difficulties or special needs. But the most common collective term is simply ‘boarders’, which defines them at the most pragmatic level by their social, not mental, condition. These are people who, whatever their diagnosis, have come here because they’re unable to cope on their own, and because they have no family or friends who can look after them.” (Aeon).

The Far Future of our Solar System

I recently created an image that shows some of the important events in our natural history…: what our history would look like if, instead of our 13.81 billion years, we simply scaled everything down to fit in just one calendar year. The results are stunning, and do a tremendous job of putting our entire past history into a time perspective that we can relate to.

The funny thing is, that only explains how we got here. What about the other side of the coin: where we’re headed? (Medium).

You Have to Play This 1,600-Year-Old Viking War Game

“At first glance, Hnefatafl (pronounced “nef-ah-tah-fel”) might just look like a knock-off version of chess with Norse helms and impressive beards, but the game is at least 600 years older—already well-known by 400 A.D.—and is perhaps a lot more relevant to the conflicts of the 21st century.” (Medium).

Kim Jong Un Gave Out Hitler’s Mein Kampf To Senior Officials In Honor Of Birthday

‘The North Korean leader reportedly gave out copies of Hitler’s ideological tome Mein Kampf to select senior officials recently, according to North Korean watchdog news site New Focus International.

The so-called Nazi bible, written by Hitler while in prison in 1924, was given out in honor of Kim’s birthday in January, the site claims.

“Kim Jong-un gave a lecture to high-ranking officials, stressing that we must pursue the policy of Byungjin (Korean for ‘in tandem’) in terms of nuclear and economic development,” an anonymous source told New Focus International by phone. “Mentioning that Hitler managed to rebuild Germany in a short time following its defeat in WWI, Kim Jong-un issued an order for the Third Reich to be studied in depth and asked that practical applications be drawn from it.”

The gift might be part of a campaign to create a more intimidating persona for the young leader, Shirley Lee, New Focus’s international editor, told the Washington Post. The Post also noted that leadership and nation-building — not anti-Semitism — seemed to be the intended significance of the gift.

Many books are banned in North Korea, according to the Washington Post, and the consequences for owning a banned book can be quite severe. In 2009, a Christian woman who was accused of distributing copies of the Bible was allegedly executed, according to the Associated Press.

While possibly startling to Western countries that opposed Hitler’s actions during World War II, North Korea is not the first country that maintains a healthy appreciation of the German’s leadership skills.

In India for example, Mein Kampf is printed by multiple publishers and is popular among business school students, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.’ (Huffington Post).