Tag Archives: disability

Cognitive Pearl #071 Iyar 15, 5775 4 May, 15

Be Somebody














During this Jubilee year, you shall return, each man to his property.

From this week’s portion, Behar. VaYikra 25:13

It is human nature that we collect stuff. Bags and bags of stuff, both literal and metaphorical. Books, clothes, tools, identities, debts, hurts, and resentments are just a few that crowd my home and my head. People tell us to ‘let it go’ but that’s hard. Life gets weighted down, almost impossible to navigate. We keep on doing things, not because they’re smart, but simply because of inertia and the deep attachment to symbols of the one truly universal illusion of humanity: the past. 

The Mitzvah Of Jubilee is the antidote to our despair. 

Human societies stratify themselves along the lines of ‘have’ and ‘have not’. Those who have (and you fill in the blanks: land, tenure, money, looks, yichus, job, whatever) get to rule over those who don’t have. Stratifications are quite stable; they’re multigenerational. The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. 

This is an arrangement that, despite the few good things that can emerge from it, is terrible for humanity. Human growth requires upheaval. We are all most alive when we are improvising, changing in a dynamic environment. 

The Jubiliee and the social engineering implied by it liberates us. It breaks the economic stranglehold of social class giving the have nots a new chance and the haves peace of mind. Returning to our property is not only about returning to our ancestral land; it’s about returning to our basic selves, that pristine moment before we were kidnapped by social class and indoctrination. In so doing it compels each of us to clean out our lives, to rid ourselves of our baggage, to reclaim the only transcendent truth: we are what we are.

Because who we are is the only property that is truly ours. 

Cognitive Pearl #067 Iyar 9, 5775 April 28, 15

Seth Godin Draw A Map










In the world of psychotherapy, everything is up for debate. When we speak of chronic disease or disease severity there are a million and one opinions.

Take chronicity for example: we tend to think of chronic illness as an affliction that doesn’t go away. A minor cold has a beginning point and an end point. Schizophrenia on the other end doesn’t seem to have either; the DSM speaks of the prodromal phase, a descent into illness that is almost only identifiable retrospectively.

And it never goes away.

Or so it seems.

In Israel and in the United States, those with schizophrenia are considered as disabled for life by Bituach Leumi and the Social Security Administration. However more and more reports of full recovery are emerging. Furthermore, as technology rapidly reshapes society, the definition of disability itself has become a moving target. New occupational opportunities have allowed many formerly disabled people to enter the workplace.

This says nothing of the ideological underpinning of occupational limitation as disability. As a Jew, scarred by the obscenity of Arbeit Macht Frei (‘Labor Makes Freedom’, the sign greeting the Jews and other undesirables as they entered the Nazi death camps) the connection between productivity and human worth is frightening.

This riff however does nothing to clarify the issue I raised in my previous post: how does the cognitive therapist determine the depth of treatment. And that dear reader is where I’ll pick up next.