Author Archives: Emanuel E. Garcia, MD

One crazy world

As someone who has worked in psychoanalysis and psychiatry for the past three decades I suppose I may be considered as having some expertise in ‘madness.’ This is not to say that I have devoted my life to determining who or who is not ‘crazy’—and that is because the true work of a mental health clinician is not to impose totalitarian judgments but rather to accept the diverse variety of humanity in all of its manifestations and to alleviate mental and emotional suffering. Continue reading

The real target of the alleged chemical attacks: Jeremy Corbyn

When one looks with any sense of calm and neutral curiosity at the alleged poisoning of the Skripals, one cannot help but come away with the conclusion that a judgment had already been decided upon and that evidence—the kind that might be scrutinized by independent parties and brought up for international inspection—had been relegated to irrelevance. Russia, we all heard, was the villain, the culprit, the evil demon whose ways cannot be countered except by force. Continue reading

Going out

Someday it will come for our pale blue dot. The sun is scheduled to lose its fire in about four or five billion years, our lush green earth—or what’s left of it by that time—will grow cold forever. Continue reading

Requiem for the Promised Land

Sometime in the early 1900s my maternal grandparents threw caution to the wind and left the countyside and seaside of Abruzzo, Italy, to settle in South Philadelphia. My grandfather died when I was barely a year old, but my grandmother I can remember. Try as she might, her English never got beyond a few words; yet she raised five children, one of whom became my mother. Continue reading

We’re drowning in it

You know what I mean, I don’t have to spell it out. I’m not referring to the necessary healthy kind, the kind that has gotten a bad rap on account of its necessary smell. Continue reading

The ‘Great Game’ or peace?

There are moments in a game of chess, so I’m told (I’m no great shakes at the contest), when a grandmaster will sit back and ‘see’ the inevitable strategy of his opponent and know that the outcome has been decided. Win or lose, this moment is a gripping one: all of the many possibilities begun however many minutes or hours ago have now materialised into an end. Or, to put it another way, it’s like peeling a mask off a stranger and recognising the previously disguised face. Continue reading

The blindness of the Left in the age of power

It took millennia for the political structures created principally by men to acknowledge the equal prerogatives of women, in some areas of the globe at least. Yet even here, in the enlightened West, the biological residue of an attachment of greater privilege to those who possess the primordial organ of power and pleasure—I mean the phallus, of course—remains so strong that women’s wages and opportunities continue to lag. Continue reading

Chelsea Manning has sacrificed her life

I was pleasantly surprised by the announcement that President Obama would commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence so that she may be released in May. Continue reading

Truth, false narratives and our only hope

Mark Twain is reputed to have said that whenever a politician opens his mouth a lie jumps out, and whenever he closes it he cuts one in half. Continue reading

The vertiginous politics of ‘apolitical’ art

The other night in faraway New Zealand, I took my seat at the Michael Fowler Centre to hear what I thought would be the orchestral suite of Bernard Herrmann’s score for Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic masterpiece, Vertigo. But I got more than I expected: I was delightfully shocked when it soon became apparent that the orchestra would play the entire musical accompaniment to the film while the film itself was being shown. Continue reading

A world of difference

I suppose hate is too strong a word, but there are times when it seems the only word that conveys the intensity that I will occasionally feel towards my fellow beings. Continue reading

The ‘victorious’ legacy of the Vietnam War

“What’s he talking about?” you might be thinking, “didn’t America lose the war?” Continue reading

The greater evil of ‘lesser evilism’

I have never witnessed a more shameful presidential election during my politically conscious lifetime, which extends as far back as Nixon v JFK. We are now faced with two candidates, both thoroughly loathsome in their individually unique ways, and both thoroughly corrupt. Continue reading

Why I love the law

I can hear you already, I know, I know: What are you talking about? And didn’t the great Shakespeare himself have one of his characters say (to lots of applause down through the ages) “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” (Henry VI,” Part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73)? Continue reading

The ubiquity of joy and poetry

Is it really so strange to speak, to write about the so-called ubiquity of joy, to assert that in fact joy is everywhere to behold in a world rife with poverty, warfare, deceit and the man-made destruction of the biosphere? Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn, Man of the Moment; Bernie Sanders, Man of the Moment Lost

