poo and happiness

April 12, 2007

I had long suspected a connection between poo and happiness. This realisation gradually dawned on me over more than a year of changing nappies for two in addition to (and preceded by) caring for Ellie the Funt.

My suspicions were first confirmed by the sensational recent Australian movie, Kenny in which our protagonist is a Porta-Loo manager, happy as a pig in mud. He is really doing the world an essential service, and has a sense of purpose and importance. And so he should. After all human waste is ubiquitous and someone really needs to maintain those systems for dealing with it.

My natural reaction to poo is, like anyone’s, a normal “eww, yucky” feeling on first encountering the poo. God forbid, you don’t want to get it on your fingers. But the encounter is also strangely grounding. To come face to face (or face to bottom) with the waste products of one’s children does something to one’s sense of connectedness, somehow.

And last night on the SBS program, Insight, with my hero Jenny Brockie my suspicions were confirmed. It’s a fantastic talkback TV program that deals with interesting topics superbly and last night’s topic was, would you believe it “Happiness“. And the champion case example of happiness, was, would you believe a sewerage worker. I have forgotten the guy’s name. But he exhibited all the core features of happiness: a sense of purpose, a sense of connection to others, involvement in one’s work etc…

And for me, a penny dropped, another link in the chain. I’m starting to think I’m onto something, the association of poo and happiness.



January 28, 2007

A small white elephant was spotted wandering in the desert, not far from Broken Hill. It appeared to be stumbling. It was disoriented, confused, dehydrated and possibly wounded. People noted in consternation that white elephants had never before been seen in the area. This one had been separated from its family and was finding it difficult to function.

Eventually the white elephant turned, stopped walking in circles and began the long journey back home. It crossed the desert single-handedly living on the tops of cacti and occasional rodent life. It began to pick up a sense of purpose and traveled faster. It was even seen to smile, according to some reports. Once it reached Dubbo there was no stopping this little elephant. It embraced the residents of Orange with unprecedented warmth and glee. It bathed in the Hawkesbury near Windsor before it reached its final destination and thundered optimistically onto the northern beaches of Sydney.

the white elephant is back

December 9, 2006

technologies of faith

November 8, 2006

OK here’s another PhD idea for when I’m 40. Examine the “technologies” of the major religious faiths ie prayer and meditation, psychology from the Bible and the Buddha. Compare to psychological therapies.

Invent a form of cognitive therapy based on Jesus’ teachings.

the illusion of money

November 5, 2006

Really scraping around for an original thought today but I finally got there at 10pm!

Right, well, how does it go again?

Money is an illusion that distracts us from the true value of things. That’s why it’s dangerous. The camel and the eye of the needle etc.

When making decisions remove the money element. If choosing between options imagine that all the options are financially the same, then it’s easier to reach the right conclusion.

It works both ways: sometimes you have to spend more and sometimes less. It’s great to be frugal, not buying things you don’t need and there’s a certain freedom that comes from living with less. However frugality can also lead to hoarding and miser syndrome. It’s also good to be able to let go of the money – either spend a lot on something you really love or give it away to someone who really needs it.

If starting a new business, think about the product you are selling – will it benefit people? Is there a need? Will you enjoy doing this business? Don’t think dollars. Of course it’s very hard not to think dollars in this sense, but think about what you’re actually doing – first.

pathology pyramid

October 25, 2006

In psychiatry or psychology, what are the presenting symptoms and what lies underneath? This could be an interesting study, re personality issues. Common presenting problems are usually depression, anxiety, substance abuse (these are extremely prevalent as we know). Later on, we discover other features over time. Could there be a pyramid effect?

Here’s an idea for a self-help book. The problem with sticking all my ideas up on a blog, is that theoretically anyone could come along and steal one of them. However I guess it’s quite easy to come up with ideas and another thing to put them into practice, so if anyone does write these incredibly clever books, good luck to them!

Anyway, this book would be based on “The Golden Rule” I could start with a description of the various religious scriptures that contain the golden rule (ie Christianity, Islam, confucianism etc) with calligraphy even!

Then an introductory chapter on my interpretation of what the golden rule means and how to apply this to relationships and life.

Then I could have subsequent chapters on, oh anything really. Perhaps a section for community & friendship, another for intimate relationships, one for children etc.

Oh, for those who may not know, the Golden Rule is basically “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “love your neighbour as yourself”.

I would also include a section on loving yourself as it appears to me that it’s included in the Biblical version, but no one talks about it really.

Community / share housing

October 11, 2006

Here’s another idea for a business:

Set up a share housing agency. I’m sure they exist, but this could be quite revolutionary if done in the right way.

1. Startup stage.
– Simply advertise & find people who are seeking single accommodation. Link up tastes and preferences (smokers, animal lovers etc) as well as income levels.
– Interview the clients to assess needs
– Source the rental properties and find one to suit a group.
– Give people options, such as sharing their property or sharing their meals to encourage community.
– Focus on larger homes to reduce chores and build community.
– Emphasise the need for respect and cleanliness. Have a list of terms and conditions and a way to evict people easily if they become a problem.
– This would need to start in an inner city area before involving suburban areas as most demand is in the inner city.
– Include refugees: link to refugee groups

2. Later on.
– Could start intentional communities with groups of flats for example. Once you have a big enough client base, you could come to a deal with owner of a block of flats to be their agent. You could then cut out the real estate agent.
– This could resemble university accommodation but for non-students as well as students.
– Once you had enough clients you could move people around if they wanted to.
– Social justice component: Use higher income earners to subsidise lower income. Have a sliding scale of fees, offer free service to disadvantaged people.
– Link with rsvp or dating agencies.
– Have a central pool of infrequently used items, ie lawn mowers, a video libary, a library. Encourage people to share their items. Link to freecycle.

other uses for a blog

September 16, 2006

This blog is becoming over-dominated by Australian Idol, I can see. I like writing about this because it gives me a focus, something I find interesting, to practice writing and descriptive skills. Overall it’s fun but strikes me as a bit trivial.

In the shower this morning it occurred to me that I could use the blog to write actual writing. Stories maybe, or ideas for stories. Put all my book ideas and do some work on them. Of course I like the random ideas best and I think the random ideas are the most important things in this blog.

Here are my book ideas:-
– write about a pre-industrial society (novel)
– create a futuristic society that attempts to solve some of the problems in our society, ie the lack of cohesive community (novel)
– the psychiatrist’s guide to raising twins (this would contain: personal experience, useful references I have read, attachment theory vs attachment parenting – it would be a work in progress because I haven’t raised them yet – this might come out in 2023)
– non-fiction book about mental health (combine ideas from positive psychology, cloninger and others)
– summary of positive psychology for patients

I tend to trust ideas that occur while I’m in the shower, they are generally the good ones.