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Suicide — what is it telling us?

Posted by Philip on 20 April 2017, 2:32 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS CONTENT WHICH MAY BE DISTRESSING. This week someone I know killed themselves. I didn't know them well and I had no idea they were struggling with mental illness, so I am really quite shaken by it. Looking back, it explains some of their behaviour, but I didn't put one and two together. I hope I'll learn to recognise it in the future.

In a rather unusual text conversation, a friend and I were discussing suicide. I know, not a conversation you'd expect to have by text but hey, the upside is, I've got a record of it to paste into this post.

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Trapped by the prospect of my new-found freedom

Posted by Philip on 15 April 2017, 1:26 pm in , , , , , , , ,

As I posted on Facebook, yesterday I got trapped in my new car. I literally couldn't get out. My wheelchair was secured to the floor of the car and the boot wouldn't open to allow the ramp to deploy.

rear view of white skoda yeti in driveway

After being freed by the AA, who were amazing, I reflected on the emotional toll it took on me, even though I was in my own driveway with my friend Jude there for support. It was really quite scary. And given the prospect of freedom it offered me, I can't help feeling a sense of betrayal, especially as it was such a large investment of money.

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With privilege comes context

Posted by Philip on 9 April 2017, 4:11 pm in , , ,

I've been reflecting on privilege over the last week since it came up during the last session of Be. Leadership. The questions I've been grappling with are: Should you use your privilege for your own benefit? And how do you use your privilege for the benefit of others and the betterment of society, even humanity. Having just watched I, Daniel Blake, I have some answers.

I-Daniel-Blake-Poster

The movie is a testament to privilege — particularly its contextual complexity. It's raw and British-made — the story of a middle aged carpenter who is denied state welfare after having a heart attack and who supports a single mother in a similar scenario. Notably, it critiques a cruel, unfeeling bureaucracy that is designed to create enough resistance to make people give up fighting and go without welfare assistance. It also presents an older man, Daniel Blake, who is unwell and a younger solo mum, Katie, both of whom have different forms of privilege, as well as a lack of it.

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Assessment – where it works and why it doesn't

Posted by Philip on 8 April 2017, 11:32 am in , , , , ,

The issue of assessing students has come under fire in recent weeks, with international tests revealing student performance is plummeting. Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has said, "if the measurement of ... a student’s progress ... is removing time from practical science, then it had better be bloody useful because practical science is bloody useful."

Students taking a test

The problem I see with assessing students in the uniform way in which most schools do — most usually through written assignments and tests — is that it's a one size fits all approach to measuring performance. It doesn't work for many because students are complex, dynamic and  diverse.

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New car!

Posted by Philip on 2 April 2017, 6:05 pm in , , ,

Last week I bought one of these cars.

 

It will allow me to wheel directly in and drive from my chair. I'll no longer need to manually winch my chair in and out, something that, as I age, has become more and more taxing.

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How CP has made me tolerant but not patient — and what that's taught me about success and diversity

Posted by Philip on 20 March 2017, 4:48 pm in , , , ,

This morning I woke up to find a notification on my iMac screen telling me my trackpad battery was very low and to charge it. Further investigation by clicking the Bluetooth icon confirmed the battery was at 2%. I set to the task of plugging the lightning charger plug into the trackpad.

What would have taken most people two or three seconds took me over five minutes. One of the effects of CP (Cerebral Palsy) is that I have poor fine motor co-ordination (and only slightly better gross motor co-ordination). So the process of getting the half-centimetre-wide plug into the same size socket was, literally, hit and miss until I hit it.

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My problem with productivity

Posted by Philip on 12 March 2017, 2:44 pm in , , , , , ,

Last week a colleague sent a link to this article on Task-Based Thinking (TBT) vs Outcome-Based Thinking (OBT). Briefly, its point was that TBT makes you less productive than OBT because the former leaves you thinking, "What do I need to do today?" instead of, "What outcomes do I want to achieve today?"

 

I read it, as I have hundreds of similar "be-more-productive" blogs, and found myself getting really pissed off. Why the hell do I need to be more productive? What's wrong with doing what needs to be done and feeling like that's enough?

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The body paradox

Posted by Philip on 7 March 2017, 3:21 pm in , , ,

How often do you become aware of your body? I mean, really aware. Aware to the point that you can distinguish between your consciousness — the dynamic thinking, feeling, sensing, perceiving part of yourself — and the flesh, bones, muscles, tendons, veins, arteries, organs and more that make up your body.

seven bodies in xray modes

A friend of mine once said to me, "You're so in your body." I didn't know how to take it — was he criticising me for being too literal or not philosophical enough? Or was he complimenting me for being down-to-earth and grounded?

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Stupid news

Posted by Philip on 28 February 2017, 5:00 pm in , , ,

The headline on Stuff.co.nz, since 2:48pm this afternoon, has been "Boat slams into pole," with a picture of a guy in a boat that's crashed into a pole. The byline declares, "A Greymouth daredevil has survived smashing his speedboat full-speed into a pole."

The editors' picks include:

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On the contradictions and hypocrisy of our hybrid global/local world

Posted by Philip on 6 February 2017, 2:23 pm in , , , , , , , , ,

Does anyone remember any countries holding select committees to decide whether or not people should be allowed to use the internet? Whether or to export and import goods to and from each other? Whether or not to recognise (heterosexual, at least) marriages within each other's boundaries? Maybe I missed something, but I don't recall these or other such arguments.

 

That's because the internet and international trade were agreed to be mutually beneficial to the global community and economy, as well as those of individual countries. There are exceptions of course, such as the TPPA, but these exceptional debates are usually driven by protesters, not by governments and industries (although, Trump's dismissal of the TPPA highlights the fragility of this kind of generalisation, but please bear with me).

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