Saturday, I woke to the welcome news that Jeremy Corbyn, who was catapulted to the leadership of the Labour Party in Britain a year ago, had won yet another leadership battle—brought on by disgruntled Members of Parliament within his own party—by extending his extraordinary mandate: he received a whopping 62% of votes to the 38% of his establishment opponent, Owen Smith. Continue reading

Why and how I talk about 9/11

In my darker moments I sometimes wonder what’s worse: our age of an endless ‘war on terror’ ushered in by the events of September 11, 2001, or the fact that for the rest of my life I will be subjected to yearly anniversary commemorations of those events, replete with jingoistic absurdities. Continue reading

Sugar-coating the objectivity of medical research

Although we have all come to expect that the science of medicine might occasionally reach a blind alley or take a wrong turn on the road to truth, we trust in the integrity of the medical establishment to make the appropriate corrections and proceed on investigative and therapeutic journeys determined primarily by objective scientific evidence. Continue reading

How much better can you eat?

It is, perhaps, the most powerful moment in the very powerful Polanski film “Chinatown,” when detective Jack Gittes, played superbly by Jack Nicholson in the role of a lifetime, confronts the corrupt tycoon Noah Cross, played superbly by John Huston. The detective asks the multi-millionaire who has been manipulating Los Angeles water rights for personal profit: “How much better can you eat? What can you buy that you can’t already afford?” Cross replies: “The future, Mr. Gittes!” Continue reading

Is privacy necessary?

Milan Kundera, speaking through the voice of his character Tereza in Part Four of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, asserts that “A concentration camp is the complete obliteration of privacy.” Continue reading

The Russians are coming . . . again?

When I was a kid there were no two ways about it: Russians were bad, in fact, they were positively evil, and the emergency drills we practiced in grade school for a nuclear attack struck this truth home. Whether or not putting our heads under our desks would have done much for our safety is another thing altogether. The main point was that we should be afraid and that the Russians were the indisputable reason why. And there was no reason to question this. In my neighbourhood of second generation Italian immigrants who made it a habit to disagree about everything, this was something everybody agreed on. Continue reading

Vive la difference?

In a few brief brilliant lines the poet Burns conveys a paradox as profound as it is essential, as mysterious as it is misunderstood. Since the dawn of human consciousness, we have described ourselves as being intrinsically apart from Nature, whether by dint of divine creation or superior intelligence or the ability to laugh. We have christened ourselves the stewards of our habitat, and we have taken no prisoners during our mission to go forth, multiply and create dominion. Continue reading

Creating transient realities in a non-contemplative world: Has propaganda vanquished art?

It has become a cliché to speak of our ever fast, ever distractible world of tweets and Facebook posts, of video games and fast-cut visuals that make one dizzy, a world of instantaneous response, a world laconic and ‘to the point.’ A world where information must be digested immediately, and resupplied, and then forgotten as a new wave of observations, facts and slogans takes its place. Continue reading

Asymmetries of applied knowledge: Do we know enough to save ourselves?

During a recent illness, which necessitated a time of relative immobility for recuperation, I passed many hours watching scores of YouTube videos on topics I have followed as a layman for many years: cosmology, particle physics, and astrophysics. Roughly speaking, these generally superb videos—from the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario (Canada), from MIT, from Stanford University, from Arizona State University, from Imperial College, London, to the World Science Festival in New York, to name a few outlets—explored in multifarious and fascinating ways, the attempts of some of the most intelligent people of our species to understand the most fundamental mysteries of nature: the birth of the universe (or multiverse?), gravity waves, a grand unified theory incorporating quantum mechanics and relativity, the very nature of time, our accelerating universe, the theory of inflation following the Big Bang, the discrete or continuous nature of space-time—and on and on. Continue reading

Hiroshima and Obama’s ‘moral revolution’

On 27 May 2016 President Obama became the first sitting American president to visit the site of the deployment of the first Atomic Bomb, whose anniversary, 6 August 1945, occurred Saturday. Continue reading