Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Too Much to Take In

From "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron. The chapter titled "Opinions."

"When we hold on to our opinions with aggression, no matter how valid our cause, we are simply adding more aggression to the planet, and violence and pain increase. Cultivating nonaggression is cultivating peace."

"Pay attention to the breath and just notice your thoughts. Don't attach any meaning to them, just notice them."

I was thinking of C, a very close friend of my friend J. She was diagnosed a few months ago with a brain tumor, the same kind of tumor Ted Kennedy has. She is 47 and has two children. I haven't seen C in a few years, but I have always really liked her. Her prognosis is not good.

When I think about C it's hard not to be angry. So many millions of people are dying of cancer (I believe that in this country alone, 500,000 will die this year.) And for so many years many of the causes of cancer have been ignored by the government and large corporations, who have continued to pollute our environment, use pesticides, allow our food to be filled with dangerous additives, sell us cigarettes, etc. etc., and we are now paying the price. And on top of all that - the funding that the government had for cancer research has been decreasing every year.

Then this morning I opened the NY Times and read that charges of sexual abuse have been filed against Dr. Mel Levine, the respected pediatrician and author of numerous books and research about children with learning issues. He was a strong advocate for these kids and started a wonderful institute called "A Mind at a Time." I'm sure that his research has helped hundreds of thousands of children around the world. But over the years, the charges state, he also performed physical examinations on young boys -- with no parents or anyone else present -- and that he touched the boys' genitals inappropriately.

My opinion about Dr. Levine is that he is a brilliant doctor and researcher and I am grateful for all his pioneering work. But how was he allowed to be alone in an examining room with young boys for so many years?

When I started these posts I wanted them to be humorous and entertaining. But I guess that I would have to move to a cave and only read David Sedaris. I wish I had a wacky family like David Sedaris has so I could write about them.

All I can say is that life is both funny and tragic. In my opinion.


Anonymous said...

Actually, there is another shocking child molestation case involving a prominent California child psychiatrist, Dr. William Ayres. Dr. Ayres is standing trial in January for molesting over 40 boys. He was a psychiatrist who was giving boys (and boys only) multiple "physical exams."

Ayres was a former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Pscyhiatry and had the first television sex ed series for children on PBS in the 60s. Notably, Ayres and Levine were traveling in the same Harvard Medical School circles in the 1960s..hmmm.

Robin Amos Kahn said...

Yes, I remember reading about Dr. Ayres. I feel so sad for the kids and their families.

I wonder, if these men are guilty, how they can live with themselves. How can they not say, "I am guilty and I am sick."

Anonymous said...

These men are narcisstic sociopaths who hide behind their medical degrees and arrogance. They can't admit themselves that they are guilty because to do so would to admit that their entire lives have been a sham. Some predators who have admitted their guilt do commit suicide. Often these guys will say that the child "wanted" it.

Anonymous said...

There is an excellent blog that discusses the cases of Dr. Mel Levine and Dr. William Ayres: